China · Uncategorized

Hong Kong: Don’t Make Our Mistakes

Originally published on 29 November 2015.

Yes indeed, we did Hong Kong in one day, my friends! I’ll admit it was one of the least efficient trips we’ve taken, so read on to avoid our mistakes on your own whirlwind trip to Hong Kong!

So first, let’s get there! First flight: IAD (Washington-Dulles International Airport) to Newark, NJ. We were on the cutest little prop plane (also known as tiny), but we had the best flight attendant, maybe ever. I think his name was John. He was excited about life, and his excitement was just a delight on that tiny little airplane!

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He could have used the smallness of the plane and the short duration of the flight as an excuse not to serve beverages, but he didn’t. The plane was too small even for a cart in the aisle, so he walked back and forth to his galley at the front of the plane to get drinks for everyone. He also made a point to recognize all the Global Services and 1K Mileage Plus members on the flight to say thanks for flying so much with United. I know United has really gone downhill in the service department, and even Steve and I are a little bit fed up with their antics, but this flight was a diamond in the rough!

Moving on! We made a stop in the United Lounge before heading to our gate at Newark, filled our water bottles, and ate some snacks to get us through till mealtime on the flight. And before we knew it, it was time to board!

The Newark to Hong Kong route is 16 hours, and it takes you up and over the Arctic Circle. So, up and up and up we went, watching the sunset through the windows as we made our way north. But let’s remember that it’s already tomorrow morning in Hong Kong, so the sun has already risen by the time we were watching it set.

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Sunset #1
Sunset #2 came about half way through the flight. We were actually “chasing” the sunset at such a high speed in the plane, we caught up to it!

So it was daylight for a while, until the sunset caught back up with us about two hours before we landed in Hong Kong—that was sunset #3! I was awake for them all.

Pretty crazy, huh? As you may already know, I cannot get any sort of quality sleep in-flight; I have to make my own entertainment! Thankfully, Steve used his status and some miles to get us upgraded to business class on that leg of our trip, so at least I got to lay flat and rest my eyes for a couple of hours. Even if I’m not sleeping, being in a restful position makes a tremendous difference! Other than that, I ate, read, watched some TV and a couple of movies, and watched my Love sleep silently beside me. I don’t know how he does it!

And then we arrived! We had left our house about 10:30am on Wednesday in DC and arrived in Hong Kong at 8:45pm Thursday. And then what time did we wake up on Friday, you ask? Around 4:00am, wired and ready to go! That’s really my favorite thing about traveling westward, you’re up and feeling refreshed early in the morning, ready and able to make the most of your day! At least that was the plan…

We found the fitness center, which was well equipped but also exceptionally hot! There were a few other early risers in there as well, but none as nice looking as my Steve. Back in the room we got our showers, packed up, and tried to make our plan of attack for the day. That’s about where our efficiency ended. Oh, and the view from the room when the sun came up was pretty spectacular:

What do the Chinese eat for breakfast? Dim sum. What did Quick Whit want for breakfast? Dim sum. So we checked out, found a dim sum restaurant, and even found out how to get there on a map. Unfortunately, it was nowhere to be found! We stopped to ask people, but either they didn’t speak English or didn’t know where it was. We walked this way, then that way, then across the street, the back across the street. Then over there, then someone finally took pity on us (we must have looked pretty lost and hungry!) and asked if she could help us find something. So we showed her the address we were looking for, and she said it was just upstairs. Yep. They build up in Asia, and our mistake was not going upstairs!

So we found it, and we were the only Caucasians there—that’s how you know it’s good right? So we waited to be seated. Then we literally had to push our way through the congested tables to get to the seats where we were being directed, and then we waited some more. We were served (very) hot mint tea, which helped us not feel so hungry for a little bit. We waited some more. I finally got someone’s attention, and they explained to me how the menu worked. I thought I got it, until several minutes later when I tried to order. So they explained it to me again, and left before we could attempt to order again. And then we waited. Someone came around again, and I still had the ordering method wrong! So she called the manager over to explain it to us, and then we just pointed to some pictures of four things we wanted to try. The hard part was over! Right?

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Not so much. Then we waited again. Three of the dishes came out one at a time, but we never did get the fourth one. The food was good, but when it got to be past 9:30, we just figured the fourth one wasn’t coming. We may as well get going because we were wasting our day!

The good thing about the 2.5-hour breakfast process was that we would be able to get to the Ngong Ping Cable Car when it opened at 10:00am. We had stayed on Lantau Island the night before, and we were interested in going on the cable car there. Since we woke up so early that morning, we figured we’d be on Hong Kong Island before the cable cars opened… but luckily for us, breakfast took forever! To the cable cars!

A word of advice, get the special tour ticket! It’s worth $30 (USD) instead of $15, but if we’d known about that, we would have gladly paid double to avoid waiting 30 minutes to get to the ticket counter, then another 45 minutes to get on one of the cable cars! We literally could have saved over an hour of our precious time for an extra $30, which would have been totally worth it to us! As it was, we stayed at the little Ngong Ping Village at the top for about 10 minutes, took a picture with the Big Buddha, and left to go back down the mountain!

The cable car ride itself was nice. We shared our car with about six other people on the way up, but with no one on the way back down, so we got to enjoy the views by ourselves! It’s quite nice. I have no idea how far it was, but probably four or five miles. The mountains were beautifully green, it went over the water, we could see the airport, and it was actually quite relaxing. I can’t imagine if we’d had to wait in line at the top to go back down!

So anyway, we got back down to the bottom and made our way to their metro system a couple of blocks away. And you would not believe the line to get on the cable cars! We passed a sign that said the wait was 75 minutes to the ticket booth (keep in mind there is yet another line from the ticket booth to the cable cars themselves), and the line went far beyond that point. So totally not worth that wait, but to each his own! Now you know to get the more expensive, much faster pass!

 

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