It's A Small World - A Never-ending Pre-trip Report

Discussion in 'UK Trip Reports Board' started by dolphingirl47, Oct 31, 2015.

  1. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    For the next few months, it is definitely how it feels, but I have been very much a homebody since I came back from China in December.

    I am really excited about this. 3 more sleeps.

    I am in equal amounts excited and terrified about this.

    I can't believe how close this is getting.

    Corinna
     
  2. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    The plan for today has been to post the next installment of the trip report and get the day after this typed up. I have a day off today with no plans so this seemed like a good idea. I then started to look at some things for our big trip. It is now nearly 20:00 and I typed about a sentence on the trip report.

    However, in different ways, it has been quite a productive day.

    I started out with checking the various documents for the holiday and uploading them to the website of a company that offers online printing services. While I was at it, I thought I may as well sort out my ticket for Hong Kong Disneyland so that I can add this to the documents to be printed. I ended up booking this through the same company I got my Tokyo Disney Resort tickets through. I had some credits because of the issues with the original tickets (not that it caused any issues for me beyond having to print out the updated tickets). With their discount and the credits, I saved about 20% on the ticket. That can't be bad.

    The mistake I then made is that I got side tracked looking at tour options in Hong Kong. The two full days are taken care of. On the first one I am going to Hong Kong Disneyland and on the second one, we will take to public transportation to explore the city. I have researched the ins and outs of the Octopus card, which is Hong Kong's transportation smart card and have also chosen a guide book to help us narrow down what we want to see. However, I want to do a tour during the evening of the day we arrive in Hong Kong and also in the morning of the day before we fly back to the UK. I think I have now made a decision on those, so it was time well spend.

    For the evening tour, I kept coming back to an evening harbour cruise to coincide with the Symphony of Lights show. The reviews for the Symphony of Lights show are very mixed, but I figure that this may well be our only visit to Hong Kong so we should try to take it in. I found a very cheap Victoria Harbour Cruise to coincide with the Symphony of Lights show on board a luxury yacht with unlimited beer, soft drinks and snacks. I have not been able to find out what they mean by snacks, but at a price of about $20 per person, I am not too bothered about the show or the snacks. It will give us a nice overview of Hong Kong at night.

    For the day tour, I am gravitating towards a food walking tour. This includes strolling through various food markets, 10 tastings and a ride on one of the iconic double decker trams. The tastings include 3 dim sum tastings in a Michelin guide recommended tea house, shrimp wonton in a local lunch restaurant, sugar cane juice in a scenic Tea House, exotic fruit from a local produce market, beef-noodle from an open air stall, pineapple bun and milk tea. Part of me is thinking that this would be better at the beginning of the trip, but it just fits in nicely on the last day. I keep coming back to this. I will probably book this on pay day.

    The last element in Hong Kong that has fallen into place is how we get from the airport to the hotel. There is a an airport bus that runs about every 20 minutes and takes around 75 minutes. This bus stops just around the corner from our hotel. If I can stay awake, this will give us a good overview over Hong Kong as well.

    This afternoon, I got sidetracked again. This time it was by the Philippines. A couple of weeks ago, shore excursions for Manila showed up on the Royal Caribbean website, but there were no prices attached. I went in this afternoon to see if they have now added the prices. They still are not showing, but they have added shore excursions for Subic Bay and one of them really caught my imagination. It is an excursion to Mount Pinatubo and Puning Hot Springs. Unfortunately this costs a fortune through Royal Caribbean. I spent most of the afternoon trying to find a way to book this direct, but have not had any joy. As much as I would love to do this, I am not willing to pay what Royal Caribbean is charging.

    To Do List:
    Print out graphics for magnets, laminate them and attach magnets
    Book tours for Hong Kong
    Print out remaining documents
    Get nails done
    Do online check in for flights
    Pack

    Corinna
     
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  4. franandaj

    franandaj I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!

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    I'm not sure how I got so far behind on this, but the T-shirts are really cute!

    You are certainly traveling a lot before your big trip! It's always fun to have another excuse to wear one of your gowns!
     
  5. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    Behind seems to be my constant status at the moment.

    Thanks. I really like them.

    And this is part of the reason why I am constantly behind. One trip is behind me and the next one is just around the corner.

    Oh, absolutely.

