We had been told that Hong Kong at night is when the city really comes alive with people and colour. As part of the Big Bus Tour 48 hour package that we had bought it included an evening bus tour of Kowloon. Having spent a day in Kowloon we were in two minds whether or not to do the evening tour. However, as it was included, we had heard such great things about it and we didn’t have any other plans for that evening in Hong Kong we thought why not?
As we were staying on Hong Kong Island we were pleased to find that there is a pick up point there. It is Central Ferry Pier 7 which is very handy as it is also the cross over point for two other lines on the Big Bus Tour. You will also find Big Bus Tour representatives here who will help you and answer any questions that you may have. We eagerly jumped on and of course headed upstairs on the open top bus to ensure that we had the best views on the tour. The pick up time from here is 6.15pm therefore I recommend that you get there early to avoid the rugby scrum for the best seats. Once the bus was loaded and ready to go we hit the road.
On the Big Bus Tour you are given a set of earphones which you can plug in and listen to the commentary (available in 10 different languages) explaining about where you are and what you can see which, in my opinion, is very useful. However, if like us you have already done the Kowloon loop during the day you will notice that the commentary is exactly the same. Please remember that even though the evening tour is billed as ‘hop on, hop off’ if you do hop off there won’t be another bus to pick you up as only one runs per evening. The tour itself once in Kowloon lasts for approximately 60 minutes.
The panoramic tour takes you down the bustling Nathan Road which is the main thoroughfare in Kowloon which at night is illuminated brightly with neon lights. Many people on our bus simply used it as a mode of transport and hopped off at either Temple Street Market or Ladies Market to take advantage of the amazing Hong Kong street food or pick up a bargain for themselves or a souvenir for a loved one. The bus also visited the brightly lit and very popular Avenue of Stars which is modelled on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame and honours Hong Kong’s celebrities of the big screen. We visited in October just before the Avenue was closed for major renovation. Please note that it is not due to reopen until 2018.
Another thing to point out is that the bus does not take you back to the original pick up point on Hong Kong Island. Instead the last stop on the tour is at Tsim Sha Tsui East Promenade which is still on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong. This means that if you need to get back to Hong Kong Island, like we did you need to jump back on the Star Ferry. The ferry terminal is a pleasurable 10 minute walk from this point. A lot of passengers where huffing and puffing about this, however we found that it was a great vantage point to watch the evening’s Symphony of Lights from.
The Symphony of Lights is a sound and light show which is held at 8.00pm daily. More than 40 buildings on both side of Victoria Harbour take part in the show. This involves light beams, laser beams and searchlights being activated in time to music together with narration which on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays is in English, in Mandarin on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and Cantonese on Sundays. There are five main themes – awakening, energy, heritage, partnership, and the finale, celebration. The show is free to watch, last around 14 minutes and holds the Guinness World Record for the largest light and sound show on a single building.
Evening if you decide against the evening bus tour watching the unique Symphony of Lights at least once is a must for all visitors to Hong Kong.