Sunday, December 27, 2009

Hong Kong 19 - 26 December 2009

Hotel: Mingle On The Wing

So I'm back to Hong Kong again.  Because I stayed in Mingle By The Park the other time, I thought it would be fun to stay in another branch of Mingle Place boutique hotel. This time, I chose the branch is Sheung Wan.  Booked the room from again.  Got a small one coz that's the only room was quite cozy and comfortable.
The techy lights, aircon control, do not disturb and please make up room buttons are really cool.  No wonder this is known as the tech-hotel.
I find it fascinating to have a Skype phone in the room.  Actually, this is the first hotel I've ever stayed in that has a Skype phone.  The strength of the free wifi was also pretty strong.  Being a boutique hotel, I think they did well by providing more toiletries than other boutique hotels I used to stay in.
The first trip on my no-itinerary itinerary was to make my way to Avenue of Stars to get my cuttlefish.  As usual, there was a queue.  I was standing in the freezing harbour breeze waiting for my turn to get a piece of the nice smelling cuttlefish.  I even stole some time to take pictures of the process.  The guy took a fresh piece of cuttlefish and place it inside the flat laundry iron looking thing to press the water out. Once it's dried, he proceeded to pass it through another machine that seems to flatten and break up the meat.  Cost me HKD20 for one piece but it was worth the price and the wait.
Met up with a friend to have some spicy noodles.   After that, we went for herbal tea.  I think it's a Hong Kong culture to have a warm cup of herbal tea after every meal. Once my friend left me to get back to work, I went for my dessert.  I love mangoes so naturally, I chose something with magoes in it.  Needless to say, it's yummy!
The Christmas decos around Nathan Road is quite nice.  Not sure if it was my camera or the decos are really purple-ish.
Woke up really early the next day for my Lantau Island trip.  Instead of taking the ferry like most would, my first trip to Lantau Island was via the MTR and bus!  Took the train to Tung Chung station and hopped onto Bus no. 23 which brings me to Ngong Ping where the Giant Buddha is.
The stairs at the Giant Buddha reminded me of the steps at Batu Caves. It's ALOT!!!  I had the feeling that I was definitely going to have muscle aches the next day.  Then again, the view and the whether was splendid for all these slow climbing.
The vegetarian food at the little canteen near the temple is yummy.  Didn't take the vegetarian package that includes entrance fees to see the relics though.  The soya bean curd we had at the base of the Giant Buddha was delicious.  It's really soft...not forgetting to mention that the bean curd is made using spring water.
Inside Po Lin Monastry, I saw huge artifects.  All the pictures below are actually gigantic.
Someone told me that if one touches the beard/whiskers (or whatever you call it) of these stone dragons, one will live a longer life.  No wonder a certain part of the stone dragon is so shiny.
After visiting the temple, we proceeded to walk to the Wisdom Path.  If you see from the top, you will realise that those pillars actually form an infinity sign.  The words on the wooden pillars were carvings of the Heart Sutra.
Once we had enough fresh air from up there, we decided to head downwards.  From Ngong Ping, we took Bus No. 21 to Tai O.  Tai O is a small fishing village that has lots of elderly staying there. I call that the little old folks home.  Everything on the little island is elderly friendly.  There was a tiny museum near the entrance of the island.  It's not very conspicious and entry is free.
Because it's a fishing village, it's hard not to see dried seafood products around the island.  If you are one who likes to buy dried products, it's cheaper here compared to Sheung Wan.  Oh, I saw someone prawning....
Saw some interesting sights whereby sellers are hanging fishes to dry and even egg yolk!!!  Let me explain the reason behind the egg yolk sun-tanning.  It is said that the fishermen uses egg white to fish.  And they did it by smearing the egg white on their fishing net to attract the fishes.  So all that is left behind is actually the egg yolk.  Too wasteful to throw away so residents decided to dry the yolks and use it as preserved food.  The houses on the island are surprisingly small and short.  Oh look at the's so green and fresh!
Out of no where, there is this queue outside of what looks like a workshop.  Two old men were standing under the shelter making glutinous rice cakes.  There are 2 flavors - red bean and peanut.  I ordered the peanut one.  Looks like a huge Hainan cake cum tutu cake.  The grandpa will ask if you are taking out or eating immediately.  Coz if you are taking out, he will put more flour.  As we walk further, I saw some really interesting sights that I wouldn't have been able to see in Singapore.
