Can this site use your data to personalize useful ads for you?

Our advertising partners will collect data and use cookies for ad personalization and measurement. Otherwise, your data will not influence ads. This site uses cookies to deliver our services. Please see our License Agreement and Privacy Policy (Terms of Use) and Disclosure and Cookie Policy. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand these policies. You can change this setting later on the Disclosure page.

   

 
The Wordy Explorers
   

facebook share
twitter share
pinterest share
flipboard share

Follow


Seeing the Best of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon in One Day

Seeing the Best of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon in One Day


By avatar  Scott
Posted On 08/22/2019 16:39:51
Trip Date 03/10/2011  

Destinations | Cruises | Asia | Hong Kong Island | Kowloon District | Star Ferry | Ding-Ding | Junk Boats | Victoria Peak | DIY Travel



Leaving from Tianjin, China (the nearest port city to Beijing), we sailed aboard the Diamond Princess headed toward Singapore. Our first two port days had us exploring Nagasaki and Shanghai. As we continued our journey around Asia, next up was a day in Hong Kong. Before leaving home, we researched all that there was to see in both the Kowloon District and on Hong Kong Island so that we were ready for DIY travel in Hong Kong.

If you are considering a cruise which allows you with a day or more to explore Hong Kong, this post will be a great introduction as you begin planning. Hong Kong has a different feel from other Asian port cities, and is even more unlike ports on other continents. The overview of sites that you will find here will be helpful in deciding which section of Hong Kong you prefer to spend most (or all) of your time while on shore. You've probably heard about Victoria Peak and Avenue of the Stars, but what about the Junk Boats or the Ding-Ding? We've included multiple destinations in each district as well as transportation on the Star Ferry between the two.



Ports in Southeast Asia and China

Our ship was too large to dock at Ocean Terminal and Hong Kong's Kai Tak Cruise Terminal had not yet opened. We were forced to dock at a container port outside of the city. Similar to other ports, this meant that all passengers must ride a shuttle bus to get to the city center.


Container Port in Hong Kong

Container Port in Hong Kong

As we encountered similar circumstances at several ports in southeast Asia, we recommend researching the docking locations for any cruise which you are considering. Learning about where a ship will dock in each port will help you to determine how much time you will need to get to the places that you want to go. As cruise traffic continues to grow, more cities will build ports which can accommodate larger ships making this less of an issue as time goes by. Until then, you might want to consider checking out some smaller ships which are often able to dock closer to the city center.

Visiting Hong Kong

Although our time was very limited, since this was our first ever visit to Hong Kong, we planned to get a taste of both Hong Kong Island as well as the Kowloon District north of the harbor. Since Hong Kong was a British colony it is definitely easier for Americans to navigate as compared to many other Asian cities. We found all major signage to be printed either in English or, if not, it was bilingual with English as the second language. The blend of the old British Empire coupled with Chinese culture makes a visit to Hong Kong a very memorable experience.



Star Ferry

If your ship docks at Ocean Terminal, you will be just a stone's throw away from the boarding platform for the Star Ferry. Connecting Kowloon to Hong Kong Island, the ferry is used mainly by commuters, however it is an extremely affordable way for visitors to begin their tour of Hong Kong Island. Although today there are plenty of roads that connect the two sides of the harbor, the boats have transported passengers since 1888 so it's also like riding on a piece of history!


Star Ferry

Star Ferry

You'll have a choice of either the lower deck (slightly less expensive) or the upper deck. We recommend the upper deck as you'll enjoy a slightly better view as you cross the harbor.


Star Ferry Ride

Star Ferry Ride

Hong Kong Island

Hong Kong Island in Victoria Harbor boasts award-winning architecture at the foot of Victoria Peak and also a scenic coastline. The recognizable harbor is an excellent vantage point to view the coastal skyline.

Ding-Ding

Locally known as Ding-Ding, the tram has been an essential part of Hong Kong Island's daily life for over a century. In operation since 1902, the trams are virtually unchanged since they originally hit the streets. The narrow bodied cabins wander on six main routes which traverse around Hong Kong Island.


Ding-Ding

Ding-Ding

Riding on the tram is a great way to get some sightseeing in. For just two dollars you can ride all around the island seeing almost the whole city in the process. Exact change (or a transit card called Octopus) is required for each ride.



Victoria Peak

The highlight of the island for most people is Victoria Peak, the tallest mountain and most popular tourist attraction in all of Hong Kong. After riding the ferry to Hong Kong Island, we immediately made our way to the Lower Peak Tram Terminus. (The tram to Victoria Peak is not part of the Ding-Ding tram system which provides transportation around the island.)

