Big Buddha, Mickey Mouse & Club 97 & more gay clubs...

Hong Kong Travel Blog

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My Confession

This was the second day of our trip, I had a very bad night's rest even though I was dead tired from yesterday's activities. We woke up pretty early but had a late start becos there were 3 of us & only 1 bathroom. We had covered all of day #1 itinerary, it was really like being in the Amazing Race! (I LOVE that show!!!) I confessed to Jackson that I could only keep this up for 3 straight days. But from the looks of things I would be happy if I could keep this up for 2 straight days! haha... We started our day with b'fast at our favourite tea cafe next to our hotel. 

Ngong Ping 360

Today, we were going to cover Lantau Island.
I feel like flying
Home of Big Buddha & Mickey Mouse. I thought I would be able to see the Big Buddha from the cable car station, I was wrong. We bought the tickets for the crystal cabin of Ngong Ping 360. The difference between the standard cabin & the crystal ones is that the flooring is actually a piece of transparent tempered glass. This is not for the faint-hearted! Another reason as to why we paid that extra HK$50 is that the queue is shorter for the crystal cabin. We were already behind time in our plans for that day. Once the cabin left for the mountains, it was absolute vertigo!!! The view was spectacular!! We were able to see the ravines below us & spot a hiker or 2 making their way to Ngong Ping Village on foot.
Inspired by Jeg76's blog on his Hong Kong trip's photo titled "New Buddha". Thanks Jegs!
I don't wanna know how long it would take for them to reach Ngong Ping Village but later on I was told by a lady from Florida, USA, it is about 4 hours. But I'm contended with my 15 mins cable ride. I'll come back to the delightful convo I had with her later. The cabin doesn't need to be air-conditioned coz the cold mountain breeze suffice. 

Ngong Ping Village

After passing over several mountains, we finally saw the Big Buddha seated on top on Ngong Ping hill. It was really huge! We had to take a short walk through Ngong Ping Village to get to the Buddha. Ngong Ping Village is like a ancient village you see on Kungfu dramas. It feels very commercialized & artificial to me. There are tourist souvenirs shops, eateries, restaurants & Starbucks here.
Another photo taking breaks
There is a theatre showing 2 multimedia shows; Walking with Buddha & The Monkey's Tale.

The Big Buddha

It didn't take us long to reach the foot of the hill. From there on, it is another 268 steps to reach the giant Buddha!! Before we embarked on the tedious climb up, we were stopped by the staff. They wanted us to buy tickets before going up. We were confused! Later, we realised that they were selling tickets to partake the vegetarian meals which used to be FOC at Po Lin Monastery. The ticket also includes entrance fee to the Buddhist museum inside the Buddha statue. We were not happy with the staff coz we felt that we were nearly misled into thinking that we had to buy the tickets to climb up the hill.
Banker & I along the stairs of Big Buddha
The climb up weren't as bad as I had anticipated it to be. The weather was really cooling & humidity was relatively low. I didn't even break a sweat climbing up the stairs but I did take breaks in between climbing for some phototaking sessions.

At last, we reached the giant Buddha. it was windy up here. We took some photo of ourselves with the Buddha & the surrounding landscape. We got thirsty so Jackson & I each bought an ice cream cone to quench our thirst. After that, it was followed by more phototaking. When we entered the giant Buddha I was surprised that structure actually functioned as a columbarium! Kinda creepy! No wonder they closes at 1730hrs!!! hahaha... *jokes* There were more souvenirs stores inside the Buddha, selling praying rosaries made of semi-precious stones.
I've reached the top of Ngong Ping Hill
There were also stone tapestry depicting the life of Buddha which was really beautiful. The premises prohibited phototaking. Maybe it was out of respect for the dead who were housed inside there but I secretly snapped some shot anyways. After we were done soaking in the view from the top, we started our descend from the hill.

The Path of Wisdom

Me & my big mouth reminded banker that he wanted to see the Path of Wisdom, which I don't have the slightest idea what it was. We decided to ask the old man seated inside the information booth. He was kind enough to direct us the way. He said the Path of Wisdom is actually a garden of sort and "very beautiful ah" was his exact words to us. From then on it was another 20 mins walk. We passed by the crossroad leading to Lantau's YMCA hostel.
Pillars with Buddhist Sutras
We continued to walk through an abandon tea garden cafe fill with scarecrows which was kinda creepy again. Reminds me of Jeepers Creeepers! We had been walking for such a long time that I feel like turning back. I was just about to give up when we saw a hill with huge stone pillars erected on it. On the pillars were Buddhist Sutras engravings. Again I was reminded of another kungfu drama where the swordsman actually flew up to the pillars & craved the characters using his sword! haha ... *Lame*. We snapped some shots before walking back to Ngong Ping Village. We lunched at this noodle fast food chain in the village. The food was awful & I had wished they had MacDonald's there. 

