Thursday, July 6, 2006

Hong Kong 6 Days

Thursday, Grace and I  arrived at the Hongkong airport after a two hours flight from Manila. It's known to be one of the most modern airports in the world.  The only thing we had is the address of the hostel where we are staying in Tsim Sha Tsui. In the airport there are several maps and brochures which guided us through our travel there. We bought a 3 day Tourist Octopus pass, for unlimited rides on the MTR. The MTR itself is a bit of adventure, just following signs and directions. By airport express, and a few hops in different MTR lines we arrived at East Spider/ Kowloon Hostel. It is at the 13th floor of an old Mirador building in the heart of Kowloon. Its a small room but a good thing is that is new, clean and has the amenities we needed. We had late lunch at McDonalds, on the safe side, then got to familiarize ourselves with the area. There are shops everywhere, which Hongkong is known for.

Friday, 2nd day. We went to the "Peak",the best way  to get a full view of HK. Early am rush hour was a breeze. Rode 15C bus to the lower peak, and took the Peak Tram. It is a very inclined climb for the tram. The view is fabulous. You can see the landmark, Hongkong Bank and IFC Tower which is in the list of the 5 highest buildings in the world, if I'm not mistaken. The view says that the city loves skyscrapers.

After lunch, we met with Grace's friends to see Lantau Link. Tsing Ma bridge is the world's longest bridge carrying road traffic and railway. On its opposite side is the modern Ting Kaw Bridge with steel suspension. After that, we went to Space Museum, instead of visiting the galleries. We watched " The Fighter Pilot". It's cool. One good way to brainwash people to be a pilot. We used headphones for the English translation. We also stopped over Mongkok, the electronics capital of the city. It's said to be one of the most populated areas in the world. I guess its true.

That evening we went back to the PEAK to watch the light show which is at 8 to 8:15 pm. We weren't able to watch it though because the queue is too long. But still we got to see HK alighted in the night.

Saturday, 3rd day.  The weather in HK is a bit weird. It would rain almost every morning and  the rest of the day it will be totally hot and humid. It was time for Oceanpark. I didn' expect it to be that big. We had a whole day to spend at that theme park which consist of the headland and lowland.  I love the amazing bird theater, Giant Panda and  Atoll Reef. The Atoll Reef is totally cool, with different levels, you can view the fishes underwater. It's very colorful.The rides are a total rush. I loved the mines train and roller coaster. And I truly enjoyed the Abyss, experiencing a 20 storey high fall. I wished the ride was a bit longer. It was exhausting day but full of  total fun. The place was packed. We had to fall in long queues.

Sunday, 4th Day. We decided to visit traditional Chinese structures. We went to Chin Lin Nunnery. A monastery at Diamond hill, housing Buddhas and other revered personalities of Buddhism. I loved the place, its has a very peaceful ambiance. The symmetrical architecture is magnificent and it has a very nice landscaping. Everything seemed balanced there.

We had lunch at Plaza Hollywood Mall. We tried Chinese food at their  food court. We just ordered the food by pointing them from the menu boards. We're a bit shocked for the big servings which is enough for 3 people. The meal is cheap for 25HK$.

After that we got to see Wang Tai Si Temple. There were lots of followers roaming around with incense sticks in their hands. Some were setting their offerings in a wide concrete table. Some also had their fortunes told by using their usual bamboo sticks. There is a garden at the back of the temple, which is in a very authentic Chinese architecture.

That afternoon, we went to Mongkok again, checked out the Ladies Market. The street cladded with small collapsible stalls. They sell clothing, fake bags, souvenirs, etc. I was able to buy a Chinese doll which I haggled for half the price. (the magic of bargaining) We tried the egg tart, at the side street. I tastes like.... egg. It has a soft gelatinous center and crumbling pastry holds it together.

We were on our way to the harbour, when we realized we were headed the wrong way. But a good thing is we passed by St. Andrews church. Something happened to me there and I cried my heart out. I was so touched by by God's message that night. It was unexplainable.

We did reach Harbour City, then went to see the fountain light show, which is awesome. We strolled at Avenue of the Stars, got to hang out with Bruce Lee. ( his bronze statue). The bay with the skyscrapers has such a nice view.  I love the breeze that humid night.

Monday, 5th Day. Time to meet Mickey and experience the magic of Disney. There were lots of people, young and old. July-August is their summer, so it was peak season. The first thing we tried is the Disney Philharmagic. I can't forget when Donald Duck held a giant apple pie in front of us. It smelled so good. It's a 3D show. Beware of the splash of water. hehe. I also loved the jungle cruise and Tarzan's tree house  is very interesting. We also loved the live performance at the "Festival of the Lion King". We drove at Disney's newest attraction, which is Autopia. And after that we got our pictures taken with the characters at the Fantasy gardens. I can't forget how Minnie Mouse had a strong handshake. One way to see all of Disney Hongkong is through their train ride. The Space Mountain is a total adventure. And the finale of our Disney trip was the "Golden Mickeys". Great performances and great cast. Take note Tarzan is totally hot. hehe. And every night, before closing there's a fireworks show at the Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Saturday, 6th our last day. Early in the morning, we went to Causeway to  check out malls. It rained hard that day. We went to Hongkong Botanical Park. The map confused us a bit. It was easier to spot, when we trusted our instincts because it was just along the lower peak area. We ate our breakfast there, some bread we bought at 7-11. And having gone courageous in trying new stuff, we bought green tea we weren't familiar with and gosh it has jasmine, yikes, it doesn't taste good, we should have stayed with the regular one. Lesson learned. There were several animals there are birds, monkeys, other mammals, and a sleeping leopard. I loved the pink flamingos.

We hopped at the Hongkong Park, which is a few blocks walk from the botanical park. We totally loved the Aviary. Imagine birds flying a 2  feet from your face. I love the idea that it is in the heart of the city. They were all over, with different colors and most of them chirping different tunes.

We had to go back to the hostel, bought a few souvenirs before we head to the airport. There's nothing wasted on our trip to Hongkong. I loved every bit of it. Hongkong is multi-cultural, colorful, and always alive. I love the feel of their rush hour in the MTR. I loved how the people tried to communicate. I love how Hongkong being so modern and being traditional at the same time. I love walking around to different tourist spots even if its tiring, its a total work out. I love seeing gardens hidden amidst the buildings.I love the idea that Hongkong has a very small land mass, but still they have everything they needed and wanted, like sports centers, amusement parks, museums, theaters all squeezed into one small package. I love how  their government  and their locals make it a very tourist friendly place. There are so much to see and do in Hongkong.

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