I know I said our family didn’t have plans for this summer vacation and that was true. But something incredibly wonderful happened and we just found ourselves packing our bags for a family trip to Hong Kong. It’s been 6 long years since we all visited so I was really looking forward to setting foot on Asia’s famed “fragrant harbor” once again.
It’s my 4th time to visit Hong Kong, but actually, our third time in 2008 was very brief since we embarked on a cruise ship from the Ocean Terminal and stayed only an extra night in Kowloon for some last-minute shopping. During our Hong Kong trips in 2002, 2007 and 2008, we stayed in only one hotel: Marco Polo Prince. This time, we were booked in The Park Lane Hong Kong along Gloucester Road in Causeway Bay. Even though it was my first time to stay there, I instantly felt right at home. For one thing, its location is superb. And for another, the hotel turned 40 years old earlier this year — exactly as old as I am!
We called Room 811 of The Park Lane Hong Kong our home for four days and three nights. The Family Room wasn’t exactly huge, but it was comfortable enough for us. We loved the fact that shops like HMV and IKEA are housed in the hotel building, but once we step outside the hotel, an endless shopping paradise awaits.
If New York is the city that doesn’t sleep, I dare say that Hong Kong is the city that doesn’t blink. People are always moving, rushing about, crossing the streets, shopping, eating… the streets are bustling with activity! The lights are glaring (and not a single light bulb that’s not in order) and the sounds of busy feet echo in my head. Being one of the most densely-populated areas in the world, the city is so dynamic that to spend the day sleeping would be such a waste. As for me, traveling entails a lot of eating and that’s one of the best parts of being in a foreign land — sampling the culinary treasures of the place. So eat and eat I did.
It was the perfect time to escape the summer heat in Manila as it was still spring in Hong Kong. The occasional showers in the day did not dampen our plans to revisit Ocean Park Hong Kong on our second day and Hong Kong Disneyland on our third day. Honestly, I preferred the drizzles and the chilly temperature over a hot, sunny day.
Ocean Park Hong Kong is a must-visit for any tourist in the city. I noted so many changes since I’ve been there in 2002 and 2007 — the park got bigger and added more attractions for the whole family to enjoy. Bea was totally thrilled to see real live giant pandas, penguins and arctic foxes. She was not so thrilled with the cable car ride, though, but I insisted on it because a visit to Ocean Park Hong Kong will not be complete without the cable car experience. The ride was scary and exhilarating at the same time — it gives a panoramic view of the entire park and its surrounding area, with the highest level at 673 feet!
Admission prices for a day-pass:Adult – HK$ 320 (about P1,800) Child (3 to 11 years old) – HK$ 160 (about P890)
Hong Kong Disneyland is, of course, a magical destination for the young and the young-at-heart. We first took Bea to the park when she was only 3 years old so she has very limited memory of that time, if at all, but now she’s almost 10 and she felt like it was her first time (again). It’s a relatively small theme park but because of the volume of visitors, one day is hardly enough to cover all 7 grounds: Tomorrowland, Toy Story Land, Fantasyland, Adventureland, Mystic Point, Grizzly Gulch and Main Street, USA.
Admission prices for a day-pass:Adult – HK$450 (about P2,500) Child (3 to 11 years old) – HK$320 (about P1,800) Senior (65 years old and older) – HK$100 (about P560)
I’m so grateful for our latest Hong Kong trip because it gave us another summer to remember as a family. I was really impressed by the MTR system in Hong Kong. EFFICIENCY is a word that constantly came to my mind as I keenly observed the transport systems in HK. I only wish that our country can learn from this global city.