We boarded our plan last night in Kathmandu. What a zoo! Thankfully we had eaten in the city, so really just needed to get our boarding passes and find somewhere to wait.
Ours was the second last flight out of Kathmandu for the day. The boarding areas were completely full, so Dan and I found some seats just after the security check and sat comfortably and even played some cribbage! Used my board app on my phone for the first time and it worked like a charm.
We had a few Nulgrums left, so I went in search of a place to spend it. No duty free – it was closed, just a small shop selling some packaged food items, drinks and tea! I found what I was looking for and then rejoined Dan.
When the boarding announcement came, they tried to board by row number ( the Cathy Dragon aircraft had 60 rows!), but after about 5 minutes they just gave up. We all headed through the glass doors to the ramp and climbed up the gangway to the aircraft.
Once on board, we were amazed with the space and attributes they had for economy class. Roomy seats, modern AV, all very much appreciated! We even got a movie in before attempting to get some sleep. Since our flight was only 4 hours to Hong Kong, there wasn’t much sleep to be had!
We soon landed in Hong Kong and enjoyed walking through this near empty, busiest AP in the world! This airport was built in the late 90’s and has tp be one of the nicest and easiest to navigate that I’ve seen! We were one of the first flights in in the am, immigration was a breeze ( Dan and I had to go through as we had booked a tour in the morning to try and see some of Hong Kong and to also help occupy us for the 11 hour layover!)
Once through immigration and customs we headed out to the arrivals lounge. There was a lone guy waiting patiently by the “group” waiting area, and when we approached him, he indeed had a sign with our names on it! Jacky Chan was to be our tour agent for the day!
Soon we were out the door and heading over to meet our driver, Ben. Another treat! A spacious van, tons of leg room in the backseat, and while Jacky kept apologizing for the traffic, there was really not much to speak of…certainly not a busy as TO at 6:15 am!
Our first stop was heading up to the top of Victoria Peak via the tram system. This little train does everything to defy gravity! Glad we didn’t have to hike this today!
Once at the top we walked around to get some of the views of Hong Kong, its harbour and multiple islands. It is at the top of this peak that Hong Kong’s most expensive condo is, ringing in at over 1 Billion HK$ or about $170,000M CAN! The views were commanding along with the price tag!
Interesting fact about Victoria Peak is that before 1965, no Chinese person was allowed to own property or live about a certain height on this peak. It was reserved for the British and other internationals. In 1965, this ruling was taken to court, and struck down thus allowing anyone to live there who can afford it!
Ben met us at the top of the peak and we drove down to see Hong Kong’s most beautiful beach. And yes, there were people swimming, with a air temp of 19C and water temp between 15-18C. True diehards! The views indeed were spectacular!
After we walked along the Repulse Bay beach, we walked over to see some statues donated by various groups. On one, you would rub a paper note from head to toe. It is said that if you save this note, your money will multiply! Another was a laughing bhudda, surrounded by children. In this case, rubbing his belly would promote a woman to get pregnant. Finally, there was a bridge that if you crossed it and then return via a different way, your life would be extended by 3 days. Apparently, Hong Kong residents boast a very long life span…perhaps they walk this bridge on a daily basis!!
From Repulse Bay, we headed over to the Aberdeen Fisherman’s Wharf where Dan and I boarded a Sanpan (old fashioned fishing boat and taxi) and took a tour of all the boats in this harbour. There were extraordinary ones worth millions, (really private yachts) and then there were the fishing boats large and small. Many would head out to fish in the South China Sea for several days before returning home with their catch.
We also saw a couple of floating restaurants that have been made famous by a variety of movies, including Jackie Chan and James Bond. Lots of fun all round, and a perfect morning to be doing this!
From here, we headed over to the Hong Kong shore looking across to Kowloon. Here we saw the gilded Bauhinia flower which was a gift to Hong Kong from China celebrating the end of over 150 years of British Rule in 1997. From here we took a ferry across the bay to get a closer look at the harbour and various buildings on the Kowloon side.
Ben met us once again, and it was time to head off to the airport. We crossed 2 amazing bridges, drove through under channel tunnels and enjoyed every bit of the scenery. This city, while on a small footprint is absolutely stunning. Great architectural features, wonderful green spaces with lots of hiking trails, terrific beaches. Dan and I were truly impressed with this city, and we both wished we had more time to spend here!
Back at the airport, Jacky walked us in which allowed us to skip the line ( tiny compared to the chaos entering the Kathmandu airport the night before. He also pointed out a wonderful Dim Sum restaurant where we had our brunch! Time to part, and get through lunch and then security!
While the airport is huge, I would say all roads lead to Rome here. Our gate was at the end of the terminal, and we could have gotten there either by train ( underground) or by walking a series of moving sidewalks.
A walk was definitely in order!! While walking we saw probably the worlds largest shopping mall! All the shops throughout the airport are well geared to travellers with long layovers, and money in their pockets…or at least credit cards. After a trip to duty free, we headed to our gate and I left Dan while I did more walking! We both agreed that we now had 2 favourite airports from this trip. Paro takes the small category, and Hong Kong the large!
As I sit here, I can see the gate agent preparing the barriers for our flight. And with 90 minutes to go, people are already starting to line up! Time to get this bog put to bed, and get ourselves ready for our final leg home!