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Hire a junk in Hong Kong

Thursday, November 13, 2008
Hong Kong's small space and huge population can sometimes be a little too much. If you need to spend time there and your business and shopping are done, why not do what the local ex-pats do and hire a junk.

Lots of companies rent them on Sundays and the cost and space on board can be happily shared with a bunch of friends.

There are around 260 outlying islands around Hong Kong, most barren and uninhabited. With so much development in the New Territories, visiting the islands offers the best chance to see something of rural Chinese life. They are easy to reach, and if you are on board your very own junk for a day, you can hop on and off for a spot of shopping.

Stanley Market is in the main street of Stanley Bay and was once a fishing port. The open-air marketplace is jam-packed with vendors selling silk garments, Chinese arts and crafts, toys, luggage and all the usual items you find in Asian markets.

A strip by the water is dedicated to bars and restaurants and the area is closed to motorised vehicles on weekends.

Back on board your junk, Cheung Chau is one of the islands you might decide to head to. During the week it is a quiet residential place, but on weekends, it's a different story. Ferries with sightseers and holiday-makers double the population, but you can always escape to your private vessel after a look around.

Hugging the shore on reclaimed land, Praya Street uses the Portuguese name for a harbour-side avenue — the "Praya". Along the waterfront, seafood is dried in the sun and fishmongers sell fresh shellfish and seafood in shops and restaurants.

Built more than two centuries ago, the Pak Tai Temple is dedicated to the Taoist god of the sea, the "Supreme Emperor of the Dark Heaven". Pak Tai's power is symbolised by the serpent and tortoise under his feet. Before his altar are statues of two generals, "Thousand Miles Eye" and "Favourable Wind Ear", who are said to be able to see and hear from any distance. Side halls display images of the Green Dragon and White Tiger, and the complex includes many features of traditional Chinese temple architecture, such as ceramic figurines on roof ridges and stone lions on the forecourt.

Cheng Chau is most famous for its annual bun festival held in May. People worship at Pak Tai and built 10m towers of filled buns as offerings.

Location

Around Hong Kong Harbour by junk.

Cost

Saffron Cruises has junk and crew hire starting at around $870 a day.

Creative Holidays has four-night accommodation packages to Hong Kong including late checkout starting at $232 per person twin share.

Virgin Atlantic has flights to Hong Kong.

Fares from:

  • Sydney $999
  • Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane $1210

Prices correct at November 13, 2008.

For further information

Creative Holidays
www.creativeholidays.com

Hong Kong Tourism Board
Level 4, Hong Kong House
80 Druitt Street
Sydney 2000
Ph: (02) 9283 3083
www.discoverhongkong.com
sydwwo@hktb.com

Virgin Atlantic Airways
Level 4, 7 Macquarie Place
Sydney 2000
Ph: 1300 727 340

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