HK TRAVEL DIARIES: City Rides, Long Walks, Temple Run, etc.

You must be tired of my HK stories by now but really, there’s so much to tell about this wonderful city especially if you cease to become a tourist and start wearing your TRAVELER’s hat.  Now that we’re done braving the queue and squeezing in through the crowds of the major tourist spots,  it’s time to get  local.  No more rushing.  Just experiencing, blending in and enjoying.  Here are snapshots of my HK experience with short annotations.  Don’t worry, just anecdotes and comments.  Let’s leave the history lessons to Google and Wikipedia🙂.

THE OCTOPUS CARD

Probably the most important item on your purchase list, the Octopus Card is a stored value card usable in MTR, Trams, Peak Trams, Star Ferry, Buses and some minibuses.  It can even score you a beer in 7-11!  The ones we got entitled us discounts in Disneyland and Ocean Park.

The Octopus Card is so easy to purchase and use.

THE TRANSPORT SYSTEM

Speaking of transportation, we went around HK mostly by foot and commuted our way through the city but I never felt a bit stressed at all. A refreshing change when you’re like me who grew up in Manila and is now living in Jakarta where traffic situations can be really daunting.  This experience only re-affirms my belief that an efficient transport system is key to progress and development.  Efficient transport system means getting to your destination on time therefore making people more productive (less time on the road, no time wasted on traffic).  This is my dream for my beloved Philippines.

The HK double-decker city bus

The HK city tram

The very efficient MTR. They even apologize for a 5-minute delay!

THE CENTRAL – MID LEVEL ESCALATOR

They say this is the longest escalator in the world reaching three stories at point and offers great views down into the wet markets, restaurants and pubs.  This escalator is elevated above street level and covered; it allows the transportation of about 60,000 people everyday.

One of the views from the escalator

CENTRAL DISTRICT

This business and commercial district hosts a number of offices, shopping malls, hotels and banks.  Some of Hong Kong’s most distinctive skyscrapers can be found in Central.

The HSBC Tower. I've caught an episode of NatGeo Mega Cities calling this building the "Lego Building" because it can be dismantled, relocated and rebuilt depending on the outcome of the China turnover. HSBC Tower is also believed to be overflowing with good feng shui.

On the other hand, BANK OF CHINA is said to have the worst feng shui in the city given the negative energy in and around the building.

The JARDINE HOUSE is hard to miss because of its trademark "moon gate"windows. I read somewhere that this was once the headquarters for opium trafficking.

LIPPO CENTER. These twin towers have walls intended to suggest koalas climbing trees.

When the APPLE STORE opened in 2011, the queue reached until the Victoria Harbour pedestrian overpass which was already outside the mall (inset)

Shoe shine on the go for the busy Hong Kong executives.

Probably among the most photographed part of Hong Kong is the LAN KWAI FONG road. Surrounded by high-end luxury shops, the street leads up to more shops AND PUBS. It could get really crowded at night.

Iba ang may pinagsamahan!

A few more steps along Central and you'll reach HOLLYWOOD ROAD.

They also call this ANTIQUE STREET because the whole strip is known for its well, antique shops...

...and there are a lot of them.

Take a peek down LASCAR ROW and discover a "whole new world" of antique charm

I just love the old world vibe of Lascar Row.

Old loan certificates, stamps, calendars, etc.

Souvenirs

Significant Chinese icons

I was tempted to buy Mao Tse Tung's Little Red Book.

Interesting story from the local vendor: In the olden days, these wooden boxes were used to keep people's valuables AND they use them as pillows too for safekeeping. Ouch.

Walk back up Hollywood Road and you’ll reach MAN MO TEMPLE, one of the most popular temples in HK built in 1847.

The imposing door of MAN MO TEMPLE along Hollywood road.

You'll be welcomed by giant coils and incense

At this point I met a very nice Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW), Ate Carmel, who came to Man Mo with her equally nice employer.  They are regulars at the temple because her employer prays for her six children who all now reside abroad.  The old lady was kind enough to teach me the temple rituals  in Chinese while Ate Carmel interpreted the instructions in Tagalog.

Tried the moon blocks/divination blocks. My question/prayer initially got a NO for an answer. They asked me to do it again and this time got a YES for the same question. Whatever hehehe...

Lighting the incense with Little Boy. He was also made to touch Man Cheung's writing brush (pen) because according to the elders, those seeking office or academic success for themselves (or their children) pray to him for assistance.

We must've stayed inside Man Mo Temple a little too long, we all smelled like katol and Little Boy looked stoned, haha!

THE PEAK

I wanted to see the  “fabulous panoramic view” of Hong Kong so a trip to The Peak was definitely on the list.  We took the Peak Tram which, as the story goes, had been without a single accident for over 100 years.  Amazing isn’t it?  Especially if you think about the very first time it became operational in 1888 making it the first funicular in Asia.  Again, another grand dream for my dear Philippines…

Here it goes...

The TRAM that takes you to the highest point within Hong Kong

Unfortunately, it wasn’t a clear day that day. The temperature was around 15 degrees and the sky was foggy.

There goes our "fabulous panoramic view".

But it didn’t dampen our spirits, we just spent the morning walking at the highest point of HK and goofing around the camera. WARNING: Touristy shots ahead🙂

UP NEXT (yes, there’s a “next”. ang sarap mag-kwento eh🙂 ):  The people, parks, food, wardrobe, shops,etc.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. travelingchicha
    Apr 11, 2012 @ 00:47:26

    Awesome Photos! I am in a wedding in Hong Kong in June. Your pictures got me even more excited for my trip! I am looking for writers to guest blog on TravelingChicha.com while I am in Hong Kong and Costa Rica during June and July. If interested, read more here: http://travelingchicha.com/2012/04/10/casting-call-guest-blog-posts-on-hong-kong-costa-rica-and-travel/ Thanks!

    Reply

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