Tuesday, October 31, 2017

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Monday, October 30, 2017

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Friday, October 27, 2017

Friday Travel Tip - Hong Kong - Riding to the Big Buddha


Just about every city with a large Buddhist population has some kind of giant Buddha statue that you can visit. Hong Kong is no exception, however their giant Buddha is a little hard to get to, at least by conventional forms of transportation.  The giant Buddha is found near the Po Lin monastery deep in the mountains. There's also a small "village" near the Buddha that primarily exist to deal with tourist.  There are also a few fishing villages in the area, but they require a bus or car to get to them.  This area of Hong Kong is pretty much cut off from the city, that is unless you consider the cable car.

Likely this area would only be visited by the diehard tourists and loyal Buddhist had it not been for an extremely long cable car that takes you from the end of the metro line right to the entrance of the now tourist village.  You're then about 10 minutes from base of the staircase that will lead you up to the giant Buddha statue. It is worth noting that there are a lot of stairs that you must climb to get to the giant Buddha, so those in poor health may want to skip this visit.

It should also be noted that other than the Buddha itself and the monastery, most of this village has turned into a serious tourist trap, which even includes some kind of 3D movie attraction.  Prices in this village are very high, and the cheese factor is also high.  The only other warning I'll give you is that the cable  car ride is not great for anybody afraid of heights. It's very high up, shaky, and wind blows through the air vents all along the sides  of each car.  If you happen to love heights, it should also be noted that a cable car with a glass floor is available for an additional cost.

Later

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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Monday, October 23, 2017

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Friday, October 20, 2017

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Friday Travel Tip - Hong Kong - City View At Night


If there is one not to miss event in Hong Kong, it's watching the city at night.  Kowloon is fairly impressive at night, but Hong Kong Island is mind blowing. The number of tall modern buildings and bright lights is a photographers dream.  In fact the biggest problems you're going to have is getting everything in on one shot.  I recommend making sure you have a wide lens or a panoramic feature on your camera. There are a few spots where people congregate every night to check out the light show of Hong Kong Island.  These spots while busy, are well worth dealing with the crowds to get the great view.

The most costly, in fact the only one that will likely cost you money, is Victoria's Peak. This view doesn't require you to take a tram, but it's suggested as the stair climb is pretty intense.  Once up on the peak you can either pay for a "premium" view, or wander around and find equal quality views of the city at night.  Keep in mind that everybody knows that the night/sunset view are prime times to be there, so expect a lineup around that time at the tram station.

If you want to enjoy a great view of the city for free, the Kowloon waterfront is the place to be.  As long as you're near the water you should see something, however the two best spots are at the lookout point near Avenue of the Stars, and near Sha Tsui Pier. The most popular, and arguably the best view is at Sha Tsui Pier, but it will be crowded at night.

Later

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Monday, October 16, 2017

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Friday, October 13, 2017

Friday Travel Tip - Hong Kong - Metro Not Perfect but not Bad Either


Traveling around Hong Kong is not the easiest thing in the world, the city is by no means on any kind of grid, and learning the names of the streets can be complicated.  Traffic can also be overwhelming if you're not from a giant city. The best way to avoid the traffic is to take to the metro system. The system is not very intuitive, but after a bit of practice you should be able to get from point A to point B, with only a bit of walking.

The metro line for the most part has stops near many of  the popular tourist spots in Kowloon, with a few less stops on Hong Kong Island. After you get to your stop, the biggest challenge is to figure out which exit will take you to where you want to go. Particularly in the downtown area of Kowloon and on the Hong Kong Island side, the exit you take is very important. In many cases these exits may be very far from each other, and getting out the wrong door could lead to a long walk through twisting streets to find the place you want to be. The good news is that there are maps at each station that give you indications as to where the exits are.  Many of these maps also feature the attractions that near any particular exit.

The pricing on the metro system can also be fairly complicated. There are different prices depending on where you're starting and where the station you want to go is located. You can simplify this by buying a day pass, however it's unlikely that the pass will be economical for you, unless you plan on taking the train  many times in one day crossing great distances. If you're willing to be a little patient, you can save a lot of money by figuring out the prices and simply paying for what you need.

Later

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Friday, October 6, 2017

Friday Travel Tip - Hong Kong - Cheap Transportation Can Be Like A Tour


Like all large tourist cities, Hong Kong has many tour operators ready to show you around town.  This could be a good idea if heat is a problem for you, and the  tour offers air conditioning. The tours are also great if you don't want to bother reading tour books or information plaques. They are however not cheap, and it can be a challenge finding a tour that suits your interests.  I personally found the number of tours of Hong Kong to be vastly overwhelming.

The problem is, how can you see the city, and also get around in a fun way above the ground.  If getting around is all you need the metro system is pretty good, and only a little pricey. If you want to make your trip a little more fun, there are a few options that will take you around, give you great views, and all for far less than any tour.

On Hong Kong island, the most fun you'll have getting around is on one of the double decker trams. They're basically a cross between a double decker bus and a streetcar. There are several routes to chose from, and many stops at several popular tourist spots.  It might take a bit to figure out how the stops work, but a little research online and you should be fine. The first thing you should know is that it's best to know what number your stop is, each stop is fairly well marked, and the numbers are in order. Secondly make sure you have correct change, and pay when you get off.  Other than that, try and get a seat on the top front, and enjoy watching the city pass by.

Another cheaper alternative to a tour is the Star Ferry. Hong Kong offers many boat tours of the channel between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island, but for only a few bucks you can take the ferry across, and still enjoy these awesome views.  Although the announcement suggests that you remain seated, I never once saw this rule enforced.  There are some great photo opportunities from this boat, and you won't break the bank either.

Later

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Thursday, October 5, 2017

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Tuesday, October 3, 2017