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Day 1: Hong Kong Science Museum and Hong Kong Museum of History

2 Oct

We planned to visit five museums over the course of our stay. However, we ended up visiting only two and that was on our first day.

Here are the interesting museums in HK that you can visit.

From Nathan Road near Tsim Sha Tsui Exit B1, we took an A21 bus to get to the Hong Kong Science Museum and paid 8 HKD with our Octopus Card. The driver of the bus was very friendly. He was more than happy to talk to somebody in English. He told us when it was time to get off at 119 Chatam Road South and pointed the Hong Kong Museum of History across the road.

If you have the time to visit most of the museums in HK, it would be better to get this pass. This weekly pass will save you some money. This is available in all the museums.

I initially thought we would be able to cover more places on our first day since the Science Museum and the Museum of History are just across each other. It turned out the Science Museum was so big we spent almost two hours there.

They had different exhibits on construction which were quite amusing.

This plasma ball looks more magical in person as you get to see purple-colored currents, which the camera failed to capture.

I didn't pay much attention but I think this was about the amount of groceries consumed within a particular period of time, if not their nutritional value.

Cathay Pacific plane and the Junk

There are four floors to this museum catering to the many different branches of science. It was kind of hard to resist the interactive exhibits. So yeah, an hour will pass you by before you even know it. 😉

There were more of these puzzles. 😉

Head on a plate?!

This reminded me of that scene in The Night at the Museum. :p

After we finally managed to get ourselves out of the Hong Kong Science Museum, we crossed to the history museum. It has a more serious atmosphere to it. It was quiet and we saw only few visitors. But it was still big. And still, we spent more time in there than we had planned.

Stone Age

Junk is the famous symbol of Hong Kong.

This is a part of a traditional Chinese wedding ceremony.

Chinese Opera

Photos in this post are from Ate R, P, and B. Thanks, guys! 🙂

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Lunch, Hong Kong-Style

26 May

This is where we had our first meal in Hong Kong.

After spending some time in our rooms, we went out to Haiphong Road to look for a place to eat. We wanted to try a local restaurant. So when we spotted Golden Lake Restaurant and had seen the affordable meals on their menu, we went inside.

It is just a very small place where people only eat and leave as soon as they are done. It is unlike the usual restaurants we have here where people idle away their time chatting and eating.

On a totally unrelated note, I am trying out this collage effect I recently learned. Thanks to Jestina for teaching me. 🙂

There were a lot of diners that we initially had to separate into two groups and share tables with other customers. But since people walk out of the restaurant right after finishing their meals, all six of us eventually got seated in one small, round table at a corner.

I paid 30 HKD for this meal.

I ordered a pork chop meal. It had two slices of pork and a big helping of rice. I hardly finished everything. I noticed that food in Hong Kong come in big portions.

I did not order any drinks. I always carried around with me a bottle of Bonaqua from 7 eleven. Let me just tell you that this water did not cause me any stomach trouble. Plus, this is a product of Coca- Cola so you can be assured of the quality.

A 1.5L bottle costs less than 10 HKD. (Photo from Google.)

The taste of the pork chop was okay. Although, I would have wanted it well done as it was a little too tender for me. 😉

The Hotel and a Park

24 May

After arriving in Hong Kong, the first thing in our itinerary was to look for our hotel. We stayed at Golden Grown Guest House which is located along Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui. Days before our trip, I made a research on how to get there from the ferry terminal. There are two ways. The first one is to walk from the terminal and pass by The Toy House and World Finance Tower. Once you find the Imperial Building, turn left to Haiphong Road. At the end of this road, you will find the Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station on your left. Then you will have to cross the street and walk towards your right. This time you will be walking along Nathan Road. The hotel is just a few steps away from the pedestrian lane. It is before Carnarvon Rd.

Hong Kong map. The area in green is the Kowloon Park.

The other way is what we took. From the Arrivals Hall of the terminal on the 2nd floor, we had to go down the escalator and go up to the 3rd floor (Promenade) to find a walkway that connects to Kowloon Park. We had to go down to the ground floor because there is no escalator that connects the 2nd and 3rd floor.

A lake in Kowloon Park with the flamingos

We walked passed a lake then took the road on the right to get to the main avenue of the park. We passed by the Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre. We just walked straight ahead and found ourselves the park sign as we turned left.

Some shots taken in Kowloon Park. The park sign (bottom right) faces Haiphong Road.

We continued to walk towards the left and found ourselves exiting to Nathan Road. Facing Nathan Road, the Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station is on the right. We just walked towards a pedestrian lane to cross to the other side of the street. We were walking very fast and found ourselves outside Mirador Mansion. This means that we already went past the Golden Crown Court building. We walked back and asked a local where we can find the building.

