Archive for the ‘Hong Kong’ Category


Finally found a decent internet connection to get some more pictures up. Enjoy! Hong Kong & Vietnam

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I wrote a post earlier about setting up this part of the trip but for those of you trying to do something similar here is the rest of the story.

We had already purchased our tickets on the overnight bus from Shenzhen to Pingxiang so all that remained was to complete the trip. We left Hong Kong around noon and simply reversed the subway trip we took in. It seemed to be much quicker and easier, oddly enough, to get into China than into HK and we arrived in Shenzhen around 2.

We grabbed a bite to eat at the only restaurant in the bus terminal with our HK roommate Ollie. He arrived the second day we were in HK en route to becoming an english teacher in China. It’s always nice to meet up with new people even if it is only for a short time. He took off for the airport and we boarded our bus with our other new friend Oyea. Oyea lives in Pingxiang and was more than happy to show us the ropes.

We boarded the bus at 640pm and were more than pleasantly surprised. The bunks were definitely small but clean. There are three rows of beds two high for the length of the bus. I’d highly recommend getting a top bunk as people will eventually be sleeping in the aisles so you may end up sleeping much closer to someone than you’d want to be. Also if it’s possible ask to get the top bunks at the very front of the bus as you’ll gets bit of extra room. There’ll be enough space to store your bag if it’s just a backpack which is probably a good idea.

The bus took off from the station at 640 but it didn’t actually hit the highway until about 9. The bus stopped a lot. People got on about every 15 minutes or so which is why I think it’s a good idea to keep your bag on the bus with you. The belly of the bus is opened ad shut at every stop so it’s not unbelievable that your bag may get “lost” in the shuffle.

At around 930 we pulled into the station in Pingxiang. I think it may have been possible to get dropped at the border or close to it as they made quite a few stops before the station but we didn’t ask. The minute you get off the bus you’ll be asked if you want a ride to the border. Go through the station and grab a cab. Our friend Oyea put is in a taxi and said we should pay 25RMB for the ride. It seems reasonable as it’s about a 20 minute ride.

You’ll be dropped at something that looks like a tourist attraction. There’s a booth on the left selling tickets but this is not for the border. Do not buy a ticket just head through on the left. First you’ll go through Chinese immigration then through Vietnamese immigration. Both are pretty straight forward.

As soon as you exit Vietnamese immigration there will be golf carts waiting to take you to where you catch the minibuses to Hanoi. They charge 1USD per person but it’s completely unnecessary to take these as the bus stop is only about 1km down the road.

The minibus drivers will be all over you when you enter the little parking lot. We only as the one but there may be other options. They will wait for the bus to be full and they will also pick people up along the way. Ours even stopped for lunch en route. Remember there is a time change when you cross the border so you gain an hour. We left the border around 1015 and arrived in Hanoi at about 330. The trip was 5USD each.

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Hong Kong while it’s still an Asian city has been very much westernized through it’s century of British rule. So much so that it was easy to be fooled into thinking we weren’t in Asia anymore. The city is cleaner and more efficient than any of the other cities in the area with maybe the exception of Tokyo. The people act the way we would naturally expect, making eye contact or holding the door open for you. There are anti smoking and littering rules everywhere with heavy fines for breaking them. My favourite rule is definitely the no spitting.

Because Hong Kong has been so westernized it was a nice break for us. Most everyone spoke english and often at a very high level. Unfortunately with the westernization comes the western prices. Everything was much more expensive here than mainland china and you can see it in the people. Money seems to just ooze out of HK. Everywhere you look there’s money. There are more luxury cars on the streets than any other kind of car. So much so that a mercedes or a BMW looks like a mediocre car when compared to the lambourghinis or maseratis next to it.

