The temple, the Mansions & the Harbour.

Hong Kong Travel Blog

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At Hong Kong Int'l Airport waiting for our coach.
Hong Kong Spring 2010 - Day 1


The Rollercoaster Landing

At last, we've landed at Hong Kong Int'l Airport. The landing was bad due to the constant turbulent air over Hong Kong's mountains. We got out quickly & grabbed the first map we could find. Hong Kong feels very similar to Singapore! I would have fitted right in if not for my atrocious mandarin & cantonese. Haha... Atrocious when compared to their standards.

The moment we cleared immigration & got our passport chopped, we headed straight to get our Octopus Card which you can use to pay for practically everything from transportations throughout the island to 7/11 purchases.
The coach arrived in Kowloon disrict.


After that, we met up with our tour agent to coach us to Metropark Mongkok hotel. We were given a free half-day city tour as part of our F&E package but were disappointed to find out we were given a different tour route that clashed with our itinerary. Thus, we decided to follow our plan instead.

The coach also drop other tourists off at the various hotels which are on the same kowloon district & we were the last to be dropped off. It started to rain heavily the moment we reached our hotel. We were early & there was no room available to check into, so we left our baggage with the hotel & off we went exploring our neighborhood with our umbrellas.

We were very hungry as the food we were served on United Air pretty much sucks.
Jackson's Shrimp Noodle
So note-to-self: that's the last time I'm flying with United! We passed this noodle shop which sells noodles with beef, beef organ & blood curd sort of like tofu but it's made of blood. I wanna to eat that coz it smells delicious but my buddy being a Buddhist can't eat beef. Then we discovered this tea cafe next to our hotel which serves authentic cantonese crusines for less than HK$20!!! From then on we ate there most of the time. It was really tourist-friendly with english translation of their chinese menu. The staff there also speaks perfect mandarin... A plus for them! I ordered beef tan zai mian & Yun Yang (tea mixed with coffee) a local favourite.


Off to See Mr Wong (Wong Tai Sin Temple)

The first place we went to was Wong Tai Sin Temple.
From left to right: Banker, Jackson & Me, Jordan Nesado
One of the famous must-go-temple for tourists! Though now a tourist site there were still many devotees coming to pray to this deity. There were the usual stone temple dogs (Fu Guo) on either side of the temple gates. You could see this outside most buildings in Hong Kong (esp banks at Central) coz they are believed to ward off evil. The temple is divided into several courtyards and gardens. The first courtyard was devoted to the Goddess of Mercy (Guan Yin) followed by the 4 heavenly generals (aka the Archangels of the Eastern Taoism) who control either the weather or heavenly armies, stood on a Pogoda. The temple was baracade to facilitate crowd control or becos certain sections of the temple was still under-going restoration work. I'm not religious so I took pictures while my buddies prayed.
Me with the tourist information people stationed outside the Zen Garden.
The officers were really friendly & helped us take group photos with my buddies.

There is this Zen Garden with a $HK2 donation box outside its gateway. Guess it's for the maintenance of the temple. Come to think of it, there were actually donation boxes everywhere. We dropped $HK2 coin into the box & check out the garden. The garden spots a pond with 2 stone dragon tortoises on either sides spurring water outta their mouths. We crossed a bridge to the other side & was greet by the Taoist symbol of Yin Yang & the Buddhist Swastika symbol representing all is well. We took lots of photos & were on our way to Tsim Sha Tsui. But we were distracted by the mall beside the temple! Haha.
The nice lady who took the trouble of walking us to Chungking Mansions.
.. We didn't shop much, we only got ourselves bubble milk tea with black pearls. Yummy!!!



Hong Kong Spring 2010 Nite 1

If these walls could talk (Chungking Mansions)

We MTR our way to Tsim Sha Tsui which is like the shopping belt of Orchard Road in Singapore. I love the MTR system of Hong Kong coz it makes me feel like I'm back at home. The waiting time is a lot shorter coz the stations are near to each other. The first place that I visited here in Tsin Sha Tsui was Chungking Mansions which is well-known among backpackers for it's cheap accomodations but it's also infamous among the locals as a body dumping ground for the triads in Hong Kong.
Moneychangers in Chungking mansions.
We were actually lost so I asked around with my less than fantastic but usable Cantonese. We were lucky to have this lady to bring us to the mansion herself. There we were, following her through the narrow dirty alleys that locals used to shortcut through the tall menacing scrapers. Here I was, recounting the horrifiying story in my mind, some gruesome & others supernatural that I dare not tell my buddies of the risk we were taking following her here.

