Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Hong Kong’ Category

Before heading home we met up with our friends one last time at the local golf driving range for some Thai Cuisine. We took our luggage with us and checked it in at the Airport express MTR station that allowed us to check in at the train station. This is one nifty feature that Hong Kong has going here, it may not be the only country who does this but it sure is handy. We received our boarding passes and had our luggage checked in and would ultimately meet us in Brisbane. Its not the cheapest way to get to the airport from Kowloon but it is definitely the most convenient. Once we just had our hand carry left we went on to meet up with our friend that we had met when we went to Stanley Street whom was working at the golf club. We said our usual hellos and proceeded to order a good variety of food off the menu. The food came in a hurry (she must of had some pull on this) and we were able to eat and just reflect on the time we had in Hong Kong. Doing this was hard as a lot of the food had a serious kick and talking was hard when we had to keep drinking fluids to keep our mouths from burning. We got through it and talked a bit more before saying our good byes to our friends and proceeding to board the airport express. We took our designated seat on the train and just admired how nice the train actually was, it was super fast at getting to the airport without a couple stops and if you spent the time watching the LED light meter that showed our progress like I did, you would arrive in a flash. If this isn’t enough for you each seat has its own small TV that can satisfy your boredom cravings while on this 30 minute journey.


As we had already checked in we could head straight through immigration. Another stamp on my passport and we were on through to the duty free area. The duty free at HK International is quite a good selection of international merchandise but in my opinion it doesn’t come close to the Singapore Terminals duty free range. But its good none the less if you have some last minute spending cravings. Almost out of money from this quite expensive holiday I decided against buying anything here so we grabbed a bite to eat and waited for our plane to depart. I won’t get into too much detail about the A380 flight back to Singapore as my earlier blog was much more detailed, but it was another amazing flight and I was happy that we were on the top of the plane this time. A couple hour stop over in Singapore before catching a A330 en route to Brisbane and we home at last. All in this particular Asian trip allowed us to get some good cultural insights, and allow us to see a lot of new countries/places. Im sure I will be back to some of these countries in the near future to catch up on what we missed. Until then, this ends this particular Asian trip’s blog but stay tuned for more blogs on my other trips.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Today was our last day in Hong Kong before heading back home to Brisbane so we decided to make it worthwhile and head to one of Hong Kong’s most famous attractions: Lantau Island. There’s a lot to see and do here but most notable of all is the Giant Buddha. We jumped onto the MTR and went to its last stop at Tung Chung anxiously awaiting to go on the Ngong Ping 360. We made our way to the stand and were horrified to find out that it was closed for repairs which happen only for a few days a year. Just our luck? Anyway so we took the only other alternative to go up and down the mountain which was bus. We paid our fare jumped on the bus and started to ascend the mountain with great views of scenic mountain-scape and countryside. Still slightly disappointed that we couldn’t go on the Ngong Ping which have cabins with crystal glass floors where you can see through to the bottom of the mountain, we held our heads high as we reached the top of the peak. Our first stop was the worlds largest outdoor buddha, so we made our way to the monstrous staircase that looked like it went on forever and started to climb. Making a game of it and taking a photo at every set of steps we made it to the top in no time.

 

Exhausted but at the top we looked back down to see really how many stairs we actually climbed – it was a lot and there was now a huge amount of photos now stored in our memory cards! But atleast we made it to the top without having too many complaints! The top were the buddha sits provides great views onto ocean, forest and man made structure alike and in my opinion are some of the best natural views in all of Hong Kong. There is a few different styles of smaller buddha statues up here and a small museum as well that you can go into. If you want go the highest point you need to pay extra, it is also extra if you wish to have monk’s prepare you some monk food. We skipped all of these took in the remainder of the views and started to head back down to visit another popular temple at the foot of the buddha.

