Travel News


Written By : PETER LOMAS. The shopping and holiday sensations of Hong Kong are now not only a direct flight away from Nadi International Airport. Fares to get there got
19 Jun 2010 12:00

image Written By : PETER LOMAS. The shopping and holiday sensations of Hong Kong are now not only a direct flight away from Nadi International Airport. Fares to get there got cheaper from yesterday.
National carrier Air Pacific launched a new round of reduced fares on its twice-weekly non-stop Boeing 767-300 flights to this vibrant hub of Asia.
They make Hong Kong an even easier option for travellers from Fiji. That’s both as a holiday destination and a transit stopover enroute to Europe, China, India and the Middle East.
The special fare of $1488 Nadi-Hong Kong-Nadi is inclusive of all taxes and surcharges. It is on sale until the 18th of next month. Or earlier if sold out. The fare can be booked for travel until December 16.


When we talk about Hong Kong, we immediately think of those three days of magical Hong Kong sevens rugby every March.
So why think of this city as a year-round holiday or stopover destination?
Quick answer: Hong Kong is one of the world’s great cities, with a range of attractions that go far beyond sevens rugby.
One of a Fiji media group who visited there recently as a guest of Air Pacific enthused about this. This journalist said visitors will realise very quickly that, as a destination, Hong Kong caters to almost everybody’s whims and tastes.
There are also other advantages. Fiji passport holders do not need a visa to holiday in Hong Kong or stopover in transit.
That’s why more and more Fiji people are realising the appeal of going via Hong Kong.
It starts at the top.
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and other members of Government regularly use Air Pacific’s Hong Kong flights.
So if you’re in Hong Kong, what is there to offer? What can you find in this always-alive South China Sea city of more than seven million people.
This writer used to be a regular visitor to Hong Kong for The Sevens. We know the stadiums well, right back to the first Hong Kong Sevens at the Hong Kong Football Club ground in 1976.
But not having been there for years, we enlisted the help of someone who has. He readily provided an up-to-date update on where to go, and what to see beyond The Sevens.
Come in leading journalist and Air Pacific frequent flier SAMISONI PARETI. Here are some Hong Kong visitor options Mr Pareti helped provide an insight on:


For the shopaholics, the Kowloon Peninsula will always be the place to be.
Kowloon is on the mainland, across Victoria Harbour from Hong Kong Island. Star ferries and the speedy and easy MTR (Mass Transit Railway) system link these two busy parts of Hong Kong.


The Night Markets on Temple Street come alive from around 4pm till midnight every day.
Hawkers in their makeshift tents and sheds take over entire streets to sell their wares.
They range from clothing to wall hangings, latest mobile phones to shoes, bags, pens, watches, CDs, cassettes, electronics, hardware, luggage, and artefacts. The list is almost endless.
The brands boggle the mind too. They look the real thing. But most, of course, are not genuine products.
In Hong Kong they call it “copies.”
Fiji people used to bargaining will have no problem getting a better deal.


Husbands may cringe at the idea of a shopping afternoon here. The ladies of the household will delight in it.
You have several blocks of the street blocked off into hundreds of little kiosks.
They sell everything from clothing, bags, accessories, toys, cosmetics and many more household items.
They call it the Ladies Market.
It’s on Tung Choi Street, Mong Kok, and opens from noon until 11:30pm.


Also in Kowloon you will find the Jade Market.
Not only will you find jade stones in assorted hues and colours, a visit to the Jade Market will be your introduction into the world of Chinese mysticism.
While you are encouraged to bargain for prices, jade sellers will never call out their prices.
They type them on their little calculators instead!
There are jade pendants, rings, bracelets, carvings and ornaments.
The market is on Kansu and Battery Streets, and is open from 10am to 5pm.


If you are still around Kowloon and have time for sightseeing after shopping, popping into the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden and the nearby Flower Market is recommended.
The group of Fiji journalists flown to Hong Kong by Air Pacific did exactly that. They were blown away by the experience.
The Bird Garden is a charming Chinese-style garden and is the favoured gathering place of songbird owners, who carry their beloved pets around in intricately carved cages. All manner of beautiful birds can be seen here.
Located on Yuen Po Street in Mong Kok, the garden contains some 70 songbird stalls as well as interesting courtyards and moon gates. It’s open from 7am to 8pm.
The story goes that bird keeping is the favourite past-time of retired men, who took on the hobby after the children had all grown up and left home.


