Hong Kong

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					Sarah Simpson, Director of Rhubarb Events
Imagine Hong Kong - Europe & Middle East 2004 (UK Delegate)

Hong Kong

As an incentive destination, Hong Kong is difficult to beat. Yes, it’s a long 12 hour
flight and with the combination of an eight hour time difference, delegates may feel
jaded but within minutes of walking through the super efficient, super shiny chrome
airport terminal and out into the bright sun-shine, any thoughts of snoozing in your
hotel room literally evaporate.

The transfer from Chek Lap Kok by coach takes around 35 minutes but for super
efficiency try the airport express train which takes just 23 minutes (and wait for this,
no delays, no leaves on the track or general dis-repair, this train service really does
work AND works every 12 minutes into down-town Hong Kong)

In terms of hotel accommodation, you can think five star and beyond. With luxury
properties from the Mandarin Oriental to the Peninsula, from the Shangri La to the
Conrad, it’s not just the hotels that have the edge over European properties but service
standards themselves. The natural serene service that staff bestows on guests would
kick the Basil Fawlty’s of this world well and truly into last century (and firmly back
to Torquay).

Hong Kong works incredibly well as a stand
alone destination (possibly the only one in the
Far East) and incentive programmes ran here
are as exciting as they come. Have you ever
tried dragon boat racing? Thought not - in the
gorgeous bay of Stanley, delegates are taught
the basic rudiments of paddling for their lives
(note well, it’s more difficult than it looks)
and for a mornings activity, this certainly
burns out the most enthusiastic competitive
delegate – personally I recommend watching from a sun bed with a cool beer in your
hand and chatting to the lovely South African chap that runs the establishment – but
hey, I always had “must try harder” in my school reports, and being naturally
competitive is, well, just hard work really. Anyway, I digress – a morning of dragon
boat racing is fun, fun, fun! Followed by a relaxed lunch in the sun, this is definitely a
different side to Hong Kong.

Of course, the old magic ingredients of an incentive programme (mainly over
indulgence and lack of sleep) work really well here too. Any incentive worth its salt
must surely have an evening at the Hong Kong Jockey Club but why end the evening
on this exhilarating high, when there’s foot reflexology to experience? Now before
you assume snooze position and general boredom, may I personally guarantee this is
not the case. Our group giggled, winced and shrieked (I have a tired liver apparently)
over general ailments but we left ready for action. And action, is always on the
agenda in this city.
From glitzy high profile bars that beautiful people hang out in (Sarah Jessica Parker
would feel at home in the Red Bar, Air, the Feathered Bower or Felix to name a few)
to flitting round areas such as Lan Kwai Fong and Wan Chai for some real dancing
action – yes, delegates will fill jaded but it won’t be due to the long flight.

Other activities to include on a programme must
surely be breakfast at the prestigious China
Club for pure colonial magic, Tai Chi lessons in
the park to balance your yin and your yang (not
recommended with a raging hang over),
learning the intricate dance moves at the Lion
Dance Academy together with drum and cymbal
practice (definitely not recommended with a
hang over), open top bus ride through neon lit
streets, harbour cruise on-board the incredible ‘Grand Cru’ cruiser whilst sipping
                                       champagne and watching fire works fizz – and
                                       that’s before the group have any free time to
                                       shop, visit Man Mo temple, barter at Stanley
                                       Market for those fantastic Gucci bags, visit the
                                       night market, chill on the beach and drink beer
                                       at Stanley, hop on a boat to one of the outer
                                       lying islands (I recommend the gorgeous rural
                                       island of Cheung Chau, about one hour from
                                       Hong Kong harbour), have high tea at the
                                       Peninsula and have their photo taken from the
incredible viewpoint at The Peak.

We’ve now just entered the year of the Rooster which means orderly households,
careful money management and long term love, which roughly translated means hop
on a plane east and see how far your Hong Kong dollars go (around 15 to One Pound
Sterling – they go far!)