Hong Kong, the Land of Dim Sum (PART 3)

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)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Keep RIGHT on the escalators in Hong Kong

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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

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Alighted at Tsim Sha Tsui, the nearest station to the Avenue of Stars

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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.

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You’ll pass by landmarks like the Hong Kong Space Museum (you have to cross the road)…

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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!

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The 4.5-meter tall Hong Kong Film Awards sculpture, located at the entrance of the Avenue of Stars

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Christmas caroling!

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Hong Kong skyline again!

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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!

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Huge clapperboard along the promenade

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One of the many bronze statues

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And this.. and many many more!

The smell attract us to this makeshift stall selling   grilled squids

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.

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Malaysia-born Michelle Yeoh makes it to the walk of fame!

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Deceased

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Deceased

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Deceased

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Let’s take a break from the stars and see Bruce Lee in action! This is the actual reason for visiting this place

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Leon Lai’s hands look stumpy lol

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The end of the avenue

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Gorgeous backdrop

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 :\

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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!

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We went to the Sham Shui Po outlet!

Snapped some pictures on our way to have dinner because that’s what tourists do.

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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 🙂

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Dwellings everywhere!

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And the search for Tim Ho Wan begins! Wanted to find without the help of GPS

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Floor graffiti hehe

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We’re near!

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And here we are! Spot this huge L-shaped logo hanging above the road

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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.

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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 🙂

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Not much variety for drinks (HK$10)

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But there’s Pu-Er tea! (HK$2 per pax)

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The legendary Baked Bun with BBQ Pork (HK$18 for 3)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Deep Fried Spring Roll filled with Shrimp and Egg White (HK$20)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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And Bf’s one was Steamed Rice with Beef and Pan-Fried Egg (HK$21)

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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…

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And for desserts, we had Tonic Medlar & Petal Cake (HK$10)

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Close up!

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

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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.

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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! 😀

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Mong Kok MTR station

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Umbrella vending machine at Mong Kok MTR station! So coooool

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Description of the umbrella. Looks like it’s quite durable!

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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?

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Saw another Maxim’s Cakes outlet and was tempted to take pictures of the cute 3D cakes!

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Had this Mango cake for teabreak

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And this honey cake as well!

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Welcome to Mong Kok! One of the most densely populated areas in the world.

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FOOOOD

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So many hotels that charge at an hourly rate – if you know what I mean

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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.

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Met a (greedy) new friend at the foot massage parlour! His name is Xiaobai

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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.

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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.

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Doesn’t this place remind you of Far East Plaza? And a little bit of Bugis Street

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For Hello Kitty lovers

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We stopped by this tuck shop as we felt like munching on something!

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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!

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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.

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But first, how about some appetizers? Haha

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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.

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濤记香港仔鱼蛋王 specialises in fish balls

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Front

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Iced Lemon Tea and 鸳鸯 (mixed coffee and tea, both at HK$10 each)

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Beef stew (HK$25) with rice (HK$3)

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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.

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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.

濤记香港仔鱼蛋王
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 * *

(Departure)

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).

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Tried buying train tickets from the ticketing machine but failed (forgot why)

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So we went to the Customer Service counter instead to purchase the tickets! And they were even cheaper than if bought through the machine

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Neat!

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Elevators to take you down to the platform

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On the train! Spot the cemetery in the background. Hong Kongers have learned to co-exist with the dead

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Airport station

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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! 😀

Read also
Hong Kong, the Land of Dim Sum (PART 1)
Hong Kong, the Land of Dim Sum (PART 2)

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Hong Kong, the Land of Dim Sum (PART 2)

Hey everyone!

Thanks for following my Hong Kong travelogue! This is part 2 of my experience as promised and would only cover day 3 of my Hong Kong trip.

* * Day 3 * *

(Victoria Peak, Madame Tussauds Hong Kong & Temple Street Night Market)

We set off from our hotel a tad later that day because Disneyland really worn us out. No alarm was able to wake us up that morning, regardless of the volume. But somehow we were only woken up by the persistent door knocks by the housekeepers, who politely asked if we were ready to have our room made at 10.00am 😮 Okay, I really appreciate them checking up on us but isn’t that too early for housekeeping? I would always greet them with a half-woken face and unkempt hair (for which they realised and became really apologetic) but by the fourth morning, they kinda took the hint and stopped asking us. Haha maybe late risers are uncommon in Hong Kong. Of course, you can always tell them to come back again at a certain time.

While planning the itinerary for this trip, I tried to include scenic excursions and alternate them with my shopping days. Hong Kong has quite a number of tourist scenic spots but the most popular one is definitely Victoria Peak (or The Peak), where travellers would flock to to get a good view of the city. With an altitude of 552 m, it is easily the highest mountain on the island and accessible by the Peak Tram. The Peak Tram Lower Terminus is a 15 to 20-minute walk from Central MTR, or even longer if you have a camera in tow because you’d be able to see a few famous Hong Kong landmarks along the route.

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Here is a Vitasoy vending machine. We particularly loved the packet lemon tea. Vitasoy is everywhere in Hong Kong. Even our complimentary bottled water in our hotel is under this brand.

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Maxim’s Cakes is like our Breadtalk, a very common bakery and can be found in almost every MTR station. It’s endorsed by actor Julian Cheung as his face can be seen plastered everywhere in the shop.

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Got this long FLOSSS-inspired bun from Maxim’s Cakes for breakfast. It’s not bad!

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Bank of China Tower, snapped on our way back to the MTR station because it’s a lot nicer at night

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If you need to recharge after the long walk from the MTR station, take a break here! (omg how lame can I get)

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We are here at the terminus!

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Got our Peak Tram tickets at HK$40 each!

At the counter, we were offered a Peak Tram Sky Pass package (The Peak Tram + Sky Terrace 428) for HK$80 (U.P. HK$85) and a 3-in-1 combo ticket for Madame Tussauds Hong Kong and Peak Tram Sky Pass return for HK$310 (U.P. HK$325, online price at HK$290). We considered taking up the Peak Tram Sky Pass package but declined eventually due to a miscalculation 😐 It’s only HK$5 more anyway.

