Monday, November 05, 2012

Hong Kong & Macau Day 1

Monday morning, 21 May 2012 - Took my first flight ever!

This time I went to Hong Kong with Adrian. We got one way tickets on Air Asia to Hong Kong and return from Macau which costs RM600 total inclusive of baggage, insurance and choosing seats. Yes, I purposely chose a seat so that I could take the photo of the wings above and see how the ailerons function =P

Anyway, the journey took about 4 hours from KL LCCT to Hong Kong International Airport T2. When we reached the airport, we have to board a train to the main terminal to get through immigration. After that, we collected our luggage and head over to The Magic of Hong Kong Disneyland, located at Terminal 2 to get tickets for...Disneyland of course! They have a promo where you'll get a free limited edition Toy Story Land shopping bag with every purchase of 2 tickets. The promo is also available at Avenue of Stars Kiosks, selected Travelex Hong Kong stores and AsiaWorld-Expo Box Office.

HK International Airport is located on Lantau Island. There are several means of transportation to get to Kowloon or Hong Kong island from the airport such as the Airport Express (MTR), bus or taxi. We took the taxi so that we can see the sights along the road from Lantau Island to Kowloon especially Tsing Ma Bridge, the 8th longest span suspension bridge in the world. Besides, the taxi would take us straight to the hotel without us fumbling around looking for directions.

We stayed at Metropark Hotel Mongkok which is just a 5 minutes walk away from Prince Edward MTR. The MTR exit is located diagonally across the street from the side entrance of the hotel. So it's really convenient going anywhere. Checking in was swift. After unloading our luggage, we were off to lunch - but not before grabbing some maps and directories from the receptionist.

ITINERARY: Fa Yuen Street / Tung Choi Street - Peak Tram - Victoria Peak / Madame Tussauds - Star Ferry - Avenue of Stars - A Symphony of Lights

FOOD STOPS: Kam Wah Cafe - Ki Tsui Cake Shop - Sogo Food Court - Mak Man Kee Noodle Shop

We walked over to Kam Wah Cafe on Bute Street for lunch. Prior to this trip, I searched the web for places to eat in Hong Kong. Therefore, we pretty much knew what we wanted to eat as long as we could find it on the map. Knowing how to speak in Cantonese helped a lot even if there are slight differences with Malaysian Cantonese. In addition to that, Adrian could read Chinese so he could read the menu. Well if you can't read Chinese, no worries! You can just point at the table next to you and say you want to eat that. Sometimes the menu doesn't make any sense anyway when figurative language is used!

Anyway, after considering how lengthy my posts can be, I've decided to post separately on the food later.

After lunch, we walked around the streets nearby. Fa Yuen Street (Sneakers Street) and Tung Choi Street (Goldfish Market/Ladies Market) are just 2 streets away from the hotel. Both are street markets and there are a lot of knick-knacks, very much like a pasar malam (night market) here in Malaysia. It was a pleasant surprise when we stumbled upon Ki Tsui Cake Shop.

Next we went to the nearest MTR station, bought the bat dat tong (Octopus Card) which is a smart card with stored value. We chose this over the tourist pass as the bat dat tong can be used almost anywhere. If I'm not mistaken, the tourist pass does not include Star Ferry and there is a limit to either 1 day or 3 days pass. An adult bat dat tong costs HKD150 which includes a HKD50 refundable deposit.

From there, we took the MTR to Central and took a walk to the Lower Peak Tram Terminus on Garden Road to catch the Peak Tram. The walk goes uphill for a bit so you can take the bus as alternative.

How to get to the Lower Peak Tram Terminus
By foot: From MTR Central station, make your way to the J2 exit and walk up to the ground level. Turn right, through Chater Garden, cross Queen's Road Central, and make your way up Garden Road. You will pass the Bank of China Tower and Citibank Plaza on your left and St John's Cathedral on your right.
By bus: Board the Peak Tram shuttle bus No. 15C at the Central (Near Star Ferry Pier 8) Bus Terminus (HKD4.20).

We bought the peak tram tickets which came in a package with Madame Tussauds tickets. The price shown online seems a little different than the package at the counter. It was cheaper at the counter. Maybe a promo was going on?

The tram was definitely full to the brim. We're just packed like sardines. Getting on the tram was a little frustrating. There isn't a proper queue and people were just jostling into the tram.

It's a steep road ahead! Try to get a sit at the front for a good view all the way up.

Madame Tussauds is located at the Upper Peak Tram Terminus. There's a wax figure of Madame Tussauds herself!

Watched Mozart play the violin.

 Attended Einstein's lecture.

 Hitched a ride with Leon Lai.

Dwarfed by Yao Ming.

Met the hunk!

We went outside after visiting Madame Tussaud's gallery. The air was cool and we just strolled around enjoying the fresh air. The view from the top was simply breathtaking. We went down from the Peak at around 6pm. You can catch A Symphony of Lights, a laser light show at 8pm every night, from the Peak. Another alternative is to watch from Avenue of the Stars like we did. We took the tram down to the lower terminus to catch a bus to the Central Star Ferry Pier.

How to get to the Central Star Ferry Pier
By bus: Board the Peak Tram shuttle bus No. 15C to the Central Bus Terminus (HKD4.20) which is near Star Ferry Pier 8.

The Star Ferry took us across Victoria Harbour right towards Avenue of Stars. From the Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) pier, we turned right and walked along TST Promenade. We passed by the Clock Tower, Hong Kong Cultural Centre, Space Museum and Museum of Art to get to Avenue of Stars.

We walked around Avenue of the Stars while waiting for A Symphony of Lights to start. The crowd began to swell as 8pm approached. As we haven't had our dinner, we went over to Sogo (shopping mall located underground) to grab some pastries to bite on before heading back to the waterfront. A good place to watch the show is between Avenue of Stars and the Hong Kong Cultural Centre where you can listen to the music and English narration every Monday, Wednesday and Friday night. The show lasts for about 15 minutes. Rather long actually.

When the show ended, we were starved! We had dinner at Mak Man Kee Noodle Shop in Jordan then it was back to the hotel for a good night's rest. Off to Disneyland on day 2!

Taxi from airport to hotel - HKD230
Octopus card - HKD200 (reloaded extra HKD50)
Disneyland ticket - HKD399
Peak Tram & Madame Tussauds package - HKD195
A Symphony of Lights - FOC be continued

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