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Published: December 10th 2008
Night view of Kowloon and Victoria Harbour viewed from Victoria Peak
I open my eyes as the pilot's voice erupts over the intercom, "Ladies and gentlemen, we are landing soon at Hong Kong International Airport...". Fifi is still sleeping soundly. I nudge her gently. The journey seems fast because we are tired and sleep through the four hours. Gazing out of the window, I see HK looming below... here I come, HK! 😊
Initially the trip wasn't intended to be so soon, maybe another two years... but plans changed, and Fifi wasnt tie to any job at that moment, so she was more than happy to go back to HK just to be my tour guide! yippee! 😊 I went to Singapore a day before, to fly with Jetstar the budget airline. It saves me alot of money. Overall, I plan for a 10-day-trip (August 16th-25th 2007).
Places I went to: Victoria Peak
If HK is a city of jade during the day, it becomes a luminous pearl with a sea of lights twinkling in the streets after dark. To me, viewing HK at night is a must! The panoramic vista is one of the most beautiful night scenes in the world. It is different from what you get during
one of the oldest methods of public transportation - and the cheapest!
the day. Don't miss the opportunity to do so. Recommended place to view the night scene would be the Victoria Peak.
Victoria Peak, or better known as the peak, is said to be the best place to enjoy the multi-colorful night scene encompassing Hong Kong and Victoria Harbour. Being 554 meters (about 1,817.6 feet) above sea level, the peak is the highest point within HK and occupies the western part of the island. I was lucky enough as I stayed up there with Fifi - therefore the first night I arrived, we made our way there. It was only a 5-minute-drive from her place. Another blessed thing - the first night was exceptionally clear so we managed to get a nice view. The 9 days after that were cloudy and misty - raining most of the time due to the typhoon crossed over from Taiwan. The Peak Galleria/Peak Tower
How to reach Victoria Peak? A question for those that don't stay up there. You can take a bus from the Central District (I forgot the number) or try the Peak Tram. It is a pleasant ride ascending the mountain. Used to service the British officers, the tram has
at the wax museum with his royal highness...
been in operation for over one hundred years and to date, no accidents have ever occurred. The journey aboard the tram will take about eight minutes and upon reaching the summit you will see a seven storied building in the shape of a ship. Nice architecture! 😊 This is the Peak Tower in which there are several attractions namely, Madame Tussauds Hong Kong, Ripley's Believe It or Not! Odditorium, and the Peak Explorer Motion Simulator. Remember to make your way up to the Lion Pavillion to catch the night view of HK city! 😊 Admission is free of charge hence the crowd is huge. You'll have to fight for a nice spot. I remembered worrying whether the structure will hold all of us. If you are worried, another way to experience Hong Kong's night view will be from Peak Garden 😊 which is about 5 minutes walk away.
I was breathless for a moment up there at the pavilion as the spectacular night view unfold - overlooking Victoria Harbour the Kowloon Peninsula. The Victoria Harbour is one of the world's busiest harbours and has a constant ebb and flow of shipping all year round. Rows of skyscrapers standing prominently
Market in Wanchai
Morning market selling all kinds of fruits, veges, meat, bags and shoes
- each trying to be the dominant figure. I'll have to say the most spectacular are the Bank of China Tower and the Central Plaza. The Bank of China Tower, with 72 stories soars skyward and is designed by an American-born Chinese architect Bei Yuming (Ieoh Ming Pei). The bamboo-shaped outlook of the tower symbolizes moving forward, an aspiration to get better and better. As for the Central Plaza, it caught my attention coz of the changing colours.
Opposite the Peak Tower is The Peak Galleria - you'll find cafes and bistros here for the convenience of the tourists. There's also a Hard Rock Cafe selling their merchandise, even a small post office at the lower level. Wonderful! Mdm Tussaud Wax Museum
I visited the Madam Tussaud wax museum - a first time for me. This museum exhibits over 100 waxworks of celebrities from all works of life from the middle ages to the present day: artistes, singers, actors, politicians, musicians, athletic figures, historical figures, models,...etc. I was rather impressed with some of the display as they look similar to the actual person, where as some others were only so-so. I like the ones of Prince William, Leo
A favourite during summer
Ku, Einstein, Michael Jackson and Deng Xiao Ping - they resemble the real person so much!
