6 Hour Hong Kong Layover, (pt.1)

Hong Kong being where it is, there’s a good chance you might end up here in a transit situation of more than a few hours before you need to head on to your final destination.

What to do?

Well, you can sit around the airport, peruse the duty free shops, maybe get a new cardi at Zara. Or, you can actually leave the airport, get out and see a bit of Hong Kong before you depart.

What you can do is all based upon when your flight arrives in HK. Here’s one idea, but is basically limited to very early HK arrivals, say 5am to 7am.

Go see the “Big Buddha”!

Yes, if you do your ticket booking online, (head to the Ngong Ping 360 website), and prebook your tickets and tour time, seeing this iconic wonder is very do-able. The key is that you MUST go early in the day. Later, and things get very busy at this major HK tourist site – you would be standing in line too long to make it worthwhile.

So, if you’re into HK early, and you’ve got around 6 hours to kill, prebook your tickets online, leave your bags with the airport’s baggage storage service, grab a taxi to Tung Chung, (this is 10 min away and where you board the cable cars to the Big Buddha/Ngong Ping site), and go!

Exhibition: 90 Years of Hong Kong Porcelain Art 


I’ve got a thing for Asian pottery, reaching back to a porcelain ginger jar purchased on my first trip to Asia in 1986.  So I was delighted to stumble upon Hong Kong’s Time Square exhibit of 90 Years Of Hong Kong Porcelain Art, on now through 21 January.

On display are many fine examples of Canton porcelain serving ware, as well as a detailed history of the origins of porcelain production and trade over the past century.

Above, an example of how the designs are transferred on to the pottery piece.

Time Square is located in the Causeway Bay district of Hong Kong.


AirBnB…Not Just For Millennials

I distinctly remember the first time I heard about  Airbnb,  (https://www.airbnb.com), I was on the Hong Kong airport city link train, and a short blurb was showing on the train’s news feed video. I remember thinking at the time, “wow, this is going to change everything.”  Understatement of the decade.

Airbnb is the first choice for accommodation among many millennials, and hey you boomers,  you should be considering it to be yours as well.

I’ve long supported home-based businesses offering vacation rentals, mainly via VRBO (https://www.vrbo.com), when I’m in the States, and Bookabach , (https://www.bookabach.co.nz), when I’m in New Zealand. I find the convenience and variety these places afford to be much more to my style of travel, compared to traditional hotel stays. Most times, these rentals are located in neighbourhoods away from overcrowded tourist centres, so this gives you a chance to really get a feel for local life. And of course, as any true millennial will tell you, it’s far cheaper.

Yes, we’ve all read some of the Airbnb horror stories, (from both host and renter perspectives), but with more than 2.5 million bookings and over 4 million rental listings in over 180 countries, (2017 figures), you must admit that this travel trend is here to stay.

You can check out more about Airbnb’s future focus here https://www.airbnbcitizen.com

Beauty on the Fly

One of my (many), “why didn’t I think of this?” moments, recently in Sephora….spying for the first time their line designed especially for travel, marketed as Beauty On The Fly.

Heaps of moisturizers, cleansers, blotters, make-up….basically EVERYTHING you would need on board (and at your destination), to feel refreshed and ready to go. 

Most importantly, it’s all in TSA-approved sizes.
You can even purchase a chic carry-on friendly bag to tote it all in.


No Bathtub. No Oven. No Dryer. No Problem!

One of my favourite shows is HGTV’s House Hunters International. Probably because it is the story of my life, having been an expatriate for some 30 years now. I just love that this network has this comedy show amongst all of the flipping.

Comedy, you question? It’s not supposed to be funny. Alas, dear readers and fellow HHI fans, let me enlighten you.

Most homes outside of North America do not come with central heating. Presently, I’m sitting on my sofa here in Hong Kong, it’s 46f outside…and also 46f inside.

Most homes do not have a clothes dryer. A dryer would be a rack you set up in a sunny window. Today, with the cold and damp weather we’re having, I’ve created a dryer of sorts in my guest bath…clothes hung on aforementioned rack, with essential electric dehumidifier on, to suck out any wetness. Should take about 24 hours.

Many homes outside of North America do not come with ovens. Throughout our 17 years living in Singapore, my oven was a tiny counter-top model, about the size of my childhood Easy Bake toy. No, a Thanksgiving turkey was quite out of the question.

So when I watch with bemusement these starry-eyed home hunters, so excited to begin their expat lives in far flung Hanoi, or Prague, Shenzehn or Quitos, I have my moment…. “But, does it have a bathtub? I can’t LIVE without my bath!”