Just out of the Bird Garden gates, you cannot miss the Flower Market, one of Hong Kong’s most colourful street markets.
The Flower Market is a jungle of exotic blossoms, luck-bringing houseplants and sweet scents.
It’s fun to walk around the market admiring the huge variety of flowers and plants for sale. You’ll find this botanical treat on Flower Market Road, Mong Kok. It opens from 7am to 7pm.



Now one of the must-visit attractions of this former British colonial outpost is The Peak, on Hong Kong Island.
As the name suggests, it is actually a mountain, about 373 metres above sea-level. That’s about 1200 feet, according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board.
The view from The Peak is spectacular, of the world famous Victoria Harbour below and the changing lights and colours of skyscrapers, if you happen to visit after sunset.
You have the choice of going up by car or bus, or via The Peak tramway.
The group of Fiji journalists saw the long queues at the cable car station below the peak and opted to go up in the Hong Kong Tourism Board bus, then take the tramway down. It’s an experience that will be hard to forget.
Some in the group though were troubled by the thought that during the rule of the British, locals were hired to pull rickshaws up to The Peak. With their sometimes bulky then European “masters” in tow!


If you are into temples and shrines, then a stop at Man Mo Temple can be inspiring. The Fiji journalists learnt on their tour of the temple that bad spirits can only fly straight and not sideways.
Which is why as soon as you enter Man Mo Temple, you are met by a strong metal wall. So you have to either turn left or right to get right in. That metal wall wards off the bad spirits, so the story goes.
The temple is actually on Hollywood Road and across and down a small alley, you will find Cat Street. This is a famous street in Hong Kong, back to the trading days of tall ships and drunken sailors.
Both Hollywood Road and Cat Street (actually the real name of the street is Upper Lascar Row) are famous for their antique shops and open air curio markets.



Families planning a visit to Hong Kong really need to call on the home of Mickey Mouse to make their holiday complete.
Hong Kong Disneyland is on a 310-acre site on Lantau Island, 20 minutes from Hong Kong International Airport and a 30-minute MTR ride from Central, on Hong Kong Island.
Hong Kong Disneyland welcomes visitors to its legendary fairytale kingdom. It proclaims itself as the happiest place on earth. There you get to journey through four theme lands of Main Street USA, Fantasyland, Adventureland and Tomorrowland. It also offers two Disney-style hotels.
For more information, visit


This was by far the group of Fiji journalists’ favourite.
The trip was organised by their hosts, the City-Gate Novotel Hotel at Tung Chung, which is adjacent to Hong Kong International Airport island. The Skyrail ride was the chance for “boys to scream like girls,” as Fiji Television journalist Lusiana Speight Work described it.
The ride takes you about 500 to 600 metres high on almost six kilometres of cable. From its Terminal at Tung Chung, not far from City-Gate Novotel or the MTR station, the ride takes about 25 minutes up to a peak on Lantau Island.
For the Fiji journalists, the ride was an “out of this world” experience, as the owners of Ngong Ping 360 offered them rides on their Crystal Cabins, which are glass bottomed.


High up at Ngong Ping Village on the Skyrail stop on Lantau Island, actually even before you reach the Skyrail terminal, the Giant Buddha comes into view.
It is said to be the world’s tallest seated outdoor bronze Buddha. It is 34 metres high, was cast in mainland China and took 10 years to complete. It was commissioned in 1993 and said to weigh 250 tonnes.
Some of the visiting journalists climbed the 268 steps to touch the cross-legged sitting Buddha.
Oh, and keep a look out for the silly monkey. Either at the Ngong Ping village terminal or as you near the Skyrail’s base terminal down at Tung Chung, keep an eye out for the sign of the monkey.
Once you spot it, it will tell you to smile. This time, it may be a wise thing to obey the silly monkey.
Because if you don’t, like some of the visiting journalists from Fiji, you might just end up looking silly in the photo taken by a camera that is hiding behind the ‘smiling monkey’.

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