Thursday, September 16, 2010

7 days of Eat-Pray-Love in Macau/Hong Kong - Day 06

Architectural Walk Day...more walking... Remove Formatting from selection

Disneyland, Big Buddha and The Peak, we have seen them all and we were depleted by the summer heat, but Hong Kong has so much that we have yet to see, how can we stop?! So today we are going to explore the bustling city - feet!

(Central MTR Station)

(Statue Square)

HSBC headquarters - built by Norman Foster and this is the 4th incarnation of the HSBC headquarters. At the front entrance, sit a pair of lions - Stephen and Stitt. They are the sourvenir from the 3rd headquarters and rumour has it that it will bring prosperity to those who stroke their mane, but I don't know how true is this...we shall see.. :P

(Court of Final Appeal, built in the mid 1800's)

(St John's Cathedral)

Central-Mid-levels travelator - the half mile long escalator is the world's longest covered escalator in the world, it takes 25 mins from one end to another. And this is free! Get on to it and enjoy a bird's eye view of some of the narrow alley and trendy neighbourhoods for eating, drinking and shopping in Central. As our feet were aching from all the walking, we got on to it and allowed this travelator do the walking for us :)

Halfway through the travelator, we saw the Hong Kong Police Station and quickly we got off the travelator to get a closer look at this beauty. This building was built in 1913, however it is no longer a police station. The cops have moved to Wan Chai and now this building is preserved to savour elements of its heritage.

As it was almost noon, we walked into a teeny weeny mini BBQ restaurant (everything is mini in Hong Kong as they don't have much land) nearby for lunch before reuniting with my friends at Central MTR station to head off to Golden Bauhinia Square at Wan Chai.

After seeing the golden flower, it was shopping time at Time Square in Causeway Bay! :D We shopped till the sun set before we return to our hotel in Mongkok.
After we showered, all fresh and nice, my mind began to ask "What's for dinner tonight? What's good around Mongkok?"...we ambled along the streets and saw this decent-sized-restaurant Tai Hing that we always pass by but never once try. So tonight, we decided to try Tai Hing. OMG.. the broth (老火汤 and the luo soon tong) that we both tried was so so slurpy-good!!

***I will post the pics up later when I have it***

Sunday, September 5, 2010

7 days of Eat-Pray-Love in Macau/Hong Kong - Day 05 joi.. sin joi...
(yes today is pray day!)

Lantau island here we come!!!! Like the past few days, we got up early, had our breakfast at 8:30am then we took off to Mongkok MTR station and after a few stops and transit we arrived at Lantau island!!

***Mongkok station - Lai King station - Tung Chung station (get off at this station and you will see the big factory outlet mall 'CityGate', the cable car station is just next to it) - Ngong Ping Cable Car(the ticket for 2-way normal cable car is slightly over HKD 100)***

The Big Buddha statue is... I tell you... de most awe-inspiring sight! It is the WORLD largest buddha statue. This bronze statue is 34 metres tall and weigh about 250 tonnes and it is located on the mountainous area of Lantau island. It made me ponder on how this giant buddha was built!! Really.. think about on earth did the chinese build it?? and it was built on a mountainous land..

To reach the feet of this giant buddha, one need to first climb hundredssss of steps up. Under the sweltering heat (it was 33 degree that very moment, nothing was more excrutiating!), we climbed up to the buddha's feet...panting and sweaty!! I think not only my top were wet, the shorts I was wearing were wet too!! :P But it's all worthed when I saw the great buddha... we took a walk inside the buddha (the air-cond was so cooling~~) and saw Anita Mui's memorial corner..a small piece of the wall were dedicated to her..hanging pictures of her and a book for visitor to leave a message for her. Many of her loyal fans came and left her some flowers there..

After we took some pictures and were ready to slide down (we wish! haha...but there's no other option but the stair). The next stop was...none other than the Poh Lin is another must-go destination for prayers! It was initially a small shrine constructed by 3 buddhists in 1924 and it slowly expanded over the years...After touring around the Poh Lin Monstery, we lunched there (our first vegetarian meal after so many days..we bought the general package HKD60 per pax for the 4 person lunch set).

