Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cars, Trains and Other Things That Go! {Getting Around Hong Kong}

Traveling to any place always mean a LOT of walking.  If you are brave enough to bring your toddler and/or pre-schooler, may I suggest that you bring an extra BIG chunk of your humor, patience and forbearance as well.  

Before any trip, what I do is I impress upon my kids that traveling is for BIG kids who can walk on their own - because babies who need to be carried belong at home.  But I do remind myself to take small steps (keeping in mind that those little legs cannot keep up with mine) and I let them sit down for a break if we have been walking far too long.  So far, I have not succumbed to carrying any of my kids on any trip.  I warn you:  Once you give in, they won't stop asking.

Like the Philippines, Hong Kong is a collection of islands, an archipelago, divided into four main areas: Hong Kong Island; Kowloon and the New Territories (located on the peninsula attached to the China mainland); and the Outlying Islands.  Because of the geography, there is a plethora of transportation services available.

R, most especially, was fascinated by this.   For him it was like jumping into the pages of his favorite book on transportation…. ferries and junk boats that cross the harbor, escalators, moving sidewalks, cable cars that seem to hang on thin air, double-decker buses, trams and taxis.
excited na excited!
To take us to where we want to go, R always insists on taking Hong Kong's Mass Transit Railway (MTR).  The underground network of trains is the fastest way to get around the territory.  Although taking the train is usually the fastest way to get there, it doesn’t allow you to view the busy streets and neon lights of HK. 

The MTR shown in the above photo is the one that goes all the way to Disneyland.

At the end of the busy day, with our worn-out feet and fatigued bodies, taking a cab is always a good option.  Since there are 5 of us, the maximum number of occupants allowed inside a cab, taking a taxi also proved to be the most economical choice.

3Open-Air Double Decker Bus
What better way to see all that Hong Kong has to offer than from the top of a big bus?

4Century-old Tram
This narrow double-decker city tram also known in Cantonese as "ding ding" travels at the speed of a snail so you can make sure to see all of the views that HK has to offer.  With a flat fare of only $2, it's the cheapest sightseeing tour around.  Best seats are on the  upper deck.
5.  Peak Tram
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6Cable Car
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The cable car at Ocean Park is always full of people queuing up, inspite of the newly introduced underground train at the park.  This is still the best way to travel between the lower level and the upper level. 

Although we did not find time to visit, Ngong Ping 360 also offers a scenic cable car ride, and if you pay a little more, you can ride one with a glass bottom.   

7Star Ferry
The Star Ferry is a Hong Kong institution, having been around since the 1800’s.  Back in the day, the star ferry was the major connection between Hong Kong island and the Kowloon Peninsula.  It is suggested to take a night time cruise to enjoy the sights during the Symphony of Lights laser show, but if you are squeezed for time, a day time trip is just as good.

Phenomenal Tip:
~ If you are anticipating to make several trips, you can purchase the octopus card which can be used on all of HK's public transport system.
~ Make sure to have a good number of coins in your wallet when you commute as buses and trams request for the exact amount - and change is not given.

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