Not only was HK a mini escape from Asia we surprisingly also got to have a break from the city. We spent our last day in HK in Shek O. It’s a small secluded village on the south coast of Hong Kong Island. We very happily spent the better part of the day lying on the beach. We very unhappily realized after we woke up from our hour long nap that HK had fooled us again. Because it is always so hazy and smoggy we completely forgot about sunscreen and woke up looking like Lester’s cousin.

We rounded out the HK trip, and our money, eating some decent Indian food and watching the laser and lantern display on the waterfront. I really enjoyed HK even if it did make me look ridiculous. I would seriously consider paying it another visit. Next time, though, I’ll take more money.

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Day 23: Hot Kong

After a long day of traveling on Tuesday we took it pretty easy yesterday. We unfortunately had to set out early in order to get our visas straightened out. After only 15 minutes though at the consulate we were all set. We didn’t really have anything planned as we had assumed the visa process would take a little longer and we didn’t have time in Shanghai to read up on Hong Kong so we spent the first bit wandering aimlessly in the heat. HongKong is definitely the hottest city we’ve been in and the two of us were quickly sweaty ad uncomfortable.

We took refuge in HongKong park where we escaped the heat and the sudden rain storm. We had a short nap under the trees before we continued onto the botanical and zoological gardens. One of the best parts of HK is that the majority of it’s sites are free. Definitely not the case in mainland China.we watched the monkeys do their thing for a while and kept moving.

We took a quick look at Man Mo Temple which was actually quite a bit different than the many others we’ve seen. This one had coiled incense hanging from the ceiling and free sticks for you to light. It was rally quite nice and although much more touristy it felt more legit.

We wrapped up the day at Happy Valley Racecourse watching some horses. The place was pretty swanky quite a bit more upscale than say the CDP with people pulling up in BMWs Mercedes and Maseratis. All of the members were dressed to the nines and you could feel the money in the air. The whole thing was quite exciting and a highly recommended HK attraction.

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Disclaimer: this post is boring. I’m only writing it for other travelers trying to do the same thing or similar to us as it was not east finding this info online.

We unfortunately had to fly from Shanghai to Shenzhen because all of the trains from Shanghai to Hong Kong were booked. Shenzhen is the city on mainland China closest to Hong Kong. The flight took just over two hours and cost us 1450RMB for two people. We landed at the airport and took a shuttle to Futian Station. I think the bus was 330 but you can find them just outside the arrivals gate. Tickets were 20RMB each.

Futian bus station is also connected to the Shenzhen metro. After Hong Kong we are traveling to Hanoi Vietnam and we had read that there is an ovenight bus leaving from Shenzhen to Pingxiang (the border city on the Chinese side). We booked our tickets at the station ourselves. The lady at the information desk spoke english and it was very easy. The tickets are 250RMB one way per person and the bus leaves at 18:40. We booked the tickets 4 days in advance but I’m not sure how far in advance you can do this. We will add a note later to tell how this goes.

After stopping briefly to book the tickets we hopped on the subway to Luoho station at the end of the line, 4RMB for a ticket. After arriving at Luoho you should take exit A and follow the signs to Hong Kong. You will go through Chinese customs and immigration then the same for Hong Kong.

Then get back on the metro this time in Hong Kong and continue your journey. Our hostel was in Tsim Sha Tsui so we traveled to that station. Tickets were 73HKD for two people. The whole trip from airport to hostel took about 4.5 hours. We will follow the same route in reverse to get back to the bus station on Saturday to head to Vietnam.

We also secured our Vietnamese visas in Hong Kong. Rather painless aside from the price. You fill out the application at the Vietnamese Consulate and submit your application along with one photo. They can process them in 5 business days including the day you submit and they are also open on Saturdays for 300HKD or have it ready in about 10 minutes for 500HKD.

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We’ve finally been able to upload a few pictures. They’ve been uploaded to facebook but for those of you who don’t have fb… here’s the link 🙂 Enjoy!

P.S. We’re obviously still alive, just haven’t had time to write the posts and get them on the website. Stay tuned, we should have an update shortly.

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