Late next week I set off for a few days to Hong Kong. Over the past year I’ve been able to visit twice and it has become one of my favorite places in the world to see. Being a native New Yorker, I never thought I’d find a city that I enjoyed more than NYC, but Hong Kong has given it a run for it’s money as far as I’m concerned. There’s no one thing that I can pinpoint that makes the case for Hong Kong being a favorite. I think it comes down to a confluence of several things including ease of navigation, breadth of cuisine, cleanliness of the city and the extremely friendly and helpful residents. Being one of United’s best “cost per mile” destinations only helps the argument.
On my previous visits, I stayed at the Grand Hyatt and Hyatt Regency. This time, I’ll return to the Hyatt Regency simply because it’s location in the heart of Kowloon makes it very easy to reach most of Kowloon and Hong Kong. I love the fact that I am only a few steps from fantastic noodle shops, shopping and transportation the moment that I step out of the hotel.
Fortunately on previous trips I was able to take in several of the “Must See” places that new visitors are encouraged to see. This time I hope to expand my exploration to take in new places and sights. I’ve also been armed with a holiday shopping list by my wife that includes Chinese Puzzle Balls, Pearls, Tagua Nut Figurines and Jade Dragons so no doubt that will take a few minutes of effort!
I’m trying to actually do less planning for this trip in the attempt to do more things on a spur of the moment. I think this way gives me much more flexibility and spontaneity than sticking to a pre-meditated itinerary of places to go. The only “Must Do” on this trip will be Plane Spotting from the HAECO hangar area just off the airport campus.
For the outbound flight, I chose the traditional Grand Rapids-Chicago-Hong Kong route so that I can enjoy 16 non-stop hours in the bubble top of my beloved 744 and hopefully more great views of Siberia. However for the return flight I was “dared” to be a little more creative so instead of the easy Hong Kong-Chicago flight, I’m going to make my way from Hong Kong to Guam (yes Guam), then onto Honolulu and onward to Chicago and finally Grand Rapids.
In all, it’s a couple thousand more miles for the Frequent Flyer account with this more creative routing but I’ll have the new experience of stepping on Guam’s terra firma and perhaps adding a GUM stamp to my Passport. My understanding is that US citizens take care of Immigration in Guam and Customs in Honolulu. Something tells me I won’t find a Global Entry kiosk in Guam, but no matter, I’d wait in line for the stamp anyway.
Of course I’ll have my trip reports and photos to share once I return!