It's at the terminus where passengers board the Peak Tram for the 1,200 foot upward climb. Getting there is an unforgettable trip. Whether you're going up or coming down, you'll love the ride. There is nothing in the world like it - it's so steep that the buildings you pass appear to be leaning!


Peak Tram

Peak Tram

There's a reason why Victoria's Peak is one of the most popular attractions in Hong Kong - the views at the top (and even riding up and down) are absolutely incredible! Looking down, you'll be amazed by the spectacular view of the surrounding city skyline, the world-famous Victoria Harbor and even Kowloon. You'll see both towering skyscrapers and peaceful green hillsides.


View from Peak Tram

View from Peak Tram

Once at the top, there are a number of locations providing magnificent views of the city below. For fabulous views over the harbor, head to the Lugard Road Lookout. Following the Peak Circle Walk will give you continuous unfolding vistas. You'll find more great scenery looking out from the Lions View Point Pavilion, the viewing terrace at the Peak Galleria or the Peak Tower Sky Terrace.


View from Mount Victoria

View from Mount Victoria

View of Hong Kong

View of Hong Kong

Mid-Level Escalator

Hong Kong Island is dominated by a steep, hilly terrain which makes it the home of some rather unusual methods of transport up and down the slopes. Since it was officially opened to the public in 1993, the Mid-Level Escalator has played a very important role in making the district walkable. The escalator links Des Voeux Road in Central with Conduit Road in the Mid-Levels and passes through many a narrow street along the way. (There are entrances and exits at each passing road, and often on both sides of the road.)



The twenty escalators and three moving side-walks total 2,600 feet in length with a vertical climb of 443 feet. Traveling the same distance by car would be the equivalent of driving or riding on several miles of zigzagging roads because of the island's geography. Total travel time from end to end is about 27 minutes. Most people, however, walk while the escalator moves to shorten their trip. Although traffic projections estimated 27,000 people would use the escalators, daily traffic actually exceeds 55,000 people.


Mid-Level Escalator

Mid-Level Escalator

Kowloon Peninsula

The Kowloon Peninsula is home to some of the most interesting city-scapes and street scenes in all of Asia. Known for its dense population and urban sprawl, it is also quite competitive on the tourism front with Victoria and Hong Kong Island.

Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade

A great place to walk with wonderful views of both Victoria Harbor and the Hong Kong skyline is the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade. The promenade is home to a number of tourist attractions including the Hong Kong Museum of Art, the Hong Kong Space Museum and the Hong Kong Cultural Center. Along with many exotic and international restaurants, Harbor City, the biggest shopping and entertainment center in the Port of Hong Kong, is also located on the promenade.


Hong Kong Island from the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade

Hong Kong Island from the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade

Avenue of the Stars

Located on the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, Avenue of the Stars is a must see point in the harbor area. Discover what makes Hong Kong the Hollywood of the East at this tribute to the many people who have contributed to the territory's 100+ year history of film-making.



As you walk along Avenue of the Stars, you'll find lots to see including commemorative plaques and statues. The descriptive milestones, kiosks with movie memorabilia, towering Hong Kong Film Awards statue and life-size statue of kung-fu action star Bruce Lee will make you wonder what you'll approach next!


Filming on the Avenue of the Start

Filming on the Avenue of the Start

Bruce Lee Statue

Bruce Lee Statue

Like in Hollywood, Hong Kong's Avenue of the Stars even has hand prints of movie celebrities. Two of the most popular stars on this walk are those celebrating Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan.


Jackie Chan Hand Prints

Jackie Chan Hand Prints

Clock Tower

Near the Star Ferry concourse on the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade is the old Clock Tower at the site of the former railway station and landmark from the age of steam engines. Erected in 1915, the distinctive 44-meter red brick and granite tower is a graceful reminder of those Colonial times. The tower also has significance for many Chinese migrants for whom it was the conduit to new lives either in Hong Kong or by ship to distant destinations overseas. Today, the site of the historic railway station is occupied by the Hong Kong Cultural Center.


Historic Clock Tower

Historic Clock Tower

Big Bus Tour

With three routes to choose from (Kowloon, Stanley and Hong Kong Island), a ride on the Big Bus Tour gives you an overview of one, two or all three areas within Hong Kong. In under two hours, the bus drove a loop around the main tourist attractions in Kowloon. We saw more than we could have on foot including Nathan Road, the main north-south artery in Central Kowloon. Nathan Road passes many historic buildings, businesses, parks, residential areas and markets.


