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Trip Report - 8 days in HK, work, fun and paramedics

Napa, California
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Trip Report - 8 days in HK, work, fun and paramedics

Thanks to the TA forum, my husband 11 ½ year old son and I had an awesome time in Hong Kong. Find below my super long and detailed trip report. I have broken it up by days and topics – read what you want and leave the rest.

Day 1 – Arrival, sim and octopus cards, Grand Hyatt:

We arrived from San Francisco at 6:30 PM, greeted by our hosts and a cart to bring us to immigration. That was AWESOME!!! It was a long walk, which I wouldn’t have minded as we were pretty cramped on the plane, but the big plus was being ahead of all of the people on the plane. Immigration took a little while, for some reason they needed to research my 11 year old son. Fortunately after about 10 minutes wait, we were cleared to go.

My hosts weren’t too pleased when I told them I had an airport agenda, ATM, 3 shop and to buy our Octopus Cards. Fortunately, they loaded our stuff into the waiting car while we did our errands.

I can’t stress enough how awesome it was taking care of these details before leaving the airport.

Our hosts tossed us in the car as they prepared to meet another part of our group. We were driven to the Park Hyatt with no trouble. We were checked in by 8:00 to watch the symphony of lights from our room. The Hyatt is lovely - we have only good things to say about the service and property.

We were hungry but definitely not up for exploring, so we tried the hotel café. The menu didn’t really work for DS, so we got the dessert buffet, and decided to eat desert first and room service later. We ordered chicken wings off the room service menu – I thought they were fine, DS found them inedible. Remember he’s an 11 year old American boy – so it wasn’t what he was expecting. We called it a night and slept until 4:30 AM.

Napa, California
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1. Re: Trip Report - 8 days in HK, work, fun and paramedics

Day 2 – 7-11, Mongkok, Children’s charity, Dinner in Soho

While it was still dark, I made my Starbucks instant coffee and watched the sun rise. As soon as it was light we explored and covered our first order of business – 7-11. We are a funny family – nothing makes us happier than shopping in local stores that aren’t geared for tourists. We bought some snacks and returned to the hotel for breakfast.

We had club level access and I can’t speak highly enough about this. Especially travelling with a fickle child, it was great to be able to try various items and just eat what you like. It was also nice because we were with a pretty sizable group, so inevitably we would have breakfast with friends. The view is wonderful, service delightful and my son would say the honeydew juice was the best EVER. (He was comparing to the Tokyo 4 Seasons honeydew juice, so quite a challenge).

My husband arrived (we had separate flights as DS were on award flights, and he was traveling with work). He did a couple of work tings and then we were off to explore. We grabbed the MTR to Monkok (son had McDonalds on the way to MTR – big highlight!) and found the ladies market. We looked at stuff, found a Starbucks, sat for a little rest and coffee, and then wandered down Shanghai St –not too interesting aside from being rich with culture! We rode home, stopping for some pizza from Pisano’s on the way from the MTR. We thought it was pretty good.

Our evening agenda was pretty interesting, first we went for a tour of Po Leung Kuk, a children’s charity. The kids were so warm and wonderful. We go to see the 3-6 year olds perform Abba’s Dancing Queen for us – PRICELESS! After we left we went for a group dinner at Pasto Publico, which was awesome. WAY more food than I could eat, but I kept trying. We fell into our beds and were asleep before our heads hit the pillow.

Napa, California
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2. Re: Trip Report - 8 days in HK, work, fun and paramedics

Day 3 – Peak, Stanley & Jumbo

The next day started with our now usual, 7-11 and then breakfast in the lounge. Afterwards our group gathered for some sightseeing. First we went to the peak, then Stanley Market, then Lunch at the Jumbo. My observations…. The Peak was lovely – I wished we had taken the tram not our tour bus, but when in a group of 20, you just do what you’re told. The view was great – but not so clear. We stayed about 20 minutes, then back in the bus to Stanley. By the time we arrived at Stanley – I was horribly motion sick from the bus. I wasn’t doing anything embarrassing, but I wasn’t going shopping either. I sat had some edamame and a soda while everyone shopped. Then the bus took us to Jumbo. It was fine – we have similar quality Dim Sum in SF, but the experience on the boat was fun. We got back to the hotel and basically called it a day. My son swam in to pool and we hung out. We made dinner from the snacks served in the hotel lounge. Unfortunately – we were wiped out and asleep by 7:30.

Napa, California
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3. Re: Trip Report - 8 days in HK, work, fun and paramedics

Day 4 – Ocean Park

We got up early and went to Ocean Park – this was great. We grabbed a cab ($65) and were there by 8:30, had our tickets and were in line to be in the first bunch of gondola riders. We wanted to get to the rides before the lines got long. I am really glad we did this because with jet lag, my energy was much higher in the AM! We went on the water ride 3x and both roller coasters. My son had done a lot of research on Ocean Park, so this was really important to him. We took the express to the lower part of the park and saw the pandas. Great fun and a good day. We were tired from all of the walking. The hills were brutal! It sure is a pretty park though. I don’t remember where we ate dinner, but there was a big group event at the convention center, so after dinner that’s where we were until LATE.

Napa, California
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4. Re: Trip Report - 8 days in HK, work, fun and paramedics

Day 5 - Moving day, JW Marriott, Crystal Jade, Paramedics:

The next day was moving day. The group was done with work and everyone else was going home. We had four more nights scheduled, but now at the JW. I got a massage at the Hyatt spa and then packed up. The massage was nice (expensive though). Moving seemed to take forever – but when we got there SURPRISE, not hotel reservations. I must have screwed something up online because there was nothing. That was a pretty bad pit of the stomach feeling. Fortunately, they took great care of us, upgraded us to club access for a regular award. I am hooked on the clubs – this one was not quite as grand as the Hyatt BUT they had a bigger menu of items served, and longer hours. This was good.

