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Lantau & Kowloon

RTW - Hong Kong

semi-overcast 28 °C
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After spending the day in Macau, the following day I stayed in Hong Kong, making my way over to Lantau Island.

Big Buddha at Po Lin

Big Buddha at Po Lin

Passing by close to the airport, I made my way up to Po Lin to visit the Big Buddha statue and Monastery (which was unfortunately undergoing major reconstruction). After witnessing the huge monument, I went back down the mountain to the traditional village of Tai O with stilt houses.

Making my way back to Hong Kong earlier than expected, I walked down much of the length of the main street in Kowloon, on the north side of the centre before taking the ferry back across Victoria Harbour. I then rested back at my hotel for an hour or so, before meeting up with my first friendly face of the trip - Pan, who I had met in Germany almost two years previously.

With Pan

With Pan


First watching the Light Show over the harbour, we then spent the evening together visiting markets and other attractions in Kowloon.

Light show over Victoria Harbour

Light show over Victoria Harbour

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Hong Kong Tagged city friends fireworks rtw erasmus Comments (0)

"Can I take a picture with you?"

RTW - Macau

all seasons in one day 27 °C
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On my first full day the weather in Hong Kong was torrential...getting absolutely drenched after a few minutes, despite all my waterproofs on, but this didn't matter so much as I walked a short distance to the ferry terminal, where I would take a ferry over to the Portuguese version of Hong Kong - Macau.

The territory was handed back over to China in 1999 and unlike Hong Kong is very very small (around half the size of San Marino, compared to HK's half the size of Luxembourg), and actually makes more money in gambling than Las Vegas.

Senado Square

Senado Square

Luckily the weather in Macau was much nicer, although it did make the first half of the hour long ferry journey pretty bumpy. I then spent about 5 hours walking around the territory, starting with the newer developed areas where some of the casinos are, before walking around some of the more Chinese areas and seeing Senado Square.

Ruins of St. Paul's

Ruins of St. Paul's

I then finished my tour of the city with it's landmark - the ruins of St. Paul's - a former cathedral that was mostly destroyed by a fire after a typhoon in 1835, with only the front fa├žade remaining. It was here that the bizarre moment of my trip occurred, when after being asked by a group of what looked like Chinese to take a group photo for them, I was asked if they could take a photo with me...

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Macau Tagged history tourists rtw colony Comments (0)

An Hour in Taiwan

RTW - Taiwan


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Although my third leg was Hong Kong, it actually covered all the regions of China. The first was a quick transfer in Taiwan. Unfortunately only spending an hour there - there was still enough time to buy a souvenir, and see some views out of the dodgy old plane plane.

Welcome to Taiwan

Welcome to Taiwan

Before taking off to Hong Kong, the man next to me had to get the mechanic on before take off to fix his seat! The plane was just four seats wide and had the engines at the back of the plane.....And here was me thinking Taiwan was modern!

The super modern plane

The super modern plane

I then flew into Hong Kong circling over Hong Kong Island, and again seeing great views over the central areas.

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Taiwan Tagged airport rtw transfer Comments (0)

"I like your T-Shirt!"

RTW - Tokyo

sunny 32 °C
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Having left Dubai at a disgustingly early 2:50am (and being told by the air hostess that she loved my T-Shirt, not realising it was actually dedicated to Copenhagen, despite the red blob looking rather like the Japanese flag), I was flown over Afghanistan and the Himalayas and then China and Korea before touching down in Japan in the early evening.

By the time I worked out and bought all the transport cards for the entirety of my trip and made it to my hotel it was already 9pm...and so finally making it to bed was a relief, and I treated myself to an extra long lie in, getting up at around 2pm, after the maid had already called. However this was to be one of the many appreciations for the Japanese I was to encounter...the maid had left me all the essentials for night (sheets, toiletries, dressing gown) just outside my door without disturbing me! So lovely of her!

I then took the metro to do a bit of sightseeing that and I once again witnessed some of the Japanese behaviour, this time in terms of personal space - when a train is half full, Japanese people will automatically space themselves so that their is a single seat between each other. However when the train is more busy this becomes more difficult, and so if there are 3 people sitting next to each other (where there will be a visible gap between them) and the person on the end gets up to the leave the train, almost instantaneously, the middle passenger will move to the edge...such a funny thing to see!

Asakusa Shrine

Asakusa Shrine

I then arrived at my first sight, the Asakusa Shrine, a short distance away from the Tokyo Skytree - and the two could not be more different! One being a historical place of worship, and the other a modern commercial tower! This was then followed by a visit across town to the Shibuya Crossing, the busiest crossing in the world where people cross in any direction, fun to people watch!

