See. Shop. Splurge

As travellers, we are constantly in a state of learning. We hear new sounds, taste different food and discover unseen sights. Besides learning about myself, one of my biggest takeaways from travel is learning about the place that I’m visiting or currently in. I had the opportunity to travel to Hong Kong a couple of years back and realized that it’s a sensory-busting experience and an exact kind of stimulation we all need atleast once in our lifetime! You're racing past gleaming futuristic towers lined in rows with expansive water views in the background. It is such a vibrant and exciting city that it is impossible to get bored here! Hong Kong is not the kind of city you visit without an agenda and if the agenda is great food, sightseeing and shopping than it really make the journey worthwhile.

Tourist attractions in Hong Kong are aplenty. Like the Tian Tan Buddha. A seated statue of Lord Buddha approximately 26 metres tall, the Tian Tan Buddha is also called Big Buddha. Be ready to climb over 250 steps to reach the statue and have a closer look at this wonderful city. Another popular attraction is the Victoria Harbour. Giving stunning views of the Hong Kong skyline, the harbour comes to life during the night with a magnificent laser show. Hop on one of the many cruises docked at the harbour and see Hong Kong like never before.

The city is a gastronomic paradise! It has every cuisine imaginable from all over the world. On Kowloon side, you should head to Knutsford Terrace, which is a street packed with cool restaurants, bars and clubs. From roadside food stalls to top-notch restaurants, the city offers a wide variety of choices when it comes to dining. While on a culinary tasting adventure, do try out Sweet and Sour Pork, Roast Goose and Rickshaw Noodles. It would be a crime if you departed Hong Kong without sampling some dim sum, its mouth-watering treat that is enjoyed primarily in the morning and lunch hours (but is awesome at any point of the day!). Watch out, as it is easy to stuff yourself silly this way, but then again, isn’t that what is beautiful about travel?

For shopping, head over to Mong Kok. Bright neon lights and historic streets await you at this neighborhood. Just about everything can be bought over here, from souvenirs to branded clothing to luxury jewellery. The famous Ladies Market is a part of this district. Sneakers Street is a shoe-holic's dream. The street sells mostly sports and street brands and there were so many shoe shops that my feet hurt going from store-to-store.

Macau is a 55 minute ferry ride from Hong Kong. It’s a completely different vibe from the big city of Hong Kong. Think of Macau as Asia’s version of Vegas but with old town Portuguese flare mixed around it. If it is physically impossible to be in two places at one time then Macau is a prime example of this magic! You find yourself in the midst of a free flowing Portuguese culture surrounded by an active Chinese presence

Macau Peninsula, Taipa and Coloane make up the entire region of Macau. The Macau peninsula is the main land where most of the oldest Portuguese settlements are. Taipa is the more Chinese residential region and then there is the Cotai Strip where you can spend hours with your group of friends at City of Dreams and watch live shows like The Beauty and The Beast, House of Dancing Waters among others. I was mesmerised by the set design, stage theatrics and acrobatics of The House of Dancing Waters Show. You can shop at the never ending and glamorous stores at the Venetian, or can try your luck at the new age casinos. In the heart of old town is Senado Square and one of my favourite places in Macau. It’s a lovely little area full of Portuguese architecture, shops and food stalls. Here you can find more than one Bossini, Giordano, Sasa's outlet which always seems to be on flash sales. Also the famous Koi Kei Bakery is located here, where one can pick up the infamous egg tarts. I haven’t travelled to Portugal and I haven’t been to China either, but a trip to Macau made me feel like I was back from both. What a fusion of the west and east Macau is!

Another day trip from Hong Kong is to Shenzhen. The best way to get there is by taking a MTR from East Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station on Kowloon to Lo Wu, which is on the Hong Kong/Chinese border. There are some world class theme parks, cultural attractions, SPA resorts and plenty of shopping. All next to each other in an area called "Overseas Chinese Town", these theme parks namely Windows of the World, Splendid China and Happy Valley are huge and you can spend a day in each walking around the exhibitions and folk shows they offer. These are terrific for families with children. Shenzhen (like many other big Chinese cities) has many huge spa complexes. The best description of these spas is a Las Vegas casino, but with spa services instead of gambling. Shenzhen opens its gate for those who are addicted to shopping. Shenzhen is a Shopper’s paradise and considered to be the happening place for Indians to buy variety of products at an affordable price.

So be it a week long getaway, a shopping trip, an indulgence at the casino or a family vacation , the amazing trio of Hong Kong, Macau and Shenzhen provide an eclectic mix of travel experiences for a perfect holiday close to home

Janhavi Rane
(Product Management)