 

Going down was much faster than going up, even though we practically ran up the stairs. We were done in a couple minutes and took a minute or two to catch our breathes and give our legs a bit of a break before heading to the temple across the road. Unfortunately the main area was under renovation (see above right picture were you can just make out the off limits railing that I had to take a photo over) but we were able to take a photo with the main Buddhist structure anyway before heading on inside to the Buddhist temple. From the outside it didn’t really look that special so I opted to wait outside while my girlfriend went in and checked it out. Upon returning and looking at the photos she took I had to go inside. The inside of this buddhist temple was amazing, there were intricate gold ornaments on all of the ceilings and the photos ended up looking like gold. To the say the least it was pretty awesome inside this small temple but from the outside it didn’t look that great. Although I probably was comparing the outside to a Confucian building where little expense is spent on making it look nice. This temple though was definitely worth going into. After the temple we headed back to the bus terminal to go to Tai O Fishing Village as our guidebook said you could take some interesting photos here.


A good 30 minutes on the bus later and we were at the Tai O bus stop and as soon as we got off the bus we were asked if we wanted to go on a Dolphin viewing boat tour. We had a quick look at what time the bus schedule ran (about every hour if I remember correctly) and asked how long the tour was and everything worked out so we paid the small $15 dollar equivalent or whatever it was and boarded the boat with about 5 other tourists from the same bus. All of which seemed to just follow us after we had checked the timings. We jumped on the small dingy type wooden boat and were taken for a quite ride through the main river that flows through this fishing village. The water was a dirty brown and the further we went in the shallower it got. The river was just that a river that was in a small fishing ‘village’. I should emphasize village was this place is by no means a city. But it does show how the rural villages of Hong Kong people use to / live today. After our quick river tour we were taken out into the ocean in search of Dolphins. We spent a good hour and a bit and we only got to see one dolphin jump out of the water. So I was a little disappointed I couldn’t get any actions shots of these animals. What made the time on the ocean a bit better though was the amazing open views that we had, mountains on one side, Hong Kong Airport on one side, and pure ocean / China Sea on the other side. My favourite part was seeing the airplanes land and take off from the airport in the distance. We headed back in after only catching a sighting or so and proceeded to get the lay of the town. We walked through the streets and it was more or less a just a fresh produce market. There was still flapping fish, crabs scurrying around and to top it all off the usual dried produce sections. Although we did try to spend a bit more time here there just wasn’t that much to see. So we jumped on the next bus that took us all the way back to Tung Chung station, grabbed a bite to eat at Pizza Hut and headed back to our backpackers to get our things ready for tomorrow.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Read Full Post »

Disneyland Hong Kong! What every small kid dream’s about (Disneyland in General). We boarded the necessary MTR’s to get here and changed over to the Disneyland Resort Rail at Sunny Bay station. The total journey from Kowloon took about 45 minutes or so maybe a little bit more. First impressions upon entering this mammoth hectarage was of joy as the Disney character fountains and surrounding scenery was uniquely Disney. We bought our tickets and headed on inside for a day that promised to be fun.

First impressions took me back to when I went to Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. The difference was quite large: Hong Kong Disneyland is no where near as grand or as nice as its Tokyo counterpart. The decor was not as grand, and the map given to us just showed the size difference between Tokyo and Hong Kong. Nevertheless we tried to tell ourselves that this was Hong Kong Disneyland not Tokyo Disneyland and therefore things were no doubt different. There is a few different sections to the park as usual with this kind of theme park. We made our way to Space area for the infamous Space Mountain. I now found what I liked about Hong Kong Disneyland, the waiting line was only 45 minutes or less compared to the 3 hour lines in Tokyo Disneyland. This meant we could keep going on the ride several times throughout the day. There were a few other rides we went on but we spent the better part of the afternoon taking two of the shows here in the park and doing some souvenir shopping before the fireworks started.

My favourite show no doubt: the Golden Mickey’s which was a collaboration of different Disney movie songs put into an entertaining 30 minute show. It was good to relive some of the my fond memories of watching this shows such as Toy Story, George of the Jungle, Beauty and The Beast and many more. After the show finished we quickly rushed over to the Lion King show to take that in.

Unlike the Golden Micky’s the Lion King show used a great deal more props and told the story of the Lion King. Although we were constantly harassed to turn our cameras off even though we weren’t using any flash photography. The show was alright but I definitely preferred the Golden Micky’s mainly because it had a good variety of classic Disney hits.


