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Top 10 Things to do in Japan

26th March 2018

Steeped in history and a rich culture, Japan offers all sorts of wonderful places to see, and unique experiences waiting to be had. If you'll be visiting on an exciting Far East cruise, take a little inspiration from our top 10 things to do in Japan! [More]

What to Eat in Hong Kong

17th October 2017

 

Hong Kong is world-famous for its truly special and delicious food. As such a versatile place with influences from all over the globe, the chefs of the region have embraced the range of cultures that exist there, and the results are incredible. When it comes to what to eat in Hong Kong, there are undoubtedly far more things to try than you will have time for. In light of this, we have compiled a list of our favourites. If you will be embarking on a Hong Kong cruise, be sure not to miss these culinary treats.

 

1. Dim Sum

This is in fact thought to have originated in Northern China, but today it’s Hong Kong that is well-known for excellent dim sum. There are well over 100 different items that can be on a dim sum menu, but our favourites are the soft and fluffy steamed pork buns, and wonderfully flavoursome shrimp dumplings.

 

 

2. Fish Balls

These can be found in restaurants and at street food stalls, where they might be served in a soup or on skewers. They can be made with a variety of different fish, meats, and fish paste, and are often dipped or fried in a tasty curry sauce. You will develop a taste for these little delights after your very first bite, so be sure to try them in a few different places.

 

 

3. Tai O Shrimp-paste

Lantau Island is home to the quirky Tai O fishing village, whose sights and smells will certainly stay with you forever. With a fishing history of over 100 years, this area of Hong Kong still rightly prides itself on their well-known shrimp paste, and fresh and dried fish. Take time to peruse the markets, and try some amazing fresh street food.

 

 

4. Congee

While this is served all over China, the residents – and many visitors – of Hong Kong believe that their Cantonese congee sits high above the rest. It’s a rice porridge that can be served plain as a side dish, sweet as a dessert, or savoury as a meal in itself. The latter option usually includes vegetables and meats.

 

 

5. Chinese Barbecue

Known in Cantonese as siu mei, this choice of food in Hong Kong is a true favourite among locals and tourists alike. Barbecued pork and goose are the most common, and these are usually coated in a tasty, sticky sauce before being cooked. Like most foods here, there are plenty of different varieties to choose from, in restaurants and from market stalls.

 

 

6. Fried Rice

One of the most common dishes found in Hong Kong, fried rice is a favourite among many due to its quick and easy preparation, and wide variety of flavours and ingredients. Vegetarians and those with allergies can more often than not count on fried rice as a wholesome mealtime option, as it is gluten free, and can be served with or without meat, egg, vegetables, and soy sauce to name a few.

 

 

These are just six of our favourites among all kinds of Hong Kong food, but of course there are so many other new things for you to taste. Before heading out on your Hong Kong cruise, try to research the different places you want to see, and things to do, in order to make the most of your time in this fantastic part of the world.


Hong Kong – Things to Know Before You Go

22nd September 2016

Updated September 2017

So you’ve booked your Hong Kong cruise, and you’re almost ready to witness the beautiful skyline, vibrant community, and adventurous cuisine of this incredible destination. But there are a few things you should know before you embark on your exploration of this fascinating place.

Getting Around

You’ll find that there are many ways you can get around Hong Kong and its surrounding areas, depending on where exactly you’d like to visit.

MTR – Hong Kong's Mass Transit Railway has been a quick and efficient way to quickly travel around Hong Kong since 1979. It is open from around 6am until 1am, and with over 80 stations and 60 rail stops, it is likely that you’ll be able to get wherever you want, whenever you want.

Air – If you’re looking to get to some of the other major cities in China, air travel could be the best option for you - Hong Kong is one of the best connected airports in the world.

Train - It is also possible to travel to and from Mainland China via China Railway's Kowloon station - also known as Hung Hom Station. Passengers can take day and/or night trains from here to destinations such as Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou.