    Corinna
     
  6. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    I still have not had the chance to share what I have been cooking up in terms of trips for the second half of the year and I think this may have to wait until I am back from the next big adventure. My ticker tells me this is now less than 2 weeks away. I cannot believe where time has gone and I will be away on the work trip from Tuesday to Friday evening. I am also determined to finish the trip report before I go. I will post an installment shortly. I have another one nearly ready and two more days to type up after this. I am hoping to finish off the partially done day before the day is out and hopefully get at least one more done while I am away on the conference while traveling and while waiting for events to start.

    On a positive note, my to do list is virtually done and apart from a few odds and ends that need completing, I have entered the phase of just waiting for things to arrive and for things to happen.

    The last time I updated, I had sent the documents to an online printing service. I had forgotten a couple and I knew there would be more down the line as I put the finishing touches on this holiday, but the bulk was done. I got the first idea that all may not be well when I had a card from the postal service advising that they were holding a parcel that does not fit in the letterbox. I for once was not waiting for anything but the documents and previously they had always been delivered in a letter size envelope. This most certainly would have fit in our letterbox. I asked for this to be redelivered on Wednesday when Graham was home. Imagine my surprise when I came home and found a huge box. Rather than printing the documents in letter size, they printed them in poster size. Not only would it be a little cumbersome to carry poster size confirmations, but for the luggage tags and everything that does have a QR code or barcode, it simply would not work. So I have now reordered the documents including the ones that I had forgotten and the ones I have received since. This time, they will definitely be the right size. The only documents still outstanding are our boarding passes for the flights and I am sure my boss will let me print those at work the day before I leave.

    The other print job that I needed taking care of are the graphics for the magnets. I thought that magnets will be slim pickings this time round as the person who normally helps me out with this is on a extended break. However, some other kind souls came to my rescue and I made a couple of very simple designs myself and I have ended up with 20 magnets again. I have again ordered the prints from an online photo processing company and once they have arrived, I will laminate them, cut them to size and add magnets. This should only take me an hour or so. Here are the designs I made:

    Word Art (1).jpeg Word Art.jpeg Crowne and Anchor.png

    The biggest of the outstanding jobs was sorting out the tours for Hong Kong. This is now done. In the process, our agenda for Hong Kong was reorganized. The original plan was to do a harbour cruise on the evening we arrive and that I would spend the first full day at Hong Kong Disneyland and then we would go sightseeing together the following day.

    While I was looking for the best deal on the the two tours I had set my heart on, I came across an inexpensive tour that sounded like a lot of fun. It is called the TramOramic Ding Ding Tour. Essentially you get a one hour narrated tour on a 1920s street car with an open top deck. The terminus for this is right around the corner of our hotel. We figured that this would be a good introduction to Hong Kong. This is part of the reason why we switched the days around. However, the main reason is that the tour comes with a two day pass for the regular street cars and Graham can make use of this when he spends a day sightseeing on his own.

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    I also got tickets for the Peak Tram and the observation terrace that is on top of the Victoria Peak. The Peak Tram is is Asia’s oldest funicular railway and I can only imagine what the views are like from Victoria Peak. I think the plan is for us to head up there in time for sunset.

    [​IMG]

    Other than these two things, we have no fixed plans for the day. I really want to have a look at the Central–Mid-Levels escalators. The Central–Mid-Levels escalator and walkway system in Hong Kong is the longest outdoor covered escalator system in the world. They sound absolutely fascinating. I am also kind of hoping that a tea house will feature in the day for some Chinese tea and dim sum. If a temple would feature in our wanders, that would be a plus. I think the favourite would be Man Mo Temple, which is in the Central neighborhood of Hong Kong Island.

    [​IMG]

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    The next day, I will head to Hong Kong Disneyland and Graham will do his own thing. As per usual, I have chosen 4 must do attractions. This was very easy. As far as I can see, there are really only 5 (fairly) unique attractions at Hong Kong Disneyland with the remaining attractions being identical or as close to identical as makes no difference to attractions at other parks I have been to. One of the unique attractions is Take Flight with Iron Man Above Hong Kong. From what I read, this uses the same ride technology as Startours and this tends to make me ill so I eliminated this.

    My first choice is "it's a small world”. I know that the present version of this at Disneyland was inspired by the ride in Hong Kong, but in my experiences they versions in each park different enough for me to count this as unique. My second choice is Hyperspace Mountain. I believe that this is either identical or very similar to the version at Disneyland. However, as I have never had the chance to experience this, it will be new to me.

