Monday, May 02, 2016

Travelogue: Hong Kong Diaries (Part 2) - Roaming the Outskirts of Hong Kong

Following from Part 1 of Hong Kong Diaries, here's Part 2 of my trip which I cannot wait to share because there I just so many photos and memories that love. Part 2 consists of our second day in Hong Kong and it was so satisfying knowing that we managed to cover so many breathtaking explorations! Ready? Here we go!

Victoria Harbour 
Nearest MTR: East Tsim Sha Tsui (Exit L6)

If you are heading to Victoria Harbour, there are a few areas nearby that you should visit too. But let's just start off our journey at the Victoria Harbour. At the harbour, you can view practically the entire Hong Kong Island Skyline while catching boats drifting past you. Well, if not for the fog, the view would have been a million times better (try to catch the night view too). 

Hong Kong Cultural Centre
10 Salisbury Rd
Nearest MTR: East Tsim Sha Tsui (Exit L6)

Right beside the Victoria Harbour stands the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, Hong Kong Space Museum (not in photo), and the Clock Tower (not in photo) which were undergoing renovation when we were there. What fascinates me is their unique architecture design. The Hong Kong Cultural Centre has a slanted tiled wall design while the Hong Kong Space Musuem is in a shape of a dome. 

Star Ferry Pier
Nearest MTR: East Tsim Sha Tsui (Exit L6)

After exploration, head over to the Star Ferry Pier which is just about 5-7 minutes' walk from the Clock Tower. We spotted the Mr Softee mobile truck and couldn't help but grab a quick softee before boarding the ferry. Mega love for old-school ice-cream trucks like these! Anyway, back to the Star Ferry Pier, you could easily pay for them with your Octopus Card (Hong Kong's transport Ez link card). The trip costs around S$1-2 if I didn't remember it wrongly. 

The ferry interior consists of brown rustic benches and window frames just the way I like it to be. The trip is roughly around 20 minutes and we got off at the next stop which is closest to the Central, Hong Kong MTR district. 

Hong Kong Observation Wheel
33 Man Kwong St
Opening Hours: 10am - 11pm
Nearest MTR: Hong Kong

After alighting the ferry, you could use the overhead bridge that connects the ferry pier with the main Central Business District area. Meanwhile on the bridge, you can get a full view of the Star Ferry Pier, the sea, the Observation Wheel as well as concrete jungles sitting right where they are. If you have the time and interest to explore, check out the Observation Wheel which costs around S$20 for adults. You can find out more about the tickets and prices here

Central Business District
Nearest MTR: Central / Hong Kong

After seeing the old run-down Hong Kong shop-houses and streets for a day, it is rather refreshing to see city sights once again. Busy. Bustling. Fast. That's how I can describe it to you in three words. However, one thing that I really love is their tall office buildings and mega shopping centers which make you feel like an important individual, strutting down the roads of this district. I could imagine myself, all dressed up in prim and proper work dresses, heels, make-up and hand-held Starbucks coffee, heading to work every morning here #truebluecitygirl. 

This is where you can find top-notch brand boutiques (Everywhere you go, in your face), concrete jungles, shopping malls all around, and lastly, the Ding Ding Trams! 

Ding Ding Tram
Where can you find them: 
Along the stations on the Hong Kong Island line (Blue line)

Well, if you have not heard of Ding Ding Trams, they are another mode of transport, besides the MTR trains, that can only be found along the Hong Kong Island MTR line (blue line). They come in double-deckle buses but the special feature is this: They run on road tracks with situated wire cables directing them. Their name, "Ding Ding" comes from the bell-like sound that it makes whenever it approaches a station. 

If you are heading to the Hong Kong Island lines, you must and have to take one of these trams and always go for the upper deck so that you can catch a glimpse of the city from a birds' eye view and enjoy the breeze. Find out more about the tram tracks and routes here. 

