Dennis Wright's Blog

17 April 2007: At large in Hong Kong

Posted in Far East Cruise 2007, Hong Kong by Dennis Wright on April 24, 2007

Another reason why our choice of hotel was good. Not only was it:

  • competitively priced,
  • prestigiously located,
  • offering glorious views of the harbour and laser show, and
  • convenient for linking up with coincidentally local itinerant Farshis

but … it was right handy for the Star Ferry to Hong Kong Island.

The quay on the HKI side is close to the International Financial Centre and in particular 2ifc, home to the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, an 88 floor building which is 6th highest in the world. There is a public viewing gallery on the 55th floor which is where we took these pictures:

From there via MTR from Hong Kong Central to Admiralty. We bought single tickets but the locals use Octopus Cards. They work very much like the Oyster Card on the London Underground. Just like the Chinese to nick all of Ken Livingstone’s best ideas.

From the typical marble/glass/steel station you emerge direct into the typical marble/glass/steel Pacific Place shopping mall. Very upmarket. Recommended by Alison da Silva.

I took the opportunity to get some new glasses. Actually, I was bushwhacked by Naomi who manoeuvred me into the high class optician’s shop on 2nd floor and got me chatting to the bouncy, hyper-enthusiastic optician who I subsequently referred to as “Tigger” but whose real name was probably something like Eye Fit Yoo. My old glasses were deemed too manky and HK prices too good to pass up. Naomi had prescription from Ross Maskell at the ready. Tigger kept alarming Naomi by demonstrating how frames could be bent in all directions but flipped back into shape when released. We found some German Mykita titanium frames and ordered the specs in very low dispersion plastic lenses, for lowest possible weight. They would be ready Thursday 19th but only just before we were due to get on our cruise ship.

From there to Hong Kong Park and the walk-through aviary (spot all the birds!)

Then up the Peak Tram (more funicular than tram) to Victoria Peak – the highest point in HK – for the scenic views.


Shame about the low clouds.


3 Responses

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  1. Kve Bay said, on April 2, 2010 at 6:02 am

    Actually the MTR corporation which was one of the co-founders of the Octopus card system in Hong Kong was requested to give advice on UK London Oyster card system, with the Octopus team. Ken Livingstone or his team definitely did not even dream this system up in their wildest dreams!

    • Dennis Wright said, on April 2, 2010 at 9:15 am

      I was being tongue in cheek when I made that quip about Ken Livingstone’s grand ideas getting pinched! I did rather guess that the Octopus system preceded Oyster.


  2. solopolo said, on June 7, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    “Launched in September 1997 to collect fares for the territory’s mass transit system, the Octopus card system was the first contactless smart card system in the world and has since grown into a widely used payment system for virtually all public transport in Hong Kong.”

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