I arrived at The China Ferry Terminal at Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront in Kowloon Island, Hong Kong in the evening from Macau. From there, I inquired about the Chung King Mansion, a building located at 36–44 Nathan Road, where I had a guest house booking at New London Hostel. It was about half an hour distance from the ferry terminal. This building is known as the backpacker’s paradise in relatively expensive Hong Kong.I will write a separate post on this building and living conditions in its famous guesthouses.
My guest house owner was an Indian from Punjab and it seemed a big comfort to me.This was my first trip abroad, that too alone, so finding two fellow Indians at the hotel reception was a big relief, especially after Macau incident. It took me 20 hours to reach Hong Kong from Delhi by changing a plane at Bangkok to Macau and then boarding a ferry from Macau to Hong Kong.
After check-in,i first took bath. Thanks God, they have hot water in that chilly weather of Hong Kong. I slept for next two hours.It was 19:30 PM by then. I asked the lady at reception about any nearby places to visit. She informed me about A Symphony of Lights show at Victoria Harbour, which was only at the walking distance of 15 minutes from the building. Later I realized that Tsim Sha Tsui area is a very good place to stay, if you want to visit Hong Kong. Major must visit places of Hong Kong is either nearby or easily accessible from this location.
By the time I reached at the Harbour, the show was started.There was a big crowd of tourists all around. The elevated platform at the harbour was full of the people and entry was closed on that. People were standing all the way from iconic Star Ferry Terminal to the Avenue of Stars to even farther Intercontinental hotel to watch this spectacular, free of cost show of sounds, lasers and lights.
About A Symphony of Lights: (Information Source: Official website of the show: http://www.tourism.gov.hk/symphony/eindex.html)
“A Symphony of Lights” has been awarded the world’s “Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show” by Guinness World Records. This nightly spectacle combines interactive lights of 45 key buildings on both Hong Kong Island and Kowloon with musical effects to showcase the vibrancy and glamorous night vista of Victoria Harbour.
Show Time: A Symphony of Lights is staged every night at 20:00 p.m.An orchestration of music, decoration lights, laser light displays, and pyrotechnic fireworks, the multimedia light and sound show lasts for about 14 minutes.
Themes: The Show comprises five major themes, taking spectators on a unique journey celebrating the energy, spirit and diversity of Hong Kong:
The first scene “Awakening” begins with flashes of laser lights that give life to a nucleus of light-energy which gradually illuminates participating buildings using an array of dancing lights and rainbow colour. This scene symbolizes the genesis and powerful growth of Hong Kong.
The second scene “Energy” is represented by the display of rising colour patterns and the sweeping of the lasers and searchlights energetically across the night sky, signifying the vibrant energy of Hong Kong.
In the third scene “Heritage”, traditional lucky red and gold colours are displayed across buildings on both sides of the Harbour, complemented by the introduction of music using Chinese musical instruments, symbolizing Hong Kong’s colourful heritage and rich cultural traditions.
The fourth scene “Partnership” features a display of laser beams and sweeping searchlights scanning across the Harbour, representing an illuminated connection with the opposite side. Beams reach out to symbolically connect the two sides of the Harbour into one greater and unified partnership.
The finale “Celebration” brings out a powerful rhythmic display of swirling, kaleidoscopic patterns of lights and beams dancing lively across the Harbour. The exciting final scene signifies the celebration of the close partnership between the two sides of the Harbour and represents an even brighter future for Asia’s world city – Hong Kong.
Vantage Points: The best viewing locations of this nightly spectacle are along the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront between the Avenue of Stars and the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, the promenade at Golden Bauhinia Square in Wanchai, and from sightseeing ferries in the Victoria Harbour.
(Note: “A Symphony of Lights” is for free public enjoyment. No admission ticket is required.)
Music and Narration: The music and narration of the Show is broadcast every night along the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront between the Avenue of Stars and the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, and the promenade at Golden Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai. Broadcast of the soundtrack is in different languages: English on Monday, Wednesday and Friday; Putonghua on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday; and Cantonese on Sunday.
Spectators can also listen to the music and narration at the harbour front area by tuning to FM 103.4 MHz (English), FM 106.8 MHz (Cantonese) or FM 107.9 MHz (Putonghua). They can also listen to the same soundtrack via their mobile phones by dialing 35-665-665 (English) or 35-665-668 (Putonghua). Usual service charges will apply.
Suspension of the Show: When Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal No.3 or above or Red/Black Rainstorm Warning Signal is issued at or after 15:00 p.m. on the Show day, the Show will be suspended. No show will be staged even if the Signal is removed before 20:00 p.m. on that day. The Show may also be suspended in emergencies without prior notice.
Lights Out Hong Kong : (Reference: wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Symphony_of_Lights)
Lights Out Hong Kong is a campaign in Hong Kong to protest against the city’s air pollution. Organisers of the campaign urged people in Hong Kong to switch off their lights for 3 minutes at 20:00 pm on 8/8/2006 as a statement of protest. However, Chief Executive Donald Tsang refused to support the campaign with a delay of the nightly light show, A Symphony of Lights, which started at 20:00 pm. In a reply to the request made to delay the light show, Donald Tsang said that the campaign could “give adverse publicity to Hong Kong as an international metropolis and a major tourist attraction.”
This show is one of the biggest attraction for the tourists. You can even book the ferries or the cruises to watch the show. In the day time this waterfront get a deserted look as tourists remain busy exploring other sites in Hong Kong. Cruise ships and ferries remain anchored in a corner of the Harbour City Mall.But everybody seems to run towards Victoria Harbour in the evening to watch this show and then this waterfront becomes alive.The whole spectacle takes 14 minutes to complete, and ends with the announcer issuing a quick farewell. The excited crowd slowly walk away from the show, going on their way to visit the shopping malls, street markets or dine out in the restaurants or to visit the other part of the city. The music at the waterfront becomes silent and the lasers simply die down, but the skyscrapers of Hong Kong remain glowing until the next morning to show the vibrancy, energy and spirit of Hong Kong. This show was the best thing, which I could not afford to missed out in Hong Kong, even for a single day. After all, where else in the world,a city puts on such a spectacular show highlighting the architecture and surrounding landscape each and every night of the week. It is just incredible.
A piece of advice: You don’t have to rush / try to be there a few hours early, the harbour line stretches quite far, and there are plenty of space. Take your time, enjoy the attractions around the harbour (Arena Of Stars, Hong Kong Space Museum, Clock Tower etc). But, be there sharp at 8, get your camera out, and enjoy the marvelous work of lights. It is also where, three mornings a week, T’ai chi gurus Mr Ng and Ms Wu lead free sessions of this meditative martial art against a backdrop of Hong Kong Island’s just-distant skyscrapers. T’ai chi lessons run from 8 am to 9 am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.