Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cantonese Opera Day

Today is the Cantonese Opera Day in Hong Kong. In fact, this event has been held on the last Sunday of every November since 2003.

November is the month with best weather in Hong Kong - clear sky, sunny but cool. We gather around at the Cultural Centre at Tsimshatsui for a fun afternoon. I have been a volunteer worker of the event for many years. I love watching Cantonese Opera and it's fun doing volunteer work at the same time.

There are many venues around, both outdoor and indoor, featuring various opera shows, seminars, exhibitions, games and autograph sessions.

This year there is something new - English Guided Tour. I was assigned to that area to help with the guided tours. If you happen to visit Hong Kong by end of November and want to see some life shows of Cantonese cultural heritage, this is a very good event. And it is FREE.

Below is the major stage with the beautiful Victoria Harbour as the backdrop.

Now let's see a show in motion. There are six Cantonese Opera Excepts in this area. Some of the shows were more focused on singing, some on fighting, and some on both. Below is my favourite show - Monkey King.

Hong Kong Travel Blog - Cantonese Opera Day

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sedan Chair Race and Bazaar 2011

Today is Halloween and also the The annual Sedan Chair Race and Bazaar, hosted by the Matilda International Hospital. If you happen to visit Hong Kong by end of October, you would have the chance to share the fun.

The First Sedan Chair Race was inaugurated in 1975 with four entrants running for "The Matilda Hospital Shield". In 2011, this annual event has over 50 teams participated from a wide cross section of Hong Kong's schools, clubs, associations and corporations competing for numerous trophies and raising funds for charity.

Today 30 October, 2011, our company participated in the event for the first time, so we were very excited in going up to the peak early in the morning as cheer leaders.

I’m really impressed that most of the companies are very dedicated in decorating their sedan chairs. Similarly our company and our team put in a lot of effort in practicing, decorating and fund raising.

The chairs have many themes, here are some of them.

Hudson Shrek

Elvis Presley - from which organisation?!
DFS's Guitars

Morgan Stanley Piano

The Yellow Submarine of Noble Group
The Honorable Guest of the Event is a TV Star

Teams of eight, carrying sedan chairs with ‘life human’ passengers racing around the Peak on a route of 2.1km start and end at The Matilda International Hospital.

Here are the trophies.

The fund raised goes to support charitable organisations that generally do not receive assistance from the government or other major charity bodies.

Teams from a broad cross-section of Hong Kong – corporations, associations, clubs and schools – are all welcome to join the Race.

For more information, visit Sedan Chair Race and Bazaar 2011 official website

Hong Kong Travel Blog - Sedan Chair Race 2011

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Bird Viewing in Hong Kong

If you are a fan of bird viewing, Hong Kong has some excellent sites to offer.

The Wetland Park is rich in mangrove birds and some of them are close to extinction such as Black-faced Spoonbills. If you enjoy watching birds in the wild, it is certainly an ideal site which has a lot of visitor facilities.

If you don’t want to travel a long way to the Wetland Park, there is a more convenient way to watching birds. Hong Kong Park has an aviary with plenty of bird species. Apart from the birds living inside the aviary, there are also many other types of bird habitants including the beautiful Cacatua Sulphurea 小葵花鳳頭鸚鵡. Bird watching groups gather here every Wednesday. Depending on opportunities, they may even set up binoculars for visitors to view the wild birds they’ve spotted. I had that chance to share the fun last week.

Last Wednesday October 5 was actually the Double Nine Festival (9th of September in Chinese calendar) and it’s a public holiday in Hong Kong. According to Chinese tradition, we need to go up to high altitude in order to avoid bad luck. Hence the Peak Tram line was long and other public transportations going up to the Peak were full. We’ve therefore decided to go mid level where the Hong Kong Park is. Conveniently situated in central Hong Kong, you can easily access the Park by MTR. Get off at Admiralty and you’ll be connected to the Park by escalators.

On a regular day, you can go watch the birds at the aviary and then continue to go up to the Peak, as the Peak Tram station is just next to the Park. Alternatively you can visit the Tea Museum within the Park. Also next to the Park is the Bank of China where mini exhibitions are usually held at the lobby. On the day of our visit, we decided to go there to see The Living Earth exhibition.

Back to bird viewing, below are a few of my photo collections. Hey, I’m not a professional photographer and birds are not photogenic models. The photos I’ve taken were results of luck.

Maroon-breated Crown Pigeon 紫胸鳳冠鳩
Bali Mynah 長冠八哥
Red Lory and Wompoo Fruit Dove
紅頂吸蜜鸚鵡 / 巨果鳩

Australian Pelican 澳洲鵜鶘

Crested Pigeon 冠鳩

Java Sparrow 爪哇和雀
Following instruction, you can exit the Park and cross the road to the Peak Tram station.
Bird Watching Sites in Hong Kong
Bird Species in Hong Kong
Hong Kong Travel Blog - Bird Viewing

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Disneyland Hong Kong Visiting Tips

Disneyland Hong Kong is celebrating its 5th anniversary in 2011 by price increase. Effective August 1, the Park’s Day Pass will go up to HK$399 which is a 14% increase. I went there just before the price raise.