After our lunch we returned to the cable car station and back to CityGate where we spent sometime shopping for cheap designer labels. I found that not all were cheap.. some weren't any cheaper at all..but it has alot of designs that we couldn't find in Malaysia.

We spent about a good 2 hours there and then we went off to hunt for Tsing Ma bridge.. We left CityGate at 5:10pm. But..we didn't see Tsing Ma bridge...sigh.. because we didnt know which bus to board after we got down at Tsing Yi MTR station and not many local know too (we were really surprised..cause we thought it was a tourist attraction). We approached a few locals but none were able to help us so we gave up and return to our hotel instead...

We went back to hotel, showered and dressed up, and we took off to The Peak to catch the magnificent night view of Hong Kong from high up. As we reach Central MTR station (exit J2 to Garden Road), we were shocked! Horrified to see the long queue, the queue for tram (HKD33) to The Peak, the people were queue-ing from the ticketing counter all the way to the street side.. to the taxi stand...OMG...As we were already late (8 pm-ish, we have yet take our dinner and The Peak closes at 11:00pm) we decided to catch a taxi to The Peak instead, though it was more expensive (HKD 45) but it would take us there at a much shorter time..

We dined at Cafe Deco.. the food was okay and the so was the price :) But if you want to have the table by the window, you will need to make reservation in advance (obviously we did not know about this). Anyway we had a table close to the it was still okay. After the dinner we went up to The was brimming with tourists and also some locals... many had come with their DSRL cameras and super lens and stands and all the gadgets, all waiting to grab a good spot to capture this amazing night view before their eyes...

Monday, August 23, 2010

7 days of non-stop Eat-Pray-Love in Macau/Hong Kong - Day 04

Day 04: I'm 10 year-old today!
(Yeap, I need that mindset for HK Disneyland..)

HK Disneyland is.. I reckon.. the smallest Disneyland on planet earth! Some Hongkies commented that a short 3 hours is all it takes to see everything!! We actually debated on this among ourselves, should we go to Big Buddha in the morning then Disneyland during the noon? Since we had 5 days in HK, we figured that we really don't need to rush, so we allocate one full day just for Mickey and friends. However, I do agree that you don't need a whole day for Disneyland, but 3 hours? I beg to differ! Cause we took 6 hours or longer to cover every stage show and most attractions there.

JellyBean's chewy advice: Do 2 in 1 day - Big Buddha from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm then to Disneyland which is only one or two MTR station away from the Big Buddha. Why? Because for Disneyland you will have to stay till 9:00pm for the firework display, no point going there as early as they open the gate cause by 6:00 pm you would have finish every show and ride and wanting to leave the place but you can't cause you don't want to miss the firework display?! How?!? Grab a bench and wait wait wait till 9:00pm.. (that was what happened to us)

We reached Disneyland almost as early as the gate opened... *kiasu*... sprinted to the ticketing counter (HKD350 per entry)...but we still need to queue..just too many people eventhough it was on a weekday! Before we kick start our disney adventures, we each grabbed ourselves a map, marked down all the station that have stage shows and their play time, and planned our route (yes, we are all very oriented person :P). Stage shows and parade is a MUST-SEE if not your ticket is consider burned! So make sure you sit in every stage shows!!!

Our disney route:

(p/s: be there half an hour before the show starts cause the queue is horrific! and be very alert because there are many irritating uncivilized people who will cut in front of you when you are unaware! one minute they are behind you and the next minute they stand infront of you)

1. Space Mountain roller coaster at station 23
***This ride was, I swear to God, the most horrifying few minutes of that entire day. I scream my lungs out with one hand held onto the handle tightly while the other was covering my eyes. No no no, it wasn't a scarry ride, but I was terrified that my fake lashes will be blown off!!! HAHAHA..Luckily I still both on after the ride *-* ***