After the shows we had a bit of time to do some souvenir shopping before finding a spot to take in the daily fireworks spectacle from the Disney Castle. As it wasn’t a special day the fireworks were just average but tied in together with Disney music and skillful pyrotechnics it was definitely worth waiting around for. Again the castle didn’t look as grand as Tokyo’s but we enjoyed watching the short musical fireworks display for what it was, before heading home for the day. All in all Hong Kong Disneyland’s most appealing part: were the fact that lines were short and you could get the most out of day – rather than spending good 3 hour blocks waiting in lines – Fast Pass or Not. The park is a good days worth of activities if you want to do something slightly different to the normal Hong Kong paced life.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Read Full Post »

We met up with one of our friend’s, friend’s today as we were taken around the area near Stanley Market. We were asked if we wanted to try and eat some of the freshest seafood, bought then cooked immediately. Our answer was a very happy yes. We crossed a small river on a small wooden boat which funnily had Octopus card capabilities and we made our way into a large building that was home to a fresh produce market. Although not where near as big as a Japanese fish market the produce here was still flapping and swimming around. We picked up a few different items, crabs, small shellfish, some abalone and a few other tasty treats; Before heading upstairs where there was several restaurants that specialized in cooking the fresh produce from the lower market. We had enough seafood to feed about 6 people and including the fees charged to cook everything we were only set back about 100 Australian for the whole meal. Cheap bottles of 1L blue girl beer kept on flowing while we were eating and afterwards we had bloated stomaches and happy faces. After letting the food settle for a bit we headed off to visit the Stanley Street Markets.

Although not as famous as the Temple Street Markets sell a lot more local arts and crafts: including oil paintings, small carvings, gems, other types of paintings and the usual souvenirs. It only takes a good 1 hour to look through this market but it’s not as hustle and bustle as the Temple Street Markets, making it a good alternative for those who like their personal space. I picked up a couple oil paintings of Victoria harbour here before continuing to walk along the harbour to begin our day of drinking. There are several tourists bars along the area near the Temple Street Markets which serve a host of foreign and local beers alike. We popped into one that was definitely unique with most people writing on money or coasters and stapling them to the wall. The place was covered but it didn’t look too seedy which is always a good thing. The only problem with coming here was that it was highly touristy and due to this the drink prices were sky high – but I guess this is not unlike most other places in Hong Kong. After getting quite tipsy we tried to visit the local Maritime museum but we found out it was closed on this particular day. A little disappointed we said our goodbyes to our new friend and heading back to Kowloon to meet up with more friends for more drinking.

Our day of drinking continued with another stop to a local seafood restaurant which just looked like someone’s house. The food was fresh as usual and was cooked still moving. I was still bloated from the alcohol from only a couple hours ago. So I tired to squeeze some more food into my stomach as we knew that we were going back to another bar only an hour later. After eating we met up with a host of old and new friends at the bar we went to earlier on in the week. Our new friends were good friends with the bartender and waitresses and we got good deals of packs of 6 beers. A good couple hours was spent here playing drinking games with Heineken’s and Carlsberg’s. As the games continued we ended up getting drunk which only added to the fun. There is a host of good photos taken from this night showing our exploits in this particular bar. But those are for another time and story. We struggled to make our way home trying to walk in straight lines, but we did eventually make it and what we needed was a lot of sleep.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Read Full Post »

We took it easy today as we headed over to Central to watch G.I JOE in one of the cinemas around this area. After the movie we headed over to Victoria Park as we heard that it was Filipino day, so I wanted to check it out. The park was filled with several different nationalities with some stalls set up with some local food and delicacies of the Philippines. There was a few sorting events organized by all in all it wasn’t too special, so we started making our way to the Peak for one of the famous night views in the modern world.

