Touchdown Hong Kong - On the (HK) Waterfront

Trip Start May 30, 2012
Trip End Jun 12, 2012

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Flag of China  ,
Thursday, May 31, 2012

Start point of our 12-day trip to Hong Kong & Thailand. A neat and efficient 2-1/2 hr transit at Suvarnabhumi. We arrive slightly dazed from the short but red-eye flight from Chennai, India. The flight out to Hong Kong is scheduled for an 8:00 am ETD. We stretch out in the departure lounge and catch a quick nap. Come, check-in time, we're off.

Day 1:

Landed in Hong Kong's Chek Lap Kok Intl. Airport. On arrival, we were accosted by Immigration officers (ladies) at the gate who were all smiles, welcoming you, wishing you a lovely stay and fun time in Disneyland and Ocean Park (Immigration officers ? can you believe this ? just you wait).

So we're all fired up to breeze through Immigration, collect our bags and go to Fantasyland. We're shot back to reality. This is China now Pal ! The immigration officer (now a guy) collects our passports and reviews each page of the document (what is he looking for really ?). He then points to the photo in each passport and gestures to us to confirm that it is us indeed. He even quizzes my kid on his photo and name. Whoa ! Checkpoint Charlie right there.

Then he asks us (cold stare) our purpose of visit, first time or return trip and then for documents like our confirmed return ticket and hotel booking confirmation. We provide that and he sifts through each paper. Time ticks away and this time I did feel like i was at the arrivals counter, fresh of the boat (FOB) at Ellis Island, New York (which i did not feel at all on my three/four visits to the United States while at study/work). My son was getting restless and tapping incessantly on his counter and i was slowly but surely going mad.

He then finally stamps our visas, clumps all the passports and documents and simply slides it out off his counter and points us in the direction to get out (or get in to the city). That's one cold Immigration pass-through.

We then stopped at the Tourism Bureau where an officer greeted us cheerfully. She proceeded to detail what we could do while in HK and chalked out a nice itinerary for us. We really appreciate the time and effort she took to patiently answer all our questions and proceeded to suggest that the bus to our hotel (Ibis Century at North Point) was the least expensive and doubly convenient method of travel. We picked up our tickets and walked down to Level 1 (Arrival is Level 2) to the Bus Terminal. We boarded A-11 and started the 1-hour ride to the hotel to the City. HKIA is on Lantau Island (Disneyland as well) and we're headed east towards Hong Kong Island. The bus grinds to a halt after an hour an 15 minutes at the North Point Terminal.

Travelers ! Do not give the Tourism Bureau a miss. A real help.

We lug our bags to the hotel, check-in (nothing worth mentioning) and set-off to tour HK.
We spent the afternoon/ evening at Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade after takin the ferry from HK Island pier to the Kowloon Bay side. TST Promenade is pretty cool for an evening. We were in time for the Symphony of Lights (a laser and lights show from 8 - 8:10 pm..abt 10 mins).

Rain clouds gathered and threatened to drench the crowd. So we walked with them back to the ferry terminal to HK side, hopped the train ride and snuck back into the Hotel.

Traveler Tips:
(All costs in HKD)
Airport to North Point: Bus A11 - $40 one way (a); $20 one way (c)
Travel Time: 1 hr 15 min
Level 2 (ground level)
North Point MTR to HK Central MTR: - $6 one way (a); $3 one way (c)

Ferry to Kowloon from HK: - $1.5 one way (a); $1 one way (c)

Symphony of Lights: Free. Outdoor show

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