Hong Kong no Phooey TR (Apr 2012)! The Yee's have it....TR finish #1101, 07/09

Discussion in 'Hong Kong Disneyland' started by PrincessInOz, Oct 26, 2011.

  1. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    I thought it was cool too.


    Yeah. Back to real world is not my favourite feeling after Disney.


    I was only reluctant to take the train because we had all that luggage with us. Between us all, we had 4 medium/large bags and 5 carry-ons to wheel through the stations. Add the fact that we needed to change train lines twice, I just thought it might have been too much for my dad.
    It was fine for DH, DS and me; and my mum did manage fine. In the end, it was okay.


    I totally agree. If D&B had a different theme and more Asian in flavour for Hong Kong, I would have snapped up the bag. :thumbsup2


    Hopefully by the time I'm a little bit further along in the TR, DBF will realise that there is not much to be worried about. :goodvibes
     
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  3. ehsmum

    ehsmum Mouseketeer

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    Melenie - don't worry, English is very widely used in HK. We only came across one person who didn't speak English :).

    PIO, I'm so glad you took the Disney train as it really is very special :). We actually took it before we ever got to HKDL :). We were at Tung Chung station and Sunny Bay was only one stop away. We couldn't resist taking a little detour and hopping on the Disney train and walking up to check out the fountains and gate before heading back to Kowloon :).

    Great view! I'm trying to figure out where your hotel was, I need to pull my map out and locate it.
     
  4. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    If you do pull your map out, it is East of East Tsim Sha Tsui and right next to the Hong Kong Coliseum. It was a little out of the main action; but as it only took 5 - 10 minutes on the free shuttle or by MTR, it wasn't too bad.
     
  5. dgbg100106

    dgbg100106 Missing the Tag Fiary

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    We took the train in Amsterdam with our luggage and it turned out to be the best way to travel. We would do it again also.

    If you had got the bag, and shown pictures I would have beaten ,myself up for not asking you to get me one while you were there.....
     
  6. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    :rotfl2: Everytime I make the mistake of looking at your signature, I beat myself up!!!
     
  7. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    Adjusting to the local custom


    After we’d unpacked and settled into the room, we were all a bit antsy to get out and about. I had a vague notion of heading up to Victoria Peak and seeing the lights of Hong Kong from up there. DH was keen to go as well.

    A quick call to my parents settled the situation. They would be waiting for our TA friend to arrive. She was flying in on this day and was going to be bunking in with my parents. That was all the encouragement I needed.

    I checked in with concierge for directions. The recommendations were:
    Take the hotel shuttle bus service from right outside the front of the hotel…

    [​IMG]


    …which will drop you at the back of the Peninsula Hotel, opposite the Kowloon Hotel, in Tsim Sha Tsui, 5 - 10 minutes later.

    The hotel shuttle runs promptly every 20 minutes and we were to come to appreciate this service very much over the next 8 days.

    From the shuttle drop off, we were directly outside of the entry into the Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station. We were to take the Red Line to Central (which was the terminal station for this line). From there, we would walk to the Victoria Tram Terminal and catch the tram up to the Peak.

    If you were doing this from HKDL, you would catch the train to Sunny Bay, transfer to the Hong Kong line (Yellow), transfer again at Lai King station to the Central line (Red).

    We followed the instructions to the letter. Once again, we thought that the MTR was brilliant and never waited more than 2 minutes for a service.



    We checked the tourist map along the way and managed to make our way to the Lower Peak Tram Terminus. I was still being cautious about overtly advertising the fact that I was a tourist, so the camera stayed in the bag for the most part.


    It was when we got to the Tram Terminus that we realised it was going to be a loooong week in Hong Kong. I had thought that the queues at Disneyland had been bad; but they were nothing compared to the queue at 4.30 pm for the Peak tram. We did see a sign for “90 minute wait from this point” and the queue was snaking past a sign!


    There were HEAPS of people around.


    DH and I weren’t prepared to give up on the idea of the Peak at this stage and we looked round to see if we could catch a taxi. We weren’t the only ones with that idea; but there was no taxi rank to be seen. It seemed to be a free-for-all system with a bit of push and shove when a taxi did stop.

    And it seemed to be a local custom!




    Isn’t it amazing what the mind remembers? As a child growing up in Asia, I had certainly seen the knack of how to push and shove and get ahead of someone else…in these cases, possession is the law and it is rather difficult to kick someone out of a taxi when they are already firmly parked in it.