The museum is opened daily all year round from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM. Last admission will be at 9:45PM. Admission ticket is sold at HK$140 (Adult), HK$70 (child aged 3-11) and HK$70 for senior citizens (aged 65 and above). If not mistaken, there's a combo package inclusive of the museum ticket + return peak tram rides at a much more reasonable price. Repulse Bay
Located in the southern part of HK Island, Repulse Bay is the most spectacular bay in the region. Its name comes from a 19th century battle in which the British army repulsed attacking pirates. Today, Repulse Bay is a luxurious residential area for dining, relaxation, and aquatic activities. I'm rather keen to go partially because JC stays somewhere there hehehe 😊 I remember it was Sunday, after church service with Fifi and her dad, we had dim sum
at a Chinese restaurant. Later the father drove us all the way to Repulse Bay and Stanley market. The journey took about 30-40 minutes but I was enjoying every moment.
Along the way, we passed by beautiful houses
These cost hundreds of millions of HKD!!
and apartments standing next to the coastal line. These homes cost a fortune! If you recall big houses in HK TVB dramas where the back is the mountains and the front faces the sea? That's the view of houses here! One apartment lot on the peak could cost anywhere from HK$50M to HK$80M, so I really don't dare to estimate those in Repulse Bay.
The beach is popular among tourists and locals. What's better than to take a dip there during the hot summer? It is perfectly safe as the bay is outfitted for safety with shark prevention nets and floating platforms. During the summer, there are lifeguards on duty. Stanley Market
The Stanley, a common fishing village located on the southernmost part of the Island has developed to be a famous scenic spot. Originally called 'Red Pillar' in Chinese, the British renamed is to Stanley in 19th century, in honour of Lord Stanley.
Stanley has numerous places of historic interest and scenic beauty. Murray House, originally built in 1844 was demolished in 1982 and subsequently rebuilt after the European style in 1998. Now, it is a three-storied building containing several restaurants and a mini museum introducing
Hong Kong Coliseum
The stage design of Jacky Cheung world tour 2007
its history. In addition to the trip, you can visit the other scenic spots in Stanley, such as Tin Hau Temple, Stanley Main Beach, St. Stephen's Beach, Military Cemetery, Hong Kong Correctional Services Museum, and Stanley Main Street.
A recommended stop should be the famous Stanley Market. It is a perfect place to find that special gift for friends and relatives with numerous bargains including clothing, especially silk garments and traditional Chinese dress, as well as souvenirs, antiques, and Chinese arts and crafts. I bought several 'road signs' that shows different places in HK, and till today, have no idea why I bought it. Hmm, they are collecting dust in my room now :P Hong Kong Coliseum
Located in south-west Kowloon, Hong Kong Coliseum (HKC) is one of the majoy venues for world class events in the city. It took six years to build and looks like an inverted pyramid. With a capacity to hold 12,500 seats, HKC has seen many glamourous days of cultural performances, sports, convocations, meetings, and the most famous of all concerts of both local as well as international artistes, eg: Air Supply, Elton John, Ricky Martin, Faye Wong, Joey Yung, Alan Tam and Andy
With Jacky Cheung
I have the chance to snap a photo with the man at HKC :)
Lau, just to name a few. Other events include 'New York Philharmonic', 'Miss Hong Kong', 'Hong Kong Film Awards', 'Disney on Ice' and Placido Domingo - all have made the famous HKC an arena of laughter and tears.
During my trip, I managed to catch heavenly king Jacky Cheung in concert - for the last time before HKC goes under renovation. HKC is going under renovation starting July 2008, therefore many artistes try to squeeze their concerts and shows into the already packed schedule. It is a dream to be able to perform at HKC, indeed. And a dream came true for me as well to be able to watch a live performance there, what is more by my favourite singer! 😊 I remember watching HK concerts on TV and I told myself that I have to go there one day for a show - just to experience the power of being there.