2. The Golden Mickeys stage show at station 20
***This was an award giving show. As the red curtain rolled up, we saw this lady named Bebe, she's the award presenter and later Mickey and friends joined in to help Bebe in presenting the awards to some of Disney's fav movie. They have mascots of Toy Story, Pocahontas, Lilo & Stitch, The Little Mermaid, Beauty & The Beast singing and dancing to their songs. I very much enjoyed it -I was singing along bobbing my head to the music (yes I know almost every song cause I grew up watching Disney movies)!!***
***For lunch, we opted for the bbq pork rice HKD 55 and sesame + strawberry ice-cream for desert (didn't jot down the price for the ice-cream, cause someone paid for me :P)***

3. Cruised into the Small Small World at station 19

4. Mickey's PhilharMagic 3-D show at station 13
***I was thrilled to see Donald Duck, my fav!!***

5. Mickey's waterworks parade at 4:00 pm

6. Festival of the Lion King music and dance show at station 7

7. Rafted to Tarzan's Treehouse at station 8

8. Climbed to high adventure in the treetop home of Tarzan at station 9.
***I find this abit of a waste and we were made to go all the way up and there wasn't much to see up there***

*** shh shh time hahahaha toilet break***

9. Tour the whole HK Disneyland on an excursion-style train at station 1.

10. Dinner & shopping-for-sourvenir time :D

11. Can no longer move my knees nor lift a we stoned at the bench in Main street USA till 9:00pm to witness "Disney in the Stars" fireworks display.

***The End! yay! finally get to go back and relax our poor feet (I sound so tortured :P)***

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

7 days of non-stop Eat-Pray-Love in Macau/Hong Kong - Day 03

Day 03: Breakfast in Macau. Lunch & Dinner in Hong Kong
(how i wish it could be Breakfast in Macau, Lunch in Hong Kong, Dinner in Taipei)

We ticked off most of the tourist spots on my list yesterday, only left unseen was the great statue of Kun Iam (location: outter harbour). Like yesterday we kicked start our walk-aton as early as 8:00am, again with empty stomach (don't ask me why..).

We walked towards the bus stop nearby and asked for help from the newspaper lady in cantonese:
(1) What bus no. should we board? We want to go to Kun Iam statue.
(2) From which side of the road? The one on this side of the road which was coming toward us or do we have to cross over to catch the bus that was going in the opposition direction?

She gave us the bus no. and pointed at the opposite direction. So we crossed over and almost immediately a bus of our route pulled over and we boarded it. At 8:00 am-ish, the city was still sleeping soundly, most streets were empty, and shops don't open for business before 10:00am.

Macau has been a Portuguese colony for four and a half centuries. This explains the variety of shrines and historic cathedrals in Macau. And all the signages were written in two languages - Portugese on top and Chinese at the bottom. The statue of Kun Iam that we were heading to has influences of both, it is a blend of both the goddess of Kun Iam and Catholic's Virgin Mary.

We got off the bus infront of Wynn Resort and passed gold-blue-bronze MGM Resort. We walked for 5 to 10 minutes before the 20-metres high bronze Kun Iam statue came into sight. I thought the Kun Iam standing on the dome-shaped lotus stand looked like she has a nun's veil on, doesn't it???

As you can see from the picture, the sky was covered with thunder clouds, we quickly snapped a few photos and scurried for cover - Wynn Casino :D (it drizzled awhile so we hang out at Wynn Casino). We then flagged down a cab to get us to Senado Square and strolled around Senado Square before heading back to our hotel on foot.

At 9:30am we were back at our hotel (all dry as the rain stopped entirely :D). Since we still have some time, we went to the backstreet of our hotel to see if we were lucky enough to find any food store open. And yes, we found this tiny little shop and as I stepped in - wow! packed with locals! (they were all yanking loudly so i assumed they are all from the same neigbourhood). The chubby looking auntie (the shop owner - Si Tao Poh) sitting by the door with a cigar in her hand turned to me:

Si Tao Poh : Lady, what you want?
I : Do you all have pork chop bun?
Si Tao Poh : Dining in or take away?
I : Take'... ya.. take away.
***the Si Tao Poh shouted her staff to get her butt over to the counter to take my order***

