Hong Kong: Excursion to the City Part Two

After boarding off the ferry, we crossed the street and took a taxi in front of the hotel. Haniff asked the hotel lobby attendant if it is okay for us to take a taxi there. He said ok and called a taxi for us. A woman taxi driver pulled over and the attendant told her to take us. The lady seemed angry but nonetheless, drove on. Haniff explained that although Hong Kong’s economy is booming, there are still over a million of people live in poverty. Housing prices and food are becoming more and more expensive and they can barely make ends meet and that is why some of them always look angry.

When we arrived at our destination, all of us said thank you to the lady. She seemed OK a bit (not angry) but still not smiling. So yeah, we were happy about it.

Eh, did I mentioned where we were going just now? No? Hehe. Ok, Destination; Johnston Road. Wan Chai! We went for shopping!

Well actually, for those who know Hong Kong, the jetty is actually located in Wan Chai; Wan Chai North. ;P

WanChai
Johnston Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong Island.

Wan Chai is a metropolitan area situated at the western part of the Wan Chai District on the northern shore of Hong Kong Island. Wan Chai is one of the busiest commercial areas in Hong Kong with many small and medium-sized companies. Wan Chai North features office towers, parks, hotels and an international conference and exhibition centre. As one of the first areas developed in Hong Kong, the area is densely populated.

Yassin and me in Wan Chai
One for the album; Yassin and me posing amidst the busy city.

So we went shopping at Johnston Road; one of the major streets in the area that is famous for shopping that offers some of the best value in Hong Kong.

Johnston Road was named after Alexander Robert Johnston, the British Deputy Superintendent of Trade during the First Opium War. The road is built on the margin of the oldest building cluster in Wan Chai. Many Hong Kong residents are trying to preserve the old buildings and trees from redevelopment. The century old transport Hong Kong Tramways goes through the road with its first service opening in 1904.

Johnston Road
I stucked here for hours; buying bags, magnets and many more. It has everything that I want to buy, seriously!

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Yassin got a pressie from Uncle Kanep from the toys shop. 

After-shopping
Another shot at Johnston Road before we leave. That was our catch of the day, more in my backpack.

After shopping, we said goodbye to Haniff as he had to attend a dinner with his wife.

“Where to go next, Rayyan?” I asked Rayyan. “How about we take the tram and go to the Central side?” I agreed and off we went!

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Rayyan and Sara happy to board the tram!

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Yassin and me in the tram.

The tram system is one of the earliest forms of public transport in Hong Kong dated back in 1904.  Since then, trams have been running from East to West of Hong Kong Island. Over the last century, Hong Kong Tramways witnessed the development of Hong Kong, and the tram remains an efficient and the most economical mode of public transport in Hong Kong. Today, Hong Kong Tramways carries a daily average of 230,000 passengers. It is the world’s largest fleet of double-deck tramcars still in service.

So, we reached Central and saw these!

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Skycrapers!

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And more skycrapers!

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And more photos! 

Central is a big area with lot of shopping malls around. Most of the items are too expensive. There are so many shops;  from brand names to no name brands. We did not buy anything here except for fish burger and Coca-cola because we were famished. We actually went to Central simply to set foot there and tell people, “Hey, we’ve been there.”

While walking to find the MTR station to go back to Lantau Island, Rayyan said, “Kak Em, did you noticed how friendly the people in this area? Take example the man who asked us just know where we we from..” “Ha-a…yup”, I said. We both went into silence and I believe we have the same thought that financially secured people living in the big central business district tend to be happier, not angry. Hence politer.

 

Reference:

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wan_Chai
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central,_Hong_Kong
  • http://www.hktramways.com/en/

 

 

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Hong Kong: Excursion to the city Part One

It was great visiting Hong Kong Disneyland but I felt that it was not complete if I did not visit the city. So, as planned prior to leaving, I made appointment with a Malaysian friend, Haniff, to take us (me, my son Yassin, Rayyan and his sister Sara) around the city. Although it was short, we enjoyed it.

We met my friend, Haniff at Tsim Sha Tsui Jetty on our 2nd last day in Hong Kong. It was all confusing and we boarded off the MTR at East Tsim Sha Tsui. According to the MTR map, Tsim Sha Tsui is quite near but somehow we got lost and found ourselves wandering the street. Haha… I am really not good in direction. Lost and me are so synonymous.

We walked around 45 minutes to reach the place. I think we took the long way there. Nonetheless, we had fun taking pictures during our walk.

A street in Hong Kong
A street we were at after getting out of the east station.

