A Travellerspoint blog

Days 7 & 8: Rest and Return

The plane! The plane!

overcast 20 °C

Not much left to write about! Took it easy on Sunday, Plane Boy still not well so stayed in the hotel. Felt well enough to venture out for a late lunch in the shopping plaza but that was pretty much it for the day - and the trip since we were up at 2am to fly out early this morning.
Finally got to board the new Dreamliner aircraft, and it was everything Plane Boy had hoped for and more. Even Nerdia was impressed, especially with the electronically tintable windows. They got quite a workout.
Had hoped to blog in the air as Scoot offer wifi on this new 'plane, but the website didn't seem to like the credit card so it had to wait until we were home and fed. Mucho gracias to our parents for once again braving the ever-changing trip to the airport to pick us up, particularly given how long it took us to get out!
So that's it for Hong Kong. We really enjoyed it and would heartily recommend the place. See ya!

Posted by NarLin 21:10 Archived in Hong Kong Tagged airport aeroplane airplane ill dreamliner hingkong Comments (0)

Day 6: Birds, Flowers and Even More Markets

semi-overcast 17 °C

No sleeping in this time, off to find the markets we think we missed the first time. Following the Lonely Planet guidebook market trail (thanks G&M!) we returned to Kowloon, wandered past Mong Kok stadium and down a shaded avenue which is clearly a favourite place to exercise pampered little dogs in cute jackets, around a corner - and into Flower Market Road. Amazing! Several streets absolutely bursting with flower shops, with stalls spilling onto the pavement and everything covered with flowers of all kinds. Orchids were everywhere, as were little towers of bamboo, jonquil bulbs and some strange yellow-orange fruit. Lovely fragrance in the air, people everywhere - wonderful.

At the end of the road was another beautiful corner, Yuen Po Street Bird Garden. This is a walled garden/walkway where older men display their ornamental pet birds. The cages are tiny but most of the birds seem well cared for, except perhaps for the parrots. There was even a pink and grey galah and cages full of budgies. Most of them were singing enthusiastically, which made for a lovely atmosphere. Lots of wriggly mealworms and tanks full of live crickets for sale as food, too, along with all sorts of accessories and weird "bird lures".

Another turn through the flower market and down a few more streets - and then we hit Goldfish Market. Basically a street full of aquarium shops! Plane Boy, a former aquarist, was entranced. The prices, the prices! Some shops had conventional wall tanks, others covered their front doors with dozens of fish (plus the occasional baby turtle or crab), all in individual plastic bags. So much cheaper than back home. No, Plane Boy, you can't bring them home with you.

Just around the corner we spied clothes in racks in the middle of the street... was this the Ladies' Market we'd been looking for? It wasn't quite where the guidebook said it would be, but hey, it was a market, so off we went. Very wide central aisle, not pushy, a good range of clothes: perfect for some serious shopping. Spent quite a while strolling up and down, buying a few bits and pieces, then explored the adjoining shops. A tiny room packed to the ceiling with fake Lego proved a goldmine, with Plane Boy purchasing a few aircraft sets sure to keep him busy when we get home; a shoe store yielded some brightly coloured plastic boots for Nerdia, including a pair she swears smells like grapefruit.

Time for a late lunch, so we ambled into the first restaurant we saw. It turned out to be another dim sum place, so Nerdia was delighted to enjoy yet another yum cha meal. It was delicious... but may not have been the best idea.
We had planned to take the train to another district and ride the trams, but decided to drop off our shopping at the hotel. That proved a good idea as once we got back we both felt a bit tired... then a bit yuck. Nothing too serious but we went straight to bed and haven't been anywhere since. Feeling better today, though, so we might go for a stroll later or perhaps check out the hotel's restaurants if we feel like eating.

Holiday is almost over!

Posted by NarLin 12:06 Archived in Hong Kong Tagged birds markets flowers shopping hongkong ill Comments (0)

