Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China. It was a British colony since the First Opium War of 1840. I remember watching the news as a young girl in 1997, when Hong Kong was handed over back to China after UK’s 100 year lease of the territory ended.
Hong Kong is one of those places where Indian citizens are eligible for visa on arrival. Hence we made it a stopover on our way to India from San Francisco. We stayed at the Regal Airport Hotel which meant that we didn’t even have to step out of the airport to get to our hotel lobby. We could use the airport trolleys to roll all our luggage to the hotel lobby and not go through the hassle to stuffing it into a taxi. Although we studied the Hong Kong metro system and had planned to use it to get around, we ended up using taxis most of the time we were there.
Our visit to Lantau Island to see the big seated statue of the Tian Tan Buddha, was made less pleasant by the heavy rain. The Buddha statue was the world’s tallest outdoor seated Buddha statue until the year 2000. We took the Nong Ping 360 cable car across the Tung Chung Bay. Right next to the Buddha is the Po Lin monastery and the Wisdom Path, a ’8′ shaped trail among timber blocks with Chinese inscriptions.
Even though we visited Victoria Peak in the middle of the day, the view from ‘The Peak’ was marred by fog. However, the trip up to the peak on the funicular railway that has been in operation since 1926, was very interesting. The peak has many shopping and dining options.
The Avenue of the Stars is a walk along the Victoria Harbor waterfront, modeled after the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles. Set into the walkway are plaques honoring the celebrities. Some plaques contain hand prints and autographs of the stars set in cement. You get a nice view of the Hong Kong skyline from this location. This is also a great place to view the ‘Symphony of Lights’, a synchronized light and laser show with music, featuring buildings on both sides of the Victoria Harbor which is in the Guinness Book of records for the world’s largest permanent light and sound show.