Hong Kong: Keeping on Track
The Hong Kong Tram network is famous worldwide and has over the years become an endearing and iconic symbol of the island. It is one of the cheapest forms of transport and an ideal way to mix with the locals, giving you a chance to observe them at close quarters. Electric trams or deen che as they are known in Cantonese are not designed with comfort in mind as the main priority seems to be to get as many passengers on board as possible. At first glance there appears to be no limit to the amount of people that each tram is legally allowed to carry or at least no legally enforced limit. I think the official capacity is around 115 people but generally as long as you can find a space for your feet you can get on board. Boarding a tram should really be compulsory training for the Royal Marines as it definitely rivals any assault course that they currently have.
You enter the tram from the rear, first manoeuvring past the turnstile, which is designed at such a height to snare any bags you are carrying or to render any Western male into a eunuch with one swift movement of the metal arms. The Chinese love to gamble and this is presumably why the trams are so popular. Win and you will be allowed to continue boarding, lose and you will undoubtedly collapse in an undignified heap while other passengers step over you in a frenzied rush for that rarity of a seat on the tram.
If you are lucky enough to get on board (and I use that term loosely) you will probably find yourself up against the smelliest person on the tram. I have seen many gorgeous people walking the streets of Hong Kong but never once have I been snuggled up closely to a local supermodel. Instead with unflinching regularity I seem to find myself in close proximity to the man with the strongest body odour in Hong Kong.
You may think getting on the tram is a bit of a trauma but in fact it is only the start. The real part of the Marine training course is the effort you have to put in to get to the front of the tram. The idea is that you slowly move down the tram as people get off until you effortlessly arrive at the front ready to depart. This is ok in theory but in practise you are either forced down the tram and off miles before your intended stop or you are swept up the stairs and taken on a tour across the upper deck from where you can get excellent views of your intended stop disappearing into the distance.
If you do manage to get a seat it can be a rewarding experience if you like me enjoy people watching. The sounds of Hong Kong street life and the rhythmic movement of the tram, however will all be occasionally punctuated by oriental mobile phone ring tones and people religiously reciting ‘Wái, Wái, Wái’ into their phones. Wái is a Cantonese greeting for hello, but it is disconcerting the number of times that they feel it is necessary to repeat this mantra down the phone. It is like being on the bus in England and answering your phone 'Hello, Hello, Hello!!'
Despite this I actually love travelling by tram and to be honest it isn't really that packed most of the time. Just remember to get on at the rear and manoeuvre your way to the front with your HK$2.00 or your Octopus card ready as you pay when you get off. The Octopus card which was first introduced in 1997, is an all purpose travel card which uses smart card technology enabling people to swipe the card past a card reader to pay for the journey. You can buy the cards at the Customer Service Centres of most MTR (Mass Transit Railway) stations or any of the 7-Eleven and Circle K stores charging them with as much or as little credit as you want. The Octopus card is the world's largest contactless smart card system with over 1.6 billion transactions occurring on an annual basis. They are remarkable efficient and even if buried deep in your wallet or at the bottom of your bag will register when swiped past the card reader. Once the card is swiped the transaction amount and remaining credit will be displayed or a printed receipt issued so you can keep track of the card’s balance. They can also be used in a number of shops on the island as well as vending machines, photo booths, pay phones, car parks and most forms of public transportation with the notable exception of taxis. The cards are available in two forms; a single sold card that has no initial credit and an on loan card that requires a HK$50 refundable deposit. Both cards can be loaded with credit at any time but whereas the sold card expires after 3 years the on loan card can be used indefinitely. You can purchase five types of Octopus card; Child, Student, Adult, Senior Citizen and a personalised identity card version with your name and photograph displayed.
The Hong Kong electric tram system is the only network in the world that uses exclusively double-decker trams and over the years it has become a major tourist attraction. Like the Star Ferry, the trams are one of the iconic symbols that people most readily associate with Hong Kong. Up until the 1970’s the top deck of the tram was reserved for the wealthy first class passengers but nowadays there is one price for all. I always make a point of travelling on the trams whenever I can, a habit which often infuriates my wife, as she prefers the more direct minibuses. For me I love being part of the culture seeing the locals and viewing the day-to-day life in Hong Kong at eye level. So what if the trams have a top speed of only 40 km/h (25 mph) and take up to an hour to cover the distance from Happy Valley to Kennedy Town. I think it is the only way to travel in Hong Kong but to be fair my wife does humour me and over the years has even developed an affinity with them herself.
