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World Travels 2023 - 2024, 11 March 24, Brisbane, Australia to 27 March 24, Hong Kong China Leg.

Updated: 4 days ago




Map of Serenade of the seas from Brisbane to Hong Kong.


Hong Kong Highlights Tour – 28 March 2024

 

 

I am embarking on a journey to truly discover the wonders of Hong Kong requires a combination of transportation modes - a tram, a coach, and a sampan - each offering a unique perspective on this vibrant city.

 

My adventure begins with a coach ride to Victoria Peak, where I am treated to a breathtaking 360-degree view of Hong Kong, its bustling harbor, and the surrounding islands.



Coach ride to Victoria Peak,

 

From this vantage point, I will appreciate the city's beauty and grandeur in its entirety, with skyscrapers reaching towards the sky and the harbor shimmering below.



Victoria Peak

 

As the coach winds its way towards Stanley Market, I pass by the picturesque Repulse Bay, a serene beach destination that adds a touch of tranquility to the bustling cityscape.

Arriving at Stanley Market, I am greeted by a lively outdoor shopping market where bargains can be found on a variety of goods, including designer items and souvenirs. The vibrant atmosphere and plethora of shopping options make it a must-visit destination for any traveler.


Stanley Market


Continuing on my journey, I make my way to Aberdeen, where I board a sampan for a cruise through the famous fishing village.




 

As I glide along the waters, I catch a glimpse of the everyday life of the villagers, witnessing their traditional ways of living and working in this unique coastal community.

 




Exploring Aberdeen and Stanley Market by coach and sampan provides me with a deeper understanding of Hong Kong's rich culture and diverse offerings.

 

From the bustling markets to the tranquil fishing villages, each stop along the way offers a glimpse into the heart and soul of this dynamic city.


This multi-faceted journey is sure to leave me with lasting memories of the sights, sounds, and experiences that make Hong Kong truly unforgettable.

 

Evening Light Show and Victoria – 27 March 2024

 

I am eagerly anticipating an evening filled with extraordinary sights and unforgettable experiences that promise to make this tour an absolute 'must-do.'

 

To kick off the evening, I will take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront, soaking in the vibrant atmosphere before immersing myself in the renowned Symphony of Lights show.

 




This spectacular nightly event showcases the interactive lights of over forty iconic buildings in Hong Kong and Kowloon, synchronized with musical effects that create a mesmerizing display of light and sound.


Next, I will embark on the Peak Tram ride, a thrilling ascent to the peak of Hong Kong that offers unparalleled views of the cityscape.

The journey culminates at the Sky Terrace, the highest viewing platform in Hong Kong, where I will be treated to a breathtaking 360-degree panoramic vista that displays the beauty and grandeur of the city below.



 

As I take in the Symphony of Lights show and marvel at the stunning views from the Sky Terrace, I am filled with a sense of awe and wonder at the sheer magnificence of Hong Kong's skyline.

 

The Peak Tram ride adds an extra layer of excitement to the experience, providing me with a unique perspective of the city from its highest vantage point.

 

This evening promises to be a magical and unforgettable one, filled with dazzling lights, panoramic vistas, and a sense of wonder that will stay with me long after my time in Hong Kong ends.

 

I cannot wait to embark on this journey and witness the beauty of Hong Kong unfold before my eyes in all its illuminated glory.

 

 

Tea Tasting and Hong Kong Tour – 27 March 2024

 

As I embark on this cultural journey, I am filled with anticipation for the experiences that await me as I delve into the rich traditions of Chinese heritage.

 

My first stop is the Chi Lin Nunnery, a place where the wooden architecture echoes the grand temples of the Tang Dynasty.




 

Here, I am immersed in the serenity and beauty of this sacred space, appreciating the intricate details and design that transport me back in time.

 

Moving on to the Nan Lian Garden, I am captivated by the meticulously landscaped surroundings that reflect the elegance of the Tang Dynasty.

 


Nan Lian Garden


Every element within the garden, from the hills to the water features, is thoughtfully placed according to ancient rules and methods, creating a harmonious and tranquil environment that soothes the soul.