In no time, we were in the mansion, which was not quite I had pictured it in my mind. 2 words to sum it all, "Little India" coz it really feels like little India of Singapore!!! They sold all sorts of things here. Money changers litled the complex. I read that the money changer on Chungking Mansions gave the best rate in town, indeed this was true! We got HKG$5.
Double Seven Inn
6 for every SGD$1 which was really good rate at the time this blog was posted. I changed another SGD$50 coz I've already spent SGD$150 on my first day here.

Curious me decided to pretend to be a backpacker looking for accomodations. We checked out Dragon Inn but the hostel was full. We were lucky the second time coz the owner of another inn called Double Seven was waiting for his guests. He showed us the room which was bearly enough space to fit 2 singles but it had its own private bathroom. The patrons to this room who were packing to check out were Africans. I realised that the security to this mansion was tight. The lifts to the hostels were guarded by security officers and every lifts were fitted with CCTV. There was even a muscly African guarding this hostel! More like Double Secure than Double Seven!! Haha! *Lame*



Symphony of Lights (Victoria Promenade)

As I walked down Nathan Road towards Tsim Sha Tsui, I realised that Hong Kongers have very strong sense of fashion.
Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade
I shouldn't be surprised at all, cos branded labels here are really cheap. Designer boutiques weren't hard to miss. Especially, if you happened to take a walk along Canton Road. Famous label boutiques like Gucci, LV, Prada etc... lined both sides of the road.

We had planned to catch the 8pm Symphony of Light at the TST Promenade. We made our way down the underpass which connects us to Hong Kong Cultural Centre. I was really impressed by Hong Kong underpass network. It just connects you from the MTR to most of the commercial buildings in the district.

We were early so we decided to take a stroll down the promenade. The Avenue of Stars is Hong Kong's version of the walk of fame of Hollywood. Instead of the iconic star metal plate Hollywood bearing the names of superstars, here it's a metal Flimroll with the names of the Asian movie stars on them.
Avenue of the Stars
Some of them bears the handprints of the stars & some don't coz they're already long gone. We took pictures of some of the plates & with the statue of Bruce Lee. Then it was nightfall & it was really cold. We hurried back to the Cultural Centre, the vintage point for viewing the light show. The weather was foggy so we didn't get the best view of the show. Worst of all, out of nowhere a star cruise ship came & blocked most of the night landscape! Talk about perfect timing! While we were video recording the show with our iPhones, there was this female Mainlander quarrelling loudly over the phone with her BF. As we proceed further into our trip I got to know that people from PRC like to talk very loudly. The show wasn't as breathtaking as watching it over YouTube maybe it was due to the fog & all the other negative factors playing at the same time.
My Sichun cantonese fusion noodle


After the show, we were really starving. We tried looking for a place to eat at canto road. The restaurants there serve fusion crusines. We settled for a noodle restuarant which serves a fusion of Sichuan & Cantonese dishes. The noodle dish that I ordered came in such huge bowl, I had problem finishing it! Anyway, I don't quite like it coz I've never like Sichuan food.



Temple Street Nightmarket

We then made our way to Mongkok to check out the temple street nightmarket. The nightmarket is smaller than what I had expected. There were tentage set up for stores selling luggages, jeans, chongsams, iPhone casings etc... The buildings on either side of the market looks really old & dilapidated. There were also street hawkers selling food.
Legalised Porn Store!!!!
I ordered a stick of straw mushrooms wrapped with bacon & mango freeze. Jackson got himself a stick of Yu Dan aka fishballs, one of the locals favorite. You can find Yu Dan almost everywhere in Hong Kong, even in 7/11s! Now about 7/11s, it's everywhere in Hong Kong. It's the same for Mannings aka Guardian where I'm from & Watson store! Something caught Jackson's & my eye... There were stores selling adult videos here! Lotsa them!!! How we envied Hong Kongers for legalized porn! Jackson was tempted to buy some even though he can never make it pass customs! He was asking me if my laptop has a DVD rom & was disappointed when I told him that my netbook doesn't have one! Haha...

