Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Travelog: Day 2 - I ♥ HK [22/5/2012]

Day 2 begins with a refreshing cup of hot instant porridge and mildly cold Pepsi. Didn't forget to take the hotel's name card from the lobby, just a piece of white paper with Chinese characters of the hotel's name and address (in English! and the cab driver can read that but did not understand me..hmm, I wonder if I need to brush up my pronunciation)

Long queues at the bus stop, the residences going to work and us, tourist plus a group of noisy china travelers..must have came in late last night. The waiting was quite fast, less than 5 min because the minibus kept coming in. How many fleet of buses do they have?!

See the Blue Tent on the left side? That's the bus stop near our hotel
As mentioned on day 1, we bought the See Hongkong Pass. I was contemplating on the two options offered: Flexi pass with 3-5 attractions or Unlimited pass. After weighing both possibilities and the ability to skip the complimentary tours (included in the Groupon) without any penalty imposed (woohoo!), we chose the unlimited pass, lagi untung dan berbaloi :)

Updated Aug 2015: iVenture Card - See Hong Kong Pass now offers a much wider attractions. There is only 1 package available. The Flexi and unlimited pass are no longer available. More details here.
First attraction: Alighted at East Tsim Sha Tsui, to redeem a Morning Harbour Noon Day Gun Firing Cruise. The redemption ends at 9.30pm (according to iVenture Card - See Hongkong Pass website) but we were late due to wrong directions given. Instead of coming out from the nearest exit, we gone thru all the way to the end and had to u-turn back. This cruise is organized by Watertours whose office is at Star House which we could not find either. Luckily there's an information booth at the Star Ferry Terminal. It turns out the place we're looking for is just right beside this terminal.

We've managed to book a place on the cruise as the ship has not left yet. At 10.30am, we set sail all over Hong Kong. The scenery is impressively beautiful, one side with all the modern flats and buildings (looks like our CBD area) and another part portrays the natural view of mountains and sea people living on a boat. Masya Allah! Amazing! And the wind! Subhanallah! Nikmatnya ~ dengan sepoi sepoi angin ~ dapat pulak air free..syioknye! Each pax received two drink coupons, redeemable on the ship. Niceee ~

While enjoying the landscape and strong wind, I've managed to lost one of my contact lens..ooops! At one point i was rubbing my eyes and suddenly the view is blurry haha unbelievable, yes. Fortunately I always keep my spectacles in hand. Imagine if I had left it at the hotel room, that would sure spoil my day. Upon nearing 2 hours cruising, the boat brings us to the Typhoon Shelter which before this I thought was so fancy-mansy and high technology (almaklum lah orang bandar, and singapore tak pernah kene typhoon, Nauzubillah) but it's actually a pile of rocks encircling one part of the harbour and this can save your ship from the typhoon. Brilliant!

Simplistic Typhoon Shelter
I was very curious about the noon day gun firing (ape kebende tu?!) To wait for it, I think we have rounded the whole journey twice! and it was not that great haha. The visibility is very low and at first, I thought it was high in the air, from one of the building and was aiming the camera lens on the buiding pointed by our ship tour guide. I kept it very still, don't want to miss the firing moment (as the lady guide says it will be very brief so keep our eyes - and ears - wide open) until my sister asked why I looked up high when the firing is down below, far at the streets. Hahaha! Couldn't see the process, even with my camera zooming towards it. Nevertheless, the lady guide said anyone can perform the firing, providing you generously donated a huge lump sum of ka-ching! ;)

Lunch break: I planned to eat Indonesian cuisine at Chungking Mansion, located opposite side from where we are but after we arrived there, just few seconds after entering the door, there's a group of Indians touting their makan place. Oh Allah, a bit scary for us, two female travelers. Luckily when we politely decline, they dispersed. EXCEPT this one hardcore guy, die-die telling us to eat at his shop. Even when we said no, he followed us taking the lift! In my mind, I'm already prepared to tackle this guy with a kick at that specific hurtful place :p takut tau but maintain berani (haha) When we alight at level 7, he followed us and when he found out we couldn't find the Indonesian eatery, again he persistently brings us to his shop which in the end we did have our lunch there! A plate of chicken briyani, more than enough for two and even have some balance to tapao back (or was it because it isn't really taste that good :p)

Fragrance-infused Briyani. Like eating perfume!
Second attraction: Avenue of stars. This scenic walk is free and along the way to our open-top tour bus. Not attracted to me as I don't recognize most of the artiste names but the view is worth the trip there.Too bad we do not have time to come back during night time. I'm sure the night view must be awesome too.

Third attraction: Open-Top HK Big Bus: Kowloon route. Make sure you check the time table beforehand and not to waste time like we did. Kiasu me, board at the bus the moment it reach us and still have to wait for around half an hour under the blazing hot sun! We didn't even shift our seats to the covered area coz thinking the bus will be full and somebody will grab our best seats. Oh well, lesson learnt! We're taking this bus to the DHL Balloon ride and at the same time enjoys the city ride of Hong Kong.

Fourth attraction: Too bad the DHL Balloon was not in operation due to the weather. Luckily the ICC (International Commerce Centre) tower is within walking distance.Towards Sky100 we go! Sky100 observation deck is at the 100th floor! The elevator took only 60 seconds to reach up! It promised a 360-degree view of Hong Kong however upon arrival, they told us we can only access 1/2 of the area only as there is a private event. Redha je lah, what to do, dah jalan jauh, penat oooi.

Muka monyok tak dapat naik belon

View from 100th floor

Fifth attraction: Took a short cab ride to Central Star Ferry Pier. Rushing against time as the last bus for our next Open-Top HK Big Bus is at 6pm! Managed to get a ferry ride to Tsim Tsa Tsui Ferry Pier. Our ferry ride is included in the iVenture Card. As this is a public transport, you can also use the octopus card for easy access to ferry.

Familiar cab. Feels like home.

On board Star Ferry

Sixth attraction: Open-Top HK Big Bus: Hong Kong route. Our trip for this bus will ends at The Peak Terminus. It also include a return Peak Tram Sky Pass. Masya Allah, the crowd here is unbelievable! Punyalah ramai orang! Even in the tram, I did not get a seat. Nevertheless, the experience was amazing! Going uphill, experience the visual illusions of a tilted buildings. Subhanallah! The air on the peak is cooling and windy.

With this, ends my trip with using the iVenture Card - See Hong Kong Pass. But, the sightseeing has not ended yet. Last destination to go!

Buy your souvenirs here. Much more cheaper than at Ladies Market.

Seventh attraction: Again, took a cab (cheaper rates than SG hehe) to Mid-Level Escalators, the world longest outdoor escalators. Here, also where Masjid Jamia is located. When we reached there, the masjid has closed for the day. We did not have the chance to go in. While going down (by stairs eh) spot the XTC gelato shop, this is a Halal-certified ice cream shop! Yeah! So excited till forgot to take the gelato pictures hehe.

XTC Gelato. It's Halal! Beside Ben & Jerry's

Drop by to Habibi Cafe for packed dinner. Prices are a bit on the expensive side but worth the taste.
Back to hotel. Tomorrow we're going to Disneyland!!

Lamb Pizza

 Chicken something something *Forgot what this is*

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