 

The bustling Chun Yeung St. Wet Market beckons me next, offering a glimpse into the daily life of the locals as I wander through the vibrant stalls brimming with fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and seafood.

 


Chun Yeung St. Wet Market


The sights and sounds of the market immerse me in the vibrant energy of the bustling streets, providing a glimpse into the heart of traditional Chinese daily life.

 


Chun Yeung St. Wet Market



Chun Yeung St. Wet Market


Finally, I have the opportunity to partake in a tea tasting workshop, delving into the ancient Chinese tradition of tea drinking.

 

Guided by experts, I learn the art of brewing the perfect cup of tea and sample four different varieties, each accompanied by delectable food pairings that elevate the tasting experience to new heights.

 


 Tea tasting workshop,


As I reflect on the day's adventures, I am grateful for the opportunity to immerse myself in Chinese traditions, from the serene beauty of the Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Garden to the lively atmosphere of the wet market and the art of tea tasting.

 

This cultural exploration has enriched my understanding of Chinese heritage and left me with memories to cherish for a lifetime.


Puning Hot Spring, Philippines – 25 March 2024

 

I am getting ready for an unforgettable adventure as you embark on a journey through the stunning landscapes of Mount Pinatubo and indulge in the rejuvenating experience of Puning Hot Spring.



Puning Hot Spring Resort

 

As I sit in the open-air seat of the 4X4 Jeep, I can feel the excitement building up within me.



Jeep Ride to Puning Hot Springs Part 1


 


Jeep Ride to Puning Hot Springs Part 2


The rugged terrain of the active stratovolcano in Zambales unfolds before my eyes, offering a thrilling ride through narrow canyons, shallow streams, and desert-like valleys.



Jeep Ride to Puning Hot Springs Part 3


The sheer beauty and raw power of nature surround me as I traverse the challenging terrain, each twist and turn adding to the adrenaline rush of the experience.



Jeep Ride to Puning Hot Springs Part 4

 

Arriving at Puning Hot Spring, I will be greeted by the promise of relaxation and rejuvenation.

 

The filtered thermal spring water from Sacobia River invites me to soak and soothe my tired muscles, while the steam treatment in the hot sand oven works its magic on my circulation.

 


The filtered thermal spring water from Sacobia River


The sand and mudpacks applied to my skin offer a refreshing boost, leaving me feeling revitalized and renewed.

 


Hot sand treatment to relax the entire body.


After indulging in the spa treatments, I make my way to the base camp where I can shower, change into fresh clothes, and enjoy a delicious buffet meal of authentic Filipino dishes.

 

I will be surrounded by the serene beauty, and I will take a moment to savor the experience and appreciate the wellness-inspired outing that combines the best of nature and relaxation.



Surrounded by the serene beauty,


Mount Pinatubo and Puning Hot Spring offer a unique blend of adventure and tranquility, allowing me to immerse myself in the pristine beauty of the country while indulging in a wellness retreat like no other.

 

This journey through breathtaking landscapes, soothing hot springs, and delicious cuisine is an experience that will stay with me long after the adventure ends.

 

 

Manila, Philippines – 24 March 2024

 

Today, I will embark on a journey through Manila, a city that seamlessly weaves together its past and present. As I drive along the scenic Roxas Boulevard, I feel the heartbeat of this bustling metropolis before reaching the historic enclave of Intramuros, affectionately known as "The Walled City."

 


Bus ride to see Manila.


I immerse myself in the architectural wonders of Manila Cathedral and San Agustin Church, each a testament to the city's rich heritage. Stepping into the solemn grounds of Fort Santiago, I sense the echoes of Dr. Jose Rizal's courage still lingering, offering me a poignant glimpse into Philippine history.



Manila Cathedral and San Agustin Church


Venturing into the vibrant Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex, I discover a hub of creativity and cultural exchange that has witnessed the unfolding of countless memorable events. Before bidding farewell to this unforgettable day,

 

Intriguing tales await within the ancient walls of Intramuros, where centuries-old fortifications, church remnants, and relics from Spain's Conquistadores stand as silent witnesses to bygone eras.


