Hong Kong has long been known as a place to stopover when travelling between Australia and Europe, but we decided it was an interesting destination for us as a family, as it offered something for all the tribe. We planned seven nights in the September school holidays, and the flight times make it an easy trip for that period of time. We discovered Disneyland, great food, shopping and a great Cultural experience for the boys.
We flew over on Qantas as the flight times suited us best, and first stop was the Disneyland Hotel. We decided to stay at the park hotel, as we wanted to do two easy days at Disneyland, rather one very long, tiring one, where we all ended up fractious. The hotel was great, service good, rates reasonable, and plenty of dining options. It has a pool for the afternoon recovery after you have spent time at the park, views across Hong Kong Harbour, and places like Walt’s Cafe for an early dinner. I certainly found my inner child and enjoyed a lot of the rides with our boys. The park is amazingly clean, the food offering for lunch is good quality (although not exactly gourmet) and reasonably priced. The two days at Disneyland for two adults and two children cost us approx AUS$175 total, which compared with the Australian theme parks, is a bargain.
Next stop Kowloon, and the Sheraton Hotel. We planned to make our first few days relatively low key, so pottered around on the Star ferry to Hong Kong Island and caught the bus to the Peak. Take your walking shoes, as there is a great walking track around the top of the peak, giving you a great perspective of the island and across to Kowloon. We then stopped for a bit of shopping at the Peak shopping centre, went to Madame Tussaud’s (wouldn’t recommend it for the cost) and had a lovely Japanese meal overlooking Hong Kong. Then we caught the Trolley car back down the hill, which was a bit of a hair raising experience, but the kids loved it.
Another day we took a trip over to the Stanley Markets, and the drive on the bus itself is pretty good way to see another side of Hong Kong. I didn’t realize they had so many lovely beach areas. The markets were a great shopping option, and we all got something we were wanting including mobile phone gadgets, suitcases and some souvenirs. Other activities included Ocean World, which is OK, but as we mainly went to see the Panda’s and they were all sleeping, the rides ended up being the main attraction.
The Public Ferry does a great tour with audio guide around Hong Kong Harbour, great way to learn a bit of history and see the sites, and very inexpensive.
I am not a big fan of hotel breakfasts, and as our hotel was full due to the holiday week in China, we decided to venture out each morning. We discovered the YMCA, which offered a Continental breakfast and a-la-carte hot selection, which was great value at approx AUS$20 for the whole family and the coffee was pretty good. But our favourite has to be at Deli & Wine bar in the Cultural Centre on the Harbour, which had great coffee, fabulous scrambled eggs, and yummy frozen yoghurt. You can walk along the Avenue of the Stars afterwards, and see if you recognize any of the stars.
Dinner, we checked out a few Dumpling Houses, including the One Michelen starred Din Tai Hung, where we ate Pork & truffle dumplings and our boys fell in love with sweet red bean paste dumplings. The 45mins wait for a table was worth it, trust me. Also try Shabby Shabu at Mou Mou at the Harbourside Centre in Kowloon for a quick lunch, the kids love cooking their own meat & veg. Yellow Door on Hong Kong Island, is a must. Recommended by George Colambaris, and don’t be put off by the dodgey looking building or having to climb 6 flights of stairs (lift should be fixed by December 2012), the food is worth it. The set menu was HK$236 per person, but loads of amazing flavours and a great wine selection. I wasn’t keen on the ox tongue or dessert soup, but the Soup starter was incredible, and the other courses equally impressive.
Other highlights, were drinks at the top floor of the Sheraton Kowloon, amazing view, and their dumplings are great. And don’t be put off by eating at restaurants in Shopping Centres, it is the done thing here, and although not quite taken off in Australia, it is not to be dismissed in Hong Kong. Next time we will venture around to the beaches and perhaps into China for an overnight trip, but will definitely return to Honkers.