The Hong Kong Tramways system began operation on July 30th 1904, which makes it one of the oldest working transportation systems still in operation today. Originally the line ran between Arsenal Street in Causeway Bay and Shau Kei Wan with a branch serving Happy Valley as well. Today the system is 13km long running along dual 1067mm tracks from Kennedy Town to Shau Kei Wan with a single 3km track running clockwise around Happy Valley Racecourse powered by 550v direct current overhead cables. I have walked the route from Causeway Bay to Western Market and to be honest it is quite a trip on foot although an enjoyable one. The good thing is that by keeping close to the tracks it is very difficult to get lost as they act as a useful reference point for the adventurous traveller.
There are 123 tram stops along the way (no I haven’t counted!) at an average interval of 250 metres, with seven terminal points at Kennedy Town, Whitty Street, Western Market, Causeway Bay, North Point, Shau Kei Wan and Happy Valley respectively. There are in all 163 trams in operation running between 05:10 and 01:00 every day with an average wait of only one and a half minutes between trams. Included in the 163 trams there are two open top trams, which are available for private hire, along with one tram, which is used purely for maintenance purposes. Most of the trams in operation were built after 1980 but tram number 120 if you are lucky enough to see it is the only tram in operation still maintaining its original 1950’s design. It is varnished in light green with teak-lined windows and the original rattan seats and I suppose to tram spotters if there is such a thing it is their equivalent of the Flying Scotsman steam engine.
Another functional tram in daily use in Hong Kong is the equally famous Peak Tram, which carries both tourists and locals from Garden Road, Central to the upper reaches of the Victoria Peak. The Peak Tram is Swiss made and was first opened in 1888 for local residents using a steam powered cable system. This system was replaced by an electric motor in 1926 followed by a further computerised modernisation in 1989. The current electric drive system uses two-car trams, which can carry up to 120 passengers up the 1,365 metres to the Peak Tower in around seven minutes. It is truly a fantastic trip with the most incredible views over the harbour and Hong Kong’s famous skyline. It is an experience that you will never forget and although relatively expensive by Hong Kong standards at HK$30.00 for a round trip it is still good value for money. Up until 1926 the tram offered tickets for three classes of passenger. First class travel was for government officials and residents of the Peak, second class was reserved for policemen and soldiers while third was for the servants and lower classes. It is interesting to note that the return fare on the original wooden tram was only 45 cents for first class passengers and 15 cents for third class travel.
Today at its steepest point the cars themselves run at an angel of 27 degrees to the horizontal, which is pretty scary when all you are secured by is a cable. The only downside is that the Peak Tram is very popular and so queues are quite common during busy periods. The ride itself is surprisingly smooth and you feel very safe within the carriage although you do hear the odd creak as it stops at the four request stops used by local residents on your way to the top. It has been used in many films and not least by Jackie Chan who famously performed one of his many stunts on the roof of a tram. Somehow I think I will stick to travelling on the inside, the view may not be as good but it is definitely a lot safer.
In recent years The Peak Tower has undergone a transformation the centre of which is the architecturally stylish bowl shaped viewing platform sitting 428 metres above sea level offering spectacular 360-degree panoramic views of Hong Kong’s famous cityscape. The views are stunning and it is well worth the effort to visit here at least twice, once in the daylight and again in the evening when the lights are shining across the harbour. The tower itself also offers a vast choice of restaurants and shops and even boasts a modern selection of market style shops based on the ones famously found across the water in Kowloon. Tucked away in the hills the Peak Tower is quite rightly regarded as Hong Kong’s top tourist destination and as long as you pick a clear day or evening you will not be disappointed.
The terrain over much of Hong Kong is extremely hilly and as a result some areas can prove problematic to get to. In the Central and Western district there is an innovative method of transportation used to enable people to access some of the higher levels. The system involves an extensive system of escalators and moving sidewalks, which carry people effortlessly to their destination. If you have ever tried to walk up the steep roads in this area for any length of time you will realise just how tiring and hard work this can be. The Mid-levels Escalator as it is known is a system of 20 escalators and 3 moving platforms or sidewalks, which enable people to access the upper levels in a more or less direct route. The system is 800 metres long climbing 135 vertical metres along the way in around 20 minutes or less if you prefer to walk while the escalator moves. The same route by road would be considerably longer as the road twists and turns over a distance of several miles to reach the same destination.
