Travelers: Julie Maanum, her husband Thore, and their sons Bennett (age 3),and Liam (age 1).
Destination: Hong Kong
Travel dates: July 2014
Travel plans: The Maanum family took a quick weekend trip to Hong Kong, flying with Hong Kong Air and staying at the Airport Sky Marriott on Lantau Island.
Cost: The trip cost RMB 15,000 in total. Flights were RMB 1,500 for Julie, Thore, and Bennett; the infant ticket was RMB 1,000. The hotel cost RMB 1,400 per night, and included one breakfast buffet each morning. Tickets to Disneyland were RMB 1,000 for the whole family (Liam got in for free). Entertainment and transportation came to RMB 4,900.
The direct flight took just under three hours and Hong Kong Air was very hospitable, with impressive food for an airline. On first sight, we could tell Hong Kong would be beautiful. From the plane, we spotted the green islands and amazing blue water
surrounding them. We all squealed at the welcome prospect of palm trees and clear skies.
Both Thore and I have brothers who have visited Hong Kong previously, so we consulted them on what to take in. They both recommended Victoria Peak and the downtown area on Hong Kong Island, but since we were traveling with kids and had limited time, we skipped downtown this trip.
On Lantau Island, we traveled over winding roads across the island to Mui Wo Beach on the eastern shore. Though a popular beach, it felt like a secret hideaway. With a store and restaurant-lined boardwalk, it’s a great choice for families. It was low tide when we arrived, but it was still fun to play in the sand and ocean with the boys. It was both of their first times in the ocean. The cable ride up to the Giant Buddha on Lantau was also really fun.
My favorite excursion was going into Hong Kong and riding the tram up to Victoria Peak. It was raining when we started out, but by the time we reached the top the weather had cleared. The view of Hong Kong and the surrounding islands is awesome. We didn’t get to see much of the city up close and personal, but I was amazed by how different it is than Beijing, with high-rise buildings packed so close together. If we had more time, it would have been fun to explore Hong Kong a little more.
Disneyland was the number one priority attraction for us, but we were a little disappointed that, though he enjoyed himself, 3-year-old Bennett was still too young to really appreciate it. Even though the tickets were relatively cheap, I feel as though we didn’t get our money’s worth. There were long lines and it was very hot. We couldn’t spend as much time there as we would have liked. Bennett was more interested in the toy stores than the rides, which was actually a relief since all the stores were air-conditioned.
I was most impressed with how polite and accommodating everyone was. Granted, we were at major tourist attractions and our hotel, but everyone we came into contact with was extremely kind; it made a hectic trip much more enjoyable and relaxing. Hong Kong is definitely a great short-break destination for families.
•Almost everyone spoke English, so it was much easier to get around for me. (Unlike Thore, I don’t speak Mandarin). We had no problem accessing ATMs or the Internet, asking for directions, or finding someone to answer any questions we had.
•We used the Disney website and the Sky Marriott website for
•We were very lucky on our trip, in that it only rained a total of 30 minutes the entire time we were there, but the heat and humidity were rough going. It wore us all out faster than we expected.
•It typically rains briefly most days during the summer months. I am sure we will go back again, but in the fall or spring.
This article originally appeared on p32-35 of the September 2014 issue of beijingkids. To view it online for free, click here. To find out how you can obtain your own copy, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos: Courtesy of Julie Maanum