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A Layover in Hong Kong

TravelShannon Guerrero9 Comments

It’s a tough choice to make between seeing as many places you can see and really getting to see enough of a place.  On my most recent trip to Southeast Asia, I ended up having 3 stops where they were just short layovers.  A 10-hour layover.  A 12-hour layover. A 24-hour layover.

I just went through how much I was able to see during my 24-hour stop in Taiwan.  Read about it here.  24-hours seems long compared to 10-hours, though.  It’s over twice the amount of time actually.  

So, how much can you do and see on a 10-hour layover?  I think it really depends on where you have your layover.  I think Hong Kong really is a perfect place to venture out and explore during a layover.  Partially because Hong Kong’s transportation is extremely easy and also for an American, you don’t need to attain a visa to leave the airport.

After you make it through immigration, head to the train, which is conveniently located inside the airport.  No need to purchase a ticket before hopping on.  You purchase your fare when you get to your destination.  It is about a 30-minute train ride into the city.

one.
MONTANE MANSION

Hong Kong is full of such cool, scenic spots and I knew I wanted to make it to one of the major Instagrammable spots while there.  Montane Mansion won because of it’s location and proximity to the other stops I picked.  I think the draw of Montane Mansion is how unique it is.  The amount of apartments that fill this one area is astonishing.  You literally can’t comprehend how close of quarters this must be.  

Do take note that these are actual homes for these locals.  It easy to forget that people are going about their regular lives when you stop by for a photoshoot.

two.
VICTORIA PEAK + TRAM

I don’t think I realized how beautiful Hong Kong was until getting to see the view of it from above on Victoria Peak.  You’ll be able to see how Hong Kong’s skyline of tall skyscrapers are  encompassed by vast tree groves.  It may just be one of the best views of the city.

The best way to get up to the peak is by the Victoria Peak Tram funicular.  By the way, up until last year I didn’t realize that a funicular was just a tram.  This tram is over 100 years old and often feels like you’re going up the hill at a 90 degree angle, but is a fun experience.  Get here early as the lines can get insanely long.

There are a ton of great restaurant options at the top with, of course, incredible views of the city.  One fun thing I loved doing at the top at the observation deck was to lean slightly over the railing.  It’ll be so windy once you reach over the side just slightly.  It’s quite the rush.  Obviously, be careful if you try this.

three.
FERRY

We had plans to try to stop by the Ritz Carlton hotel for more views of the city or even experience the cable cars at Ngong Ping 360 and stop by to see the Tian Tan Buddha.  Instead, we opted for walking around the city aimlessly.  

From the Victoria Peak tram, we headed toward the bay and spontaneously decided to hop on the Ferry to cross the river.  We had no idea where the Ferry would drop us off.  It turned out great, for just a few dollars, and we had some great views of the skyline from the water.  The ferry ends up in the Kowloon area.  After walking around, you can head to the nearest train station and hop back on to head back to the airport.

The great thing about Hong Kong is that it is pretty small.  You can see a good amount of the city even with just a short amount of time.  I would love to head back and do this city right.  I know I just scratched the surface of this amazing city.

Yours Truly // Shannon

China: Highlights

TravelShannon GuerreroComment

In true throwback Thursday fashion, this here is a throwback to my trip to China just over a year ago.  After taking a look at the traditions my family has during the Chinese New Year, I thought it would be fun to share my personal highlights from Beijing, Shanghai and Xian.  I went with my entire family (almost).  There were 13 people in total including my immediate family, cousins, aunts and uncles.  Very cool to visit our “homeland” as a group.  There are so many places to see but these 5 were my favorite.

THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA
I’ve always dreamed of going to China, mainly due to my heritage, but also to see the Great Wall.  And oh man, did it not disappoint.  It was gigantic and stretched farther than you could see.  We actually hiked up to the top, which my uncle claimed was about 40 stories according to his FitBit, in like 20 minutes.  We flew up that wall because we only had a limited time there on the tour we were with.  I was awestruck here. 

NIGHT MARKET
There’s a night market in Beijing called the Wangfujing Snack Street that is famous for selling insects on a stick.  The scorpions are piled onto sticks by three or four still squirming around.  They all just sit there awaiting their fate until the man throws them into a fryer and then hands it over to a waiting patron.  I almost ordered one just to say I did it, but I’m not sure I could stomach it.  And yes, that is a mini, baby seahorse below.  So sad.  Besides creepy crawly fried appetizers you can also find more edible cuisines, here.

TERRACOTTA ARMY
The Terracotta Army in Xian is a must see if you go to visit China.  It’s literally like nothing you’ve ever seen or can comprehend.  The main building is literally the size of multiple football fields with hundreds or maybe thousands of warriors.  They are still trying to excavate the site.  It’s crazy to think that someone carved every single one of those warriors, horses, etc. with such detail.  And that isn’t even the only building full of warriors.

SHANGHAI SKYLINE BY NIGHT
The first night that we arrived in Shanghai we went straight onto a river cruise to see the skyline.  The Shanghai skyline seriously rivals the strip in Las Vegas.  There are so many bright lights and colors, it’s like a show.

THE BUND
The Bund in Shanghai is probably my second favorite highlight of my trip.  The bund is a river walk that is right across the river from the afore mentioned Shanghai skyline, but the Bund gives you an amazing view during the daytime.  Yes you can go to the Bund at night, but I’d suggest doing that by boat or somewhere with a high view like the rooftop bar at the Ritz or the Vue Bar at the Hyatt.

My dream is to go back to China and visit the more southern part.  I really want to visit where my family is originally from, a small village outside of Guangzhou (used to be Canton).  My family still owns a home there where my grandpa grew up.  Well more like a fortress complete with gun holes (what?).  My cousin just informed me that it is now a Unesco World Heritage Site so it can never be torn down.  Pretty awesome! Hopefully another China trip is not far in the future.  Hong Kong of course would be so exciting to see, also.

Yours Truly // Shannon