Friday, April 13, 2012

Hong Kong Tour Photos (2)

My holidays continued after the New Zealand trip ... one week later, it was another 5D4N free-and-easy holiday in Hong Kong from 6 to 10 April 2012.

My family and I stayed at Imperial Hotel for the entire five days, a 3-star rating hotel with twin-sharing room of RM 400 per day. Located along the main road of Nathan Street, Tsim Sha Tsui of Kowloon, the hotel is a very convenient point with only a stone's throw away to MTR station (underground train), Victoria Harbour, Kowloon Park, and a few mega shopping complexes.

What a stark contrast: there was no blue sky in Hong Kong, only cloudy and gloomy sky there (compare to the scenery in New Zealand). Nevertheless, I managed to see one but only a man-made one in Venetian, a huge and modern casino in Macau (in Part 2 of the photo album).

Do click here to view Part 2 of the photo album with photos taken by yours truly (KC). Do hit F11 key to adjust the optimum displays sizes.

 Taking ferry ride to Macau ... super tall buildings are amazingly built just next to the seafront

My runner friend asked me just to bring the usual big luggage bag with only underwear inside to maximize the space for shopping when return. Luckily I brought more than the underwear as shopping is not any cheaper in Hong Kong based on those items that I wanted to buy. Maybe it was the location that I stayed or the wrong season as there was no sales at all.

Equipped with the addresses of sportswear outlets that I downloaded from Google, I went to almost 20 shopping complexes wanted to buy running and trekking related sportswear (eg. Nike, Adidas, Columbia, The Northface, etc); only to realise that they are as expansive as in Kuala Lumpur, if not cost more.

 Venetian Macau Casino – the mega casino ... taking free shuttle bus service from the jetty right to their doorstep

The price of food is also expansive in Hong Kong, easily 2 to 3 times more compare to Kuala Lumpur (after converting to Ringgit). I asked the hotel staff that where could I get those outdoor eatery stalls as shown in those Hong Kong movies; the reply: there is none in Tsim Sha Tsui areas.

There were lots of people walking on the pavement of streets in a hurriedly but orderly manner. There isn't much mad traffic jam (or honking) as in Kuala Lumpur. What amused me when I watched TV for the morning traffic watch/announcement (in the hotel room) was that there were only about five moving vehicles in the TV screen at any one moment while a few other main streets were devoid of vehicles. How I wish that this is happening in Kuala Lumpur.

 ahh... blue sky

The streets are clean as I saw in one morning that the workers were washing the pavement thoroughly with soap and water right in front of the Imperial Hotel, Nathan Street.
For the 5-day stay, we took public transport – buses and underground trains – that are fast and convenient. Especially the underground trains, they are well connected and extend right to the basement of shopping complexes. Taking a connecting train ride was such a breeze and the timing of the arrival of two trains was of military precision: the moment we alighted from a train, the next train was approaching the station while we walked across the railway line about 30 feet apart.

The only catch with the public transport: one has to walk a lot. My Mount Everest Base Camp trekking member, Wong FK, said that I do like to 'trek' in the concrete jungles ... :-)

I presume this is one of the reasons that there are not many over-sized or over-weight people in Hong Kong or China. We never take taxi even once there; the funny thing was that the moment we touch-down at LCCT Air Asia Terminal, Kuala Lumpur, we took taxi home.

  Just like in Venice of Italy

Last year (2011), a radio DJ from Taiwan was guested for one week in the local 98.8 FM Chinese airwave. One morning,  the topic of discussion was on rail transport in Kuala Lumpur. Seemingly quite surprise with the disconnected ride, he said: "when I alighted from the LRT at Dang Wangi underground rapid transit station (along Jalan Ampang), I have to walk to Shangri-La Hotel side for the connecting ride, about 300 meters away under the hot sun.
One observation that impressed me most is the number of skyscrapers that are being built in Hong Kong. Not only that that are many, they are very tall indeed, easily 50 stories high. Most fascinating point is that these skyscrapers are built very near to seafront.

Another impressive discovery has to be the visits to Macau. Long time ago, when I visited Macau, there were only a few casinos with the famous round-top building that look like a cage for birds. People say that once you are in this casino, a gambler would be like a bird and be trapped – or lose money. Today, there are many mega-sized casinos in Macau having different theme that our Genting's casino paled in comparison.

 Galaxy Macau Casino – another mega casino which is just opposite of Venetian

We were lucky that Sharon, a friend who lives in Hong Kong, was able to take us for sightseeing at Macau. The casino that we visited was the Venetian that has the theme of being in Venice. The casinos provide free bus shuttle service from jetty right to their doorstep, and the buses are even in better condition than the public buses.
Looks like a 5D4N visits is not enough as I have not got the time to visit Disneyland, Ocean Park and many other attractions – maybe next visits.

 One of the magnificient halls in Galaxy Macau Casino

Now you see it; now you don’t -- The giant diamond in Dancing Fountain ... inside Galaxy Casino

Galaxy Macau Wishing Crystals of good fortune ... as one walk across one of the three bridges over the well, reach out to the nine groups of enchanted crystals and wave your hands.
They will sense your movement and respond with nine enchanting harmonies and beautiful symbols of love to bring you health, wealth and good fortune (texts extracted from signboard)

 At the main square

The famous and historic Centre of Macao: The Ruins of St. Paul ... once under the Portuguese administration from mid-16th century until 1999, when it was returned to Chinese sovereignty.

 Looking down the flight of steps
 Sharon, a friend who lives in Hong Kong, lead us for sightseeing at Macau.

Lisboa Macau Casino ... the original one that looks like a round-top cage (at right) for birds – or gamblers

Another casino, MGM, on the left of photo frame ... night view at Macau

Wynn Casino – impressive display of synchronised fountains that dance to the tune of pleasant music

Day 5 (10 April 2012) lunch at Sivlercord Shopping Complex, Kowloon before we depart to airport for heading home.
Lots of variety with choices of Japanese, Taiwanese, Korean and Chinese food.

Hong Kong International Airport – a very busy airport with aeroplanes lining-up waiting for their turn to take off.

At the background are 20 blocks of 60-story high condominiums. A very good feng shui location (fronting sea and back support with mountain) save for the noise pollution from the aeroplanes.

That completed the 5D4N holidays in Hong Kong.

Do click here to view Part 1 of the photos.

Posted by KC Leong

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