Anyone who lives in Hong Kong knows that there’s a plethora of options when you wake up on a bright, crisp Sunday morning with the urge to get out and about. But if you’re tired of trekking and bored of your bike, it may well be time to crank up your exploring to the extreme. Liam Murphy grabbed his weekend excursion by the balls and took to the skies on a helicopter tour. Chocks away!
Hong Kong truly has something for everybody, keeping even the most picky person entertained with ease. Last weekend, however, I awoke to something a little different. Thanks to some wonderful friends, I was about to see Hong Kong from the air!Arriving at the launch site next to the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, we first received a briefing from the friendly British and Chinese staff, who somehow made the safety tips more entertaining than terrifying.
We were then weighed (horror!), fitted with an emergency belt and shown a short video about the do’s and don’ts of helicopter travel. Most of it was common sense stuff, believe it or not.
The MD902 Explorer
Next came the beast itself – a twin-engine MD902 Explorer with enough room for six. I was initially surprised at how loud it was, and then even more surprised when my headset succeeded in blocking out all but the cackle of the radios and the random voices of the men charting our course.
Having never been in a helicopter before, I can admit I was a little nervous. Take off was very strange. Knowing nothing but runways for many years, I found the vertical ascent unusual, unnerving, but decidedly awesome!
Our starting point, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
I had inexplicably convinced myself the flight would feel like an old car battling its way down a pot hole-filled street but, thank goodness, I was wrong. The ride was smooth, exhilarating and spectacular.The trip lasted around 12 minutes, which seems short, but it really is plenty of time once you’re in the air. Sights included Victoria Harbour, Kai Tak Airport, The Peak, Ocean Park, Stanley and Repulse Bay, all of which are unutterably stunning when seen from above.
We were lucky that on this occasion the Convention Centre landing pad had to be used for an emergency landing, so we were reassigned to disembark on top of the Peninsula Hotel, meaning we got the whole movie villain experience plus an extra five minutes in the chopper – quids in!At HKD1,200 a seat, helicopting is unlikely to become a weekly jaunt for most of us, but it really is totally worth it for a one-off you’ll never forget.
There are loads of options to choose from in Hong Kong, but I flew with HELISERVICES, which I’d gladly to recommend to Coconuts readers.If you do only one thing with this month’s paycheque, do this!