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Yassin with his Chinese hat posing in front of 1881 Heritage located at the square of Victorian-era Hong Kong, Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon.

Heritage Hotel, Kowloon
Heritage Hotel, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon.

From the 1880s to 1996, this was the headquarters of the Hong Kong Marine Police. Several buildings and artefacts of historical interest have been preserved and restored, and the site now features a shopping mall, a heritage hotel, and an exhibition hall.

Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. Following British rule from 1842 to 1997, China assumed sovereignty under the ‘one country, two systems’ principle. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s constitutional document, the Basic Law, ensures that the current political situation will remain in effect for 50 years. The rights and freedoms of people in Hong Kong are based on the impartial rule of law and an independent judiciary.

Hong or He?ng góng in Cantonese, means fragrant harbour.

After walking and walking, we finally reached the jetty area. We were an hour late and Haniff was already there waiting for us. He told us a bit about Hong Kong and took us on a Star Ferry ride to Wan Chai, which is located at Hong Kong Island. We paid HKD2.50 each.

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Two happy lads about to board on a ferry.

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Yassin and Uncle Kanep ( he’s been calling Haniff that since he was little).

From the ferry, we got to see interesting buildings. Haniff did explained which building is what but I didn’t wrote them all down and forgot about it but I did pay attention about the HKCC building because of its interesting shape.

Foggy HK Island
It was foggy at 4pm.

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Hong Kong Island buildings seen from Kowloon.

The size of Hong Kong Island is only 80 Square Kilometers, but it is the heart of Hong Kong. Although it is small, it is the place that many tourists regard as the main focus. The parade of buildings that make the Hong Kong skyline has been likened to a glittering bar chart that is made apparent by the presence of the waters of Victoria Harbour.

The Central area on the island is the historical, political and economic centre of Hong Kong. The northern coast of the island forms the southern shore of the Victoria Harbour, which is largely responsible for the development of Hong Kong due to its deep waters favoured by large trade ships.

The island is often referred to locally as “Hong Kong side” or “Island side”. This style was formerly applied to many locations (e.g. ‘China-side’ or even ‘Kowloon Walled City-side’) but is now only heard in this form and ‘Kowloon side’, suggesting the two sides of the harbour.

Hong Kong Convention Center.
Hong Kong Convention Center situated at Victoria Harbour.

The Hong Kong Convention Center above was designed by architect Marshall Strabala, based on the idea of a seabird with its wings as the cantilevering roof this building juts out into Hong Kong harbour. It was extended in 1997 and hosts international conferences and conventions, film shows, concerts, banquets, corporate events, press conferences and seminars.

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View of Kowloon seen from Hong Kong Island.

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Wan Chai Jetty. That was the ferry we boarded.

So that was our fun ride from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island.

So where did Haniff took us after this? Stay tune for the 2nd part!

 

 

Reference: 

  • http://www.e-architect.co.uk/hong_kong/hong_kong_convention_centre.htm
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Kong
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Kong_Island

 

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Top 8 Tips on planning your first trip to Hong Kong Disneyland


I have been asked by few friends to share tips on how to plan the first trip to Hong Kong Disneyland. Here are my Top 8 tips I crafted from my experience for planning a Disneyland vacation, and related link to assist you:

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1. Read information about the resortHong Kong Disneyland is located on reclaimed land in Penny’s Bay, Lantau Island. The park consists of six themed areas: Main Street, U.S.A., Fantasyland, Adventureland, Tomorrowland, Grizzly Gulch and Toy Story Land. There are two themed hotels in the area: Disneyland Hotel and Disney’s Hollywood Hotel.

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Disneyland Hotel.

2. Where to stay – It is advisable that you stay at either Disneyland Hotel or Disney’s Hollywood Hotel for easy access to the parks. Shuttle bus is provided free to the parks. Click on hotel link to find out more about the room rates.

 

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3. How to get the tickets – If you stay at the above hotels, you can get the Room and 2-Day Ticket Package. Check out hotel offer to learn more. Else you can book 1-Day or 2-Day tickets online.

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4. Disneyland Transportation – Hong Kong Disneyland is located on Lantau Island, and is accessible via an array of convenient transportation options. From the airport you can take taxi for HKD100 (four passengers). If you want to experience the MTR, take the Airport Express. Buy tickets for four at a discounted rate of HKD150. Get down at Tsing Yi and take the orange line to Sunny Bay. From SunnyBay, take the pink line to Disneyland. Alternatively you can take a bus from the airport to Tung Chung for HKD3.80 for adult and HKD1.50 for a child (concessionary). Buy tickets to Disneyland at Tung Chung station at HKD13.50 for adult and HKD6.00 for a child (concessionary). From Tung Chung you have to get down at Sunny Bay and take the train to Disneyland.

