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Wednesday October 24th, 2007

Hong Kong, Sunny Max: 31; Min: 24; Avg: 28

Even though our room looked out over the extremely busy Nathan Road, we'd slept all night. After breakfast we walked along Nathan Road towards the Star Ferry terminal and took the ferry across Victoria Harbour to Hong Kong Island. We eventually found the bus station and the bus to Stanley and its famous market. We sat upstairs and enjoyed the bus trip past the racecourse, over the peak, past the exclusive Repulse Bay and up towards Stanley. The bus trip is a great experience - great views of Hong Kong island and amazement at how the drivers manage to manoeuvre the double-decker bus along the small roads.

Sitting on the Star Ferry The market at Stanley On the beach at Stanley Enjoying the refreshing water on the beach at Stanley

The market isn't anything special - just like any other market in Asia with clothes, bric-a-brac and art in a nicely confusing maze of alleys running down to beach front. We bought a couple of scarves, but that was about it. We bought lunch in a beautifully assorted supermarket with freshly made sushi and sandwiches. We walked along the cliffs and found a bench to eat it all.

The Star Ferry leaving the terminal Hong Kong side Ex-prison at Stanley Reastaurant on the sea front (Stanley)

The beach was empty and the children enjoyed a dip before we in the late afternoon took the bus back to Hong Kong Park, once the grounds of Victoria Barracks, now housing a large greenhouse and an aviary with more than 800 birds. Unfortunately we arrived 15 minutes before closing, so there wasn't a lot of time to see the many multi-coloured birds.

Things for the dog ... Business area of Hong Kong St. John's Cathedral - Hong Kong

We left the park and headed towards St. John's Cathedral, the oldest Anglican Church in the Far East, and perhaps the only one with ceiling fans. We walked onto the Peak Tram Station, opened in 1888 reducing the travel time to the top of Victoria Peak from 3 hours (carried by chair!) to 8 minutes. The queue was long but once at the top, the view over Hong Kong, Victoria Harbour and Kowloon was very impressive - despite the smog over the city. It really is a steep climb and you can feel yourself being pressed back on the way up and pressed forward on the way down - the track is 1.4 km long with a gradient of between 4 and 27 degrees, rising from 28m to 396m above sea level. We waited for sunset and saw the lights turned on in all the buildings, which is just as impressive, before taking the tram back down. Unfortunately we were together with a group of Chinese tourists on the way down who evidently believed they had the right to get off the tram first, no matter who stood in their way - small children included.

The trams in Hong Kong The Peak Tram to Victoria Peak Going uphill in the Peak Tram On top of Victoria Peak

We walked back to the ferry terminal, sailed across to Kowloon and walked through the gigantic shopping centre. We finally realised that the restaurants were on the first floor - which made it easier for us to find somewhere to eat. We walked back to the hotel enjoying the warm evening air, tired after a long day.

View over Hong Kong from Victoria Peak View over Hong Kong from Victoria Peak Central Pier - the terminal for the Star Ferry

NEXT DAY (25th)