Hong Kong Has it All
When I planned a trip to Hong Kong and Macau, I expected the usual elements of a fun holiday – great shopping, cool nightlife and a vibrant city. But I still wasn’t prepared for the sheer colours and thrills that Hong Kong has to offer. And, the fun began right from the moment I boarded the Cathay Pacific business class flight from Abu Dhabi.
Welcome to Hong Kong
After little over eight hours we touched down in Hong Kong and the pampering began with a Rolls Royce Phantom – in the Peninsula’s signature shade of green – waiting to take me to The Peninsula Hotel. What a stress free way to travel!
The journey from the airport to the uber-luxe hotel on Kowloon Island was simply amazing and offered a real taste of Hong Kong. The two main islands that make up HK are joined by beautiful bridges that reflect the modern of the city and complement the undulating mountains that wrap around it. Even in monsoon season this place is still stunning with the rain adding an extra coat of green. With a national park covering 40 per cent of the city, Hong Kong is certainly a paradise. So, short treks and biking trails are a must.
The eclectic city is one that everyone should visit. Whether it’s hedonistic nightlife you crave, sartorial bliss, historical discovery or a spiritual retreat away from the maddening crowds, Hong Kong is a place that will never bore you, it will only inspire… Happy exploring!
A heavenly flight
My journey to Hong Kong was Cathay’s first flight from Abu Dhabi and the welcome was fit for a king. Chinese dragons and drinks greeted me at the airport after which I was ushered into the airline’s lavish lounge, complete with yummy delicacies, a cool bar and zones with Mac computer set-up. Even once taking off, the pampering continued with friendly and attentive staff and spacious cabins. With such indulgence taking the drudgery out of long flights, it’s truly the A-list way to travel.
While you’re there...
Visit the peak
One of Hong Kong’s major tourist attractions, the Peak offers spectacular panoramic views. Taking the tram from the base and going up the hill is a pleasure you must savour!
Walk the avenue of stars
This is a 400m long stretch of waterside promenade with views across the Harbour to the Hong Kong Island. It celebrates the stars of the Hong Kong film industry, especially Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. There is also a statue of Bruce Lee, which makes it a very, very popular spot to take photographs.
Enjoy afternoon tea at Peninsula
Whether you stay in this abode of luxury or not, try the afternoon tea in the lobby. Go early to avoid queues and you never know which celeb you might bump into!
Shop till you drop
From all the shopping avenues – The Temple Street Night Market, Ladies Market, Causeway Bay and the Central District – I had the most fun at the Ladies Market. The street stalls for clothes, bags, accessories and toys offered fabulous bargains and a great range on everything. You can have a lot of fun haggling for the best price.
What to see
Hong Kong Island
This is one of the commercial areas that’s been developed beautifully. Make a trip to the Stanley Market, a favourite with the expats. There’s a Corniche area right by the beach, and there are lots of restaurants and bars – expensive and budget options – to choose from. Take your pick from traditional Chinese mementos like paintings, lucky waving cats and other souvenirs. Another must-visit is the Ocean Park that has dolphin shows as the prime attraction.
This is where you’ll find the famous HK Disneyland. Another attraction is the Gold Buddha (also called the Tian Tan Buddha), the world’s tallest outdoor seated bronze Buddha statue. The Ngong Ping 360 degree cable car ride that gave us a superb panoramic view of the city is a must-do activity.
Kowloon Island/New Territories
At Kowloon Park, life begins bright and early at 6am. You can see locals practise Tai Chi, an ancient Chinese martial art form, popular both for defence purposes and health benefits.
Night life and food
Head to Soho and Lan Kuai Tong for great restaurants and bars. Nothing can beat the pulse and electric vibe of this area. Hong Kong is a foodie’s paradise. I especially loved the meat offerings, the bubble tea and curry fish balls.
Where to stay
Macau is only one hour from Hong Kong by ferry. Stay at the Venetian Hotel. Luxurious rooms, spa, casinos, night clubs – this place has it all. Travelling around by a gondola inside the building and outside is quite an experience.
Two elements stand out in this man-made wonder. First: Ice World, where famous landmarks are sculpted in ice. Second: Macau Tower offering the highest tower bungee in the world – it’s truly an out-of-this-world experience!
The Peninsula Hotel
The Peninsula Hotel experience was easily one of the best I’ve ever. There was complete privacy and every little need was taken care of. It was amusing to find a telescope in the main room! The Harbour views, including the Avenue Of Stars, made it a dream and one could also see the spectacular light show. The hotel has many activities for guests including a Tai Chi class for those interested in learning the traditional martial art. And if you are one to shop, there are plenty of cool shops to choose from. I spent a lot of time at the famous Felix Bar, which had chocolate cocktails and more amazing views to offer.
I also enjoyed the helicopter ride by which I went around Hong Kong Island – what a lovely way to see the city!