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09 November 2011

Magical Hong Kong, Here We Come!

By Irvin

Irvin Hanni and family look forward to be spellbound this holiday season.

Oh jolly, I can’t wait for my family holiday in Hong Kong this December! A megalopolis with more skyscrapers than any other country, this dazzling city has the perfect harmony of the modern world and traditional Asian charms.

Spellbinding Hong Kong city skyline.

     So.. what’s best to look for in Hong Kong? The city, the culture, the shopping and the food, of course! A city so vibrant and bustling, there are so much to see and do here!

     Since the city is famous for its dynamic skyline, we’ve decided to kick-start our holiday with a visit to the best place to see the view–Victoria’s Peak. To get there, we’ll have to ride this funicular train that ascends at a dramatic 45-degree angle, all the way to the top! Exciting, right? Aside from enjoying the beautiful panorama, also within the proximity is The Peak Tower. At this massive entertainment centre we’ll not only get to shop and dine, but also have a look around the Madame Tussauds museum. Wow, I can’t wait to pose for pictures with celebrity wax figures such as Jackie Chan, Brad Pitt and my favourite pop star, Lady Gaga!

Train ride to Victoria’s Peak

     Second on our list is a visit to one of Hong Kong’s most iconic spots, Avenue of Stars at Victoria Harbour. Being a big fan of Chinese movies and dramas, it would be exciting to see the hand imprints and autographs of famous movie stars and directors along the stretch, modelled after Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. From the promenade we’ll also be able see scenic views of old Chinese junk boats floating around the river, surrounded by the bustling cityscape–charming! A lot of other attractions are also just a short walk distance away, such as the Museum of Art, Space Museum, Cultural Centre and the Clock Tower. Gotta check them all out!

     But what’s not to be missed at Victoria Harbour is the famous “A Symphony of Lights”, a spectacular multimedia show that goes on every night at 8.00pm. And you know what? It has been hailed as the ‘World’s Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show’ by Guinness Book of World Records. Sounds cool, right? Definitely a must-see!

     As we were planning this holiday, I told my family that this trip would not be complete without a day at Hong Kong Disney World! Growing up watching Disney cartoons and movies, it has always been my childhood dream to spend an enchanting day in the magical world of Disneyland. Since our visit will be in December, imagine my joy when I found out that they will be having this really cool Christmas celebration, with added attractions like Christmas Illumination, Santa Mickey’s Toy-riffic Christmas Street Party, Duffy the Disney Bear, and Mickey and Friends. Sparkly Disney Christmas, what a truly enchanting trip it will be! :)

Mickey and Minnie at Disneyland Hong Kong.

     What else is there to do in Hong Kong? Why, shopping of course! Oh, I better be channelling Carrie Bradshaw if I want to step into the dazzling world of high fashion. With big brands like LV, Gucci and Prada at five-star malls such as Pacific Place, Times Square, The Landmark, Harbour City and Soho Hollywood Road, no wonder Hong Kong is heralded as one of the shopping capitals of the world. Another thing on our agenda is of course the famous street markets of Hong Kong–Ladies Market, Temple Street Market, Stanley Market, Cat Street–they seem so happening (at least that’s what friends told me) that I’m sure my mom and I will go crazy over the bargains on clothes, handicrafts and souvenirs!

Hong Kong street shopping.

     But this trip won’t just be about shopping and city entertainment. To get a feel of the other side of Hong Kong, we’re also planning a detour to Lantau Island which is just half an hour away by ferry. With scenic shores, traditional Chinese stilt houses and the bustling fishermen market, this place is great to discover the ‘old school’ Hong Kong. A must-visit here is Tai O, a charming village that is inhabited by the Tanka people. We figured that a boat trip along the creeks would be nice. Who knows if we’re lucky, we may even spot some dolphins! Lantau Island is a good place to relax and unwind, so we will probably spend a night or two here before heading back to the city.

Venice of Hong Kong, Lantau Island.

     One thing that people tend to ask when I tell them that I’m going to Hong Kong: “What about food?” The most common misconception among Muslim tourists about Hong Kong is that halal food would be scarce. However, my research surprisingly shows that there are actually many choices for authentic halal food.

     Down at the Osman Ramju Sadick Islamic Centre, the food that are prepared are not only halal, but word has it they are also delicious! Mmmm…am so looking forward to a scrumptious meal of dim sum–those delectable and mouth-watering Chinese snacks served in steaming bamboo baskets. Yes, I know we have it here but you just can’t beat the true taste of original Hong Kong dim sum, can you? We will also check out the many eateries along the Tsim Tsa Shui area for halal meals. According to friends who have been there, the choices there are aplenty, such as Bismillah Fast Food, Alladin, Islamabad Club and more.

Yummy dim sum

     And there you go, my Hong Kong holiday plan with family next month. With all these large skyscrapers, superb shopping and savoury culinary delights, Hong Kong is spellbinding and will be more fascinating come festive season! With our low-fare AirAsia flights and rooms from AirAsiaGo, my family and I can’t wait to be spellbound!