We arrived to Hong-Kong two days before boarding the cruise ship, and we stayed in Shanghai four days after the cruise.
The cruise was a very successful combination of intensive days in the places where we docked and relaxed days at sea. The weather changed radically between days. As we went north the temperatures dropped. In Busan temperatures reached -1 ° C.
In Vietnam and the Philippines we decided to take excursions because these are places that seem more difficult to manage alone. In Taipei and Busan we walked alone. The tour details appear in the blog's links.
We arrived in Hong Kong by plane in the morning. At the airport we bought Hong Kong Airport Express Travel Pass which is good for 3 days of public transport, including one way from the airport to the city. we used it to go to the hotel which is located on the island, close to the central.
We stayed at the Jen by Shangry La, 508 Queens Road West Hong Kong 00001. The Hotel is located just across the MTR station HKU.
After resting at the hotel we went to Central and walked to the Mid level Escalators. It is the world's longest outdoor covered escalator system, stretching for over 800 meters and rising 135 meters through the streets of a steep hillside linking these districts of Hong Kong Island. We wandered around, walking along Hollywood Road and the near by streets. There are a lot of shops vary from tiny shops selling souvenirs to galleries selling valuable Chinese art.
We Entered the Man Mo Temple at 126 Hollywood Road. It was built in 1847 in honor of the Man Literature and War God (Mo). It is full of atmosphere and there are beautiful incense-hanging coils of the ceiling filling the space with strong aromatic aromas.
We continued walking along Hollywood Road and we arrive at SoHo, one of Hong Kong's most popular hangouts. It offers nice cafes and bars with sidewalk seating.
Day 2 in Hong Kong:
We went to Macau.
Macau is a former Portuguese colony. You will need your passport to enter Macau and to re-enter Hong Kong.You will need to fill out an Arrival Card when entering Macau. A Macau Visa is not required for most visitors. In cases where a visa is required, it can be obtained upon arrival at the immigration checkpoint, with the exception of passport holders from the following countries: Bangladesh, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam. Macau has its own currency, the Pataca, although most everybody will accept Hong Kong dollars . The Macau Ferries from Hong Kong depart from both Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. The journey takes around one hour. Ferry from Hong Kong Island sails from Sheung Wan Ferry Terminal every 15 minutes, and Ferry from Kowloon departs from the China Ferry Terminal at 33 Canton Road in Tsim Sha Tsui every 30 minutes.
We took the Turbo Jet Ferry from Hong Kong Island. We took the MTR from the hotel to the Sheung Wan MTR Station, and from there walked to the Ferry terminal. We didn't buy the return ticket from Macau to Hong Kong because we were not sure at what time we will come back. in the evening it turned out to be a mistake, because there were very big lines. So my recommendation is to buy also the return ticket. (the price is the same).
After arriving to to Macau, we decided to board the shuttle that goes to the Venetian Casino. our plan was to eat lunch at one of the buffet in the Casino, and later on go to Macau old city.
The Venetian Casino is very nice, and the Sea-food buffet was great.
The Venetian Hotel
After lunch we returned withe the shuttle to the Ferry terminal and from there, took the bus the the city center. The bus that goes to the city center are 3, 3A 10 and 10A.
The Old Town is located around Senado Square, so we got off the bus on Avenue Ave. Almeida Ribeiro, along which there are several stations. (On the other side of the sidewalk we caught the bus back to the Ferry Terminal). From there, the Ruins of St. Paul are within walking distance and just around in the area there are many alleys and lanes worth checking out for some great local food.
Decorations to Chinese new year -The year of the Rooster
St. Joseph's Seminary and Church
The Ruins of St. Paul’s
We took the bus back to the Ferry terminal, and from there, back to Hong-Kong.
we decided to take a ferry from North Point Public Pier. we found the pier quite easy and we boarded the ferry. We departed the ferry in the middle of steps leading up to the platform and from there we walked quite a bit until we entered the ship's check-in terminal. Since we had big suitcases it was a bit challenging. The ferry experience was nice but I don't recommended it if there is a difficulty with mobility or a lot of luggage.
View of the Celebrity Millennium from the Ferry
We had lunch and then used the port's free Shuttle to go back to Hong Kong. The shuttle took us to a Mall, and from there we took the MTR to go to The Flower Market.
