Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Hong Kong rides and slides

Hong Kong has two of the world's greatest rides -- and neither are at the new Disneyland here.

The Peak Tram is a just what it sounds like ... a decades-old tram that runs up a rail toward Hong Kong Island's crowning glory, Victoria Peak. For $HK 33 -- about $4.25 -- round trip you can take the tram up the hillside, gliding past green parks and freeways and skyscrapers awkwardly perched at improbable angles. (Of course, they're really vertical; the tram is at an angle.)

After two years of closure, facilities at the top of the Peak have just reopened in a space-vehicle looking tower that turns out to be an enclosed entertainment center, complete with multiple shops, a Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum and countless restaurants -- including Bubba Gump's Shrimp Factory. The top of the building is a platform with spectacular panoramic view across the bustling harbour on the one side and to a tranquil bay on the other.

Hong Kong's other great ride is the Star Ferry. For $HK 2.2 -- about 30 cents -- you can take the ferry from Hong Kong Island to the New Terrorities on the mainland. The ride takes about 15 minutes, allowing for plenty of time for breezes and great views of both sides.

A third great ride is on the way. A new cable car will take visitors from a location near the airport to the giant golden Buddha on Lantau Island. Unfortunately, it's experiencing some technical difficulties. I'll have to try it next time.

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