By Mr. Arun Jindal (L&T MHPS Boilers)
Dalai Lama has said, ‘Once a year, go somewhere you have never been before”.
With this in mind, I planned to go to a place that facilitated visa on arrival to avoid travel hassles. So… we decided on Hong Kong and Macau.
We surfed the net and finalized our trip for 6 days & 5 nights through a travel agency. The travel agent promised to cover most tourist spots in Hong Kong like City tour, Disneyland & Ocean Park, and transport to and from the airport and ferry terminals including Macau. This was in addition to Hotel stay, Airfare and breakfast.
We took a late night Jet Airways flight from the Indira Gandhi International Airport, reaching Hong Kong in 5-6 hours. Hong Kong Airport’s infrastructure was remarkable including an internal electric metro system for reaching immigration. As we waited for our pickup, we bought metro passes to facilitate us in the next few days. As we sped along the highway from the Airport to hotel, we were impressed by the bridges interconnecting the islands, ports, layout of buildings and a general air of spectacular planning of the land development around the sea. As we reached our hotel at 11 AM: Harbour Plaza 8 Degrees which was situated near a high end market area, we decided to use the hotel shuttle service to visit the nearby market Tim Sha Shui instead of waiting in the lounge till the specified check in time of 3:00 PM . This market had all international brand shops and was a great place to browse around. We returned to or hotel well in time to check in and take a short nap.
At 4 PM, we started out for our city tour. We went to Victoria Harbour and to Victoria peak via the tram. The view from the top was outstanding. The soft breeze and the mild haze added to the fun and it was a pity we had to come down to visit other places. We then reached the ferry terminal where we took a Ferry Ride to cross the sea. Again, the weather, the mild wind, the night lights and the port structure made the entire view so mesmerizing that time simply floated by. We returned to the hotel glad of our decision to visit the place.
Day 1- Reaching Hotel and city tour
After breakfast, we all eagerly headed to Disneyland: a place of cherished childhood dreams. The entry of the amusement park showed a dolphin pushing mickey upwards on water jet we kept clicking pictures as we tried to decide on which section to enter first. The choices were: adventure, Disney world, thrills, science and gizmos and many more. In Disney world section we shed of decades of our lives and became kids again as we walked through the surreal world of Disney characters….Sophia, Micky and Minnie mouse, Donald Duck and so many others. The Cinderella ride was fun and so were the other hair raising rides and sci-fi thrill rides. We were mesmerized by the Lion King show and a host of other theatrical shows available. It was a never ending fun and we wished the day would never end.
After Disneyland we explored local ladies market for souvenirs and personal goods.
Day 2: World of Dreams- Disneyland
We planned for Ocean Park. Since the transport was to be borne by us, we decided to venture via the public transport system (Bus and Metro) for reaching Ocean Park. Like Disneyland, Ocean Park is an amusement park with water rides & it is much bigger than Disneyland. Ocean park is situated near to a mountain close to the south china sea and offers a heaven for people seeking high speed rides and thrills. In addition there were aquariums, an ice-home for penguins and arctic foxes, and a home for Australian animals like the kangaroos and koalas. We explored around and saw various sea fish, jelly fishes, Penguins and took various high speed rides & water rides. We also took the exciting cable car that traverses a long distance high up in the air linking 2 mountains above the sea and connects different zones of the park. The view from the cable car was exhilarating and literally took our breath away.
Being the last day in HK, we went to another local market called Temple Street to buy more souvenirs and personal items.
Day 3: Rides and Thrill
Next day, we were taken to the Macau ferry terminal where we took a ferry to Macau, an Asian version of Las Vegas. After immigration, we took shuttle bus to our hotel – The Venetian. The ride to our hotel provided a breath taking view, but one glance at our hotel was captivating. The hotel Venetian…. Is pure… luxury! It has an inbuilt mall, casinos, theatres etc. on the lower floors and a hotel on the upper floors. We couldn’t take our eyes off the rows of wonderful shops, the grand layout, the Italian architecture and the luxurious surroundings. Our room was a Bella suite with a wonderful view and lavish layout. All comforts had been thoughtfully provided with an ambience of grandeur. Although the room was too difficult to be left, we did it never the less and spent the entire day reconnoitering the hotel. As the name suggests, the Venetian Hotel has the interiors like the city of Venice. There was a false sky installed which gives an impression of the setting Sun. A Gondola ride was available to take a trip around the hotel in a gondola with the boatmen singing a Venetian song. The casinos were on the ground floor but as the minimum age limit was 21, only my wife and I were able to go and my daughter reluctantly went back to the room.
Day 4: Macau- Turbojet ferry and Venetian Hotel
Day 4 (CONTD……)
On the fifth day, we explored the Macau local markets. The architecture was part Portuguese and part Chinese. Lots of good eating joints and bakeries were there and it was a paradise for a non-vegetarians, especially someone who was interested in sea food. Later we visited other Hotels as we were informed that they were all theme based and had something special to offer in terms of architecture, layout and shows. Connecting the Venetian via shuttle buses, are the hotels: Galaxy, Studio City and the Parisian. We saw the Diamond Show at the Galaxy, roamed around in Studio City and went up the 37th Floor of Eiffel Tower at the Parisian Hotel.
On the last day, we took morning ferry to Hong Kong Airport. Turbojet Ferry had a tie- up with jet Airways so we were able to check in our luggage at Macau and receive it at Delhi. After two hour ride, we were at HK Ferry Port which is connected to HK Airport. It was a pleasant surprise to get HKD 120/= per person back at Airport.
Another 5-6 hour flight from HK to IGI Airport and we were home, with loads of wonderful memories. We also made new friends on the tour.
Day 5 : Macau –local sightseeing
Day 5 (contd………)
Before I sign off, some important tips I need to share with you all.
- Our trip was made spontaneously, so we could not work out the finer points of it, but it’s better to go to Macau first and stay there for a while before coming to HK. You can shop a lot in Macau as compared to HK.
- Women and girls can wear short western /modern dresses as nobody really minds it there.
- Go to Disneyland and Ocean Park if your child is above the height of 4 ft, as that is general height restriction for high speed rides.
- For Ocean Park, better to take the public transport (Bus / Metro) as it is less time consuming and easier to commute.
- Take a smart card at HK Airport which can be used in Public transportation & as well as at various stores like 7-11 that offers groceries, drinks and other basic amenities.
- You can get free Wifi at various places. However, people are less aware of places of least importance.
- Language is a barrier as few people understand English.
- People are nice & kind and are willing to help.
- Keep loads of water as it is a humid place. Better to buy big cans for use.