Friday, December 13, 2013

Star Ferry on Sunday

Star Ferry is not only a ferry!
When you are told of Star Ferry, you may think of a ferry ride from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon and vise versa.  Of course this is true, but if you come on Sunday, Star Ferry has a lot more to offer.

Last Sunday a friend of mine was invited to do a show there.  So I went there to support her and took a video around what's happening at the Star Ferry at Central.  Click on the video below, and I'll tell you more.


When I got off the tram in Central at Worldwide House, I walked over the footbridge to Star Ferry.  On the footbridge level there was weekly organic vegetable market which were held every Sunday where local organic produce are sold.  This level is where you actually take the ferry, visit the visitor's centre, take a break at the Subway coffee shop or fine dining at the WaterMark.  There are spacious observation decks around.  You can relax and admire the beautiful Victoria Harbour.

On the ground level, my friend and her team were invited to do some cultural performances.  The video above captured some Cantonese music, while my friend was invited to sing.  Some dragon dances and other local cultural shows were held.  There were also many other mini stores where you can learn to fold a grasshopper, do some mini handicraft, or learn some organic cooking.

On the ground level is also the terminus of the Big Bus.  You can start a hop-on hop-off bus tour around Hong Kong.  I have copied the video from the Big Bus website to give you an idea of what a Big Bus Tour has to offer.


Right next to the Big Bus terminus is the Hong Kong Maritime Museum.  Hong Kong is a harbour.  Hong Kong people's lives are closely related to the sea.  You'll find interesting facts and history here together with a very nice souvenior shop.

Come share the fun at Star Ferry!

Daily 06:30 - 23:30
Upper Deck adult - HK$2.5 on weekday and HK$3.4 on weekends

On the footbridge it is connected to the IFC Shopping Mall.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Cantonese Operat Day 2013 - Hong Kong

The annual Cantonese Opera Day in Hong Kong was held yesterday - the last Sunday of every November.  I used to be a volunteer worker for the event.  But as an opera lover, I decided to switch my role to be an audience since last year.  That way I had more time to enjoy the event.

At the Cultural Centre along Tsimshatsui waterfront, there were various events and performance to promote Cantonese Opera.  This year there is a slogan of 'The Young and The Vigorous'The performers were very young and even with school boys and girls.  They all do very well.

Here is a snapshot of The Legend of the White Snake.  And the flag show below resembled water flooding when the White and Green Snake trying to rescue the husband of the White Snake.  It was really wonderful and gained plenty of applauses from the audiences.

Well, apart from free shows, I'm glad to see that many young people love and participate in the traditional Canontese opera art and performance. With the beautiful world famous Victoria Harbour as the backdrop, it was a very enjoyable Sunday.

Hong Kong Travel Blog

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Shanghainese Mooncake and Dinner

Today is Mid Autumn Festival - September 19, 2013 (August 15 - Chinese Calendar)

Time for a family gathering.  But Hong Kong is a Cantonese society, all Cantonese restaurants are full.  To enjoy a festival dinner, I had two options - go western or something non Cantonese.  So we managed to make a booking at the New Shanghai Restaurant at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.  Although a little bit pricy, but good food, good service and good place, what else can we expect?

Here are some of our favourite Shanghainese dishes.