    I will say that I did try to be polite for about 6 taxis only to find other people jumping into the taxi before me; but in the end, I STOLE a taxi away from another family. In my defence…the taxi stopped because I flagged it down and that other family had only just appeared on that spot right where the taxi stopped. As the mother was trying to ask if the taxi would take them to the peak, I got in and sat in the back.

    DH and DS followed my lead without any instructions. It’s amazing what 10 minutes of experience can teach them!


    Sure doesn’t take long to adjust to local custom.




    The taxi driver just took off as soon as the door shut. Seems like they know when not to get involved in minor possession disputes either.





    (Continued in Next Post)
     
  8. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    (Continued from Previous Post)


    At Victoria Peak



    It took us about 15 – 20 minutes to reach the Peak Gallery by taxi. The cost? HK$55; roughly $8 in our money. For comparison purposes – the cost of the taxi was less that the cost of one-way tickets for the 3 of us on the Peak Tram. The taxi let us down at the transport terminal at the bottom of the Peak Gallery building.

    And just in case someone reading needs the information, I did find out later that there is a bus service (#15) that runs from Central Station up to the Peak. It follows the same scenic route as the taxi. Likewise with a Green Minibus service (#1) that runs to the Peak. The bus and the minibus will drop you off at the transport terminal at the bottom of the Peak Gallery building.

    The Peak Gallery is a small’ish mall with a collection of shops like a supermarket, a 7-11, Delifrance, a myriad of souvenir shops and eateries. We followed some signs that indicated that we could head outside.


    I snaffled these from DH. He got the view looking towards the Peak...

    [​IMG]



    ...And the walkway down to the concourse area.

    [​IMG]




    My own sights was still firmly set towards Lantau Island.

    [​IMG]




    There was a genuine imitation tram in the concourse area and it housed the tourist information office.

    [​IMG]



    Orientation time. This is the Peak Gallery building that we’d just come out of.

    [​IMG]



    The replica tram sits to the Peak side.

    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]



    This building is the Peak Tower, where the Sky Terrace 428 is. There are also a heap of restaurants and shops in the Tower as well.

    [​IMG]



    And on the Central side of the concourse, yet more restaurants.

    [​IMG]





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  9. franandaj

    franandaj I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!

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    That view reminds me of the MK views I've seen at BLT, big parking lot...castle off in the distance! :rotfl: However, when you only look up the skyline is spectacular!

    I love the little kitchen, that was sweet, but NO BATHTUB! :scared1: I don't know what I would do without my tub on holidays!

    Glad to see you all settled into your room. popcorn::
     
  10. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    (Continued from Previous Post)


    Pesky Vegetarian!



    DH and I knew we wanted to head up to the top of the Tower after dark and there was still plenty of light. So, we figured it was a good time to have dinner.

    I’d checked out a place that I wanted to eat at. Mak’s Noodle shop had been rated by a number of institutions and that Bourdain fellow as one of the best noodles shops in Hong Kong. Their main premise was in Central; but there was a branch right here at the Peak.

    Finding the shop wasn’t hard. It was located in that building towards Central and I think you can make out the sign just behind the Haagan Daas neon (check it out).

    [​IMG]



    We eagerly sat down at a table, got served our tea and I took a picture of the menu…

    [​IMG]



    With prices around the HK$48 mark, a bowl of noodles here was going to cost us about $7 in our money.

    It was at this point that this plan went all pear shaped. I asked about vegetarian or seafood options as DH is what I call a pesky-vegetarian. He eats seafood (pesce) with his grass grazing habit (vegetarian) and I always check out of habit.



    The waiter looked at me and said no. He.said.no.




    We were practically chased out of the shop and told to head 2 doors down. Its been over a month and I think I’ve almost nearly forgiven DH now. And if anyone who’s reading this heads up to the Peak and eats at Mak’s Noodles, I’ll want food porn!

    The restaurant 2 doors down is Tsui Wah. It’s the restaurant that’s in the corner of that building. We checked out the menu and determined that there were seafood vegetarian options available for DH.


    We were shown to a table and I snaffled this from DH’s set.

    [​IMG]



    My view of the restaurant. The restaurant décor was casual in style and this was to mark the first in a few Hong Kong ‘street food’ cafes that we would eat in. In local parlance, this style of restaurant is known as cha chaang teng, which loosely translates to tea café. Eating in a cha chaang teng will guarantee you food that is cheap and ‘nothing fancy’. But be warned – some of the food can be overly greasy; so be careful about what you order.

    [​IMG]



    We placed our order and we all went with a soup noodles dish. In less than 5 minutes, our food appeared.

    I went with the calamari balls and noodles.

    [​IMG]



    DS went with the fish balls and noodles.