We got off the MTR at Prince Edward MTR station and walked to market. The streets were crowded with people because of the Chinese New Year approaching and the market was full of flowers and decorations that symbolized the holiday.
Directions to the Flower Market:
MTR Prince Edward Station, Exit B1. Walk east along Prince Edward Road West until you reach the market.
MTR Mong Kok East Station, Exit C. Walk to Sai Yee Street via the footbridge and follow the signs.
At the end of the market Street, Flower Market Road, we turned left and walk through the pedestrian crossing to the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden, home to dozens of tiny shops specializing in songbirds and tiny bird-shaped cages and bird food: live crickets and grasshopper. This is popular meeting place for pensioners who come here with their birds.
From there we continued walking in the streets, enjoying the atmosphere of the holidays, and returned to the shuttle that took us back to the chip.
2nd Day of Cruise:
We enjoined resting on the cruise, going to the Gym, Eating and reading. In the afternoon we went on deck to see and photograph Sailing off Hong-Kong.
3rd Day of Cruise:
Today we joined a tour of the ship's kitchen. It was very interesting. They divided us into small groups and each group was guided by a chef. They took us to see how all the dishes were prepared in the kitchen.
Day 4 of Cruise: Hue (Hoi)/Danang, Vietnam
We took Excursion of the Ship to Hue and Danang and enjoined it very much.
A small village on the way to Hue:
Hue / Hoi - Japanese covered bridge:
Hue / Hoi - Fujian Temple:
Hue / Hoi - Street Market:
China beach - Popular by American soldiers during the Vietnam war:
Day 6 of Cruise: : Manila, Philippines
We took Excursion of the Ship to Manila. It was very good and very informative. The guide gave us a lot of information about the Filipino people, what they believe in, their culture, their heroes.
Day 6 of Cruise: : Manila, Philippines, Day trip to Taal Volcano
We took Excursion of the Ship to Tagaytay. The city overlooks Taal Lake you can see Taal Volcano Island in the middle of the lake. The excursion was organized very good, including escort by police motorcycles to ensure that we will arrive on time. We stopped on the way at Jeepney factory and St Joseph Parish to see the Bamboo Organ.
We arrived to Taipei with Celebrity Millennium cruise ship. The ship Docked in Keelung which is approximately 16 miles northeast from Taipei. from the port we walked to the Keelung Railway Station which is near the port. We boarded the train to Taipei Main Station. the fare changes depending on type of train the changes are between NT$41 to NT$64. the travel time: About 45 minutes. Schedule for the train (write Taipei-Keelung ) : http://www.railway.gov.tw/en/
At the Taipei Main station we bought a daily ticket to the MRT (the local metro) A one day pass costs NT$150 and is valid from start to end of service. more details about it: http://english.trtc.com.tw
We boarded the MRT brown line to Taipei Zoo, and from there we walked to the entrance of the Taipei Gondola. we bought tickets to the gondola. There are two types of Gondola cabins: Crystal Cabins and regular ones. The Crystal cabins are modified from the original gondola cabins. The bottom of the original cabin was replaced with tri-layer reinforced glass. There are two separate lines to the two types of cabins, and the line to the crystal cabin was significantly longer.
There are four stations:
We took a regular cabin to the fourth station: Maokong Station. The main attraction of this stop is the food. There are stalls that sell noodles, sausages, and even Korean food. Also, there are a couple of hot pot restaurants and several coffee shops. we just walked a little and took some pictures, and than boarded a crystal cabin to the third station Zhinan Temple Station. The place is breath taking. Not only is it a beautiful location, but you can see all of Taipei from there. We went to the temple which was decorated specially to the Chinese new year and took a lot of pictures.
Zhinan Temple Station
we took the MRT to the Taipei 101 building. "Taipei 101 is an engineering marvel and the first building of its kind in the world. Spanning 101 stories above the ground at 508 meters, the building was designed as a symbol of technology's evolution fused with Asian tradition. The building features many pan-Chinese and Asian elements mixed with a postmodern style, and is designed to withstand typhoons and earthquakes common in Taiwan.Besides the tower, the base of the building houses a multi-level shopping mall, food court, various restaurants and stores"
We walked around and inside the building, took some pictures and went back to Kellung port the same way as we arrived: MRT to Taipei main station and a train to the Keelung Railway station.
