Tag Archives: Video

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Hong Kong Activities

Hong Kong Activities for a 2-day Stopover

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With just a short one or two-day break in the city, its a good idea to have a plan if you want to experience some of the best Hong Kong activities that are on offer. Our 2-day stopover was just enough time to pack in half-a-dozen quality excursions, as well as hitting the shops on Nathan Road.

Our Pearl Premium Guest House in Tsim Sha Tsui was well located for the activities that we had in mind.

It was within easy walking distance of shops, stores and restaurants, and just 30 minutes walk from Hong Kong harbour. The hotel was also just 2 minutes from Tsim Sha Tsui metro station, from where we could travel to Hong Kong island.

Hong Kong Activities for a 2-day Stopover

Hong Kong activities for a 2-day stopover – Victoria Peak view

Hong Kong Activities – Riding the Metro

Hong Kong’s MTR Mass Transit Railway system is impressively large and clean. It’s easy enough to follow, but the bigger stations have multiple exits with large distances between them.

You can save yourself some legwork by calculating in advance which exit is most suitable for you.

Hong Kong activities for a 2-day stopover

Hong Kong activities for a 2-day stopover – Negotiating the metro system

Hong Kong Activities – Victoria Peak

You can’t really visit Hong Kong without taking the Peak Tram 1,500 meters up to Victoria Heights. This trip feels almost obligatory on a first visit to Hong Kong. However, it’s unlikely you’d want to do this a second time.

The most popular way of getting up is via the Peak Tram, which is a short walk from the Central metro on Hong Kong island.

However, be prepared to spend a lot of time queuing – first for your tickets and then waiting to board the tram. In all, it took over an hour before we were able to board.

The cost of a return ticket is HKD 90. They only accept cash, which apart from being inconvenient is really strange (and a little dubious with all those dollars changing hands).

The ascent by tram is steep – you’ll feel your ears pop.

Hong Kong activities for a 2-day stopover

Hong Kong activities for a 2-day stopover – Queuing for the Peak Tram

At the top the circus continues, with the hundreds of visitors from each tram-load being herded towards the outlets of the multi-story Peak shopping mall. You’ll need to time your return tram journey well in order to avoid more long queues waiting to descend.

If you want to access the Peak’s 180° viewing gallery, you’ll need to shell out another $50. Again, they do not accept credit cards. Take plenty of cash with you. Although there are a couple of ATM machines at the top, we found that one of them was out of order.

Hong Kong activities for a 2-day stopover

Hong Kong Activities – Victoria Peak: Find a spot, if you can…

From the Peak tram station, you can follow a winding path down the mountain away from the crowds. This eventually reaches a road, which provides an alternate way of getting up and down from the Peak.

If you don’t fancy taking the tram down again, the walk down will take around 40 minutes. For a description of this route together with some quality photos, checkout Jamie’s J3 Blog.

Hong Kong Activities – Trick Eye Museum

We’d read plenty about the Trick Eye Museum before coming to Hong Kong. The museum is very handily located right next to the arrival platform at Victoria Peak, so it’s a no-brainer to include this in your day-trip itinerary.

The museum has around 50 optical illusion paintings, sculptures and constructions with which you can physically interact. These provide unique 3D immersive experiences which are really quite fun, whatever your age.

Trick Eye Museum

Hong Kong Activities
Hong Kong Activities
Hong Kong Activities
Hong Kong Activities
Hong Kong Activities
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The Trick Eye Museum features five themed zones: World of Masterpieces, Hong Kong Discovery, Secret Garden, Great Adventure and Neverland. It’s a great way to spend 30 minutes or so, while avoiding the hordes of tourists drifting around the Peak.

Entrance tickets to the Trick Eye Museum were HKD 150 per person (€15).

A visit to the Trick Eye Museum is all about taking photos. If you want to be sure you feature in the pictures, its better to go with a group of 3 or 4 people who can take turns using the camera.

 

Hong Kong Activities – Victoria Peak Garden

The Peak Tower is about as far up the Peak as most tourists get. If you want to reach the summit, continue up Mount Austin Road for about 20 mins and you’ll reach the tranquil and beautifully-maintained Victoria Peak Gardens.

Make sure you have water with you. We took with us a packed lunch from the iSquare supermarket in Tsim Sha Tsui, and enjoyed it on one of the park benches.

Hong Kong activities for a 2-day stopover

Hong Kong Activities – Victoria Peak Garden

Sunday’s are for Migrants

On our return down from the Peak, we wandered around the shopping streets of central Hong Kong. At first we thought there was some kind of festival or holiday going on, as many of the streets seemed closed to traffic, and people were set up in the streets with tents and picnics.

We found out that this is rooted in a tradition that is typically Hong Kong.

Since the 1980s, migrant domestic workers have congregated in Hong Kong’s public spaces every Sunday, as well as public holidays. Thousands of women sit on cardboard or plastic mats in the shadow of five-star hotels, major bank buildings and storefronts with luxury brand names.

