Crystal Bus is a unique feature of Hong Kong’s tourism industry – it allows you to take a bus tour of the city and enjoy a Michelin star meal at the same time. As the name suggests, the double decker’s interior is covered in tens of thousands of Swarovski crystals (more than 100,000, in fact!), making it possibly the most flamboyant machine on wheels in Hong Kong.
A ticket for the upper deck will cost you HK$380. However, you can ride on the bus for free on your birthday, provided you come with another paying passenger. There are two routes to choose from; the lunch tour starts in Tsim Sha Tsui and heads to North Lantau and back, while the dinner trip winds around Kowloon and Hong Kong Island before returning to TST. Regardless of the route you take, you will pass more than 20 of Hong Kong’s best-known attractions. During both tours there will be a commentary in five languages, providing information about each landmark.
The tours last around two-and-a-half hours, including a 20-minute break at the Lantau Link Viewpoint on the lunch route, or at the harbourfront Observation Wheel in Central during the dinner tour.
Zachary Perez Jones, 14, South Island School
Beautiful scenery and delicious food may sound like a great combination, but it could be a bit of a bumpy ride. There were one or two hair-raising moments when I could feel the barbecued pork buns I had eaten churning in my stomach as the Crystal Bus drove along the Kowloon peninsula. But who’s complaining when the local delicacies served are so irresistible?
Of course, my problems should by no means prevent you from enjoying this one-of-a-kind dining experience. On the brighter side, the fun, lively atmosphere puts passengers in the mood for sharing stories, and perhaps even raising their
Coca-Cola cans for a toast. Just be sure to time your sips carefully so that they don’t coincide with a sudden lurch of the bus, or else you may end up with a wet T-shirt and a case of the hiccups.
Douglas Tam, 16, St Paul’s College
The food on the Crystal Bus was yummy, but it wasn’t anything we hadn’t eaten before: turnip cakes, steamed shrimp dumplings, spring rolls, and so on. Delicious, but ultimately food that anyone can get from a hawker for probably a third of the price and in half the time it took for the waiters to bring it to our table. We had been expecting innovative, Michelin-star quality dishes. The dessert was a tasty mango roll, but again underwhelming, considering the number of other Chinese desserts tourists would likely be unfamiliar with and more amazed by.
All in all, the Crystal Bus offers a relaxing atmosphere in which to enjoy food and a pit-stop tour of Hong Kong’s most famous sights. But we all went away feeling that there are cheaper and better ways to get a more authentic feel of the city, while also getting to sample the best of its delicacies.
Eugenia Fong, 14, Diocesan Girls’ School
Edited by Charlotte Ames-Ettridge