Ferry – You will see a number of ferries in and around Victoria Harbour, in particular the famous Star Ferry that makes the crossing from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island around every ten minutes each day. Other ferries can take you to surrounding islands including Lamma and Lantau.

hong kong transport

Safety Precautions

A great number of British nationals visit Hong Kong every year, and almost all trips go completely trouble free. Having said this, there are always things you need to look out for;. While crime rates in Hong Kong are relatively low, be aware that there is always the possibility of pick-pocketing. Personal possessions and valuable goods are best kept in hotel safes, or left in another secure place, however be sure to keep hold of your passports and credit cards at all times just in case of an emergency. Consider purchasing a money belt to keep these in, which can discreetly be worn on your person while you are out and about.

Visas

If you are a British Citizen, it is possible to visit Hong Kong without the need of a Visa, assuming your stay is for less than 6 months. If you wish to visit mainland China however, a tourist visa must be obtained. These are available for single, double, or multiple entries - check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website for up-to-date information.

Budgeting

For food and drink, you can expect to spend around HK$ 100-200 per person for a meal, and maybe another HK$ 150 for drinks. Hong Kong is not the cheapest destination, however it is possible to spend less if you spend some time looking for eateries. Dining with the locals in the infamous Temple Street Market, Kowloon, is a particularly wallet-friendly option!

Currency

The standard currency in Hong Kong is the Hong Kong Dollar (HKD), which is exchanged at the rate of around 7.80 HKD to 1 USD. Of course rates can fluctuate so be sure to check before getting your money exchanged. Denominations include $10, $20, $50, $100, $500 and $1,000. 

If you’re looking to explore outside of Hong Kong, it’s important to note that the general currency of China is the Renminbi (RMB), the main unit of which is yuan, followed by Jiao and fen. One Yuan equals 10 Jiao and one Jiao is equal to 10 fen. 

hong kong night market

Time Zone

The whole of China is set at GMT/UTC + eight hours, without the observation of daylight saving time.

See more on cruises to the Far East

For more information about cruising in this part of the world, sign up for our new Asia brochure.


Firework Festivals in Japan

9th June 2015

Updated March 2018

 

Japan is a truly magnetic destination, hypnotising all who pass through. With sacred and unique traditions, quirky sub-cultures, explosions of colour, electric nightlife, and stunning natural backdrops, a visit here will seduce your senses and capture your heart.

The Japanese culture oozes a sophisticated level of composure, and extends a warm welcome to visitors and guests. When it comes to fun celebrations and appreciation, the Japanese certainly do this in style - and often with a traditional twist or flash of futurism. Festivities can involve exotic costumed parades, fierce marching musicians, dancers, acrobats, fire displays, fireworks, and a lot of light.

A true love for life, lights, colour, and neon can be witnessed at the famous Japanese Firework Festivals that take place throughout the summer. From water surface displays to heart shapes and hand-held fire breathers, this is a side of Japan’s summer nightlife you’ll deifintely want to be part of.


Firework festival events take place throughout the season, but below you can find our top 3 to get you started.

Toyoashi Firework Festival

Spanning an impressive 400 years, the Toyoashi Fireworks Festival is an exciting annual event that attracts spectators from all over. Explosive displays take place throughout the city, exhibiting the locals' love for handheld fireworks, skyrocketing fireworks, and traditional fire breathing devices. The Yoshida Castle Ruins and Toyoashi Park make a charming backdrop for this highly anticipated annual event.

 



Kagoshima Summer Night Fireworks

With perfectly timed music and the stunning Mount Sakurajima in the background, the Kagoshima Summer Night Firework Festival is a fantastic event that shouldn’t be missed. It is the largest in the Kyushu region and features around 14,000 fireworks including heart shapes and other innovative displays. Most spectators head towards Kagoshima Honko Port for ideal viewing, but this impressive display can be seen for miles.

 



Kumano Fireworks Festival

A must see destination for culture vultures and those wanting to visit Japanese shrines and pilgrimage routes, Kumano is a picturesque city brimming with attractive highlights. Once a year the city night transforms into a tremendous firework festival, resulting in one of Japans biggest and best. Visitors can find a spot on Shichiri Mihama Beach to observe the night illuminations, admire water surface displays and much more.

See the Japanese Fireworks with Princess Cruises on selected itineraries and sailings – Kumano, Kagoshima, Toyoashi.

In addition to Japan, there are plenty of other incredible displays all over the world. Have a look at the best places to see fireworks during a cruise.


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