The Mid-levels Escalator is the longest outdoor covered escalator system in the world today and is a marvel of modern engineering. It was first opened in 1993 at a cost of over HK$240 million and has been popular with sightseeing tourists and locals going to and from work ever since. It operates downhill until 10 in the morning to take people to work then switches uphill until midnight for the remainder of the day. It really is a lifeline for the locals that live here although for me it seems that without I fail I always seem to going up when the escalator is going down and vice versa.
A trip on the escalator also offers a great view of local life as you look down on the district's inhabitants and see them going about their everyday business although to be honest the tourists in this area outnumber the locals considerably. You will however get to observe Hong Kong’s infamous growing population of feral cats, which patrol the busy streets. They are a motley bunch of creatures sporting a variety of ailments due to inbreeding and constant fighting. On first impressions they appear cute and cuddly but beware they are streetwise assassins that can recognise a tourist at 100 metres having the act of begging down to a fine art. They are scruffy little street urchins with a high number having short or stumpy tails presumably due to the effects of the inbreeding. They are generally considered a pest and much is being done to catch and neuter them in order to keep their population down to more manageable levels.
Although wary of human contact they will approach at arms length if it means the possibility of a free meal. They are not cute domestic cats but feline predators that can often be seen hunting in packs. You only have to walk through the area at night to see them in action, highly organised assault teams gaining access to any of the shops and restaurants through the slightest crack. Anything, which is edible and not locked away is fair game and it proves comical and frightening to see how adept they are at stealing food. They have become just as much part of the area as the escalators themselves and form a tourist attraction in their own right.
If you don’t fancy the trams or the escalators then maybe the island’s famous bus network is for you. Buses are another common form of transport in Hong Kong with the first double-decker bus being introduced in 1949. Five separate franchises operate the bus services in Hong Kong using almost exclusively double-decker buses. The main exception is South Lantau where a lower demand for transportation makes a single-decker a more viable alternative. After the mad rush of the tram, Hong Kong buses are much more relaxed and less crowded. They are pretty much the same as the buses we see in the UK apart from the addition of video screens and air-conditioning. In fact it can be quite a shock to come out of the balmy heat of the Hong Kong climate into what at times is a large refrigerator on wheels. I am sure that the bus drivers take a sadistic pleasure in keeping the buses as cold as possible just so they can watch the strange Western families turn blue in their skimpy shorts and t-shirts.
It is interesting to compare the Western and Asian cultures at this point particularly in relation to the sun and warmth. Very nearly without exception the average English tourist will seek out the sun bearing their legs and as much flesh as decently (or in some cases indecently) possible to the sun. Compare this to most Asians who cover up and walk in the shadows and actively avoid the sun. Some even carry an umbrella to protect themselves from the sun’s rays a practise, which in England would be unthinkable. In fact the only place for a sunshade in England is on a table outside a pub to stop your beer getting warm. It is quite comical when I walk out in the heat of the sun with my wife, as in this instance we are two opposites. She as a Filipina walks in the shade using a magazine, a bag or any object to hand to shelter her from the rays of the sun, while I am walking out in the open in the hope of catching even the smallest ray of sunlight. Filipinos have such a gorgeous skin tone but they spend the whole of their life wishing they were paler, while the majority of Westerners spend their time wishing they were darker. You can spot a Caucasian English tourist a mile away as they all wear the minimum amount of clothing and for the most part only come in two shades; white or red. The only exception to this are the ones who ride the buses as they turn a shade of blue due to the numbing effect of the Icelandic air conditioning.
To be fair the buses are very efficient and a must if you want to discover the South side of the island. Remember to have the correct fare available and that you pay a single fare on boarding. They charge varying prices according to the route you are travelling but like most forms of transportation in Hong Kong are very reasonably priced. They offer comfort if you can brave the chill and a great view of the island. My favourite bus journey is travelling down to Stanley, which has a myriad of twisting and turning roads with fantastic views of the South side of the island. If the scenery is not to your liking then you even have the luxury of a couple of video screens to capture your attention. Don’t expect the latest Hollywood blockbusters, as their sole purpose seems to be in showing an infinite number of adverts for a vast array of products that no one could possibly want or need. You may be treated to the delights of Cantopop, a Hong Kong phenomenon blending Western pop music with Cantonese lyrics from such artists as Sammi Cheng and Stephy Tang. On one trip I even saw a trailer for a weird Asian horror movie called The Wig where the premise seemed to be that some unsuspecting person gets possessed by a haunted hairpiece! I am not kidding, although I must confess to not having watched the film I have seen the trailer twice which hopefully confirms I was not seeing things the first time.