Drunk Chicken HK$98 (US$12.6) 醉鷄
Very frangrant Huadiao wine and almost boneless.  Yummy and well worth the price.
Deep Fried Mini Yellow Fish HK$98 (US$12.6) 香煎小黃魚
This is the signature dish and also best of the best.  I would like to recommend this to anyone visiting this restaurant.  I can't tell how delicious it is.  You need to taste it yourself.
Sliced Tofu with Vegetable and Salty Pork HK$78 (US$10) 咸肉百頁小棠菜
As a matter of balance of diet, I really like this dish.  Declicious and not oily and with some soup base.  Very well done.
Juicy Bun HK$58 (US$7.4) 小籠包
Has to take extra care, it's really very juicy.  With a bit of vinegar, it's also one of the best of the best at this restaurant.
Shanghainese Pancake HK$78 (US$10) 棗泥窩餅
As a festival dinner, we'd like to have something sweet to wrap up.  This is very cruncy with red bean paste stuffing.  But we don't understand how it is completely non greasy.  We dip our fingers through the dish and didn't pick up any oil.  Again, very well done.
The good thing about this restaurant is every thing comes very timely, hot, delicious and well presented.  But the most important thing I like is the environment.  There are sufficient space in between tables so that everyone have a reasonably comfortable (although not private) dining area.  For me, a peaceful eating envrionment is very important.  Only for this, I would like to recommend this restaurant to anyone.
Shanghainese Mooncake Bonus 上海素月餅
After dinner, I was thinking if the restaurant will offer us mooncake as a free dessert.  Beyond my expectation, we were given a pack of 6 Shanghainese mooncakes free of charge.  When we looked at the menu, the cost of the mooncakes valued almost half of our bill.  Excellent rebate!
Vegetarian Shanghainese Mooncake 上海玖瑰細沙月
There were 6 vegetarian mooncakes - 4 of penta-nuts and 2 of rosy red bean.  I'm Cantonese and it's my first time eating Shanghainese mooncake.  It's good and it's free.
Mid Autumn Moon
8.13pm - September 19, 2013
On our way back, many people crowded around on a foot bridge to admire the moon.  Here's the bright big moon at Mid Autumn in Hong Kong.  We used to have today as a public holiday.  But at some stage, the former British government changed the holiday to the following day.  Well, it made sense, as people admire the moon at night and sleep late, having a holiday the next day is not a bad idea.
New Shanghai Restaurant 新滬坊
L1 Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
1 Harbour Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2582 7332
Hong Kong Food Blog - Shanghinese Mooncake and Dinner

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Hong Kong Museum Tour 2013 Summer

Hong Kong Museum Tour - August 28, 2013

Today I have a day off.  In fact I pick Wednesday because all Hong Kong museums are free, except special exhibitions.  I walk through three museums in Tsimshatsui.  Here's a summary of my tours.

Hong Kong Science Museum
There are big crowds of people, as students are still on summer holiday.  And we are like-minded people - go to musuems on Wednesday for free.  In fact at this museum, I walk through one show only and it really make my day.  I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this exhibition - WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR.  It is a special exhibition, but I don't know why they let me in FOC.  It is rare chance that we can see so many valuable and beautiful wildlife photos.  It really worth your time.

In fact I also watched a movie about cutlefishes, as I arrive just at the right time.  It's free but it's really valuable.  You'll appreciate the wonderful content and the underwater filming.  How they film the cutlefishes hunting, mating and their life span.  Howevere watching movies (free or not free) in Hong Kong, you would have to put up with a few things:  crying and talking kids, people talking on mobile phone, people turning on their ipad and other lightening devices, eating and drinking.  Athough all these were said to be forbidden, well, it's Hong Kong! 
Hong Kong Museum of History
Just opposite to the Science Museum.  There is another special exhibition which is FOC - The Hong Kong Observatory.  I arrived at a good time, no queueing, so I had a chance to take this scientific photo with Typhoon Vicente which visited us in July 2012.

As a Hong Konger, this show recap a lot of the miserable memories about the natural disasters. 
The three most distructive typhoons after war:  Wanda (1962), Rose (1971) and Ellen (1983).  Although I was very young in the 60s and 70s, Ellen hit me with unforgettable memories.  I was stucked in Macau, away from home and had to struggle with typhoon alone.  Drought in 1963, although I was a little girl, I still had clear memory how we survive through 4 hours of water supply every four days. Heavy rain in 1966 and 1972, costing enormous human life and disasters...
The regular show Hong Kong Story is always free.  Very resourceful, telling the history of Hong Kong from prehistoric to 1997 when China regain the power in Hong Kong.  Short movies are available.  At the old Hong Kong street, I took a few photos.
Gen Y may not have a chance to see how a typewritter look like. 
There are several of them, but these two looks good.  I seem to have seen them when I was a little girl.
A typical air conditioning equipment for the general public in the 60s.
Yes, it's a radio, though at the size of a microwave.  During the 60s it was quite a luxury at home.  So people usually decorate/protect it with kind of beautiful curtain.
The Art Museum
After the two museums, I took bus to the nearby Art Museum.  But I shouldn't come, because I forgot I came here two months ago.  Didn't find anything new, just walked briefly through some of the galleries.
Breakfast At Island Shangri-La
Before my museum tour, I started my day with a 5-star breakfast.  Unfortunately it's 5-star in terms of money, 2-star in terms of food.  I couldn't even find someone to fry eggs.  Fortunately after a thorough search, I found someone who can cook an omelette for me.  There were very little food choices along with many empty trays.
There were actually nothing worth taking a photo.  However these two were ok.  As they were cooked to order, they were very hot.  But look, at the congee counter, I couldn't even find green onions.  Everyone in Hong Kong eat congee with green onion, I'm not sure whether it was used up without refill or there were actually none.  I ended up add some dry garlic which is never a congee mate.
The bill is really big - HK$308+10% service fee, total HK$338.8
I must say if it is part of your room package, go for it.  If you need to pay HK$338.8 for such a below par buffet, forget it.  With such money, you can eat a high quality fresh seafood dinner in Hong Kong.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Ocean Park 2013

