Christmas is the best time to visit Hong Kong. Not only is it a more temperate time of year there is the added bonus of seeing its magnificent skyscrapers gorgeously decorated for the holidays. While Hong Kong is often referred to as the Pearl of the Orient, I think it is more akin to a diamond for all of its glitter and shine.
The best way to appreciate these dazzling beauties is from a Star Ferry boat on Victoria Harbor. Hard to believe that one of the best ferry rides in the world costs only 2.50HK$ each way making it almost free.
Although the financial heart and majority of iconic skyscrapers are located on Hong Kong Island, there is also plenty to see and do across the water in Kowloon. Easily accessible by the Star Ferry and Hong Kong’s subway, the MTR, we traveled there in hopes of experiencing some extraordinary dim sum. And that we did! I chose Yan To Heen for its two Michelin stars. Located in the Intercontinental Hotel on the waterfront, the dining room has a picturesque view of the harbor. The food was a feast for my eyes as well as my belly with such standouts as the dumpling sampler, Wagyu beef chow fun, and a fried lobster dumpling served with a rich broth for dunking. If only this level of dim sum was available at home!
After lunch, we went in search of the Bruce Lee statue on the Avenue of Stars, similar to Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. Unfortunately, I did not notice any stars leading to Bruce as it turns out the Avenue is undergoing renovation and all monuments to the stars are temporarily relocated to a nearby park. Too bad, because it would have been cool to compare the Avenue to the Walk of Fame.
Thankfully, the construction did not affect the geocache I was looking for GC2VCDV (Stars and Bucks). But the lack of stars in the vicinity confused me as I kept telling Jay to look for a Starbucks that was not there!
Later in the evening, we went to the storied Peninsula Hotel to take in the view from the Felix Bar on the 28th floor. We were lucky enough to get a seat at the picture window so we could admire the skyline. The Peninsula itself was splendidly decorated inside and out for the holidays. After cocktail hour, I looked for GC45PKJ (Genuine Art of Cultural Space) hidden in honor of the museums across the way. This one was easy enough to find in the dark, er… rather Jay found it in the dark.
The free nightly Pulse 3D light show near the ferry terminal is worth a stop. Its theme changes with the seasons. We happened to catch it the last night of its 2016 run. Get there early to get a good spot far enough away from the screen in order to get the 3D experience.
It never occurred to me before that I could go and physically see where my mom grew up in Hong Kong. So I made it a point this trip to check out the old neighborhood and find a geocache in her honor. Although, truth be told, she would be appalled by the concept of geocaching and tell me I should be wary of it being a dangerous ploy that could be used by “bad guys” to rob and kill people. Haha! My mom grew up near Shau Kei Wan, a nice “little” community with its small shops, street market, McDonald’s training center/restaurant, ie. neighborhood hangout and busy tram terminus.
I confess to cheating in order to find GC5K90D (Shau Kei Wan Tram Terminus). Feeling stressed out by all the muggles passing by and running out of time, I messaged other geocachers for hints. Everyone was really nice and responded in time for me to make a successful find. I was lucky to have Jay there to make the grab because I wouldn’t have been able to reach it. This was a fun and tricky one because it was in plain sight the whole time and we never even knew it.
For lodging, I highly recommend Hotel Indigo in the Wan Chai district. Centrally located and walking distance to multiple modes of public transportation, we were able to get around town with ease. The friendly and accommodating staff was always on hand to give directions, answer questions and help with reservations. Our room was impeccably clean and the decor was perfectly suited for me. My favorite was the free smart phone the hotel provided to us for the duration of our stay! Handy, lived up to its name, especially when we were lost and I needed to to make a phone call for assistance.
One of my all time favorite geocaches is right outside Hotel Indigo’s front door. Because GC6GFHC is a multi-step Letterbox cache, I reluctantly tried it the last day when I had time to kill. The first stop took me to the little Wan Chai post office where I picked up coordinates for next leg and stationery to write a note to drop at GZ.
With note in hand I wandered up the hill into the older part of town where I got distracted by an ancient temple and a Pokemon stop. Even though I tried to blend in, I stuck out like a sore thumb roaming back and forth on an otherwise empty street and it was obvious I had no business there. As I was about to give up and turn back, I finally noticed the letterbox. I made the drop and the rest is history.
That night we took a New Year’s Eve harbor cruise so we could see the fireworks from the water and an unobstructed view. The stunning pyrotechnics show was the perfect end to an incredible trip. Thank you Jay for making this the best New Year’s Eve ever!
P.S. Stay tuned to read about my visit to Hong Kong Disneyland!
P. P. S. For more information about all there is to see and do in Hong Kong check out the Discover Hong Kong online travel guide.