You do the math and see which is cheaper.

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5. Disneyland Dining Plan – For Muslim,  Halal food is available at both hotels upon request and if you are not around the hotel, look for Tahitian Terrace located at Adventureland. Tahitian Terrace serves Singaporean Laksa Rice Noodle Soup, Black Lentil Set, Roasted Lemongrass Chicken Steak with Rice, Penang Fish Curry with Rice and Penang Fish Curry with Rice. All food served here are certified by The Incorporated Trustees of The Islamic Community Fund of Hong Kong.

Alternatively, you can also opt for fish, fries, tofu or vegetables at some of the restaurants available in the park. For buffet breakfast, the hotels normally have international meals like baked bean, bread, rice porridge, scramble egg, pancakes, waffles, etc for you to choose from.

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6. Best Disneyland Attractions – Disneyland has a ton of attractions, and it is advisable that you take 2 days to explore all the theme parks. But if you have a 1-Day pass, here are some suggestions of what not to miss:

a) Flights of Fantasy Parade: Begins in Fantasyland, near the entrance of Storybook Theatre 3:30PM

b) “Disney in the Stars” Fireworks, Sleeping Beauty Castle, Main Street, U.S.A. 8:00PM

c) “The Golden Mickeys”, Fantasyland 12:30PM 1:45PM 4:00PM 5:00PM 6:15PM

d) Character greeting and photo opportunity: Main Street, U.S.A Town Square 10:00AM – 5:30PM, Fantasyland Fantasy Gardens 12:00PM – 6:30PM, Sleeping Beauty Castle 10:00AM – 5:30PM, Tomorrowland 10:30AM – 5:30PM, Toy Story Land 10:30AM – 6:00PM, Grizzly Gulch 10:30AM – 5:30PM.

e) Disney’s FASTPASS attractions: Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, Space Mountain, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Use your ticket to get a FASTPASS ticket located outside the attractions.

Please check the Daily Calendar to see if the timings are the same.

Please check the park map and print it out for your guide beforehand. Alternatively, you can get the park map from hotels or from the City Hall situated at Main Street USA.

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7. How much to bring for shopping – I spent about HKD1011 (Approximately RM405) to buy merchandise as below and hope this can be your guide of how much to bring for shopping:

a) Buzz Lightyear Sword – HKD125

b) Mickey Original T-shirt for adult – HKD205

c) Mickey T-shirt for kid – HKD195

d) Mickey T-shirt for baby – HKD168

e) Mickey 3D Pen – HKD38

f) Disneyland iPhone 4s casing – HKD150

g) Minnie Mouse Hair Clips – HKD50

h) Mickey Acrylic Keychains 4pcs – HKD80

 

8. What’s the weather like – It is important that you know the weather before packing for this trip. Here are list of seasons and the average temperature:

a) Spring (March to May) – Temperature and humidity are rising. Evenings can be cool. Average Temperature: 17oC – 26oC

b) Summer (June to August) – Hot, humid and sunny, with occasional showers and thunderstorms. The temperature can exceed 31°C but high humidity levels can make it feel even hotter. Average Temperature: 26oC – 31oC

c) Autumn (September to November) – There are pleasant breezes, plenty of sunshine and comfortable temperatures. Many people regard these as the best months of the year to visit Hong Kong. Average Temperature: 19oC – 28oC

d) Winter (December to February) – Cool, dry and cloudy, with occasional cold fronts. The temperature can drop below 10°C in urban areas. Average Temperature: 12oC – 20oC.

So there you go. Happy planning your visit to Hong Kong Disneyland!

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Disney’s Hollywood Hotel

This is the continuation from previous post.

Waking up Yassin was easy as I promised him the night before that he gets to go to swimming pool if he wakes up early. After taking shower, we went to Chef Mickey to have our international buffet breakfast. We had the usual; bread, eggs and what not. Chef Mickey was not in sight, we guess he was busy preparing breakfast.

chefmickey

After breakfast, we headed straight to the swimming pool. The water was warm and Yassin had a blast swimming and playing on the slide.

swim

After Yassin finished swimming, we went to the garden area to get some shots. And let me take this chance to show you around the hotel.

Disney’s Hollywood Hotel is one of two hotels at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and it is themed to 1930s Hollywood. The hotel has 600 guestrooms each with the “garden view”, the “sea view” or the “park view” that overlooks the Hong Kong Disneyland Park.

