Tuesday, 7 January 2014

The departure from Hong Kong....

Well! Well!

Who wants to leave the place when you have just started to enjoy it!

But that's how it ends; you feel dejected; hoping this vacation never ends.

The day we departed, we opted for a taxi to the airport since it was 4 and half of us with all our 4 luggage and a baby pram. The taxis in Hong Kong are really spacious; don't be deceived by the old looks of them.

The leaving formalities:-

1. Remember to return all the MTR cards that have deposits and electronic cash.

So we returned the octopus cards that we had to the MTR station just next to the departure hall.

2. Spend all the coins as much as possible as they cant be converted. Best way is to ask a local to provide you with notes in exchange. I prefer buying coffees or snacks before departure....

Very convenient! Headed back to the departure gate and soon flew back to the reality that was awaiting us!

Back to Work!

Some Random shots which didn't find mention in the posts before.

Random Indian restaurant menu

The Dream Disney Castle

The local snack shop

The back alleys

The meat shop, fresh meat early in the morning!

The HK skyline, bit hazy at that moment.

The Mody road Christmas decorations

Beauty and the beast at Disneyland, HK.

The harbour, the ships, the sailors!

The path to salvation, not! Just a regular site seeing. Lantau Buddha.

Hey Did you call me! No!

Outside Casino Lisboa!

Pink, Windows, Tram, Hong Kong!

The skyline and the starlet....

The decor of best western, fit for Royalty...

Aptly called the ladies market, Mongkok.

Thats all folks!

Monday, 6 January 2014

The clock tower and Victoria peak....

Today was the our last day of Hong Kong trip before we get in flight tomorrow morning!

This day we had planned to get up leisurely. So got up by 11. There is a tram stop near the Best western. Took the tram going towards Central.

 The trams are age old form of transport on the Island side of HK. 
Rustic and nostalgic, remembrance of the by-gone era. 
So much preserved and maintained that they are still usable even in this century....
A must try...

Soon the tram pulled near Central. A short walk down the streets will take you to IFC mall. We had a quick veggie bite at subway. The veggie patty were a lifesavers for veggie guys like us. The Subway sandwich shop is one level below the airport check in at IFC; just next to the elevators on B1.

To get to the clock tower, we opted for a ferry ride across the channel. The octopus card is accepted as a form of payment. Don't remember how much was the exact fare. However it was a fair fare ;) 

The ferries keep plying day in day out. We did the ride at day; during last time when I was here, I had done this ferry in evening. It is a site to behold at the blue hour. 
The seats on the ferry are a bit unique. Depending on the direction a person wants to face, one can shift the backrest on either direction.

The Clock tower is in the same area as the Avenue of stars. Since on first day we came here in the late evening, so today we made sure we complete the tour of the TST (Tsim Tsa Tsui) Area. A short stroll by the promenade and a Ice cream made my day. The delightful part was we could pay the Ice cream cart guy by our octopus money card. Returned back to Central by the next ferry.

Next destination was the Victoria Peak, fondly called as The Peak. There are quite a few ways to reach the peak, most preferred way is the peak tram, most expensive way is the taxi and most cheapest is the bus no 15 from central. 

Well we were not in hurry, so we chose the bus. Advantage was there was less crowd. Disadvantage, could not experience the peak tram as we did with the Island line of tram. No regrets. The wait for peak trams can run into hours easily on peak times.

This is where you can get the no.15  bus to the peak.

There are two malls at the peak, with both offering the choices of Vantage points and window shopping.  The sunset was the most amazing from here!

The free viewing option is at peak galleria. The paid and  a slightly better option is the sky terrace. It was very cold at the top and we could see the other side of HK, the west side. 

Sun was just setting down and the air was turning from cooler to chilly.  We soon took retreat into the warmer insides of the two malls. The MacDonald provided the warm and cosy atmosphere. We had a delightful dinner and made our way down to Admiralty by the nightfall. 

Soon we reached at the Ladies market at Mongkok via MTR, the last stop and the most important for the Ladies and Gents alike, the shopping haunt. 

Well it had few more elements to it other than shopping. 

There were street performers and food vendors, professional photographers taking Souvenir photographs and a wide array of electronic shops.

The most dominant ones were the clothes and bags shops. 

The entire area is cordoned of for vehicles and is pedestrian only for the evening. 

The famous desert shop Hui Lau Shan to finish off the evening.

We returned back by the last MTR to Central from Mongkok. Then last leg was covered by taxi till hotel. Trams were running at midnight but we preferred comfort over everything else. 

A day well spent. Feeling emotional that the trip was ending tomorrow!

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Macau, baby! The Las Vegas of the East!

Macau, rightly called the Vegas of the east, is a tiny nation.

We visited Macau in day trip from Hong Kong.

There are 24/7 ferries from the Central HK or the Island side of the HK.

We got up early and took the ferry at 8 AM at the Hong Kong Macau Ferry terminal.

