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Lantau Island, Hong Kong


Our last day in Hong Kong was spent on Lantau Island, the area where you will find Disney Land, the airport as well as the Tian Tan Buddha and the Po Lin Monastery.

Tian Tan Buddha

Tian Tan Buddha

To get there is very easy as the MRT goes straight there. The Monastery is located right at the top of the mountain and you can either go up on the bus or the cable car, we decided to go up in the bus as the line for the cable car was already very long. The bus ride is about 30 minutes and gives you beautiful views of the island.

Once you reach the top it is hard not to notice the Big Buddha which sits at the top of 268 steps, it is the biggest sitting down Buddha in the world and the view from the top is incredible. The monastery is located directly opposite the Buddha and contains the 10,000 room of Buddha’s which is a massive room containing 10,000 gold Buddha’s!

The day was a great way to end the trip and gave us an easy day in preparation for the New Year’s Eve celebrations where we met up with friends from Australia and brought in the New Year together.

Firewoks

Firewoks

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Macau, China


We decided to head over to Macau whilst we were in Hong Kong as it was only an hour away by ferry. It is famous for its casinos and whilst we are not the gambling type we thought it would be worth seeing especially to go try the Sky Walk X at Macau Tower.

SkyWalk X

SkyWalk X

The day started off a complete disaster and after a 30 minute subway ride we bought our tickets and headed through to catch the ferry… only to realize we had forgotten our passports! If you travel from Hong Kong to Macau you MUST bring your passports and despite knowing this we still forgot! As Andy sat in a café reading his book I made the hectic hour round journey, negotiating the subway and the changes back to the hotel to pick up the passports. I got back to the ferry terminal only to find that we had missed our ferry and had to wait in the standby line for an hour and a half!! It cost us the morning in Macau but all things considered it could have been worse!!

SkyWalk X

SkyWalk X

 

The great thing about Macau is that you can get to and from the airport for free by taking one of the casinos free shuttle buses! Before we did anything we jumped on the City Of Dreams casino bus which would take us to the Macau Tower where we were booked in for the “Skywalk X” experience. We had found it by chance on a website and decided to do something that would make the trip very memorable.

The Sky Walk X is one of a couple activities available at the Tower through AJ Hackett. They harness you up and let you walk around the OUTSIDE rim of the tower, swing around and lean your whole body right over the edge! It was awesome! You can also do a Sky Jump, (Like a bungee but not as fast with no recall) the tallest bungee in the world or a tower climb where you climb the entire length of the tower right up the antenna! Whilst we would have LOVED to do one of the other activities our Vietnamese salary didn’t really leave us the extra cash.

As Andy and I went around it was a real adrenaline rush as you

SkyWalk X

SkyWalk X

could lean back putting all your weight on the harness to stop you from dropping the 350 meters to the ground! The guide who was there to help us kept trying to get us to pose for pictures kissing however Andy had an idea and was determined to get  a picture ‘kicking’ me off the tower… not quite as romantic as the guy had planned but for Andy and I we found it hilarious!!!! Here are some pictures from the day! At $99 USD it seems slightly expensive but worth every cent!

Ruins of St, Pauls

Ruins of St, Pauls

 

After the tower we headed to Macau old town, again getting a free ride on one of the casinos buses) which has a massive Portuguese influence which can be seen from the street signs to the buildings and really doesn’t feel like you are in an Asian country!

The place is very beautiful which becomes even prettier as the sun goes down and the lights go on. All the casinos have crazy light displays and change the city so much from the day time!

 

Whilst we would have loved to have caught a show at one of the casinos thanks to our earlier mistake we ran out of time and before we knew it we were back at the ferry station waiting to head back to Hong Kong. If you were going to do a day trip from Hong Kong then I would definitely go early (remember your PASSPORTS!!) and plan to stay late. The last ferry back to Hong Kong is 3am so there is no rush to get the last ferry back!