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With the wax figure of Sir Li Ka-Shing, a Hong Kong business magnate, investor, and philanthropist, at the Peak Lower Terminus

As for the second package, we dismissed it without giving it a second though because Tigerair had given us a few perks for flying with them – one of which was a discount of HK$40 for each regular adult admission ticket (U.P. HK$240) to Madame Tussauds Hong Kong which came up to be a lot cheaper than the price of the combo ticket.

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Almost couldn't make it for this train!

Almost couldn’t make it for this train! It’s pretty packed as you can see.

The tram was constantly moving uphill and the gravitational pull was so strong, I could feel my entire body reclining backwards. As a Singaporean who frequently experience train breakdowns in my country, I really wonder what would happen if the tram malfunctions amidst the journey. It’d be a terrible feeling trying to keep your balance.

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Was gonna simulate alighting from the tram but got off because the door was gonna close on me! LOL

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At the Peak Market where you can find lots of Hong Kong souvenirs for your family, friends and colleagues back home

Spotted "my" shop! Bf pointing to the shop and back at himself. It's actually a shop selling baby stuff

Spotted “my” shop! Who’s my prince? *Bf pointing to the shop and back at himself* It’s actually a shop selling baby stuff 😀

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A shop (Candy Haus, just a level below the Sky Terrace) selling all the Pez collectibles! I’d totally buy it if they had a Pokemon collection 😦

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More individual ones! Bf tried to find a Pooh Pez but to no avail

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More uncommon ones you don’t see it in most candy stores (not even Candy Empire). By the way, photography is forbidden in this shop. I didn’t know it until they stopped a Japanese tourist from taking pictures (after I was done with mine heehee). Even so, these photos are just too adorable not to share!

Now, let’s head up to the Sky Terrace 428 for a splendid view of Hong Kong! It is called Sky Terrace “428” because it’s 428 metres above sea level! 🙂

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Hong Kong’s skyline

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More view

Upon entering, you would be handed an audio guide (in the form of an iPod Touch) with lanyard attached. Earpieces are available but we didn’t loan any due to hygiene concerns, so we used ours instead.

The Sky Terrace offers a stunning 360-degree panoramic view across the Hong Kong. There are even fixed coin-operated binoculars around for use but you don’t quite need it if you have a powerful long-range camera lens! There were also professional photographers touting their services and you could engage them if you want a nice group shot against the breathtaking backdrop.

Our only mistake was going to the Sky Terrace when the sky was still bright. All we could see were buildings engulfed in mist so there was nothing really spectacular to see. It would be a lot better at night when all the lights are lit up! And also worth noting is that the ticket is per entrance basis, meaning to say that you won’t be able to enter using the same ticket again once you exit from the terrace.

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They had this campaign going on to promote love expression and sending of messages to the future

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Here’s our message! Hahaha doubt we will be back to see this though

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At the basement of the Peak Tower, you will see tables with this placed in the middle

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And these are postcards written for the future, separated by dates of postage (i.e. these will be mailed out to the specified address at the stipulated date)

There’s really nothing much to do at The Peak Tower so naturally, people would just pay to visit Madame Tussauds museum after the Sky Terrace. For us, going to Madame Tussauds Hong Kong was already part of our (or rather, my) plan and I was really looking forward to it 😀 I’m obsessed with wax figures!

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After the Tigerair discount, we only paid HK$200 for each ticket 🙂

Bruce Lee as their mascot

Bruce Lee as their mascot

There was a private event at the museum when we were there, so we were directed to the lowest level where the Historical and National Heroes and the Royal Family can be found! Most of the leaders are from the People’s Republic of China, though, much to the pleasure of the their people who crowded the museum.

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Oh hello, Pablo Picasso! Why are you not in Singapore?

William Shakespeare

Poem and playwright William Shakespeare

Dutch painter Rembrandt  van Rijn

Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn

Theoretical physicist and philosopher of science, Albert Einstein

Theoretical physicist and philosopher of science, Albert Einstein

Leader of the Nazi party, Adolf Hitler

Leader of the Nazi party, Adolf Hitler

Fifth President of Iraq, Saddam Hussein

Fifth President of Iraq, Saddam Hussein

Japan's post-war Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida

Japan’s post-war Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida

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Our stern-looking Ministor Mentor Lee Kuan Yew (a huge contrast with the one in Madame Tussauds Singapore where he looks so much happier beside his late wife)! Felt a sense of pride to see a Singapore representative in an overseas museum. It shows something about his role as a leader because not everyone makes the cut to have a wax figure in Madame Tussauds!

Father of Modern China, Dr Sun Yat-sen

Father of Modern China, Dr Sun Yat-sen

Former President of China, Hu Jintao

Former President of China, Hu Jintao

First Premier of the People's Republic of China, Zhou Enlai

First Premier of the People’s Republic of China, Zhou Enlai

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Current President of People’s Republic of China, Xi JinPing. Photography with him is chargeable and many PRCs were queuing up to have a picture with him lol

Elected President of the People's Republic of China in 1993, Jiang Zemin

Elected President of the People’s Republic of China in 1993, Jiang Zemin

Deng Xiaoping, leader of China from 1978 until his retirement in 1992

Deng Xiaoping, leader of China from 1978 until his retirement in 1992

Former President of China, Hu Jintao

Sixth Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, Wen Jiabao

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Yang Liwei, the first man to be sent into space by China’s space programme

Diana, Princess of Wales and the mother of Wills and Harry

Diana, Princess of Wales and the mother of Wills and Harry

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.. and the first in line to the throne right in the middle 😉 😉

The late Leslie Cheung, considered as one of the founding fathers of Cantopop. I remember how the news of his death shocked the world in 2003 than it got very extensive media coverage

The late Leslie Cheung, considered as one of the founding fathers of Cantopop. I remember how the news of his death shocked the world in 2003. It was such an unexpected event that it got so much media coverage. Stories of his death ran on the newspapers for days and TV channels were playing his movies for the entire week. Such a prominent figure. We’ll miss you, Leslie.

