Getting a flight out of Busan is tough. It usually involves a transfer in Seoul which doesn’t make much sense seeing that Busan is already further south, in the direction of where I’m always headed.
Getting a flight to Indonesia, specifically Bali is even tougher since prices seem to always be starting at $1000. So I jumped at the chance of flying to Bali via Hong Kong since it was below that minimum. The only downside was that we’d have to spend a night in Hong Kong because our connecting flight was the next morning. This meant we had 24 hours in this city-country and I wasn’t really amused by this chance seeing that I had already been here a year ago and felt I had covered all the touristic grounds.
But we did get a free hotel room for the night, so seize this opportunity we did!
Hong Kong was drizzling the whole time we were there. Once we checked into the airport hotel we were told we got lunch and dinner vouchers, and that too for the Italian buffet restaurant. Our eyes literally popped out of our heads. Vacation to me and Kristine is all about eating and relaxing so what a wonderful start to our holiday. And this was like living up the all inclusive lifestyle. What a great start to our spring break!
Since we had both been in Hong Kong before it wasn’t tough figuring out how to get around. Hong Kong’s public transit system is one of the best in the world. The direct train from the airport to Hong Kong island (the mainland) is about 24 minutes. All we wanted to do this time around in Hong Kong was to shop. We are deprived of big brand names (and not to mention regular people sizes of clothing and shoes) in Korea. We spent our Saturday roaming the streets and charging up our cards like it was Christmas.
What I love about the shopping scene in Hong Kong is the international variety of shops – they’ve got big chains from Australia all the way to the US.
After a few hours of shopping we definitely did drop. It was wonderful to have a 4 star hotel room to go back to (and that too for FREE!). If it had been sunnier then it would have been worth it to explore the south end of Hong Kong island, where all the beaches are. But alas, this was just a stop over and the warm beds and cable TV were quite enticing. After a delicious dinner buffet of shrimp salad, chicken curry, potatoes, smoked salmon, and sushi, I was content.
Who I really have to thank for all this is Cathay Pacific, no wonder they are one of the best airlines in the world!
The one thing I noticed this time around in Hong Kong was the increase of different cultures in the city. There were more Indians this time around and it didn’t feel like there were only Chinese residents filling the streets. Of course the British make up majority of the expat population here but it wasn’t as noticeable. Also, there were a lot of hybrid couples (Chinese and Caucasian) who make the cutest little babies that filled up the shopping malls in their strollers. Everyone speaks English but with a Chinese accent, and the accent is so strong that they might as well be speaking another language.
What surprised me on this stopover what the sheer size of the Hong Kong airport – it was a maze of high end shopping, restaurants, Starbucks, and flight gates. It is one of the biggest airports in the world, and it sure does show! Its easy to get lost in the duty-free specials and the latte stands. Its also easy to forget you are at an airport when you are shopping at Zara and The Sony Store. If you just go to the airport alone in Hong Kong, you get a real feel for what the culture is all about ~ a variety of international foods and shopping!