hong kong china

DA NANG TO HONG KONG: A QUICK VISA RUN

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As our Vietnam Visa is about to expire, we are doing a quick visa run to Hong Kong in order to renew it.

We already applied online for a new 3 month Visa for when we come back from Hong Kong.

Read how you can easily get your Vietnam Visa here.

Southeast Asia is perfect for these visa runs, there are many countries nearby with a good choice of visa free nations too such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia.
As you should already know if you are familiar with our blog, we have been living in Da Nang (central Vietnam) for the last year. The city is currently having a tourism boom, a brand new international terminal just opened in May 2017, more and more flights are landing here everyday from nearby major cities around Asia.

HONG KONG

Hong Kong is not far from Vietnam, with multiple daily connections from different airlines, both low cost (VietJet, Hong Kong Express, Jetstar…) and higher end (Vietnam Airlines, Cathay Pacific). So we couldn’t miss this cheap Da Nang-Hong Kong return flight we found online, for just 65$.
Being working based in Da Nang, we can’t afford but 2 days off. We’re leaving on Monday morning and coming back on Tuesday night, it will be short but intense!

DAY 1 IN HONG KONG

As soon as we land at Hong Kong International Airport we are literally thrown into chaos: Hong Kong is a huge connection hub to China, and many choose to fly here and then take buses, trains and ferries to nearby cities like Shenzen, Guangzhou, Macau.

We take bus n.A21 for 33HKD (about 4.5USD) which will get us to the city in roughly one hour. The landscape coming from the airport is particular: tall, old looking, lined up apartment buildings rise up wherever there’s a minimum space, or in some cases artificial land has been built on the sea, whilst big green mountains cover the nearby background. Of course this is due to the country’s limited sprawl. Similar old buildings occupy the centre of the city too, in Kowloon and Tsim Sha Tsui.

Hong Kong hotel
Buildings in old Hong Kong
Hong Kong hotel
Buildings in old Hong Kong
The bus drops us in Nathan Rd., one of the main city’s artery. Our room for the night is just nearby. It’s a very basic room we booked for 30 Usd online. The building is a bit dodgy to be honest, in bad conditions, quite dirty and not looked after at all.
Accommodation in Hong Kong is either expensive modern hotels on Hong Kong Island, or tiny private rooms like the one we ended up in.

Later we walk down south on Nathan Rd., passing by Kowloon Park and the quirky Hong Kong Avenue of Comic Stars.

Hong Kong to Da Nang
Staircase @Comic Stars Avenue

We use the underground MTR to cross the sea and get to Hong Kong Island, the newest part of the city. As we planned previously, the first and main thing we want to do is to go for The Peak, which is pretty much self explanatory. We get help from a kind young man who literally escorts us to the bus stop where we can catch the shuttle bus that will take us up.

Flight Da Nang to Hong Kong
View on tram way in Hong Kong Island

Not only buses and taxis run on the streets, but trams too. As a matter of fact trams were the first mean of transport installed in Hong Kong to face the steep climbs, and are still in use now, quite charming.

Finally we leave the urbanized area and are now projected into the green: the road is very scenic as we go uphill. Some luxury villas are nestled up here, as well as private schools and country clubs.

When we reach the top, Victoria Peak, we are surprised and kind of disappointed to find a mall on top of it! Didn’t expect that, but it’s a consequence of mass tourism. The building is similar to the one we found at the base of Seoul Tower, South Korea.

If one wanted to have a more nature oriented experience in Hong Kong, then Dragon’s Back is the place to go: we were told it’s a very nice hike, far less crowded, with access to a beach too. Unfortunately for us it’s a 3-4 hour trip that we cannot afford this time. Still there’s a cool loop to walk at The Peak, avoiding the mall.

Da Nang Hong Kong flights
Nice walk around The Peak
Hong Kong to airport
Hong Kong view on Victoria Harbour

Locals come here jogging, while enjoying great views on Victoria Harbour, the mountains and the city at sunset. However, the best panoramic view is definitely from the right side of The Peak. We spent some time walking around and now the night has come: Hong Kong skyline by night is just wow. Now all those skyscrapers don’t look bad at all!

Hong Kong what to do
Hong Kong luminous Skyline by night

Hunger comes upon us and we try to go back: the queue for the shuttle bus is eternal. Once downtown, we take the MTR up to Jordan, and choose a dim-sum restaurant close to Jordan Road. Here in Hong Kong we couldn’t miss local dumplings, dim sum!

where to eat Hong Kong
Dim sum!

DAY 2 IN HONG KONG

We wake up early to make the most of the half day we have left before catching our flight back to Da Nang, Vietnam.

Hong Kong what to see
Hong Kong Clock Tower

We walk down to the beautiful sea front and Victoria Harbour, the most historical part of the city. Some old parts still remain, including the Tsim Sha Tsui Clock Tower and what’s left of the Kowloon City Wall. The view in front of us is impressive: tens, probably hundreds of skyscrapers dominate the view.

Hong Kong where to stay
View of Hong Kong Island from Victoria Harbour

Although the underground MTR service is excellent, many locals still use the ferry boat to get to Hong Kong Island, and so do we, for only 7 HKD and a 10 minute cross.

We now find ourselves in the super modern financial area, it’s like the slow ferry boat made us jump 30 years into the future. We walk around and stop for a bite in popular Lan Kwai Fong, a famous street in a district full of restaurants and eateries.

Lan Kwai Fong Hong Kong
Lan Kwai Fong street

As Hong Kong it’s often referred as “a place where East meets West”, we see some examples like Asian and European or American men wearing shirt&tie, eating dim sum and drinking a pint of beer like good old brits.

Heading back down to the underground station, we walk by many high end shops, restaurants, shopping malls: this area has not much to offer to us backpackers on a budget, we can only window shop. Once in Kowloon, we catch the bus to the airport, witnessing again all the massive apartments popping out here and there.
All this makes us think what humans are capable of, both in a positive and negative way. Getting 7 million people living in such a small and uncomfortably surfaced area. They even built a new immense Disney World recently, half way between the airport and the city.
It was a good short trip, perhaps we could have done in three days but we wouldn’t recommend staying longer than that. After all, it’s a big city or a tiny state with limited attractions.
However it’s definitely a good spot for visa runs and well worth a visit, if you ever get a long connection flight, go for the amazing view from The Peak!
Accomodation:
Transportation:
  • Return flight Da Nang-Hong Kong: Hong Kong Express, 2 hours, we found an offer for 65 USD, check here for deals.
  • Airport Bus A21: 33HKD (4.5USD), 1 hour;
  • Octopus Card: valid for MTR, buses, trams; get it at the airport for 39HKD, refundable when you return it; fares from 5HKD;
  • Victoria Harbour ferry boat: 7HKD, 10 minutes.
A Million Travels @Hong Kong
A Million Travels @Victoria Harbour

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