Beats me why Leslie Cheung is in this section too. Maybe there isn’t enough space in where he is supposed to be :\

I intentionally left out some leaders who are also featured in Madame Tussaud Singapore with the exact same pose and attire (e.g. President Obama, Soekarno, etc.). What puzzled me was the absence of Hong Kong and Taiwan leaders CY Leung and Ma Ying-jeou. Perhaps they didn’t agree to having a wax figure of themselves?

Moving on to the TV Studio! In Singapore, we only have Oprah Winfrey (why no Ellen huh?). But Hong Kong pretty much has their own pool of talented variety and talk show hosts very well-known in Asia so finding figures to fill this area shouldn’t be much of a problem.

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Sandra Ng, one of my favourite HK comedians!

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Comedian and host of variety show Super Trio, Eric Tsang!

Following the TV Studio was the World Premiere which features successful artistes from all over the world so many of them can also be seen in Singapore.

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There’s also a Marilyn Monroe wax figure in Singapore but with a different pose (kneeling with both palms on the ground to reveal her cleavage). This is supposedly her in her signature white dress, standing above a subway grating blowing the dress up. It would be better if there was really a wind source from below!

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One of Hollywood’s most watched actors during the 20th century, this is Humphrey Bogart

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Leon Lai, one of the Four Heavenly Kings of Cantopop (the other three are Andy Lau, Jackie Cheung and Aaron Kwok). But he looks weirdly feminine here lol

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The very helpful Sir Alfred Hitchcock holding my information booklet for me. Possibly the best-known British-born filmmaker, he was a master of the “suspense” movie genre

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Donnie Yen as Ip Man! I don’t like his nose here. It looks too pinched and his nostrils are too large :\

Other figures not featured here are Audrey Hepburn in her iconic “Little Black Dress”, Johnny Depp and Indian movie star Amitabh Bachchan.

The World Premiere also houses SCREAM, described as “the deadly scare zone set against a chilling backdrop of an abandoned asylum, promises to stir up guests’ deepest and darkest fears using a mix of live performers and wax monsters”. As a fan of gore and horror movies, I was exhilarated to know that there’s a section dedicated to gutsy people like me! 😛 Bf was reluctant to enter because he’s a scaredy-cat so I went in all by myself while he waited for me at the entrance.

Truth be told, I was a little nervous. I waited for more people to join the line before I decided to partake in this spine-chilling adventure. For awhile, I waited at the entrance because nobody else was interested in this and I was afraid to enter the chamber alone hahaha! Fortunately, a large group (family of 5) entered and gradually, more people joined the queue. I guess these people who suddenly appeared out of nowhere were also waiting somewhere for a queue to form 😆

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Bf was frightened just by the thought of zombies doing jump scares in the chamber

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Moi! The first batch of people moved forward and stopped at the person in front of me, so I became the first person for the second batch 😥

While waiting to explore the asylum, we heard screams and faint laughter from the batch of people who went in before us. Kinda made us even more anxious 😕 When it was finally our turn, everyone had to put their hands on the shoulders in front of them and we went in in a line, like a choo-choo train. Photography is not allowed inside so yeah, no pictures to show, sorry!

The job of the first person in line is to navigate. I have very poor sense of direction, coupled with terrible vision, but thankfully, the lady behind me knew the place well (she had gone through this before a few years back) so she advised me on where to go. There were many doors in the asylum leading to different chambers but I only opened one of them. Jump scares were very minimal (like 1 or 2?) and the performers would only attack people in the middle of the line. So I was perfectly safe! 😀 *victory sign* SCREAM is really not as scary as it’s painted to be. It’s all in your head! At the end of the tour, everyone even went, “Huh like that only? CHEY” 🙄

Our next stop was The Champions where it honours some of the top sportsmen and sportswomen of all time.

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Lee Lai Shan, the former world champion and Olympic gold medal-winning professional windsurfer from Hong Kong and the only athlete to win an Olympic medal representing Hong Kong, not as part of China (Wikipedia)

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Maria Sharapova is ranked world No. 2 by the Women’s Tennis Association and is the top Russian player

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David Beckham in his younger days

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Chiyonofuji Mitsugu, former champion sumo wrestler and the 58th yokozuna of the sport. However his face looks it’s wearing out here. The hair, for once, isn’t real hair.

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Liu Xiang, one of China’s best athletes

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Tiger Woods taking a dump.. I mean, squatting down

Other sports heroes not mentioned here are Yao Ming and Muhammad Ali.

Right after that, we had to climb the stairs to access Hong Kong Glamour where the Hollywood A-listers mingle with the hottest Asian celebrities.

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The sparkly Robert Pattinson though I feel that there are other Hollywood celebs that are more worthy of his spot in the museum (Edward fans please don’t kill me)

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Another favourite female Chinese actress of mine (after Michelle Yeoh), Li Bingbing!

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Cantopop singer and actress, Kelly Chen

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Michelle Yeoh

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Lang Lang, a renowned Chinese concert pianist

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Angelina Jolie and Brat Pitt look like they’ve undergone a divorce here. Why so glum and why are their faces so greasy 😐

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Cantopop singer Aaron Kwok doesn’t look like him here

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Heartthrob Louis Koo *_*

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Cecilia Cheung, actress and Cantopop singer who has called Singapore her home now

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It’s Johnny Depp again!

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Taiwanese model and actress Lin Chi-ling who will be lead actress in the “Triumph in the Skies 2” movie

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South Korean actor and “auntie killer” Bae Yong-joon

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Nicole Kidman enjoying the attention of the pap

Of course, Andy Lau is there too but his wax figure is the exact replica of the one in Singapore (or vice versa). Huang Xiao Ming was probably removed because I couldn’t find him.

Next, we went to the Authentic History section to catch a glimpse of wax figure making process where they used Donnie Yen as an example. Of course, everything was pre-recorded and the artifacts were already displayed neatly for viewing.

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Left: the fabric used for the clothing and right: the different types of eyeballs. Right down to the specifics

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The different kinds of hair. You’re able to touch and feel them!

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Madame Tussauds herself when she in her late twenties! Unbelievable right?!

We’re coming closer to the end! *sniffs* We took the stairs again this time to see the Music Icons!

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Actress and Cantopop singer Miriam Yeung who would occasionally burst into laughter. Eerie 😐

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Elvis Presley, one of the staples in Madame Tussauds

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Jay Chou obviously needs a different pose for his wax figure, and probably also lesser powder on his face

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Singer-songwriter, dancer, musician, and actress, G.E.M.

