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HONGKONG - CHINA

 
 

This was the last city during our tour - we visited on day twenty. The history of this fascinating city is welll known. It was an island inhabited by a few fisherfolk when the British siezed it at the end of the Opium war by the Treaty of Nanking in 1842. The Imperial Chinese government was compelled to cede the island to Great Britain for use as a commercial base. Eighteen years later with the Treaty of Peking the mainland opposite - Kowloon was added. And in 1898 the further area of mainland known as the New Territories was leased for 99 years. But this region was inhabited since Neolithic times and was then settled during the Han Dynasty. It was expanded during the Sung Dynasty 960 - 1279.
In addition to the main Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories there are many smaller islands, some of which are uninhabited while others remain with fishing villages. The chief center is the shore on both sides of Victoria Harbor. Kowloon is linked to Hong Kong by three tunnels and a ferry. The main island is 29 sq miles and Kowloon is 18 sq miles. The Chinese took back the entire Hong Kong in 1997 when the lease on the New Territories expired.
One of the favorite tourist stops is the top of Victoria Peak (1300 feet) which is reached by road but also by a funicular railroad tramway that was opened in 1888. This opened the hillside to development as wealthy families moved up to escape the crowd and heat in the downtown area.
The south side of the island remains largely forested hillside, but there are several significant towns along the shore. One favorite stop is Aberdeen (population 60,000). The harbor here is full of sampans, junks, fishing vessels and floating restaurants. Further along the shore is Ocean Park with beach and ammusement park, rides, water world, and aquarium. Then there is Repulse Bay, named after the British battleship HMS Repulse. Here there is a modern and rather garish temple to the Goddess of the Sea, Tin Hau.
The ultra-modern, new Hong Kong airport is located on filled land at Lantau Island, northwest of Kowloon and reached by super highway and express rail.

 
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Part of the elegant modern restaurant ( one of several) in the Royal Pacific Hotel and Towers, Hong Kong. Breakfast here is indeed a fine way to start our brief stay in Hong Kong. The hotel is actually located across the bay in the Kowloon area.

 
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Part of the elegant modern restaurant ( one of several) in the Royal Pacific Hotel and Towers, Hong Kong

 
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Another section of the buffet tables in the restaurant of the Hong Kong Royal Pacific Hotel and Towers.

 
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Another section of the buffet tables in the restaurant of the Hong Kong Royal Pacific Hotel and Towers.

 
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Three wise men - statues in the lobby of the Royal Pacific hotel

 
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A small part of the lobby area of the Royal Pacific hotel in Hong Kong

 
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View of Hong Kong and the harbor from the Royal Pacific hotel on the Kowloon side.- a ferry dock in the forground.

 
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View up at the towers of the Royal Pacific hotel in Hong Kong

 
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Entrance way to the Royal Pacific hotel between the two towers.

 
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We are exploring the multi-level mall beneath the towers of the Royal Pacific Hotel

 
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The street outside the Royal Pacific Hotel - another skyscraper and entrance ramps

 
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Another tall building behind one of the entrance ramps into the hotel.

 
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View from the Kowloon street up to the hotel towers.

 
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It seems that there is always more construction - these buildings are on the Kowloon water front next to the Royal Pacific Hotel

 
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View from the bus window of a church hidden in the trees near the hotel.

 
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View from Victoria Peak over Hong Kong - then the harbor and Kowloon in the distance. We were fortunate to beat the rain or the clouds would have blocked this view completely

 
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View from Victoria Peak over Hong Kong - then the harbor and Kowloon in the distance.

 
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View from Victoria Peak over Hong Kong - then the harbor and Kowloon in the distance.

 
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View of the railroad track from the upper station on Victoria Peak.

 
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One of the cars of the rail line up to Victoria Peak.

 
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View of Hong Kong harbor from top of Victoria Peak

 
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View of Hong Kong harbor from top of Victoria Peak

 
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View of Hong Kong harbor from top of Victoria Peak

 
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View of Hong Kong harbor from top of Victoria Peak

 
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View of Hong Kong harbor from top of Victoria Peak

 
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We view an interesting architecture on Victoria Peak.

 
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View from Victoria Peak to the oposite side from down town Hong Kong - the open Pacific Ocean and islands.

 
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View from Victoria Peak to the oposite side from down town Hong Kong - the open Pacific Ocean and islands. Repulse bay and Aberdeen

 
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View from the top of Victoria Peak tourist area to other buildings even higher up on the mountain.

