Thursday, April 27, 2017

Why should Hong Kong be your Family Getaway this summer?

Hong Kong Skyine by Night

Hong Kong! What do we typically associate with this world class city of the Orient? Financial hub? Sensational high rises? Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and the generation of Wing Chun and Kung Fu movies? Luxury and budget shopping? Hong Kong is so much more than these usual stereotypes. I have visited Hong Kong quite a few times in the past and I can comfortably say that it is a city that throws pleasant surprises at you. Be its easy paced life amidst the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong island, its rich natural surroundings, its amazing avenues for vegetarian food or the fact that it is a heaven for kids and family holidaymakers, I have always been surprised during my various visits to this lively city that is so full of vibrant character.

If you are looking for an international family getaway destination for the upcoming summer holidays, here are 10 interesting reasons to pack your bags and head with your family and kids to Hong Kong this summer.  The icing on the cake is the SMART deals and discounts being offered at most of these tourist attractions to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. This is in addition to the savings that you will get using the Octopus card, which you can use for all your transportation, entrance tickets and at supermarkets.

Peak Tram and the Iconic Hong Kong Skyline

Hong Kong Skyline and the Peak Tram

The Hong Kong skyline has been immortalized across various channels all over the world and hence it is no surprise that seeing this skyline from the peak is one of the top highlights of a Hong Kong holiday. But, it is not just the view, but the overall peak experience package, which includes boarding the 120 year old peak tram, the world’s steepest funicular railway and experiencing a 7 minute journey where you see the Hong Kong harbour, the skyscrapers of Hong Kong and the entire cityscape scenery at impossible angles.

Irrespective of the time of day or night, the Hong Kong view from the peak will never disappoint you. Once you reach the top, you can also walk on the peak trail, thus soaking in the views from different locations.

Lose yourself in Hong Kong Disneyland

Mickey Mouse Experience at Disneyland, Hong Kong

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If you are in Hong Kong with kids, there is no missing Disneyland. After all, no kid would want to miss out on Tony Stark’s latest inventions and heroic adventures at the latest Iron Man experience (first Marvel themed ride in Disneyland), the enchanted Mickey and the wondrous book, the technology effects of Disney in the Stars,  or be lost in space at the Star Wars: Tomorrow Land Takeover. Hong Kong Disneyland offers so many immersive and unforgettable experiences that all kids would love to dream and explore all of this. What’s even better is that you can combine a Star Ferry cruise and a trip to Disneyland by boarding the Star Ferry that takes you straight into the fantasy world of Disneyland. And while you are at it, you can discover more exotic adventures at Disney Explorers Lodge, the new hotel property slated to open on April 30.

Relish the Joy of Animals at Ocean Park

Rich Underwater Experience at Ocean Park, Hong Kong

Featuring a diverse selection of world-class animal attractions, thrill rides and shows, the Ocean Park offers an interesting mix of educational entertainment coupled with fun and adventure. Whether it is the scenic 1.5 km long cable car between the waterfront and the summit that offers panoramic views of Hong Kong and South China Sea, getting close to Red Pandas at the Giant Panda Adventure, feeding the dolphins, being penguin or panda keepers, watching hundreds of shimmering goldfish or enjoying kid-oriented rides at Whiskers Harbour, Ocean Park is the perfect family getaway for all animal lovers.

Soak in the Leisurely Tram Experience

Traveling by the iconic tram in Hong Kong

With more than 100 years of legacy, the British colonial era heritage tram is a great way to experience Hong Kong Island at a leisurely pace. This world’s largest fleet of double deck tram cars offer the perfect photographic opportunity in Hong Kong at a super affordable price. Adults only pay HK$ 2.30 per trip and for children under the age of three, it is free. Like the Star Ferry, which is on water, the Hong Kong tramways is a perfect way to go back in time and experience this bustling cosmopolitan from a different perspective.