Day 5: Big Buddha and Michelin Munchies

Ngong Ping, Tian Tan Buddha and Din Tai Fung

overcast 17 °C

Big sightseeing day yesterday: off mid-morning to take a series of trains over (well, under the sea) to Lantau Island. On the way we saw the special Disneyland train with Mickey Mouse shaped windows, tee hee ?. We weren't on Lantau for Disney, though, we were headed for the Big Tian Tan Buddha and the 5.7km Ngong Ping cable car ride to get there.
Through a big open plaza next to an imposing-looking mall, the obligatory highrise apartments on one side and the airport around the corner. Over to the big cable car station, up the escalator... and onto the end of a very long line. Never mind, the weather was cool and Plane Boy had the aircraft flying by to peer at through the light fog.
One hour later, we finally clambered into a cable car and were off. Spectacular! Despite the fog Plane Boy had a bird's eye view of Hong Kong Airport for about 10min of the 25min ride up and over several densely wooded hills. After a while the Big Buddha could be glimpsed between the peaks, and eventually we reached the tourist haven that is Ngong Ping.
Time for a late lunch at one of the touristy restaurants, but turns out they do good dim sum so this was far better than might be expected. Wandered through the complex, inexplicably skipping the Hong Kong action movie stunt show; Plane Boy then waited while Nerdia climbed the steps (Lonely Planet guide tells us there are 268 of them) to the base of the statue. It really is huge. Walked around the base and through the weird museum; watched gaggle of people excitedly chucking coins at the smaller statues surrounded by signs asking people not to throw coins; took photos of someone's drone buzzing around Buddha's legs. Done!
No queue for the chairlift ride back, all very efficient. Then it was back on the trains and time for dinner.
Nerdia was itching to try some more dim sum so we trooped over to Din Tai Fung, a fancy-looking chain restaurant in the adjoining giant shopping centre. Once we found it, tucked away on the lowest floor, we took a ticket and joined the growing throng of prospective diners waiting for seats. They don't mess around here, the formidable young lady on the front desk calls out the ticket numbers as the previous diners leave, and if your party isn't ready 5 numbers later you lose your place in the line. We waited about half and hour but it was worth it! Fabulous dim sum dishes of all sorts, really enjoyed our meal and we can now say we've dined in a Michelin star restaurant!

Posted by NarLin 15:34 Archived in Hong Kong Tagged buddha cablecar hongkong dimsum Comments (0)

Day 4: A Walk in the Park and a Night of Lights

(for Goodies fans: "and now, A Walk in the Black Forest" didn't fit in the header)

overcast 15 °C

Too tired to blog last night, a busy evening and we're not night owls while on holidays ?
Slept in yesterday, cold cloudy days make it easy! Usual place for breakfast, still busy even into peak hour. Then we went for a leisurely walk through Sha Tin Park, a large well-manicured park next to our hotel. Cold and still with just a few drops of very light rain, very pleasant indeed. The park is a mix of shady tree-lined walkways, open plazas, formal walled Chinese quadrangles with ornamental ponds, oddly sterile children's playgrounds... and dedicated exercise equipment for the elderly, a common sight in parks here. Behaviour signs are everywhere, forbidding smoking, climbing, feeding or releasing animals, jumping into ponds, urinating; even the play equipment has detailed instructions on how to use it for gymnastics training. The group of visiting schoolkids were as excited and raucus as you'd expect in Oz, though.

Our walk took us over one of the footbridges spanning the river, with only a narrow band of city buildings separating us from the forested hills beyond. We strolled back again across another bridge near the Heritage Museum, had a coffee and a mooch around New Town Plaza, then hung out at the hotel for the afternoon. Nerdia went for a swim; the hotel pool was impressive but a bit cold so she relaxed in the steam room instead, which will probably amuse the folks enduring the heat back home.

Come early evening we trotted down to the lobby, rugged up in all our warm clothes and ready for the hotel's shuttle bus down to the harbour for the light show tour we'd booked the day before. Naturally we were early and bus left on time with just a few other passengers and an hour to reach the waterfront. Alas, there had been some sort of crash on the freeway - an upturned scooter was all that could be seen by the time we reached it, plus an ambulance and police galore, hope they were ok but didn't look too good. Peak hour traffic crawled. Passengers alighted near the Temple Street markets we'd visited yesterday, then quizzed the driver about how to get back. Time was ticking. Hotel staff had warned us not to be late, the ferry wouldn't wait. 10min to go...
Bus now whizzing along main street, lined with glitzy top end brand stores and heaving with crowds. Wait, this isn't a normal shopping crowd. Why are the footpaths lined with police tape? Why are they all screaming, Beatlemania style? We never did see who they were there for, but he/she must have been inside the tight knot of security bods scooting into a well-lit foyer amid chants and cheers. 8min to go...
Bus finally dropped us off 5min from the harbour - with 5min to go. Pelted down the street - thankfully Plane Boy knew they way - dodging pedestrians, squeezing through narrow spaces, planning how else to spend the evening if we missed the ferry.
But we made it! And wow, it was worth it.

The ferry had only a dozen or so passengers so heaps of room to move around and follow the view. We did a circuit of the harbour, following the lights and the prerecorded commentary. The official show itself lasts 15min but there are lights all over the skyline all night long, quite spectacular. Took some photos and video but didn't do it justice. Bracing cold and free drinks made it all the better.

We were on the water for an hour, then it was time for a late dinner (harbourside shops very expensive so slummed it and had MacDonalds) before taking a taxi back to the hotel. A lovely evening!

Today we're off to see the giant Sitting Buddha statue and cable car ride.

Posted by NarLin 09:38 Archived in Hong Kong Tagged harbour park light tour playground hongkong Comments (0)

Day 4: will blog tomorrow, too tired tonight! :-)

excellent light show in the harbour, will blog properly tomorrow.

Posted by NarLin 07:00 Comments (0)

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