A visit to the “Pearl of the Orient,” including the 47th Hong Kong Arts Festival

The Hong Kong Arts Festival (香港藝術節), launched in 1973, is an annual series of cultural programs in Hong Kong, with performers from all over the world.

Held every February-March, it is Hong Kong’s biggest cultural event and a “smorgasbord” of theatre, dance, opera, jazz and classical music performances (which we enjoy). One example: A classical music concert featuring Estonian Paavo Järvi conducting the NHK Symphony Orchestra from Tokyo. The program and Arts Festival calendar is here: HKAF2019-PaavoJarvi with the NHK Symphony Orchestra. We have tickets to see this concert.

We’re headed to Hong Kong this week (for a five-day visit) for the Festival, sightseeing, Michelin-starred Hong Kong cuisine (and street food), and (of course) a boat ride from from the Star Ferry Pier (Tsim Sha Tsui) 天星渡輪碼頭(尖沙咀, among other activities. We are not big shoppers, but we are big on “experiences.” This spring, we celebrate our 28th wedding anniversary.

Thanks to Cathay Pacific for its “Cyberfare” flight deal last November. As a longtime airline writer for The Chronicle and South Florida Sun-Sentinel, I have a passion for airplanes and am excited to fly on the new Airbus A350-1000 series jetliner. It’s a 14-hour flight, but the A350 (along with Boeing’s 787 “Dreamliner”) is one of the best planes to combat jet lag. The plane offers higher humidity, which helps prevent fatigue. An interesting video of the delivery flight of Cathay Pacific’s A350-1000 from Airbus’ factory in Toulouse, France, to Hong Kong is (including an interview with the pilots) is here.

We’re excited to stay at the iconic Peninsula Hotel, first opened in 1928 (and grateful for AMEX’s complimentary fourth-night program). The iconic hotel offers an airport transfer in a Rolls Royce, though we are opting for a cab and saving our money for some Michelin-starred Chinese food, Dim Sum and street food such as Siu Mai (dumplings) and Dan Tat (egg tarts), as well as some touring.

This is going to be (another) fun year of international travel for us. In April, we’re taking our son to Beijing for a week during the school break. Thanks to our housesitter and dogsitter!

Here’s a video of Hong Kong-based cinematographer Christopher Doyle discussing his favorite Hong Kong locations. Doyle has shot some of Hong Kong’s most iconic cinema features, including Chungking Express and In the Mood For Love.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

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