March 31, 2016

A Symphony of Lights

Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour is one of the most amazing sights I've ever seen.  Day and night, the waters between Hong Kong and Kowloon are plied by all manner of vessels from cruise ships to barges to the signature Star Ferries to the last remaining Chinese junk with its rust red sails.  Indeed, I would urge any visitor to Hong Kong to pay the premium for a hotel room with a harbour view as the sheer volume of water traffic is a sight not to be missed.
The other benefit of a room with a view is the magnificent skyline of majestic sky scrapers that impresses even me, a jaded New Yorker!  So how can one possibly improve upon this spectacular setting?  Add a nightly dazzling light show that plays off 47 waterfront buildings and you have "A Symphony of Lights"!

Cited in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's largest permanent light and sound show, this extravaganza of colored lights set to music is truly the icing on the cake.  I had seen the light show from various viewpoints but last Sunday, on my final night in Hong Kong, I took the Star Ferry across to Tsim Sha Tsui on the Kowloon waterfront for a prime view of the fifteen minute spectacular. 

The boardwalk was jammed with tourists on this mild night, and at eight o'clock, on the dot, the music started and the light show began...

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Unfortunately, on Sunday nights the narration is in Cantonese so I could not understand the descriptions but later learned that the program is a celebration of the history, growth, diversity and glorious future of Hong Kong.

"A Symphony of Light" began in 2004 with 18 buildings in Central, Admiralty and Wan Chai on the Hong Kong side of the harbour.  By the next year, it had expanded to 33 buildings on both sides.  11 more were added in 2007, one more in 2012 and the latest two joined in 2014.


Laser lights, search lights and projection lighting in all colors of the rainbow flashed, strobed and migrated in patterns, pictures, and blasts.  And before I knew it, the show was over and it was time to get back on the Star Ferry and return to the Hong Kong side for a Peking Duck dinner.  It was the perfect end to a wonderful trip!

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