Hong Kong and a short detour to Macau

Hey guys, are you interested to know what’s in Hong Kong? As I don’t fully have all the pictures from Vietnam yet, this little quickie trip will have to do for a while. 😀 I was in Hong Kong in September 2014, so it’s been a while but I’ll try my best! Hong Kong can be done in a long weekend. If you plan wisely, you can see a lot of things, even a short day trip to Macau!

Hong Kong was my second birthday trip after I made a promise to myself that I would travel on my birthday. I went with my family and we stayed at a family friend’s house and since we had the apartment, we cooked so a lot of our travel expenses were cut. For those travelling here, I would say try hostels, Airbnb or Couchsurfing. Accomodation here is not cheap!

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Hong Kong during the day

The Hong Kong skyline is probably the most impressive compared to other cities in Southeast Asia, boasting multiple sky rise buildings. It is one of the major cities in Asia. A lot of expats live here and this city has become one of the global hubs for finance. The majority of the people here are Chinese, although they are quite different than the mainland Chinese. Hong Kong was part of the British colony, up to 1997, and it’s plain to see how the British has had its influence in the city’s architecture, city system and education. I met a local on the bus and she spoke to me in perfect British English, so there shouldn’t be any worries on any language barriers here.

I got here by a flight from Kuala Lumpur by Air Asia. (Air Asia has made so many trips possible!) My first recommendation for anyone to do is to get an Octopus card. An Octopus card is something similar to our Touch N Go card here in Malaysia. It can be used on the trains, trams, buses and even minibuses (one of my favourite things about Hong Kong! So many choices and everything is super punctual!). It’s incredibly useful so I suggest to spare around 40 dollars to get this card and load a good amount of money in it. Hong Kong is incredibly well connected with their transport system and you can go anywhere at low prices. Don’t worry about spending too much on the card though, you also have the choice to return it back at the end of your trip and get your money back, but I chose to keep mine for memories.

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Hong Kong at night

A trip to Hong Kong would not be complete if you don’t take a stroll down the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade. The skyline is a sight, and it gets even better at night, where the daily event called “A Symphony of Lights” starts.

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Symphony of Lights

It’s a multimedia show where buildings on both sides of Victoria Harbour shoot laser beams and coloured lights into the sky in beat with the music. There are 5 themes to the whole show and it is meant to embody the essence of Hong Kong. This show is free! It’s at 8pm daily, so head over an hour early to catch the sunset and get a good spot to sit down.

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Tsim Sha Shui Road

Tsim Sha Shui is also a quite famous road for shopping. I personally like walking along this road, there are so many shops but unfortunately quite high end like Bally, Louis Vuitton, etc. If you have money to spare, why not? If you get hungry along the way, refuel at Chungking Mansion or any restaurants along the way. There will always be someone promoting their restaurant along the street.

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Full moon at Avenue of Stars

There’s also the Avenue of Stars where you can see multiple statues with the stunning background in the back. Although most of the stars on the Walk of Fame are Chinese, I didn’t recognize any of them except Jackie Chan, Jet Li and Bruce Lee.

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Red sail Chinese Junk Boat

On the other end, you can see the Clock Tower. Right next to the Clock Tower, there’s the pier where you can take a ferry ride using Star Ferry cruises to go on the other side. I would suggest doing the sunset ride, it’s quite pleasant. There’s also a traditional ferry with its striking red sail. You won’t miss it, it’s quite a sight to see in Victoria Harbour.

 

On the other side, if you’re up for a little bargaining, I would suggest going to Kowloon area, to the Ladies Market. No, they don’t only sell ladies stuff, they sell a wide variety of items from electronic gadgets, clothes, food and fake branded bags. This market is in an open street and it is open from noon till midnight, so you could spend an afternoon walking here as the stalls are endless. How to get here? Take the MTR to Mong Kok station and take the exit E, the bank center exit.

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The view at the Peak

Next, is Victoria Peak. You have to see Hong Kong from one of the highest points in the city. I would suggest doing this early in the morning as you’ll spend some time over there.

