Showing posts with label Hong Kong. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hong Kong. Show all posts

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Hong Kong Ocean Park: Giant Pandas

There is no longer anymore Pandas in the Singapore Zoological Gardens. Thus, imagine my excitement when I witnessed the two Pandas in Ocean Park with my Dear last weekend!

Hong Kong Tour: Victoria Peak

This is the highest point on Hong Kong Island: Victoria Peak!
My Dear and I were high up on the peak last Saturday night and words just could not describe the magnificent scenery which unfolded in front of us! We felt like the TOP OF THE WORLD and looking down on creation….. (as the song goes).
The whole peak was smoggy and my Dear and I could no longer differentiate whether these are smog, fog or clouds but we believe that these are layers of clouds, top layers of clouds to be exact! The fog flew like wind, everywhere, the mist, fog or clouds were just breezing past us and it was chilly cold!

Hong Kong Tour: Gold Fish Market

Nestled in Tung Choi Street, MongKok, Hong Kong are dozens of shops selling a diverse buffet of Gold Fishes, so much so that this street of MongKok has been affectionately called ‘Gold Fish Market’.

Now, you may ask, what is so special about the Gold Fish Market, isn’t it just a street with many shops selling Gold Fishes? Well, this is what I have thought prior to coming to this street with my Dear. I have thought that this will be just a street cluttered with shophouses selling a dozen variety of Gold Fishes. However, I was only partially right. What my Dear and I saw in the Gold Fish Market really opened our eyes!

What we witnessed were really, what I call, “Art Fishes”! Most of the gold fishes that greeted our eyes have bodies that come with a natural design which seems almost man-made. But these are not. These gold fishes bodies are carved with natural wonderful stripes and botches which are really really fascinating. If you see these fishes, you must have thought that someone must have painted these designs on the bodies of these lovely creatures with an art brush!

Xu Liu Shan 许留山 (Hui Lau Shan)

Sprinkled around Hong Kong are desserts shops called ‘Xu Liu Shan’! You will not be able to miss these shops for they seem to be in every corner of major shopping districts, even in Hong Kong Airport.

‘Xu Liu Shan’ in Cantonese is called ‘Hui Lau Shan’. ‘Xu’ is a Chinese surname, for which the Hokkien version is ‘Koh’ and the Cantonese counterpart is ‘Hui’. Okay, enough of history here, lets talk about the real stuff here.

So what is the real stuff in ‘Xu Liu Shan’? It is none other than mangoes, and yes, fresh mangoes to be exact! From the very first day of our Hong Kong trip right to the last day, my Dear and I were practically ‘Xu Liu Shan’ –ing (means eating the desserts in these excellent dessert shops) everyday of our tour!

So that must attest to something great about the desserts in ‘Xu Liu Shan’ right? We tried many signature mango drink desserts in the shops, each with a slightly different flavour, catering to the myriad of tastebuds of different customers!

For instance, we had the 101% mango drink:

Hong Kong Disneyland

It was with the greatest excitement that my Dear and I arrived at Hong Kong Disneyland for a day of FUN!

We have heard so much about Disneyland and all the lively and colourful characters which live on this fantasy land, however the actual coming to Disneyland is really one of the wishes come true for both of us!

It was raining cats and dogs as we arrived at Disneyland; however the rains never fail to dampen our spirits as we were raring to go and to have an attempt at all the rides and shows right here in Disneyland!

Hong Kong Cockles Congee

Its BIG, its nutritious, its Cockles Congee!

Every spoon of the piping hot, sweet congee is laden with your favorite congee, chicken meat and a dose of healthy vegetables!

Hong Kong Tour: Ngong Ping Village- Path to Enlightenment

Seated magnificently on a mountain of Lantau Island, Hong Kong , overlooking the whole of Hong Kong island is the majestic Tian Tan Buddha! To reach this giant Buddha at Ngong Ping Village, one can choose to take either Bus 23 or the more exciting option of the cable car from Tung Chung cable car terminal; my Dear and I choose the latter! The cable car ride took all of 25 minutes. It was definite not a draggy journey as it was a scenic ride. We took in all the sights the ride could afford us: from the beaches, to the mountains and to the seas! Take a look at this photo!

The many coloured dots are not debris strewn on the shores, these are actually human! : farmers hard at work, harvesting oysters! Some of these could land up in your dishes the next time you eat Char Kway Teow!
Midway up the ride, when the cable car cabin reached higher altitudes, we could not see a thing from our cabin as the cable car cabin was engulfed in clouds and fog! Luckily, my Dear and I did not choose the pricier crystal cabin (for which the floor of the cable car cabin is transparent) for it would not make a difference anyway with all cabin car cabins being engulfed by clouds. Soon, we reached Ngong Ping village. It was super cold at the village and we heaved a sign of relief as we were decked in our jackets. The village seemed to be the confluence of heaven and earth as the clouds or fog (if you are less exciting) enveloped us.

