Hong Kong Travelogue
"Day 1 - Arrival, Mongkok (18 Nov 2005)"
We departed from Singapore to Hong Kong via Macau International Airport on a budget airline Tiger Airways. The flight took off at Changi Airport, Singapore and arrived promptly at Macau International Airport at 1pm, after which we took a free(only on Thurs and Fri, duration approx 1 hour) Transmac(its local public bus) to the Golden Sands and proceeded to Hong Kong - Macau Ferry Terminal for our ferry to Central, Hong Kong. Discounted Return Ferry Price: HKD 263 (~S$58).
Our first meal was taken at Maxim's at the Shun Tak Centre, a connecting building with the ferry terminal in Hong Kong. It is basically a Chinese-styled fast food chain restaurants, serving meals ranging from claypot, teppan, noodles to Western and Japanese meals. The serving size of a typical Hong Kong meal is much larger, albeit at a much higher cost. Price range for full meal complete with a drink: HKD 30 (~S$7).
After a sumptuous meal, we transferred to Tsim Sha Tsui via the Star Ferry. The mode of transport is an old-fashioned cruise but it provides us with an excellent first-hand view of the 2 different major areas of Hong Kong, namely Central with its wonderful commercial skylines leading all the way from Sheung Wan to Causeway Bay, and on the other side of Victoria Harbour, Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon Peninsula. We obtained some very useful maps and guides at the Tourism Board Centre near the ferry terminal. We signed up for the Architecture Walk organised by the HKTB here. A short KMB bus ride took us along Nathan Road(Hong Kong's Golden Mile) to our hostel (Hong Kong Budget Hostel) in Mongkok. Price for Star Ferry: HKD 2.20 (~S$0.50); Price for bus ride from TST Bus Terminus to Nelson Road, Mongkok: HKD 4.30 (~S$1).
Amazement set in! Mongkok is super-duper gigantic shopping area for all ages especially catering to youths. Getting around this place was just like getting through a maze. It took us some time to understand the road network. Sai Yeung Choi Street, Tung Choi Street, Fa Yuen Street and Sai Yee Street form the backbone of Mongkok. Mongkok is always full with people and most shops do not usually close before 11pm. There would still be people roaming or shopping around after midnight. Recommended spending time just for browsing would take around 3 to 4 hours.
"Day 2 - Architecture Walk, Shopping (19 Nov 2005)"
Do not attempt to say you have experienced how a typical Hong Konger spends his day until you have experienced it yourself. A day would usually start with a breakfast at the teahouse or namely Cha Chan Ting in Mandarin. Interesting items like the Po Lor Bao (a huge lightly-flavoured biscuit-like bun with a thin slice of butter sandwiched) and the Ju Pa Bao (bun with pork chop). A popular shop located along Bute Street in Mongkok near Prince Edward MTR is shown in the picture. A typical meal with a bun and a drink would cost less than HKD 15, or a bowl of noodles with free omelette and sausage costing around HKD 20.
It's back to Hong Kong Island after breakfast. We proceeded to the HK Planning and Infrastructure Exhibition Gallery for the Architecture Walk. It's a 3-hr fully guided tour hosted by Ms Winnie Wong, who is a certified architect. Starting from the Gallery, we visited famous buildings such as the Jardine House, IFC 1 and 2, Hang Seng Bank, Mid Levels Escalator, Lan Kwai Fong, HSBC Main Building, Bank of China Tower etc. Definitely a must for first-timers in Hong Kong.
After the Walk, we ventured around at Central, Hong Kong, visiting places like Chaterhouse, Prince's Building, The Landmark and the Galleria, all of which sell high-end merchandises and provide fine dining.
A well-worth tram ride took us from Central through Wan Chai, Causeway Bay (Tong Lor Wan or Bronzed Drum Bay), to North Point, a typical residential area with many high-rise flats and shophouses serving the neighbourhood. After a quick tour around the area, we travelled back to Sheung Wan, known to have many Chinese herbal and medicinal shops, for another quick tour along the streets before we proceeded back to Mongkok via MTR.