Hong Kong is not the kind of city you visit without an agenda. Even if that agenda is as simple as sightseeing and shopping, you need a reference point to navigate the bustling city streets and crowded alleys. Fortunately, Hong Kong’s metro (MRT) is one of the best and cheapest in the world. Just purchase an Octopus card for multi-rides and map out your destination before you get packed like sardines into a subway car in this cosmopolitan city of 7 million.
Our travels this month took us first to Hong Kong before jetting off to Indonesia. A big city is always a welcome experience for this island-dweller. Hong Kong has an easy, cheap, and efficient metro that allowed us to do a ton of exploring in just three days.
Kayaking through Palau’s Rock Islands by default feels like being a castaway in an undiscovered paradise. This was my second time to take this day trip and it was no less exhilarating than nearly two years ago.
Here you see the beaming face of a person just minutes away from zip lining over a waterfall in the remote Pacific island of Palau. Thrilling, gorgeous, awe-inspiring, yes. What you don’t see is this person falling flat on her butt just inches away from the waterfall! What a bruise, but fortunately the Canon was saved. So, yes, this was my first zip lining experience and there are no pictures of me doing said adventure only because I am a control freak of a photographer, so I wanted to shoot the view as I zipped! Those photos actually were not that interesting — just the tops of trees quite blurry. So, you see the hubs zip lining and looking like he’s hanging on for dear life, which he was (although I don’t know why).
Palau is really a magical place. Once the setting for a season of Survivor, this tiny Micronesian island chain is home to a gazillion kinds of coral, sea life, and breathtaking rock islands. This was my second visit and working vacation. Read my full travel story.
The island of Pohnpei is the largest and tallest in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). An abundance of rain falls on its rugged mountain peaks, streaming into more than 40 rivers that feed the upper rain forest. Its waterfalls range from pleasant to spectacular, some with large swimming ponds. Although mangrove swamps surround most of Pohnpei’s coastline, nearby reef islands boast beautiful sandy beaches.
Dubai shopping centers, like most everything in Dubai, are spectacular and completely over the top. Dubai Mall is the largest in the world with 1,200 shops and restaurants. With the imposing Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest building) right outside, you could easily spend a week in Dubai Mall taking in all the shops, souks, fountains, ice skating, and of course, people watching.
A day trip with Sam’s Tours (samtours.com) is an alternately thrilling and relaxing water adventure. Rise early to depart on a speedboat, whizzing through the majestic Rock Islands with their plumes of grass sprouting from limestone mushroom heads. Stop to snorkel and you may catch a glimpse of an elusive sea turtle or a family of black-tipped sharks, two- to three-feet long and as curiously cautious as you.
Babeldaob is Palau’s largest island — about three-quarters the size of Guam and Fish ‘n Fins (fishnfins.com) offers the only off-road eco tour of the island. Rise early for a wild ride off-road in a military-usage Polaris, which is a great way to see the island.