1. Hong Kong… The first day.

The plane trip form KL to HK was “fun”. It started with a half klm walk to the plane in KL as it was at the LCC terminal. For those that don’t know, that means “Low Cost Carrier”  (cheap fares) and therefore planes do not dock at the terminal, but park WAY out on the tarmac.

(Update…..However on return in August we found a new terminal had been built and the planes now “docked” at the terminal.)

Due to the very stormy weather in Sth East Asia at this time of year and despite the captains efforts to avoid the “Upsy  Downsys” quite a number of passengers went something like “Ooooooo” or was it “SH**** !!!!!” on a few occasions when we hit turbulence and dropped…………. very quickly!!!!. Mrs Wombat went a funny shade of pale, but eventually after coming into Hong Kong through “Pea Soup” right down to ground level we made it, the captain receiving a round of applause. We spoke to him on the way off and suggested he ask all passengers to go “Yeehaaaaaaaaaa!!!” together next time, which he thought was a good idea.

The transport system is amazing in Hong Kong, and after a short walk from customs  to a bus which was piloted by a “racing car driver”, we were dropped 40 mins later literally at the front of our hotel. The Regal Riverside is huge, 1138 rooms on 16 floors. Reception was packed at 8pm with about 30 people booking in. It is like that most of the day and up till midnight. A lot of noisy Chinese guests and I do mean NOISY. A bunch of Cockatoos is tame by comparison. We had the luxury of the top floor with magnificent views over the river to the hills in the distance. Just over the river is a recreation area with five large swimming pools, squash courts, and two soccer fields, four tennis courts, four basketball courts, rugby field and cricket pitch all lit up through the night. The river in front is used for rowing and canoeing. This area of Hong Kong was used for the Paralympic Games.

View from hotel room

View from hotel room

We had a big room 37sq mt, one king size and a single bed, kitchen (no gear in it) and huge shower. Mirrors on one full wall and THE CEILING make it look even larger.

Mrs Wombat was suffering a cough and confined herself to bed while yours truly went “hunting” food. Although the hotel has eleven bars and restaurants local food is cheaper and I found a plethora of snack stalls, restaurants big and small just behind the hotel. It is no wonder, as apart from the 2-3000 people in the hotel there are 20-30 multi story apartment blocks all around, therefore the population of the area of Sha Tin must be many, many thousands, most of whom do not cook at  home.

So my first meal of Dim Sum (dumplings) went down well.

The following morning we woke up to thunder, lightning and torrential rain. However it eased off around 10am and we set off on our first mission. To pre-purchase our train tickets to Shanghai next week. In China you MUST book early as trains book out, (so I am told). We thought it would be a mammoth job, heading to the main HK railway station but when we inquired how to get there, at Sha Tin station the clerk said he could book it from there. So a quick visit to the ATM and $1500 HK ($210 AU) later we had our tickets on the overnight train (3pm–11am) from Hong Kong to Shanghai, not on the Tuesday as planned but Wednesday as there is no train on Tuesdays. In that fare, there is of course one night’s accommodation so all in all it is a cheap fare.  Ah well, another night in HK is no problem. Thank goodness for the internet as we had to change the Shanghai booking by a day and re-book another in the Riverside Hotel. Don’t do it at the desk, better deals online, and half the price.

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Willie Wombat

About Willie Wombat

Wombats come from Tasmania which is the island state at the bottom end of Australia. We enjoy traveling and try to do a bit before we get too old to enjoy it anymore. We are currently both (Mr. & Mrs. Wombat) in our seventies so the time must come soon to pull up the armchairs and footstools and settle down to life on our 17 acre property 30 klm from Hobart which is the capital of Tasmania.
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