Hong Kong and Macau: Introduction

Delta Economy Comfort ECP-ATL-SEA-NRT-HKG
W Hong Kong
Exploring Hong Kong
Conrad Macao
Exploring Macau
Conrad Hong Kong
Delta Economy Comfort HKG-NRT-SEA-ATL-ECP

A couple of months ago, as my end of the year work travel started to fall into place, I started thinking of trip ideas that would take me far away from Florida for a week. Obviously, there are a lot of places on my list that I want to visit, but it had ultimately come down to South Africa and Hong Kong/Macau. Obviously, I had never been to Africa before and Asia had been limited to Japan (and if you want to count it, Bahrain, as technically the Middle East is on the Asian continent), so either one was definitely going to be an exciting new opportunity. I spent hours and hours pricing out options, coming up with itineraries, but I kept winding up torn between the two. After staring at my notes and thinking hard late on a Saturday night, I finally came to the conclusion that I just had to go to Hong Kong.

Hong Kong and Macau have always been very interesting to me, mostly due to the years of European influence and they relatively recent return of those two territories from the UK and Portugal respectively to the People’s Republic of China. I think it’s a bit the ‘east meets west’ mash up of cultures, but a part of is too is just the unique histories of these territories. Plus, you’ve got all the typical tourist sites, such as Victoria Peak, Victoria Harbor and crossing it on the history Star Ferry, Markets, the food, museums, food and on and on.

Unusually for me, I also booked this trip unusually early for me, securing my flights over two months before hand. I didn’t catch some of the really good deals to Hong Kong (I think there had been some flights out of Atlanta for around $900), but I still feel the $1250 that my airfare cost still was under what I had seen in the past. Some might be asking why didn’t I use miles, as I certainly have more than plenty to get there in Delta’s BusinessElite or even some other SkyTeam carrier’s Business Class product. Simply it boiled down to requalifying for Platinum Medallion for 2014. Although I have been on the road more this year than previous years, my trips were less frequent and longer so I didn’t rack up as nearly Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs). It boiled down to barely having Gold and flying in Business or putting up with Economy and getting earning at least 18,000 MQMs to guarantee Platinum for another year. Considering that I have rather enjoyed being Platinum, I decided that I’d put up with flying Economy (Economy Comfort) to guarantee myself yet another year of the benefits. On top of that I had to take a less than direct routing, and found myself flying ECP-ATL-SEA-NRT-HKG and back. It made for a very long day of travel each way.

As for the hotels, I waited until much closer to the trip to get all of my rooms booked. Part of this was the fact that I was waiting to get more Hilton HHonors points from a three week work trip that would gain me over 140,000 points and allow me to secure two nights at the Conrad Macao (40,000/night) and the Conrad Hong Kong (80,000/night) for the second half of my trip. The first three nights wound up being at the W Hong Kong in Kowloon on a combination of two paid nights ($365/night) and one award night (22,500 points). With only two nights being paid for, it kept the per night cost fairly low, and as a result I got to stay in some amazing hotels, two of which I can easily say are in my top hotels list now.

With all of my travel arrangements booked, I started looking towards what I wanted to see and do. As always I picked up a copy of the relevant Lonely Planet guidebook and starting looking for sites, restaurants, bars, activities, etc that sounded interesting. All sorts of things started looking promising, so I started making my list. It wasn’t but after going through a few that I realized that using foursquare for this purpose would be extremely useful. I could read reviews and other details in advance of my trip, save it to a to-do list and then while on the ground, I could refer to the list to find nearby places to check out. As a result, my “Places to Check Out in Hong Kong” list got started. Surprisingly, despite using foursquare for almost three years, I never once had that idea before…

With all of that done, it was time to sit back and relax and get ready for an adventure. I’ll be filling in the next several posts over the next few weeks, but in the mean time here’s a few samples of my trip until then…besides I have almost 1200 images in RAW format that I need to process in Lightroom!

W Hong Kong View – Victoria Harbor

Central – Hong Kong Island

Stanley Street Food Stalls

Victoria Harbour At Night

Which Way Did I Go?

Enjoying A Mojito at W Hong Kong Wet Deck (Rooftop Pool And Bar)

Conrad Macao – Suite

Ruins Of St. Paul’s, Macau

Small, Quiet Public Square In Macau

Taipa Ferry Terminal, Macau

Stanely, Hong Kong

Delta Air Lines A330 At Hong Kong International Airport (HKG)

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