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Intensive Tour in Hong Kong

Shopping is only a great reason to drop for Hong Kong…
Hong Kong is a top destination for those who equate shopping with an effective holiday. This densely-populated former British colony, now a particular administrative region of China, sports a skyline of gleaming high rises overlooking a bustling harbor. However the 425-square – mile region, which includes Hong-kong Island, Kowloon Peninsula
, the New Territories and 262 outlying islands, also offers rural attractions: Forty percent is protected public lands.

Marcy Troy of Oakton, who’s interested in both history and shopping, is lucky that she has plenty of frequent-flier miles to cover the airfare, as flights, which take about 20 hours each way from Washington with one link, typically cost at least $1,000 roundtrip. (American, codesharing with Cathay Pacific, frequently offers great fares and suitable connections through New York.) It might be a bit cheaper to travel in December, before the holiday season, airfares fall somewhat and when hotel rates are relatively lower. Weather-wise, anticipate little rain and heat in the 60s.

Day 1. Fly to Hong-kong. Travellers get to Hong Kong the day after leaving america. The non-stop out-of Ny on Cathay Pacific, for instance, leaves at 9:15 a.m. and arrives in Hong Kong the next day at 2:25 p.m.

Day 2. Look at the hotel that will be home base for the next six nights.

Once settled in, take 10 minute walk to Times Square (www.timessquare.com.hk), a multilevel shopping center with more than 200 stores. Or if a lively street market sounds more enticing, take a five minute stroll to the outdoor market on Jardine’s Bazaar.

Day 3. Purchase a re-loadable Octopus card at the Causeway MTR station and also consider buying a different light rail/bus/MTR combo card (www.mtr.com.hk), obtainable only for tourists; discount coupons are also readily available on the MTR Web site for the Star Ferry and other places of interest.

Nearby may be the Central Mid-Levels Escalator, charged as the planet’s longest system of covered escalators, which would go to the antiques shops on Hollywood Road along with the souvenir shops on Upper Lascar Row (also called Cat Street).

The Peak’s observation deck provides grand views of Hong Kong Island, the harbor and Kowloon Peninsula. Additionally, there are hiking trails.

Next, do a harbor tour to the Star Ferry. Purchase a day-hopper ticket (about $23), which enables passengers to get off and on at any of four stops. At night, a particular ferry tour views the “Symphony of Lights,” a multimedia light-and-sound show that emanates from over 40 buildings on both sides of the seaport. The light-show, which starts at 8 p.m., may also be viewed from the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront promenade. (Hint: If viewing from the promenade, continue Monday, Wednesday or Friday, when the show is narrated in English.)

Day 5. Take an all day visit to Lantau Island. It’s simple enough to-do

via public transportation, however for solo travelers, a tour can be a great way to meet people and also to take a rest from figuring out train and bus schedules. (Tour companies include www.viator.com and www.grayline.com.hk.) Tour highlights usually include the 85-foot-high statue of Buddha (scale over 200 steps to get a closeup view); vegetarian lunch in the Po Lin Monastery; a 25-minute cable-car journey between the villages of Ngong Ping and Tung Chung; and a stroll through the Tai O fishing village.

Go upscale for Cantonese dinner at Cuisine Cuisine (www.cuisinecuisine.hk), with locations in Central and Tsim Sha Tsui.

Day 6. No more buying! An infusion of history and culture is in order. Have a class or perhaps a guided tour offered by the Hong Kong Tourism Board (www.discoverhongkong.com/usa/things-to-do/cultural-tours.html); choices include a complimentary Chinese tea appreciation class or even an architecture walk (about $26). See an early Chinese temple, such as Chi Lin Nunnery and its adjoining Nan Lian Garden (www.nanliangarden.org). Take in one of many artistic performances during the Cao Yu Drama Festival (www.lcsd.gov.hk), which runs through Dec. 12. For other thoughts, visit www.discoverhongkong.com.

For supper, more dim-sum and possibly some roast goose at Yung Kee Restaurant (www.yungkee.com.hk) in Central.

Day 7. Homeward bound back over the international date line. Expect to get there in Washington in the afternoon, if you take the morning flight on Cathay Pacific.

Total cost: Resort is approximately $1,320. Transportation, including a few late-night cabs along with a two day unlimited MTR card, will run $50 or so. Budget about $ 200 for sight-seeing, leaving a generous number of at least $ 1, 400 for purchasing and food.

Interested in having us help plan your trip? Go to washingtonpost.com/goingourway.

Copyright The Washington Post Company Oct 17, 2010

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