Ocean Park Birthday Tour 2013

Yesterday was my birthday, I've taken the advantage of going to Ocean Park for free.  In fact, I did the same last year.  There were something quite different for this year.

Giant Panda - there are two pairs of giant pandas in the Park.  I remember I made this comment last year - giant pandas are always sleeping and red pandas are active.  But this year is exactly in reverse.
I had never imagined to see a a panda in motion, and especially eating bamboo leaves.  Wonderful!  Everyone were so excited.  On the other side, the red pandas were sleeping.  Oh well, I learn a lession from pandas - the world is forever changing!

The Penguin Encounter is new.  Last year it was not open yet.  Be prepared, as it is only 8-10 degrees inside.  There are many species of penguins here.  The large ones are 2-3 feet tall while the small ones are just about a foot. 
I would say I saw more penguins here than in Philip Island Australia.  I like seeing them swimming, diving or jumping up to the shore.  Lovely creatures.

Grand Acuqarium
Sea Jelly Spectacular
At the Main Entrance
As the Ocean Park is one of the world most popular theme parks, there are lots of tourists, both from local and around the world.  The Park is full of people everyday.  But on my birthday, I had a little privilege.  I didn't have to queue to buy a ticket, there is a special counter for birthday guests and it is free.  Although the Park is always full of people, you can still take a good photo if you have patience.  See my photo at the main entrance.

Couple of Things To Note
  1. No personal food is allowed.  You have to buy from the expensive F&B outlets inside the Park.
  2. Every point of interest has photo service.  They are expensive, minimum charge HK$288, inclusive photo, frame and key chain. You are free to take the photos, but you don't have to buy if you don't like the photo.
  1. From Wanchai - take bus 90 or 97 (east bound), get off immediately after the tunnel.  HK$4.7.  A few minutes walk to the Park.
  2. From Admiralty - take bus 629 to the main entrance.  HK$10.9
  3. From elsewhere - take MTR to Admiralty and change to bus 629
Standard Admission Fee

Adult - HK$280
Children (3-11) - HK$140

Hong Kong Travel Blog - Ocean Park

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Hong Kong: Big vistas and even bigger ambitions

The region has long been a thriving hub, but it's still looking to the future, says Tom Peck

When Batman flew by helicopter over Hong Kong harbour five years ago, he made minor movie history. Film aficionados will know that the scene from The Dark Knight was the first in a major feature film to be shot with an IMAX camera. The director, Christopher Nolan, chose it for one reason – the pictures it captures are simply enormous.

It was a wise decision. A single glance doesn't really do Hong Kong's iconic panorama justice, but by taking to the skies, the Caped Crusader was being a bit of a wimp. In 1881, a Scottish railwayman called Alexander Findlay Smith became convinced of the possibility of building a funicular railway up the impossibly steep Victoria Peak, the island's highest mountain. Now, his engineering is Hong Kong's most popular attraction.

The Peak Tram, as it has become known, has its Lower Terminus on Garden Road (00 852 2522 0922;; return HK$40/£3.50). It takes around five minutes to travel the 1,400 metres to the top, gaining more than 400 metres in height as it does so. Suddenly, the entire city spreads out before you like a tablecloth thrown over the earth.

