Travel around the world

24 hours in Hong Kong


One of the most exciting and vibrant cities in Asia, Hong Kong is a cosmopolitan jungle, with a show-stopping skyline, a legendary kitchen, a wild coastline and beautiful countryside. High finance and high fashion collide amidst the soaring skyscrapers of this culture capital, and charming colonial sights and exotic nightlife alike are dotted throughout the city. Heres how to make the most of a 24-hour visit, leaving you wanting more and more

Places to stay

Ritz Carlton Situated on the 103rdfloor, in one of the Worlds tallest buildings, on Hong Kongs Kowloon side with spectacular views over the city and Victoria Harbour the Ritz Carlton certainly has the wow factor. Facilities on site are spectacular, including the Worlds highest swimming pool and seriously sexy spa with Harbour View treatment rooms. Dining options include Michelin-starred Chinese and Italian restaurants and the rooftop bar, Ozone, is one of the citys most popular due to its location on the 118thfloor.

Upper House The Upper House is a slick, sexy property with some of the best views from the Hong Kong Island side. Interiors are the work of Chinese designed Andre Fu and the overall effect has a distinctly boutique minimalist feel, but with a homely warmth and charm. The exquisite rooms and suites are decorated in the best quality materials, and the clever design maximises space. Such luxuries as complimentary mini bars, cosy seating areas and a library enforce the companys house philosophy.

Landmark - Located in the heart of Hong Kongs business and fashion districts, The Landmark Mandarin Oriental is one of the most luxurious hotels in the world. This sleek urban hotel, set above the Landmark Mall exudes style, sophistication and serenity, and is famed for its impeccable customer service. Dazzling dining options are on offer at the contemporary French restaurant, Amber, and trendy Mo Bar, one of Hong Kongs hottest dining and drinking spots.

Where to eat

Mott 32 - Located in the basement of the Standard Chartered Building, you are transported into an unexpectedly chic and refined space. The menu consists of delicious and unique dim sum combinations, and some of the crispiest and best suckling pork youve will have tasted. And for those who didnt sample enough in Beijing, they also serve the best Peking duck in the city.

Otto E Mezzo - Located inside the fashionable Landmark shopping arcade, Otto E Mezzo serves some of the best Italian food in the city. The atmosphere is sophisticated, and it is a place where both businessmen and Hong Kong socialites alike gather for a late evening meal or drink at the bar.

Lung King Heen - Executive Chef, Chan Yan Tak was the first Chinese chef to receive 3 Michelin stars. Located inside the Four Seasons Hotel, the restaurant is elegant but still has the energetic buzz of a Chinese restaurant in Hong Kong.

Peninsula Hotel - Any first time visitor to Hong Kong will want to indulge in the afternoon tea at this Hong Kong landmark. Although this means that the queues are long, and the lobby is full of well-healed tourists wanting to partake in this tradition, it is a magnificent experience and one not to be missed!

Shopping

The centre of town boasts some of the best shopping in the world, or there is spectacular antique shopping on Hollywood Road. On the far side of the harbour in Tsim Sha Tsui are a further range of boutiques, department stores and other retail outlets, all handily grouped under a single roof in Harbour City. After dark, the rowdy Temple Street Night Market in Kowloon comes alive with ample stalls selling weird and wonderful foodstuffs, counterfeit goods and obscure potions. Have your fortune told, listen to opera singers busking and watch games of Chinese chess played out with intense concentration.

Culture

Hong Kong has a dynamic cultural scene as well, which is traced back to its Chinese roots, colonial connections and the contributions of its home-grown talent, and the intertwining of all three elements. From Asias top film festival to Tai Chi at dawn, or reading the couplets of a local poet to the drumbeat of a dragon boat. Soak up indie music by the harbour or Chinese opera in a bamboo theatre, or watch one of the thousands of shows staged year-round at the citys many museums and concert halls.

The best time to visit is during October or November when it isnt too hot, and there is less chance of rain.Once youve spent 24 hours in Hong Kong, youll definitely want to come back!

James Jayasundera is Founder and Managing Director of Ampersand Travel.

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Special feature Fiat Ducato Auto Roller 707 motorhome


Normally my special features are reserved for hotels and vacation rental accommodation, but last weekend we did something a little different. We've been travelling up and down the UK to attend our sons' sailing events for a couple of years now, and have often contemplated what it would be like travelling in a campervan or motorhome as an alternative to staying in hotels. Your automatic reaction to this might be that this isn't exactly travelling in luxury, but actually there are some exceptionally luxurious motorhomes out there, and just being able to spend quality time with family, not having to drive to and from the hotel when attending these events, and the children (and adults!) being able to socialise with others doing the same is, in many ways, a luxury in itself.