Though there are lots of fun inside the Park, but you need to be well prepared if you go on a hot summer day. I’ve gathered some tips based on my experience yesterday. Here you go.

Some Tips of Visiting the Disneyland Hong Kong in Hot Summer Days
If you go in May, June, July or August, temperature can go up to 32 degrees or 33 degrees with lots of sunshine. It is better to go in late afternoon, say after 3pm. There are several advantages of doing so. The sun will set around 7pm. But soon after 6pm, it will be less hot.
2. The queues are relatively short. You’ll spend less time waiting, hence can play more games or see more shows.
3. Bring lots of water or some snacks if possible. There are restaurants and drinks available in the Park but VERY expensive. Bottle water of 500 ml will cost HK$20 (US$2.56) or a hamburger with chips will cost HK$80 (US$10.25).
4. Make sure to wear sun block and bring with you an umbrella and a hat. A handkerchief or towel will help as you are likely to sweat a lot.

In fact, spending six hours in the Park is quite sufficient. If you go around 3pm, you can view the Parade at 4pm and wrap up your day by seeing the firework at 9pm.

I arrived at noon time and left around 7pm and managed to complete the following 8 games / show plus sightseeing on the Main Street and shopping.
1. Fantasyland Train 幻想世界火車
2. Cinderella Carousel 灰姑娘旋轉木馬
3. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh 小熊維尼歷險之旅
4. Mickey’s PhilharMagic 米奇3D立體電影
5. Mad Hatter Tea Cups 瘋帽子旋轉杯
6. It’s A Small World 小小世界
7. Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters 巴斯光年星歷險
8. Festival of the Lion King 獅子王慶典

The MTR Disney Station is very beautiful and modern.

Some General Information About Disneyland Hong Kong
Opening Hours:
10am – 9pm
Firework: 9pm
Parade: 1pm and 4pm
Transportation: MTR, take Tung Chung Line, change at Sunny Bay, get off at Disney Station.
Official website: Disneyland Hong Kong

Hong Kong Travel Blog - Disneyland Hong Kong

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Dragon Boat Festival in Hong Kong

Dragon Boat Festival – the 5th day of May in the Chinese calendar, falls on the 6th day of June in 2011. It is an important festival in Chinese tradition. In Hong Kong, the two most important traditions are the eating of Rice Dumplings and Dragon Boat Races.

It is a festival in memory of the patriot poet Qu Yuan who committed death exhortation to the emperor by drowning himself in 277 BC. The origin of rice dumplings were meant to be thrown into the water so fishes eat the dumplings and won’t eat the body of Qu Yuan. Likewise, the dragon boats were there to create noises to scare away the fishes.

Grand Dumplings (裏蒸糉) - with lots of stuffing

Alkaline Water Dumplings (碱水糉) - on the right hand side, yellow in color

If you were a food lover, you may want to know that there are three major categories of sticky rice dumplings to be eaten at Tuen Ng Festival, which is also known as the Dragon Boat Festival. The default dumplings (咸肉糉) were generally made of sticky rice, boiled green bean with stuffing of stewed pork and typically a salty egg yolk. The grand dumplings (裏蒸糉) are usually larger in size and have more stuffing like mushrooms, chicken and many others. The sweet dumplings are named alkaline water dumplings (碱水糉) in Chinese, usually with some lotus seed paste as stuffing. They are generally longer and slimmer in shape.

Unlike other festival foods, rice dumplings are available in restaurant throughout the year. Of course, most people would love to eat them around Tuen Ng Festival. Some people made them at home, some choose to eat at restaurants. I am someone in between. I bought them as take-away and eat at home. Here were the default dumplings that I ate at home yesterday, which was the day of the Dragon Boat Festival.

Click here to find out how rice dumplings are made.
Just a few photos on dragon boat race

Participants compete in a dragon boat race to mark the annual Tuen Ng or Dragon Boat Festival at Hong Kong's Aberdeen fishing port June 6, 2011. The festival is commemorated in memory of Chinese patriotic poet Qu Yuan, who drowned himself on the day in 277 B.C.
(photo source:

Click here to find out more about Dragon Boat Race in Hong Kong

Hong Kong Travel Blog - Dragon Boat Festival

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Red Trees in Hong Kong

If you visit Hong Kong in the months of May or June, you are going see sights like these. Red trees everywhere. Being a native Hong Konger, I just can't stop myself behave like a visitor. Today (May 28, 2011) I go to the Victoria Park and take these photos. Hope you like them.

I am trying to take some close up of the flowers, but I'm not a professional photographer. And my camera is not professional also. But if you want to take a good look of the flowers, visit my friend Gao Lao's blog, his flowers are brilliant.

The building behind is Hotel Park Lane. If you want to have a good view of the Victoria Park and the red trees, do book a room with a park view.