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Cantopop and Mandopop singer, actor, TV host, model, cartoonist, MV director, and producer and designer, a major figure in popular music culture (Wikipedia) – Leo Ku. Wow, what an impressive portfolio

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Of course, how could we forget the mother of Little Monsters, Lady Gaga?

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Cantopop, Hong Kong English pop, Jazz, and R&B singer Janice M. Vidal who looks nothing like the real person. She is set inside an oversized music box that plays her signature tune, “Do you know?” upon turning the huge winder key beside it

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Lead vocalist and lyricist of the rock band Queen, Freddie Mercury

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Couldn’t help it

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The Beatles! Can you name them all?

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The late Anita Mui (Madonna of Asia) who succumbed to cervical cancer a few months after her close friend Leslie Cheung passed away

Last but not least, there is the Fantasy Kingdom that showcases different superheroes and characters from movies, mostly. An expanded new area, it was officially opened in September last year. I think this section is created for kids.. or people who are young at heart 😀

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Hey Spidey!

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Bf’s excited to see Ironman

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Will the real Wolverine please stand up? HAHA btw Bf came up with the fake claws which amused people who walked past. So creative hor?! (And if you’re wondering how he got so many pens, that’s because he had his pencil case in his bag. Lazy person was too lazy to pack his stuff, he even brought along his school pencil case to Hong Kong. Major #facepalm)

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Awkward pose with Hulk because I don’t like any Marvel superheroes

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Astroboy.. I thought he’s usually top-naked?

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I’m not a Hello Kitty fan but I’m attracted to it because it’s PINK!

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Doraemon, the blue robotic cat! (I didn’t know he was a cat, did you?)

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Hong Kong’s very own cartoon pig characters that has gained a huge following in the city – McDull and his mother Madame Mak at a Hong Kong-style cafeteria!

I’m sad.. because there’s no Pikachu. Why?!? 😦

To mark the opening of Fantasy Kingdom, wax figures of five protagonists from the much anticipated movie, “The Monkey King” (2013) were also unveiled on the day of opening. This is the first time Madame Tussauds Hong Kong has created wax figures based on fictional characters from the same movie. (Source)

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Donnie Yen as Monkey King

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Xia Zi Tong as Silver Fox

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Zhang Zilin as Nu Wa

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SADAKO. The good thing about having real hair on a wax figure is that you could meddle around with it. Teehee (we arranged it back after that la)

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There’s even a specially designed 3-D snake tail installation for fun photos! I’m obviously too fat to be Nu Wa.. had difficulty squeezing into the tail 😥

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Aaron Kwok as Buffalo Demon King

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And Joe Chen as Princess Iron Fan

They’re probably going to change the theme once every few years. What a great way to get visitors to return to the museum! Will Singapore do something similar too? 🙂

We were at the souvenir shop when we spotted a conspicuous and familiar wax figure. We couldn’t figure out who that was so we asked the guy at the cashier.

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大 S

Really 一点都不像咯! I think it’s the eyes. They’re too far apart. And her arms (especially the hand on the hips) look too fake.

And that’s the end of our tour around Madame Tussauds Hong Kong! No doubt it has more variety of wax figures so even though the entrance tickets were expensive, I felt it was worth the money.

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We managed to take this somewhere near the Peak Tram Upper Terminus. So yup, please only go to the Peak Terrace at night

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Bye Victoria Peak!

It was close to 9pm by the time we were at the lower terminus and we hadn’t had our dinner, so we took the MTR train to Yau Ma Tei, hoping to find some great eats at Temple Street Night Market!

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(Poor picture quality coz I used my phone) We had this huge hot dog! Forgot how much this was but I think it’s around S$2

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Guy gave me a death stare as he caught me photographing him #guaguagua

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Flash drives

Cartoon-theme flash drives and luggage tags are aplenty at the night market. Luggage tags were typically going for HK$100 for five pieces (or HK$20 each) and they make perfect souvenirs for anybody. Bf and I bought a few for our tutees. The flash drives were selling for about HK$25 each but I didn’t buy any because I doubted that it would work on the computer. It also had an unbelievable amount of storage space (can’t remember how much, probably 32GB) which is just too good to be true. I don’t want to save vital information on the flash disk and then it ends up getting corrupted or something. However, having said so, if you don’t use it as a storage device, it’s actually a pretty cute key chain.

The night market didn’t have a single food cart so we were kinda disappointed as we expected it to be like those in Taiwan where you’d find food sold everywhere. As we explored the area, we chanced upon an eatery that seemed to sell affordable (a huge concern because our funds were running low) yet authentic Hong Kong food.

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Eat Together!

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Milk Tea (HK$12)

The taste of Milk Tea in Hong Kong seemed to be consistent no matter which eatery I went to. They were generally fragrant and thick, even after the ice in it had melted. It was my staple drink in Hong Kong.

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Radish Beef Brisket (HK$28)

This is definitely incomparable to the beef brisket we had at Mak’s Noodles in terms of flavour and portion but it is still a decent dish. I enjoyed the soft radish but the beef brisket, although tender, was a little gristly.

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Tomato, Beef & Egg with Rice (HK$30)

This was boyfriend’s main dish. The gravy was tomato-flavoured and topped with sliced tomatoes that are soft to the core. The diced beef was also moist and reasonably tender.

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Fried Rice (HK$38)

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Close up!

I was craving for a rice dish so I ordered this! It smells as good as the fried rice in Singapore but the taste is distinctively different. The rice in Singapore is drier but the one I had in Hong Kong is a little oilier and stickier. Also, the latter tasted a bit more chewy, which I feel is what sets it apart from our fried rice. I don’t dislike any of them because I truly enjoy both. They just have their own unique characteristics! 🙂

大家食 Eat Together (Yau Ma Tei Branch)
Yau Ma Tei Wing Sing Lane No. 16
油麻地永星里1b號
Tel:  6386 0000 (Main), 2395 7138 (YMT Branch)
Website: eattogether.hk
Nearest MTR: Yau Ma Tei

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Roadside fruit stall

Bf and I bought Banana Milkshake and Papaya Milk juice from a fruit stall beside the eatery after dinner. The Banana Milkshake was not bad but the Papaya Milk was horrid and tasteless. We couldn’t drink beyond three quarter of the cup so we threw it away in the end. Even though Hong Kong is in close geographic proximity to Taiwan, they are not necessarily good in the same areas. 😕

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And we took a taxi back to our hotel because we had already missed our last train!