We took a bus from the Central bus station that would take us to the top of Victoria Peak for the famous night view. The bus journey was cheap at only a few Aussie dollars per person and the drive up was windy but had great views all the way up. At the bottom of the mountain the lower upper class lived and as we rose higher and higher the mansions got more and more expensive. We reached the top and had a look around there was a huge amount of shops and restaurants for everyone’s budget. As we didn’t come here to shop we headed straight up to the top of the Peak to take some great shots. Making our way up the several escalators we got to the top and were together with a couple thousand people. So setting up a tripod would of been almost impossible. The sun was setting and we got some good shots of the sunset over Central while all the while trying to save a good spot for the night view that would soon appear. Space is at a premium on the top of the peak and if you want good shots its best to get here early. The sun went down and all the lights from all the Hong Kong skyline turned on and the view was spectacular (much better than Mt Cootha in Brisbane!) The hundreds of skyscrapers all had their own unique styling with their neons and lights and together made for some great shots. After a while and a lot more photos we got sick of being squashed and headed down to the peak tram. On the way down there is a Madam Tussands Wax Museum if your interested in this and more souvenir shops than you can count on two hands. We skipped all these and headed for the peak tram station. The peak tram is a must do for Hong Kong and as such has been operating for a long period of time. We really wanted to go on it but when we saw the 2 hour wait I wasn’t bothered to wait to just go on a tram ride. But maybe next time it might be worthwhile. We headed home via the bus ready for the Stanley Street Markets tomorrow!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Read Full Post »

Ocean Park is an extremely good way to spend a day out in Hong Kong. Its best to come here when it’s not too hot as it is on top of a mountain and the walking can be very strenuous. There are several ways to get here but the easiest is to catch Bus 629 from Admiralty subway station. They have a joint ticket that allows bus fare and park entry. The bus ride took a good 30 minutes before we reached the entrance to the lower half of the park. (The park has two sides which are connected via cable car [lower and upper]). For us it was the first time visiting Ocean Park so everything was a relatively new experience which we took to heart as we spent the better part of the day journeying through this mammoth complex of a theme park. We entered through the gift shop and saw an interesting water balloon game, even though it was mostly kids who were playing it looked fun so we opted to give a go. Both of us ending up relatively dry mostly because we couldn’t really aim and continued through the lower part of the park onto the Dinosaur exhibits. The attention to detail here on the dinosaurs was quite impressive and would be quite scary if we were still young kids.

Paying a substantial amount for entry I really wanted to go on some rides so we made our way to the rides section only to find out that lines for these rides are ridiculously long!!!!! So to say the least I didn’t have the patience to wait in long lines in the boiling hot temperate weathers of this mountain. We did however go on one roller-coaster which was alright even though we had to wait a good 45 minutes or so for the line. One interesting part of this park is that because its built on a mountain the only way to get around is to use this never ending connecting escalators. This is the only theme park I have been to that utilizes escalators as a mode of transport so much. If they made people pay for the use of these escalators they probably would make more money than entrance fees. Once we reached the top of this particular mountain we were at the main attractions point. Here there are several different thrill rides and a carnival style games section. I spent a good portion of our daily budget playing these games, but we didn’t come away empty handed as we had a large collection of plush toys after we had finished! The only question was what exactly were we going to do with these toys? We could of gone on more rides by this point but we were already tired from scaling the mountain and we wanted to see the Pandas at the other half of the park.

So we made our way to the cable car that connects the two sections of the park and waited again patiently in line before we could board. By the time we could board we could see the immensity that is the Ocean Park cable car. It has hundreds of individual cabins and it easily stretches a couple kilometers suspended in mid air. It didn’t feel like the safest thing in the world being so high with bumps every now and again. But all one can do is trust in the manufacturer that they have got it right. It took a good amount of time before we made it to the other end but the view was great so it was worthwhile. If your coming to this park and want to go criss cross sections you don’t really have any other choice but to use this, so if your afraid of heights Ocean Park is not for you.