I explore the storied halls of Fort Santiago, a majestic Spanish fortress overlooking the majestic Pasig River.



Images of Fort Santigo



My impressions of Fort Santigo Video



At the Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex, I feel the pulse of artistic expression in a space that has hosted a myriad of local and international cultural gatherings.

 


Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex,


I delve into the storied past of Manila Cathedral and lose myself in the treasures of San Agustin Church, a sanctuary of history and faith lovingly preserved by the Augustinian order. I wander through the museum's halls, adorned with antique church vestments and colonial-era furniture, each piece a living testament to a bygone era of elegance and grace.

 

I indulge in some retail therapy at the sprawling Mall of Asia, where modernity meets tradition in the heart of Manila.



Mall of Asia



Typical Sunday in the Mall of Asia



Embark on this unforgettable journey through Manila, where the past whispers through the cobblestone streets and the present pulses with the vibrant energy of a city that never ceases to inspire and captivate.




Soul of Bali by Land Rover 20 March 2024

 

I plan to zip off in a safari vehicle for an eight-hour adventure around the Balinese countryside, making canang offerings at Pura Luhur Batukaru temple, hiking the Jatiluwih rice terraces, and enjoying lunch at Bamboo Forest Restaurant.



Bali intro video

 

I am looking forward to settling into a seat in a four-person Land Rover and heading out across backroads that will lead me past a village centered around a natural stone quarry.

 


Wild ride in a Land Rover though Bali


In a nearby farming community, I will enjoy freshly roasted Balinese coffee and homemade snacks.

 

I will then learn how to create traditional canang, palm-leaf baskets used as Balinese Hindu religious offerings, while embracing the spiritual serenity emanating from Pura Luhur Batukaru temple.



Bali Temple medication

 


My spiritual visit to the Pura Luhur Batukaru temple.


Next, I will explore the bright-green hillsides of the Jatiluwih rice terraces, which were named a UNESCO site for good reason. I am excited for a 30-minute trek through fields where locals have harvested rice since the 9th century.




The green hillsides of the Jatiluwih rice terraces.

 

Finally, I will relax in the natural surroundings of Bamboo Forest Restaurant, where a buffet meal of Indonesian dishes will be presented on the open-air patio, accompanied by traditional rindik music to round out my unforgettable day in Bali.





Lombok, Indonesia - 19 March 2024

 

The vibrant culture of Lombok is revealed today on my exploration of Mataram, where I will visit a large Hindu temple complex, shop for freshwater pearls farmed in Lombok, wander the bustling local art market, and then spend some time in the museum for the West Nusa Tenggara Province.



Ship entrance to Lombok, Indonesia

 

My Mataram city tour starts with a visit to Lingsar, a large temple complex built in 1714 and the most important temple on the island for the Balinese and the local Sasak people, who adhere to the Islam Wetu Telu. I remember this is a sacred sight and I wore appropriate clothing.



Lombok Museum & Cultural Center

 

I will stop to view the fountain in the temple grounds that contains fish that are believed to appear only when a person’s wish is going to be granted. Will this be my lucky day.

 


Lingsar, a large temple complex built in 1714



The sacred fountain on the temple grounds that contains a fish that are believed to appear on when a person's wish has been granted. I was very lucky, and I saw the sacred fish and my special wish was granted for the day.


Looking forward to find out why Lombok is renowned for its pearls, as I visit the pearl shops in the center of Mataram, where you can browse excellent-quality pears at bargain prices.



I visited the pearl store and they sold fresh and saltwater pearls by the gram at bargain prices. Many great bargains were made today.



 

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4 Comments


I gotta say Joe, I can barely imagine the amount of emotions feeling the different energies of these places.

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Too Cool


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Ty Knox
Ty Knox
Mar 21

We hope to make it to Bali some day :(

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Oooooh! Pearls!!!!! (And not just ‘pearls of wisdom!’)

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