Nine months ago, we launched Paupers Without Travel as a platform to express the joy experienced by our souls every time we touched a place new or familiar, tasted foods known and unknown and discovered deals that would help us fund one more trip without breaking the bank. Did we expect to get a few readers? We’d be lying if we said no. But what we did not anticipate is the warmth, love and support shown by so many of you in liking and commenting on our posts and more importantly, sharing your journeys and experiences.
We were tickled pink when we got an email from WordPress last night telling us that 5,000 people attended the Aspen Food and Wine Festival. This blog had about 32,000 views in 2012. If each view were a foodie, this blog would power 6 festivals….
Ok, so to kick off the New Year, here is a tribute to some of the people we were blessed to see and learn from around the world.
Who? Anyone who wants to get from either Central or Wan Chai to Tsim Sha Tsui across the Victoria Harbor in Hong Kong while simultaneously enjoying a stunning city skyline.
What? The Star Ferry, one of Hong Kong’s most popular tourist attractions and a key commuter service for locals. There is also a Harbor tour service called the “Shining Star” that provides an especially beautiful experience at night against a completely lit up city.
How? The main Star Ferry piers are located at Central and Tsim Sha Tsui (Kowloon Point). On Monday to Friday, the adult price for the upper deck is $2.50 (Hong Kong Dollars) and the lower deck is $2.oo. Children twelve and under only pay $1.50. On Saturday, Sunday, and public holidays, the adult fee bounces to $3.00 and the children’s fee to $1.80. It is very reasonably priced for quite a memorable ride down one of Hong Kong’s most significant features.
Why? Although the ride is short and sometimes a bit rough, the Star Ferry is the most convenient mode of transport between key regions of Hong Kong and really simulates what it feels like to commute in one of the most incredibly diverse cities on the planet. From people-watching to watching the skyline come to full, roaring life with its million lightbulbs of breathtaking beauty, the ferry allows for a fully immersive experience in Hong Kong lifestyle . You are likely commuting with tons of locals, and what you can pick up about the way of life in the city from their demeanor can be culturally enlightening. Just let loose, and allow the splendor of the Victoria Harbor and the metropolitan charm that surrounds it to swallow you whole. It’s a simple way to see the heart of an awesome city.
To learn more about the Star Ferry, you can visit their website here:
Staying at airport hotels has never been a part of the way we like to travel. We love getting a place, no matter how small it is, in the heart of the city so that we can walk out the front doors in the morning and be swallowed by a new life and new culture. Much of the thrill of adventuring has been in trying to live in the epicenter of all action. But sometimes, booking a hotel during peak seasons on a budget proves to be a very trying task. Especially when you’re in one of the most popular cities in the world around Christmas and New Year’s time.
Last December, after spending winter break in Tokyo, we decided to stop in Hong Kong before coming home because it has mutually remained one of our favorite cities in the world regardless of how many new places we experience. Hotel prices in the soul of the city were ludicrous. So we decided to stay at the Marriott Sky City, located just a few minutes away from the airport.
Sitting right on the banks of the stunning South China Sea that is geographically the touching stone of so many oriental landmarks, Sky City feels like a luxury resort on every level. An indoor pool, full service spa, expansive golf course, and tremendous gym with specialized amenities (it was my favorite part of the hotel. I could work out at three in the morning and watch the planes land gracefully in the distance against the nighttime lights) are only a few among the many perks of paying less during peak season and staying near the airport. The buffet breakfast (additional cost) at the SkyCity Bistro was very comprehensive and ensured a filling, uplifting start to long days of fun and exploration in Hong Kong.
Another highlight was the complimentary shuttle service to the Tung Chung MTR subway station, which was how we connected to the rest of the city. It’s about a 35-40 minute ride to Tsim Sha Tsui, the hub of all culture and action in Kowloon (and to this day one of my favorite places on the planet). The commute isn’t ideal, but time flies watching locals and observing the beautiful seascapes through the train windows.
If you’re not visiting Hong Kong during the peak holiday season, then try to look for a hotel near Tsim Sha Tsui. Deals surface constantly. But if you are visiting at a time when hotel prices are through the roof, consider staying close to the airport at Marriott SkyCity. It was worth every penny.