Now, remember the lady from Florida? We met her in the cable cabin going back to Tung Chung MTR. While we were travelling down the cable car, we heard someone howling from the forest below us.
Wisdom through Osmosis?
I couldn't help myself from giggling. The lady from Florida asked us if we had heard it as well & we all started laughing in the cabin. From then on we started talking about her trip in Hong Kong, her tattoos etc... The world is really small coz we also met a fellow Singaporean in the cabin. She seemed to be a Tai Tai travelling with her adorable son who was afraid to put his feet on the floor, for fear that the floor might crack open & him free falling to the ravine below. That tai tai thaught us how to shop for cheap Hugo Boss at City Gate Mall on our last day in Hong Kong & yet check in on time by ultilising the Luggage check in services provided by the Airport Express MTR. Singaporean are really everywhere & it's always nice to meet one when you are overseas. As the trip comes to an end, we will meet more of our fellow citizens of this small island.
Jack & I on the tain to Disneyland


Mickey Mouse 

We were still comtemplating whether should we go to Disneyland. After hearing so many bad reviews of Hong Kong Disneyland, we were begining to have doubts of our own. So we decided to check it out first from the outside before coming to a conclusion. First thing that caught my attention was the customized MTR train to Disneyland. It had windows that are shaped like Mickey! Cute!!! The air was filled with happy songs from Disney classic movie, they were like sirens backoning tourists to come. I thought I heard Aladdin's A Whole New World by Peabo Bryson. The entrance seemed magical! In fact, the whole place has a magical & surreal feel to it! We tried looking for brochures that would give us an idea of how it's like inside but couldn't find one.
Pretty Disneyland lady with braces & me!!!
 

After some phototaking sessions, I approached one of the lady staff at the gantry gate. I found out from her that the theme park was actually catered more towards kids & that we would find more exciting rides in Ocean Park. We took her advice seriously & decided Disneyland isn't a place for us. I took a picture with her before leaving Disneyland. She wore braces & I digged girls with braces coz I'm such a nerd myself! Haha...

The Fall Out with Banker

Someone suggested that we move my visit to the Bank of China forward since we didn't go Disneyland. The problem is the viewing gallery closes at 5:30 pm & it was already 4 pm. The journey to central would have taken 30mins! Leaving us with an hour to navigate to BOC & very little time to enjoy the view from up 43rd level.
Steam venting photography session
Anyways, I don't fancy viewing the landscape at night as it's veiled by a layer of smog most of the time. We rushed back to the MTR & it was downtown all the way! We made a mistake getting off the train too early coz we forgotten that we had jus changed to another line heading to Central Station. More time wasted!

By the time we arrived at Central I've much given up hope of going to BOC. Then worst was Banker found Hang Seng Bank HQ Building & decided to have a photo taking session. 30 mins left & I was feeling pissed off with banker! I was really quiet & they could sensed the animosity. They asked if we should proceed to BOC... 20 mins left! I saw BOC scraper, it's behind several building.
Taken to vent some steam
My guesstimation be another 15 mins walk from 2IFC before we reached BOC. What's the point! We decided to explore IFC Mall instead & I left the group for a while to vent my frustrations by snapping shots of 2IFC. I was really really mad at banker! I rejoined the group & windowshopped IFC Mall. Seriously, there's nothing here I could afford to buy without selling a kidney & 2 lobes of liver & lungs. I guessed I might even have to throw in one testicle hahaha... I suggested that we go to the Starbucks at Jardines, one of my favourite architectural structures on Hong Kong Island for some warm beverages.
 
The Talk at Starbucks

The weather was chilling. Thank goodness, I brought along my purple sweater. We tried looking for seats inside Starbucks but they were all occupied.
Us after our talk at Jardine Starbucks
Guess the locals didn't fancy the cold weather neither. They bought hot coffee & I didn't get anything to drink coz I was not in any mood for anything. Finally, I had a talk with my travel buddies. It was a good talk I think. 

