AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Hong Kong: Day 2


Posted on Jun 9, 2014

With our minds made up that we were definitely leaving on Tuesday we had to go buy our train tickets to Shanghai. The train station was near the History of Hong Kong museum and the agency who were sorting our Chinese visa; we probably should’ve done this yesterday. It was hotter and more humid now than the day before and just standing outside was almost unbearable. By the time we reached the station we were literally soaking wet from sweat. The humidity makes walking around Hong Kong quite an unpleasant experience. In the station we easily bought the tickets to Shanghai. An 18hr train journey to look forward to. With that done we went looking for food. Noodles on the street in China will cost about 50p. Noodles in a restaurant will cost maybe double that. Noodles in Hong Kong are £3-4 and don’t look as nice. So we looked elsewhere. Turkish food for about £10, French food and baguettes for £5-6. This was painfully expensive. We kept looking. Nothing took our fancy or it was far above the price we wanted to pay. We took the metro over to Hong Kong island and continued the search. Eventually we gave up and chose Pret A Manger. For £5 each we had a sandwich and a yogurt. It seemed like we’d failed and the prices were top end UK prices. Ouch! We took our lunch to the 4th floor of the IFC mall and sat outside on overlooking the harbour. The reviews I’d read about the deck greatly exaggerated the location! But at least we were near our next destination. The IFC2 tower has an observation deck on the 55th floor which is totally free to visit. After some wandering we finally found the desk that hands out the passes to allow visitors in. Obviously many tourists wander aimlessly here because as we approached each desk they would point where we had to go long before we ever reached the desks. Once up the tower to view was pretty good. It was on the south side of the building looking over the city and towards the peak, rather than the harbour. But, for free it was pretty good and 55 floors is not something we get to do very often. Next on the list was the Bank of China building. It also had an observation deck on the 43rd floor and was open to tourists for free. We walked into the vast cavern which is the lobby of the bank and asked at reception for a pass. They wanted some official ID. Our passports were with the agency getting our...

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Hong Kong: Day 1

Hong Kong: Day 1


Posted on Jun 9, 2014

Our first task in Hong Kong was to get our Chinese visa. It was a Thursday and we planned to leave the following Tuesday. That meant we needed a next working day application as the 4 working day visa wouldn’t be with us until Tuesday at 5pm. Our hotel was £80 per night, so two nights would’ve cost us significantly more than the extra cost of a next working day visa. We easily found the agency which would get us our visa and after 10 minutes filling out the usual form we were done. About 1 minute from the agency is the Hong Kong History Museum. The museum was brilliant, we both thought it was very good. It started with the geological creation of Hong Kong, millions of years ago tracing how the landscape of today was formed, going from a shallow sea to a desert to the natural harbour of today. This was fascinating and really informative. The rest of the museum was just as good. Looking at the different tribes which had lived in the Hong Kong area, then how the Chinese dynasties had controlled the area and early trade with Europe. Then it looked at how the British gained Hong Kong and what they did with it. We spent quite a few hours in the museum. By now it was turned 2pm and definitely time to eat! We saw a pie counter by the street and bought a nice pie. We decided to walk down to the harbour side and eat there, looking at the famous Hong Kong city view which we hadn’t yet seen. This was easier said than done, but we managed to navigate across the busy roads and raised intersections. As we sat on a bench looking towards the island of Hong Kong the sky rapidly got darker as huge black clouds gathered overhead. Rain was imminent! Not knowing what was nearby we decided it would be safest to go into the Starbucks which was right behind us (in Hong Kong I think there’s a Starbucks every 300m. I wonder if they make here a profit here where the taxes are low?) It rained for about 2 minutes after I’d sat down then stopped and brightened up! After our coffee we walked down the Avenue of Stars. This is kind of like the stars in Hollywood, with the names of famous actors and actresses in the pavement along with their handprints set into the concrete. The Chinese loved it and were crowding around getting their photos taken in front of the stars. We found Jet Li and Bruce Lee, but we had no...

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Xi’an to Hong Kong


Posted on Jun 5, 2014

This trip is all about experiences, some more famous or popular than others. For example, if you embark on a trip to Japan you will have many people asking about the Bullet Trains (Shinkansen). But putting China and trains in the same sentence you think of another kind of train experience. Overnight trains, Trans-Siberian, train to Lhasa. High speed trains generally don’t spring to mind. But, as we entered Beijing on the Trans-Mongolian train back in November 2013, we passed a gleaming station, brand new and filled with these amazing looking trains. Bright white, sleek and curved, they looked good. After a bit of research it turns out that China has a large high speed train network. So I decided that one thing we should do in China was take one of these high speed trains. With nothing more to do in the west of China we decided to go to Hong Kong. This was a practical necessity as well, our visa was a group visa for Tibet and couldn’t be extended. We didn’t have enough days to see everything we wanted in the east of the country so we’d have to leave the country and get another visa. Hong Kong is the only practical place to do this. Hong Kong is about 2,500km by train from Xi’an, another long overnight train or a 9hr trip during the day. We picked the latter. At the train station buying the tickets we really fulfilled the stereotype of the rich westerner. The place was heaving with people buying tickets and everyone had a few bank notes on their hands. Usually a couple of 10s or 20s. They were buying tickets costing maybe 50 Yuan (£5). Our high speed train cost 900 Yuan each (£86). We handed over a huge wad of 100s and got out fast! The high speed lines don’t go to Hong Kong, which is why they’d never come up in my search for trains. But on the border of Hong Kong is the city of Shenzhen and the high speed line terminates there. The train station is connected to the border by metro. Then over the border in Hong Kong is the MTR network which would get us to within 500m of our hotel. Perfect. The high speed line left from a different station to the one we’d arrived on. It was a 30 minute ride on the Xi’an metro. I really like cities that have metro networks, it makes getting around really stress free and simple. The station was very modern and large, built from lots of shiny metal and with shiny stone floors. Even better, no...

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