Going to Hong Kong anytime soon?

Here are some quick tips if your Tokyo flight connection ends up in or goes via Hong Kong. Victoria Harbour is a magnificent cheap date.

Victoria Harbour from the Intercontinental Hotel in Hong Kong

This morning I learned that travel advisor Lynann at the Travel Agency took off for a familiarization trip to Thailand. Usually this trip takes you via Tokyo, but for obvious reasons this trip was rerouted via Hong Kong. The obvious reason being that everyone and their brother is deadly afraid of nuclear contamination and it doesn’t help either that the media in their infinite ignorance are putting more oil on the flames. Not even the experts can offer relief as we are not talking about an isolated incident. Let’s not forget that this nuclear disaster is the direct result of the strongest earthquake in Japan’s history, followed by a killer tsunami. In other words, a lot of the normally available tools and equipment to battle a radiation disaster are hard to come by, and probably displaced or damaged. Anyway, for as far as the available information goes, I have said enough in an earlier essay today.

Spending a whole day working on a travel website, the travel instincts awaken and while thinking about Asianstopovers, I have always preferred Hong Kong over Tokyo, especially since Hong Kong is a great destination to do on the cheap, especially if time is limited.

• Take a 45-minute free tour of Victoria Bay, the world’s third-largest harbor, on a beautifully-restored junk. Sign up for this great freebie at the Hong Kong Airport main terminal. Keep your eyes open for a booth advertising the cruise. If you don’t spot it, ask at the Information booth.

• Another great and cheap experience is the Star Ferry crossing Victoria Harbor between Hong Kong island and Kowloon as it offers views of one of the world’s most dramatic cityscapes, not to mention terrific people-watching—and guess what: it only costs 83 cents. If you have the chance take it at night and you’ll be left speechless by the city’s lights, or if you can fine tune your timing with the nightly laser light show, the largest permanent light show in the world, according to the Guinness Book of Records.

• For ancient and modern Chinese art, the Hong Kong Museum of Art is centrally-located at 10 Salisbury Road in Kowloon, and worth at least a few hours. Its gift shop is one of the best and most reasonably-priced you’ll visit anywhere. Great place to buy souvenirs and art post cards.

• The Bird Park near the Flower Market is a display of Chinese men of all ages showing off their song-birds and on Koh-Singh or herbal medicine street you’ll find shop after shop that sell herbal medicine, dried amphibians, lizards, and anything else with healing powers. If you’re a photographer you may want to take the next flight, because colors and scenes are endless.

And last but not least if you just want to spend a couple of hours admiring one of the most beautiful and intriguing harbors in the world, stop in for a refreshment or cocktails in the evening for a spectacular view of the Hong Kong Island skyline from the Intercontinental Hotel Lobby Lounge on Salisbury Road.

Yep, travel is magic.

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