The Escalator at Soho

We were trying to walk from 2IFC to Lam Kwai Fong, which is one of the nightlife hotspots on Hong Kong island but we were lost. The security officer of Landmark Mall was really helpful to point us to the right direction. From Landmark Mall it's upslope all the way! We only made it to California Fitness before getting lost again. We saw the signboard stating mid level escalator is straight ahead. We followed the signboard & ended up at Soho Escalator. It was later that we realised that LKF is just across the road from Cal Fit which we had just passed.
Banker & I on the Soho travelator
 

It was the longest series of escalators that I've ever seen! I only recalled 2 travelators but I had lost count of the number of escalators there were. I heard from a friend who is staying in Soho that the escalators travels downhill in the early mornings & goes the other direction after 10 am. They were riding on the escalator, along its sides were pubs & restaurants. When we finally reached the end of the escalator, we were greeted by these tall condos. They were almost touching the clouds! I wished my friend was in town cos I would love to have a look from up there. Imagine how difficult it must have been to build these condos on these mountains & with the other existing condos around.

Lam Kwai Fong (LKF)

We made our way to LKF.
Should have crossed the road from here to LKF!
Still lost, we had to asked directions again. We were told we were near LKF. We were glad to see a signboard pointing towards LKF. We found a flight of stairs & LKF was supposed to be below us. Then lord & behold Lam Kwai Fong in all its glory! There were neon signboards everywhere. A lot less organised than what I'm used to back home. First bar we saw was Stormies. We went down & explored the area a bit. It isn't big coz it occupied only 2-3 streets. But size didn't prevent the place from having such a wide selection of bars & clubs! We were or I was like a kid in Disneyland! I was at a lost which bar to choose from!!! I decided to asked the 7/11 girls again. We were told that there's club called Peking Club which is like the Butterfactory of Singapore. Very happening!! You could even spot some of Hong Kong Celebs there!! It took us a while to find it & we nearly gave up.
We found Lam Kwai Fong at last
It's actually not within LKF but in another building just outside of the LKF chains of clubs. We shared the lift with the resident DJ & were clueless about. I even asked him if the club is really that happening. Haha... Of coz he had given us positive feedback about the establishment. We were there early, the party usually starts at 1 am. The club was practically empty even though it was 10pm, a typical time for queues to start forming in clubs back home, but he let us looked around the place. Banker suggested that we come here on our last nite which we didn't of coz. I should know by now my buddies weren't the party type. :-( We went back to LKF to see the other pubs. We met this lady who works at this art gallery who suggested us to go to Fire I think. I couldn't make out what she was saying coz of her strong honkie accent.
Outside of Club 97
Fire was OK, R&B, lotsa young expat male looking for some action & lotsa young Asian women willing to give some. But it wasn't sneazy as compared to some Filipino clubs further down Hong Kong island. In fact, it was classier. The next club we were at had a different kind of cruising going on there. I could tell there was something amiss when I couldn't spot a single female. The club was filled with very well-dressed men. Most of them expat whites. I looked up at the huge neon sign "1997"! This is the famous club 97 which is gay club according to my tour guide, Lonely Planet. We weren't there for long coz my buddy wasn't comfortable with being constantly checked out by gay men there! It's amazing how openingly gay clubs can be on this island ruled by communist China! But since we seldom have this kind of opportunity to see gay clubs we decided to check out another infamous gay club, Propaganda.
Our first bar, Stormies.


Propaganda proved harder to find coz the main entrance to the club was tucked hidden away in Ezra lane. We were disappointed when we discovered that Propaganda was the same as Peking which only starts partying at 1am. We didn't even want to go in coz the doorman was kinda rude! We needed a place to drink nearby so we decided to drink at Home Club. It's only a pub away from Propaganda. It was early & the Mgmt was kind to let us in for FREE! The music at Home reminds me of QAF, a gay drama though Home is not a gay club but I guess it does profit from Propaganda's spillover crowd. Even though the liquor here was so much cheaper than in Singapore, we didn't drink that much. Come to think of it, I regretted not getting myself drunk when I was in Hong Kong! Anyway, we got another big day tomorrow! Ocean Park! Woohoo.
Banker & Jacker at Lam Kwai fong!
..


