We were awake early on Sunday morning and, after a quick breakfast at the hotel, we loaded up the rental car and headed or the airport. As was the case in Cape Town, there was a petrol station right next to the car rental return point so it was easy to fill up before handing the car over to Avis.
Our first two flights were with BA and I wasn’t enamoured of their seat allocation and check-in process. The flight to Hong Kong was operated by Cathay Pacific and everything about the experience was better than BA. I had been able to reserve seats online a month ago, at no extra charge, so I knew where we would be sitting. Online check-in opened 48 hours before flight time and was easy. As for the flight itself, Cathay’s Business Class is vastly superior to BA. We had flown on a 777 to Cape Town from London and the seats were arranged 2-4-2 across the plane. Cathay’s 777 seating arrangement was 1-2-1 giving a huge amount of extra room for storage and stretching out. The entertainment system was also better.
So it was that we arrived in Hong Kong early in the morning of Christmas Eve. There was a huge queue at Immigration so it took us a while to be processed and get out to baggage reclaim. After that, it was a straightforward journey into Hong Kong itself. We are staying in Wan Chai at the Dorsett Hotel so we took the Airport Express train to Hong Kong station and then a short taxi ride to the hotel.
We were here shortly after 9am, so we weren’t particularly surprised when they informed us that our room was not yet ready. I had read about the Wan Chai Architectural Heritage trail, which was a walk around some interesting buildings in the area so we figured that would kill a couple of hours.
Thus we spent some time wandering the streets, admiring various buildings from the “Streamline Moderne” style of Wan Chai’s old market…
…through the traditional style of The Blue House…
…on to the “Guangzhou Verandah type” shophouse…
and many more besides. Having walked quite a long way, we stopped for a coffee before heading back to the hotel in hope of getting into our room and, for the sake of everyone around us, getting the chance to shower. Luckily, a room was available for us.
The 6 hour time difference from South Africa was having an impact on us and we were feeling a little dozy but Ishbel made sure I didn’t crash completely. After relaxing a little, we went out wandering again to find a venue for an early dinner. We decided Chinese food should mark our arrival in Asia and settled on a place called Hay. Interestingly, it was right next to an enormous outdoor Christmas Tree, and it looked as if a large part of Hong Kong’s 20-something population had decided this was the place to take a selfie.
After dinner, we took a slow stroll back to the hotel. This is our first time here and we were fascinated by the bustling night markets and the crowds that thronged the streets. The Christmas theme is wholeheartedly embraced here, but there’s still a sense of business as usual around it all as well.
More by luck than judgement, we’ve picked an interesting place to spend our festive season