Thanks to the Government of Hong Kong. Everyone can access the Free WI-Fi services in public areas. You don't need to register at the Tourism Board Counter, you can log-in right away with your smart phone or tablet.
Check out the hotspot locations by clicking here!
Don't play your phone or tablet while walking. It is dangerous ! Check out the lady in my photo!
Most Chinese people believe in luck. They love to gamble. The only legal gambling in Hong Kong is on horse racing. For casinos you would need to go to Macau. There are two race courses here: one in Sha Tin, the other in Happy Valley. Both are run by the Hong Kong Jockey Club. Both are very popular.
The handover to China took place on 1st July 1997. This is marked by a public holiday on July first each year - SAR Day - Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Day.
These old photos show the royal yacht Britannia waiting to take the last British govenor - Chris Patten and his family back to the UK and HMS Chatham waiting to take back some of the army.
This is the biggest festival here. It takes place in January or February on a different date each year. Each year is called after a different animal: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit,dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, pig.
In preparation people clean out their homes and decorate them. During the festival red packets containing money are given to children and unmarried adults. Families get together for special meals. Children wear traditional Chinese clothes.
A giant inflatable rubber duck sculpture floated into Hong Kong Harbour last Thursday, May 2nd. Designed by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman,the 16,9m high sculpture has already been in Osaka, Sydney, Sao Paolo and Amsterdam. It will be in Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour until June 9. It is located just outside ocean terminal in TST.
The duck brings back memories of childhood to people from all over the world, but it is also about environmental awareness. It floats across the seas from continent to continent showing our oceans as a giant interconnected bathtub and above all it is just so cute.
After Hong Kong next stop is the USA.
The original HSBC bank in Shanghai had 2 lion sculptures placed outside it. The main Hong Kong branch of HSBC at 1 Queen's Road Central decided to have the same.
In 1935 the bank commissioned two bronze lions from Shanghai-based British sculptor W W Wagstaff who died in 1977, aged 82. The lions took around two years to make. When they were finished, the Hong Kong lions became objects of veneration and people brought their children to see them and stroke their paws and noses for good luck.
During the Second World War when Hong Kong was occupied by Japan, the lions were confiscated by the Japanese and sent to Japan to be melted down. Fortunately the war ended before this took place. After the war an American sailor spotted the lions in a dockyard in Osaka and knew where they had come from. They were returned a few months later and to their original guard posts in October 1946.
The Hong Kong lions are also called Stephen and Stitt. Stephen is open mouthed and roaring, Stitt has his mouth closed. Stephen has bullet wounds in his left hind-quarters dating from the fighting in the Battle of Hong Kong.
A gigantic elephant statue balancing on a man's back has appeared in Central district near the cenotaph and statue square.
The statue was created by French artist Fabien Merelle and will be on display until 6th July, 2013. The elephant is modelled on an elephant in Singapore zoo, The man is based on the artist Fabien Merelle himself.
The sculpture is called Pentateuque which apparently refers to the first five books of the bible and is supposed to represent man bending over under the weight of religion, culture, customs etc.
The sculpture, part of a Hong Kong luxury art festival, has been sold for 250,000 euros to a Malaysian art collector.
We seem to be going through a weird and wonderful animal art phase - see also rubber duckie.
The humble goldfish plays an important role in Chinese culture as it is a symbol of good fortune, peace and friendship. I found out this information inside the Goldfish Treasures exhibit at Ocean Park. Its a good place to see hundreds of goldfish including some rare varieties, but if you like tropical fish there is also another great location in Mongkok where the locals go to 'goldfish shop'.
If you would like to buy a goldfish (though I am unsure of how you would actually take one home in your suitcase LOL) any of the common varieties and some rare ones can be bought along "Goldfish Street" which is actually the northern end of Tung Choi Street (where the Ladies Market is located).
There are literally thousands of fish on display in aquariums or hanging in rows in their own personal aquarium which is just a bag of water but its a facinating sight to see all the bags stretching up to the ceiling and spending even a short time wandering through different shops searching out the most exotic specimens and other reptilia is apparently on many tourists must do lists. They certainly are colourful and I find them quite mesmorising.