Staff: What spread you prefer on it? Butter or xxx...
***I was perplexed by her question***
I : Pork chop bun can have spread on?
Si Tao Poh: Lady, you want baby pork pao or pork chop bun??
I : Pork chop bun. But what is baby pork pao? Nevermind, I want pork chop bun, give me 3.
Si Tao Poh: Lady, are you from Singapore?
I : No, I'm from Malaysia (so proud again! :P)
Si Tao Poh: Ohh.. where are you staying?
I : Ole London Hotel nearby..
***Si Tao Poh LOL***
Si Tao Poh: Lady, you sure know how to pick a hotel.
***I shot her a puzzled face***
Si Tao Poh: Oh that place was a brothel (continue laughing).
"Noooo...that was years back. Now the government banned it and they are cleaned. All the brothel house moved.. don't paint a wrong picture to her and scare her away!" a lady sitting behind shout across to me.
Si Tao Poh: Ya.. last time it was a red light district and they have anyone from 30 to 80....
***She continued on and on entertaining me with her tales until my pork chop buns were ready***

I sure didn't expect that much extra info from a take-away. But, frankly speaking, I was grinning all the way, amused by how they talk, they are so blunt yet humourous. The shop was so lively, though i was there only for a short 15 to 20 mins, I heard people shouting, teasing and laughing out so hard at each other. The vibe and bond was simply amazing to me. I LIKE!

We checked out at 10:30am and caught a cab to the ferry pier. It was 10:45am and we were there at the ferry pier. The journey to ferry pier didn't take long and the ticketing queue was short. We need not check in our baggages as they did not exceed the hand carry measurement (we buffered one hour for this, it is always better to be early than late). So at 11:00am we were already waiting to board the 12:00pm ferry to Tsim Sha Tsui (ticket price: HKD 140). And one thing I noticed was there were NOT ONE SINGLE SEAT in the whole ferry terminal, those with tired knees just sat on the floor. But being an annoyingly clean person, I've chosen to stand and wait with my sour knees.

***After about 50 - 60 mins, we arrived - went through the immigration hall - toilet break - straight to customer services to seek for direction to Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) MTR station***
At the TST MTR station, each of us purchased ourselves an octopus card (HKD 150: it has HKD100 in it and 50 were the deposit, upon leaving you can collect the HKD50 at any of their counter).

JellyBean's chewy advice: HKD100 isn't suffice for 5 days in HK, we topped up another HKD50, which is the minimum, you cannot top-up less than HKD50.

Remember all three of us had our luggage with us? Those wheeled trolley bag where you pull along (my friend calls it the glam). What happened was, we got down at Mongkok station and like everyone I tagged myself out at the mini exit but...NOT my got stuck behind the bar. I panicked and pulled it across while the kid behind me tagged his pass, i.e. my luggage used his pass, and now he can't exit (the bar free up for a minute or maybe less for one to walk through after one inserted his ticket / tagged with his octopus card). He was.... PISSED (duh), I mean really pissed, he shaked his head in disbelief (perhaps thinking where on earth this morron came from!), uttered a long trail of !@#$% beneath his breath, cursing me to the max I believe despite my thousand and thousand apologies to him. He jumped across the bar and sped off without looking at me, ignoring my apologies... :(

***walked about 5 - 10 mins to our hotel (Harbour Hotel at 986 Canton Road) - checked in and dropped off my luggages - head out to a nearby mini chinese eatery named Choy Kee for lunch at about 3:00pm***

Before our drinks came, we were given some tea, which was weird cause we didn't order any tea, but we drank some anyway cause we were thirsty. Then my friend looked around and discovered that the tea is not for drinking but to sterilize the cutlery!!! And we DRANK it (-_-"). As for the food, they all tasted nothing but salty.

After the late lunch, we board a train to TST to walk the Avenue of Star. Though it was 5:00pm-ish, the sun was burning our skin! However just as we covered every hand print and signature on Avenue of Star, it rained, not drizzle but heavy rain! Everyone there scurried to the sourvenir shop and waited out the rain.

