It’s been a while since I’ve written, principally because the last few weeks have been a flurry of activity and preparation for our latest trip – Australia with visits to Hong Kong and Singapore along our way. Its the biggest trip we’ve made so far as a family of five with a lot of adventures planned whilst enroute to the wedding of some wonderful friends.
We touched down in Hong Kong on Friday afternoon after an eleven hour flight with Virgin Atlantic from London Heathrow.
I would be lying if I didn’t say I was a little apprehensive about the flight before-hand. I’ve flown long-haul with little ones before but this was our first time flying long-haul with three children – three children all under the age of six and one of them a very large and wriggly on-lap infant! We also only got ten minutes in the excellent kids area at Terminal Three to wear them all out too…not enough by far it seemed!
Long Haul with Young Kids – Phase I
To give us the best chance of a peaceful flight we opted for a night flight and splashed out on two extra leg room seats out of our four (an extra £50 per person) which gives you just a few extra inches of space that, it turns out, seems to make all the difference when trying to fit a one-year-old chunk on your lap! True…the tray table still won’t quite fully lower, eating your on-board meals will require your tot to be zonked out or rely on the kindness and understanding of the flight attendants (full marks on this flight thanks Virgin) and you can wave goodbye to any hot drinks. It’s an improvement though and the sudden jolt back of the passenger in front reclining their seat unexpectedly did not end up in squashing the baby or tipping my dinner everywhere – a hazard I’ve encountered on previous flights with an on-lap infant! I even managed a glass of wine and a film (Hidden Figures if you’re wondering – I’d recommend it)!
Long haul flights are never a bundle of fun unless you’re up front but ours really wasn’t bad at all. We had a few moans from Bear but nothing of the spectacular crawl-into-your-seat-and-disown-your-child variety.
As for Beth and Roo? They were brilliant and slept soundly for a good deal of the way. The in-flight entertainment, not least Virgin’s interactive flight mapping, kept them occupied for the remainder. Our pre-prepared flight entertainment kit bag remained untouched. Fingers crossed for our next few flights!
Hello Hong Kong
Hong Kong airport was easily navigated though even the children were beginning to grow tired of travellators by the time we reached immigration. The kids passed their temperature checks by the slightly unnerving looking masked staff wielding head-scan thermometers and I was reassured by the spotlessly clean double mother and child loos – a good sign of a family-orientated destination. How things have changed now we travel with kids!
Once in Hong Kong and brandishing our Octopus travel cards we easily found our way to our hotel in Kowloon via MTR train and bus on Hong Kong’s super simple and equally super clean transport system.
As we finally collapsed through our hotel room door, jet lagged and disorientated, the view there to greet us reminded us very firmly of where we were. Skyscrapers, neon lights and glimpses of Victoria Harbour’s famous waterscape flooded the floor to ceiling windows in an explosion of the senses. Roads spun in webs between towering buildings with tiny insect like people and cars hurrying along the pulsing streets below us. We had arrived.
Despite every last inch of me screaming out to collapse into a heap in bed we somehow managed to get everyone through the shower and back out again to explore Hong Kong by night. Breakfast may have been only a couple of hours ago as we descended towards the sprawling archipelago that is Hong Kong but it was after dark and dinner-time now and we were ravenous.
Tsim Sha Tsui & the Star Ferry
Tsim Sha Tsui may be a tourist hot spot as well as host to several major museums and more fancy shops than I could browse in a lifetime but it is super convenient. Within a short walk of our hotel we found ourselves at the harbour-side taking in the surreal image of people fishing with rods against a backdrop of flashing lights and giant, modern buildings.
Curiosity whetted, our feet soon took us onto the Star Ferry – a bit of an institution in Hong Kong. It’s a wonderful way to take in Hong Kong by night and best of all, costs very little. If we’d made it out the hotel slightly faster too we would have caught the daily evening light show along the waterfront too! Our trip took us over to Hong Kong Island where, after grabbing a bite to eat, we hopped back on board and let the swell and glinting lights rock us into the mood for a good night’s rest, ready to explore properly the next day.