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Best Travel Moments from 2014 (The Year of many Firsts’)

31 Dec

Bidding goodbye to any year is never without mixed feelings. On one hand there is an excitement about planning for the new year anticipating new possibilities and potential opportunities. While on the other, there is a sadness like bidding goodbye to a good friend (time!), who has been a constant companion through the year, seen us through life’s ups and its downs, taken us to new shores, helped us grow another bit and discover that one other aspect about ourselves which we didn’t expect to find.

Clouds in water, Shudu Lake, Potatso National Park, Shangri-La, China

Clouds in water, Shudu Lake, Potatso National Park, Shangri-La, China

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Exploring Hong Kong via Public Transportation

5 Apr

Over quite a few trips to Hong Kong, I have realised that it undoubtedly has one of the best public transportation and signages networks in the world. It has all forms of transport – taxis, buses, trams, buses, minibuses, metro, ferry, etc which are very easy and convenient to use and take you to all the touristy places that you normally want to see.

So, what are the various options available to you?

For travelers who are looking for convenience and not that worried about budgets, it is very easy to hail a taxi here for nearly all places and the charges are as in the pic below –

Taxi Fares, Hong Kong

Taxi Fares, Hong Kong

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Ladies Market, Mongkok, Hong Kong

24 Mar

Continuing my walking tour from my previous post, walking around wanchai and kowloon, I had two options – either to head towards the Temple Street Night Market or the Ladies Night Market. SInce I had already been once to the Temple Street Night Market (in one of my previous HK visits) I decided to head towards the Ladies Night Market in Mongkok. I took a quick metro and reached Mongkok in about 5 minutes. Now Mongkok is quite a mixture of residential and commercial establishments, where all buildings have shops at the bottom and residences above it. All along the way, you come across typical Hong Kong narrow lanes, crowds, food shops and signages, which I feel are uniquely Hong Kong.

The lanes of Mongkok, Hong Kong

The lanes of Mongkok, Hong Kong

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My own walking tour around Wanchai and Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

23 Mar

If anyone ever asks me “What’s the best way to explore any new city?” my instant answer is “On foot”. Walking around any new city helps you get acquainted with it in a manner that no guide-book, guided tour or a tour guide can ever do. When you ditch those tours and guides and just walk around by yourself, the city will open up more to you, show you its hidden gems and help you discover some beautiful lanes / sights that will make your trip even more memorable.

During my recent trip to Hong Kong on one of the evenings after work, I decided to start walking from Wan Chai and head towards Kowloon to explore these two parts on foot and the (required) ferry.

I started my walking tour from the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre popularly known as HKCEC. This is an exhibition and convention centre, made entirely of glass and a huge aluminium roof sculpted to supposedly resemble a seabird in flight (I really tried to imagine it but just couldn’t see the connection). It is a massive building and even when you are standing at the farthest point available on land, you can’t capture this building in one frame. Hence the best view of this landmark building is from a ferry (when you can see it in entirety).

HKCEC, a soaring seagull?

HKCEC, a soaring seagull?

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Hong Kong Skyline through an iPhone lens

10 Mar

During my recent work trip to Hong Kong, I was staying at the Hong Kong main island (as I had all meetings around Central area). However I wanted to see  the famous Victoria Harbor (rather float on this busiest waterway) and on one evening chose to take a ferry to visit Kowloon (instead  of a metro or a cab). And I must say that I was not disappointed. The Hong Kong and Kowloon skylines are amazing and they look even more beautiful when they are completely lit up for the night with literally lights of every color.

Sharing a few pics below that I clicked using my iphone camera –

HK Convention Centre on the left and the city on the right

HK Convention Centre on the left and the city on the right

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Walking around Central, Hong Kong

9 Mar

I recently went on a quick work related trip to Hong Kong, which though very short in time gave me an opportunity to explore some beautiful nooks and corners of this island of numerous contrasts.

On my first day here I was running from one meeting to another all over the Central area, and came across some very interesting sights (which I would have never come to otherwise). This area is a mix of modern high-rise glass facade buildings and some buildings and monuments with old colonial architecture and gardens interspersed in between. Since Central is more of a CBD area and not much of a touristy place, there were no tourists around and I only had to share these places with a few people taking a break from work. This is my short photo essay on this walk.

I started my own walking tour from the Legislative Council Building or the Old Supreme Court Building. This building was designed by the same architect who designed a portion of Buckingham Palace and was opened in 1912. Today, it is the working chambers of the city’s small, partially elected legislature council.

Legislative Council Building (Old Supreme Court Building), Central Hong Kong

Legislative Council Building (Old Supreme Court Building), Central Hong Kong

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Chinese New Year in Hong Kong

2 May

I have seen and experienced Hong Kong in bits and parts. What I mean by it is that I have been there quite a few times, but always on official work and never on a dedicated holiday. Hence I have never had a chance to completely explore this city but somehow managed to see individual parts in my spare time like the Causeway Bay, the Peak, Kowloon, the Night Markets, LKF, the longest elevator, a few Malls, Victoria Harbour, etc. Over all these visits I have come to really like this city because in a number of ways it reminds me of Mumbai – with its crowds, chaos, traffic, smells, etc. But that’s a topic for another day and another post and today is for the Chinese New Year.

I had once visited Hong Kong just before the Chinese New Year when the city was beautifully decorated all over for this festival. Everything was decorated with props, beautiful lighting, paper cuts and flowers.

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