Hello everybody! Hope your Christmas and New Year were a joyous one!
My holiday is drawing to an end and I’m down to my final week before I embark on my 6-month internship next January. Before life gets busy again, I shall wrap up my Hong Kong travelogue with this post detailing my fourth to sixth day in the bustling city! 🙂
* * Day 4 * *
(Times Square, Avenue of Stars & Tim Ho Wan)
Narrow buses (12.8 metres long, 2.5 meters wide and 4.4 meters tal) for narrow streets
The memory card in my camera had already reached its maximum capacity by this day (thanks to Disneyland) so we went to scour for a spare at Times Square and eventually got a 32GB one for about HK$120 (roughly the cost in Singapore). Prior to that, we were quoted more than twice the amount for a similar memory card of the same capacity at another shop. The salespeople there seemed shady and were very eager to pounce on us the moment we spoke Mandarin Chinese (Bf did the talking since he’s more equipped with IT knowledge) so yeah, do take the precaution of checking the prices before purchasing, if you’re intending to buy any IT stuff. Overcharging scams (especially tourists) are rampant no matter where you go.
Christmas brownie from Starbucks!
Bf is one ultimate movie buff with a weird habit of needing to watch movies in every city he visits. Even back home in Singapore, he has to watch at least one movie of any genre except horror once a week. I’m not really a movie fanatic so I was quite reluctant to spend precious time in the cinema, especially when I’m on a holiday. But Bf’s insistence meant that I had to accede to his request or all hell would break loose.
Movie at Cine Times, Times Square
There was limited movie selection at that time so we settled for the 3D version of Exodus: Gods and Kings.
Received free Lindt chocolates for buying the movie tickets
The price of the movie tickets (HK$145 is about S$25) is a great example of the city’s high cost of living, so don’t expect dirt cheap prices for entertainment. Frankly I wasn’t very happy about paying HK$290 for a pair of movie tickets when we could’ve spent it on something more Hong Kong-exclusive. The 3D effect was absolutely unnecessary and the best part? I zonked out because I wasn’t in the mood for any biblical movies.
Due to hygiene reasons, 3D glasses were not available for loan so we had to purchase them at HK$10 each. If I’m not wrong, Singapore cinemas also have this practice.
Cool toilet cubicles with availability lights (lights up when the cubicle is in use) at Times Square!
The escalator leading to Causeway Bay station is just an elevator ride away from the cinema. We hastily took the train after the movies to Avenue of Stars because dusk was falling. Avenue of Stars is modelled on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to honour people who had contributed to the Hong Kong film industry.
Keep RIGHT on the escalators in Hong Kong
Interchange at Admiralty station. Notice how the Chinese translation of our Admiralty differs from theirs? Ours literally translates to “海军部”, in case you didn’t know
Alighted at Tsim Sha Tsui, the nearest station to the Avenue of Stars
To get to Avenue of Stars, it is stated online that we’d need to take exit J of Tsim Sha Tsui station. However, we found out that the nearest exit to the tourist attraction was actually exit L so I don’t know why it was written that way.
You’ll pass by landmarks like the Hong Kong Space Museum (you have to cross the road)…
and the Hong Kong Museum of Art
The huge hemispheric dome of the Space Museum was really eye-catching! That’s definitely going to be on my itinerary next time I visit Hong Kong. The popular stretch of waterside promenade is just behind the Museum of Art!
The 4.5-meter tall Hong Kong Film Awards sculpture, located at the entrance of the Avenue of Stars
Hong Kong skyline again!
With the ferris wheel in the background, this place kinda resembles Singapore’s Marina Promenade right? I told ya these two cities are mirror image of each other
The entrance also leads to Victoria Harbour on the right, so be sure to turn to the correct direction!
Huge clapperboard along the promenade
One of the many bronze statues
And this.. and many many more!
The smell attract us to this makeshift stall selling grilled squids at HK$30 each (quite expensive but it is really tempting!)
Here are some of the more prominent celebrities and filmmakers in my book 😀 Excluding the deceased, those without the artiste’s signature or hand prints most probably couldn’t make it for the opening ceremony.
Malaysia-born Michelle Yeoh makes it to the walk of fame!
Let’s take a break from the stars and see Bruce Lee in action! This is the actual reason for visiting this place
Leon Lai’s hands look stumpy lol
The end of the avenue
Like the Peak Terrace, you could also engage any of those professional photographers stationed around to take pictures and print them out instantly for you. We used their services because we were too shy to ask passersby for help (we were using a DSLR and some might not know how it operates). The images turned out to be rather impressive. The service isn’t very expensive too so it’s definitely worth a shot!