Another alternative form of bus transport on the island are the public light buses or minibuses, which on some routes run 24 hours a day. If you have been on the rollercoaster at Hong Kong Disneyland and then take a trip in one of these you will not notice much difference. They are just as fast and just as scary with the best way to travel being to follow the driver’s example and shut your eyes. I am not kidding at times the buses seem to be on a collision course with everything on and off the road. Miraculously they somehow seem to avoid a multiple pile up at the very last minute. I really don’t know how they do it as they scare the hell out of me but at least if you are in a hurry and your life insurance is up to date they are your best option. My wife loves them, I think it must be the daredevil in her; I just click my seatbelt and hold on for dear life. There are two types of minibus in operation, green and red with both having capacity for 16 passengers. Green minibuses are numbered and operate scheduled services on fixed routes with fixed fares. Payment is made when you get off using an Octopus card or cash. The red minibuses are the real wild boys, as they operate unnumbered buses and non-scheduled services with no set fares or routes and as such are not regulated by the Government. The red presumably stands for danger as they are renowned for their speeding and are required by law to have large speedometers with alarms so that passengers can monitor their speed. In truth the alarm has no real purpose only to let you know when the vehicle is speeding. A fact, which will be blatantly obvious to anyone crammed into the confines of this street racing rollercoaster held in place by one of the thinnest seatbelts ever made. Most do not accept the Octopus card but some do give change if you do not have the correct fare. One other point to remember is that they do not stop unless requested to do so, which is worth bearing in mind if you don’t want to end up miles from your intended destination.
By far the most common method of transport in Hong Kong is the taxi; they are everywhere and outnumber all other vehicles on the road quite considerably They are regarded as the cheapest taxi service in any major city in the world and overall prove to be exceptionally clean and efficient. There are three different coloured taxis in operation although the chances are you will only ever see one colour. The red taxi is by far the most frequently seen and serves the whole of Hong Kong Island and the neighbouring Kowloon along with some parts of the New Territories. Green taxis are used in the New Territories while you will find blue taxis used solely on Lantau Island although their numbers are very few. There are around 15,000 red taxis but only 50 blue taxis so your likelihood of seeing a blue taxi is very small. Taxis account for around 12% of passengers using public transportation in Hong Kong, carrying over one million passengers every day. The vast majority of these taxis are energy efficient Toyota Crown Comforts running on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) saving fuel and protecting the environment.
I have always found the taxis to be very efficient and the easiest form of public transportation to find as they are simply everywhere. The only downside is the vast majority of taxi drivers speak very little English so trying to explain where you wish to go can be fun. It is always a good idea to have a card with the name of your hotel or destination written down, as even the simplest place names seem to be pronounced by taxi drivers in a way that bears no resemblance to where you feel you should be going. Another habit that taxi drivers share with the minibuses and probably taxi drivers worldwide is the use of the horn. I firmly believe that the horn is attached to the accelerator pedal in the vehicle as it is used so often. The technique most frequently employed is; first gear, second gear, horn. I think it is probably a physical impossibility for them to travel less than 100 metres without touching the horn and letting off a stream of angry Cantonese words at the offending motorist or pedestrian. In fact pedestrians are a favourite target of the taxi driver and they will frequently blare their horn at them even if they are half a mile away and have inadvertently stepped into the road for half a second. Despite all this they remain the most accessible and convenient way to travel especially if you are straying beyond the tram route and they are also one of the most popular ways to get around.
The cars themselves are generally very clean and tidy although there does seem to be a general epidemic in dashboard charms. Board any taxi and you will be treated to the delights of plastic Hello Kitty figurines, ornamental Buddha’s and even in one cab a photo of David Beckham, alongside one of the driver’s family. I assume the driver was not distantly related to David Beckham and more likely just a football fan. The only rule seems to be that anything that sits on the dashboard must be plastic and tacky. That is not to say that Mr Beckham or indeed the driver’s family are plastic and tacky but you get the idea. Another item found religiously in most taxis is the tissue box on the parcel shelf which I am still not sure is there purely for ornamental value or if it has a practical use. I assume that this is a precautionary measure to ensure that none of the driver’s passengers accidentally sneeze over the much revered dashboard charms. Perhaps the charms have some deep meaning in protecting the driver and his passengers but strangely I cannot recall Hello Kitty being associated in any way with road safety.