Hong Kong Street Eating

It is customary for Hong Kong restaurants and cafés to serve customers with cups of water or hot tea upon sitting at the tables.

Coming from Singapore, I was at a loss of what to do with the water or tea. I have presumed these tea and water is free and is served for consumption purposes. That was what I have always supposed until I saw a couple of Hong Kongers washing their utensils with the water and tea. Upon seeing it, I thought of vomiting what I have drunk as I was unsure whether the fluids I have downed my throat was potable in the first place!

Anyway, I have not bothered to ask the waiters in the restaurant on the purpose of the fluids served free for customers. Anyway, I believe these fluids are for drinking but these could be used for the washing of utensils if the customers want … correct me if I am wrong.

Hong Kong Central Tour

Splendid skyscrapers in Central, Hong Kong

Having walked almost the whole of Hong Kong with my Dear in our recent trip, we were marveled by the great weather, scenery, people and food in Hong Kong.

However, there were still some light similarities between Hong Kong and our country, Singapore in the cityscape planning of the two countries.

I would just list down some of these light similarities between the two countries for sharing:

a) MTR of Hong Kong is akin to MRT of Singapore, it is just so easy to navigate your way in the two countries with this convenient mass rapid transport system. Both countries have their airports linked by the MTR (or MRT) too. Buses are similar too, except Hong Kong has electric trams on streets too!
b) Octopus Card = EZ link card (almost)
c) Star ferry akin to River cruise along Clarke Quay
d) The sea scenery at the Avenue of Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui reminds me of our Marina Promenade at the Esplanade, though Hong Kong’s one is much grander.
e) Lan Kwai Fong is akin to Singapore’s Clarke Quay (bars and pubs)
f) Times Square is akin to Takashimaya Shopping Centre
g) Harbour City is akin to Vivocity
h) Wong Tai Sin temple is akin to Kuan Imm temple in Waterloo street
i) Similar sprawling airports and systems
j) Victoria Peak is akin to Mount Faber (sorry maybe an insult to Victoria Peak as we are comparing one tall mountain which easily dwarfs a small hill)
k) Central in Hong Kong is akin to Raffles Place here

On the whole, shopping culture and nightlife in Hong Kong are much more vibrant (3 times, I give) than in Singapore. Eating culture is slightly more fanatic and fascinating than in Singapore but Singapore offers more delectable palate as it has more diverse treats from the different races residing here. Singapore is no match to Hong Kong when it comes to good weather and mountains (3/4 of Hong Kong is covered with mountains).

Last but not least, I would like to stress that the similarities I provided above is not to bring up the debate on which country copies which country in terms of cityscape model. I believe it is just the generic cityscape that modern Asian economies adopt towards progress.

On the whole, I still enjoy living in Singapore as compared to Hong Kong, no matter how strong the sun’s rays try to kill us all, simply because of one thing: the air here is cleaner, there are more parks and greenies scattered around the city, the water is cleaner, less pollution, less cramped living in the residential districts; to sum up: Singapore is a more liveable city than Hong Kong! (of course, it is Asia’s No.1 in terms of liveabiltiy).

Avenue of Stars, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

This is the Avenue of Stars along the Promenade in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong!
My Dear and I have read about this place many times in Hong Kong travel books and brochures prior to our trip here. It was simply amazing that we finally set foot on this Great avenue!
This place is a ‘must go’ place for first-time visitors to Hong Kong! It was chilly cold on the evening we arrived at the Avenue of Stars. The sea breezes just made it even colder. Luckily we had our thick jackets on, thus alleviating to a certain extent the coldness we felt.
It was an eye-opener to us as we witnessed Hong Kongers dressing in their causal attires: bermudas, polos, etc .... for this kind of chilly weather! They were simply unaffected by the COLDNESS which still embraced my Dear and I though we were already decked in our thick jackets!
So why is this avenue called the ‘Avenue of Stars’? The answer is simply that the avenue is adorned and decked with the palm imprints of famous Hong Kong stars and superstars on the footpath! It is human nature for visitors to compare their size of their palms with those of the stars by inserting their palms into the imprints for a match.
Not surprisingly, my Dear and I also carried out this ‘tradition’. It was real relaxing, being embraced by the cool gush of the sea breezes, partaking in the sights of the magnificent coastline of the super skyscrapers of Central, Hong Kong at the other end of the sea. Time seems to come to a crawl here. Visitors, Hong Kongers and tourists alike were slowly strolling along the promenade, lapping ALL that was offered by the splendid avenue: sights, cool winds, weather, adornments which line the avenue and not forgetting…. food.
Did I mention food? Yes, there was food, albeit only one kind of food found along the avenue. There was this little push-cart selling deep-baked butter-cuttlefishes! The fragrance of these yummies greeted us as we approached the push-cart. We simply salivated as we were struck by hunger pangs.