At 7:00pm-ish, we are back there to catch the symphony of light show. It starts at 8:00pm every night. As kiasu ran in our blood, we went there earlier to get a good sitting spot :D Also we were there early to snap pictures lah...The most breath-taking part was when I saw the red in color junk boat sailed by with lights on!! That was de best moment for me - watching the stunning old beauty sailed pass before my eyes!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

7 days of non-stop Eat-Pray-Love in Macau/Hong Kong - Day 02

We began our day as early as 8:00am as we only allocated 1.5 days for Macau. Our first pit stop for today is none other than the famous St Paul's Ruins. As the so-called-3-star-hotel (Ole London Hotel) we stayed in sits in a 10-minute-walk radius from Macau city (very strategic location actually), we decided to walk to St Paul's Ruins (well, actually we walked toward the mainroad and towards the bus stop but we, being map dummies, couldn't figure out which bus will take us there, so we seeked help from a local there and was told it was easier to walk than to take a bus, he pointed us the direction to water fountain and advised us to get directions when we reach the fountain).

True enough, it was as easy as he told us, we reached Senado Square in only 10 minutes. We then went round and round in Senado Square as everything look just the same to us. En-route to St. Paul's Ruins we saw St Dominic Church, quickly we took some photos there and moved on to our search for St. Paul's Ruins. After a few wrong turns we finally found St. Paul's Ruins (by following every direction post we saw in every cross road, be sure not to miss anyone of them! we lost ourselves just because we oversight one!). I was in awe when I saw the grey-color-building, I must say the sight of St. Paul's Ruin was really stunning!

After the St. Paul's Ruins, we were craving for food as we started our walk this very morning with empty stomach. So we returned to the fountain and spotted the famous Wong Chi Kei. I learned that this shop is known for it's wonton noodles from some blog sites and that it is a must-try for anyone travelling to Macau. No doubt about it as we saw people hovering around this shop, waiting to get in and it was only 10:00am, can you believe it? We queued for 5 to 10 minutes before there had a table for us. Wrong, we did not have one table to ourselves, we had to share it as there were only 2 of us and there were just too many people outside waiting. Shortly after we sat down, the waiter ushered a retired japanese couple to our table. We studied the menu and quickly put in our order (1 wonton noodles, 1 congee, 1 iced honey lemon, 1 xxx drink-can't recall what drink my friend ordered but it was not good, and of course 2 pork chop bun please!). We then initiated a conversation with the japanese man (a head full of white hair, with a pair of glasses and a camera in his hand) while his wife excused herself to the loo. We told them we were from Malaysia (we were so proud of our nationality, don't know why..and we took this conversation to promoting our country, hard-selling our country to the max).
Ling & I : We are from Malaysia. How about you?
Jap man : Japan.
I : Tokyo?
Jap man : No, xxxx (can't recall the name of his town.. too long)
I : How far is that to Tokyo?
Jap man : xxxx (can't recall his answer :P)
Ling : Have you been to Malaysia?
Jap man : Singapore, by pass Malaysia.
I : By bus?
Ling : No la he said by pass...
I : ...........(-_-")
***Drink is served and followed by pork chop bun***
We gobbled down our pork chop bun like hungry ghost, totally forgot about our appearance. The japanese man stared at my friend long enough to make me put my pork chop bun aside to ask him why.
I : Yes? (with my eyes widen)
Jap man : Aren't you all muslims?
Ling & I : NO! NO! NO! (we exclaimed and Ling almost choked)... we are chinese malaysians, non-muslim, we can take pork.
Funny huh...he thought every malaysian is a muslim because we are islamic country, luckily we corrected him.

The food was yummy-licious, every single bite of the pork chop bun was heaven! The wonton noodles was good, so as the congee but the best was my iced honey lemon, it was cooling and soothing and not too sweet. I like!