You must book the tower activities before you go, you can book them here on the AJ Hackett website

Ruins of St, Pauls

Ocean Park, Hong Kong


Wanting the chance to really let our hair down, Andy and I decided to head to one of the theme parks on offer in Hong Kong, Disney Land being the obvious choice. However after visiting Disney Land in Paris not even a year ago we decided to go to Ocean Park which is a mixture of a theme park, a zoo and an aquarium.

View from the rides in the theme park

View from the rides in the theme park

Our plan was to get up early and be there at 10 when the park opened, we got up and out the door in record time and got the MRT

View from the cable car

View from the cable car

to Hong Kong Island where we took the special bus put on my the theme park. Once we got there we were quite impressed with ourselves when we realized there were only about 10 other people waiting to go in. Until we realized Andy had put his watch forward by 2 hours and not 1 and we were actually an hour early! Doh!
Once we were in the park you could go into the aquarium or kid section or head for the express train or cable car to go up the mountain where the main area of the theme park was located.

Cable car to the top!

Cable car to the top!

 

We decided to head up on the cable car and the cable car up was beautiful! It took you up and around the mountain along the coast giving amazing views of the surrounding areas. Jumping off the cable car the park opened up into big rides and shows. Every roller coaster you went on had panoramic views of the Ocean and really gave the theme park a different twist to the normal parks around.

The park is also home to many animals as well as the dolphin

Dolphin at the breeding centre waiting for food

Dolphin at the breeding centre waiting for food

breeding centre, the animals are so well cared for and all the enclosures were immaculate, big and had plenty of things for the animals to do and play with. Coming from Vietnam where animals are just not cared for this was so nice to see especially the dolphin breeding centre!

We decided to go to the dolphin show which was all based around saving the dolphins and keeping the ocean clean, the show was great as the dolphins jumped around, helped ‘clean up’ the stadium and even ‘save’ their trainer.

Dolphin Show

Dolphin Show

The highlight of the day was defiantly seeing the pandas. Away from the noise of the rides at the bottom of the mountain were two Pandas that Hong Kong were given by China to celebrate them being handed back to China. They had massive enclosures and as with every panda I have ever seen one was eating and the other was sleeping.


Overall the park was so much fun and we spent the full day seeing the animals, watching shows and going on the rides and is defiantly one I would recommend!!

Tickets are about $41 although are more expensive if you get them at the gate.

Ocean Park

Ocean Park

Exploring Hong Kong


With only a few days off from work we decided to hop over to Hong Kong and spend New Year with some of our friends from Australia. Getting off the plane in Hong Kong was such a welcomed relief from Vietnam, suddenly we were back into a developed country where they people were so polite, the place was so clean, crossing the road wasn’t life or death and the air felt fresh!

Hong Kongs famous skyline at night

Hong Kong’s famous skyline at night

The one thing that Andy and I both noticed a lot about Hong Kong was just how many public service messages there were. Everywhere you turned there was a message telling you how you should behave, what’s expected from you and suggestions about what you should do in certain circumstances. It was EVERYWHERE although it didn’t feel like it was too in your face. The people of Hong Kong seemed to really pay attention, especially when it came to waiting for the green man when crossing the road!! Maybe it was just because we had come from Vietnam, but it made the whole place a haven of polite, well-mannered, non queue skipping citizens!

With so much to see and so little time to see it we decided to hop on the Big Bus Tour which would take us around the 2 big islands in Hong Kong: Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. It was about $40 but included tickets for The Peak, ferries and queue skips to certain places which turned out to be a lifesaver!!

Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee

The bus dropped us off first at the “Avenue of Stars” which is the walk way surrounding the sea front on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong, the avenue is dedicated to famous Chinese stars and while you might not recognize all of them it was fun going around all the plaques trying to find the ones we did know! The avenue is most famous for it’s sculpture of Bruce Lee which is hard to miss as it is always mobbed by tourists all trying to recreate his pose… Andy included! The sculpture has an amazing backdrop and I think you would have to come VERY early to get a picture minus the tourists!