Rows of gleaming metal towers shoot from beside the calm waters of the harbour up to the rolling forested hills – indeed it's the kind of vista that does demand an IMAX lens to take it in.
After experiencing this overview, take the tram back down and from the terminus in Central – Hong Kong's glistening business district – head up Garden Road until you reach the Bank of China Tower whose triangular glass panels make it stand out from the crowd. This is Downtown – the belly of the beast, but its historical centre too. Turn left on to Queens Road Central, left again on to D'Aguilar Street, and then take your first right on to Stanley Street. The sound of greedy slurping indicates your arrival in one of the last vestiges of Hong Kong's once thriving street food scene. Not so long ago, you'd find hundreds of dai pai dong in Hong Kong, but today only 28 official open-air food stalls remain.

The words translate as "big licence"; after the Second World War, special street food licences – with larger badges than usual – were given out in haste to the struggling families of deceased soldiers or civil servants so that they could earn a living. But almost all have since fallen victim to air-conditioned progress. However, several stalls serve authentic dim sum, which roughly means "a little bit from the heart". Sing Kee, at Nos 9 & 10 is the busiest, and with good reason. The service is a little brisk, but the food is authentic. Cuttlefish is popular, as are fish-skin dumplings. There's also eggs with shrimp for the less adventurous.

Carry on west to where Stanley Street crosses Cochrane Street and take the Mid-Levels Escalator up to Hollywood Road, right at the top. These 800-metre-long, covered escalators, opened in 1993, are now an important commuter route which tackles Hong Kong's hilly terrain and bustling traffic. From 6am to 10am, they run downhill, after which point they are switched in the other direction.

Head west along Hollywood Road as it, and the surrounding streets, transform into a long stretch of stalls and antique shops, some cheap and cheerful, many eye-wateringly expensive. A few hundred metres further on, you'll find the largest of Hong Kong's Man Mo Taoist Temples that honour two of the many hundreds of gods: War and Literature. Here the two figures sit side by side, one brandishing a pen, the other a sword. Behind the red and gold doors, the air is alive with incense smoke. As recently as 100 years ago, it is maintained that when disputes could not be solved by British law, they would be settled here using a curious game of chance involving chicken's blood and pieces of yellow paper.

A little further along Hollywood Road, turn right and take the stairs down to Queens Road Central. Turn left on to the escalators down to Connaught Road and then turn right to Hong Kong Central Station. This might seem an unusual location for a bite to eat, but it contains the third and newest branch of a Hong Kong institution, Tim Ho Wan (Hong Kong Station Podium Level 1, IFC Mall; 00 852 2332 3078; The original (in nearby Kowloon) is the world's cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant. A di m sum meal, including the signature barbecue pork buns, can be bought for around £5.

Come out of the other end of Hong Kong Central Station and walk along the harbour front at Lung Wo Road to Hong Kong's Exhibition Centre, a little low-rise blob framed by the skyscrapers that surround it. From 23-26 May it will be hosting, for the first time, Art Basel. More than 250 galleries from 35 countries will be exhibiting at the contemporary art show, and leading artists will be involved in panel discussions.
Where the world's riches go, high-end art follows, and China is now the world's second-largest market. Hong Kong might just be embarking on the most exciting chapter in its history.

Fresh cuts
Art Basel is at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 Expo Drive (00 852 2824 2381; from 23-26 May. Other galleries throughout the city are also taking part. Tickets HK$250 (£21).
Rula Bula (58-62 D'Aguilar Street; 00 852 2179 5225; deals in "molecular cocktails" and DJs of world renown. An abbreviation from the Irish expression "Ri Ra agus Rúla Búla", meaning "uproar and commotion", it is the latest in a long line of offerings to the Hong Kong social scene from expatriate Irishman Cathal Kiely.
Enomod (1-5 Elgin Street; 00 852 2555 6065; is a new Mediterranean "social dining experience". Cheeses, cold cuts, delicate tapas-style fish dishes and wine by the carafe set among seven different areas – including charcuterie counter, lounge area, communal dining tables and draught wine corner.

Travel essentials

Getting there
Virgin Atlantic (0844 209 2770; flies daily from Heathrow to Hong Kong. Returns start at £659. Cathay Pacific (020-8834 8888; and British Airways (0844 493 0787) also fly Heathrow-Hong Kong. Many connecting flights are available.

Staying there
The Marco Polo Hotel, 13 Canton Road, Harbour City, Kowloon (00 852 2113 0088; Double rooms, with spectacular views over Hong Kong harbour, start at HK$1,700 (£144), without breakfast.

More information
Hong Kong Tourist Board:

Article source:  Independent