 
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Inside one of the store areas on top of Victoria Peak.

 
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Inside one of the store areas on top of Victoria Peak.

 
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Inside one of the store areas on top of Victoria Peak.

 
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Inside one of the store areas on top of Victoria Peak.

 
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The ceiling in the bus terminal under the stores on Victoria Peak - the rods appear to be bamboo.

 
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Bus terminal under the stores on Victoria Peak. We road the tramway railroad up to the top but took our bus back down and on to Aberdeen.

 
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On the way down the mountain we stop to take photos.

 
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Here at a stop part way down the mountain we are near some of the high-rise buildings built into the mountain side.

 
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This multi-million dollar mansion clings to the mountain side next to the road.

 
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Another high-rise appartment built into the hill side towers above the access road.

 
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A corner of the roof of the mansion with view of down town Hong Kong behind it.

 
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Now we are in Aberdeen and this is an exclusive private school. Notice how lucky we were to have a clear sky and no rain during this visit - It rained much of the rest of the day.

 
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View of part of the Aberdeen harbor - in forground the dock from which the tourist sampans depart. The harbor contains luxury boats, decrepit old sampans and working firshing vessles.

 
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The entrance walkway, gate and boardingarea for the Aberdeen harbor cruises.

 
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Another view - showing the crowd of small craft and two docks.

 
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One of the small tourist boats and several motor boats at their docks.

 
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One of the tourist boarding platforms and a cruise boat behind it.

 
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One of the small tourist sampans underway from the loading dock.

 
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We are underway in our small craft - looking back at three of the loading docks. The tourist cruise industry is a big time operation.

 
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The Aberdeen Marian Club with some expensive-looking power boats.

 
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One of the floating restaurants in the Aberdeen harbor.

 
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One of the floating restaurants in the Aberdeen harbor.

 
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More of the floating restaurants in the Aberdeen harbor. - high-rise apartments in the background

 
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More of the floating restaurants in the Aberdeen harbor. - high-rise apartments in the background

 
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A row of apartment buildings with a variety of small craft

 
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A larger sampan - or is it called a 'junk'?

 
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More Chinese 'junks'

 
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We are rounding an area in the harbor and following a line of other tourist boats.

 
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A combination of modern high-rise apartments and old style Chinese small craft.

 
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More small craft in the Aberdeen harbor.

 
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A fishing boat in the Aberdeen harbor.

 
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A variety of small craft and houseboats.

 
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Another row os small sampans.

 
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More house boats and small sampans.

 
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Some larger fishing boats.

 
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Another view of apartment buildings behind small craft in the harbor

 
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Our cruise sampan operator has his hand on the tiller control as our tour director observes the passing scene.

 
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Passing a larger junk.

 
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A catamaran at dock with several power boats.

 
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Passing a floating restaurant.

 
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More power boats.

 
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Now we have moved by bus around the headland in background to the beach at Repulse Bay.

 
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Another view of the beach at Repulse Bay - it is still early and we are avoiding the crowds that will arrive later but already very hot.

 
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Several unusual apartment buildings on the hillside above Repulse Bay.

 
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So much beach - so little time for a swim or sunbathing. It is a very hot day, also, perfect for a swim.

 
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Another view of un-usual apartment house.

 
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A modern construction - a Temple to God of Wisdom and Godess of Mercy on the beach at Repulse Bay.

 
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A modern construction - a statue in the complex of the Temple to God of Wisdom and Godess of Mercy on the beach at Repulse Bay.

 
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A modern construction - a statue of the Godess of Mercy in the complex of the Temple on the beach at Repulse Bay.

 
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Part of the complex of the Temple of God of Wisdom and Godess of Mercy.

 
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Statue of the God of Wisdom in the temple complex

 
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Another part of the Temple complex and beach at Repulse Bay.

 
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Another part of the Temple complex and beach at Repulse Bay. The sign says 'Celestial Lion' - and behind it is the God of Wisdom

 
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View of Repulse Bay

 
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Here we have both the Godess of Mercy and God of Wisdom with the modern apartment building in the background. The other statue ? is to the left.

 
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Another statue in the temple complex.

 
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Another statue in the temple complex.

 
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Detail of a decorative wall section in the temple complex

 
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The statue symbolizes love and kindness especially for people in distress and rendering help for the disabled.

 
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The entrance gate into the temple area - viewed from inside looking out toward the beach.

