Hong Kong Stopover
I strongly recommend a Hong Kong stopover if you are travelling to Downunder from Europe. Add a toddler to a twenty-six hour flight and suddenly the prospect turns into a possible nightmare! With this in mind, on my last trip to New Zealand, I chose to break the journey with a two night Hong Kong stopover en route. Seeing as the plane was stopping to re-fuel there anyway, it made sense to break the journey and hopefully help alleviate the jet lag for myself and my little one.
Upon landing at Hong Kong, we joined the rather long queue at passport control. As it was very late at night, my toddler was less than impressed at sitting still and was causing a bit of a fuss. Within minutes an official had come over, ushered us to the front of the queue and we were then through passport control within minutes – now that’s good family-friendly service for you and not only did I thoroughly appreciate it but I’m sure the rest of the passengers did too, although they may have been left a little envious.
After collecting our luggage, which was also speedy and without incident, we went to the train station where we took the Airport Express train into the city. With trains approximately every ten minutes and easy to use with a stroller, I was relieved at the convenience and it was really cheap compared to taxi prices too. We disembarked at Kowloon and took a short taxi ride to our accommodation. We were on our way, our stopover in Hong Kong had begun!
We had decided to stay in a private apartment as it offered good value for money. A basic apartment, it offered one open-plan room including a double bed, separate sofa bed, dining table and chairs and a small kitchen area. Thankfully the bathroom was separate. Although the apartment was small, it was centrally located within easy reach of amenities and had everything we needed including bedding and towels. The whole family slept soundly for over ten hours and we awoke the next morning ready to check out the local area.
As part of our brief stopover in Hong Kong on the way to New Zealand, we decided to visit two of the local tourist attractions – the infamous Ladies’ Market and the Peak, both with a toddler in tow.
Following some directions from a local, we headed on foot to the Ladies’ Market which was apparently a mecca for cheap clothing, jewellery and accessories. It gave us a great chance to check out the local streets and we were rather surprised at the crowds which we encountered at every pedestrian crossing but even that didn’t prepare us for the hustle and bustle of the Ladies’ Market.
With stalls stretching about a mile on both sides of the road, we found everything from fake watches to leather purses, silver jewellery to cheap souvenir t-shirts. The variety and prices of the goods were amazing and we managed to get some great presents from friends and family at home as well as kitting ourselves out in some local clothing – including an extremely nice Chinese-style dress for me and a Hong Kong skyline t-shirt for my son.
After a couple of hours shopping we headed to the waterfront to catch a ferry across to the Peak. The ferry service was regular and easy to use by buying tokens for the journey. The ride was perhaps about twenty minutes in total but provided some entertainment for our toddler and some good photo opportunities for us.
Instead of opting to go up the world’s longest escalator to the cable car to the Peak, we hopped in a taxi instead. The journey was quick but much easier than walking up hill or navigating yet more crowds. At the top of the Peak, was a shopping mall, although we were a little shopped-out from our market excursion to do more than a spot of window shopping. The view from the top of the Peak itself was amazing and as we’d timed our visit to coincide with sunset we managed to see the sights in both daylight and lit up against the night sky. We finished our day with dinner at The Pearl at the Peak. Although the food was lovely, it was a little pricey – you’re paying more for the views I think. The restaurant wasn’t very geared up for young children but the staff were accommodating and gave us a small portion of plain noodles for our son, on the house!
Overall, the Hong Kong stopover allowed us to see just a little glimpse of another culture and country. It also helped to reduce the amount of jet lag we experienced when we finally arrived. I would definitely recommend it whatever your budget.