Situated just next to Kowloon-Canton Railway Terminus in Hung Hom, and the entrance of the Cross Harbour Tunnel, the coliseum is easily accessible. One can easily get there by train, the Cross Harbour Tunnel Bus, or by taxi. Mongkok and Ladies Market
Neon lights in Mongkok
At night, all the sign boards being lit up one by one. It's a beautiful sight :)
Mongkok means 'busy corner'. According to the Guinness Book of Records, Mongkok is the most densely populated place on the planet, squeezing in over 130,000 people per km2. Can't turn your body there, hehehe 😊 Known as Hong Kong's liveliest districts, it is jammed full of shops, with countless stalls lining the street side. Located in the heart of the district is Ladies Market (aka Women Street). Similar to Petaling St in KL, it is a place where you can get cheap bargain of all kinds of goods eg: t-shirts, cloths, bags, shoes, and accessories. Food is of abundance too! Try the famous curry fish ball - I had 2 rounds of them :p ; and stinky-beancurd (aka smelly tofu).
If you are there in the evening, you'll get to view the district in beautiful neon lights as all the shop signs are being lit up. But beware, it is extremely crowded so you should take good care of your belongings. Even during the day time, the place is full of people and you'll wonder, where are they from? What are they doing here? Dont they go to work? Nearby are other attractions too: the Flowers Market, Goldfish Market,
Ladies Market in Mongkok
with Fifi as the model :)
Sportwear Market and also Bird Park (where locals bring their birds there each morning). Hong Kong Pier: Star Ferry
Had the chance to take the Star Ferry too, from Tsim Sha Tsui to Central and the journey took about 10 minutes. Star Ferry operates on four routes: between Wanchai and Tsim Sha Tsui, Tsim Sha Tsui and Central, Central and Hung Hom, and Hung Hom and Wanchai. Service times and ticket prices vary with the different routes. The ferries, operated by Star Ferry Company Ltd., is a passenger ferry service operator. Its routes are carrying passengers across the Victoria Harbour, between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. There are other ferries too, catering to the many islands of Hong Kong. Other than that, Star Ferry is also offering a Harbour Tour in a custom built ferry, making an indirect, circular route to all the stops, namely Tsim Sha Tsui, Central, Wan Chai, and Hung Hom.
It is recommended to take the cruise late at night, I was lucky to get mine at 10pm. The panaromic view is better, offering you the breath-taking skyline and night view with beautiful tall lit buildings especially towards the Hong Kong Island. The
Avenue of Stars
Modelled on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Avenue of Stars is located along the Victoria Harbour waterfront in Tsim Sha Tsui to honour celebrities of the Hong Kong film industry. Along the 440 metres promenade are plaques honouring the celebrities. Some plaques contain hand prints and autographs of the stars set in cement, but most only contain celebrities' names as they are now deceased. The promenade also provides a spectacular view across Victoria Harbour - being a popular place to catch the Symphony of Lights display on a clear night. There are a number of other attractions here including the Museum of Art, Space Museum, Cultural Centre and the Clock Tower. There are several kiosks along the promenade selling souvenirs like mugs and keychains, and books on famous celebraties such as Jackie Chan or Andy Lau. On the day I went, the Symphony of Lights was cancelled due to the typhoon warning. Too bad for me there, but I told myself, I'll be back for it! Of the food...
I sampled quite a lot of HK food in my 10 days period. Love all of them, especially the char siu fan
(roast pork rice), the wantan
Nissin noodles + satay beef
mein (pork dumplings noodles), dimsum
and the sai to
(french toast). It's food heaven to me, hehehe :P But do bear in mind not all places serve great roast pork rice, neither do all serve great wantan mein. Try your luck! I got the tasty roast pork rice after three attempts 😊 The 'milk tea' (laicha) is a must-try, too. I practically order them each meal, at all places.
Hong Kong is a great place for me. Looking forward to be back real soon (for the food and shopping) 😊 For my next trip, I'm gonna check into some budget hostel for a try!!!
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