                
JonLau says:
Wow I have been to Hong Kong a few times, and didn't realize the vibrant Gay scene. Now I know, thanks for the posting!
Posted on: Feb 17, 2015
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I feel like flying
I feel like flying
Inspired by Jeg76s blog on his Ho…
Inspired by Jeg76's blog on his H…
Another photo taking breaks
Another photo taking breaks
Banker & I along the stairs of Big…
Banker & I along the stairs of Bi…
Ive reached the top of Ngong Ping…
I've reached the top of Ngong Pin…
Pillars with Buddhist Sutras
Pillars with Buddhist Sutras
Wisdom through Osmosis?
Wisdom through Osmosis?
Jack & I on the tain to Disneyland
Jack & I on the tain to Disneyland
Pretty Disneyland lady with braces…
Pretty Disneyland lady with brace…
Steam venting photography session
Steam venting photography session
Taken to vent some steam
Taken to vent some steam
Us after our talk at Jardine Starb…
Us after our talk at Jardine Star…
Banker & I on the Soho travelator
Banker & I on the Soho travelator
Should have crossed the road from …
Should have crossed the road from…
We found Lam Kwai Fong at last
We found Lam Kwai Fong at last
Outside of Club 97
Outside of Club 97
Our first bar, Stormies.
Our first bar, Stormies.
Banker & Jacker at Lam Kwai fong!
Banker & Jacker at Lam Kwai fong!
City Gate Mall
City Gate Mall
The cable car station to Ngong Pin…
The cable car station to Ngong Pi…
Ngong Ping 360
Ngong Ping 360
Jackson with my ticket to Ngong Pi…
Jackson with my ticket to Ngong P…
Jackson & I
Jackson & I
Crystal Cabin of Ngong Ping 360
Crystal Cabin of Ngong Ping 360
The multimedia theatre.
The multimedia theatre.
Souvenir shop in Ngong Ping Village
Souvenir shop in Ngong Ping Village
Big Buddha from afar
Big Buddha from afar
Gate of Po Lin Monastary
Gate of Po Lin Monastary
Po Lin Monastary
Po Lin Monastary
Jackson praying
Jackson praying
A Lonely Planet Moment at Big Budd…
A Lonely Planet Moment at Big Bud…
Going to the Path of Wisdom
Going to the Path of Wisdom
The abandon village
The abandon village
Jeepers Creepers!!!1
Jeepers Creepers!!!1
more Jeepers Creepers!!!!
more Jeepers Creepers!!!!
The Path of Wisdom
The Path of Wisdom
Tai Tai who taught us how to shop …
Tai Tai who taught us how to shop…
Our Bfast at our favourite tea ca…
Our B'fast at our favourite tea c…
The train to Disneyland
The train to Disneyland
Hang Seng Bank, Bankers new Boss
Hang Seng Bank, Banker's new Boss
Central
Central
2IFC
2IFC
Taken while waiting for Banker to …
Taken while waiting for Banker to…
Taken to vent some steam
Taken to vent some steam
Another steam venting photo
Another steam venting photo
More steam venting photography
More steam venting photography
Jardines retro revolving door
Jardine's retro revolving door
Jardine Building, one of my favour…
Jardine Building, one of my favou…
Taken while crossing the mall brid…
Taken while crossing the mall bri…
Also taken from the Landmark
Also taken from the Landmark
My first Jimmy Choo shoe store!!!
My first Jimmy Choo shoe store!!!
We were so near Lam Kwai Fong!
We were so near Lam Kwai Fong!
Its upslope all the way from here!
It's upslope all the way from here!
Me lost again... we had jus passed…
Me lost again... we had jus passe…
Walking the wrong way but heading …
Walking the wrong way but heading…
Mid level Escalator!
Mid level Escalator!
Buddies on the travelator of Soho
Buddies on the travelator of Soho
The Bar along the Soho Escalator
The Bar along the Soho Escalator
The condos on top of Soho
The condos on top of Soho
My Travel Guide - Lonely Planet
My Travel Guide - Lonely Planet
Making our way down Soho
Making our way down Soho
We were lost again
We were lost again
We were early. This was taken at a…
We were early. This was taken at …
Our first gay bar, Club 97!
Our first gay bar, Club 97!
The famous Peking Club aka Butterf…
The famous Peking Club aka Butter…
Inside Peking Club
Inside Peking Club
Propaganda at Ezra lane
Propaganda at Ezra lane
Hong Kong
photo by: Sunflower300