This is the place where prawn paste gets fermented.  You can actually smell it from a distance.  Come to think of it, the first part where all the shrimps were put into the blue containers to ferment was quite unclean.  I can even see flies (lots of them) inside the container resting on the fermenting prawn paste.
More interesting sights.  Notice the PCCW stand?  That's actually for the elderly living in the island.  The 2 buttons are for emergency and police.  And the metal container used for burning incense paper was actually part of a washing machine.
I find some of the old houses quite fascinating as well.  The wall pictures I found along a stretched of wall are actually the bible in pictorial style.
The next day started with a visit to the Hong Kong Museum of History.  The first part of the museum shows Hong Kong during stone age time.  Don't quite understand what is going on though.  But as I proceed further, olden HK days start to show.  The life size exhibits depicted the lives of how people in HK used to live.
No trip to HK would be complete without visiting this famous dessert place.  Don't worry about it's location because they have branches all over the place.  In Tsim Sha Tsui alone, I actually come across one outlet every corner I turn into!  I tried the curry fishball cuttlefish thingie as well as my mango sago.
Towards the evening, we noticed that there was a food fair around.  Entrance fee is HK$10 and we get to sample small portion of quite a lot of food in there.  Of course, I also paid to get a bigger portion.  The gooey thing inside the yellow bowl was crocodile meat.  Didn't like it at all.
As I was wondering around, I saw an old man sitting in the middle of no where.  Upon checking out, I realized that he was actually drawing.  And I must say, his drawing is fantastic!  When it was time to leave, I hopped onto a Ting Ting (tram) and tap my octopus card.  HK$2 was deducted....that was really cheap!
Woke up rather early the next day because I am going to Mawan Island.  What's in Ma Wan that got me so excited, you might ask.  Well, as I was in the MTR one day, I saw a sign that says Visit Noah's Ask, Hong Kong's latest attraction.  I went back to my hotel and googled and found the way to get there.  From Central Pier 2, I'm suppose to take a ferry to Ma Wan island.  The ferry price was only HK$2.  Very cheap!  As the ferry was nearing the island, I could see a huge ark docked at the side of the beach.  It was a magnificent sight!  The slow walk from the pier to the ark was also very serene and enjoyable.
And we are here.  There are a few type of tickets to choose from.  Being my first time there, I selected the one that allowed me to enter all exhibits.  Abit wasted coz I didn't have time to visit all and also, some are for groups as well as kids.
After visiting all the exhibits, I went upstairs and notice that the animals (they are fake) coming out of the ark were dressed up for Christmas!  How cute is that?
Time to leave!  For those who are interested, they do have hotels where the ark is.  Staying there would also give you the opportunity and time to visit the park directly opposite the ark.  I didn't have time to do so because I practically watched every performance they had.
My last day in HK was a mixed filled with love.  As I finished my fishball noodles in Wanchai, I pass by this herbal tea shop right next to the Wanchai MTR exit.  I went in to have my herbal jelly and when I was about to leave, the aunty working inside the shop gave me a fluffy pen.  She then wished me Merry Christmas as I made my way out.  Had my last curry fishball at the airport before I flew off......sob sob...the curry fishballs here in Singapore is so different.  Doesn't taste as nice!
It was quite foggy so my plane had to stop in the middle of no where and we had to hop onto the bus to be transferred to where the plane is.  We were stuck for quite a while sitting in there and the pilot was explaining that due to the fog, they only allowed one lane to be open.  So all the planes had to queue.  To make things worst, the pilot explained that those who are landing are in a more dangerous situation, so we had to let them land first before we taxi and take off.
It was another memorable trip and I definitely look forward to more HK trips in the near future!

Noah's Ark
33 Pak Yan Road, Ma Wan, New Territories, Hong Kong
General Hotline (852) 3411 8888 | General Fax (852) 3411 8889 | Email  

More pictures available here

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