Tokyo Metropolitan Towers

Tokyo Metropolitan Towers

On the second day I realised how warm it was in the city..despite being 10 degrees colder than Dubai, it was still over 30! More refreshing, but still pretty humid. I had first visited the Tokyo Metropolitan Towers, where free views of the city are available, and then gone through the park areas to see more Shines.

Yasukuni Shrine

Yasukuni Shrine

After this, I finished up at the Tokyo Tower, before eating and then going back to the Asakusa Shine to see it in darkness.

Asakusa

Asakusa


Edo Castle

Edo Castle

On my final full day I saw the very heart of the city, including the Imperial Palace grounds, which I had booked in advance and were free. For my final night I had decided to spend it in a capsule bed, which was also offered by my hotel and was only one step up from a dorm room. However being Japan, there is so much respect for others and I had an easy nights sleep before making my way to the airport for my onward flight.

Capsule Bed

Capsule Bed

The hotel I stayed in I can easily say is the best hotel ever, being so cheap, in a great location as well as friendly and helpful staff and very modern and clean - although this could easily sum up Japan in general! The small bit I have seen has been so wonderful that it makes me want to visit again, and I would recommend it to all of you!

Next stop: Hong Kong!

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Japan Tagged technology tower culture history palace city shrine rtw Comments (0)

"You have food!" "No, it's a teddy bear..."

RTW - Dubai

sunny 40 °C
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After a late flight from Heathrow on a cold Tuesday morning and flying over desirable locations like Syria, Iraq and Iran, I finally arrived in the United Arab Emirates just as the sunset to begin my 77 day adventure. And the first thing that hit me (quite literally) was the heat! Although it had been the same temperature in Hungary just three weeks earlier, the humidity was so much more making you feel sweaty almost instantly - every time I went outside my glasses steamed up! The thing I can compare it most to, is like when you open the oven door when cooking and all the steam blows in your face....only this didn't end!

One of the most annoying things was actually the air conditioning...being that it was kept too cold! Meaning the inside temperatures were around 25 degrees colder than the outside. It was quite annoying that just as you got used to the heat, you'd go inside and freeze...then as you got used to that you'd be boiling again - a bit like when you walk round the freezer section of the supermarket in your shorts - I resorted to bringing my jacket round with me all day!

Dune Bashing

Dune Bashing

On my first full day I was still getting used to the temperature and so I had a long lie in before a short walk around the area, where the souqs were located and then going back to my hotel before being picked up at 3 for my Evening Desert Safari! This was a lot of fun, being driven over the sand dunes as well as getting to ride a camel and then an evening meal whilst watching belly dancing. Definitely worth the money! One the second and third full days I had booked myself onto the bus tours of the city (having experienced what heat does in Hungary, I knew that this was probably the best way for me to see the sights in my limited time in the city) and so on the first day I saw the Bur Dubai and Deira areas and then change bus to see the new development areas such as the Palm and the Burj al-Arab hotel and many of the huge shopping centres.

Burj Al-Arab

Burj Al-Arab

Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa

This then took me to the tallest building in the world - the Burj Khalifa, where I had booked a ticket to ascend to the observation tower, although for a moment I wondered whether I would in fact make it up there - having put my bags through security, Kevin Bear was picked out as being food! (something banned from the top) Whether this was a genuine mistake, or a reflection of Middle Eastern eating habits is still unclear. But once making it to the top it was an incredible experience, being on the 124th floor looking down over the desert - although unfortunately the humidity does limit the distance that can be seen.

View from the Burj Khalifa

View from the Burj Khalifa


Dubai by night

Dubai by night

I had timed this visit so that I would be able to see the city in both daylight and at night..amazing to see a city lit up at night! I spent a while up the tower before coming back down to view the fountain show and then heading back to my hotel.

Dhow Cruise

Dhow Cruise

On my final day, I had a late flight (or is it early the next?) at 2:50am, and so I had a long day to visit more of the city. I therefore took the free Dhow cruise down the river, before making my way on the bus tour to the meeting point where we would have a free guided tour of the neighbouring Emirate of Sharjah just to the north east of Dubai. After arriving back I then made my way over to the Dubai Museum and Sheikh's house which were too free after purchasing my tour bus ride, before making my way back to my hotel to collect my luggage and travel to the airport...albeit 5 hours early.

Sheikh's House

Sheikh's House

Dubai was an incredible experience...seeing both luxury and Arab culture although I would say go in the winter months instead, as several continuous days at 40+ is really uncomfortable!

Next stop: Tokyo!

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in United Arab Emirates Tagged desert tower city sand rtw Comments (0)

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