We arrived to Busan with Celebrity Millennium cruise ship. The ship docks about 3 miles southeast of the city. We got off the ship and changed money in a small booth outside the ship. From there we took a free shuttle to the city center. The shuttle stops at Nampodong on the main street in Gudeok Ro near the Jagalachi Fish Market and PIFF Square, near the entrance to Nampodong Metro Station.
We crossed the street and entered the Jagalachi Fish Market. The market is located in a main building, but there are also a lot of booths around it. The market is very clean and contains a large variety of fish and seafood. The sellers in the market are constantly busy cleaning and preparing the fish. You can buy fish and seafood in the market and go up to the second floor to the restaurants and ask to be prepared. We were not hungry, so we continue walking.
We returned to the main road , crossed to the other side and wandered among the alleys. On gwangjang-ro we saw a long queue for buying 'Hotteok'. This is a local vegetarian fried dish like a pancake, filled with sunflower and pumpkin seeds. It was delicious.
We finished are day in Busan by walking to Lotte department store. It is located at Nampodong Station.
At the roof of the mall there is a beautiful Sky park on the 11th floor, and an Observation deck on the 12th floor with a magnificent view of Busan and the Bay.
Day 13 of the Cruise, First day in Shanghai, China
We arrived in the morning to Shanghai. For us it is the second time that we are in Shanghai so it was easier. we got on a taxi and went to the Hotel. We stayed at the New World Shanghai, 1555 Dingxi Road Shanghai 200050. The Hotel was very nice with a very good breakfast buffet, and was located near a subway station.
We left our luggage at the Hotel, and took the subway to Nanjing Road. We got of at Nanjing East Road station which is in the middle of the pedestrian area of Nanjing Road.
We used the following self guided walking tour We found in the Internet to guide us along the walk:
The streets were crowded because of the coming holiday: Chinese new year.
San Yang Food Shop, Nanjing Road East no. 630:
We continued walking east along Nanjing Road till we arrived to the Bund.
The Bund, is a waterfront promenade along the Huangpu River.the promenade along the Huangpu River,It is one of the most famous symbols of Shanghai. Along the promenade, there are many stalls and artists, and across the river is the view of the skyscrapers of the Po Dong area. To the west of of the promenade are buildings of various architectural styles, including Gothic, baroque, and neoclassical styles. It is highly recommended to visit the area in the evening, while all the lights are on and the place receives a colorful and spectacular setting.
We ended the day at a small restaurant near the Waterfront.
Second day in Shanghai, China
We decided to go to Zhujiajiao. This is a famous ancient water town. we decided to go there Bus. Its costs around 12¥ and it takes about 60 minutes.
We found the directions in Tripadvisor: 'We took the pink express bus from Pu'an Rd bus station. At Dashijie metro, exit at Jinling Rd and cross Xizang Rd at the traffic lights. Walk straight through the park, and in about 3-5 minutes you will be at Pu'an Rd. The pink buses to Zhujiajiao are across the street on the far right hand side. They cost 12¥ and take slightly over an hour. The bus will drop you off in the "new" part of town. Walk down the main road for about 15-20 minutes, past the bus station and turn right at the traffic lightshttps://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g308272-d1805650-r205327932-Zhujiajiao_Ancient_Town-Shanghai.html#'
Zhujiajiao was beautiful. very peacful and great pictures opprtunities
We returned to the hotel and had a great dinner at the Chinese restaurant inside the hotel.
Third day in Shanghai, China
In the morning there were celebrations to the new year in the hotel to the new year. it was fascinating.
We went to Qibao which is another water town in Shanghai. We used the subway to get there and got off in Qibao station.
Crowded streets of Qibao
Food in Qibao
Beacuse of the holiday the streets were so crowded, we decided to just walk around.
Forth day in Shanghai, China
Today we went to Shanghai Confucius Temple. we arrived there with the subway, got off at Laoximen Station. The streets around the temple belong to Shanghai old city, and it looks like the people are literally living in the streets, probably because there houses are very small.