We were too engrossed with those stars on the floor that we totally forgot about A Symphony of Lights – a light and sound show along the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront that’s staged daily at 8pm. I don’t remember hearing anything exceptional too as we were strolling along the promenade
Nice Christmas decorations!
After that, we left for our dinner at Tim Ho Wan! I wanted to see if the standards vary from country to country. Since Tim Ho Wan originated from Hong Kong, it has to be way more awesome right? I was so thrilled!
We went to the Sham Shui Po outlet!
Snapped some pictures on our way to have dinner because that’s what tourists do.
Hidden passageway at the MTR station. Just kidding. Bf needed to take a dump urgently so the station staff allowed us into their toilet. It’s actually accessible to anyone even though the door is locked. Just ask anybody working at the MTR and they will give you access to their washrooms 🙂
And the search for Tim Ho Wan begins! Wanted to find without the help of GPS
Floor graffiti hehe
And here we are! Spot this huge L-shaped logo hanging above the road
NO QUEUE! Let’s enter!
I noticed that you don’t have to wait to be seated if there isn’t a queue outside the restaurant. You just enter and ask for a table. Don’t just stand at the entrance and expect anyone to invite you in because that makes them think that you’re still deliberating whether to dine there. I actually like this way better as it gives me ample time to browse through the menu at the entrance without feeling pressured to enter.
Chinese and English order chits. Prices are about the same as in Singapore
Unlike the Singapore outlets, they didn’t seem to have monthly specials which features new dishes to keep customers coming back. It’s working well here so I wonder why it’s not introduced there.
I honestly feel that there are more food choices in Singapore so if you haven’t been to Tim Ho Wan in Hong Kong yet, don’t worry. You’re not missing out on anything because most dishes, if not all, can be found back home 🙂
Not much variety for drinks (HK$10)
But there’s Pu-Er tea! (HK$2 per pax)
The legendary Baked Bun with BBQ Pork (HK$18 for 3)
Yum yum yummy
The buns were softer, less crispy and more vulnerable to crushing so I had to hold it with extreme care. But it definitely tastes as good as the first time I ate it in Singapore. More detailed review here.
Soup dishes are a must-have to go along with your meals in Hong Kong! This is Double-boiled Papaya Soup with Snow Fungus (HK$15)
I seldom order soup dishes at Tim Ho Wan knowing that I would be fully satiated from all the side items. But somehow dining in Hong Kong makes me feel extremely obliged to drink soup (maybe because of the cold weather). This double-boiled soup is sweet, refreshing and not forgetting, nourishing.
Steamed Malay Cake (HK$16) but this is not on the English menu. Try asking for this verbally!
The upgraded version of our very own Huat Kueh, this sponge cake-lookalike is very soft and fluffy. It’s nice but it’s nothing spectacular. I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re gonna order a lot of food.
Deep Fried Spring Roll filled with Shrimp and Egg White (HK$20)
Close up! I must have this every time I dine at Tim Ho Wan or I’d feel that I’ve missed out something!!
My favourite food after the baked BBQ pork bun, this always comes to my table piping hot. You could literally see steam emitting from the open ends of the roll. But that doesn’t stop me from taking the first bite out of the crispy roll within seconds after it’s served (though it really burns my tongue lol) because the egg white inside tastes best when it’s hot.
Steamed Fresh Shrimp Dumplings (HK$26)
This is Bf’s must-have dish at Tim Ho Wan. The skin is thinly smooth and yet it can hold the prawns (which are extremely fresh by the way) well despite my poor chopsticks handling skills.
My main course was Congee with Pork and Preserved Egg (HK$16)
Thick and gooey, this congee is a perfect combination for a light dinner! Of course, mine wasn’t light anymore with all those side dishes. It is fragrant, properly seasoned and the nicely diced pork and preserved egg make it extremely easy to eat.
And Bf’s one was Steamed Rice with Beef and Pan-Fried Egg (HK$21)
Unveiling what’s below the egg
This systematic dish is completed with a fried egg and a thick layer of beef above some white rice. But it’s another ordinary and disappointing dish that’s probably left in the steamer for too long. Bf commented that the beef was overly braised as it was too soft and sticky. He ended up leaving half of it uneaten.
As for desserts, we had…
And for desserts, we had Tonic Medlar & Petal Cake (HK$10)
Don’t know why it’s called a cake when it’s obviously jelly. But whatever it is, this has a really unique appearance and taste. Called Tonic Medlar and Osmanthus Cake in Singapore, it’s served cold and has this pleasant fruity taste which I find really appealing. However, being jelly-like, I had difficulty transporting it onto my plate because it kept slipping off my fork and chopsticks! Grrr.. I think I need to attend classes on handling utensils.
