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Half a week in Hong Kong

In the space of a mere three days, a slothful , thrifty, shy, careful me was compelled to run, shop, tai chi and eat my way around a city that proved an absolute delight. Hong Kong was served up on a platter thanks to a quick bite-sized trip on an extended weekend trip. Here’s how to do it:

1)    Leave like a maniac.
Well I did anyway. The midnight flight with Air New Zealand is perfect for the manic worker like myself. You can get a full day in, dash home, pack , pop a sleeping pill and snooze your way to Hong Kong to arrive in the morning to see Hong Kong wake up just as you do.

2)    Be a star.
Well , you can at least feel like a star. We stayed at the Marco Polo Hotel overlooking the water and perfectly located on Canton Road at the base of Nathan Road. This is a wonderful hotel with a great bar in an exposed atrium taking advantage of the balmy August heat. Fabulous breakfasts to get you started for the day. The hotel adjoins the Harbourside Shopping Complex which beckons the star within you to at least feel like a tycoon when you browse through the designer shops. Even better, the Star Ferry is a few minutes walk away or as I like to say “10 minutes past Prada”…

3)    Ride the waves
Cross from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island for a completely different vibe. From the hustle of the shops of Nathan Road to the more sophisticated financial and entertainment areas of Central and Wanchai on the island you can be across the water in a few minutes. But many more islands beckon. One night we ventured to the seafood island of Lamma Island to dine at one of the many seafood restaurants offering Hong Kong cuisine at reasonable prices and an easy and enjoyable night out Take a junk ride on the harbour to meander through the fishing boats and get a snap shot of life on and from the water. Lamma is easily accessible by ferry and some restaurants even offer free transports with a minimum dining spend.

4)    Run!
Well I did anyway. The Hong Kong Tourist Association devised an action packed day a la “Amazing Race” which saw us tai chi with strangers, dance gangnam-style on the MTR (you can get anywhere on the MTR in minutes but try dancing at the same time en masse), shop for Jade at the markets and race through the slick financial avenues of Hong Kong Island. It was very difficult not to stop at some of the many markets to pick up bargains or stop for a bite to eat at a noodle house but we had challenges to win! This must be one of the easiest cities to get around in a short space of time. If you want to plan your adventure – the HKTA has a great site: www.discoverhongkong.com

5)    Play!
Ok, the kid within got the better of me and I signed up for a day at Hong Kong Disneyland. Although much smaller than the US counterparts, in the heat, this park is the perfect size for a day visit. A 25 minute train ride out from the city in the Disney train (with Mickey Mouse shaped windows) had us disneyfied in no time. If you can get past the dual-language shows and rice served with the fast foods , this really is like any Disney park. Great fun. Rides to be recommended-   Mystic Point for those that want a “haunted mansion” experience and Grizzly Gulch, a wacky wild west roller coaster to a ride. Currently offering seven lands ,based on stories of mystery, Wild West, Toy Story, fantasy, adventure, space and Americana, continued development includes the opening of the Marvel Comics:”Iron Man Experience” which will be on offer from 2016.

Currently we are selling one day family passes to Hong Kong Disneyland for NZ$264.00     (2 x adults and 2 x children) which has to be one of the best value family days around.

6)    Maths made easy:
Here it is - easy. A quick stop at the Stanley Street markets and I learnt a new mathematical formula:
Fifteen minutes + NZ$80.00 =  3 x handbags + 2 x pair of shoes.

7)    Stop, drop and shop.
We came home on Cathay Pacific. After the addiction of shopping has seeped in, a late check-out is no longer vital. Cathay Pacific depart after 9.00pm. Perfect! You can stop early in the day, check in at the AEL Express City terminal conveniently located very close to our hotel, drop your bags in the morning, spend the day shopping or sightseeing and rail out to the Hong Kong airport in time for the flight. A great way to get a full day in on the last day of your trip. In over 30 years in the business this was the first time I had ever flown Cathay Pacific. A favourable experience and to be recommended.

If you want a break away where you can really feel at home in a short space of time , Hong Kong is perfect- compact, convenient and with a huge array of sightseeing opportunities . This is an ideal destination for families with a range of ages (littlies and teens can equally enjoy Disney, Ocean Park and junk rides).