Mr. Feather and I decided to spend the winter holidays in Asia a while back, but as classic procrastinators, didn’t actually get around to booking the tickets or hotels until it was a wee bit late. As a result all the direct flights to Hong Kong were outrageously expensive for the holidays and we decided to take Asiana instead and do a stop with a plane change (sigh) in Seoul. Like most Asian airlines it had really great service and food.
Our seats were in something called the “Quadra Smartium” configuration and I thought it was a really cool setup. Very comfy and laid completely flat. The best seats if you are flying by yourself are those by the window in my opinion, but if you’re in a couple then I recommend sitting in the “middle” seats which are almost right next to each other as you can see. There is a partition you can raise if you get sick of the person next to you but you are still in very close quarters so I’d only recommend it if you really like your companion. Also next to me on the other side next to the window was an old college classmate ! Small world.
They bring you out LOTS of food but here were a few of my favorites – a Korean fried pancake of some sort that was one of the appetizers, and bibimbap! If they only had egg this would have been perfect! I heard bibimbap is a signature “Asiana” dish ato serve and they offer this identical one in all cabins.
Also had to include this – a Shin Ramen snack later. My favorite ramen brand, I was so happy to get it on a plane! Although this + conspicuous amounts of Baileys Irish Cream made me sick I think 🙁
Overall I had a really great experience on Asiana and would recommend it to everyone. The connecting flight was brutal though, especially since I usually fly direct to Hong Kong so am used to a way shorter flight. After about 20 hours of travel/connection time then, Mr. Feather and I were really excited to get off the plane and make our way over to our hotel. We fetched our luggage, got into the Peninsula car, and then sat back and relaxed…until…
…the car pulled over and we were greeted with THIS, about ~1.5 miles away from The Peninsula! Yes, at close to midnight after all our travel, we had to walk more than 2 km in the cold to our hotel because all the streets around had to be closed down for the holidays. If we had known it was like this, we would have just taken the subway and/or changed our flight to an earlier time – especially since the hotel had sent three freezing employees to stand outside and lug our luggage with us for half an hour through these huge crowds of people. I felt so bad. Anyway this was the only “ehh” part of our experience but we finally made it. Whew!
Some sweet holiday treats that we found in our hotel room – along with two Peninsula stockings filled with gingerbread cookies!
The next morning we woke up and had some grub. The Peninsula has a fantastic breakfast buffet, although I generally have always had great breakfast experiences at hotels in Hong Kong (my favorite one is at the W Hotel). It’s not as large as others but every item is very good quality and tasty.
After breakfast we went to go walk around the hotel a bit:
Isn’t this cute? Just a small snapshot of a big gingerbread “palace” they had, complete with a large house that you could actually walk into. Everything was edible and I could actually see some stars and decorations missing from people who had pried them off to eat them. A little gross but to each their own!
There were also several huge Christmas trees, accessorized by bags/boxes from all the stores in the Peninsula shopping arcade. As you can see I embarrassed myself not only by wearing these antlers around all day (hey it was Christmas!) but also forced Mr. Feather to share in my obnoxious behavior by making him to take this picture. Tourists around us were laughing – “Muhaha! Doesn’t this idiot realize the boxes are empty??” they were probably thinking. Worth a shot.
Later that day we walked around and went to one of my favorite childhood spots, the Hong Kong Bird Market.
The bird market overall was very lovely and when you enter you will see rows and rows of gorgeous antique birdcages and all kinds of adorable birds. It’s also very close to the Hong Kong Flower Market so I’d also recommend that you go swing by there and check out all the flowers. Mr. Feather snapped this photo of a beautiful parrot having fun in some water spray. I would give the final warning that it being Asia – this may not be the best place for animal rights lovers – a lot of the animals were crammed in cages pretty close to each other and there weren’t many other tourists (we were told due to SARS scares). There were many locals there though.
Later in our trip…
Afternoon tea at The Peninsula is considered an iconic Hong Kong activity by many and Mr. Feather and I decided to take a break and have the classic tea. The food and tea was excellent as always but I have to admit that overall I prefer the tea at Mandarin Oriental. Because The Peninsula’s tea is so popular there was always a huge line for it, and the hotel doesn’t take reservations (unless you are a guest – definite perk of staying there!). As a result, while you’re trying to enjoy your tea and relax, you may also be subject to the hungry stares of hordes of tourists (and on occasions angry husbands who have been dragged there from their wives and just want to sit and eat). While we were there, there was in a line wrapped completely down the whole lobby (with hour + waits).
That night we were still pretty jetlagged so some friends met us for drinks at the hotel bar, Felix. Felix is a beautiful Starck designed bar with great views of Hong Kong. The bathrooms are especially notorious because of the below:
Photo via travelstock
Yes…I’m showing you photos of men’s urinals! I’d recommend Felix to anybody – especially if you’re staying on Kowloon side – but especially if you have male companions. The men’s restroom view is infamous for allowing you to err…”do your business” over Hong Kong. Unfortunately the women’s restroom don’t offer the same option…but it’s a great bar nonetheless.
The next morning we headed off to Bangkok…and so this wraps up the first part of our trip in Hong Kong! I know that quite a few readers are from there and I would love to hear your thoughts on “must see” sights in the city so I know where to explore next. It always fascinates me how there’s an endless number of things to do and restaurants to eat at in Hong Kong – one of the best cities in the world. Hope you enjoyed and have a great Monday!