Tuesday, March 29, 2016

China/Korea 2009: day 9 (Hong Kong)

Hong Kong day 2: Tuesday 10/6/09
Map of my Hong Kong stops, this day in red; here are the photos from today. Yellow highlights in the text correspond to flags on the map.

​Up late, laundry, lunch at patisserie, space museum closed, Peninsula tea, flash card, taxi to ferry, 2.3 for ferry, 9.8 for bus to Peak, L side of bus has views on ascent of hill early. L16 slow. Bathrooms at Felix overlook the skyline. Ning Sling while arguing over Swiss in EU. ​

Laundry – R out of hotel, then L, cross over to mall, go R then L, go L at fountain, inside Japan Home Center, hrs 830 to 2100, $30 for 1st 7 lbs and $2/ half lb (HK$). Delifrance.

I needed to run some errands and sleep a little late, so after lunch at a nearby Delifrance patisserie and stopping at a laundromat in Ocean Centre I went off to see the Hong Kong Space Museum – which, unfortunately, was closed on Tuesdays. So I wandered off towards the next thing on my list, but got sidetracked and went to the Peninsula Hotel for afternoon High Tea instead – very British. Then went to the Star Ferry across the river to Central (less than a 10-minute ride), and from there I planned to go up to Victoria Peak (aka "The Peak") via the tram in late afternoon, stay through dusk and nightfall, then head back down. 

From Central, I walked to Hong Kong Station, which has an Airport Express stop, a bus station, and the huge International Finance Centre Mall. I got lost inside the Mall, and it took me about a half hour to get from Central to the bus. To get to the Peak, I took the 15C bus (exact fare or they don't give you change) and get out at the Peak Tram Lower Terminus. I somehow missed that tram stop (or I got on the wrong bus) and ended up taking the bus all the way to the top of the Peak (inadvertently saving some money), a 45-minute ride but with a great view on the way up the hill (if you do this, and it's a nice trip, sit on the left side of the bus).

At the top is the Peak Tower and the Peak Galleria, both of which have shopping and food. The top of the Tower has an observation deck you can pay to go up to, or just off to the right you can see the cityscape from a pedestrian road for free. I got there about 20 minutes before dusk and got to see the transition from day to the lights coming on to nightfall. Seeing pictures doesn't do it justice, it's really breathtaking from up there. I got some dinner at the L16 restaurant (good food but slow service) before the 8pm light show, which is a computer-controlled laser/spotlight show among many buildings on the Kowloon and Hong Kong sides of the river. As I found out later, it's not nearly as spectacular from up there as it is at the water level, where you are in the middle of it and you also have choreographed music. 

Around 9pm I bought a ticket for the Tram down, then took a cab over to Lan Kwai Fong, which is a big party area with tons of bars and restaurants. Had a couple of beers and wandered around, and walked back to the Central terminal and caught the 10:30 ferry back to Kowloon. I walked down the riverside promenade taking pictures of the Hong Kong skyline lit up at night. On the suggestion of Richard, I made my way to the Peninsua Hotel to the Felix Bar at the top for a couple of drinks overlooking the skyline, a Ning Sling while at a table listening to a bunch of Europeans argue the merits of whether Switzerland should be in the EU or not. I made it back to my hotel around 1am.

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