    The last two attractions are completely unique. Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars seems to be a cross between Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Expedition Everest and can only be found in Hong Kong. I was in two minds about this as Expedition Everest freaks me out, but curiosity got the better of me. I have the feeling that the final attraction will be more my style though. Mystic Manor is often described as their version of Haunted Mansion. However, from everything I have read about this, it is more Adventurers Club than Haunted Mansion. The ride uses the same trackless technology that Pooh’s Hunny Hunt at Tokyo and Ratatouille at Paris uses. So this should be both spectacular and great fun. This may well need more than one go.

    Hong Kong Disneyland must have the most characters of all the parks. A lot of them I have seen on a number of occasions, but Moana, Baymax and Hiro, Duffy and Friends, Groot, Iron Man, Black Panther, BB-8, Chewbacca, R2-D2 and Jessie are all on my list of characters I would like to see. ShellieMay is my absolute priority though.

    I also can’t wait to see Paint the Night. The afternoon parade looks quite similar to the new parade at Disneyland Paris. If I just happen to be in the vicinity when it happens, I will stay and watch, but I will not go out of my way to do so. The springtime mini parade is a different matter. I will make a point of watching this.

    The second main change to our itineary actually happened at the end of the trip. I always planned that we would do the Victoria Harbour cruise on the day we arrive, but I also was always nervous that we would be too tired to really enjoy it between an overnight flight and the jetlag. The issue was that the cruise does not operate daily. When I went to book it today, I spotted that it also operates on the day we get back from Guilin. I asked Graham what he wanted to do and he thought it was a nice finish to the trip. So I booked it for our last evening of the holiday.

    The tour I am most excited about is a food tour and we are doing this in the morning of the day on which we will fly home. It is called the 10 Tastings Tour and is a private tour for just the two of us with a local guide. We will start at the dry seafood market and admire all it's exotic colorful products. We will learn about the Chinese gastronomic traditions. The next stop will be a Michelin guide recommended Tea House where we will get to choose oour favourite 3 pieces of dim sum with the help of our host. I see steamed pork buns in my future. We will then visit a typical Wet Market and learn all about Chinese vegetables, meat and cultural function of the building. Then it is time for some more food. We will get to taste the Shrimp Wonton in a local lunch restaurant. We will then get to sample sugar cane juice in a scenic Tea House led by a 4th generation family. At the fresh market street, we will taste exotic fruit handpicked especially ny our guide. As long as he or she does not try to make us eat durian. We then get on a double-decker tram another old neighbourhood of Hong Kong. There we get to eat some street food in the shape of beef noodles.We then finish the tour with a pineapple bun and milk tea. At that stage, we can probably roll back to the hotel to collect our luggage and make our way to the airport.

    Graham is still busily sending me stuff about things to do in Guilin. I think we could probably fill three weeks just there. The plan is still that we sort out what we do in Guilin when we get there. Speaking about getting to Guilin, there has been a slight issue with this. We had booked first class tickets for the train in both directions. Last Sunday we got an email saying that there were no first class seats available on the train there. So we are now going to Guilin second class, but are coming back first class. Actually it will be nice to see both.

    I have decided to invest in a little point and shoot camera as I don’t want to carry my big camera with me to some places were we are going, but want something more sophisticated than my iPhone. This will arrive on Saturday. I was hoping to have this in time for the conference, but left it too late.

    To Do List:
    Laminate graphics for magnets and attach magnets
    Get nails done
    Do online check in for flights
    Reactivate Chinese SIM card
    Pack

    Corinna
     
    Flossbolna and Malia78 like this.
  7. Flossbolna

    Flossbolna Sea days are just so relaxing!

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    Sounds like your trip is coming together! It all really sounds great! I know that Hong Kong will be in our near future as Michael loves it (he has worked there in the past). I am way behind on your trip report, hopefully I get to catch up there while you are away!!
     
  8. jedijill

    jedijill Chiefs fan living in Bronco country

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    Wow! Your plans sound amazing! That food tour is right up my alley!

    Jill in CO
     
  9. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    It better had. Earlier on, I was packing for a work conference. I will be in Southampton from tomorrow afternoon until Friday evening.

    Thanks.

    Graham has been before, but for me it will be the first time. It has been a long time coming.

    It will not go anywhere.

    Thanks.

    I have never tried anything like this, but I am hugely excited about this tour.

    Corinna
     

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