That’s all for day 3 but there’s still more to come! So be sure to stay tuned for the next part 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Read also
Hong Kong, the Land of Dim Sum (PART 1)
Hong Kong, the Land of Dim Sum (PART 3)

Hong Kong, the Land of Dim Sum (PART 1)

Hello everyone!

December marks the end of a long grueling year for those in the workforce as well as those students who have studied so hard for their finals. So what better way to celebrate the holidays than to go on a vacation? I’m not sure about you but it has been our (with Bf) tradition to travel before the year ends. We’re still touring Asia because our financial means are limited. Hence for this holiday, we had chosen Hong Kong as our travel destination! 🙂

source: freeimages.com

source: freeimages.com

Like our previous vacays, our trip was an impromptu one as we had only decided where to go two weeks before our departure. Our itinerary for 6 days and 5 nights in Hong Kong was only planned two nights before, based on recommendations on Lonely Planet and blogs. We made our bookings through Expedia once again and surprisingly, the rates for the air tickets and hotels were still rather affordable. However the airfares did not include checked baggage so we had to fork out additional money for that. We also paid extra to book our desired seats (S$5 per seat if I remember correctly). On the whole, we spent about $700 each for airfare and accommodation. Quite reasonable, if you ask me!

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We travelled with Tiger Air! It was a four-hour plane ride.

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Nice blue sky! #nofilter

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Hong Kong International Airport

Hong Kong International Airport has two terminals – 1 and 2. Our plane landed at Terminal 2 but we had to take the free shuttle bus to Terminal 1 because that’s where the arrival immigration clearance is done. Quite troublesome though. As signage was not very clear, we were for awhile unsure of where to collect our luggage. So we kinda followed the crowd and had to ask one of the airport ambassadors for directions.

But to be honest, I was really anticipating this trip. Watching a truck load of Hong Kong serial dramas from a young age has definitely strengthened my desire to visit the city. The show Triumph in the Skies (one of my favourites), for example, had made me really excited to be at the Hong Kong International Airport. Being clean and modern, it serves as a very good comparison to Changi Airport. I also like that the arrival hall is surrounded with glass windows to allow sunlight through, making the place look really bright and cheery.

This post would cover only the first two days of the trip.

* * Day 1 * *

(Getting the necessities, Cosmopolitan Hotel & Keung Kee Roasted Meat Restaurant)

Our first thing to do upon arrival at the airport was, of course, to get a prepaid SIM card with 3G data. We had a few recommendations for that from travel blogs but we managed to narrow the list to one which had unlimited data usage for our entire 6-day stay in Hong Kong. If you’re interested, you can get it from booth A04 at Terminal 1. Each SIM card costs about HK$200 (S$35). You can also get other necessities like the Octopus card for tourists (their version of EZlink card) and Airport Express Travel Pass (AETP) from the same booth. If you have travelled with Tigerair, you can also buy tickets to Hong Kong Disneyland at a discounted rate (10% off) from there.

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Octopus card at HK$10 each

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Airport Express Travel Pass, HK$160 for two to Hong Kong station

The AETP is very useful if you’re not planning to take a cab to your hotel. Mind you, taxi hires in Hong Kong are not as cheap as you think. If you get caught in a jam, you’re gonna chalk up a lot of money for the ride. I’d say the fares are comparable to those in Singapore. Furthermore, I feel that taking the train is a lot faster than a cab due to possible traffic congestions.

For the AETP, you can opt for a single or return journey (on the same day) ticket but the price of one depends on the station you’re alighting at. My destination was Hong Kong station, which is the furthest on the Airport Express Line (AEL) . Hence, my ticket was on the pricier end. The entrance to the AEL is conveniently located next to McDonald’s. Speaking of which, we had McDonald’s for lunch! It was where I made my first order entirely in Cantonese (so proud of myself)! I’m not very fluent in Cantonese myself but I’d tend to feel pressured to “fit in” when they speak to me in their language. In fact, the cashier probably thought I was a fellow Hong Konger until I hung my camera around my neck HAHA.

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From this picture you can already tell that the Hong Kongers are also eloquent in English.

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We had this set meal called “DipDip” that came with 4 different types of sauce for your drumlets, nuggets and chicken bites. The Quarter Pounder is a separate meal.

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Waiting for the train to Hong Kong station

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The distance indicator on board the train! More blue lights appeared as more miles are covered. How cool!

At Hong Kong station, we were supposed to wait for the (complimentary) shuttle bus to our hotel but the next bus would only arrive in an hour’s time! It was already getting dark so we decided to flag down a cab instead. But the queue for the taxi was astonishing long, we ended up waiting for an hour for a cab too 😦

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We’re almost the first in line!!

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Direction signboard leading to our hotel

Our taxi ride was another 45 minutes because the road was jam-packed. It was madness! Plan your itinerary well and avoid commuting by taxis during peak hours. everyone!

Our cabbie didn’t know where to drop us off so he halted his vehicle a few metres from our hotel, beside a private estate where there was ample space to unload our luggage (and we later got shooed away by the security guard muahaha). What greeted us right in front when we alighted was a hill of tombs which we later discovered was a Muslim cemetery. That kinda spooked us out a little. And the best part?

Our hotel room was facing the cemetery.

We requested for a room change but we were told that other rooms were fully booked. Those that were available were all facing the cemetery. But if we insisted, we could pay a premium for a better room. By then, I had already come to my senses and accepted the arrangement, but not for my Bf who had to be persuaded further. I thought the idea of waking up to a view of the cemetery was rather cool and exotic haha. But of course, that didn’t happen because our windows were opaque and blinded. They were locked at all times so I couldn’t catch a glimpse of the cemetery from our room :\

Anyway, we stayed at Cosmopolitan Hotel! If you’d disregarded its unusual location, it’s actually a pretty decent four-star hotel with great amenities. It provides free shuttle services to MTR stations in the vicinity as well as Ocean Park at a relatively low rate (HK$15 per person per trip). However, do note that they’d require a deposit of HK$1000, refundable on the day of check-out. We paid by cash when we could use our credit card instead. Due to our stupidity, we had HK$1000 lesser for shopping -_-

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Hotel lobby.