Once we made it to the other side there were two particular attractions that we really wanted to see the Koi and Fish area and of course the Giant Panda enclosures. The fish ponds were nice but were not were near as great as seeing these Giant Pandas. Even before seeing any Pandas we walked into an enclosure that was several degrees colder than the outside temperature. This refreshing cold air was very welcome compared to the blistering temperate heat that was outside. Soon enough we finally made our way to the front of the crowds to see this amazing creatures doing what they do best: eating bamboo and sleeping. Even though their actions are so very boring its nothing like seeing these giant black and white pandas sit there. As we didn’t want to go back outside to the heat we spent the better part of an hour in here watching these pandas, which was very enjoyable as I had great views as most Asians are a lot shorter than I am (no offense intended). So I could easily take photos over the tops of most of their heads. There are also lesser pandas here in a separate exhibit which are usually more playful, but these you can see in most countries around the world; The Giant Panda however is limited to only a few select zoos. Soon enough we finished up and opted to head home for the day, tiredness setting in we wanted some decent food and some well deserved sleep.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Read Full Post »

Waking up in Hong Kong means waking up in the hustle and bustle of the Hong Kong life; Whether its 9 pm at night or 6 am in the morning the streets always have a feel of busy people. Before starting our day we went to grab some lunch at a local dim sum restaurant. Again if you know where the locals eat the food is extremely cheap. One dim sum only cost us about 1.5 Australian!! Bargain compared to what we pay back home. The food was definitely top class and it settled well in our stomachs. After we filled up on some local delights we walked over to the harbour so that we could jump on one of Hong Kong’s most famous attractions: The Star Ferry. The Star Ferry is not exactly an exhilarating ride but its definitely something that everyone needs to do at least once upon visiting Hong Kong. There are a few star ferry routes all for very cheap prices but the main route is a short boat ride from Kowloon side of the harbour over to Central. The ride costs peanuts compared to transport in a more Western country and it’s easy to pay by using your Octopus card. We took several photos of the scenery around the boat as the only photos we could get yesterday were generally at night which is a completely different side of Hong Kong.

After we arrived in Central we grabbed something to eat again at a local bread shop before beginning our excruciating walk uphill towards Man Mo Temple. On the way we noticed that Central was home to many trams, massive sky scrapers with old style apartments in the background and most importantly a bustling city hub. As we kept walking it was easy to immerse ourselves in the busy lives of the locals here as we joined in, in their drone like walking patterns on side walks and continued to head to our destination. Our main reason for coming to Central was to visit the famous Man Mo Temple, which is known for having spiraling incense sticks attached to the roof. The temple is a bit out of the way but well worth a visit even though they say you’re not allowed to take photos. We snuck a couple in anyway! Inside the temple starring up at all the incense burners is quite an amazing experience and complete different from anything I had seen in Japan. After we took a few sneaky photos we headed on out and caught a cab back to the star ferry terminal so that we could head over back to Kowloon for the Avenue of Stars.

The Avenue Of Stars is Hong Kong’s answer to America’s holiday walk of fame. It is definitely not as vast and being mostly Chinese actor’s and actresses most people wouldn’t recognize half the names listed here. For most tourists the main sights are Jackie Chan, Jet Li and Bruce Li with most of the others being more local chinese stars. There are several good photo taking opportunities along the walk with great views of the Central Side and several restaurants that line the river here further up in the walk. It’s a great spot to spend the night or if your short of time, time it so that you’re here a couple hours before the Symphony of Lights so you can kill two birds with one stone. We spent a good portion of time here taking photos with the statues here as well as the stars on the ground for the celebrities that we knew before continuing on our night at the Ladies Market.

The ladies market sells a lot of different goods and maybe even services. It’s well known for having a huge selection of adult toys and costumes which is probably why it got its name ‘the Ladies Market’. Unfortunately the store owners here are quite annoying in the fact that they don’t like you looking at their goods unless you plan to buy and because of this can be quite aggressive when your just browsing. Unlike Temple Street markets there are not as many fake goods here but there are some if your interested. As usual with most markets there is a lot of useless junk that if you bought you probably would just throw away upon arriving back in your home town, but sometimes these useless junk can be used as nice gifts so it’s definitely worth checking out. The market is not that big and a couple hours here is more than enough to satisfy your inner adult goods cravings or just for a good laugh. Try to be careful of the constant touts, but all in all we had a good time strolling through here.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »