As the summer heat wave hits India, we will all start exploring destinations with our beloved families, friends, and cousins during summer vacations. Every year my family along with my cousins, travel to a new destination during summer vacations, where the kids can have their fun time, my uncles & aunties can enjoy the shopping with some sumptuous food, while the cousins can have a mix of adventure, entertainment, and culture. Since they all know how much I travel, I am the one who always suggests the destination go to, along with things to do in that location. I was looking for a country which has something for everybody in the family like theme parks, entertainment zones, movie symbolic places, some shopping, some temples and some more attractions. While doing some research online and speaking to few friends and cousins, we all seemed to agree on Hong Kong.
Here are the attractions he had planned for our upcoming Hong Kong trip with my cousins:
Becoming a child at Hong Kong Disneyland
Secretly all my cousins must be dreaming to meet Disney cartoons and dance during the parade with the characters. Since this is the closest in Asia after the one in Florida, US, I would like to say that this is ‘Best of all, it’s in Hong Kong’. I wouldn’t have to think of visiting Florida anytime soon. Also, I don’t think one is never too old for a date with Mickey Mouse. The Disney experience starts right from the train you board to reach Disneyland as the train is entirely Disney themed. Imagine taking a photo with Mickey and Minnie, Oh my God! I am already thinking of the cuteness overload on my timeline! Hong Kong Disneyland offers immersive and unforgettable experiences not only for the kids about for the whole family and that cannot be missed. The brand-new Iron Man Experience, the first-ever Marvel-themed attraction in a Disney park has just opened. That would be the time for some of my crazy cousins to have personal experiences with their favorite Iron Man! Imagine dining with Disney characters! Sounds amazing right? I am definitely going try this with my cousins. Oh btw, I read that we can even stay close to the park in case we want to experience Disneyland very closely. An exotic adventure beckons at the new Disney Explorers Lodge, which is Hong Kong Disneyland Resort’s third hotel, and is slated to open on April 30th. And missing the parade would be missing the most important part in Disneyland.
Animal encounters in Ocean Park.
During my visit to Macau, I couldn’t get close to the cute Giant Pandas and that has been on my wish list from long. My cute cousins shouted ‘Panda’ whenever we discussed them in our group meetings. Ocean Park has been awarded, on multiple occasions, for their achievements in the field of animal conservation. They have some of the Asia rarest animals, magnificent aquariums, shark tunnels, and jellyfish tanks. Along with the adrenaline filled rides, there are three encounters that we all are aiming at. ‘Panda Keeper for a Day program’ would be my favorite where you learn to make panda food-use bamboo to skew the fruit on it – and also learn to scoop panda’s poop! Yuck! I am sure most of my little cousins are going to say this. Dolphin and Penguin encounters are the other two feeding encounters where the programs are so interesting that they will teach my cousins so much more about these animals.
Free Things do in HK
Being Gujarati, I am sure most of my uncles and aunties will ask my brother, are there any free activities or tours that one can do in Hong Kong? One can explore parks in Hong Kong, like the Victoria Park where one can enjoy a picnic basket on a lovely afternoon. What if I told them that the “World’s largest permanent light and sound show” called so by the Guinness World Records is completely free? I am sure my relatives would be extremely thrilled to experience the magical and the spectacular approximately 15-minute light and sound show ‘Symphony of Light” were laser lights and digital fireworks shootout harp at an 8.00pm local time from 45 buildings along the Victoria Harbour. Some of the relatives can visit the most opulent & grandest temple – Po Lin Monastery- to search for the inner light. It is also home to the famous “Big Buddha,” which measures more than 100 feet high and made from bronze. There are few more free activities that one can do in Hong Kong like visit markets, go on a self-guided walking tour, spend time on the beach, visit museums etc. These activities can suit anyone who has an interest in them.
Ride on in the Hong Kong Tram
In a city where 80% of the city, adorns skyscrapers and cosmopolitan surroundings, a heritage still keeps Hong Kong’s tourist close to the local experience. Very few countries still run the tram service. While in India, we still have them in Kolkata, we do not have double decker trams. I have been always fond of the double decker bus in Mumbai. I wonder how thrilled and enchanted I will be when I sit in one of these trams. Hong Kong Tramways is the world’s largest fleet of double-deck tramcars. I am sure my cousins will travel in them all day and will keep saying ‘ding ding’ – a local name for the tram. My uncle is going to be happy at the pricing as any distance covered the prices are pegged at HKD 2.30.