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A reputable hotel!

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Our room number!

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The hotel upgraded our room to one with King-size bed for free!

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There are shelves behind sliding door next to the lamp…

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… where the safe and hair dryer are kept!

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TV in front of the bed, with an iPhone provided by the hotel for your usage!

The hotel claims to provide free premium Wi-Fi but it’s only available in their guestrooms, hotel lobby, restaurant and meeting rooms. If you want internet access, you gotta pay. However, many guests failed to realise that you can actually tether internet from the iPhone they’ve provided (hence the lobby was always crowded with people lol). You can also make overseas calls (to Singapore, Malaysia, etc.) with the phone. On top of that, you’re free to bring it out with you on your exploration! Whoa. Perhaps that’s why a hefty deposit is needed.

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The toilet!

The room is SUPERB because it’s equipped with multiple plug sockets and full-length mirrors (useful for me only). We both brought a multi-plug adapter just in case there weren’t enough plug sockets but there was one at each side of the bed to prevent people like my Bf from hogging. I love this hotel! Besides, Hong Kong uses the same electrical outlet plug as Singapore so no travel adapter was needed at all 🙂

Cosmopolitan Hotel
387-397 Queen’s Road East
Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Nearest MTR: Causeway Bay
Website: http://www.cosmopolitanhotel.com.hk/

* * *

It was almost 9pm and we were famished! We headed out, walked in the chilly and rainy weather to search for food to eat. It took us about 20 minutes to find the perfect eatery.

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Outside our hotel

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Took the underpass (a.k.a. subway) and walked along Wing Ning Street

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This shop specialises in anything roasted!

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This says it all. Must try!

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Here’s what we ordered! Let’s begin with the beverages that Hong Kong is widely known for.

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Milk Tea (left, HK$18), HK Style Mixed Coffee & Tea “鸳鸯” (right, HK$18)

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Pineapple bun (HK$12)

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It’d be better if it was creamier!

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Coconut, jelly fungus, red date and chicken soup (HK$40)

We got this as there weren’t many choices left for soup at that hour. I was quite doubtful about the taste initially because I had never tasted any soup with coconut as one of the ingredients. But what was I thinking? It’s Hong Kong we’re talking about. They are renowned for their fine culinary skills! So this has got to be good.

*takes first sip* Oh my God, it’s reaaaaaally good. The coconut really brought out the fragrance of the soup and it’s really crunchy. Having such hot, soul-soothing soup in the cold weather just spelt bliss. It’s so awesome. If this wasn’t sold out at 9pm, it could mean that it’s one of the least popular items on the soup menu. Gosh, the others must taste heavenly then!

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Triple roast – barbecued pork, barbecued ribs and roasted goose with rice (HK$72)

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SHIOKKKK

The eatery actually offers barbecued pork, ribs and roasted goose separately with rice on the menu at HK$46 (for pork and ribs) or HK$54. But if you’re indecisive (and hungry) like me, you should totally go for this! I hate to sound repetitive but this is REMARKABLY delicious! Hong Kongers are really generous with their rice though. I can hardly finish them in Singapore but somehow the Hong Kongers managed to changed my appetite. My plate was EMPTIED. Hahaha.

The roasted goose was the best! I was mentally trying to stop myself from spearing it with my fork but of course, they were too irresistible I couldn’t keep away from it! Thus my goose meat was the first to disappear on the plate. Haha. Having said that, the barbecued pork and ribs were equally good too! They were soft and marinated really well.

I was like, crap, the food in Hong Kong is so good. At this rate, I’m gonna balloon up by the time I’m back in Singapore. :\

Keung Kee Roasted Meat Restaurant 強記飯店
Shop A & B, G/F, Siu Fung Building
9-17 Tin Lok Lane
Wanchai, Hong Kong
Nearest MTR: Wanchai, Times Square

* * Day 2  * *

(Disneyland Hong Kong & Mak’s Noodle)

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Happy faces!

This day had been set aside for Hong Kong Disneyland! Bf and I were thrilled because we didn’t have the privilege to go to Disneyland when we were younger. It’s great that we’re able to relive our childhood memories now that we’ve earned our own money. More importantly, Bf finally had the chance to meet his favourite Disney character, Winnie the Pooh! He had been looking forward to this day (so don’t be surprised to see tons of pictures of Pooh later because my photographer for the day was, well, my Bf hahaha)

We embarked on our journey to Disneyland at about 10.30am. The nearest MTR station from the hotel is Causeway Bay (not Wanchai as mentioned by the hotel), which is a 15-minute walk away. There are shops along the way to keep your eyes occupied so you won’t really find the distance too great.

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Singapore represent!

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The public light bus that doesn’t seem to have a designated stop. I remember characters on TVB dramas would just shout for the drama to stop whenever they wanted to. Haha

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At Hong Kong’s Times Square!

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Mega Big Hero

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Remember the MTR logo! It will come in handy when you’re lost in Hong Kong

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On the train like the locals heehee.

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Causeway Bay station is on the Island line. We had to transfer to another train at Central station for the Tung Chung line

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Boarded the Tung Chung line train at Central which was heading towards Sunny Bay station. Thereafter, we had to make another transfer to Disneyland Resort

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Hand grips on the Disneyland Resort-bound train! SO CUTE.

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How the train actually looks like from outside. So adorable right asfghlahsjfjakl

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Aaaand we’re here! WOOHOOOOO!!

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Happy boy found his spot!

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The entrance! There’s supposed to be a train track above it but I didn’t see any trains passing by the entire time!

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Produced our Disneyland tickets bought over the booth at the airport

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Mickey’s flowerbed prominently displayed near the entrance. I wonder what’s in the house behind it!

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Featuring some of the items from the merchandise! Look, a set of Pooh and Tigger nail clippers! Bf got one for himself but he’s not gonna use it

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Caps and more caps!

