This winter break, I’m spending approximately two weeks in Hong Kong for vacation. With a hectic schedule of deadlines and life prior to departure, I didn’t put a lot of thought into researching what to do in the city, and decided that I would create my itinerary by the day according to the weather and my mood. That and I never saw much a point to detailed day planning of a city that I’ve never been to.
Instead of opting for a direct flight – which I probably should have – I went for a flight from Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) to Chicago O’Hare (ORD), followed by the fifteen hour haul to Hong Kong International (HKG). When I booked the flight, I was under the impression that it would be a Continental flight, but it turned out that both legs were serviced by United. Seats were three per side, as opposed to the usual three, and there were no individual TVs like Air France or Air Canada. Needless to say, I spent much of the flight with my eyes concentrating on a overhead television with no control over programming. I wish I could say that the price befit the flight, but it was only marginally less (about $200 to $400 since I booked rather late) than other airlines that I have flown on beforehand. Not to mention, both flights delayed themselves by over an hour each. Needless to say, the experience of flying with United hasn’t really warranted a second chance (apart from my return flight).
Evidently not familiar with the area, I thought that Victoria Peak and the Big Buddha on Lantau island were the same thing; that is, until I looked at the tourist map that I picked up at the airport and realized how far apart they were. With an easy-to-use and incredibly cheap metro system, I hopped on the MTR to get to the bus that would take me to the Peak. The original plan was to take the bus up, and then take the famed tram down, but that didn’t quite happen. I thought it would be a great idea to explore the area and take what I thought to be a circular trail – it turned out that I took a 2.8km walk down the hill. Granted, it was a terrific walk with magnificent views and lots to see in terms of flora and history (there are markings and plaques that detail significant plants and monuments/objects), but it was most certainly tiring with the downhill portion; going downhill is never that easy, especially for extended periods of time since it is quite hard on the joints. Upon reaching the bottom of the hill, I decided that I would try what I believed to be a shortcut back up the hill only to find that it was another trail that led me farther away from the peak. With the post-signs telling me that it would be another 3km back up the hill, I decided that it would be best to call it a day after a couple hours of walking, I headed back down to the bottom of the hill and took one of the mini buses back to the MTR station.
This week (and in the new year), I’ll take the tram up to the Peak so as to visit it again and walk around the actual top, as opposed to meandering back to town.
For more on Hong Kong, be sure to to follow the HK Tourism Board on Facebook. Please note that I have not been compensated for this post.