Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Hong Kong 2009

We're back from Hong Kong and we had an amazing vacation!! This city is truly a must-do for anyone interested in international travel; we truly felt like we were in a big city in the states, like New York or San Francisco, except with an incredible international flare!

Our vacation was for 5 nights/6 days primarily b/c we wanted enough time to enjoy the city without overdoing it with the kids...plus we had two big travel days, basically allowing us 4 full days in Hong Kong. It was the perfect amount of time, although we wouldn't have minded staying longer :)

I'll tell you a little about the travel aspect since this was our first international family trip since we've moved to Japan (I say family, b/c I went to Beijing, China with a friend in April, but Tim and the kids didn't come with...)

Travel wise:
  • There are two airports to travel from Yokosuka: Haneda airport which is for domestic flights within Japan and is located approx. 40 minutes from us and Narita aiport which is for international flights and is about 2 hours from us...
  • Of course, we flew to Hong Kong from Narita aiport. There is a base airport shuttle bus that goes to Narita 3 times a day and returns 3 times a day and is for free. This is key b/c if we were to drive to the airport, which is possible if the bus times are convenient with flight times, the tolls to the airport are approx. $40 each way!! So unless absolutely necessary, people generally take the free base bus the airport.
  • We flew Cathay Pacific airlines, which was really nice. Almost all, if not all Asian airlines provide free beer and wine on the flights, which made Tim happy. Unfortunately, I could not partake :(
  • I did, however manage to land us bulk head row seating which was quite comfortable for us with the kids. You'd think that having two small children would grant us that seating but apparently the airline was quite sensitive to the fact that I was traveling while 20 weeks pregnant. They even asked for a doctor's note, which I didn't have b/c it isn't necessary in the states unless you're 30 weeks or later...Anyway, the airline was awesome.
  • We arrived in Hong Kong around 7:30 pm (one hour behind Japan) and had the airport limosine service waiting for us!! The airport is located on Lantau Island and was about 40 minutes driving distance from our hotel, Hotel Intercontinental, on Kowloon Island. The other island we visited during our trip was Hong Kong Island.
When we arrived at our hotel, it was absolutely breathtaking. Staying on Kowloon Island provided us with gorgeous views of the harbor, there really aren't words to describe it.

We had two rooms, which was a lifesaver b/c that allowed the boys to split up at bedtime and rest better. My mom slept with Arjun, and we slept with Rowen (who is easier to deal with, heehee :)

We were fortunate to get adjoining rooms, as well. But different than adjoining rooms we're used to. Instead of there being a door in the room to connect on the other side, the rooms had individual doors and then on the outside of both rooms was a little foyer area with two double doors that kept everything private and closed off. It was actually pretty cool and a great idea. so during the day, we would keep our room doors open but the main door on the outside would be shut, and could only be opened by room key, of course. The hotel also offered a butler service, we were pretty spoiled!! So if there was anything we needed, day or night, we just pushed the butler button and they would come to the door. They even offered to draw us baths for the evening but we didn't go that far (although, you know me, I was tempted)!! I'd imagine we would have had a lot of trouble leaving that place if we spoiled ourselves too much, haha!!

After a good night's sleep, we went to the pool first thing Friday morning. It was gorgeous and the pool service was great too. The weather was pretty hot and muggy in HK this time of year, so we swam pretty often, at least twice a day, once in the morning and before we went to bed at night.

After the pool, we had a very important errand to run. We FORGOT our stroller in Japan. YES, we forgot it. Tim and I must have had a complete brain lapse, b/c I don't think we've EVER gone anywhere without a stroller, and we managed to board an international flight without one!!
Luckily we found two cheap single strollers to get us through our vacation.
That afternoon for lunch, we found a cute tavern along the water that had great food. We were a little weary b/c no one was there, but were pleasantly surprised. We almost chose Outback Steakhouse for lunch, but decided not to be so lame and try something local :)

Later that evening, Tim and Arjun enjoyed a harbor cruise ride aboard the Aqualuna while my mom, Rowen, and I stayed back to and sat it the lobby to enjoy the nightly harbor lights show. Tim got to enjoy this from the boat. We were all going to go on the cruise, but the concerige recommend that I stay back b/c the water is really rough and I may get sick. Considering I get motion sickness without being pregnant, that was my que to stay off that boat!
When Tim returned, Arjun was asleep. Rowen hit the sack shortly after and my mom was pretty tired too. Even though Tim and I were tired...it's not too often we have someone to watch the kids on vacation, so we went out on the town!

Okay, it wasn't as exciting as it sounds, we weren't really out for that long...but we did have dinner at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, and it was delicious!!

Saturday we visited an English bookstore, called Page One. Pretty exciting for us b/c Tim and I love going to the bookstore, and we haven't done that in over a year.
After finding a ton of great books for the kids, we grabbed lunch at an awesome supermarket/deli called City Super. I have to admit, this was one of the first times I found myself missing the states. This grocery store was amazing, filled with all sorts of international foods, but also with tons of organic things that I used to feed the kids, but can no longer find in Japan :(

Sunday and Monday were relaxing days...as vacation days should be :) On Sunday night, we re-visited Victoria Peak to see the Hong Kong skyline at night. It was absolutley breathtaking!
We sort of got a late start getting to the peak so the boys were pretty tired and didn't really want to cooperate too much. We took a sky tram on the mountain to get to the top and would like to have stayed longer but we have some tired kiddos. After the boys were tucked in on Sunday night, Tim and I were able to hang out in the lobby for a couple of hours and just take in the view and get some time to ourselves without the kids, thanks Mom!

On Monday, we started the day off with room service, which was the routine most mornings b/c the breakfast was SO good :) The boys of course wanted to go swimming and after naptime, we swam some more, until night time fell. I think that's a pretty good way to spend our last night in Hong Kong!

The next morning, we had to check-out :( Our limosine service was ready to take us back to the airport, but not without the staff wanting a picture with their favorite little guests :)

We left the hotel at 8 am that morning. After traveling to the airport, a 4 hour flight, customs/immigration in Tokyo and a two hour bus ride from Narita airport back to Yokosuka, we finally made it home--12 hours later!!!

But it was totally worth it.

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