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GAP Adventures

 

Fabulous Women-Centered Ways
to Enjoy Hong Kong...

 

Evelyn Hannon

So you thought Hong Kong was only about great shopping. Well think again, ladies. Journeywomen worldwide have “travel-tested” over twenty terrific female-friendly activities that any woman traveller can enjoy on her own or with friends and have an absolutely wonderful time. Whatever your pleasure -- museums, eco travel, learning a new skill, exercise, being a culture vulture -- Hong Kong offers all these opportunities and more. Happy “do”ing, everybody!

Try the transportation...

First and foremost, learn how to get around on your own. Try the transportation. It’s a “do it yourself” inexpensive intro to Hong Kong’s delights. Hop a double-decker streetcar as it makes its way from one end of HK Island to the other. From your second story perch sit back and take note of the pace and pulse of this wonderful place. If you see something you absolutely love, get off and explore. Don’t worry. They’ll be another tram along shortly and it costs little to reboard.

Then, test the spotless Hong Kong MTR (subway system) designed with female safety in mind. This immaculately clean system is well lit and constantly monitored by the railway police and MTR staff. Within the subway cars women are protected from potential trouble as open-ended cars allow for free movement throughout the train. Someone bothering you? Just move to the next compartment. How’s that for female-friendly transportation?

Finally, use Hong Kong’s inexpensive system of ferries to visit outlying islands or to cross Victoria Harbour on the famed Star Ferry. The first time on this world-renowned ferry promises to be magical. Do it at night when both shorelines and skylines are neon-lit. You’ll never forget the experience.

CabTaxis are relatively cheap and available to take you wherever you need to go. However, many Hong Kong taxi drivers do not understand English. No problem! Just ask the concierge at your hotel to write your destination in Cantonese. Show it to your driver and you’re on your way.


Bonus Tip -- Take a walk...

A great way to explore many historic and modern landmarks of Hong Kong is by taking a self-guided walk. With the help of a practical walking guide and portable audio equipment, you can tour such areas as the main commercial centre of Hong Kong Island as well as a tourist mecca on Kowloon Peninsula -- and all at your own pace. For prices, and other inquiries call the HKTB Visitor Hotline at: (852) 2508 1234 or contact your nearest HKTB office and request a copy of their tour leaflet entitled: HKTA Tours and Walks.


Be a culture vulture...

BallerinaYou’ll find the Hong Kong Cultural Centre harbourside in Kowloon. Take time to explore the interior of this performing arts venue complete with gold-trimmed stylized Phoenix. Check the display wall for upcoming programs. Stop in at the Performing Arts Shop to pick up a CD by the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra. Make note of the free noon concerts, buy your ticket for a scheduled backstage tour and take a coffee break at the tiny Curtains Up Cafe.

For easy evening entertainment, women will want to know about The Fringe Club, an alternative arts venue in Central. Bar atmosphere is welcoming and women alone won’t feel awkward. The Fringe Club hosts theatre, live music and dance along with contemporary art exhibits. Each January, it becomes the home of the HK Fringe Festival, an excellent arts-op featuring performers from around the world (2 Lower Albert Street, Central).

At the end of a long day of sightseeing, going to the movies is a pleasant way to unwind. It’s exciting to choose from the many Chinese and international films available in their original version. Don’t worry; there’s never a problem with understanding since all Asian films have English subtitles. A new complex called Festival Walk in Kowloon Tong has twelve cinemas showing both English and Chinese films. The Art Centre on Harbour Road in Wan Chai screens non-commercial movies while Pacific Place in Central offers mostly Hollywood flicks. P.S. Another cinematic tidbit --When Easter is on the horizon, film buffs plan their holidays to coincide with the HK International Film Festival.


Bonus Tip -- Hong Kong’s Festivals & Events...

To find out what’s on in HK on the dates you plan to be there, click here.

This Interactive calendar of events is a great way to make sure your next visit to Hong Kong will include an exciting festival or cultural event. To find out what's on simply fill in the starting and ending dates and click "GO". You don't need to specify exact dates, months will do. If you know of a specific event, you can find it by typing any word related to the event into the search box and clicking the "SEARCH" button.


Love and marriage...

heartsIf love and wedding traditions interest you, then make your way to Shanghai Street for some interesting window shopping. On view are the beautiful red silk bridal outfits traditionally worn at Hong Kong wedding banquets. Ditto for the intricately embroidered black silk outfits reserved for the female elders in the wedding party. On any given day you’ll see Chinese brides-to-be making the rounds of these shops with their moms, sisters or very best girlfriends.

Sunday is a great day for bridewatching outside of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui. On the long entry stairway, beaming brides will be posing for their formal wedding photos. Expect a wonderful parade of couples with everything from full length lace to basic black leather. Love is definitely in the air and you’ll smile just being there.

And, if you are praying for a husband for yourself, then do as the Chinese do. Every August 20th, the mothers of Hong Kong traditionally visit Lover's Rock in Mid-Levels to leave food offerings, praying to the deities for kind, prosperous husbands for their daughters or at times, even for themselves. You can get there via Bowen Road. Just ask your concierge for tram or walking directions. Journeywoman knows that a little prayer or two can never hurt!


Visit a temple...

At the Taoist Wong Sai Tin Temple you’ll find that it is predominantly the women who come to the temple to burn incense. These wives are praying for special luck in gambling as well as the good health and prosperity of their families. In return for possible favours granted, offerings of fruit, meat and wine are laid out for their god, a mythical shepherd boy called Wong Sai Tin. The sights, sounds and smells make this stop an exciting cultural experience. Don’t forget your camera and bring lots of film. (Wong Tai Sin MTR, exit 2B)


Have your fortune told...

Those in the know claim that the resident fortune tellers at the Wong Sai Tin Temple are the best in town. Journeywoman had her palm read by Joyce Chan who spoke English reasonably well. She can be found at Soothsayer Stall #15 and #23. Her fee was the equivalent of about $60 (Canadian) and, she was good!


Take a cooking class...chef

For a change of pace, join the locals for a Chinese cooking class at the Towngas Cooking Centre (Tel: 2880 6988). Watch a demo or take part in hands-on instruction yourself. This school is well recognized and the teaching facilities are spotless and inviting. In fact, many Hong Kong women enroll their Filipino nannies at this Centre in order that they learn how to cook for the family. Interested in veggie cooking classes? Be in touch with the Raja Yoga Centre (Tel: 2806-3008). The YWCA at 1 MacDonnell Road in Mid-Levels also offers courses throughout the year.

If you’re lucky they’ll be offering a class when you’re in town
(Tel: 2522 3101) Who knows? You could come home a dim sum expert!

Recently this Hong Kong cooking school became a member of our network of classified advertisers. We thought our readers would like to know about it.


Bonus culinary tip...

Thai cooking classes...
For those Journeywomen who have a close attachment to their kitchens, there's a great place next door to the Feel Good Factor (Lyndhurst Tower, Lyndhurst Terrace ) called Siam Thida that runs Thai-cookery classes. The owner, Pam can be reached at telephone number 2530 1062.
The courses are reasonably priced about $HK300 for 2 classes. All you need is an apron. Pam provides all the ingredients, a folder with the recipes and you get to take your meal back to your hotel room.
Anna Cheung, Hong Kong
Ed. note: Not happy with how your food turned out? Don’t despair! Pam also sells Thai food takeaway.


More things to do...


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