Hong Kong Disneyland -- Easy Day Trips
A Disney Parks Planning Articleby Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 03-17-2016
Next in this series of articles, looking at day trips from the various Disney parks around the world, we head over to Asia, and firstly China.
Hong Kong - Po Lin Buddha
The Po Lin Buddha is a staggering size!
When we visited Hong Kong Disneyland, it was very much a one day park at that time, and was part of a week-long visit to what is an amazing metropolis. Now the park has expanded significantly, adding in a total of three new lands, the familiar sounding Toy Story Land (soon arriving in Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando as well), and the wonderfully named Grizzly Gulch and Mystic Point. The work doesn’t stop there, with the Iron Man Experience coming online this year, and the resort’s third hotel, the Disney Explorers’ Loge, due to open in 2017, and rumours persisting that one day the site will play host to a second park. Now, more than ever, it’s become a destination in its own right, where you can stay for some considerable time, and head out to explore Hong Kong.
One attraction that is close to Hong Kong Disneyland is the Po Lin Buddha, Asia’s largest seated outdoor Buddha, and it is truly a spectacular sight. From the theme parks, you simply hop on the monorail to the Sunny Bay station, and from there, it’s only one stop to Tung Chung, where you can catch the Ngong Ping 360, an aerial cable car that takes you the three and a half miles to the monastery. While it may not sound that appealing, despite the fact I’m not a religious person, I found our journey there to be truly peaceful, and very spiritual.
If you plan on heading into Hong Kong itself, you’ll need to take the subway in the other direction. The park is very conveniently located for both Hong Kong Island, and Kowloon, the island located just across Victoria Harbour. As I’ve already alluded to, you can easily spend a week in Hong Kong, and not see everything it has to offer. Does that sound familiar at all?!
One of the first must-dos for us was to head to the Victoria Peak, and we weren’t the only ones. It’s one of the city’s greatest attractions, for good reason. From there, whether you visit during the day or at night, you can see the city sprawling beneath you, and suddenly you realise just how little spare land there is. Green parks are a rarity here, so the fact that on the Peak you can find peaceful, shady walks draws locals here, as well as visitors. In fact, land is at so much of a premium that reclamation has been taking place for many years, as you can discover at one of the city’s museums, but I’m getting ahead of myself. To get to the Peak, you travel up in a tram that dates back to 1888, and that in itself is quite an experience. However, it can get mobbed at busy times. Probably best not to attempt it during the middle of the day at weekends for example.
Another stunning way to travel is via the Star Ferry that connects Hong Kong Island to Kowloon. In the same way that the Staten Island Ferry has served New York for many years, and has become an iconic sight, so has the Star Ferry in its green and white livery. It’s an absolute bargain at just $2.50 per trip on weekdays (it’s more at weekends), and the views are absolutely amazing, either during the day or at night, with a montage of skyscrapers towering over you. My only criticism is that the journey isn’t very long, just 10 minutes, which means you need to be quick with your photos.
We were very excited to see the Symphony of Lights, a sound and light show that’s held on the skyscrapers of Hong Kong Island, with viewing points all along the Kowloon waterfront, but sadly as beautiful as it was, we came away disappointed. Perhaps Disney has spoilt us for night-time shows? It’s still worth catching, and takes place nightly at 8:00pm, and has earned the title of the world’s largest permanent light and sound show by the Guinness Book of World Records.
We always love learning more about the history of the places we visit, and having read that the Museum of History, along with the nearby Science Museum, were free on Wednesdays, we headed there and enjoyed everything they had to offer at no cost. We found that unbelievable, as there was so much to see and do, and we especially loved the Museum of History, and learning about how this fascinating city came to be.
Hong Kong - Symphony of Lights
The Symphony of Lights show that takes place nightly with viewing all along the Kowloon waterfront.
If there’s a man in your party, and he needs a suit, one tip we were given from a friend was to visit Sam’s Tailor, a legendary place where the rich and famous come. My husband got measured up for a suit, and it was made from scratch, with him being fitted a couple of days later. It cost considerably less than it would have done at home, and to this day, he still tells me it was the best suit he’s ever had.
Although a long day, we also loved our day trip to Macau, a former Portuguese territory, which is home to UNESCO World Heritage Sties, including the Ruins of St. Paul, and the A-Ma Temple. Alongside that, you’ll also see the modern side to Macau, which is now the equivalent of Las Vegas for the Asian market, complete with some of the same hotels you’d find in Vegas. We found it very surreal to see the Venetian, for example.
Hong Kong is an exceptionally vibrant city, packed with sightseeing opportunities, and despite the growth of Hong Kong Disneyland in recent years, I still couldn’t imagine travelling all the way out there without spending some time exploring what this amazing city has to offer.
Updated 03-17-2016 - Article #1273
by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.
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