Skye High in Hong Kong: Places

June 25, 2015

Spent forever collecting pics for this collage, plz appreciate. HAHA. Idea from IG user @multifolds
In this post I'll be touching on some cool places we went in Hong Kong! Big props to my travel buddies, Cass, Kokswee & Pok for planning and navigating HAHA #iamaleech

Getting around in HK:
Traffic on the roads is quite scary in Hong Kong. Double decker buses will speed around corners and stuff. Quote Cass when crossing roads: "Don't chiong will die".  Make sure to look left and right before crossing, taxi cabs and buses are very unforgiving here. 

You'll find convenient 7-11s, bakeries and random other shops in HK MTRs, as well as other useful maps in English. One thing to note is to stand on the RIGHT side on escalators...or risk the wrath of streaming HK commuters.

Also, you should know about 八通, the Octopus card. It's like an EZ-link card that is accepted in hella almost everywhere in HK, including mini van/bus rides (小巴). You can also tap to give a donation to pandas in the zoo, or use it to pay at convenience stores. Now this is really 通. The donation one damn strategic placement though, haha. Singapore, do this for our zoos! It might help with conservation donations.


We chanced upon this machine on a bridge in the Central district. When you tap it, you get a $2 HKD reward for your Octopus card (八通). I think it's a great way to divert human foot traffic, esp if it gets crazy in peak hour? Cool idea.


You can also take Ting Tings, which are double decker trams. (Commentary ends here because we didn't take any and I don't know what to say here. Haha.)






Scenic Views/Skylines

The Peak
Very touristy, but eventually you'll wanna see what the hype is about. It was HELL trying to get there at peak hour! You can bus (Bus 15 from Central Pier 5) or tram up, but queues are made cray especially if you go on a weekend. We wanted to catch the golden hours of the falling of dusk, capture the sunset hues and all.

Up there, you (may) get a view like thizz, depending on weather:

Picture also stolen from Cass, lol! She also took a time lapse. Hard core effort.

No sitting around on steps, and trying to get a space at the railings can be a long waiting game too. Warning yall haha, be prepared. Plenty of tourists and people all around. The 'Peak' is a huge tall building with lots of shopping and food. Also, Madame Tussauds is on the one of the bottom floors too.

Sadly, I have not much feels for city skylines, hahaha. More interested in pretty natural landscapes~~

Victoria Harbour
The beautiful skyline in between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. Love this view~~ 

Photo by Cass!
What I really love about Hong Kong are the FERRY RIDES!
For a low as $2 HKD, you can travel to Central and enjoy a pretty view. Love boats and big of bodies of water so I really enjoyed our ferry rides. Wish we had such useful transportation in SG, would be so awesome to ferry to NUS during my uni days. You can take ferries from Central Pier or Star Ferry Terminal.

Symphony of Lights (still at Victoria Harbour)
You can catch this music light show at 8pm. I'm too spoilt by SG light shows and this was very underwhelming for me. However, there are many buskers here that really made my night. Most of the performers were very young, argh busking life is amazing. I think we were there on a Saturday. Saw like 5 bands.

This band, Caleb & Joshua, was singing Canto, Mandarin & English hits like 天黑黑, 王力宏 and "Make You Feel My Love" by Adele. Very steady performance! Liked the unique sound of the African drum too.

Guitar Family was singing Lu Guang Zhong (100 种生活) and Jay Chou(星情. Gave them money. Haha.
These guys were singing a song from Beyond, the Canto-rock band. They were having a lot of fun, and check out the kid who's totally into it! Awwww!


I love live music, love their passion, love their energy. Maybe NYC will be 10000x this? Haha, wow. 
Trekking/Nature

Dragon's Back

The trail is called Dragon's Back cause... the mountain ridges look like a dragon's back from far away. Very duh, huh. Lol. We took Bus 9 from Shau Kei Wan Bus Terminus. (Come out from MTR Shau Kei Wan Exit A3.) 



Somewhere at the start of the trail when I still had my breath.
What modern people do when they see pretty sights. Hahaha.

I thought this was a rather manageable trail! More steps than dirt paths, some shaded areas. We met a lot of friendly trekkers from all over the world too.

The only ehh about this trail is that the hot sunny weather can really burn your skin. Be equipped with tons of water and sunblock! We spotted locals and trekkers with umbrellas. Apparently we didn't get the memo. The view is beautiful though! :) 

"It's easy to kill somebody here."- Kokswee, while we were trekking along the cliffs.

We also met a friendly uncle who spoke great English. We had a nice chat along the trek up.