The bill came up to about HK$174 (S$30) for all those dishes above! Cheap or what? There’s also no taxes to pay! Do note that this outlet (not sure about the rest) does not accept credit card so do remember to bring sufficient cash in smaller denominations (if I remember correctly, they do not accept HK$1000 bills).
Tim Ho Wan (Sham Shui Po)
G/F, 9-11 Fuk Wing Street
Sham Shui Po, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Tel: 2788 1226
Opening hours: 8am – 9.30pm daily
For other outlets, click here
Nearest MTR: Sham Shui Po
On our way home, we overshot our intended station (Causeway Bay) and ended up at Tin Hau because both of us were using our phones. Hahaha tourist boo-boo.
The subway we took to get to the MTR station!
* * Day 5 * *
(Ladies’ Market, Argyle Center, 涛记香港仔鱼蛋王)
Whenever I go abroad, my luggage would already be filled to the brim by the third day. But strangely for this trip, it’s not even expanded yet! It’s already the fifth day and I hadn’t really bought a lot. I was starting to feel deprived of shopping but I couldn’t buy much as we had already blown our money on food, foot massages (relatively cheap there!) and entrance fees to attractions. We were trying to preserve some of the remaining funds for traditional Hong Kong snacks for our folks back home.
Knowing that I’m such a shopping queen, Bf kinda took pity on me and approved my shopping itinerary at the very last minute. We were supposed to be going to Ocean Park that day but we couldn’t get out of bed in time for the hotel shuttle bus. The theme park also has shorter operating hours so it wouldn’t make sense going there after noon.
So we decided to spend our final day “walking” around Ladies’ Market and the shopping areas in the vicinity! 😀
Mong Kok MTR station
Umbrella vending machine at Mong Kok MTR station! So coooool
Description of the umbrella. Looks like it’s quite durable!
Life is made easy by the Octopus card because everything (and I mean everything) can be paid using it. Why can’t Singapore follow suit and stick to ONE card instead of churning out more variations of it?
Saw another Maxim’s Cakes outlet and was tempted to take pictures of the cute 3D cakes!
Had this Mango cake for teabreak
And this honey cake as well!
Welcome to Mong Kok! One of the most densely populated areas in the world.
So many hotels that charge at an hourly rate – if you know what I mean
Ladies’ Market. Nothing much to see and most of the stuff they were selling were even pricier than those I saw at Temple Street
Under the influence of Bf, I bought a Winnie the Pooh bed sheet set, and also a toothbrush holder with a Pikachu face on it (lol). That’s all I bought at Ladies’ Market because you can’t really find great bargains there. Despite its name, not everything is targeted at the ladies (although majority of them are). There are also shops that sell unisex and IT stuff. You just gotta keep looking around 🙂
You would also see people touting foot reflexology and massage services along Ladies’ Street. If you find the price quoted to be too high, you can try your luck at negotiating for a lower cost because they are usually rather desperate for customers. I casually remarked that HK$118 (for 45 minutes) was too pricey and surprisingly the person lowered the price to HK$110 (not much difference but it’s still moolah) on her own free will. Bet Bf was secretly beaming with joy because he was complaining about his sore feet (pain from walking too much) just a moment ago.
Met a (greedy) new friend at the foot massage parlour! His name is Xiaobai
Bf was particularly excited to see this vehicle of the Emergency Unit (E.U.) on the road, thanks to the HK TV series called E.U. we watched a few months back
Mong Kok has a lot of commercial buildings and we got lost trying to find Argyle Centre. We were at one point led further away from our destination because the police officer whom we enquired about the directions gave us the wrong information -_- There were many police officers patrolling around the area, perhaps on a mission to prevent the protest from taking place there. And in case any of you are wondering, we did not encounter any protesters throughout our stay in Hong Kong so it’s pretty safe if you avoid the areas of demonstrations.
Finally found it using GPS
If you’re a shopaholic, this is the place you have to visit if you’re in Hong Kong. The items at Argyle Centre are relatively cheaper than those at night markets, and it has many levels of shops and boutiques for you to explore.
I bought 3 pairs of shorts for just HK$100 at one of the shops in front of an escalator. Exchanges were supposedly not allowed as these items were on sale. But the kind salesgirl still went ahead to measure my waist and hips and thereafter advised me on the size I should take. She also told me that I could try them on at the mall’s toilet and exchange for different size within the same day if they didn’t fit. However, I hated the hassle of trying on clothes so I only wore them for the first time at home. Although the shorts are a little tight on me (blame it on my bulging tummy), the quality actually seems reasonably good. Strangely, the buttonhole on each pair of shorts were still sealed so I had to manually cut it open.
