The temple, the Mansions & the Harbour.
Hong Kong Travel Blog› entry 3 of 4 › view all entries
April 22nd, 2010 – by: nesado
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.
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.
Off to See Mr Wong (Wong Tai Sin Temple)
The first place we went to was Wong Tai Sin Temple.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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