After the satisfying breakfast, we made our way back to St. Dominic Church and stopped by Bossini and each of us bought a T-shirt there. We then hopped on a bus, cluelessly, not knowing where the bus were heading, I was thinking that we just go to where the bus can take us to, surely it goes to one of the many tourist attractions I marked down. NO.. it didn't work that way, when I asked the bus driver, he sounded very annoyed by the many silly questions I posted to him. He told me that I got on to a wrong bus as it was going the opposite direction and asked us to get down and grab the bus from across the road which will take me to where I want to go. So we got down and hopped in another bus as per his advice. This time, we got better luck as the bus driver was much friendly than the earlier one. Knowing that we are tourists, he not only told us the must-see tourist sites, he also told us what bus no. will take us there so that we don't ride on the wrong bus again. We bid goodbye to the helpful bus driver as we see A-Ma temple.

A short 30 minutes was all we took to cover every corner and hole of the temple (it was a small temple, nothing big). In the speed of light, we found ourselves a cooling place - a store behind the temple - and there we bought 2 bottles of mineral water to rehydrate our body as the swealtering heat was killing us. There we spoke to the shop owner to get direction to the Mandarin House and Pehna Church. We didn't make it to Pehna Church, however we found these on our way to Mandarin House:

We drenched our shirts with sweat after all the walking under the skin-burning sun. It was so bad that I can smell my we took a cab back to our hotel, shower and change into a clean shirt. After we freshen up ourselves, it was 3:00pm-ish and hunger called us to look for food.. We saw a few ang mo (white men) turned into a small alley around our hotel, not knowing where is the closest place we can find food, we decided to tailgate them as they seemed to know where they were going HAHAHA. After walking through some quiet backstreet, we began to hear some noise, noise of people talking and within seconds we saw people, many many people gathered around these shops, there were sourvenir shops and mini eateries. We just walked into one, looked around to see what other tables were having and ordered ourselves what every table were having which was the fried fish balls (HKD30), the dried noodles (HKD20) and.......the fish skin (HKD14 even though both of us don't fancy fish skin at all, but every other table had that so we gave a shot at it! And it was chewy!)

After the filling lunchie, we took a cab to Macau Tower (it cost us about HKD 23). There we strolled around. As the sky turned cloudy, we stood there for a while to enjoy the warm breeze and allowed the wind to run through our hair before some daring woman scream her lung out as she bungy-jump down from skyhigh Macau Tower.

From Macau Tower, we took a cab Ponte 16 to pay a visit to Micheal Jackson. No, not his tomb stone! It's his gallery, yes, there's a MJ gallery there and it's FREE! It has his signature bling bling glove, his hat, the wolf mask etc. Not only that, for MJ fans out there, you can also purchase all his albums there, MJ coffee mug, MJ umbrella, MJ T-shirt, MJ on, basically, anything you can think of. We spend a good one hour there I think, fooling around and snapping silly photos :P I think it's worth going and i would recommend that to anyone who is visiting Macau!

As we still have some time before hunger calls again, we decided go back to Venetian Resort in Taipa island as we only took pictures from the outside last night. Also because we found out from someone we spoke to (can't recall if that was the helpful bus driver or the cab driver) that Venetian provide free shuttle bus from Macau city to Taipa. We saw one Venetian shuttle bus by passed us as we stepped out off Ponte 16 and tried to ran after it but later realised there were many of them coming from behind (-_-")

We wondered around Venetian Resort until 7:00pm-ish...
And at about 8:00pm-ish (if memories serve me right), we were back at Senado Square looking for some sourvenirs shop and of course......FOOD. As we were sooo hungry, we were too lazy to look and settled our dinner at Wong Chi Kei. After our dinner which was about 9:00pm-ish, very close to 10:00pm, but the night was still young for us :) We returned to the spectacular St Paul's Ruins to catch the greyish building with lights on just before we call it a night. During the day you see the greyish St Paul's Ruins with colorful plants carpeting the sloppy cobblestone road next to the steps to the greyish building. As the dark set in, the colorful plants disappeared while St Paul's Ruins stood up in yellow lights, offering visitor a whole different feel... (personally, i think it was romantic :D).