The fastest way to get around the city is by using Hong Kong’s Mass Transit Railway or MTR as it is more frequently known. There are seven lines on the MTR including the Airport Express service and the relatively new Disneyland Resort Line stopping at 53 stations along the way. The 3.5 kilometres of the Disneyland Resort line was completed in April 2005 prior to the September opening of the Hong Kong Disneyland Theme Park. It uses its own very distinctive driverless trains, which have Mickey Mouse shaped windows and soft interior bench style seating. Throughout the carriages there are displays of famous Disney characters, even the handrail grips are in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s ears which is a nice touch. The stations are pleasant and exceptionally clean, The Disneyland Resort station has a Victorian feel while the Sunny Bay station is more futuristic in design giving the passengers on this route the feeling that they are truly travelling through time.
The MTR in general is a very quick an efficient method of travel but if like me you prefer the scenic routes then they are not the first choice. They are clean, safe and well lit without the claustrophobic feeling you get on some underground networks. The seating on the trains is a bit sparse and not the most comfortable but as a means of quickly reaching your destination they are ideal especially if you want to make the trip from Hong Kong Island across to Kowloon. They are also punctual so waiting at the stations is never a problem and as typical of business orientated Hong Kong your mobile works no matter how far beneath the city you are. The Mass Transit Railway has 3G network wireless coverage for your mobile phone meaning that you can connect to and get a signal no matter how far underground you travel. This is a big bonus for the business conscious Cantonese and also the trendy Chinese yuppies or ‘chuppies’ as they are affectionately known who can’t bear to be separated from their mobiles for more than a few minutes.
My preferred method of transportation across the water has been and I suspect always will be the Star Ferry, which is without doubt one of the most photographed images of Hong Kong. In its striking green livery it has become just as much part of the waterfront scenery as the skyscrapers that frame the famous harbour view. It has been featured in many films throughout the years and is an enduring image of Hong Kong that both locals and tourists adore.
I always enjoy crossing the harbour on the Star Ferry as each trip offers new discoveries and another opportunity to observe the locals up close. Much like the tram it is a very inexpensive form of travel and combined with the breathtaking scenery is really the best way to cross the harbour. It does not offer any pretence to luxury just an all too brief seven minute crossing where you can enjoy the sights of Victoria Harbour as people have done for over a hundred years.
Approaching the pier in Wanchai on the Hong Kong side the terminal is uninspiring and could easily be missed by the unwary tourist. No huge signs here or overpowering advertisements as the service sells itself without the need for any additional publicity. As you traverse the walkway that takes you towards the ferry to Kowloon it nearly always seems to be deserted and that a quiet crossing may be likely. It is only really at the last minute that you can hear the low rumble of the crowd waiting patiently at the end of the walkway for the ferry to dock. With the concrete steps and metal railings it always reminds me of going to watch a football match back home in the UK in the 1970's. Only the proliferation of Asian faces and the lack of football scarves spoil this nostalgic illusion.
Invariably the walkway is clear giving you a clear passage through the turnstiles where you can pay your HK$2.20 or swipe your Octopus card to pass through and join the waiting crowd. The crowd are always largely patient until the second the gates are opened and then like water flowing down a waterfall everyone spills towards the waiting ferry. Once caught up in this torrent you really just have to go with the flow of the crowd who will pull you towards the waiting ferry. There are nine ferries in total all with names like ‘Morning Star’, ‘Northern Star’ and ‘Twinkling Star’ operating on four routes across the harbour carrying in excess of 70,000 passengers a day which is close to 26 million passengers per year. Once on board the ferries use simple bench seating with movable backrests that enable passengers to face forwards no matter which direction the ferry is travelling. The journey is relatively comfortable and if you can get a seat at the edge of the vessel you get an uninterrupted view of the magnificent skyline. It really is one of the most recognisable skylines in the world and like the Peak Tram has to be viewed by day and again by night to see the two sides of its true beauty. By day it offers you the picture post card view of the Hong Kong we know and love but at night as the lights go on the waterfront comes to life in a unique symphony of light and colour.