Walking along the avenue we came to the harbor where we jumped on the famous Star Ferry to get over to Hong Kong Island, it runs between the two islands constantly throughout the day and only takes about 10 minutes to cross. Although you can take the MRT over the star ferry gives you an awesome view of the famous skyline that Hong Kong is known for.

Bamboo scafolding way above the street

Bamboo scaffolding way above the street

Hong Kong has the most skyscrapers in the world with over 8,000 and rising… FAST second is New York with only half of this! Everywhere you look skyscrapers loom overhead and not just your bog standard sky scrapers these are works of art which have lights outlining them to make a spectacular scene at night. What makes them even more impressive is the way in which they are built! All over Hong Kong you will notice the bamboo scaffolds which they still use, even to build the biggest of buildings! They explained to us that it was extremely cheap, environmentally friendly and safe… I was not too sure!

We decided to jump off the bus first at Victoria Peak one of Hong Kong’s most famous attractions, and you could tell. The line zig-zagged all through the inside then round the corner and up the street, as Andy and I were starting to weigh up whether it was worth waiting or not the bus conductor told us our tickets meant we could go right to the front of the queue meaning we missed about an hour of standing outside in the cold!! Result!! The Peak Tram is an attraction in itself. It has been running for more than 100 years and is unbelievably steep!!! The views are incredible, although standing is almost impossible with the angle of the tram so defiantly try to get a seat!

Victoria Peak was not what we were expecting, we both thought it would just be the top of a ‘peak’ which would serve as a lookout point however what we found was a lookout point with a 3 story shopping mall which leads to an observation deck giving you what I can only imagine was amazing views of the city. As luck would have it the day we went up there was almost zero visibility meaning we could see to the nearest tree and that was about it!!

To compensate we decided to go into the Trick Eye Museum which was located on the 3rd floor. It was actually the same company that operated the trick eye museum we went into in Seoul but none the less we decided to have a go. These museums are great fun and as you follow the instructions on the floor and the marks on where to stand with your camera you can place yourself into a painting! It was all good fun and made it worthwhile coming to the top!

Hong Kong's eye

Hong Kong’s eye

We hopped back onto the bus and rode around taking in the sites that Hong Kong had to offer stopping off at some of the famous markets that are around Hong Kong as well as the ‘mid level escalators’, the longest outdoor covered escalator system in the world. (To be honest it was just escalators and after about 200 meters we jumped off and back on the bus!) As we stopped off at the harbor ready to jump on the third line we thought we would have a look at the carnival that was in town and accidentally spent so long-playing about that we missed the last bus on the third tour!! Ooops!! The third part of the tour took us round to the Stanley Markets and Aberdeen where we would have been able to go on a Sampan Ride. (The traditional old style fishing boats) To be honest I was so exhausted by this point I’s had enough!

FINALLY I had Christmas at the carnival!

FINALLY I had Christmas at the carnival!

We headed back to Kowloon and went to see the “Symphony of lights” which happens on the sea front every evening at 8pm. The Symphony of lights is billed as one of the most impressive laser/light shows around and after waiting with massive crowds (Going early is a must!) the light show started and… well… I was VERY disappointed! I think it was all due to the weather which had clouds hanging very low in the sky making it possibly the worst conditions for lasers and lights!! I am sure if you went on a clear night it would be amazing!!

Temple Street Market

Temple Street Market

We hopped off the bus finally at the Temple Street market and found a stall that did some dim sum where we had an awesome meal of noodles, BBQ pork buns, spring rolls and all sorts of things I don’t know the names of! The whole meal was surprisingly cheap at $54 HK$ which is only about $7.50! Result! We really expected Hong Kong to be expensive however we were surprised at just how cheap meals and transport were!

Light lights lights!

The day was exhausting and by the end of it we both fell into bed and fell into a deep sleep ready for the next day at Ocean Park.

Sunset behind Hong Kong Island

Sunset behind Hong Kong Island