Also, with the Airport Express MTR ticket, the three days of free access to the MTR trains practically amounts to four days of access. The pass is good for 72 hours from first use on the MTR subway until midnight of the expiration day (end of the 72-hour period). So, if the first use of the pass is noon on a Saturday, the pass will be good until midnight on Tuesday.
One of the things I did before leaving the airport was sign up for e-Channel immigration access. this would allow me to use the automated gates to enter and leave Hong Kong. To qualify, you just need to have a valid passport and be a member of a frequent flyer program that is part of the program. Or, you have to be a frequent visitor to Hong Kong. The sign-up place is a small booth just after the immigration clearance booths. They took my picture and fingerprints and entered my information into the system, and then I was done.
For this stay, I went back to the Conrad. While I did not get any of my requested suite upgrades, they did automatically upgrade me to a Harbor View room, which would be perfect for the New year's Eve fireworks viewing. The room was big enough as it was:
|Welcome amenity refilled daily|
On Sunday, I went on a day trip to Macau. I decided just to head straight for the Cotai Strip and The Venetian Macau Resort. I bought a ticket for the 8:30am departure. I was able to exit Hong Kong expeditiously though the e-channel gates (it worked!) and was able to board the 8:00 am departure instead. There was plenty of room in the first class cabin.
Upon arrival, I noticed there were e-channel gates for Macau immigration. However, it is a completely separate system from Hong Kong immigration, so I could not use those gates. However, as first class was first off of the boat, I did not have a long wait time to clear Macau immigration. It's interesting that now both Macau and Hong Kong no longer stamp passports upon entry and exit. Instead, they issue a computer printed slip of paper as your authorization to entry.
I exited the terminal building and boarded the The Venetian Shuttle, which leaves right from the front of the building for the 10-minute ride. Cameras are not allowed inside the casino, so no photos. But it is done in the exact same style as the Venetian Las Vegas, only much, much bigger. It's a huge casino and a huge shopping area. One thing that is different from Vegas is that most of the patrons play the table games, leaving the slot machines fairly uncrowded. There are also defined smoking and non-smoking areas.
Around 1pm, I decided to head back. I found the shuttle pick-up area and was back at the ferry terminal in time to catch the 1:30pm departure (my ticket was for the 2pm). At the Hong Kong Terminal, I used the e-channel to clear immigration and was headed back to my hotel in time to arrive at the Executive Lounge at the Conrad for afternoon tea service.
On Monday, I took a trip out to Hong Kong Disneyland. It had grown some since my last visit about 5 years ago. They added three lands that do not exist at other parks (Grizzly Gulch, Mystic Point and Toyland). They also had completed It's a Small World, which was under construction when I last visited. Even with the new attractions, I did all of the major rides in about 4 hours. It helped to be there right at the opening and to head to the new rides right away (later waits were about 30 minutes). They also had FastPasses available for some rides, and the park did become more crowded towards the early part of the afternoon (probably because school was still out).
That same evening, I had a reservation at a molecular cuisine place called View 62. It was located on the 62nd floor of a building in Central Hong Kong in the Wan Chai area. It is Hong Kong's only revolving restaurant, taking about two hours to complete one revolution. The food was good and the views were great. For the full write-up, click here.