Hong Kong Tour Roasted Delicacies!

The above picture featuring roasted goose, pork and duck indeed looks appetizing!

My Dear and I savored this mouth-watering dish at one of the 'Chan Cang Ting' (Cafe restaurants) in Hong Kong during our trip there last month!

The price of the dish was the most economical: just around $20+ !

Hong Kong Tour: Triple O Burgers

On the second night of our Hong Kong tour, my Dear and I visited Victoria Peak via taking the amazing Peak Tram, which carried passengers up and down along the slope of the hill.. literally!

I will describe my Peak Tram adventure in another blog post, today’s post will touch on Triple O Burgers which my Dear and I partook before taking the tram up to the top of Victoria Peak.

To get to the Peak Tram terminus, the nearest MTR station to get there would be the Central MTR station. We went without dinners as we anticipated to savour some great meals from the ‘Chan Cang Teng’ in Central itself. However, how wrong we were! The part of Central where we alighted from the MTR is literally like Raffles Place in Singapore, where skyscrapers tower ahead and there is hardly any common café or ‘Chan Cang Teng’ in sight despites our ‘intensive search’.

Hong Kong Po Luo Bao

‘Po luo bao’ is a must-try delicacy in Hong Kong. My Dear and I savoured these yummies when we visited Hong Kong last month. There is no special filling inside these ‘Po Luo bao’, however these buns are sweet and crispy in their own rights.

‘Po luo bao’ is actually nothing but a flour dough which is specially and skillfully baked to elicit the flavour from the buns. We were given butter as fillings for these buns and this combination of butter and the crispy hot buns is simply marvelous!

Hong Kong Tour: Causeway Bay

When I visited Hong Kong in April with my finance, Causeway Bay was not really in our itinerary as we have thought the shopping district there was just like our very own Orchard Road. And we already have Harborfront City in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon in our itinerary for day one of our tour, that would suffice for an experience of a modern Hong Kong shopping centre, that’s what we have thought.

Hong Kong Tour: Repulse Bay

Yesterday, I shared with readers my shopping experience in one of the most expensive shopping districts in Hong Kong and in fact the world. Today, I would like to bring you to Repulse Bay, Hong Kong, which is one of the most expensive residential areas in Hong Kong.

As the name suggests, Repulse Bay is a beach and it is located at the southern end of Hong Kong Island. Just a quick note for those who are not familiar with Hong Kong geography: Hong Kong is divided into 4 main islands: Lantau (which houses the international airport and Disneyland), Hong Kong Island (which houses Ocean Park, Victoria Peak, the Central (Central Business District of Hong Kong), Kowloon (which houses shopping areas like Tsim Sha Tsui, Mongkok) as well as the New Territories (which is largely undeveloped).

Hong Kong Spicy FishBalls

I ate this cup of hot, steaming, spicy bowl of fish bowls in one of the stalls on the streets of MongKok with my Dear!
The fishballs are unlike any fish balls tried in Singapore before.
There is such a unqiue taste to the fish balls.
Its simply YUMMY!

Hong Kong Disneyland

When I visited Hong Kong with my Dear in April this year, we visited Disney Land located in Lantau Island.

There is a MTR station at Hong Kong Disneyland, just take a look at the photo above, you can see that even the MTR train has the windows shaped like Disney Mouse! And inside the MTR train, one can see a number of Disneyland exhibits, the flow of Disney magic is embodied in the MTR train and station!
In the coming days, I will bring you the rest of the exciting highlights in our tour of Hong Kong! So stay tuned! You can click on the Hong Kong tag at the bottom of this post to read up on my exciting journey I have written too!

Hong Kong Ladies Street

When my wife and I were in Hong Kong this April, we stayed in MongKok, a district nestled in Kowloon with a vibrant streetlife at night that is far more exciting than what the slew of brick-and-mortar shopping malls in Singapore could give us.

Our hotel was just a stone's throw away from the popular Ladies Street which sells a myriad of accessories not limited to ladies' wear and accessories. Ladies Street, known as Tung Choi Street, is really a treasure trove for shoppers and bargainers as the cornucopia of offerings in the myriads of makeshift stalls there is just astounding!

Hong Kong Tour: MRT experience

When I was with my wife in Hong Kong, one of the most memorable place is actually the MRT station!

When we were using the travellator crossing from one point to another in the underground railway station, soothing music flowed readily, invigorating our souls and making our wonderful trip even more romantic! Even more, I still had the tune of the music hardwired in my mind and heart!