The entrance to the building is narrow. The sign above the entrance is made of black granite with gold letters. It is not very obvious so it is easy to get lost. You can also look for Standard Chartered Bank. The hotel is beside it.

As we entered the building, we went straight to the 5th floor. That’s where their reception area is. It was a busy day as a lot of people were trying to check in. But I just showed a print out of our reservation details from their website, showed my passport, paid the balance, and we were given the keys right away.

I just made the reservation through their website. It's very convenient and effective. For your inquiries, you can ask by writing on their guestbook. We got two rooms so we had to give them HKD 200 for the keys. They returned the money when we checked out.

The lady at the reception counter accompanied us to our rooms on the 6th floor.

This picture is from their website but our rooms look very similar to this one minus the swivel chair.

The sleeping area didn’t have a lot of space to move around in but it was clean. The toilet and bath were spacious enough. There was a heater that we had to turn on15 minutes before taking a bath. Our rooms had a hair dryer and a tv (which we didn’t pay much attention to because the shows were in Chinese). The staff also cleaned the rooms everyday that we were there. Another thing I like about the hotel is that it takes less than a minute to get there from Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station Exit D1.

For some reason, not even one of us remembered to take a single picture of the room or of the building. That’s why this post doesn’t have any pictures showing the details of our rooms. 😦

By the way, do not be surprised to find other guesthouses in the building. A lot of buildings in Hong Kong, like Chungking Mansion and Mirador Mansion, have several guesthouses inside.

If it is your first time in Hong Kong, staying in this area is highly recommended. It is near an MTR station, a bus stop, the ferry terminal to Central, and other must see spots. There are also a lot of stores and restaurants nearby.

Off to Hong Kong

20 May

We woke up at around 6, took a bath, packed our things, and checked out of the hotel. By 8, we were already on a bus to the Ferry Terminal.

I can't remember the bus number but I remembered we paid MOP 3.20 each

This time, we were headed to Kowloon (Tsim Sha Tsui China Ferry Terminal) since it’s nearer our hotel. So we went on the New World First Ferry instead of Turbojet, which goes to Central.

Buying our tickets for the 8:30 AM ferry

There are certain sailing times in certain days when tickets are offered at a discounted rate. So be sure to check their site for the schedule and prices.

We were lucky! We only paid 135 HKD instead of 155 HKD.

Again, you will have to be ready with a departure card to show to the immigration officer.

View from inside the terminal

We got on the boat on time but the trip took longer than I expected. It wasn’t a smooth ride, too. I almost p*uked! 😦

Inside New World First Ferry

I was so glad when we docked. I was still feeling sick when I was lining up at the immigration counter (This time with my arrival card that was given onboard.). But then, I was already in Hong Kong. The excitement made me forget the seasickness in no time! 😉

Macau Itinerary- Part 3

19 May

I am used to 6:00 PM sunsets. But when we were in Macau, it was already 7:00 PM and the sky still looked like this:

Late sunset

Compare it to this:

Now, that's better! 😉

The picture above was taken at quarter past 7. The lights were more dazzling against the black sky. This was the time we have been waiting for. Lights from the casinos became more brilliant. So, we just walked around and took pictures. Up until this time, we still haven’t taken any form of public transportation, save for the taxi ride to the hotel.

Lively street; Grand Lisboa is partly hidden on the left; Wynn is in the middle

We are not big on casinos. So out of curiosity, we only went inside one- Casino Lisboa. It was big and a lot of people were playing. We didn’t stay long, though.

Macau pedicabs near Grand Lisboa

We walked some more until we got tired. We saw more beautiful buildings along the way. We then finally got on a bus (I’m so sorry, I really forgot the bus #.) to go to Hotel Sintra.

In Macau, hotels offer free shuttle buses. We took advantage of the one from City of Dreams. We got on the City of Dreams bus to get to Cotai Strip.

City of Dreams shuttle outside Hotel Sintra

The shuttle stopped outside City of Dreams.

Outside City of Dreams

I really liked the smell of this place.

We were greeted by this 3D display when we got inside.

City of Dreams is really huge. It has numerous designer shops, casinos, the Grand Hyatt Macau, and Hard Rock Hotel. They also have two theaters where you can watch shows like The Bubble. We didn’t have a lot of time so we weren’t able to watch any shows.

Vivienne Westwood store inside City of Dreams

These spades on the floor lead to the casino.

Hard Rock Hotel

We then walked to The Venetian, which was right across City of Dreams.

View of the Venetian from City of Dreams

This place is massive. But we only went to see the Grand Canal Shoppes and the gondola.

The Grand Canal Shoppes

We didn’t see anybody riding the gondola when we were there. I think because it was already late.

