Tommy’s birthday is coming up soon. He’s gonna be so old… haha. I’m right behind him in a few months so I have no room to talk. When we started thinking about what to do for his birthday I mentioned a trip somewhere and the plans for Hong Kong began.
Tommy had been to Hong Kong in 1994 on his way to Ningbo, China for work and has always wanted to go back. It was his first ever view of Asia. His employer didn’t prepare them well so they mostly ate Italian and McDonalds but this trip was very different. We know what most of the foods are and those that we don’t, we aren’t afraid to try them. The kids didn’t care too much about Hong Kong so it seemed like the right trip at the right time. Just for the two of us. When I mentioned to my friend Jenny that we were going for a long weekend, she joked about us going on a date to Hong Kong. When you think about it, it really is insane that we would be able to go to another country for a birthday and long weekend date. We are so incredibly blessed. Not only did we get to go on a date to Hong Kong, we got Mimi to come “babysit”. Although our kids are able to be very independent and self sufficient here in Singapore, it’s just nice knowing there’s an adult in charge. Sort of… I’m not real sure who’s in charge when it comes to grandparents and grandkids.
We flew Jetstar for the first time. The flight was about 3.5 hours and the airline was ok. Much preferred over Tiger for sure. For now anyway. I think all of the budget airlines are hit and miss. Seats were small for our giant Western sized bodies but the petite Asian sized bodies had plenty of room.
My leg in the brown and her leg in the blue. Both adults.
The HK airport was really nice. New since 1994. It’s built on reclaimed land or at least the runways are so when we landed, all you could see out of the window was water. I was sure hoping there was some asphalt under us somewhere. We didn’t have to get a tourist visa which was super nice!!
Tommy made all the arrangements for the flights and hotel. I know it’s awful that he planned his own birthday but he didn’t seem to mind. He got a great hotel, Harbor Grand on Oil Street, and splurged for an Executive Club level room. This comes with all sorts of perks and is just so worth it if you have the money. We got a shuttle from the airport to the hotel. From then on, we were either on foot or MTR (subway). We took a taxi twice I think, and later discovered that the MTR or ferry would have actually been easier had we taken the time to look into where we were actually going.
One of the perks of an Executive Club Level room is a great view. And you can see even more if you stand on the window ledge.
We loved the weather. On the first day, anyway. It was so cool and breezy. But we should have crammed more into that day because the next two days were H.O.T. And since it was a date, all I took was cute type clothes and you really don’t want to be in cute clothes when it’s 200 degrees and your walking around. I really wished I would have had a tshirt. We also didn’t take checked bags so we packed efficiently with no spares and we really couldn’t buy anything. Nothing was rewearable after all the sweating we did.
We didn’t shop much although I did get my Hong Kong Starbucks mug to add to my global collection. We really weren’t interested in shopping. We didn’t have room to take anything back and it was all stuff that we could buy in Singapore. We didn’t do alot of looking but the prices we saw were comparable to Singapore as well. So, what did we do??? We wandered. We did a few touristy things. We ate. We ate such delicious food. It’s a good thing they don’t weigh us at the airport when we check in.
Our first meal was Pho at a place just around the corner from the hotel. It was so yummy. I usually have at least one casualty when eating Asian food and it’s usually a soy sauce splatter on my blouse but this time I bit into my spring roll and squirted juice on the man sitting at the table next to us. I was SO embarassed. He was pretty gracious but annoyed for sure. Well, they shouldn’t put the tables so close together! Luckily I had a moist antibacterial hand wipe to offer him. He’s smiling in this picture but this was before he got juiced.
I think Tommy and I would both agree that our favorite meal was Peking Duck at Peking Garden. Oh my!! We ordered the whole duck and we ate the whole duck. Actually they don’t bring you the whole thing. They cut off the best pieces of meat in a very particular way and bring you those pieces. It was so good I wished we could have taken the rest home and gnawed the meat off the bones. Yes, that’s a very Texan thing to do… Thanks to our friend, Fiona for the restaurant recommendation. She is from Singapore but lived in Hong Kong for a while and is now in Beijing. We first met her in Beijing on our trip in 2010 and enjoyed our first Peking Duck experience with her and her husband there. We were proud of ourselves this time for knowing how it’s done. It definitely ranked in the “nice” restaurant category but people were dressed in shorts and some in dresses. The price was a bit high but about half of what we would pay for that type of meal in Singapore and it was a date afterall.
The highlights of our trip were the food and spending time together somewhere other than where we normally are. Our overall perception of Hong Kong was that it was alot like Singapore with more soul. You can definitely see how Hong Kong and Singapore have similar British backgrounds. But the new was right next door to the old and we really liked that part unlike Singapore’s very segregated cultural areas. It was very Westernized but with a good dose of the old Chinese culture and often right next door to each other or stacked on top of one another. We had fun trying to take pictures of each other together. We’re so not pro’s at the long arm shot. We’ll have to practice some more.
This is what you get when the sun is too bright. It’s just awful but it makes me laugh every time I see it so I’m posting it.
And this is well, it’s just bad but you can kind of see the beautiful Hong Kong harbor and city lights behind us. Oh, and a bathroom on the right. We definitely need practice or a personal photographer to travel with us.
I think this is one of my favorite pictures from the trip. I took a lot of funky shoe pictures that I like too but I always choose my husband over shoes.
Happy Birthday, Tommy. I enjoyed our Hong Kong date. Where to next year??
You don’t need a visa to get into Hong Kong. I guess some do but not American citizens and many others.
Hong Kong is a part of China again (since 1997) but they operate using their own system that is more British than Chinese. Smart move on China’s part to keep it separate. Hong Kong has to be making China a ton of moolah.
They have their own currency. Hong Kong Dollar. And you can’t get it in Singapore, btw.
And if you go, it’s probably smart not to eat salads or fruits without thick skins or drink anything but bottled water. Tommy ate some lettuce and got a little sick after that. When we travel abroad, we always drink bottled water and even brush our teeth with bottled water and watch what we eat even if they say it’s safe or filtered or whatever. It’s just not worth it to be sick on vacation.