We finished walking the stretch of Temple Street under 15 mins. We continued walking along Nathan Road til we find ourselves in a different part of Mongkok.
Jackson Shopping at Ladies' Market
There were boutique stores all around. All of them within our price range! It was already 11pm & there were still throngs of shoppers here! I love this place! It was only later that I found out this place was where Elaine my co-woker had told me about! Cheap shopping at Fa Yuen Street! We continued to explore Fa Yuen Street til we reached another market called Ladies' Market. But most of the stores were already closed. This is where we shopped on the last day of our trip. You could get really cheap stuff at Ladies' Market, depending on how well your bargaining skill is. We got a little lost coz we had ventured too far from Nathan Road. It took us a while to regain our bearings. We had to head back to Metropark by 11:30pm. It's another big day tomorrow! We were going to the Big Buddha & Disneyland on Lantau Island.
Fa Yuen Street.




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At Hong Kong Intl Airport waiting…
At Hong Kong Int'l Airport waitin…
The coach arrived in Kowloon disri…
The coach arrived in Kowloon disr…
Jacksons Shrimp Noodle
Jackson's Shrimp Noodle
From left to right: Banker, Jackso…
From left to right: Banker, Jacks…
Me with the tourist information pe…
Me with the tourist information p…
The nice lady who took the trouble…
The nice lady who took the troubl…
Moneychangers in Chungking mansion…
Moneychangers in Chungking mansio…
Double Seven Inn
Double Seven Inn
Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade
Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade
Avenue of the Stars
Avenue of the Stars
My Sichun cantonese fusion noodle
My Sichun cantonese fusion noodle
Legalised Porn Store!!!!
Legalised Porn Store!!!!
Jackson Shopping at Ladies Market
Jackson Shopping at Ladies' Market
Fa Yuen Street.
Fa Yuen Street.
Me as The Last Airbender!!!!
Me as The Last Airbender!!!!
Lonely Planet Moment
Lonely Planet Moment
Wiki says they are door gods. But …
Wiki says they are door gods. But…
Heavenly general holding the umbre…
Heavenly general holding the umbr…
One of the heavenly Generals of Ta…
One of the heavenly Generals of T…
Jack lighting the incense.
Jack lighting the incense.
Jack looking stunt!!!
Jack looking stunt!!!
Lonely Planet Moment
Lonely Planet Moment
Another Planet Moment!
Another Planet Moment!
Still Another Lonely Planet Moment!
Still Another Lonely Planet Moment!
Us in our first & favourite yea ca…
Us in our first & favourite yea c…
Me with the temple security office…
Me with the temple security offic…
Jack prefers Kungfu...
Jack prefers Kungfu...
Banker practising Tai Chi...
Banker practising Tai Chi...
This is me having a technorgasm!!!…
This is me having a technorgasm!!…
At the MTR jus outside the temple …
At the MTR jus outside the temple…
Becoz of the limited land mass of …
Becoz of the limited land mass of…
The MTR signboard pointing to Chun…
The MTR signboard pointing to Chu…
The cheap Bubble milk tea with bla…
The cheap Bubble milk tea with bl…
CCTV in the lifts!!!
CCTV in the lifts!!!
Little India in Chungking Mansions
Little India in Chungking Mansions
Double Seven Inn
Double Seven Inn
Hong Kong Cultural Centre
Hong Kong Cultural Centre
Victoria Harbour
Victoria Harbour
Foggy nite at Victoria Harbour.
Foggy nite at Victoria Harbour.
More fog...
More fog...
Hong Kong Cultural Centre at nite
Hong Kong Cultural Centre at nite
KCR Clock Tower.
KCR Clock Tower.
Hong Kong
photo by: Sunflower300