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Hong Kong embraces its stunning, island-strewn harbor with a canyon of glittering skyscrapers and a backdrop of dark mountains. Long known as a modern juggernaut of international commerce, it is also a nonstop bonanza of world-class shopping, sophisticated nightlife, and global cuisine. At the same time, its narrow alleys, traditional markets, and beachside shrines bespeak the age-old, Chinese roots that give the city its fascinating cultural underpinnings. As a bonus, your extension features a full-day excursion to Macau, which was the oldest European colony in Asia. Sound like a lot? It is! That’s why you’ll want to extend your time here with this affordable, convenient extension that lets you do justice to a fascinating region.
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Fly to Hong Kong
Depart your gateway city and fly to Hong Kong. You’ll fly overnight and cross the International Dateline, arriving at your destination on Day 3.
Welcome to Hong Kong
If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, upon arrival at the airport in Hong Kong a Vantage representative will meet you and arrange transfer to your centrally located hotel. You may arrive very early in the morning, but we have arranged for an early check-in so you can get some rest. Enjoy the balance of the day free until this evening’s orientation tour, which sheds light on the nighttime markets, cafés, and other attractions in the vibrant Tsim Sha Tsui neighborhood around your hotel. Dinner will be served at your hotel, following a Welcome Briefing.
The best of Hong Kong Island
After breakfast, get acquainted with some of Hong Kong’s most iconic attractions on a half-day city tour. You’ll start in Aberdeen, the original tiny village for which all of Hong Kong is now named. It was settled by the Tanka people, who speak their own dialect and have historically lived on fishing boats in floating villages. This is where locals came for the freshest seafood, and jostling next to the tiny traditional junk boats you’ll see famous, grand floating restaurants like the iconic Jumbo. A sampan ride through the harbor brings it all to you, up close.
Then, for a totally different perspective, you’ll ride to the top of Victoria Peak by tram, taking in the phenomenal views. Here, you’ll experience the dim sum tradition on an included lunch, where servers bring carts of small plate dishes to tempt you. Dim sum literally means “touch the heart,” and perhaps yours will be filled by some fluffy, pork-filled bao buns . . . mouthwatering siu mai dumplings . . . translucent shrimp cheung fan rolls . . . beef balls seasoned with coriander . . . and more.
Returning to your hotel later in the afternoon, you’ll have the balance of the day free. Dinner will be on your own, and after dark, you might consider a walk along the waterfront Avenue of the Stars. You’ll not only run into some famous (sculpted) Hong Kong movie stars, but catch the nightly Symphony of Lights, when the skyline is illuminated in what is the world's largest permanent light and sound show.
Free time in Hong Kong, base tour travelers arrive
Rise and shine for a free day to discover Hong Kong as you like. Perhaps you’ll start with the attractions right near your hotel’s vibrant Tsim Sha Tsui neighborhood on Kowloon Island, or take a ride on the famous Star Ferry over to Hong Kong Island and take your pick of restaurants for lunch, from Michelin-starred trendsetters to classic Cantonese to savory street food. Alternatively, you can join our optional Hong Kong Market Tour, which will bring you to into the city's culture and commerce. You'll visit four markets total, including the city's renowned Jade Market and the Flower Market, and enjoy an included lunch to keep you sustained throughout your shopping.
Throughout the day, your fellow expedition travelers will be arriving. You’ll meet them this evening at a Welcome Briefing and Dinner. Tomorrow, as they acclimate with a city tour, you still have one more included feature of your pre-trip extension to enjoy: your full-day excursion to Macau.
Macau may be known as “the Vegas of Asia” for its famous casinos, but it is also a fascinating cultural hybrid, given its Chinese heritage and 300-year-old Portuguese colonial past. Today you will discover it on an included excursion, traveling by ferry and coach.
Macau was the first European colony in Asia, and has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ride to the top of Penha Hill, and see the Chapel of Our Lady of Penha, which was a pilgrimage site for 17th-century Portuguese sailors. See the oldest temple in Macau, A-Ma, dating to 1488. Only the five-tiered façade of ruined St. Paul's Cathedral still stands, but it is still worth a look, with its intricately carved Chinese lions and dragons, and Christian saints. You’ll also stop at the border gate and shopping area, and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant serving the unique Chinese-Macanese cuisine. Of course, this is Macau, so you will have the opportunity to try your luck at a casino before you head back to Hong Kong, and enjoy dinner on your own.
Tomorrow, you will rejoin your larger base tour group and proceed with Day 5 of your Hong Kong-Stockholm cruise tour.
From its start around 1000 AD as a Viking trading hub and its heyday as a Northern Renaissance maritime power, to its current position as Sweden’s cultural and political capital, beautiful Stockholm is the place to go for anyone wishing to understand Scandinavia. It’s also a clean, safe, modern and delightful haven that is easy to explore, thanks to its design-forward infrastructure, cosmopolitan cuisine, and friendly people. Your centrally located hotel is the perfect base from which to explore this beautiful capital built on 14 small islands filled with parks, medieval squares, picturesque footbridges, and more. An included Swedish cultural tour and a food tour give you a jump-start on getting oriented to the Nordic world. Then, you’ll have ample time to explore on your own. This is the perfect way to enhance your Baltic experience, and a tremendous value in a region known to be costly to visit.
From ABBA to Z: A Swedish cultural tour
Today, you’ll get an in-depth taste of life in Sweden’s capital. Cultural Discovery: Visit ABBA: The Museum, an interactive experience dedicated to the iconic Swedish pop quartet and their global impact. Then, tour the Skansen Open-Air Museum to see how people lived in Sweden before the Industrial Revolution. This afternoon, enjoy some leisure time to explore this quirky capital on your own.
Inside Sweden's food culture
Enjoy the morning following your own whims and desires, perhaps exploring the waterfront or stopping by the Nobel Museum to learn about the prestigious prize. In the afternoon, an included tour presents Swedish food culture. Walking with your guide you’ll stop at food markets, stalls and eateries to sample tasty Swedish delicacies and learn about the national cuisine. Your tastings include great local dishes based on the season — perhaps a fika coffee break with pastry, a sampling of artisanal smoked meats, local beer, or a cutting-edge New Nordic version of Swedish meatballs. The balance of the day is at leisure. This evening, gather to celebrate your Scandinavian discoveries during a Farewell Dinner at your hotel.
After breakfast, transfer to the Stockholm airport for your return flight home.