The Kowloon Ferry Company was founded in around 1888 by a Parsee citizen Dorabjee Nowrojee and was eventually renamed as The Star Ferry Company in 1898. The name is thought to have been derived from a poem inspired by Alfred Lord Tennyson' called "Crossing the Bar", of which the first line reads "Sunset and evening star, and one clear call for me!” Dorabjee Nowrojee owned a bakery shop in Hollywood Road and used his first launch to ferry customers and friends across the harbour from Kowloon. From this humble beginning the Star Ferry has become one of the most popular and economical ways to move between the Island and the mainland. The Star Ferry currently operates three main routes; Central to Tsim Sha Tsui, Wanchai to Tsim Sha Tsui and Wanchai to Hung Hom. They also operate a harbour cruise which does a circuit of the harbour docking at all the stops on the way. The current location of the Central pier is now in its fourth generation having been moved approximately 300 metres away from its old location on reclaimed land. It is commonly known now as Central Ferry Piers 7 and 8 and boasts a 600m² terminal with a mock Edwardian construction that features a clock tower based on the original which sat at the Edinburgh Place Ferry Pier.
The Star Ferry continues to evolve keeping pace with the modernity of Hong Kong but always trying to maintain a link with its past. It is quaint and old fashioned at heart right down to the blue cotton uniforms worn by the Chinese sailors on board. It really has not changed that dramatically in the last hundred years or so and remains an iconic symbol of Hong Kong, an image that adorns a thousand postcards and brochures across the world. There are a few essential things which should be on the itinerary of every tourist and without doubt the Star Ferry is one. If you ride a tram, visit the Peak, and float across the harbour on the Star Ferry you will not be disappointed.
Another recent addition to the Hong Kong transportation network that could also be said to be an essential for your itinerary is the Ngong Ping Skyrail cable car on nearby Lantau Island, which can be reached from the Tung Chung MTR station. After a few earlier technical problems the Ngong Ping 360 as it is more commonly known officially opened on the 18th September 2006 linking the Tuan Chung Terminal with Ngong Ping Terminal through an impressive 5.7km long continuously circulating bi-cable aerial ropeway system. The journey takes around 25 minutes and offers the traveller on a clear day a 360-degree panoramic view over North Lantau Country Park, Hong Kong International Airport, the South China Sea, the Tung Chung valley and the Ngong Ping Plateau. The highlight of the trip however is the spectacular view of one of Lantau’s most recognisable landmarks the famous 34 metre high and 250 ton giant Tian Tan Buddha or ‘Big Buddha’ as he is affectionately known. The bronze statue is located near the Po Lin Monastery and is officially the world's tallest outdoor seated bronze Buddha symbolizing the harmonious relationship between man, nature and religion.
Managed by the Australian company that devised the Cairns Skyrail Rainforest Cableway the Skyrail looks like being a huge success. The view from the cable car is amazing and a unique way to see and photograph some of the most beautiful scenery on the island. There are 109 cable cars in total, which are spacious and capable of seating 10 passengers comfortably along with another 7 standing. Overall the network has the capacity to transport up to 3,500 people per hour in each direction which is quite amazing really. The design of the system tries to harmonize man and nature and surprisingly for such a huge structure it works quite well as both the terminals and the towers blend into the scenery rather than obstruct it.
At the summit of your journey you will find the newly created Ngong Ping Village which is a 1.5 hectare purpose built complex combining traditional Chinese architecture and modern shopping and dining facilities. You will find a 7-Eleven and a Starbucks sitting comfortably alongside a traditional Chinese teahouse, a Japanese noodle shop and a Taiwanese bistro. Surprisingly it all works well and makes what in the past was a long, winding and bumpy ride up to the monastery into an enjoyable experience that will stay with you long after you depart for home.
Hong Kong as a destination has a lot for her visitors to see and therefore transportation is vital if you want to get the best out of the island and surrounding areas. Hopefully I have covered the major players in this multi-million dollar industry and given you an insight into the basic transport infrastructure and a few ideas of how to get around. The trams still for me offer the best value transporting you back to the past and along with the Star Ferry represent a flavour of what I consider to be the real Hong Kong. Now we have found out how to get around the island it is time we started our culinary travels by looking at the food and the influences that make Hong Kong such a fantastic place to eat.