This all injects noise and colour into the otherwise austere financial district. Space is claimed using anything from a circle of bags to a tent, and public ground is transformed into temporary venues for every possible social interaction.

Hong Kong activities for a 2-day stopover

Campers in downtown Hong Kong

A Symphony of Lights, Victoria Harbour Light Show

Of course, we couldn’t leave Hong Kong without experiencing the ‘World’s Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show’ (Guinness World Records).

The so-called Symphony of Lights is a nightly multimedia show involving more than 40 buildings on both sides of the harbour.

According to the advertising spiel, colored lights, laser beams and searchlights perform in an unforgettable all-round spectacle synchronized to music and narration that celebrates the energy, spirit and diversity of Hong Kong.

We arrived in good time for the start, and even found ourselves a front-row spot on the promenade. It’s a pleasant way to spend half an hour in the early evening, before finding someplace to eat. However, keep your eye out for under-sized pickpockets. There can be quite a crush against the promenade railings when the show starts, and in the darkness I spotted dwarf-like people pushing and rummaging against our back pockets (no, I hadn’t been drinking…)

As for the show. if you’ve ever enjoyed watching Dubai’s Dancing Fountain, then in comparison you’re going to be somewhat underwhelmed.

The show is free, starts at 8 pm daily and lasts for about 13 minutes.

Hong Kong activities for a 2-day stopover

Hong Kong activities for a 2-day stopover – A Symphony of Lights

The following morning we would be leaving the bustle of Hong Kong to continue our onward journey to the hopefully more tranquil paddy fields of Bali.


If you enjoyed our Hong Kong Activities, check out our Short Breaks & City Stops. You may also like:

 



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Tioman: Juara Beach

Juara Beach – Tioman Island, Malaysia

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When we first planned our 21-day round trip around Malaysia, the place we kept reading about was Tioman island, located 30 kms off the east coast of the Malay peninsula. It’s quite a journey to get there, but if we could stay there a few nights, it might be worth it. We were looking for a beach location, so Juara beach on the east side of the island seemed to fit the bill.

To get there, we took the Tioman Island Ferry, then headed out over the central highlands to our pre-booked accommodation at Juara beach.

1511, Coconut Grove on Juara beach comprises 8 to 10 compact but comfortable raised wooden beach chalets. The management and staff are very welcoming, and helped us with advice on the local areas of interest, and to fine-tune our onward journey. We paid €37 per night for our chalet, including breakfast.

It’s advisable to book a few weeks in advance as there is limited accommodation at Juara beach. This is a blessing, as the area has managed to retain a really relaxed, natural, low-key atmosphere, far from the tourist-trap feel of other, more easily-accessible resorts.

Juara Beach - Tioman Island, Malaysia

Juara Beach – Tioman Island, Malaysia

The beach immediately in front of our chalet is popular with surfers, both local and foreign, although during our stay there were just a couple of small groups.


The first several meters into the sea is shallow enough to bathe, but you need to be a strong swimmer to head out into the waves, which can be pretty impressive.

Juara Beach
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Juara Beach
Juara Beach
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Watch out for the sand flies!

Before heading onto the beach, you need to protect yourself from the ubiquitous sand flies. The bites from these tiny, almost invisible pests leave large, red itchy bumps.

These bumps are several times as itchy as mosquito bites, and tend to last longer as well. After a day or so, they can turn into weeping open sores and are at risk from infection. Some people are more susceptible than others, but this can put a serious dampener on your holiday.

Juara Beach

The jungle is immediately accessible from the beach

Backed up by a mountainous rain forest, Juara beach stretches for 2 kms, and is bordered on either side by rivers flowing down into the sea. This is perfect for an early morning walk or run.

You can hire a bicycle or a small motorbike, but in any case you will be spending some time enjoying the trip up and down this stretch of beach to find the restaurants and few small shops located mainly at the northern end.

The Jetty on Juara Beach

The Jetty on Juara Beach

There is a choice of 6 or so places to eat and drink (although only one of them sells alcohol – not far from the long jetty). Overall, the standard of food is very good.

We particularly enjoyed the food at the Kak Long restaurant. Reputedly, the best food in Juara is served here. I was also informed that this was the only place where the chef does not use MSG (monosodium glutamate – a flavour enhancer) in the food.

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We ate at this restaurant a lot and were not disappointed. Great banana juices and spicy curry and noodles – the sambal fish is very good, too. You need to get there early in the day (before lunch) if you want to sample their rotis – they’re delicious!

During our short stay at Juara beach, we took a trek to visit a waterfall deep in the Tioman rainforest – a highly recommended activity and a great place for a picnic.


If you like Juara Beach, check out our East Malaysia & Borneo adventures. You may also like:

Juara Beach -Tioman Island, MalaysiaJuara Beach -Tioman Island, Malaysia


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