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Tags! You can slot your own picture into the character’s face

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There are drawing classes as well! But all sessions are conducted in Cantonese. We didn’t see Pooh. So, we’re not a bit interested. Hahaha!

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Main Street, U.S.A., designed to resemble the center of a turn-of-the-20th-century (c. 1910) American town.

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These houses are just shops selling souvenirs and edibles such as donuts and pastry

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Waffles and cookies!

And ice-creams which we didn't try. Too many things, too little time!

And ice-creams which we didn’t try. Too many things, too little time!

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Walked into one of the merchandise shop and saw this Frozen-themed earmuff! Too bad I have no use for this otherwise I’d buy it!

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Bf convinced me to buy this S$50 bag :\ But it’s cute and made of really good and thick quality!

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A Pooh cape! So cute can!? Hahaha! Too bad that I’m too old for this

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The seller was nice enough to allow people with take pictures with his balloons! *thumbs up*

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Sleeping Beauty Castle in front of Fantasyland!

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There were so many of this bird at the theme park! The place felt even more magical with their presence 🙂

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One of the dining options at Disneyland! It was so crowded so we gave this a miss

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The kind of food sold at Disneyland theme park. I guess the Disney-themed ones can only be found at Chef Mickey (in the hotel itself)

"Frozen" puppet show

“Frozen” puppet show

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Uh oh, someone’s gonna spend a really long time in here!

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Pooh and Mickey mugs! Now I kinda regret not buying one :\

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How is it possible for the balloon to float when it’s tied to Pooh?

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Hair clips! I’d get this if I was 10 years younger. But nah…

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But this is really cute, isn’t it?! It’s a pair of ear studs! I bought it but can’t bear to put it on

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Right beside the shop is The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, where you get to ride on Pooh’s “Hunny” pot through his whimsical dream of Heffalumps and Woozles for a story book adventure through the Hundred Acre Wood

Front view of the vehicle

Front view of the vehicle

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Back view. We shared a vehicle with another couple

There was a long queue for the ride but we managed to skip it because we made use of Disney’s FastPass service! It’s a virtual queuing system that allows you to save time by reducing the time you spend in line for the attractions. But this only applies to attractions equipped with that feature. It’s really easy to use! All you need to do is to insert your admission ticket into the FastPass machine and it would give you a ticket indicating your time slot for the ride. While waiting for your turn, you are free to explore other parts of the theme park! 🙂

Our FastPass tickets :)

Our FastPass tickets 🙂

After the ride, we went to another “land” of Disneyland!

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Tomorrowland, the futuristic part of the theme park

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Was forced to stand below the mist -_-

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We were starting to hear my stomach growl, so we got some snacks! The caramel popcorn was da bombz. Each piece was coated with thick caramel sauce but it could get a little too sweet after awhile

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As we still couldn’t satisfy our hunger, we bought some fast food!

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Nothing special, but really pricey. Nothing at Disneyland is cheap though.

Jumbo Hot Dog Combo. The sausage was obscenely long HAHA. But the entire thing was really huge, a lot bigger than my palm!

Jumbo Hot Dog Combo. The sausage was obscenely long HAHA. But the entire thing was really huge, a lot bigger than my palm!

At around 3pm, we saw people crowding around the walkway of the plaza. I vaguely remembered from the information booklet that there would be a Flights of Fantasy Parade at a certain timing, so I joined the crowd with Bf in tow.

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Buzz Lightyear

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The Green Army Men from Toy Story

Sheriff Woody from Toy Story

Sheriff Woody from Toy Story

Cowgirl Jessie from Toy Story

Cowgirl Jessie from Toy Story (oops, wrong focus!)

Stitch

Stitch

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Tinkerbell from Peter Pan

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Timon from The Lion King

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King Louie from The Jungle Book

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With Baloo from The Jungle Book

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Disney princesses! Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty

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Snow White

And here comes Bf’s favourite part. I think my camera ran out of space because of gazillions of videos and pictures taken at this point.

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It’s Winnie the Pooh! He kinda lost weight ah? Not enough honey at Disneyland?

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Eeyore and Tigger! No Piglet though, probably because no Disneyland crew member is small enough to fit into Piglet’s costume

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I wonder if the younger kids knew who these characters were. Or do they only know Elsa and Mickey Mouse?

After the parade, the mascots went to their respective stations for photo-taking with their fans. Bf and I were running all over the place in search of Winnie the Pooh. We finally found him at one of the pavilions at Fantasyland.

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Bf’s mission accomplished!

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Saw Mickey Mouse and queued for a photo with him as well!

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PhotoPass card

Our pictures were also taken by Disneyland’s own photographers and stored in the account indicated on the PhotoPass card (the photographer’s assistant would scan the QR code on your card after that). Once you’re done with the meet-and-greet, you can hand the card to the photo booth to get the pictures printed out. Of course, this service is not free-of-charge.

Time was ticking away! We were down to only three hours before the theme park officially closes at 8.30pm. We still hadn’t explored other parts of the theme park such as the Adventureland 😦

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A fairytale-themed park is never complete without a carousel!

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Yay!

We returned to Tomorrowland for a ride on the electric cars at Autopia.

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My steering wheel!

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And off we go!

The cars unfortunately travel on guided path to prevent collision. You need to step on the pedal to move the car but the steering wheel turns on its own when it’s needed. So you could technically drive without laying your hands on the steering wheel. Since both of my hands were free, I took some pictures while I on the track. Hahaha! Kids, please do not learn from this terribly bad example.

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More souvenirs at Main Street, U.S.A.

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An expert molding a crystal over a high temperature

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His works! Bf got one. Do you know which? No prizes if you guessed it correctly!

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Nice gigantic Christmas Tree near the plaza

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The Carriage House I’ve featured earlier has transformed into some magical place at night! Totally getting the Christmas vibes from here

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So amazing!

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Seeing how crowded the first parade was, we decided to camp at a good spot an hour before the next parade began at 7.30pm. For the month of December, the “Disney Paint the Night” parade would be slightly different because the audience would be able to interact with the performers using the special magic enabled merchandise items developed for the parade. These items are the Mickey Magic Paint Brush, Mickey Glow Mitt and Minnie Glow Bow. The first mentioned changes the colour of the performers’ costume at the touch of a button. Paint the night, literally.

