Discovering China: Hong Kong

Zǎochenhǎo (早晨好) !  I’m delighted you are following along with us as we tour China, city by city.  We recently returned from a three-week family holiday in China. Today’s post on Hong Kong is the final post in the series whereby I introduce you to the culture of China through our eyes.

hong kong lightsHong Kong, officially named Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, is a city that’s full of surprises. Hong Kong is much more than skyscrapers, teeming shopping streets and Jackie Chan. Forty percent of the land is devoted to natural habitats – sandy beaches, woodlands and mountains. Hong Kong is a water city with different islands to explore, and kids will have fun taking ferries everywhere.

Use public transportation in Hong Kong to get around – it’s varied and fun. The subway is the easiest way to get between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. Take the double decker buses and trams for a bird’s eye view of the city. Ferries are a must, the shortest of which is the Star Ferry between Kowloon and Hong Kong. Longer routes connect the islands.

The green and white Star Ferry has been in operation for over a hundred years, chugging back and forth between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. The trip doesn’t take long, but you get a great view of the harbor, junks, hydrofoils, sampans, and barges. You can also pick up a ferry to go to Lantau, Lamma or Cheung Chau Islands.

The night view along the beaches of Victoria Harbor is a famous attraction. Hong Kong Island and Kowloon Peninsula are full of high-rise buildings so at night, the lights blaze so magnificently and so beautifully around the harbor.

We took the ferry over to Kowloon to enjoy the Symphony of Lights show in the evening.  The largest permanent light show in the world, the 15 minute show is performed by the towers of Central District, Hong Kong. It is presented by the tourism commission through organizing 44 skyscrapers and landmarks that lie on the sides of the Victoria Harbor. Through interactive lighting and music show, it shows the vibrancy and glamorous night view of the city.

If you enjoy unusual attractions or engineering feats of wonder, you will enjoy the Central-Mid-Levels escalator and walkway system – the longest outdoor covered escalator system in the world. The entire system covers over 800 meters in distance and elevates over 135 meters from bottom to top.

There you can take the Peak Tram up to Victoria Peak. Once at the top, if it’s a clear day, you’ll have a spectacular view of Hong Kong. It was a little cloudy when we visited but the view was still stunning.

As it was Sweetie’s birthday and our trip had also come to a close, we wanted a relaxing day – she wanted the beach.  We asked the staff at the hotel and learned there are good swimming beaches at Repulse Bay and Stanley, staffed with lifeguards in summer.

hong kong

We thereby boarded bus 260 – a double decker for a scenic ride to the other side of the island – with spectacular views of the bays and mountains.  We stopped at Stanley first as it was the farthest away and we planned to work our way back to the hotel.  We did a little shopping at the nearby markets and then took a peak at the beach.  The wind on this side of the island was great for wind surfing, evidenced by the many boards and bodies in wetsuits, but the surf was too high for swimming.

We thereby opted for the more protected cove of Repulse Bay.  I learned later that the beach at Repulse Bay has wonderful plaster statues of Chinese deities and mythical figures, but we didn’t see them when we were there. We enjoyed the water here – though the water was murky, we couldn’t even see our toes when we were swimming.

Sweetie enjoyed collecting small shells and agates along the waters edge.  At one point, three Chinese tourists came up to her and literally picked her up and stood beside her for photographs.  Had we not become a little accustomed to the attention, this would have taken us by surprise.  It was still a little disconcerting but we understood their intent at this point.

On our return to the hotel, I mistakenly left my iPhone behind on the bus and didn’t realize it until we were walking through the lobby.  Fortunately, the clerk at the counter was able to help us and she called the bus station on our behalf. While Patrick and Buddy waited, Sweetie and I ran back to look in hopes I may have dropped it along the way.  When she and I returned, we learned one matching my description had been turned in.  She wrote out instructions in Chinese characters and we made our way to the bus terminal.  What a relief!

Like Shanghai and many of China’s mega-cities, Hong Kong is recognized by its skyrises.  Earlier, I shared with you a sneak peak at a new unit study I have compiled titled, The World’s Tall Buildings: An Engineering Unit Study.  If you’d like to receive this curriculum supplement for free, simply subscribe to my newsletter.


Thank you so much for joining me on our discovery of China.  I hope that you have been inspired to travel yourself .. whether your travels are abroad or close to home, you will certainly create memories you will cherish for a lifetime.

Autumn-Hopscotch-2013

For your convenience, all 10 days of Discovering China are linked to one landing page.  This post is part of the iHomeschool Network’s Autumn Hopscotch, a 10 day series of posts by over 40 different homeschool bloggers. Visit the hopscotch home page at iHN for ideas and inspiration.

 

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