From Sake Baths to Streetfood: Trip Itineraries in Japan & Hong Kong | Nat Geo Traveller India - Part 2

From Sake Baths to Streetfood: Trip Itineraries in Japan & Hong Kong

Temple time, cable car rides, and soaks in sake baths and green tea pools. | By Anjana Vaswani & Kamala Thiagarajan  
From Sake Baths to Streetfood: Trip Itineraries in Japan & Hong Kong
Umeda Sky Building, Osaka, Japan. Photo: B.S.P.I./Corbis

Hong Kong

Magical Hong Kong makes for a great vacation with young children.

Ocean Park Honk Kong Monkeys

Golden snub-nosed monkey. Photo: Joel Sartore/National Geographic/Corbis

Hong Kong means “fragrant harbour” so it seems fitting to begin your exploration at the splendid Victoria Harbour. Stroll past joggers and schooners lining the coast on your way to the fashionable Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront to see the Chinese version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame and a life-size statue of Bruce Lee. At the Avenue of Stars, over a hundred actors, directors, and producers have left their handprints and autographs in the sidewalk. If you love fancy rides, keep your eyes peeled: Hong Kong is rumoured to have more Rolls Royce cars than any other city in the world. While in the neighbourhood, order a 24- hour suit from Summer Special who have custom-designed suits for prime ministers, presidents, and movie stars.

Devote the next couple of days to amusement parks. Hong Kong Disneyland is smaller and less extreme than its cousins elsewhere and ideal for children under 10 years: Mine particularly loved the Jungle River Cruise and taking a raft to Tarzan’s Treehouse. Follow it up with Ocean Park, a theme park that also features marine and land animals. Visit the residents, enjoy the rides, and climb on the second longest outdoor escalator in the world, reminiscent of a metallic snake.

Take it easy the next day, with a tram ride to the Peak, the highest point in Hong Kong, for views of the spectacular skyline. The boat-shaped Sky Terrace 428 is a popular viewing tower. Historical photographs document the ever-transforming skyscape at the Sky Gallery and Madame Tussauds Hong Kong is located in the nearby Peak Tower.

From the city centre, a 25-minute cable-car ride followed by a ten-minute walk will take you to Po Lin Monastery and its 34-metre-high Big Buddha. Climb 268 steps to get a closer look at the stunning statue, nearly 12 years in the making. The picturesque monastery also has exquisite carvings of dragons and Chinese kings. Don’t miss the Grand Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas, which overlooks the South China Sea, the giant prayer bell in the exhibition hall, and the landscaped gardens.

Trawl for souvenirs the next day in Hong Kong’s character-filled outdoor markets. Start at the village of Stanley on the south coast, whose market has stalls selling clothing, jewellery, and incandescent cloth lamps.

Wind down your journey with a relaxing two-day trip to Lamma Island, a 30-minute ferry ride from Hong Kong. Explore the hiking trails, beaches, and the seafood restaurants of Sok Kwu Wan fishing village. Do explore the Kamikaze Cave, which is rife with World War II memories. The caves are damp and dark, adding a touch of adventure to the magic and fantasy of Hong Kong.

Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive in Hong Kong. Explore Victoria Harbour.

Day 2-4 Spend time at Disneyland. Explore Ocean Park.

Day 5 Visit the Peak for shopping, dining, and stunning views.

Day 6 Explore Po Lin Monastery.

Day 7 Visit outdoor markets.

Day 8-9 Soak in the atmosphere at Lamma Island.

Victoria Harbour Avenue of Stars Hong Kong

Avenue of Stars, Tsim Sha Tsui, Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong. Photo: Tuul & Bruno Morandi/Corbis

Tips

★ To make the most of your time in Hong Kong, purchase an Octopus card. It is like an all-purpose debit card that can be swiped on buses and trains, as well as shops and restaurants.

★ If you’re vegetarian, remember to double-check your food. Many restaurants and eateries use chicken stock in their soups and stir-fries.

★ Purchase discounted combo tickets for your visit to the Peak, which includes fares for Peak Tram, Sky Terrace 428, and Madame Tussauds Hong Kong.

Kamala Thiagarajan

Appeared as “The City That Sparkles” in the March 2015 issue. 

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