Last week we travelled with some friends to Hong Kong for the Chinese National week holiday. They had not been before and were excited by the prospect; I was a little apprehensive as I am very aware of what it can be like to travel around this period and the crowds to expect especially at places like Disney.
The trip itself did not get of to the best start. I had booked two taxis to get us to the airport at 12.15. At 11.30 a lady from a shipping company pops round to tell my friend that she doesn't have his passport which was used to get his shipping (they have recently arrived in China) and although she had promised faithfully to have it to him the day before at 4pm she now admitted that in fact it was lost. Well... kind of lost, 'it is in Beijing airport, somewhere, we are not sure exactly where ' she says laughing with nerves, 'Beijing airport is such a big place'. Needless to say this news went down like a lead balloon. The room was tense while the lady ran a two-phone system frantically searching for the missing passport. And at 12.10 it was located much to her relief but of course it was still in Beijing and we were flying to Hong Kong from Tianjin. It was decided that the passport was going to be driven from Beijing airport to Tianjin airport immediately and my friend should travel with us to the airport and wait on it there.
So off we went and all checked in bar one. We said our goodbyes and wished our friend well on his wait for the passport. We cleared immigration and security and got seats next to our departure gate and waited. The flight was due to board at 2.40 and at 2pm our friend was still standing patiently with the now worried lady from the shipping company at the check-in desks waiting for his passport to arrive. At this stage we were beginning to think he wasn't going to make it. And then at about 2.10 the passport shows up, so he makes a quick dash through check in and immigration and security and makes it down to the departure gate for 2.35 much to the delight of his wife who was starting to think she was going to be stuck with us for the whole holiday. Miracles will never cease!
I had booked our hotel through booking.com, my usual go to and we were not disappointed. The Holiday inn, Golden mile Hong Kong was exactly what we needed. The last time we visited HK we stayed out in the new territories; there was lots of shuttle busses involved in going anywhere and the cost soon added up for the four of us. This time we were in the heart of Kowloon right beside the ferry terminal. It really could not have been better. The room itself had two double beds, which suited us down to the ground, and the best feature was a handy smart phone was included with unlimited phone calls and internet, so we had GPS everywhere we went. The Handy smart phone originally started as something that could be rented by tourists, it is preloaded with lots of tourist information but now nearly all the big hotels are loaning them out as part of their room package. I believe this is also the case in a lot of hotels in Singapore.
Breakfast was not included in the rate but there are many options close by including Delaney's Irish bar, which serves a full Irish with proper bacon from 8am right across the street.
Sunday brunch at the W
Luck was on our side the entire trip. On the first day as it was Sunday, we decided to do a good old-fashioned expensive Hong Kong brunch. Much to my amazement we got reservations at the W that morning and a couple of hours later were merrily stuffing our faces to some of the best food and drink in Hong Kong.
Buzz really went over and beyond for our boys. A superb time at Disney.
Next on the list was Disney, remembering that I do not do queuing very well, I couldn't believe our luck. We managed to go on every ride we wanted, which was most of them with an average queue time of 5 minutes. We all had such a wonderful day. It was truly magical.
The following day we headed to the Peak. Again we hopped on the ferry, no queue, walked up through the skyways and purchased our tickets directly. It was a beautifully day on the Peak and we enjoyed lunch with a superb view at Bubba Gump. When we hopped off the tram at the bottom the queue now had hundreds and hundreds of people in it.
Crossing to Hong Kong island from Kowloon on the Star ferry.
For some reason we kept missing the big crowds. Which was such a relief especially as we were bringing two young children round with us.
We left on the Thursday, which was National day here in China. I decided to take the free shuttle bus from the hotel to Kowloon station and then get the airport express train. I was glad we did. I didn't know about the check-in desks at the train station so it was a perfect ending to be able to arrive at the station, walk straight up to the Hong Kong airlines desk, check in our luggage and walk at our ease to our train with our boarding cards in our hands.
Hong Kong airport was also very easy to navigate, we had a leisurely breakfast as we had lots of extra time not having to check in at the airport and enjoyed cruising around the shops. Our plane left on time having us back in Tianjin just after lunch. Unfortunately the ease of Hong Kong and the luck of the Irish had worn off by the time we touched down and we made it home by the skin of our teeth with a crazy local taxi driver.