Bf decided to put me into embarrassment and got me two of the merchandise items – the Mickey Magic Paint Brush and Mickey Glow Mitt. -_-

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Ariel from The Little Mermaid! The other characters are repeated from the earlier parade, so I have omitted them from this post

I was holding the Mickey Magic Paint Brush like an overgrown kid during the parade and suddenly one of the performers came to me and urge me to tap the LED lights on her costume with my toy. I did and the colour of her costume changed! It was fascinating 🙂

After the last parade, people were already rushing to gather at the Sleeping Beauty Castle where the “Disney in the Stars” fireworks would be held. Luckily for us, we were already watching the previous parade from around the area so we didn’t have to move much.

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A screengrab from the video Bf took.

The fireworks were spectacular and break-taking. Completely immersed in the show, I got flashbacks of my childhood days as A Whole New World was playing in the background, and silhouettes of Disney characters appearing on the walls of the castle. I recalled the period of time I kept replaying Cinderella on my VCD player. The experience almost brought a tear to my eye. Those were good memories I wouldn’t trade anything for 🙂

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It started to “snow” at Main Street, U.S.A.! It made the place even more fairytale-like. Argh, can I not leave this place please?

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But we had to, because the theme park was closing. Here’s Mickey surfboarding above a whale near the entrance.

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We will be back again, Hong Kong Disneyland! 🙂

Our experience at Disneyland was mostly fun but tiring because we were constantly on our feet and waiting in line for the rides. We made a big mistake of not having our proper meal before entering the theme park because we were starving by the time we left the place. We survived the day mainly on finger foods sold at Disneyland.

So we went on a quest for a good eatery to dine at near our hotel, and eventually discovered this gem. In fact, a Caucasian lady who had just exited the restaurant started raving to us how awesome the food was when we were browsing through the menu at the entrance. We could totally see her face beaming with sincerity and that she truly enjoyed her food there. With that, we eagerly took a seat inside Mak’s Noodle and placed our first order.

We requested for a menu in English because we couldn’t read (traditional) Chinese really well.

Some pictures seem to be taken in the day because we patronised the same restaurant for the remaining days of our stay in Hong Kong. To ease confusion, I shall put together everything we ate at there.

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Mak’s Noodle. They have their own Wikipedia page here!

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Their accolades have great convincing power that they’re one of the best around!

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Inside the restaurant

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Complimentary cup of Chinese tea for every patron

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Wonton Noodles in Soup (HK$36)

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Gosh, this is so good. Bf and I miss this so badly!

The restaurant’s star dish is definitely the Wonton Noodles in Soup, which has been accredited with being one of Hong Kong’s best Wonton Noodles. I couldn’t agree more. The flavourful broth, the springy and light noodles coupled with the chewy and fresh prawns in the silky smooth wonton wrap make this dish the best I’ve tasted hands down.

My only quibble about this, and everything else on the menu, is the portion. Being a holder of a Light Refreshment Restaurant License in Hong Kong, the food there is typically served in small porcelain bowls that can barely satiate anyone who has an appetite of a normal human being. So ordering side dishes is a must!

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Double Boiler Soup with Shrimp Roe (HK$19)

All the broth, with the exception of those with beef, seemed to have come from the same pot, only enhanced by the different ingredients added to the dish. The Double Boiler (sic) Soup above tasted about the same as the broth in the Wonton Noodle Soup, but it’s a little saltier and thicker. They scallions are not crunchy but they melt instantly in your mouth. It was a joy having this awesome bowl of hot soup in that chilly night!

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Fresh Soy Milk (HK$9)

As its name suggests, this is fresh and thick, too.

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Tossed Noodles with Wonton & Oyster Sauce (HK$51)

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Great noodles!

Dry Wonton Noodles (with a separate bowl of soup) is also offered as an alternative and it’s as good as the soup version. The oyster sauce was also out of this world. Sometimes this would leave me with a tough decision to make. Soup or dry for today?!

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Wonton & Dumpling in Soup (HK$40)

Just dumplings and soup, if you don’t feel like having noodles. This also makes a great choice for side dish 🙂

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Prawn Noodles in Soup (HK$63)

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The broth here tasted slightly different with the slight prawn essence. A bite into the juicy and luscious medium-size prawns unveiled a bed of soft and tender flesh. It’s splendid!

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Tossed Noodles with Beef Brisket (HK$51)

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Something different for the palate!

The beef brisket was soft, moist and cooked to the right texture. It also didn’t taste fatty at all.

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Wonton & Beef Brisket in Soup (HK$42)

The best of both worlds – combining two great ingredients into a bowl of piping hot soup. The beef-based broth was a refreshing change from the usual light Wonton soup.

And yes, the restaurant does serve congee or porridge too!

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Thousand Egg and Pork Meat Congee, 皮蛋瘦肉粥 (HK$44)

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Trying to get the preserved egg out

The congee is seasoned with pepper and topped with more cut scallions. It’s thick and smooth like velvet, and generously laden with the preserved egg.

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Special Combination Congee (HK$58)

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Pork liver

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Mushrooms and beef

If you’re spoilt for choice or hungry for variety, pick this! It has more than 2 different ingredients, guaranteed to delight your taste buds. I particularly like the beef because it’s really soft and tender. The mushrooms are great as well for the same reason. I don’t really take pork liver (can’t get pass that urine and faecal taste, ugh) so I gave most to Bf, but was forced to down one piece. Good grief, they seemed to have cleanse them of the offensive flavour fairly well as it didn’t taste that bad. But still, pork liver is a no-no for me.

Mak’s Noodle 麥奀雲吞麵世家
GF, No37 Leighton Road
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, China (Causeway Bay Branch)
Opening hours: 9.00am to 11.00pm (last order at 10.30pm)

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That’s the end of my first two days in Hong Kong. Be sure to stay tuned for the next part 😉

Thanks for reading!

Read also
Hong Kong, the Land of Dim Sum (PART 2)
Hong Kong, the Land of Dim Sum (PART 3)