Red Trees in motion.

Hong Kong Travel Blog - Red Trees at the Victoria Park

Monday, May 9, 2011

Lamma Island Outing and Seafood

If you ever have an afternoon to spend in Hong Kong, what would you want to do? Shopping? Sightseeing at the Peak or Ocean Park or Disneyland? Well I would like to suggest a leisure eco walk combining with a live seafood dinner, which is a 'must' dining experience in Hong Kong.

Lamma Island Outing and Seafood Dinner
Take the 3.15pm ferry from Pier 4 in Central to Lamma Island Yung Shue Wan. If you stay at the Four Seasons or Mandarin Oriental, it is just a 5-10 minutes walk to the Pier. In about 30 minutes, you will arrive at Lamma Island. Take a very scenic walk to Sok Kwu Wan. The route is easy to walk, even you have kids with you. Admire the beautiful landscape and beaches on the way and you will arrive at Sok Kwu Wan between 5.30pm and 6pm, depending on how quick you walk. Enjoy a live seafood dinner and take the 7.35pm ferry back to Central. In about 30 minutes, you are back to Central again. You can still make time to explore Lan Kwai Fong, if you have the energy.

Last Friday, I just went through the above itinerary. Here is a pictorial report of my journey.

On the way, make sure to enjoy the very traditional authentic 'tofu fa' dessert. Hot and cold available at HK$9@

Beautiful landscape around Lamma Island

There are beaches and observations decks where you can take a little rest on the way. When you are about to arrive Sok Kwu Wan, you'll see some fishing sampans.

When you pass by the Tin Hou Temple (Godess of the Sea), you will arrive Sok Kwu Wan in a few minutes. Feel free to visit the temple.

When you pass the temple, you'll see many seafood restaurant lining up along the seafront. Don'f forget to buy some dry seafood souveniors.

Pick a restaurant, sit down and start to pick your favourite live seafood from the tanks.

The restaurants are nearby the sea. Enjoy seaview and breeze while having dinner. Restaurants are generally available. No advance booking required.

OK, here come the dinner: Deep Fried Squid


Garoupa duo - meat for stir fried with vegetable

below are the head and bones for steaming

Clams with Garlic and Jelly Noodle

Stir Fried Spicy Crabs

We also had fresh prawns, fried rice, vegetables, desserts and fruits

NOTE: Try to avoid June, July and August which are the hottest months in Hong Kong. October and November are the best months to do this.

Recommended restaurant: Lamma Hilton (You don't have to find it, when you arrive Sok Kwu Wan, you'll see it.)

Dinner expenses all depend on the kind of seafood you choose, but you should budget for at least HK$200 (US$25.6) per person.

More ferry and travel information about Lamma Island

Hong Kong Travel Blog - Lamma Island and Seafood

Friday, April 29, 2011

How to Eat Cheap and Good Food in Hong Kong

Many come to Hong Kong and eat. If that's you, then you need to find out what to eat and how to pay less while enjoy great food here. Eating in Hong Kong doesn't need to be expensive if you can master the time you go and eat. Also some restaurants offer discounts to holders of certain credit cards. In order not to limit your choice of food and at the same time paying less, be sure to ask the waiter when you are settling a bill.

In any case, I don't recommend to eat in 5-star hotels. They are expensive and they don't offer discount. Some 3-star or 4-star hotels do.

What to eat in Hong Kong?
Here are my list of recommendations:
* Live seafood
* Dim Sum
* Buffet
Click the links to view details from my food blog.

Dim Sum - Go for Early and Late Discount
If you are not bond to any schedule, simply avoid the peak hours (generally noon to 2pm, but it varies according to restaurants) and there are lots of advantages of doing so. Many dim sum restaurants offer great discounts beyond hours. Restaurants are less crowded and you will enjoy more intensive customer service. As for dinner, some restaurants offer late night discounts. If you arrive after 9pm (or may be 9.30pm), you will pay less.

Discounted Buffet
Buffet fans must be very happy with the wide range of foods available in Hong Kong. Indian buffet, Italian buffet, Japanese all-you-can eat, international buffet, weekend tea buffet, late night dessert buffet....etc. Again don't go to 5-star hotels. Some 3-4-star hotels are much cheaper and they offer discounts. Some offer early departure discount or one-day advance booking discount. Be sure to check when you make a booking. Generally discounts are applicable on weekdays and not weekends, holidays and festivals.

Note: 10% service charge for fine dining restaurants. No service fee for casual restaurants.

Hong Kong Travel Blog - Eating Tips

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Hong Kong Botanical Garden

Just went to the Botanical Garden and took a few photos and videos. Weather was good. So it was rare chance to be able to take these photos. At the central fountain, all the most beautiful and famous Hong Kong commercial buildings are served as the backdrop. Enjoy.

I could rarely take such a good video - in terms of weather.
It's really a beautiful day.

I love these ring-tail monkies. The Park noticeboard said that there was a new born baby still under parental care. But I had no luck in seeing the baby.