We took a late afternoon flight from Singapore and landed at the newish Hong Kong International Airport on Lantau Island. As our airplane made its approach to the airport we were lucky enough to see the array of outlying islands and some of the actual landing with the last of the day’s light.
It was a long taxi from the runway to the terminal, and once we disembarked we started the processing that goes with international travel. Unlike Singapore where everything is relatively efficient we found ourselves in a long slow moving queue. The “meet and greet” people tried to reduce this impression by having passengers line up one at a time behind each person currently being checked through by customs officers, with the rest of us in the traditional long single line queues. It probably felt a lot longer than usual because as a novice visitor I was really keen to get out and begin seeing Hong Kong.
Once out of customs and baggage claim, we headed out onto the huge main concourse. It took us a few minutes to get our bearings and finally we decided on taking a taxi to the hotel, ensuring that on our first night in the city we would not get lost nor need to walk for miles in the astounding heat and humidity. Besides, work was paying. 😉
When you get to the tourist information area I’d suggest you pick up all the maps they provide, as I later discovered that some maps give a slightly wider coverage than the ‘tourist attraction’ map. They also kindly give you an approximate cost for transport via taxi to the various districts of the city. In our case we were staying at the Holiday Inn on Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui.
The trip to the city was quite amazing. By this time it was nightfall and we were to get our introduction to Hong Kong’s night lights.
The first thing to strike me as we left the airport precinct was the amount of greenspace and countryside. I know that it’s silly, but I just didn’t have a mental picture of a green Hong Kong.
After that revelation the next thing was the lightshow that is the Tsing Ma Bridge and it’s neighbours the Ting Kau Bridge and the Kap Shui Mun Bridge at night. Spectacular. And free (if you exclude the cab fare). The only shame was not being able to take photographs from a moving taxi.
The entry to Kowloon is flanked by the port area, and boy what a port ! (See what I do for a living, in case you think this a weird observation.) It is huge. It is vibrant and bright at night. But this is only the beginning of the light show. We began to enter the shopping district of Kowloon known as the Golden Mile. The signage is almost overpoweringly bright, and I wondered how on earth I was going to manage to sleep at night.
As we pulled into the side-street entrance to the Holiday Inn, I was feeling a little overwhelmed by the sights and sounds of this city at night. It is like nothing I have ever seen before.