Saturday, June 1, 2013

Quick & Nerdy - Hong Kong


Thank you Meanwhile in Thailand for this week's Quick & Nerdy!

Hong Kong:
·       One of the biggest, densest and most vertical cities in the world, the former British Colony rises to spectacular heights in front of the mountains and just behind the water.
·       Kowloon, across the bay from Hong Kong Island, is the most crowded place on earth.
·       While it was turned over to China by the British in 1997, it retains special administrative region status and is autonomous from most of the Chinese state run economy.
·       Hong Kong is amazingly vertical, with nearly every building rising high up into the sky and every subway station seeming to exit into a multi-storied mall.
·       A beautiful mix of modern and Colonial, you’ll probably find it impossible to avoid spending most of your time gazing out at the skyline from various points around the city.

Sights:

·       Victoria Peak – ride the tram ride up here (the tram goes almost vertical - 70 degrees or so) for a gorgeous view of the city below. Smog and clouds will be your enemy, though, so pick a clear day if you can.
·       The Architecture – Check out the HSBC Building, for an open air atrium and escalator that leads into the building, the IFC, which stands 88 stories tall, or the even taller ICC, which is the sixth tallest building in the world. And these are only a few of the buildings, there are many more, unmentioned.
·       Chi Lin Monastery – in the middle of crowded Kowloon, find a little bit of peace here along within the neighboring gardens.
·       The Cable Cars to Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery – the views of the surrounding hills, ocean and airport are probably better than the Big Buddha, itself, but the ride makes the trip well worth it.
·       Hong Kong Cultural Center – a nice introduction to Hong Kong, this well put together museum is a good start for a small piece of Hong Kong’s unique history.

Get Around:

·       Hong Kong has one of the best, easiest and most efficient train systems to use. In addition, there are a number of buses and trams to get you where you need to go. You hardly need a taxi, but feel free to use that luxury – they are readily available. Your best bet is to buy a multi-day pass (you can buy them at the airport station or most anywhere else) and you can always add money, even if you run out of days.

·       There is even the Hong Kong Star Ferry to get you back and forth between the islands cheaply, and it runs a package with the hop on hop off buses that can give you a quick overview of the central city.
·       There is the world’s longest escalator here, if you have interest in seeing it or using it.

Tips:

·       Hong Kong is huge, and even more so crowded. Be prepared to spend a lot of your time in a mall, even if you don’t intend on doing so.
·       You can stay all over the island and the train will get you where you want to go, although some stops are more convenient than others based upon the lines that run to them.
  

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