In June 2017, Heartland Boy’s family reached a mini milestone- they embarked on their first overseas holiday together as a family! Of course, trips to neighbouring Malaysia should not be counted! This is definitely a memorable occasion worth penning down in this blog. For Heartland Boy, this was a moment 29 years in the making! A confluence of factors made this family vacation possible:
- His parents finally shut down their hawker stall and were waiting to find new jobs.
- The children are working adults who can help finance this family holiday
- Heartland Boy was guilty after making too many exotic trips on his own without his parents
- More importantly, the children realized that the folks are getting on in their age and may not be fit enough to travel in the future
While brainstorming on possible holiday ideas, Hong Kong came to the fore. As inexperienced travellers, Hong Kong was a good first family holiday destination for his parents. Firstly, public transport is convenient and there is no language barrier. Moreover, the parents will choose rice over pasta on any given day, so the availability of Chinese food in Hong Kong is a great draw. These were the reasons why Heartland Boy and his siblings chose Hong Kong for their first family holiday destination.
Disruptive Technologies To The Fore
Heartland Boy and his siblings also deliberately took this opportunity to expose his parents to the technologies that are disrupting the world today.
It started with the self-check-in terminals at the airports. Thankfully, Chinese language was one of the available options. However, the folks stumbled with the thumbprint identification at the immigration counter in Changi Airport. It really reminded the children that these are things that we often take for granted! The parents also needed help navigating the in-flight entertainment system. Nonetheless, Heartland Boy was most heartened to see that they particularly enjoyed the Singapore Airlines experience. By the way, considering that it was the school holidays, $290 per ticket was a really good deal. Uber also proved to be the cheapest and most convenient option to get into the city from Hong Kong International Airport. Well, taking a stranger’s car without paying was definitely an eye-opening experience for the parents.
The sharing economy experience was completed when the family checked into a stranger’s house that was booked via AirBnB. AirBnb was a great way to save on accommodation costs in Hong Kong since separate hotel rooms need not be booked. The particular apartment that Heartland Boy rented was located in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui and within 200 meters of the MTR. It was really convenient and good value for money. Heartland Boy could tell Mum was the happiest of the lot because she got to cook and use the washing machine. She even swept the floor on the third day. Guess old habits really die hard!
Hong Kong Holiday Attractions
As it was the first time the parents have travelled that far, the children were unsure how they would adapt in a foreign country. For instance, following a package tour may not be suitable if the parents cannot keep up with the pace. Therefore, Heartland Boy researched various holiday guides and online travel websites on Hong Kong to develop a free and easy itinerary. It was highly flexible and catered to the parents’ interests as well as their physical conditions.
Lantau Island with the landmark Buddha statue was the first stop. The family took the Ngong Ping Cable Car to get to Lantau Island. It brought back memories when the parents used to bring the children to Genting in Malaysia. That was always the default holiday destination for the family back then because that was the nearest casino. That probably explained why the family did not make a trip to neighbouring Macau, which is well-known for its toxic gambling culture. Anyway, the poignant cable car ride was a bittersweet moment as it dawned on Heartland Boy that the roles had now been reversed.
The floating market at Sai Kung was also a great tourist attraction for the elderly. It boasts a unique floating seafood market where live seafood could be bought. Money and seafood were exchanged via an ingenious trolley system made out of poles and basket. The live seafood can also be cooked at the wide array of live seafood restaurants along the pier.
It was an enjoyable stroll along the pier as the ocean breeze was a welcome respite to the warm summer in Hong Kong during June. That very same day, Heartland Boy’s family also visited Wong Tai Sin Temple. Over there, Heartland Boy prayed that the parents can find jobs that are less taxing on their bodies so that they can remain good health.
Of course, no trip to Hong Kong would be complete without visiting Victoria Peak. Victoria Peak is a great vantage point to view Hong Kong’s amazing skyline and marvel at some of the most expensive skyscrapers in the world. Of course, it was quite a sight to behold as Hong Kong is more densely built as a city compared to Singapore.
Hong Kong Food
Besides taking in the sights, trying local delicacies is also a great way for visitors to understand a foreign country’s culture. The parents were clearly fans of Hong Kong cuisine since several Michelin restaurants were included during this Hong Kong trip. In line with Heartland Boy’s earning prowess, only the relatively affordable restaurants were shortlisted. Dining in such a big group was also relatively tricky. As a result, they often had to visit during off-peak hours in order to beat the queue.
Kam Roast was a clear standout during the entire trip. While it is probably most famous for its roast goose, Heartland Boy thought the Char Siew (barbequed pork) was the real star. It was so good that his brother brought home an additional serving for supper. Remember it was early an early dinner! It is a pity that the outlet in Singapore can only serve roast duck and not roast goose.
Ho Hung Kee was an excellent choice too as it serves top-notch wanton noodles and porridge. The taste was still as good as the first time that Heartland Boy first had it in 2013. The mixed pork organ porridge would probably be Heartland Boy’s choice of comfort food in Hong Kong. They also tried San Kee porridge where the chicken porridge was noteworthy. Somehow, the chicken had been marinated to taste like drunken chicken! An interesting thing which his sister shared was that the locals usually have their porridge together with stir fried vermicelli for their breakfast.
A culinary tour in Hong Kong must include its traditional茶餐厅. For this, Heartland Boy brought the family to Kam Wah Café where the Polo buns there are proclaimed to be one of the best in Hong Kong. It made for an interesting experience as the tables were tightly packed to one another and sharing of tables with other diners was also common. Even though Tai Cheong Bakery is also available in Singapore, Heartland Boy had to visit the original shop in Hong Kong simply for nostalgic reasons! Moreover, he has a soft spot for egg tarts.
Hong Kong For Our First Family Holiday Destination
Heartland Boy is relieved that the entire holiday went without any major mishaps or drama. Hong Kong was really an ideal first family holiday destination in his opinion!
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Nice! I like to take the chance to travel more especially when the folks are still fit and healthy enough to walk. I didn’t quite like HK (some questionable service standards LOL) but I have to admit, it is a easy country to navigate for a family trip. Taiwan was my top choice a few year back. Come November, I’m bringing and parents and my in-laws for a cruise. Easy option without headaches 🙂
Yes, I felt a minor sense of achievement when the children were able to fully fund our parents’ trip. Enjoy your cruise with your parents and in-laws!
Enjoy read this. You are a great son, Alison!
Thanks Jim. I think my parents definitely deserved it.
Miss Niao says
What a nice trip! Coincidentally, I went to HK in the beginning of this year. I’ve also managed to bring my mum and grandmother for a fully paid short trip to Batam last year. It was not much, but something memorable because it was the first time I brought them literally “over the sea” lol! The feeling of role reversal is really different, ain’t it? 🙂
Hi Miss Niao,
I am glad you had the same feeling of pride and nostalgia as I did. I am sure your mum and grandma certainly appreciated your efforts!
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Thanks for your encouragment