"Soon, you will find yourself becoming an adult. When you start your career, you will meet with pitfalls. So enjoy this beautiful day, this beautiful life." Sobs.

Survival 101 from Pok:


"If you ever find yourself lost in the mountain, look for the ridge to orientate yourself."

Other nature-y places to check out
  • Lantau Island
    There's a big Buddha here! With tons of steps to climb, haha.
  • Tai O Fishing VillageHeard that there is epic tauhuey there.

Theme Parks

Ocean Park
You gotta take a bus there. Take Bus 629 from Admiralty Station. Costs about $10.6 HKD.

Going to Ocean Park is a dream come true for me! As a kid, all the TV shows had little children whining to parents about wanting to go to 海洋公园, and when they go, they always have a lot of fun.

I also knew that Ocean Park was a pretty old park (omg, built in 1977). Imagine my surprise when we arrived to new looking buildings and structures!

Ocean Park is a mix of a mega aquarium/oceanarium, animal theme park (say hello to pandas, red pandas, birds, sea lions, walruses, etc and more) as well as rollercoaster rides. There's also a tram ride and a cable car ride to get around the park!


"Look at dem puny humans..."
"WTF are you lookin at."
The goldfish exhibit was surprisingly very beautiful. Loved the oriental design tanks.

DO NOT MISS the dolphin show. Set against the picturesque bay, the 'water stage' of Ocean Theatre sits pretty on a cliff, entertaining guests from a grandstand that could hold a thousand? Love the gracefulness of the dolphins. 

Photo from Cass :)
If you wanna see a sea lion show, head to Whiskers Theatre. (Whiskers is their sea lion mascot) 


My favourites of Ocean Park include the Grand Aquarium, as well as "Shark Mystique". We missed the Chinese Sturgeon exhibit though, oh well. 

pix from Cass!

My friends took the rollercoaster rides! Don't miss the Flash! Rapids (the round boat water ride) was pretty disappointing. I forgot to take my carousel ride damn.



We missed many attractions/rides because it was much larger than expected! Not sure how you can complete the whole park in just one day. 


The ending pyro-water-light-show, Symbio! At 8pm I think, in fron of the Grand Aquarium. My friends tell me it's a great idea to get people down from the park and congregate at the main gate so they can close the park. Lol. The light effects were meh but I loved the fire and fireworks. Just spam only.
Ocean Park was really fun for me, even though I didn't take most of the rides (humji life). Must visit at least once in your life, especially if you love aquariums like me.

Yay!

Noah's Ark
Noah's Ark is located on Park Island. We took a ferry there (about 20min). There's a beach there full of beach goers, all equipped with inflatable floats, selfie sticks, home made pinatas and hammocks.

Yup.

It's kinda like a resort with a themed park. No rides or rollercoasters, more like exhibits about Noah's Ark and also some animals, like fluffy Toucans, huge chameleons, huge tortoises, various amphibians etc etc. Basically animals that can be kept in tanks/mid-sized glass exhibits. 

The rest of the resort seemed to be geared towards Christian groups, with activity rooms and conferences etc. It was fun learning about Noah's Ark though! There was a '4D' show that simulated the conditions of the storm in the bible story. The kids were so thrilled, lol! 

The theme park opened a huge can of worms for me. Did the ark really exist or not? The park didn't really answer this, but then again, why Noah's Ark? Couldn't really see the link of Hong Kong and Noah's Ark. Later an exhibit pointed out that on an expedition to Mt. Ararat, Turkey to unearth more clues, a Hong Konger was part of the team. I see... *nods*


But other than Noah's Ark you can also visit the free parks/gardens here. We spotted wedding shoots and cosplay shoots here too! I also did a couple of short music covers hahaha that you can view here.

Generally I liked the lazy vibes of this little island. I guess this is a nice space where HKers can run away from busy urban city life? Sweet.

Hong Kong Disneyland
Ok, gonna cheat here and post a photo from like 2012. Some people dislike HK Disneyland due to the type of tourists it attracts, but I completely enjoyed myself, lol. It's freaking Disneyland, guys. 

The happiest place on earth. Nuff said.

Museums
Free on Wednesdays!!!!!! 
They are mostly clustered in the Victoria Harbour area, so you can plan accordingly.

Hong Kong Space Museum
10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong Space Museum looks like a white globe, you probably would have seen it if you visited the heritage 1881 center or been around Canton Road. 

We wanted to catch the Omnimax shows but didn't have time to, sobs. Had a lot fun learning about space, stars, space programs, and the universe. #geek

We humans always need something to keep us feeling humbled (line ripped from Jurassic World, lol)

Surprisingly many hands on activities too- you can 'space walk' in a machine (strapped into a machine that bounces on the surface of the 'moon'. Long queue though. Kids and families everywhere.