    [​IMG]



    DH chose a tofu stuffed with fish and noodles.

    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]



    The fish balls, calamari balls and that stuffed tofu were absolutely wonderful. We all had flat rice noodles in the light flavoursome broth. The combination was delightfully fresh and delicious!


    The bill? It came to about HK$140; which is about $19 in our money. We paid cash.



    I would definitely recommend any of the 3 dishes we had at Tsui Wah but the pick of the lot by a very slight edge was the fish ball noodles (or yee dan fun).





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  11. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    (Continued from Previous Post)


    Sky Terrace 428



    By the time we finished dinner, the day had turned to night. It was definitely time for us to turn our attention to this building.

    [​IMG]



    The current Peak Tower is the second tower building constructed on the Victoria Gap site. The building is NOT located at the top of the Peak; but rather some distance below the top of the Peak itself. The top of the building is shaped like a wok and the open viewing platform at the top is where everyone seems to head to when they go to the Peak for the first time. The building is also home to a number of eateries, including a Bubba Gumps, as well as a Madame Tussauds.

    [​IMG]



    The Peak Tower building is also where the Peak tram terminates at the top of the Peak.

    We headed into the building, where I was still being reminded of where we had come from earlier in the day.

    [​IMG]



    We headed to the Sky Terrace 428 desk and we bought our tickets.

    [​IMG]



    The Sky Terrace 428 is so named because the terrace stands at 428 metres above sea level. The most economical way of experiencing the Sky Terrace seems to be a bundle ticket of the terrace entry and the tram. The return Sky Tram Pass runs at HK$65 per adult (about $9 in our money). A single entry adult ticket into the Sky Terrace is HK$30 (about $5 in our money). As we had gotten to the peak by taxi, we just purchased the single entry tix.

    We headed up the escalators to the top….

    [​IMG]



    …where we were to go check out the night lights of Hong Kong city.





    (Continued in Next Post)
     
  12. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    (Continued from Previous Post)


    Let’s Play Spot the difference at the Peak



    When I was a child, I used to love looking at the picture game Spot the Difference. Anyone else remember that game?

    It usually consisted of two similar pictures side by side, either horizontally or vertically, with instructions to find x number of differences, where x = 10 or some base number like that.

    So, here’s my version of the game. Spot the difference!

    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]




    Some closer-ups of the buildings at night.

    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]





    The Sky Terrace was packed! In the section facing Central and Kowloon, there was no elbow room.
    For any photonuts reading this, the pictures taken here were all taken hand-held. I did bring my tripod along but there was no way I was going to be able to set it up. And even if I did manage to set it up, it was obvious that the tripod was no going to be respected by anyone!


    And if ever I thought that I was click-happy on the camera, I was to find out on this night that I was but a mere novice. Tonight, all around me, I heard the sound of mini machine guns being fired.

    Click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click



    And that was in the space of 20 seconds! In stereophonic sound!




    I have no idea how those pictures turned out or if the owners of the machine guns intended to stitch the pictures together or not…but it was interesting to see how other tourists take pictures.



    With the Harbour in between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, Hong Kong city at night looked really beautiful. I know everyone says it is a small city…and it might be that…..but looking at it from the Peak, I wouldn’t have described it as small.



    Oh - and for anyone who seriously played spot the difference....most of the difference was in various buildings changing colours.



    (Continued in Next Post)
     
  13. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    (Continued from Previous Post)


    A Tale of Two Toilets



    I know everyone comes home from holidays with their own toilet stories; I am no different.

    The first two toilet stories happened on this night.



    After we had our fill of neon lights, we figured it was time to leave. I stopped by the ladies on the way out. Naturally there was a queue. When it came my turn, someone behind me queue jumped and ran into the cubicle ahead of me. I think you can imagine my reaction.

    And then just as I could hear the flush of the next cubicle, there was movement again from behind me and I pretty much yelled out in English that I was next and no one was to jump ahead of me. Turns out the person trying to queue jump had a child that just couldn’t wait. Everyone else behind me saw it and they all started to yell back at me….only in Cantonese. The cacophony was defeaning.


    I did let the child go ahead of me; all the while aware that there were poison darts being shot at my back. But by this stage, I’d pulled out my Kevlar vest (my camera) and made a pretend call to DH, speaking in as broad an Aussie accent as possible.


    If there had been one of those pit toilets under me then, I think I would have stepped in it and pulled the chain in the hopes of being flushed down and away from that near-lynch mob.