Doesn’t this place remind you of Far East Plaza? And a little bit of Bugis Street
For Hello Kitty lovers
We stopped by this tuck shop as we felt like munching on something!
Hong Kong’s Curry Fish Ball. The fish balls there taste different from the ones we eat in Singapore. Theirs are more chewy and the texture is a little similar to cuttlefish ball. It’s still very delicious nonetheless!
Milk Tea with Pearl to quench our thirst
I satisfied my shopping urges with a bag of shorts (as mentioned earlier) and 3 sets of undergarments – a panty and wireless bra – made of the most comfy and stretchable Nylon, that costed me only HK$480 in all. That’s less than S$90 for 3 pairs of extremely good quality intimates. Where else to find?
We grabbed a quick bite at BreadTalk (our homegrown Singapore brand) at the ground floor before heading to Jordan for our dinner.
But first, how about some appetizers? Haha
Yay, finally got to try the original 鸡蛋仔 (egglets, HK$10) in Hong Kong!
Oh gosh, I kept pigging out in Hong Kong. But I couldn’t help it because the food was too irresistible! Even a simple snack like the egglets could make me go gaga. And that explains my expanding waistline 😥
By 10pm, most of the shops were already closed and we were left with a few eateries to choose from. We eventually settled for 濤记香港仔鱼蛋王 (Tao1 Ji4 Xiang1 Gang3 Zai3 Yu2 Dan4 Wang2) just across the road from the egglets shop.
濤记香港仔鱼蛋王 specialises in fish balls
Iced Lemon Tea and 鸳鸯 (mixed coffee and tea, both at HK$10 each)
Beef stew (HK$25) with rice (HK$3)
I had my qualms about the taste at first because it looked kinda bland. But it’s surprisingly good! It’s no doubt a simple main, but the flesh was really tender and savoury, not a single bit tough at all.
Fish ball soup (HK$25)
The fish balls had the same kind of texture as the ones we had at Argyle Centre but these were definitely fresher and bouncier with a springy consistency. The soup was light but tasty and didn’t overwhelm the palate.
No. 209 Shanghai Street
Kowloon, Hong Kong
Nearest MTR: Jordan, Tsim Sha Tsui
That night we tried flagging for a cab back to our hotel because we had an early flight to catch the next day. But there was no taxi in sight for almost 20 minutes, and it was freezing cold! We kept having to change our position because some shameless people were also trying to cut in front of us. Well, when in Rome, do as the Romans do right? So we followed suit and eventually got a cab. Ha, suckers!
* * Day 6 * *
It was time to bid Hong Kong goodbye. As much as I couldn’t bear to leave. all good things must come to an end.
We hired a cab to Hong Kong station (also accessible by MTR, just 4 stops away) to take the Airport Express Line (AEL) because the hotel shuttle bus was fully occupied. The roads were clear that morning so it only took us less than 15 minutes to arrive at our destination. The cab fare was less than S$10 (around HK$50).
Tried buying train tickets from the ticketing machine but failed (forgot why)
So we went to the Customer Service counter instead to purchase the tickets! And they were even cheaper than if bought through the machine
Elevators to take you down to the platform
On the train! Spot the cemetery in the background. Hong Kongers have learned to co-exist with the dead
Weigh your luggage here! It’s a really useful tool and I wonder why Singapore doesn’t have this
Check-in was done at Terminal 1 but our departure gate was all the way at Terminal 2, so we had to take several escalators (shuttle bus is also available) to get there. Food souvenirs can also be bought at the airport, albeit pricier than in the city.
And that’s about it! 🙂
People had been telling me how impolite the Hong Kongers are before the trip but I experienced nothing of it (if you disregard the cab thieves at Jordan because they are everywhere). Instead, I was overwhelmed by the friendliness and hospitality of the people who attempted to converge to our communication style when we couldn’t express ourselves in Cantonese. Hence, I truly enjoyed my stay there.
The next time I go to Hong Kong, I will certainly set aside days to tour the outlying islands like Lantau and Lamma, as well as its neighbouring regions Shenzhen, Macau and Guangzhou. Also not forgetting the remaining parts of Disneyland which we failed to explore due to lack of time!
Hope you enjoyed my Hong Kong travelogue and thanks for reading my first post in 2015! 😀
Hong Kong, the Land of Dim Sum (PART 1)
Hong Kong, the Land of Dim Sum (PART 2)