It’s summer in India. Yay! It’s the time, when schools and colleges shut down, corporate India is generous with doling out employee incentives including holidays and families at home are busy planning their “we time!” For me, it is a special time of the year as well. For the rest of the year, while I travel independently on my own, exploring destinations off the map, this is the only time, when I get a chance to plan a ‘vacation’ with my family.
This year, as always, I am responsible for charting a family holiday (perils of being a travel blogger, though I am not complaining! 🙂 ). What followed was a pile of research with long deliberations and discussions. One night when, the whole family gathered up at the dining table, jolting questions and random suggestions were thrown at me. It was then, when my kid brother rattled off ‘Hong Kong!’
Hong Kong in my mind has always, conjured up images of vertiginous skyscrapers and crowd-frenzied streets. Known to most of the people, as a world-class city, Hong Kong, I always thought was all about small alleyways lit with bright neon signboards, pell-mell stalls hawking fishes, prawns and inexplicable sea-creatures!
What could a vegetarian family like mine do in Hong Kong?
So as I started researching for the big bang family time, the good folks at Hong Kong Tourism Board approached me and offered me an insight into why Hong Kong, would just about do the trick!
Behind the façade of Hong Kong’s glittering high-rise buildings, the city-island, a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China offers a healthy but diverse dose of excitement and adventure for families. Some of key attractions include:
Ocean Park: This is Hong Kong’s most popular marine-life theme park and houses some of the rarest Asian animals- Red Panda, King Penguins, Small-clawed Otters, Dolphins, etc. If there are kids in the family, it is a perfect place to keep them entertained with photo-opportunities and out-of-the-school wildlife education!
Hong Kong Disneyland: It doesn’t matter if you are a 6 year old kid or a 60 year old with a child’s heart, Disneyland has magic for child of every age! If you do visit Hong Kong’s Disneyland Resort, a day shaking hands with the Mickey Mouse is in order. And if you aren’t excited about Mickey, there’s Star Wars and Iron Man. There’s also Disney Explorers Lodge, where families can explore and dream while being immersed in the adventures of intrepid explorers, with the motto “ad explorare et somniare” (to explore and dream).
Trick Eye Museum: One of the must-dos, I am personally excited about exploring is the Trick Eye Museum, which features plain paintings that magically appear to be 3D through the use of optical illusion. The museum has optical illusion paintings and installations over five different themed zones: World of Masterpieces, Hong Kong Discovery, Secret Garden, Great Adventure and Neverland. What’s more, is that one can interact with exhibits that trick the eye into seeing both illusion and reality in the same time.
Star Ferry Tour: An early morning or an early evening 45-minute charming ferry ride to enjoy the breeze on the sun deck, is what the entire family needs to relax and freshen up. A wonderful idea for the family’s photo buffs to soak in some of the city’s most photographed harbours. For the history lovers of the family, the Indian connection to the ferry is sure to raise the excitement levels. I was surprised to know, that the Star Ferry was founded by Darabjee Naorojee Mithaiwala, an Indian Parsee businessman and Independence activist.
Trams: The city’s bustling neighbourhoods and streets offer a sensory feast into the city island’s historic lineage. One way to explore the legacy of a once a British colony and now one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities is to board the Hong Kong Tramways. The world’s largest fleet of double-deck tramcars, is one of the most affordable mode of transport and a moving landmark. Whatever is the distance, adults pay only HK$2.30 or INR 20 approximately.
Trivia: Locals named the tram with a lovely nickname ‘Ding ding’ because of the sound of the warning noise made to notify pedestrians of its presences. To maximize this iconic and historic tram experience, you may aboard a unique 1920s-style tram revamped with an open—top upper deck and a vintage cabin to tour you along the tram route in an hour.
Victoria Harbour: How about taking your family on a Helicopter ride? Wow, I am already excited! J What’s better than a gazing down at ferries, container ships, coastal vessels and enormous motor yachts with in a helicopter? There’s also an option of climbing your own cruise and swift through the right into the heart of the city, with dazzling skyline in the night. Hong Kong’s city harbour offers something for every family member- whether it is getting to know the local comic icons, to reliving some of celebrated moments in Asia’s movie industry, watching an orchestrated performance of lights from one of the city’s roof top bars or marveling the city’s tallest building from world renowned observatory decks.
I have always believed that the raison d’être of mankind is food! Being a vegetarian and a foodie, my family and I often plan our vacations based on where we think we will be able to indulge our taste buds. With Hong Kong, I wasn’t just sure enough. But after ample research, I am now more confident of being able to not only survive Hong Kong cuisine, but also fall in love with it! Pineapple Buns, Taiwanese pancakes, Noodle Soups, Dimsums, Taro rolls or Gong Cha Bubble Tea, I can’t wait to try it all with my family! Whether you are a vegetarian or not, from Michellins to adventurous street foods- have your pick! To know more about various palettes and dining styles, read here.
All in all, Hong Kong is a maze, I am hoping to unravel this year with my family. A city of mysteries, curiosities, there’s so many things, that families could end up playing “Did you know?” game endlessly! On that note,
“Did you know, that Hong Kong may be the only city in the world named for a smell (Chinese fishermen called it Heung Gong, or “fragrant harbour”) or that locals eat noodles on their birthday so they may be blessed with long life? J
This summer, Hong Kong celebrates 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and to celebrate this special offers are available to all Hong Kong visitors from 1st April, 2017 onwards.
Best of All, it is in Hong Kong!
So go ahead and tell me in comments below! Have you been to Hong Kong yet? If no, would you like to visit soon?