Nathan Road

Nathan Road

Historic Signage

Historic Signage

Although the value with tours like this one is with a multi-day pass, we enjoyed seeing more of Hong Kong than we would have had we not used the HOHO. (We also used the HOHO to a lesser extent on Hong Kong Island, but couldn't squeeze any of the Aberdeen & Stanley Route into our single day visit.)


Sightseeing Bus

Sightseeing Bus

Kowloon Park

A visit to Kowloon Park located on Nathan Road will give you a peaceful break from all of the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong Island. Few areas within Hong Kong have a richer historical background than this park. Originally the site of a walled fort, the nearly 8 acre park is also known as Kowloon Walled City Park. You are sure to encounter locals performing Tai Chi exercises near the outdoor sculpture garden and lake.



Jade Market

Visiting the Jade Market will provide an insight into something very important to the Chinese people - jade. The written character for jade means a combination of beauty and purity. The stone is associated with long life and good health. A giant jade stone weighing three tons has been placed at the junction of Canton Road and Jordan Road as a landmark.

Buying jade is really an art. Jade varies in color from deep green to yellow, brown and even white. Most of the jade sold in Hong Kong is actually jadeite from Myanmar. If you have some time to go shopping for jade, you'll likely find natural pieces as well as pieces impregnated with polymers or pieces which have been dyed to enhance their color.



Junk Boat Harbor Cruise

Although taking an authentic Junk Boat Harbor Cruise was at the top of Stacy's list, unfortunately the hours that we were in port didn't match with any scheduled trips. Boarding the DukLing and sailing into the scenic harbor would surely be an experience not soon forgotten. Just imagine seeing the panoramic views of Hong Kong Island with its buildings reaching toward the sky while riding on an authentic "junk"!


Junk Boat

Junk Boat

Originally manned by Chinese fishermen, the DukLing is typical of the junks which crossed Hong Kong's waters for hundreds of years. After sailing the waters and deep sea channels for more than 25 years, the vessel was restored in the 1980s to her original classic design. Although there are some more modern boats modeled after the original junks such as the Aqua Luna, the DukLing is the last authentic sailing junk in Hong Kong.



Tsing Ma Bridge

Hong Kong's Tsing Ma Bridge is the largest suspension bridge in the world which features two decks and carries both road and rail traffic. Before being built, scale models of the bridge were subjected to serious wind tunnel testing to ensure its safety since Hong Kong experiences annual typhoons.

Symphony of Lights

If you are lucky, your cruise ship will stay docked into the evening so that you don't have to miss the Symphony of Lights in Victoria Harbor. Although we did leave port before the evening show, we learned that the spectacular multimedia display has been named the World's Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show. The show has continued to expand and now includes over 40 buildings on both sides of the harbor. It creates an all around vision of colored lights, laser beams and searchlights performing a spectacle demonstrating the diversity of Hong Kong. There are five main themes - Awakening, Energy, Heritage, Partnership and the finale, Celebration.



Cruising China and Southeast Asia

If you are planning to spend some time in Shanghai during your Asian odyssey, don't miss our post titled 22 of the Best Things to See and Do in Shanghai. You'll find both a description and photos of some of our favorite places to see. We've also included some fun things to do that aren't on the top of every list that you'll find (hint - riding a super fast train and shopping for "luxury" watches)!

Although Hong Kong marked the end of our too short visit to China, we can honestly say that our time was amazing ... totally amazing! Spending a day exploring Nha Trang, Vietnam will be next in this series full of ideas for anyone planning a cruise around Southeast Asia. We welcome you to subscribe to our weekly e-mail notifications. You will receive no more than one e-mail each week which will alert you when successive parts of this cruise as well as other travel posts are published. It's quick and easy to subscribe at Wordy Explorers User Account by completing the form.

Hong Kong

If you had the opportunity to visit Hong Kong but were limited to spending all of your time in either the Kowloon District or Hong Kong Island, which would you choose and why?


Seeing the Best of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon in One Day






Related Posts  










Other Recent Posts  










Created On 07/19/2019 11:37:29  
Updated On 09/17/2019 16:47:46
Scheduled On 07/27/2019 15:39:51
Posted On 08/22/2019 16:39:51
Last Editor Stacy
Location  (22.290243,114.161874)
LinkId  HongKongAsia4
StoryId  1563550649044





Comments    









  blog theme  
About WE
Contact WE
Follow WE
License
Privacy Policy
Disclosure Policy
facebook share
twitter share
pinterest share
flipboard share
 

(C) Copyright, SNS Web Ventures, LLC, DBA Are We There Yet, 2019
The Wordy Explorers