    The second story happened back down near Central station. It took us a while….a long while to head back down. The Peak tram heading back was nuts! The bus lines were crazy…so we queued up again for the taxi. At least in the transport terminal underneath the Peak Gallery, there were proper lines so I was glad that there would be no repeat demonstration of local custom adjustment needed. It took us 40 minutes to grab a taxi and we got off at Central MTR station.

    DS was desperate by this stage and we headed down the MTR expecting there to be a gents down there.


    Folks – There are no toilets in the majority of the MTR stations. For some reason, the Hong Kong authority decided not to include them when they were constructing the stations.


    Poor DS! We ended up having to come out of the station and into the Landmark building….running around that building before finding a helpful Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hotel concierge who pointed us in the right direction.

    Aside from learning that there are no toilets in the MTR stations, there was one other important thing I learnt at Central station that night. And it was to be my second (and the more important) question I would ask whenever I needed to work out directions for where to go.




    princess::upsidedow
     
  14. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    :lmao: :lmao: :lmao:

    Well...now that you're here, you might as well read the rest of these updates and you'll be right up to date! :rotfl2:

    :thumbsup2
     
  15. franandaj

    franandaj I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!

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    I just did! :teeth: so you are free to proceed! :laughing:
     
  16. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    Sadly, I'm up to date with my photobucket. Gonna need to start uploading Day 4. :headache:
     
  17. kmedina

    kmedina Loves all things Disney

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    I was laughing so hard about you stealing your taxi back that DH asked me why I was laughing. He did not find it as humorous as I did. It still makes me laugh now. Good for you. Someone tried to "steal" a cab from us when we were in Manhatten and DH did not let him. The buildings there are so beautiful. Is the difference in the pictures from the Sky Terrace the blue lights? Sorry you did not get to eat at the restaurant you wanted, but I am glad you liked the one you ended up at.

    Even when Xander was potty training and had close calls, no one ever let us line jump in the restroom. While waiting in line for a unisex bathroom, one man tried to jump in front of us explaining that he thought there was a separate ladies and men's room. That was understandable I guess. Xander would not have made it if he cut us though. No restrooms in the station. I cannot go somewhere that does not have a restroom. I need it far too often. That is crazy. Glad DS got some assistance.
     
  18. usnuzuloose

    usnuzuloose DIS Veteran

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    Phew!!! Just got caught up. I felt I was really behind, as a few other TR's. Wow it seems you need to steal in order to get somewhere, if you dont you may as well walk. I like the different desings of the buidings and the buildings that change color are awesome, probably more so in person.

    Having to change restaurants, wow, sorry you did not get to eat where you wanted. And then the issues with bathrooms. I guess you would learn to hold it for as long as possible. I thought the room , with the view was awesome, I guess it was worth the upgrade.

    Cant wait to hear more stealing stories......:rotfl2:

    Oh, I guess you may need to learn a clicking class as well.
     
  19. Aussie Wendy

    Aussie Wendy DIS Veteran

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    Enjoying the show-doubling back- the little rabbit washer animal you got was the splitting image (well now I look again-almost) of one we got when we were at Wilderness Lodge back in 2008.

    [​IMG]

    My DH is rather meak and mild so I am not sure how we will go coping with the pushiness in HK whenever we get there but at least we are primed. I can see I will be referring back to your TR next year when it comes to planning the trip-all my research will be done for me :)

    The view at night is spectacular. Looking forward to hearing all about the rest of your explorations. Tokyo has similar suica/pasmo cards that can be used for all sorts of eatery purchases not just swiping for trains-makes life so much easier.

    and totally OT-when did that cute badpc smiley appear-I want an excuse to use it-well no, not at all-but there have been times I have wanted it badly! :badpc:
     
  20. ehsmum

    ehsmum Mouseketeer

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    We went up the Peak at lunchtime and while there was a huge crowd, it wasn't too long a wait. I think we got on the 3rd tram going up, and the first one coming back.

    Ugh, the pushing! We did manage to laugh it off most of the time. I had primed the kids beforehand, explained that it was their custom and there wasn't anything we could do about it so we would just have to put up with it. There were a couple of times at Disneyland when I was at the end of my tether and told someone off for pushing in front of us but they didn't care of course! When we were lining up for the Peak Tram we just kept getting pushed further back. As the tram approached everyone surged to try to be first on. I told the kids not to push back, that we would wait for the next one if we had too, but that the pushing was dangerous and to stand back. An Indian tourist in front of us heard me and he actually stood back and let us board in front of him :)

    Sorry you got chased out of the restaurant but the visual did make me laugh! :lol:
     
  21. dgbg100106

    dgbg100106 Missing the Tag Fiary

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    I would have been very cool to have one from Hong Kong.... Oh well we did not plan very well did we?
     

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