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Decorations around the hotel include classic cars from the 1930s, a pavement decorated as a strip of film, names of roads and highways in California, the El Captain sign and even the ‘world famous’ “HOLLYWOOD HOTEL” sign.

 classiccar

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The hotel itself has a very art deco style, and is themed to the 1930 golden age of movies.

lobby

lift

There are five restaurants in the hotel. Chef Mickey (the main restaurant) has an international cuisine buffet, while Hollywood & Dine has quick-service food and beverages. Studio Lounge is a full-service bar with specialty drinks and snacks. The Sunset Terrace opens seasonally, with outdoor BBQ cuisine. The Piano Pool Bar sells drinks to guests sitting around a piano-shaped pool. The Piano Pool also has a side toddler pool, with a slide.

There’s a gift shop called Celebrity Gift that sells plush, toys, pins and stationeries near the lobby area.

As for its accommodation, Disney’s Hollywood Hotel offers A-List rooms. There are three captivating room types, each designed for the comfort of a family of four. Room types are according to outside view: Garden View, Sea View and Park View.

Amenities include one king-sized bed or two double beds in all rooms (non-smoking rooms available), flat-screen LCD TV, in-room high speed internet access, free wireless internet access at hotel lobby and dining locations, guest parking spaces, guest limousine service, in-room safe, cribs upon request, laundry and valet.

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coffee

toilet

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Before we left the hotel, we did some shopping again at the Celebrity Gift shop. We took the shuttle bus and headed to Disney train station. We waved to the trees, the people, the hotel and everything we saw on the way to the station.
‘Goodbye Hong Kong Disneyland…until we meet again’ was our last words before setting our foot on the Disney train that took us to Tung Chung station.

Next post: My tips on how to plan for your trips to Hong Kong Disneyland!

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Fun in Hong Kong Disneyland II


Continuation from last post about HongKong Disneyland.

I told my son that he will meet and greet Disney Characters at Enchanted Garden, Disneyland Hotel during breakfast and before I could say ‘go to shower’, he had already disappeared into the shower. Good boy.

We took the shuttle bus to Disneyland Hotel and headed to Enchanted Garden. But since our reservation was at 9.30pm, we had to wait for our turn. While waiting, we went to the promenade area and Yassin got to play inside Mickey Maze.

mickeymaze

Later, we walked along promenade area by the sea. The weather was cool, breezy and fresh.

promenadesea
Sea-front promenade overlooking South China Sea.

When it’s already 9.30am, we went inside and our table was ready for us. We were ushered through the conservatory-like setting of the lamp-lit Enchanted Garden Restaurant to our table. This restaurant offers huge exquisite international buffet-style meals.

eg

bfast
We’re not a big-eater so our choice was quite typical; bread, eggs, vegetables and baked bean.

While having our breakfast, Daisy came into sight! And then Goofy and then Pluto and then Mickey!

characters

mickey

It was a fantastic opportunity for Yassin to see some Disney characters up-close and personal and got some photos taken with them. It was a very happy experience and Yassin was so proud.

Later, we went to the theme parks again to discover a part that we missed the other day; Tomorrowland. Tomorrowland features an emphasis on metallic trim, dominated by blue and purple hues. Since the opening of the park, unique attractions have been added into the Hong Kong’s Tomorrowland, such as a new Autopia and Stitch Encounter.

tomo

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The park was full and most of the rides were having long queues, so we opt for Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. We validated our tickets to get Disney’s FASTPASS® and skipped the long queue. We teamed up with Buzz Lightyear and spin the Star Cruisers 360 degrees. Equipped with fire hand-held laser cannons, we blasted enemy targets and got points. Yassin points was 5000+ while mine was 2000+. Hehe not bad eh for a mother?

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Yassin was hungry and we later bought fries and fish burger at Comet Café and took a break at the Town Square at Main Street USA.

 fries

It was around 3pm and Yassin was already tired from the day’s walking as well as from previous day. He had blisters on his feet, so we decided to return to the hotel and rest. On the way back, we took the chance to snap more photos around Main Street USA.

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Yassin playing ‘knock, knock, who’s there’.

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Last but not least, we did some shopping, yay!

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I asked Yassin whether he would want to explore some more but he was already tired and just wanted to rest. So we headed back to the hotel and took our rest and later had our dinner at Walt’s Café. We had pumpkin soup, salad, fish and great dessert.

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And that wrapped our night.

Next post: last day at Disney’s Hollywood Hotel before checking out at 11am.

 

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