Gondola ride @ MOP108 (per ride) for adults and MOP80 (per ride) for kids

We got on the City of Dreams shuttle again to go back to Hotel Sintra. We then walked all the way back to the hotel.

Street food we saw on our way back to the hotel

My friends decided to eat dinner at a food stand beside the hotel while I went ahead and called it a night.

MACAU ITINERARY- PART 2

15 May

Warning: This is a photo- heavy post.

We went out again at around 10:30 and headed to the Ruins. We didn’t have a hard time getting there. We walked from our hotel to Senado Square and just followed the street signs.

Largo do Senado

Along the way to the Ruins, we saw a lot of shops and curious finds.

There was also this one particular street that seemed to be busier than the others. It was lined with shops selling souvenirs, local goods, and some branded items. This was also where locals and tourists can get a taste of pastries, like almond cookies, and dried meats for free. They were delicious, I must say.

Busy street

I noticed a pastry shop in that same street that was flooded with people. Upon closer inspection, I realized it was the Pasteleria Koi Kei.

Pasteleria Koi Kei

They are famous for their Portuguese egg tarts. I bought one for myself to try. It turned out to be the best egg tart I’ve ever tasted. Each costs 6 patacas (Macau’s currency) or you can also pay in HKD for the same amount.

We ended up buying more egg tarts. Don't leave Macau without tasting them!

We then continued to walk along this street and was greeted by the famous Macau landmark.

The busy street leads to the Ruins.

A lot of people were already there. There was even a photo shoot going on.

The crowd by the Ruins

Wedding photo shoot

We took more pictures before we went inside.

Closed gate beside the main entrance

Back view of the Ruins

We climbed the stairs behind the Ruins and we got a good view of the Grand Lisboa.

View from one of the Ruin's windows.

We then went to the Museum of Sacred Art and Crypt.

View from the stairs behind the facade. The arrow points to the Museum of Sacred Art and Crypt.

We only went inside the Crypt. Admission was free.

The crypt contains the relics of martyrs from Vietnam and Japan.

Our next stop was the Museo de Macau, which was near the Ruins. We didn’t get inside for some reason and just took some pictures.

Museo de Macau's operating hours

The escalator here leads to the Museum's entrance

Outside the Museum

If you want to buy some souvenirs, you can check out the stores in between the Ruins and the Museum. A seller from there gave me a very good price. So, don’t be shy to work your haggling skills. 😉

View from the Museum. The arrow points to the stores where souvenirs are sold.

By this time,  we were starving. So we walked back down the same busy street. We found some benches near a 7- eleven store and decided to eat there.

7- eleven

This is what I had- noodles with crab sticks and some dimsum. This is less than 30 HKD.

We ate here. 🙂

After lunch, we walked back to our hotel supposedly to get some sleep. Remember, we haven’t had enough sleep the night before. We went straight to Macau as soon as we arrived in Hong Kong. But it is not everyday that I can be in Macau. So when B said she would rather spend the time exploring Macau more, I gladly joined her. And, P tagged along.

We walked through alleys where we didn’t find a lot of tourists. We stayed for a while in a mini park surrounded by local houses. We saw stores catering mostly to the locals and a street lined with antique shops. We were surprised to end up at Na Tcha Temple right beside the Ruins.

I don't know the name of this temple but it houses some golden statues.

Brass monkey statue

Local houses

This street is lined with antique shops.

Na Tcha Temple beside the Ruins

Although I enjoyed going around on foot, my feet were already complaining like mad. So we just dropped by Lou Kau Mansion in No. 7, Travessa da Se, which is in one of the alleys near Senado Square. We then went back to the hotel.

The ceiling in Lou Kau Mansion

Wooden panels with very intricate designs

Tea Hall. Admission to the mansion is free.

Whew! This is one lengthy post. And, we are not even done with Day 1 yet. 😉

Macau Part 3 is coming soon…

MCDONALD’S MACAU

5 May

McDonald’s is very easy to spot when you are in Senado Square. Just look for this:

McDonald's brand icons

I noticed that the breakfast items on their menu are a bit different from what’s available in my local branch.

The breakfast menu

Out of curiosity, I went for the cheesy pasta set. I paid 23 HKD for this. I wasn’t disappointed. 🙂

My breakfast: Sausage & Egg Cheesy Tasty Pasta

The happy eaters!

HOTEL MAN VA

4 May

If the incident at Hotel Ko Wah didn’t happen, we wouldn’t have known about Hotel Man Va. And I take it as a blessing in disguise for the following reasons:

Outside the hotel

1. Michael (I’m so sorry I wasn’t able to take a picture of him). He’s the receptionist when we were there. He’s very, very accommodating.

2. The hotel lobby. They had a proper lobby with comfortable sofas. It was spacious too.

Lobby. The door behind me is the main entrance. To my left is the reception counter.