On this occasion, we got to drive a 7.3-metre long Fiat Ducato Auto-Roller 707 motorhome, supplied to us by the UK distributor Auto-Trail.

If truth be known, we didn't have a good journey, encountering lots of roadworks and traffic around the Knutsford area. Having never driven a motorhome before, I was still getting used to driving the vehicle so probably travelling much more slowly than I might have done had I been more accustomed to it all, adding to an already lengthy trip. As a result, when we eventually arrived at Northampton - the location of our next sailing event - we already had the mindset of ‘this isn't for us'. We parked up, along with a handful of other motorhome owners, who were all admiring the vehicle since it was much newer (a 66 plate) than their own. We really didn't know what we were doing but found all the controls fairly intuitive and easy-to-use - we hadn't thought about using ramps to keep the vehicle level, but our neighbours were able to help out in that regard and lend us some spare ramps.

Inside, we found the layout worked rather well for a family of four, with a central living space and plenty of storage cupboards so that we could keep everything tidy.

This motorhome can actually sleep 7 although I think this would be a little optimistic and would argue that it is better suited to a family of 4. We slept on a double bed that came down from the ceiling at the press of a button, and similarly went out of the way during the day when not in use, without the need to re-make the bed each time.

The cupboards go up and down with the underside of the bed, ensuring efficient use of the available space. What we also liked was that when the bed was down, we could still use the table if one of us chose to go to bed before the other, and the same was the case if one of us was to get up first in the morning.

Our children slept in bunk beds towards the rear of the vehicle. These were generous in size (particularly width-wise) and beneath the bottom bunk is a huge amount of storage (enough to take the entire contents of rather full Volvo XC90 when we picked the motorhome up and transferred our luggage).

We slept really well in the vehicle, helped no doubt by blinds that block out the light, and a three-part sunscreen that attached to the windscreen and the driver and passenger windows.

During the day, when our children were sailing, we were able to use the table in the motorhome to do our work. Normally we would be doing this in the sailing club, but the nice thing about this was that we could leave our laptops and work laid out whenever we decided to stretch our legs or help our boys in or out from the water, meaning more efficient use of our time.

As you can see, the table also unfolds to give a larger workspace (or dining area) if required.

Also, our view was such that we were also able to keep an eye on the sailing and see when our boys were next coming in off the water.

The motorhome also has its own kitchen.

The hob is concealed beneath a hinged work surface and runs off a gas cylinder accessed through a compartment on the vehicle's exterior.

We used it for simple things like bacon butties in the morning, and heating up a chilli con carne that we'd pre-cooked and brought with us.

The oven beneath was handy for cooking garlic bread to accompany the chilli. There was even a fridge and freezer too.

Additional facilities included a lavatory and shower (yes, a shower!), but these didn't get much use as we had the convenience of the facilities of the sailing club to hand. The vehicle had a laminate flooring throughout and other hidden pockets that helped keep belongings out of the way.

A display panel above the rear entrance showed us how much battery power we had (on both the vehicle and the leisure battery), how much water, and so on, and a separate dial allowed us to control the heating. We were rather cautious at first because we didn't have electric hook-up and wanted to be sure we didn't use all the battery straight away, but were pleasantly surprised to discover that our usage made only a small impression. Indeed, the next morning, we noticed that our power was back up to 100% thanks to the solar panel on the roof, so a lack of power was never an issue for us... I think the lowest I ever saw the battery get to was around 80%.

On the rear of the vehicle was a bike rack capable of holding up to 4 bikes... but also perfect for drying wet gear after a long day of sailing!

With greater driving confidence and less traffic on the way back, we got home much quicker, but by then our initial reservations had already evaporated. We hadn't had to get up as early (the starts with sailing are often quite prompt) because we were on site, and we hadn't to carry work and wet sailing gear back and forth to the hotel. We'd even been able to enjoy a drink or two in the evening, without the need to drive anywhere, whilst our children played with others sailors who were also staying on-site. This convenience, combined with the comfort of the vehicle itself, had left us converted - even more so when I spoke to other motorhome owners and gained awareness of how else they used their vehicles. One that I spoke to said he regularly used his as a ‘guest room' when they had visitors at home, and even drove it to friends when invited round for dinner parties, negating the need and expense of both a babysitter and a taxi - interesting ideas that I hadn't previously ever considered.

Disclosure: Our trip was sponsored by Auto-Trail.

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