Street Art Graham Street Hong Kong
off Hollywood Road, opposite the Globe Pub

In between Sheung Wan MTR and Central MTR, lies some famous streets filled with food, crafts, boutique stores. The ones that I recommend you visiting would be Hollywood street and Aberdeen street. One thing to note however is that these streets are cluttered with stores along very steep slopes and steps (almost 45 degrees steep). If you are not in the mood for walking steep slopes and exploring it the local way, you can always head to the Central-Mid-Levels Escalators along Jubilee Street, nearest to Central MTR to take the escalators up and then you can slowly make your way down the streets and slopes. 

Lunch at Lan Fong Yuen (蘭芳園)
2 Gage Street
Nearest MTR: Central


After a whole morning of exploration, we head over to Lan Fong Yuen for a quick lunch at one of the well-known for Cai Caan Teng for a squeezy and local lunch experience. The interior is rather small and squeezy as expected. The back of the restaurant has a long piece of mirror on the wall, with old-school Hong Kong artistes' posters stuck to it. Love their omelette and Qian Yi Ding noodles by the way!

Tai Cheong Bakery
35 Lyndhurst Terrace
Nearest MTR: Central

Just a street away from our lunch place, we found one of Tai Cheong Bakery's outlets and lucky us, it wasn't crowded with buyers yet. Another must try when you visit Hong Kong because their egg tarts are just simply heavenly and fresh from the oven. Check out the rest of the Tai Cheong Bakery outlets here

The Peak Tram
In Between Garden Rd and Cotton Tree Dr
Nearest MTR: Central

If you are heading up to Victoria Peak, instead of taking a cab straight up to the top, experience the journey by taking the Furnicular Railway up to the Peak, which takes 15 minutes. It goes up to more than 45 degrees steep. However, head there early to queue for the train tickets and the Sky Terrace tickets, because by the time we headed there, the queue was immensely long and it took us one hour to get our tickets, not to mention another 20-30 minutes waiting to get onto the tram. For more information, head over to their official website

Victoria Peak Sky Terrace

The view from the peak is quite amazing, if not for the merciless fog and the crowd. The air at the peak is indeed refreshingly therapeutic. I kind of like how the concrete jungle looks like toy towers and skyscrapers. Head up to catch the magic hour (between 5-6pm) and catch a sunset if weather allows! 

Sai Wan Swimming Shed (西環泳棚)
Victoria Road across from Caritas Jockey Club Mount Davis Hostel
Nearest MTR: Kennedy Town

An impromptu decision to visit this secret location left us leaving the Victoria Peak and cabbing to Sai Wan Swimming Shed. If you are thinking of doing the same, remember to google the maps before hand to show it to the taxi uncle because the uncle might take it as you are heading to Sai Wan swimming complex (which is what happened to us). Nevertheless, with much GPS and faith, we instructed the taxi uncle to alight us at the top of some endless highway, up on the hill. Just because, according to the GPS, this is the exact location. We walked against the vehicles' direction at the side, and found a small opening with steep steps down. Not knowing that this is the route to the Swimming Shed, we took a leap of faith and headed down. 

To our pleasant surprise, we were there! With a few groups of early birds who were already snapping 'Titanic you-jump-i-jump' photos. The waves were crazy though, so be really careful as you walk on the suspending pavement.

In conclusion, if you are heading there, note that it is located right below Victor Road, on the western edge of Kennedy Town. After researching on this scenic hideaway place, I realized it was build to provide a changing room and pier for the residents who swam in Sulfur Channel, but apparently today, more photographers and instagrammers were attracted to the crashing waves and sea view. Your choice whether to stay for a sunset view or not, but just be careful as it gets pretty dark after the sun sets, and the way up the steep slopes can be pretty dangerous. 

Alright, that's about it for Part 2 of Hong Kong Diaries! Stay tuned to part 3, where we head to Macau, the AsianVegas. Here's a quick #followmetomacau video sneak preview I made previously!

Quick Catch-up on the Hong Kong Diaries

Love, Quans

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