View Larger Map

The Taxi will drop you here. Take the elevator up the terminal. Locate the ticket booth and book the ticket for the next ferry. No need to advance book. Ferries run every 15-20 min. Also dont buy from any of the sources other than the ticket window.  One way fare economy on Turbojet Ferries is around 25 SGD.
Check the schedule and fare table here  .

Emigration was swift. We left HK. Indians dont need visa to enter either countries. It is as good as travelling within two states of one country. No visa, no stamping.

Once on ferry we tried catching a wink. On the other other side Immigration was quick as well.

Soon we were at the bus stand. The taxi drivers pestered us to opt their sightseeing services. Pay no heed!
Who wants to spend 1000 HKD for something you can do for free!

There are escalators which take you underground and on the other side to bus stand.

There will be buses which will take you the casinos FOR FREE!

We took a bus to Lisboa Casino and it dropped us near the casino.

Within a short walk around, we had our first stop, the Margarets Cafe e Nata, for breakfast.

The breakfast was french toast and lots of Tea, just like we have back in India, in kettle.

Next stop was the Senado square or the Central Square.

Its not a square in real sense but its a central place where pedestrians can walk peacefully soaking in the Portuguese setup of buildings left behind as legacy.

Just go with the crowds at Senado square and you will soon reach the ruins of St Paul.

The narrow alleys have several shops selling you pork delicacy for trying. I opted to watch from a distance.

The ruins of st Pauls are of a once important church. Several attempts to restore the site were dampened by many accidents.

Time to hit a casinos as the afternoon sun was getting hotter.We headed back to the Lisboa casino and asked for the free shuttle back to Ferry terminal.

 To take the ferry shuttle back you need to collect a piece of paper-like ticket from the front desk of the casino.That means you need to show your presence inside the casino.

Once back at ferry terminal we transferred to a bus heading Venetian Macao Casino.
Had an indian thali at the food court there. Food cost was on the higher side, but was filling.
By evening we had to be a Macao Tower to see the evening lights. It was foggy but quite clear to see the buildings around. There is shuttle just across Venetian, from the Galaxy Casino which goes to Macao Tower. 
Timed it right and we are at Macao tower. Entrance fee is around 25 SGD. It features an indoor and outdoor platform. There were bungy jumpers at the outdoor platform.

One the way back from Macao Tower, we visited the Galaxy Casino, the interior was somewhat attractive than other casinos. It had a big LCD screen inside with mesmerizing mermaids swimming around!
WARNING: - The video may not be suitable for all age groups.     :P

There is also a Hard Rock cafe nearby, so had dinner and headed back to the ferry terminal by another shuttle.The ferry ticket can be booked in advance or on the spot. The night ferry tickets are bit costly. Make sure you get rid of all the Patacas you may have collected during the trip. Patacas are not of much value outside Macau. Alternatively you can  transact in HKD all along. We only spent for food as transport was all free. No need of Sim card in Macao as Wifi is free at casinos. One can stay back in Macao if wish to. We were tired and so returned back to Hong kong by 11 PM ferry.                                                                                       Another day, another place accomplished! Feeling content!

Friday, 3 January 2014

Lantau Buddha

Lantau Buddha is the big Buddha Statue sitting on the Lantau Island in Hongkong.
It is also known as Tian Tan Buddha.
Easily reachable by public transport, this Buddha statue is at the top of a mountain peak.

That day Me and Prasha got up early by 7 AM and went for breakfast to the nearest McDonald.

Some breakfast places were serving some wierd looking food stuff.

I didnt dare to step in, preferred McDonald instead.

Converted some SGD to HKD at the Wing Lung Bank. The bank is exactly opposite to the McDonald Outlet.

View Larger Map

At left at around 9 AM.
We headed to the Tung Chung station MTR station from Central Station.

It was already afternoon by the time we reached there. We had packed our subway sandwich at the MTR station.
The bus terminal is just outside the station. Take the bus no 23 to Ngong Ping.
Below is the location where the bus stand on the inside of the terminal.

View Larger Map

It takes around an hour to reach the top by bus.
The road is windy and made me throw up, almost!

The weather was cool. We could see the gleaming and shining buddha at a distance.
 The bottom of the mountain, near the bus stop is a touristy Ngong Ping village setup with shops selling you touristy stuff, seven elevens and the Cable car final station.

Buddha as seen at the top of mountain.

That's the PO-Lin Monastry at the foot of the mountain.One needs to walk a fair amount of stairs and reach the top.

That's the Po-Lin monastry from the top. The view from the top is amazing. Green mountains all around and statues of goddesses around the Buddha. They add to the atmosphere.

One can also spot the cable car from far away.
By the time we felt content with the place, it was already 4 pm.
We started our descent. We were at the bus station for the second-last bus. It was filled completely.
The last bus was around 7 PM. So we didn't want to waste time, we started the journey as standing passengers. The bus ride back was thrilling, with we falling all over the fellow passengers.

That was a day well spent!
Next day we had plans to travel to Macau...