Hong Kong, day one – Tsim Tsa Tsui, the Star Ferry, and Victoria Peak

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01. Introduction: San Diego to Hong Kong on Asiana, Air India, and United Airlines
02. United Express ERJ-175 first class San Diego to Los Angeles
03. Star Alliance First Class Lounge, LAX
04. Star Alliance Business Class Lounge, LAX
05. Asiana A380-800 first class Los Angeles to Seoul
06. Asiana A380-800 business class Seoul to Hong Kong
07. Hong Kong, day one – Tsim Tsa Tsui, the Star Ferry, and Victoria Peak
08. Hong Kong, day two – blending in
09. Hong Kong, day three – I love this city!
10. Hyatt Regency Hong Kong, Tsim Tsa Tsui
11. United Club, HKG
12. United Airlines 777-200 business class Hong Kong to Chicago
13. United Airlines 737-900 economy class Chicago to San Diego

It was good to be back in the city again, and my body knew it. Despite arriving late the night before and not getting to bed past 1am, I was wide awake by 6am in anticipation of a great day of exploring. To be completely honest, my plan was to keep things simple and not rush around and do too much – this was a vacation after all, and I’ve never been a big fan of cramming as much as humanly possible into a day. That’s worse than being busy at home!

I eventually rolled out of bed by 7:30, dragging my feet and slowly getting ready for the day. All I knew at this point was that I wanted to get breakfast at the hotel restaurant, but beyond that there were absolutely no plans! The shower was slow and relaxing, it took forever to get dressed, and I had absolutely no desire to tidy up and get organized. This vacation stuff is really nice, and it really makes me appreciate how pointless the 9-5 rat race in really is. Of course it’s my 9-5 job that allows me to be able to afford traveling like this, but there are other ways to earn a living besides slaving away for someone else in an office. But that’s a topic for another blog…

morning in hong kong

Dawn breaks over Hong Kong, as seen from my hotel room window

hyatt hong kong hotel restaurant

Main dining room of the hotel restaurant

chinese style breakfast

I started out my breakfast Chinese style…

made to order omelet hyatt hong kong

…but the made-to-order omelet station at the buffet looked too good to resist.

After pigging out at the hotel restaurant, I thought maybe I’d like to walk around outside for a while just to get reacquainted with Hong Kong. It started out as a simple enough stroll, but then things took off quickly from there. “I’ll go down to the waters edge to have a look at the skyline” I thought, but two hours later I found myself at the top of Victoria Peak looking down on Hong Kong Island. This is an amazing city for sure, and it’s hard to resist the urge to see it from every angle.

victoria harbor hong kong

It felt good to be back in Hong Kong again!

Hong Kong skyline

The Hong Kong skyline, as seen from the Avenue of the Stars

hong kong tsim tsa tsui promenade

Walking along the waterfront on the way to the Star Ferry Terminal

Star Ferry Terminal hong kong

Inside the Star Ferry Terminal, just about to board the ferry

Star Ferry Hong Kong

Onboard the Star Ferry, headed over to Hong Kong Island

The weather was surprisingly good today – I don’t think I’ve personally ever seen the sun shine in Hong Kong, but it was a welcome sight for sure. Not so welcome was seeing how commercialized Victoria Peak has become. They’ve literally built a full-fledged shopping mall up there, and it dillutes the experience of looking down on the city IMHO. Yes, it was highly commercialized the last time I was here (back in 2002), but the’ve built a lot more since then and all the shops and restaurants were distracting to say the least. I’ve also matured a lot since then, and I guess I’ve become more sensitive to this sort of thing. But still, it was fun to look down on the city and appreciate the moment of being in one of the greatest cities in the world.

walking through the city of hong kong

Navigating the streets of Hong Kong on my way to the Peak Tram

hong kong architecture

I love the architecture of this city!

Waiting in line for the Peak Tram

Waiting in line for the Peak Tram

peak tram hong kong

The tram has arrived. Here we go!

inside the tram victoria peak hong kong

This pic doesn’t show how steep the climb is. My neck actually started hurting half way up!

victoria peak hong kong

See those people way up there on top? That’s the observation deck, and I’m headed up that way…

Sky Terrace 428 Victoria Peak Hong Kong

Sky Terrace 428 Victoria Peak Hong Kong

sky terrace 428 observation deck

The view from the observation deck is nothing short of amazing

victoria peak hong kong selfie

Selfie time!

Sky Terrace 428 observation deck

The Sky Terrace 428 observation deck is well worth the price of admission!

I also shot a quick time-lapse video of the action from the observation deck:

It was nearly 1pm when I decided that I had enough, so I just decided to spend the rest of the afternoon meandering back to my hotel in Kowloon. It was essentially a repeat of what I experienced in the morning, but this time in reverse: take the tram down the mountain, walk to the Star Ferry pier, take the ferry across the bay to Tsim Tsa Tsui, and then navigate the busy city streets to find my hotel.

victoria peak tram

Taking the tram back down the into the city

inside the victoria peak tram

Here’s a wider angle view from inside the tram

victoria peak tram tracks

A view of the the tracks as we go down the mountain

star ferry terminal hong kong island

Star Ferry Terminal on Hong Kong Island

star ferry to Tsim Tsa Tsui

Just about to board the ferry to Tsim Tsa Tsui

inside the star ferry hong kong

I wasn’t able to get a “window” seat, but oh well

Star Ferry interior

Heading across Victoria Harbor to Tsim Tsa Tsui on the Star Ferry

nathan road hong kong

Navigating Nathan Road on my way back to the hotel

The long walk back to the hotel was hot and muggy – but so much fun. Despite that, it felt really good to sit in the cool comfort of my hotel room and chug a full bottle of water!

With the beautiful panoramic views of the city from my hotel room window, it was a relaxing afternoon of surfing the Internet, checking up on things, and basically not doing anything for a couple hours. I never get to be this lazy and non-productive at home so this was really nice!

Hong Kong skyline

Beautiful views of the Hong Kong skyline from my hotel room window

For dinner I decided to grab something to eat at one of the many local take out restaurants in the area. I was pretty hungry by 5pm (I had skipped lunch) so I set off in search of a good meal. It didn’t take long to find it – there were lots of great little restaurants within a block or two of the hotel so I just picked one and ordered some sort of grilled meat combo. It came with steamed rice, a side of vegetables, and soup. Not bad! It wasn’t completely fantastic either, but it did satisfy my hunger for the rest of the evening.

hong kong take out dinner

I wasn’t in the mood for anything fancy for dinner, so this place looked perfect

hong kong take out dinner

The meal was ok – not amazing, but certainly not bad either.

I don’t normally watch TV while at home, so there was something deliciously “bachelor” about sitting in front of the TV while stuffing my face with really good Chinese food.

The activities of the last two days combined with a bit of jet lag hit me hard by 9pm, but I did force myself to stay up until at least 10pm to minimize the chance of waking up in the middle of the night wide awake.

I certainly did more than I had planned today, and I went to bed a very satisfied and happy guy.

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