My journey, my story
The most precious thing in my life is memory. And I'm keeping it here. This blog is specially written to record my journey to different places in the world, their history and culture. Enjoy the journey and enjoy your life. Jesus Christ loves you all!!!
Saturday, July 21, 2012
Big Bus Tour – Hong Kong, China
Just like what the name means, the fragrant harbour, Hong Kong indeed is a beautiful city of harbour surrounded by seas and ships. Hong Kong has always been one of the most favorite destinations in Asia and tourists usually travel via Hong Kong before visiting the Mainland China or other countries. It was in the afternoon that I and family decided to take Ferry to cross Central to Tsim Sha Tsui. It was the first time for me traveling by Ferry in Hong Kong for I always thought that taking a Ferry was pricey. Interestingly, on our way to the pier, we found "The Big Bus Tour" office on the second floor of the Central Ferry Pier. Curiously I entered the office and asked a few questions about the Big Bus Tour. The Philippian staff excitedly explained to us the programs they had. After some discussion, we decided to take the tour. There were some packages, but we took the Premium one that cost each person HKD 350. It included a one-day-tour, a free night tour and a free pass to The Peak Tram and Sky Terrace.
If you only have limited time to spend in Hong Kong but want to travel around the city, the Big Bus Tour is the answer. The Big Bus Tour is a hop-on and hop-off bus tour that offers visitors an unforgettable experience to see Hong Kong’s splendors from the top of a big bus. The tour includes visiting the famous landmarks in Hong Kong and explaining the history of the sites. It allows you to explore almost all places in Hong Kong starting from historical places, traditional temples to the modern buildings and skyscrapers. The Big Bus Tour company started out in London. The company then spread its wing to Hong Kong in December 2008. At the beginning, the company served tour around Hong Kong Island and Kowloon until the third route was added in April 2010. By February 2012, the company has had 14 buses in Hong Kong.
The tour company has two packages; the Premium Tour (24 hours) and the Deluxe Tour (48 hours), and in addition free trip on a Star Ferry, a sampan ride in Aberdeen and tickets to the Peak. The Deluxe tour also gives free boat cruise around the Victoria Harbour. The Premium Tour costs HKD 350/person and the Deluxe Tour HKD 420/person. The package tour consists of day tour and night tour. The day tour covers tours of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and Stanley-Aberdeen. The Hong Kong Island tour (Red Route) covers the North of Hong Kong Island, Man Mo temple, Lan Kwai Fong, Soho, Lascar Row, Dr. Sun Yat Sen Museum, the Peak, the harbor and Tin Hau to Sheung Wan. The Kowloon tour (Blue Route) revolves around Kowloon Peninsula, Yau Ma Tei, Mong Kok, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong Space Museum, the Museum of History and Hong Kong Cultural Center. The Stanley tour (Green Route) encompasses the Southern part of Hong Kong including Aberdeen, Ocean Park, Repulse Bay and Stanley Market. The most popular stops are the Ladies Market, Victoria Peak, Man Mo Temple, Soho and Stanley Market. The Night Tour allows visitors to enjoy the vibrant night life of Kowloon, the lights on Nathan Road and the fabulous lighting performance of the Symphony of Lights.
The staff told us that the bus for the night tour would be leaving in five minutes. We then fastened our pace to the bus to enjoy our first free night tour. The bus has two levels and we sat on the second level because we wanted to enjoy the view from an open-air bus. We brought the maps given by the staff and took our earphones to listen to the audio commentators. All the buses are equipped with a personal recorded commentary available in 10 languages: Putonghua (Mandarin), Cantonese, English, Japanese, Korean, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Russian. The commentary in the bus explains the history of Hong Kong and points important landmarks and insight into Cantonese culture and tradition.
I was sitting on the second level of the bus and there were many Westerners sitting there too. This is where the Night Tour adventure began….
The journey on the upper level was really wonderful. We could release all our stress and enjoy the wind breeze and the beautiful grand buildings right before our eyes. It was like watching a screen of buildings in front of me. The buildings were just so real and close to me.
On the bus, I did not take many pictures because I just wanted to enjoy the view and relax. However, if you want to capture every memory, you can take pictures from your seat or whenever the bus stops for it is unsafe to stand up while the bus is running.
During the Night Tour, we just stayed on the bus because there was only one bus operating. So, we just enjoyed the view from the top of the bus. The Night Tour’s last stop was Tsim Sha Tsui. Actually I have visited this site several times, but this time was special because I went there with my mom and boyfriend. We took some time to enjoy the night view there and take some photos. After that, we went back to our hostel in Mong Kok.
The day tour ticket can be used for another day, so we decided to take the day tour the other day. The day tour has longer route than the night. First, we took the Hong Kong tour. We needed to stop at the Peak station first to exchange our receipt with a free pass to The Peak and Sky Terrace. We had to do it earlier because the office hour ends at 5.30 pm. After getting our pass, we needed to wait for another bus for 30 minutes. Oh, my goodness, waiting is the most boring thing to do in the whole earth. I hate waiting. Rather than wasting my time sitting back on chair, I preferred to revisit the St. John's Cathedral across the Peak Tram station. I took photos there.
The Cathedral is just across the Peak Tram Station
And the bus came after 30 minutes. We took the bus to go to the next stop, which was Man Mo temple. The temple looks ordinary from the outside, but it is believed as the oldest temple in Hong Kong. After that, we went around the Lascar Street, and waited for another 30 minutes. We did not do much hop-on and hop-off for we have visited most places in this route. So we spent more time inside the bus.
Finished with the Hong Kong tour, we quickly changed our route to the Aberdeen and Stanley Tour. We did not take the Kowloon tour because the route is the same as the one in the Night Tour and we have visited the sites in the Kowloon route. But before we could take the Stanley tour, we needed to go back to the Central Pier to change the bus. Our time was limited so we only visited places we have not been to. In this new route, we stopped at the Repulse Bay and enjoyed the Sampan Ride. And at night, we took the bus to go to the Peak Tram. And I was very surprised to see how many people lining up to the tram. We had to wait for almost one hour to reach the Peak. This is something never happens before. This might be because it was holiday and parents brought their kids along for family vacation. Most visitors come from the China Mainland.
The Central Pier is the Big Bus Tour office center and the bus final station. It is also the starting point for a new route.
The Sampan Ride was about 15 minutes and we went around the Aberdeen Harbour while seeing floating ships.
Overall, the bus tour was remarkable and fantastic. However, the thing I do not really like is we have to wait for 30 minutes even though we only stop for a while to take pictures; and for the Night Tour itself, there is only one bus operating, and visitors cannot stop by. If you want to dive into the vibrant of Hong Kong and tailor your own trip, the tour is the suitable answer. It saves you quite a lot of money remembering the transport fee in Hong Kong is costly. So, if you would like to know different places in Hong Kong with quite a minimum budget, I think the Big Bus Tour is the best answer.
Personal experience and additional information from other online articles