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Answering questions with Obama

There is also a mall up here, I went inside Madame Tussauds(yeah they have one), not as big as the one in London, but still enjoyable. Most people would recommend getting on the Peak Tram and if you could, why not? I had a stroke of bad luck because when I went there, the tram was closed so I took the bus.

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Disneyland at last!

I spent my birthday in Disneyland, and it was truly magical. I haven’t been to Disneyland since I was 8 years old, so the moment I stepped into the train, it feels like I’ve become young again. The windows were shaped like Hidden Mickeys and there were little bronze statues of famous Disney characters in the train.

I won’t say anything much about Disneyland. It was quite small, I could finish it in a day and I went during a time where the park wasn’t full and I was able to repeat some rides as soon as I got off. My only tip is that try to catch all of the shows, they are really good and plan your rides around it. I really liked the Lion King show best.

 

 

After a tiring day, what better way then to end such an amazing birthday with fireworks? I strongly feel that each birthday should be ended with fireworks. Nothing makes me happy than seeing things being lit on fire and create wonderful images in the sky.

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This was a birthday trip well spent.

Oh, I forgot about food! If you could try roasted duck, have it! I had mine at some random place in a market, frankly I forgot where it is and how to get there but it was amazing. I don’t really eat duck, so that’s a high compliment. Of course, a trip to Hong Kong wouldn’t be perfect without some chinese food, now would it? Our family friend took us to Masjid Ammar and Osman Ramju Sadick Islamic Centre.

 

There is a canteen on the very top level of the building and the food is really good. We went here twice in our trip here to have some good dim sum. For Muslim readers, if you’re worried about halal food, no worries, look out for Turkish food, Arabic food and Indian food. They are outlets scattered throughout the city so you don’t have to hurry home to eat instant noodles. Just be sure to do some research before you start your day, so you have an idea where the stores are and how to get there.

If you have a day to spare, take a one hour ferry ride to Macau. The Hong Kong Macau Ferry terminal is near to the IFC towers. Buy a ticket from the TurboJet ferries, which is the red ferry. It’s quick and fast. From what I could remember, you can only buy a single trip each way, so be sure when you reach Macau, buy your ticket back so that you won’t be stranded in Macau. Macau is famous for casinos, and big hotels. It also has some Portuguese influence, which was evident as soon as we came out of the ferry terminal.

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Fancy Portuguese name…

There are free shuttles to every hotel imaginable but we chose to see the Venetian Hotel. The infrastructure of the big hotels in Macau is nothing short but grand. Inside the Venetian, besides the casino, they decorated the insides to be like Venice, hence the gondolas.

There’s also the Macau tower, you could try bungee jumping there, I saw multiple of bungee jumpers (not sure whether that’s a grammatically correct term) throughout the day/night.

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Macau Tower

One more place for shopping is Citygate Outlet in Lantau Island which is a factory outlet mall with brands such as Adidas, Levi’s, Esprit. I did some shopping here and bought my sport shoes, it was quite a bargain. To get here simply take the train to MTR Tung Chung Station. The moment you step out of the station, you’ll see this mall. When I went there, they had a elephants of the world tour (Something like save the pandas tour).

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Hello, humans, we have arrived in Hong Kong!

Right in the vicinity of Tung Chung station, you could also visit the Ngong Pin 360 cable car attraction. You could also see a huge Buddha statue in the distance. It’s quite a long cable car ride, we didn’t go for it as the queue lines were too long but I imagine taking the cable car ride around sunset would be nothing short of amazing as you see the island. Lantau island looks pristine with all the greenery and blue waters, but with the airport and Disneyland on this island, it won’t be long until modern civilization will start to ruin it. But let’s hope for the best! I think there’s also a hiking trail, so for those hiking enthusiasts, go for it!

That ends my short adventure in Hong Kong and Macau. I’ll try to write something again by tomorrow. Hope you enjoyed my post, and I’ll see you guys next time! Bye!

What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create.-Buddha

 

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