I also never knew that the Chinese had a stone device to help see constellations in the sky. Cool. Isn't it amazing how people from different sides of the world interpret the universe...somewhat similarly? Food for thought huh.

To go boldly where no man has gone before. 

Hong Kong Museum of Art
10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong.
Didn't really understand the exhibit we visited, but I felt a lot of 'SG50' ness. Meaning that... people are trying to preserve the local flavour of their country. I've also read a Chinese essay... about a satire I think.

It's about a woman trying to audition to get a role for taking a drag on a cigarette. Somehow the process seems very... satirical. I'm sure I'm missing some symbolic meaning there. Haha. 

Hong Kong Museum of History
100 Chatham Road South, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong 
(next to the Hong Kong Science Museum, which we didn't visit.)

This is their natural museum of history! The most interesting museum in my opinion. 3 levels packed of fun stuff and knowledge. 

First there's the 'natural' part with sediments and animals and all. Then we have the culture part, like old medicine halls, Japanese War, how old barbershops look like, etc etc etc. Hong Kong really feels a bit like Singapore sometimes, except with much richer history. Haha. 

Always wanted to write a wish and throw an orange around a tree? Try the paper version here in the museum. Haha. Picture from Cass.

Never knew about the various cultures/tribes/festivals they had! Like a 10m mantou mountain, omg.Very interesting. Also touched on Opium War, Sun Yat Sen etc. After visiting this museum, I felt like I could somehow appreciate HK a little better. Worth a go!

Anddd some other cool places to check out!

Happy Valley Racecourse 跑马地
Nearest MTR: Causeway Bay, Exit A

Heng ah, got one nice photo that is not that blur.
Horse betting is like, a 'thing' for Hong Kong people. I'm sure you have heard of people or actors on TV talk about 中马票。

Entry costs $10 HKD ($1.75 SGD). You can 八通 this. It's quite a walk from the MTR though!

I loved it here because of the festival atmosphere.
I think it's like what SG F1 wants to do, except instead of annually, this happens like weekly (?). 

We went on a Wednesday. There were tons of locals and tourists, but locals usually stayed in the aircon places with booths, tables or chairs (they are members of the jockey clubs), while the tourists were busy revelling with beer at the grandstands. Really enjoyed just soaking up the atmosphere there. There were plenty of beer on tap (frozen Kirin anybody?), samba dances, and gorgeous horses trotting their stuff in the ring.

Sizzling samba dance to a Ricky Martin song. "Go go go, ale ale ale!"
Up close and personal with the winning team from the first race.

P.S. We won about $2 HKD hahahaha.

More useful info here.

Lan Kwai Fong ie. the Clubbing/Drinking street
Was kinda surprised by this place, am so used to pubs along the bay like Clarke Quay. LKF is like a collection of drinking holes in a long street. There's Korean pubs, pubs with live music, Hard Rock Cafe, a whole hotel of bars and etc etc. We went on a Friday, but it wasn't as packed as I thought. Spotted a busker playing drums with makeshift stuff, was so super impressed. Wish I had a video! So talented yo.


Other tips:

TOILETS:
Macdonalds is usually reliable. Public places like the Art Museum is also good. Some malls are mean and lock up their toilets, especially in the Lan Kwai Fong area (pubs and clubs area). We ran to some atas toilet only to find it locked after 8pm. YYYY. Haven't seen a toilet in the MTR yet. If there's a toilet in your restaurant, use it before you leave. haha. Jia lat life is life without a toilet.

MONEY:
Many shops and restaurants don't accept 1000HKD notes, due to the surge in counterfeit money. So it can be a hassle to try to break your notes- break them at establishments like theme parks etc and maybe atas shops at Canton Road? Haha. Just something I thought you guys should know! There was a point where we couldn't pay shit cause nobody wanted to accept 1000 HKD. Derp.

WEATHER:
H O T. It's so hot here, the TVs report the UV levels. It was about 30-34 degrees when we went, which is kinda like SG's weather, except instead of humidity, you get a lot of... sticky smoggy dust (IMO).

I packed lots of sleeveless clothes, sunblock, and of course a cap. Slippers? Can is can but Hong Kongers are not usually so sloppy la. People here wear pretty nice shoes, and the youngsters are carrying drawstring bags (which I want, but cannot find. Sobs.)

That's about it! 

Be sure to check out my Food post and artsy fartsy shots of Hong Kong. Hope to bring you more travel bites the next time :)

Big thank you to my travel buddies <3! 


Over and out.


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