3. The room rate. We got 2 triple- rooms at a little less than 500 HKD each. It was definitely worth the kind of service that we got from the staff.

4. The rooms. Ours had three separate beds with enough space to walk around. We even had a bathtub. Best of all, it was clean and didn’t have any weird smell.

L: Our room (Please excuse the mess! =^_^=); R: The bathroom

5. The location. Hotel Man Va is along Travessa da Caldeira. Although it is not on the main street, it is just a few minutes away from the city center. It’s a minute away from the bus stop that goes to the ferry terminal. Senado Square is also less than 5- minutes away on foot.

The arrow points to where Hotel Man Va is located; Above it is the Ruins; Towards the right is the Senado Square

If you are looking for a hotel in Macau that is simple, affordable, and accessible, I would really recommend that you check this place out.

Contact information

MACAU ITINERARY- Part 1

3 May

Actually, there was no itinerary. I have read that Macau is pretty easy to navigate and that you can get maps from the ferry terminal and hotels. So, I didn’t really bother coming up with a detailed plan. I only called Hotel Ko Wah weeks before to make a reservation.

L: Macau map I got at the Ferry Terminal; R: Map I got from Hotel Ko Wah

My friends and I arrived in Macau a little after 5:00 AM. The streets were empty except for a few trucks and taxis. Since according to the map Hotel Ko Wah (which is in Rua da Felicidade) is far, we decided to just take a taxi. We had to hail two since there were six of us. Each charged us 40 HKD.

There were two guys at the reception when we got there. They were asleep so I had to knock on the counter. One of them immediately waved his arms to say that there were no vacancies and that he didn’t speak English. I tried to tell him that I made a reservation a month before. I even had to make an international call to them since they didn’t have a website. But he just ignored me and went back to sleep.

I wasn’t too happy, of course. But we were in a dark and unfamiliar street at an ungodly hour and there was no time for drama. We went out of the hotel, walked down the road to look for a place to stay. The next hotel had no vacancies either. The third one (Hotel Man Va) also didn’t have any rooms available. However, Michael, the receptionist, said if we can wait we can check in by 9:00 AM. At that time, it was just around 6:00 AM. It was too early to do anything. So we waited by the hotel’s lounge and slept for a bit.

By 7:00 AM, we were too hungry. Michael said we can walk to Senado Square to get a McDonald’s meal. He also gave us a map. He was very nice and accommodating. He was also good in English. He let us leave our things in their storage room while we grab something to eat.

Reception area of Hotel Man Va (The left door is the storage room.)

The hotel, which is in Trevessa Da Caldeira, was just a few minutes walk from Senado Square.

Street leading to Largo do Senado

After breakfast, we went around and took some pictures. Most of the shops were still closed. They usually open at around 10:00 AM. We took our time and were able to observe some locals going about their day.

The shops near the Square

Students walking past the Cathedral of Macau

Some elderly hanging out by the benches in Senado Square

At around 9, we walked back to our hotel. We settled into our rooms and rested for a while.

Part 2 can be found here.

SETTING FOOT ON FOREIGN LAND

27 Apr

We arrived in Hong Kong at almost midnight. Cebu Pacific’s only direct flight from Cebu to Hong Kong leaves late at night daily. The first thing I noticed when we got there was how huge the Hong Kong International Airport was. We even had to get on the train just to reach the immigration halls.

Waiting for the train

Maps of all sorts for your travel around Hong Kong are available everywhere in the airport.

Once we got our passports stamped, we proceeded to get our bags and headed for the bus station.

Baggage carousel

It was only after I saw the bus did I realize that we didn’t have octopus cards. P and I asked several airport personnel where we can get the said card. However, nobody understood what we were talking about. That’s when it dawned on me that English is not as common as I thought it would be in Hong Kong.

Octopus card

Both of us went back inside the airport. All we saw were just octopus card reloading machines. All customer service counters were also closed. We then decided to just buy food from 7- eleven so we will have some change for the bus. We were going to Macau Ferry Terminal in Central via the N11 bus of Citybus. The fare was 33 HKD each. Buses in Hong Kong and Macau do not offer change. So you really have to prepare the exact amount.

A11 bus becomes N11 at night (please excuse the trash can)

The ride to Central took an hour. Since it was very early in the morning, the terminal was almost empty.

Macau Ferry Terminal

Before we got to the official ticket counter of Turbojet, there were several people who offered us tickets at a much cheaper price. But we wanted to be safe so we just bought our tickets from the Turbojet counter for 168 HKD.

Turbojet ticket for Hong Kong to Macau

Our passports were again stamped before we got on the boat.

Up Next: Our Macau Adventure