Aerial view of Hong Kong’s Skyscrapers
The breath-taking view of the skyscrapers in Hong Kong can be enthralling for few travelers like me. The skyline of the Hong Kong has around 7,600 skyscrapers, high-rises and other iconic buildings that were built purely due to premium land pricing and population. We plan to go atop Sky 100, located on the 100th floor of Hong Kong’s tallest building (the International Commerce Centre (ICC)) which offers incredible 360-degree views of Victoria Harbour. Some of my cousins love speed, so taking a lift to 100th floor in 60 seconds itself will be an adventure for them.
Jump around to see the City on a Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus
Let us all agree, kids will enjoy sitting in the open top Hop-On-Hop-Off bus and cruising around while one pass alongside the city’s skyscrapers. With a British colonial history, iconic double-deck buses are all around Hong Kong. They take you to all the magnificent attractions in the city. The hassle free route that they offer will give an understanding of the culture and history of the city. We will then walk down the city and explore more in detail.
Star Ferry and Victoria Harbour
The star ferry boats are the most beloved icons of the city and I am sure my entire family will love experiencing ferry in any city. They have been faithfully carrying passengers from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon and back since 1888. Imagine! I can tick an item off of my bucket list that National Geographic rates as, as one of the 50 ‘places to be in, once in a lifetime’. Now going back to old times also means the cost of the ferry would remain the same. My uncle’s dreams come true! The price for the ticket is only around INR 22 or 2.5 HKD. It is not only just for tourists but also for daily commuters, as pointed out by famous movie star Michael Wong. It was also rated first in the ‘Top 10 Most Exciting Ferry Rides’ in the world by the Society of American Travel Writers.
If you are looking to know more things to do in Hong Kong, then check out this personal experience by Barbara.
A bird’s eye view of any city is the most enthralling experience for me or even my cousin sister. So when I saw celebrity actor Michael Wong recommending a helicopter tour of Victoria Harbour for an exceptional family experience: gazing down at ferries, container ships, coastal vessels and motor yachts I decided to save extra money for this enthralling experience.
Indulging in Sumptuous Food
I think many people have told me that I visit a place only to experience food. We are not one of those Gujarati’s who carries homemade food to other destinations and then misses out on local experiences of food. I swear by local food and I must say I have had the experience of trying out Hong Kong food during my trip to Macau as well. Best of all, It’s in Hong Kong is clearly known as foodies heaven. As always, my aunt who is a pure vegetarian inquired about vegetarian food. I immediately told her that there are vegetarian restaurants which serve India cuisine we well. She was like “Thank God, I will survive then”. Food is more than passion in Hong Kong is what I have heard from few friends who have already been there. But if you are an eggetarian just like me, then a must try is the “egg tart”. Local street food & fine dining restaurants are a good combination for family get-together meals.
Shop till you drop
How can one keep the ladies in the family happy while one heads to Hong Kong? Bring the ladies to ‘ladies market’ for shopping. Let me tell you – my family has bigger shoppers especially when it comes to cheap shopping places. Also, there’s no age-limit for shopping, especially when the stores come with everything from cartoon characters to the latest gadgets and toys at the same place. So my uncles, aunties, and cousins all will enjoy shopping at the same place. From shopping malls to street shopping, “Best of all, it’s in Hong Kong” fits perfectly well with shopping.
So my brother also smartly added in this fact that while he was researching he came across a news from the Hong Kong Tourism Board that to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region are offering coupon booklet with fabulous offers from 21 attractions, airlines and transportation for many tourists to plan their summer holiday in Hong Kong.
I am totally excited about Hong Kong, along with my cousins. Here is a video featuring Michael Wong, the actor who takes his family on an exciting, lovely and a joyful tour of Hong Kong.
So what is your summer holiday plan? Have you thought of a destination? Are you convinced to plan your family tour to Hong Kong?
Picture Credits: Hong Tourism Board, Shutterstock, Google and Disney.
Note: This post is in collaboration with Hong Kong Tourism Board. However, opinions are always personal.