Going ashore in Hong Kong

View towards Hong Kong featured image

The port of Hong Kong is one of the busiest and biggest in the world. Despite of its huge size and numerous terminals, going out of this port is quite an easy task and it requires only a small effort – from the financial and time consuming point of view. But, with cargo operations going at high speed everywhere in the world – and especially in China – you can consider yourself very lucky if your vessel stays alongside more than 12 hours. If the stay is during daytime and your responsibilities on board allow it, you can take this opportunity and go out of the port for a short walk.

You can also arrive in Hong Kong at the beginning (or end) of your contract as this is one of the most common places in Asia for signing on (or off) the vessels (along with Singapore and Taiwan). In this case, you may have a few hours available for wandering around the city (before joining or after leaving the vessel).

If you have the opportunity to spend one night in a hotel or if you come out of the port and into the city, you will arrive in Kowloon – the busiest district of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. You will reach Hong Kong island only if you cross over the Victoria Harbour – by metro or taxi (through one of the three tunnels, under the harbour) or by boat.

Walking inside the port is permitted only in some terminals, but completely forbidden in others. In case walking is not allowed, a shuttle bus service is provided on request during the day, but very difficult to come across during night time. If your vessel calls Hong Kong a few times during your contract, you can make a plan and visit a different place each time you reach the city.

From the gate, a taxi will take you to Nathan Road or to Tsim Sha Tsui Metro Station for only 10US$. From there, depending on your available time, you can try and make the best of your visit.

You can start your walk with Kowloon district. Nathan Road is the most famous and crowded boulevard in Kowloon, the centre of economical and financial life. If you are passionate about shopping, you will find everything you want – and much more – on Nathan Road if you walk up this street (Nathan Road Number 1 is right by the sea, crossing the Salisbury Road and the numbers go up, on both sides).

Kowloon Nathan Road (1)

Kowloon Nathan Road (2)

Kowloon Nathan Road (3)

There are many small shops along this street, but big malls as well – Tsim Sha Tsui area – and one of the most luxurious of all you will find close to the Ferry TerminalHarbour City Mall.

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If you like wandering around open markets – like bazaars – the best place to go is Lady’s Market (close to Mong Kok Metro Station). Lady’s Market is one of the best shopping places in town where you can find very good deals for shoes, sport articles, clothes, bags, souvenirs, but also fresh and dried fruits, sweets and fish.

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Opposite Lady’s Market, on Nathan Road you will find another shopping Mall – Langham Place – a wide display of international famous brands with very good prices, especially off season.

If you are not into shopping, but you want to visit around Kowloon Area, you can have a stroll along the waterfront (where Nathan Road meets Salisbury Road). Under way to the water front, you can spend a relaxing time walking along the alleys of Kowloon Park. Here, especially in the early hours of morning or late in the afternoon, you can mingle among the locals while they are enjoying their spare time – doing their favourite outdoor activities (reading, running, different types of gymnastics, swimming and yoga).

Kowloon Park (2)

Kowloon Park (1)

Kowloon Park (3)

Kowloon Park (4)

Kowloon Park (5)

Kowloon Park (6)

Close to the Ferry Terminal, you will find Hong Kong Cultural Centre with all the buildings that belong to it – HK Museum of Art, HK Space Museum, Clock Tower.

HK-Museum-of-Art

Hong-Kong-Clock-Tower

Hong-Kong-Space-Museum

If you follow the road to the left, along the waterfront, you will find yourself on the Avenue of Stars – the Hollywood like boulevard dotted with stars of local famous actors, singers and movie directors.

Hong-Kong-Avenue-of-Stars

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Hong Kong Avenue of Stars (1)

This is also a very good spot to admire and photograph the beautiful Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong island situated across the water – especially the well known landmark of HK Conventional and Expositional Centre.

View towards Hong Kong Conventional and Expositional Centre

If your time is more generous, you can cross the harbour – by metro, taxi or boat – and spend a few hours on the Hong Kong Island.

The best choice for a quick sightseeing around the island is the double decker tram which crosses the town from East to West. This kind of double decker tram is a very rare sight nowadays (actually, you can have a ride on a tram like this only in Hong Kong and in one small town in England) and it offers you a beautiful tour around the most important places on the island. The tram is used by locals and tourists alike and the ticket is very cheap (2HK$/one way).

Hong Kong double decker tram (1)

Hong Kong double decker tram (2)

If you want to have a wonderful panoramic view over the harbour you can go up Victoria Peak (300 m altitude). To arrive there, you can take the funicular – Peak Tram. The journey to the top lasts only 8 minutes, but the trip is more interesting on the way back as the road ramps down on a 30° angle.

Peak Tram Hong Kong

From Victoria Peak, you will have a wonderful view towards Kowloon and New Territories and, if the visibility is good, you can see as far as Macau and continental China. You can also catch a glimpse of the port, where your vessel is docked and you can admire all the sky scrapers which belong to Hong Kong financial district.

View from Victoria Peak towards Kowloon and HK Financial District

The funicular building hosts a small shopping area and some restaurants. If you have more free time and you love the nature, you can go down the hill on foot, following the road which curves down through lavish vegetation and singing birds.

Path going down Victoria Peak Hong Kong

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There are many interesting places to see and visit around Hong Kong island and the most important of them are:

HK Zoological and Botanical Garden;

Madame Tussaud’s Museum;

Hong Kong Park;

Former Governor’s Residence;

City Hall;

Bank of China Tower ( designed by the famous architect I.M.Pei who designed the Louvre Pyramids);

Hong Kong Observation deck (Sky Terrace)– the tallest sky scraper in town.

Useful Information:

– In June 2015, one euro was worth ~ 8 HK$;

– One metro card valid one day costs 55 HK$;

– The Tram to Victoria Peak costs 40HK$ or 83HK$ with access to Sky Terrace;

– The Seafarers’ Mission, called The Mariners’ Club is located in Kowloon – Number 11 Middle Road – and it offers wireless internet, recreational area (with a restaurant, a bar, table tennis, pool table, darts, reading room, swimming pool), accommodation, barber’s shop, exchange office. It is open 24/7.

Hong-Kong-Seamens-Club-Mariners-Club

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Recommendation:

Han Yang Won Korean Restaurant – situated in Kowloon district (5/F, JD MALL, 233-239 NATHAN ROAD)

It offers a very wide display of food that you can cook yourself on the grill in the middle of the table. The restaurant requires an entrance fee (~ 200 HK$) which allows you to eat as much as you can during lunch and dinner hours (drinks are not included).

Hong Kong Han Yang Won Korean Restaurant (1)

Hong Kong Han Yang Won Korean Restaurant (3)

Hong Kong Han Yang Won Korean Restaurant (4)

Hong Kong Han Yang Won Korean Restaurant (5)

Hong Kong Han Yang Won Korean Restaurant (6)

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