Hong Kong Travel Blog› entry 3 of 5 › view all entries
Iâ€™ve been to Asia a few times, and Iâ€™ve seen my shares of temples. Therefore, if thereâ€™s a choice to be made between visiting a couple of more temples or an Asian amusement park where you can see several panda bears, the park wins.
In Hong Kong, Ocean Park has managed to draw more visitors than the nearby Disneyland. It has been around for a number of years and is build against a steep hill. The lower part of the park contains most animals, including the panda bears, the higher part (which can be reached with quite a spectacular ride on a cable car or a subway-like experience on an underground train) mainly has rides.
My husband Rens and I may have been to Disneyworld in Florida and may have grown up in the shadow of the most popular amusement park in The Netherlands (The Efteling), itâ€™s our curiosity how the people of Hong Kong build and run an amusement park that makes us go to Ocean Park.
The trip towards the park is very smooth. We take the subway from station Mong Kok to station Admiralty. At the exit of the subway station there are clear signs towards a bus stop. At the bus stop you can buy bus tickets for a city bus that directly drives to Ocean Park (leaving every ten minutes), and you can also buy entrance tickets there. The people selling the tickets even understand English, brilliant!
At the entrance of the park (at the lower part of the park, thereâ€™s also an entrance at the higher part) bright colours and cheerful musicians welcome us. We get a free map of the park, also in English, and after weâ€™ve had a quick study, we decide to start with th panda bears at The Giant Panda Habitat.
We are almost nervous when we enter the large building and zigzag through the path that usually defines long lines of people when itâ€™s busy. Today itâ€™s still early and thereâ€™s almost nobody there. We can directly walk towards the living area of beautiful An An, who is enjoying a relaxed breakfast of bamboo. While a group of people is cooing, filming and taking pictures at the other side of the glass window, An An ignores everything and everybody and continues to eat.
He is so beautiful! Itâ€™s a miracle that an animal this big with such jaws and claws can look this adorable and cuddly. He appears to be very friendly and peaceful and I canâ€™t stop looking at him. He slowly tears bamboo leaves from a branch, rolls them into a cigar a takes bites of it.
It takes us almost an hour before we can say goodbye to An An. His neighbour Jia Jia hasnâ€™t been spotted yet, so we move on to the next attraction, the Giant Panda Adventure. Here are two more giant Panda bears, Ying Ying and Le Le and they actually live together. In another habitat there are also two very rare red panda bears, who look like little foxes. Again we stare at them endlessly, etching all their splendor and kind features in our mind.
We walk around the merry SkyFare with huge balloons and acrobats for a while, then we decide to take the cable car to the higher part of the park.
Usually a ride on a cable car is relaxing and a bit boring, but in this case quite an experience awaits us. Weâ€™re taken up very high, alongside a steep hill with a sharp cliff. Views are breathtaking and the ride seems everlasting. Iâ€™m very glad Iâ€™m not afraid of heights, otherwise this ride would have given me a heart attack.
The rollercoaster rides that are offered at the other side at the park are not that challenging, but we do enjoy the view of the Ocean Park Tower and have fun at the Raging River. The Raging River is actually very uneventful, except for the last few seconds, when weâ€™re all of a sudden thrown down a very long and steep waterfall. A few teens overlooking the waterfall from a bridge (I wish I had seen this earlier too!) think my horrified scream while falling is quite hilarious, and my husband makes fun of me too.
We stop by the Pacific Pear to watch the seals and sea lions get fed (the surprisingly good at catching fish!) and then end up at the amazing Atoll Reef. This building has a gorgeous aquarium that is designed around a coral reef island. The aquarium actually has four floors, each floor showing different fish who prefer to swim at a different level. The top level has small, tropical looking fish, the second level has sharks and rays that seem to look as much at us as we do at them. The third level has all sorts of huge, grey fish with large jaws and the highlight of the lowest level is a beautiful turtle.
The Avery is also absolutely lovely, showing birds we usually donâ€™t see in European Zoos. The Sea Jelly Spectacular is a quite unusual display of sea jellies.
Ocean Park turned out to be a day well spend. Not only did we get a fabulous view at several panda bears, we also saw numerous other animals who all had enough room for a happy and safe life. The rides were not that spectacular, but amusing nonetheless.