By Barbara Tung

Twenty two hours from Denver to Hong Kong. For me, this visit to one of the most beautiful cities in the world was a bucket list must do.

For my husband, this visit was his first trip back to the country where he was born. He left Hong Kong as a teenager and immigrated with his family to Colorado nearly 40 years before. Our trip now was inspired by the desire to visit our youngest daughter, Kalyn, who is studying in Singapore for the fall semester. Our daughter joined us in Hong Kong during her school break.

Over the next five days we learned to “keep to the left” and enjoyed some of the most majestic views of our experience – from the Tien Tan Buddha to the Ngong Ping Skyrail to the Victoria Peak Tram to the Kowloon Symphony of Lights over Victoria Harbor.

We inhaled dim sum at the Maxim’s Palace Restaurant, rode the Tung Chung MTR line (my husband’s name), and marveled at the contrast of old and new in his boyhood neighborhood of Tsuen Wan in New Territories. We rode a Super TurboJET ferry to Macau and explored the colorful city of Portuguese influence.

We reluctantly enriched the Macau GNP and bade the Las Vegas rival casinos farewell. We weathered Typhoon Nesat which fortunately did not hit Hong Kong directly but practically closed the city and gave us a few anxious moments as we prepared to fly to Singapore.

Over the next eight days we scoured Singapore by foot, MRT and bus with our daughter acting as expert tour guide. The city rightfully earns its reputation for being one of the cleanest cities in the world.

We enjoyed the city highlights, including the Merlion, Orchard Road, Chinatown, Little India, Singapore’s Botanic Gardens and National Orchid Garden, Clarke Quay for its restaurants and clubs, the Fullerton Hotel, and we drank an infamous Singapore Sling at the Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel.

We spent one full day walking the campus of the Nanyang Technological University where our daughter is one of nearly 500 international exchange students studying for the fall semester (total 32,000 students). The NTU campus is much larger than we expected and beautiful with lush tropical grounds. When not studying, our daughter is embracing every opportunity to travel to Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand and is having the time of her life.

We spent a very interesting afternoon taking a 45-minute ferry ride to Batam, Indonesia. Indonesian heritage is Muslim-based so this was a very different cultural experience. I managed to enjoy the city tour drive by keeping my eyes closed as the traffic can best be described as “controlled chaos.” The Indonesian primary mode of transportation is by small motorcycle. It was common to see a family of four or five riding the same motorcycle at one time, weaving in and out of the cars, gently moving over as requested.

We are still basking in the glow of our remarkable visit to two magnificent cities. We are left with lasting impressions of warm and friendly people, mature and sophisticated civilizations with unparalleled skylines, rich cultural and colorful heritage, clean and efficient public places, heights, global news and influence, fabulous food, expedient public transportation, and a longing to return.​