We arrived in Hong Kong this morning at 7:00am and Geno and I were off the ship by 9:30 when it was cleared. I had researched a few things for us to do and we had a great day. Hong Kong is beautiful and clean and the public transportation system is stellar. It really feels like a clean version of NYC. Everywhere you look you are surrounded by huge skyscrapers; check out our pictures and you will see what we mean.
Our first order of business was to visit Victoria Peak, one of the most popular tourist spots in Hong Kong. We boarded the MRT and made our way to Victoria Peak. The MRT is their subway and is very easy to follow if you know where you are going; we didn't have any trouble at all. We arrived at the Peak Tram station and bought our tickets to the top. The Peak Tram, which officially opened in 1888, is a funicular railway and is amazing just by itself. A funicular railway means there are two cars that counterbalance each other so when one is at the top the other is at the bottom. The tram ride is 1.4 kilometers and is an incredibly steep grade. The top of the peak is about 1817 feet above sea level and is on the western part of the island. The Peak has such a beautiful panoramic view of Hong Kong as you can see from our pictures. We thought there would be a few shops up there, WRONG! There is a mall with all kinds of great (expensive) places to eat and cool places to shop. We found a cheaper Chinese diner and had a great lunch.
Next order of business was the Big Budda. We took the tram down and got on the MRT again and took a 35 minute ride out to Lantau Island. We had heard there was an optional cable car ride out to Ngong Ping, where the Big Budda is located, but we had no idea it would be this cool. The cable car ride was 25 minutes and 5.7 kilometers. We paid a little extra to get the glass bottom car and it was sooooo worth it. We crossed over a few big mountains and arrived in Ngong Ping.
The Tian Tan Budda is a large bronze statue of Budda located near the Po Lin Monastery. The base of the statue is a model of the Earhly Mount of Tian Tan. It is the world's tallest outdoor bronze seated Budda at 34 meters tall and you climb 268 steps to reach its feet. It was well worth the trip all the way out to Ngong Ping. We also visited the Po Lin Monastery while we were there.
By the time we got back to the ship, it was about 8:00pm so we watched the famous Hong Kong harbor's festival of lights. Every night at 8pm there is a laser light show in the harbor and the buildings light up and it is beautiful. After that, we were lucky enough to be invited to a wonderful dinner of Peking duck with our friends Steve and Janet Dickstein. They have been to Hong Kong many times and knew of this wonderful place hidden away on the second story of a building you would never go in unless you were with them. We had such a great time trying Peking duck for the first time. On the way back to the ship we bargained for some souvenirs and enjoyed the Christmas decorations in the mall beside the port. An awesome day in Hong Kong!
-Peking duck has very crispy delicious skin
-Hong Kong is very clean and the people are very nice!