Name: Port of Hong Kong
Address: Harbour Building, 38 Pier Road, Hong Kong
Phone: 852 2542 3711
The port of Hong Kong lies on the coast of southern China on the Kowloon Peninsula off the South China Sea. Originally ceded by China to the United Kingdom in 1898, the port and Hong Kong itself were returned to China in 1997.
Hong Kong covers over 1,000 square kilometers and includes adjacent islets in the South China Sea. In 2005, date of the last census, the population was almost seven million people.
Hong Kong International Airport is served by a highly efficient and comprehensive transport network, making it easy to get to and from the terminals. The Airport Express trains links HKIA directly to Hong Kong’s central business district and buses connect the airport with most of the city. Taxis, coaches and limousines provide additional choices for passengers. Major hotels also offer pick-up service.
Taxi fare to Kowloon is about $240HK and to Hong Kong Island is around $300HK. The HK dollar is worth about 12 cents US.
The current major cruise facility is the Ocean Terminal, located on the Kowloon waterfront in the heart of the shopping and hotel areas. In fact, three hotels look directly down upon the terminal and are a short walk away. A secondary terminal – really just a docking and embarkation area – is at the China Merchant Terminal on Hong Kong Island, and is a 20-minute drive over the Western Harbour Crossing from downtown Kowloon. Most ships, however, leave from the Ocean Terminal.
Hong Kong is in the process of completing a spectacular new cruise terminal at the former Kai Tak airport. Expected to open in mid-2013, it will have two alongside berths and will be equipped with to accommodate the concurrent berthing of two mega cruise vessels (with gross tonnage of up to 220,000).
The new terminal is located at the East Kowloon waterfront, offers spectacular views of Victoria Harbour across to Hong Kong Island, and is within easy reach of a number of major attractions. Located nearby is Festival Walk., a shopping complex 10 minutes from the terminal and home to many of the world’s best-known shopping brands.
In Hong Kong you’ll find some of the finest hotels in all of Asia – and arguably anywhere else in the world. There are historic and world-famous venues, major international chains and local brands. Most hotels are concentrated on Hong Kong Island and in Kowloon with many offering a harbor view (expect to pay more for a room with a sea view). In recent years, there have been more hotels opening in the New Territories and Outlying Islands, some of which offer a resort-type experience.
Among the most famous (and expensive) are The Peninsula, Grand Hyatt, Mandarin Oriental, Langham Place, Four Seasons, The Upper House, Le Meridien, Ritz Carlton, W Hong Kong and the Island Shangri-la. There is also a variety of mid-priced properties throughout the island. Several front the water such as the T-Hotel — one of Hong Kong Island’s hidden jewels and rated as the “best” hotel in Hong Kong by many travelers – even at its moderate rates. The Marco Polo Hong Kong Hotel overlooks the cruise terminal, and the Mira Hong Kong is located along vibrant Nathan Road, directly connected to Miramar Shopping. There’s no shortage to hotels for every budget.
Hong Kong is one of the world’s most exciting cities. It’s really two cities in one – Kowloon, attached to Mainland China – and Hong Kong Island, the heart of the city, just a few minutes away by the popular Star Ferry system from Kowloon.
In addition there are several islands within the district that offer day trips and resorts for longer stays. Ferries run between the islands, Hong Kong Island and Kowloon.
Hong Kong is a city for walking, but it’s advised to explore it in small doses. The city is a combination of Chinese and British manners and depending on where you are, you’ll experience one or the other culture. It’s likely that around every corner is something that you’ve never seen or experienced.
For example, the city’s light show (“The Symphony of Light”) is held at nightfall. The spectacular show lights up the high-rise buildings on the Hong Kong Island waterfront and there’s accompanying music. The best view is from the dock near the ferry terminal on the Kowloon side of the harbor.
No visit to Hong Kong is really complete without a trip on the “Ding Ding,” Hong Kong’s trams that have been rumbling along the northern side of Hong Kong Island since 1904. Sitting on the tram, looking out the windows, provides an inexpensive and efficient way of experiencing the scenery and street life of the island. Six routes cover 30 kilometers and 120 tram stops between Shau Kei Wan, Happy Valley and Kennedy Town and the cost is about $2HK a person or $1HK for seniors 65 and older. Passengers board the tram at the rear entrance via barriers or turnstiles and disembark at the exit by the driver where the coin box is located.
Things to do:
When in Hong Kong, you have to shop. In Kowloon, Tsim Sha Tsui is the major shopping district and runs along the waterfront. It’s a combination of harbor life, stalls, shops, markets and malls. A block or so away from the waterfront, Nathan Road and the streets crossing it is where you will find tailors, jewelry, cameras, and international brand name stores. You can also escape the hustle and bustle of what’s called “The Golden Mile” by slipping into any number of spacious and plush malls.
On Canton Road you’ll be confronted with the best the world has to offer in luxury designer goods, not to mention Hong Kong’s biggest shopping mall – the enormous Harbour City and 1881 Heritage, a unique experience that blends history with luxury shopping.
Hong Kong is also a place for the mind with art galleries, a science museum and performing arts in English and Mandarin throughout the city.
Need some clothes for your cruise? Have a suit, sports coat, dress, shirt or slacks made to fit by one of Hong Kong’s many tailors. A word of caution – check with the Hong Kong Tourist board for a list of recommended tailors. While some tailors make clothing for the likes of Bill Clinton and a number of oil tycoons from the Middle East, there are many who have less lofty expectations and will make something for you at a decent price.
To see and do everything in Hong Kong will take more time than you may have prior to or after your cruise. But do take a trip to The Peak on the island for a grand view of the entire region; cruise around the Ladies Market with its 100 stalls of bargain clothing; take the Ding Ding; walk the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade for a great view of the Hong Kong Island office towers; take the ferry to and from Kowloon; walk the Avenue of the Stars along the Kowloon waterfront; or simply walk the back streets of the city to experience the cultural flavor of this exciting city.
If you have the time, take a side trip to the former Portuguese colony of Macau. Located an hour by high-speed ferry from Hong Kong there is much more to the place than just its celebrated casinos and hotels.
Check out the remains of the Church of St. Paul. Built in 1602, the church features a spectacular stone facade. Although the body of the church burned down in 1835, its stone facade managed to survive the devastation. There is also a museum that contains artifacts, paintings and sculptures from St. Paul’s.
– By Ray Chatelin