 
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I don't know what this small statue represents but many Chinese are putting some coins into a receptical and then rubbing it. Must be some sort of good luck charm.

 
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Detail of the roof section of the main building in the temple complex.

 
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Another view of the beach next to the temple on Repulse Bay.

 
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Water skiing - among the pleasures on Repulse Bay.

 
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Another view of the bay on the ocean side of Hong Kong - lots of space for yet more housing.

 
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More modern buildings in down town Hong Kong.

 
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More modern buildings in down town Hong Kong.

 
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View from the Royal Pacific Hotel in Kowloon back across the harbor to down town Hong Kong - we barely made it back to the hotel before the rain returned in force.

 
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View from the hotel with storm coming in from the right side.

 
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Yes, We are loving it - with thunder storm outside we explore more of the mall inside the hotel and tower complex - Here another McDonald's but no crowd at the moment.

 
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Where there is a McDonald's there is bound to be a KFC also.

 
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We end our all too brief stay in Hong Kong where we began - in the great restaurant of the Royal Pacific hotel - this is for our tour 'farewell banquet'.

 
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We end our all too brief stay in Hong Kong where we began - in the great restaurant of the Royal Pacific hotel - this is for our tour 'farewell banquet'.

 
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After dinner we walk on the ferry building pier to have a look at the night lights.

 
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After dinner we walk on the ferry building pier to have a look at the night lights.

 
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After dinner we walk on the ferry building pier to have a look at the night lights.

 
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After dinner we walk on the ferry building pier to have a look at the night lights.

 
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After dinner we walk on the ferry building pier to have a look at the night lights.

 
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After dinner we walk on the ferry building pier to have a look at the night lights.

 
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It is early on our last morning in Hong Kong and China and the sun is shining brightly.

 
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It is early on our last morning in Hong Kong and China and the sun is shining brightly.

 
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It is early on our last morning in Hong Kong and China and the sun is shining brightly.

 
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The sun reflected on the Royal Pacific Hotel tower

 
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A new building complex in Kowloon near the Royal Pacific Hotel

 
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View of Victoria Peak as we depart Kowloon by bus for the airport.

 
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Passing new construction by bus heading for the airport

 
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Passing new construction by bus heading for the airport

 
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More modern buildings in Kowloon

 
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On the far side of the mountain in the center of Kowloon region the super highway passes miles and miles of the docks

 
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On the far side of the mountain in the center of Kowloon region the super highway passes miles and miles of the docks and the dock side area is covered with shipping contaniers.

 
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On the far side of the mountain in the center of Kowloon region the super highway passes miles and miles of the docks.

 
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On the far side of the mountain in the center of Kowloon region the super highway passes miles and miles of the docks and the dock side area is covered with shipping contaniers.

 
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On the far side of the mountain in the center of Kowloon region the super highway passes miles and miles of the docks and the dock side area is covered with shipping contaniers.

 
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More of the Hong Kong outer harbor area.

 
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A section of the multi-level super highway between downtown Hong Kong and the new airport.

 
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Another view of the Hong Kong dock area

 
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Another view of the Hong Kong dock area

 
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Another view of the Hong Kong dock area

 
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Another view of the Hong Kong dock area

 
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Another view of the Hong Kong dock area - it goes on for miles and miles

 
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Interchange on the elevated super highway system. - Note the mountains in background - the airport is on the other side.

 
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Interchange on the elevated super highway system. - Note the mountains in background - the airport is on the other side.

 
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Interchange on the elevated super highway system. - and another part of the dock area.

 
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Bridge connecting Hong Kong islands.

 
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Some of the ships anchored in Hong Kong outer harbor waiting for dock space.

 
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Passing a mountainous area between Hong Kong city and the airport - the small space that the urban area occupies and the large mountains is quite surprising when one things of Hong Kong as a metropolis.

 
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A new town has been built adjacent to the new airport and far from downtown Hong Kong. It makes sense to provide a place for the workers and offices of people connected with the airport so they don't have to commute

 
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Another view of the remarkable scenic mountains near the airport - there is a monastery on this one, but we didn't get the chance to visit it.

 
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Arriving at this huge airport.

 
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A small part of the entrance area into this vast terminal.

 
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Inside a vast airport terminal we again have to handle our own luggage to check through the boarding area, but Vantage has provided the boarding passes and made the process relatively easy. So with this we conclude our brief tour and depart China

 

Return to Xenophon.