We have a friend who is working in town and staying in Kowloon – so this is our evening with her. We planned to go out on the Aqua Luna, dinner and a foot massage at her favorite place.

Suddenly, as we are walking from the MTR to her hotel, DS starts becoming short of breath. By the time we’re at the hotel – he really can’t breathe – like at all. SO – I have the front desk call for an ambulance. From my Red Cross training, all I could think was wrong would be an unknown allergy? I had some antihistamine. He couldn’t swallow, but could chew – so I had him chew two Benadryl. (YUK – not chewable).

By the time the ambulance arrived he could breathe again. The paramedics were very professional and nice. Everyone wanted our passports, which I was glad I was carrying. I usually leave them in the room safe but didn’t because it was moving day.

I looked up allergies and found that they sometimes come back in a couple of hours – I didn’t think it would be wise to be on the water, so we cancelled Aqua Luna.

We went to dinner at Crystal Jade – YUM. This Dim Sum was much better than in SF. All of the food was awesome. We ordered one shrimp dish which was fine but not amazing. All else was AMAZING!!! After that we had our foot massages for ¼ the US prices. DS was so tired from the Benadryl that we decided to take a cab home. UH OH – Big mistake – we went through the “old tunnel” after a big accident. It took over an hour. Fortunately cab fare was only $125 HKD; in SF it would have been more than $125 USD.

Napa, California
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5. Re: Trip Report - 8 days in HK, work, fun and paramedics

Day 6 - Giant Buddha:

I don’t have much to say other than this was a really nice, full day. I would recommend buying tickets the day prior, online to avoid the queue. We took the Crystal car – lovely and somewhat shorter line. We spent time at the top and at the temple below – I’m sure that many take only ½ the time we did, but we were so happy to have enjoyed it and taken our time. We were too tired to shop when we were done, so straight onto the train and home. I can’t remember dinner this night to save my life! Must not have been memorable!

Napa, California
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6. Re: Trip Report - 8 days in HK, work, fun and paramedics

Day 7 - Lunch at the Pawn

Next day, was pretty quiet – we had lunch with a friend at The Pawn in Wan Chai. They had the most delicious fish and chips I have ever had. Our friend is a regular there and knew what to order – even though it wasn’t on the day’s menu. We explored Central a bit, took a cab back to the room had a little relax and then back to Kowloon for another massage, dinner and hopefully to take our ride on a junk in the evening. DS was not in a great space and the weather was not prime for a boat ride – so we basically skipped dinner and the ride. Watched the symphony of lights from the shore and went home. I was still hungry – so I wandered around and found a Starbucks and bought a ½ sandwich. Not our most fun night!

Napa, California
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7. Re: Trip Report - 8 days in HK, work, fun and paramedics

Day 8 – Flower, Bird and Fish Markets, dinner at Peking Garden

OK – Last day here, need to check off the stuff still on our list – OH NO, not gonna make it, not even close…..First we had to go pick up the suit DH was having made – we had an 11 am apt. Unfortunately, pick up was unnecessary as we needed one more slight alteration, this was down by the convention center.

After the fitting, we spent about an hour at the Art and Craft store nearby – gosh the jade was beautiful. Too bad all out of my price range. My husband and son were fascinated by the Mammoth Tusk carvings – WOW, totally unbelievable.

Once done we took a Star Ferry ride and then set off to find Bird, Fish and Flower markets. This was actually a pretty long process and we had some rainy weather throughout. I don’t have much to add from what I have read aside from: I wished that I had gone to the flower market earlier in our stay; I would have bought flowers for our room. Maria’s by Uncle Fong on Prince Edward in the flower market area is awesome – the waffle things are outrageous and I loved the baked goods. I wish I could go back!

After a full day, we were tired, we had some snacks and the boys went off to the Apple Store to buy an unlocked iPhone. They finished at close to 10 and then we still needed to find dinner. We ended up at the Peking Garden at the Pacific Place mall. We had to beg them to feed us as they were closing by the time we got there. Fortunately they agreed to serve us and we were so happy they did. The dinner was really great – their noodles were great and the green beans spectacular.

The next morning it was time to go home. It was a great trip, so happy we went

Napa, California
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8. Re: Trip Report - 8 days in HK, work, fun and paramedics

Lessons learned:

Remember 11 year old is only good for 3-4 hours of adventure before he needs a good break

Make a plan but be sure you get your priorities done 1st, not when they are most convenient.

Buy stuff when you see it. I was always worried about lugging my purchases and kept planning to come back for things. I never did. I didn’t even get my HK Starbucks mug, which is my tradition when I leave the US.

The club level is a must when traveling with kids

Carry Benadryl

Most useful apps on the iPad (couldn’t have lived without the iPad)

• Trip Advisor

• Open Rice

• XC Currency converter

• Hong Kong taxi (this was awesome!)

• HKe transport

• Discover HK Citywalks

Edited: 21 October 2011, 18:48
Hong Kong, China
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9. Re: Trip Report - 8 days in HK, work, fun and paramedics

>>>>>>Most useful apps on the iPad (couldn’t have lived without the iPad)

• Trip Advisor

• Open Rice

• XC Currency converter

• Hong Kong taxi (this was awesome!)

• HKe transport

• Discover HK Citywalks <<<<<<<<<<<<<

Very nice write up and a particularly useful recommendation for most useful iPad apps for Hong Kong Visits. I might borrow this a piece about the iPad apps and put together a Trip Advisor Article if you are not planning to do so. ;-)

Napa, California
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10. Re: Trip Report - 8 days in HK, work, fun and paramedics

Go for it - I don't usually submit articles, so help yourself.