My Paradise: Can't go wrong with Hong Kong

by Cpl. Casimir Krul
AFN Okinawa

What a difference a two hour plane trip makes! A relative stone’s throw across the East China Sea lies the burgeoning international metropolis that is Hong Kong. Almost 20 years after this former British Colony joined China as a “Special Administrative Region,” Hong Kong provides visitors with the culture and experience of China without all the expensive and extensive visa paperwork. An even more recent development for travelers from Okinawa or Fukuoka, is the major drop in airfare, with direct flights to Hong Kong for around 7,000 yen or just under $60!

What can you expect from Hong Kong? A fascinating blend of British architecture, infrastructure and culture mixed with Cantonese language and cuisine. For travelers afraid of being outside of their linguistic comfort zone, Hong Kong also provides a bit of a reprieve as the country is officially bi-lingual with English.

Getting around Hong Kong couldn’t be easier. The city routinely receives awards for its efficient computer automated public transport system. When you’re flying home, you can even check your bags in at the subway station, and avoid all the hassle at the airport.

For those traveling with families, Hong Kong Disneyland is not to be missed. Kids may also love a more wild adventure through Kam Shan Country Park, commonly known as The Monkey Park, where they’ll come face-to-face with wild macaques! For couples traveling without children, China’s other Special Administrative Region; the former Portuguese colony of Macau is a short 45-minute ferry ride away. Try your luck at some of the most elaborate and luxurious hotels in the world. You may remember it from James Bond film “Skyfall.”

Whether it’s a weekend, a long holiday or an entire week’s leave, Hong Kong will not disappoint. An extra incentive for Marines: Hong Kong is within bounds for “special liberty,” so you can save up your leave days for a more far-flung destination or a trip home. Happy travels!

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