Revel in the 360 Degree Views at Sky 100

With more than 7,600 skyscrapers, Hong Kong is a living showcase of the best in international contemporary architecture. What better way to see this than from the indoor observation deck of the 100th floor of Hong Kong’s tallest building! Nicknamed as Sky 100, you can reach here in a high speed elevator that transports you 100 floors in less than a minute. And once you reach the top observation deck, you can see the Bank of China tower, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, HSBC main building, Two International Finance Centre and other incredible views of the skyline and the Victoria harbour. One can also explore the observation deck’s state of the art interactive exhibition with a fascinating multimedia tour of Hong Kong’s history and culture.

Go Photo Crazy at the Trick Eye Museum

An absolutely fabulous place to take amusing selfies and photographs, the Trick Eye museum is a beautiful collection of 3D artwork and optically illusive paintings that seem to defy all laws of Physics. This place is so crazy that it not only brings big smiles to the faces of all visitors, but it seems to have an exponential laughter effect coupled with surprise when you share these jaw dropping pictures on social media.

Star Ferry and Victoria Harbour

A Victoria Harbor Cruise

Founded by an Indian Parsee businessman, the 130 year old Star Ferry is another affordable attraction and a great way to experience one of the world’s most photographed harbours. Rated by National Geographic as one of ‘50 places of a lifetime’ that one should see, there is no better way than to slowly chug from Hong Kong island to Kowloon while you soak in the beauty of the Hong Kong skyline, its business district and the gorgeous looking Victoria Harbour. The Star ferry offers a great opportunity to easily experience the hustle and bustle of Kowloon that is a far cry from the glamour of Hong Kong Island all within 30 minutes.

Experience Hong Kong from inside a Helicopter

Hong Kong view from inside a Helicopter

There is nothing more surreal than to see the iconic Victoria Harbour with all its boats and ferries and the famous skyscrapers of Hong Kong along with your family from inside a helicopter. Managed by celebrity pilot Michael Wong, this helicopter ride offers you the best seat in the house from possibly a local who knows Hong Kong skies better than anyone else. This is one of those Hong Kong attractions that make for a great option in case you are celebrating something like a birthday or an anniversary.

Go on a Shopping Spree

Mongkok Shopping Experience, Hong Kong

There is no trip to Hong Kong that is complete without indulging in some shopping. Whether you are indulging in some luxury designer labels at some of the fancy shopping malls in the city or going for budget shopping at one of the many street markets, such as the Ladies market in Mongkok, diversity is the norm in Hong Kong. As most of these street markets are vibrant with great local fanfare and festive atmosphere, everyone in the family, from young to old, will find something that appeal to them. And if you love gadgets, be it phones, tablets, cameras or accessories, what better place to look for than Hong Kong where you get the best gadgets for their true value prices.

Chomp on Delicious Vegetarian Food

A Chinese Hot Pot at Hong Kong

Typically, Indian travellers to Hong Kong don’t associate this city with vegetarian food, but based on my personal experiences I beg to differ. I am not just talking about Indian vegetarian joints in Hong Kong, which are an option, but a whole new world of Cantonese and Chinese vegetarian restaurants that offer the best of both worlds – local cuisine and vegetarian food. Be it mock meats, vegetarian equivalents and desserts, a vegetarian family in Hong Kong is pretty much spoilt for choice. From iconic hot pots made from eggplant to pumpkin soup, from the popular Dim Sum and tea at Lin Heung Tea House to ‘bo lo yau’, the yummy pineapple buns and from the famous egg tarts of Tai Cheong bakery to delicious concoctions of veggies, rice, soups and other desserts, vegetarians are truly spoilt for choice in Hong Kong. Personally, I am a big fan of Dim Sum and Hot Pot. I love the communal gathering that these foods bring along.

I am pretty sure that by now you are sold on the idea of Hong Kong as a fabulous family destination. All you now have to do is book your flight tickets and your pre-authorization for Hong Kong visa, pack your bags and make use of all the deals and discounts offered on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong SAR and experience an amazing summer holiday in Hong Kong with your family!

Photo Courtesy:
Some of the photographs in this article are courtesy of Hong Kong Tourism Board.

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