May 2015 - Vikingess Voyages

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Sightseeing in Hong Kong: The Peak Tram and Victoria Peak

10:41:00 PM
While in Hong Kong you might want to take a short trip up to the Victoria Peak to get a magnificent panoramic view of the metropolis. As a plus, this destination gives you the chance to take a ride on Asia's oldest funicular, the Peak Tram. The funicular dates back to 1888, and has been one of the symbols of Hong Kong for many years. 
Waiting for the Peak Tram
The view from the funicular is good, and when you reach the final stop you can see even more of the area. And if the regular view is not enough a small extra fee will give you access to the highest viewing platform in Hong Kong, the Sky Terrace, at 428 meters above sea level. 

View towards the greener areas of Hong Kong
The Peak Tower where you can pay an entrance fee to get access to the Sky Terrace with a 360° view of Hong Kong
Hong Kong seen from the Sky Terrace
A panorama showing the view of Hong Kong
Hong Kong seen from inside the Peak Tower

All in all it was nice to see the view of Hong Kong from the Victoria Peak, and for people who want to see more of Hong Kong than the inside of a shopping mall it would for sure be a well spent afternoon. We didn't stay until after sunset, but visiting during the evening might be an alternative if we ever get the chance to come back to Hong Kong again in the future.

Thank you for reading! Please feel free to leave any comments or questions below

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Royal Plaza Hotel
Royal Plaza
JJ Hotel
Kimberley Hotel
Harbour Grand Hong Kong Hotel
Harbour Grand Hong Kong Hotel

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Sightseeing in Hong Kong: The Dragon Back Hiking Trail

11:08:00 PM
Although Hong Kong is more renowned for its many shopping opportunities and delicious food than for its natural surroundings the city is actually situated close to beautiful mountains providing great hiking opportunities for those who long to get away from the bustling city life. 
For Yuma and me this hike was in fact the first thing we chose to do for our stay in Hong Kong. Neither of us are particularly found of shopping, and as the first day of our vacation fully at our disposal we decided to charge our batteries.

The bus terminal at Shau Kei Wan
Finding the way to the hiking trail was relatively easy. First we took the metro to Shau Kei Wan Station where the bus terminal was located by exit 3, and from there we got on bus number 9. The bus took us up the mountains and into the wilderness, and we almost didn't notice it when the buss passed by Tei Wan, where we were supposed to get off. 
A sign showing the way to the Dragon's Back
On the side of the road there was a small sign with the dragon symbolising the trail we were taking; the Dragon's Back. Apparently this track is very well considered among travellers, and in 2004 it was even selected by TIME Asia as the best urban hiking trail. Although the trail was situated in the middle of nowhere they still had done a good job with ensuring that visitors had access to toilets and even a box with a button one could press in case of emergency.
Prepared for all sorts of emergencies
From the main road we went straight into the bushes and the wilderness and soon we found ourselves in the middle of a small bamboo forest.
The beginning of the trail
It didn't take long though until the vegetation grew thinner and shorter, and soon we reached an area where we had a good view at the nearby peninsula on the other side of the bay.
Along the trail we could see the beaches stretching out far below us, and we could also glimpse some islands far out at sea.

As we got closer to the top it got pretty hot, not that much because of the physical effort of following the trail but rather because of the lack of vegetation. The sun was burning hot!

All along the way we had beautiful view though. It was fantastic to get out of the city and get to relax in the nature.
The Dragon's Back
At the latter half of the hike we got to the area which gave the Dragon's Back its name.

We reached the top of the Shek o Peak at 284 meters, and rested at one of the benches there before starting the descending.

Apparently the hike takes about 1-2 hours to complete. In our case we weren't really in a rush, so we went quite slowly and probably spent a little bit more than two hours on the hike.

After a couple of relaxing hours with long breaks on the way we reached the end of the trail. This place was situated right by a beach known as the Big Wave Bay Beach, and it seemed that a number of other foreigners also had discovered this hidden gem already.
Some cute houses at the end of the trail
Some local stores selling all you might need for a trip to the beach
The Big Wave Bay Beach
After a lunch at a local restaurant we went down to the beach too. We spent some time strolling on the sand dunes before heading back to Hong Kong.

Right by the beach there was a bus stop where the same bus we used to get to the trail also stopped at. It was easy to get back to the city, and after having returned to Shau Kei Wan we enjoyed one of Hong Kong's specialities, the egg tarts at a bakery in the nearby food market.
One of Hong Kong's many specialities; the egg tart. Delicious!

Thank you for reading! Please feel free to leave any comments or questions below

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Recommended Hotels in Hong Kong

Royal Plaza Hotel
Royal Plaza Hotel
JJ Hotel
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Kimberley Hotel
Kimberley Hotel
Harbour Grand Hong Kong Hotel
Harbour Grand Hong Kong Hotel

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Sightseeing in Saitama: Washi no Sato (和紙の里) World Heritage Paper Making in Chichibu (秩父)

9:50:00 PM
A poster outside of Washi no Sato proclaiming the UNESCO intangible heritage status
Japanese paper craft has long been popular far outside the country's borders with for instance paper folding techniques like origami being practiced all over the world. The importance of the traditional Japanese paper-making technique, in Japanese known as washi, has also been recognised by UNESCO, and just November last year (2014) it was designated an intangible heritage by the organization.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

[Hotel Reviews] Saitama: Heiseirou Onsen Health Center (嵐山渓谷温泉健康センター平成楼)

9:21:00 PM
Saitama prefecture is situated north of Tokyo, but compared to other close prefectures like Chiba and Yokohama it is still a bit of an undiscovered gem with regards to foreign tourists. The prefecture still has some relatively known tourist destinations such as "little Edo" in Kawagoe with its increasingly popular Kawagoe Matsuri festival and the shibazakura (moss phlox) or many onsen (hotsprings)  in Chichibu.

Through my work I have had the chance to travel to different areas in Saitama to meet with the representatives of local hotels, and when my mother and grandmother visited me a month ago it was a great opportunity to try to stay at one of the hotels as a guest.
We went to stay at a place called Heiseirou Health Center (平成楼, full name 嵐山渓谷温泉健康センター平成楼), a Japanese style hotel where the atmosphere makes it almost feel like you're back in the Showa period.

About Me

Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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