Hong Kong

If you can dream it, you can do it

—Walt Disney

This was my inspiration for my first trip with my Son to HongKong. Ever since I became a mother, it was my dream to take my son to Disneyland. I wanted to watch the curiosity and the mélange of colors that will unfold in his eyes to the wide and vivid world of Disney. The maternal joy thatI went through when he went on  exploring the Disneyland can’t be captured or mentioned by words.Hong Kong, the Pearl of the Orient as once called has a special place in my heart as it’s the first international trip that I took with my 5 year old son Aniruddh aka Riddhu. Here is a rundown of what we did in 3 days during our Hong Kong trip.

It was on June 14th, because of Ramadan holidays Abu Dhabi airport was crowded ridiculously. We flew from Abu Dhabi to Hong Kong with Etihad on a night flight. The flight was almost 8 hours long and Mr. A was happy watching movies and played interactive games on the inflight entertainment till sleep took over and he dozed off for about 5 hours. We reached Hong Kong by 10’o clock; they are 4 hours ahead of UAE. Hong Kong International airport is humongous. We passed the immigration without a hitch with minimal delay, Indians will have to take a pre clearance before coming to Hong Kong even though it’s mentioned as Visa on Arrival. One can do this easily by visiting the HongKong government’s website. We got our first glimpse of the city while traveling in the bus from the airport. High rise buildings were intersecting with lush green mountains, a city in contrast that we noticed throughout our stay.After our sumptuous lunch we headed straight to the Peak. We took the Peak tram to Victoria Point, the highest place in the Hong Kong Island. We waited in a long line for about an hour before we got our turn. But it didn’t matter as the view you will get once you reach the Peak is totally worth the wait. I had to struggle with my little one as he was all excited and becoming restless due to the slowpace of the queue. At last out turn came and Lucky, we got seats!!! On the right side, best while going up. At the Peak, there is a big shopping mall with cafes, restaurants, shops and the famous Madame Tussauds, it was quite a surprise for many as they never thought that the museum will be there in Hong Kong.Madam Tussauds Hong Kong is part of the renowned chain of wax museums.Most notable wax figure for Riddhu & me was Mr. Narendra Modi, our PrimeMinister. We spent some time looking at him and posing for about 10 minutes. We enjoyed the brief time of literally “rubbing shoulders” with the BritishRoyal family, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the longest serving monarch and her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Others include renowned politicians, Bollywood and Hollywood actors &sports personalities. The figures were displayed in such an effective manner that it helped me to explain my 5 year old who they were and their impact on our lives. The museum has taken good consideration while arranging the display and they made sure that everybody enjoys their visit including the kids, towards the end of the museum there are super hero figures which the kids will definitely identify and be happy to pose with. Mr. A likes posing with Spiderman and his mama enjoyed taking his pictures and with other famous personalities that we “met” on that sparkling day. We booked our accommodation at Regal Kowloon, the stay was pleasant and the staff was courteous. The breakfast that was part of the deal was very good.

On day 2 we went to see the Big Buddha, a must to do onthe HK at Lantau Island is theNgong Ping cable card ride. Wemade sure that we had a Cable car which has glass bottom,this enabled Mr. A to see the beautiful views below his feet.The ocean, the mountains thesight was awesome for him but slightly scary for his Mommy. The cable car dropped us at NgonPing village. Nature walks are accessible here but the most famous is the PoLin monastery, from here we ate our vegetarian lunch and the Tin Tan Buddha. Home to many monks, the monastery is one of HK’s most importantBuddhist sights. The Big Buddha. Finally we met the Tian Tan Buddha, the2nd largest sitting Buddha in the world. The big Buddha faces north, looking out to all Chinese people with the right hand raised to deliver a humble blessing to its followers. There are 268 steps to reach the Buddha. Our favourite view was facing the Po Ling monastery which is nestled amount the green mountains. The Buddha is surrounded by “ the offering of the Six Devas” that are posed offering flowers, incense, lamp, ointment, fruit, and music to the Buddha. They symbolize the Six Perfections of generosity, morality, patience,zeal, meditation, and wisdom, all of which are necessary for enlightenment. We ended the day with a visit to Tai-O-Village,HK’s oldest fishing village and took a boat ride back to the main island. We reached our hotel, got charged and grabbed a taxi to see the “Symphony of Lights”. We heard every night more that 40 buildings take part in a spectacular light & laser display. We headed out to Hong Kong ferry station to get to the other side, we boarded Star ferry. We sat on the Port side to get the best view.The boat journey gives the best view of the City. After landing at our destination,Mr. A found the Hong Kong Eye.Going with Mr. A’s preference we got the tickets and joined the short queue for the Eye. We could see the entire HK from an elevated position and saw the city come alive in its full pomp &grandeur. Mr. A loved every bit of this. As the clock struck 8’o Clock the “Symphony of Light” started,this is an orchestrated light and laser show comprising of 5 major themes that is an absolute delight to watch. The skyline at night is a view not to be missed. After the show we went to see the HSBC building, which is located on the Southern side of Statue Square near the location of old City Hall. Designed by British architect Norman Foster in 1985, this is one of the must see buildings in my opinion. It was the most expensive building when it was completed back then. We took a taxi back to our hotel. Set our alarm at 7’o clock to get ourselves ready for the most awaited day. Mr. A was over the moon once he got to know that we were finally going to his “favorite place in the world” the next day. His excitement knew no bounds and for this I was extremely happy.On day 3 my son and me were going to feel the Disney magic. The happiest place on earth.THE DISNEY WORLD

Last day we chilled around the hotel till the checkout. We lifted our head and looked up at all the spectacular skyscrapers in HK and walking around the busy streets of HK.Riddhu really liked the taxi (color) in HongKong. Red, Blue and Green. On the last day we caught hold of a Green taxi which was a 5 seater and he really liked the taxi. We picked our bags and started our journey to the airport, as expected, the formalities were completed in little time. As the flight took us for the take off we both looked out ofthe Window for 1 final glimpse of the

Pearl of the Orient as we bid adieu to an amazing city and an experience par excellence.

By

Krishnendu Arun

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