As you shuffle onto the escalator as part of the frantic activity at any MTR station or shopping mall, just remember your escalator etiquette and move to the RIGHT HAND SIDE. That is unless you are in somewhat of a hurry and want to save a few seconds by climbing up the left hand side.
Right for relax for a few seconds or left for leaving in a hurry! Also be mindful that Hong Kong escalators move fairly quickly in comparison to other cities so take note of the announcements and...PLEASE HOLD THE HANDRAIL.
There are almost three hundred thousand housemaids working and living with Hong Kong families.
If you happen to be in the vicinity of the IFC covered walkways in Central or Statue Square on a Sunday you cant help but notice the thousands of mainly Filipino and Indonesian Maids spending their one day off per week outside. Maids turn the parks and footpaths into open air coffee shops spending the day eating, chatting and playing cards with their colleagues. Temporary hair and beauty salons are sometimes set up.
Repulse Bay on the southern side of Hong Kong Island is also a popular meeting place. Domestic helpers set up picnics on the sand or cook barbeque lunches for their friends. Its a quirky sight that always puts a smile on my face, but it also reminds me of the affluent lifestyle enjoyed by the wealthy that so many people can afford to employ maids.
Its my understanding that many of these women live away from their own families and contribute to their own households financially. Periodically discussions and debates are held regarding the rights of domestic helpers to be granted Hong Kong residency.
Yes, I do realise bonsai are Japanese, but these miniature trees are also very popular in Hong Kong, too. You can buy them pretty cheaply at Hong Kong Flower Market, Mong Kok. I used to own several but was not very successful with them, so sadly they are no more. There is also always a wonderful display of them at the Hong Kong Garden Festival. I love the ones that are used to create an entire mini-landscape as in my photo here.
Bamboo Scaffolding is a common sight in Hong Kong. The first time I saw it I was amazed at how such a simple material could in fact be so strong and effective. Take a walk along any Hong Kong Street and I guarantee you will see a building swathed in bamboo "sticks". Considering the enormous height of Hong Kong skyscrapers I suppose its makes good economic sense to use bamboo which is both strong and lightweight but the sight still amazes and confounds me.
Check out the gentleman erecting scaffolding horizontally over the street on Hong Kong Island.
I wandered why locals were queueing briefly to scan their Octopus cards at a machine at the start of the Mid Levels Escalator so wanting to be a pretend local I joined the queue. When I got closer I found out it is an MTR Fare Saver Machine. Yay!!!
MTR Fare Saver machines have been placed at various locations to reward people who choose to walk to certain designated MTR stations rather than take buses or taxis. The machines are located a few hundred metres from the designated station (in my case Sheung Wan, Central or Hong Kong) and allow Adult Octopus Card holders a discount of HK$2 on their next journey from the listed station provided the journey is made on the same day. The machine automatically adjusts the balance on the Octopus Card once you enter the designated station.
The majority of these machines are not in tourist areas but I have also seen one at Harbour City Shopping Centre - designated stations to apply discount are Tsim Sha Tsui and Austin.
In the SAR, the Hong Kong Dollar is used. This runs about 7.75 to 1 US dollar.
Bills go down to $10 each and coins will go up to $10.
The other unique thing about Hong Kong Dollars is the design is different depending upon which bank issued them for the same amount. IE, a $20 from HSBC will have one pattern and a $20 from Bank of China, another.
Food offerings are one of the most prominent and important rituals in Buddhism. Making the offerings to the gods and hungry ghosts is a meritorious act that reminds practitioners not to be greedy or selfish, and connects them with the spiritual world. The types of food offered vary, but most consist of items such as fruit, rice, or even flowers.
Hungry ghosts represent greed, thirst, and neediness which bind people to their sorrows and disappointments. By giving away something they crave, practitioners release themselves from their own sorrows and disappointments.
The rituals involved in making offerings of food vary. They can be as simple as silently leaving food on the altar accompanied by a bow, or involve chanting and full prostrations. At most Buddhist temples, the altars are piled with fruit and other food items, such as pictured here. The food is put to good use, as the temple's monks will eat the food, which also earns merit for the practitioner.
I am two people really. Either businessman or traveller. So, if your on business or the budget's not...more
The location is handy for TST but the rooms are a little tired. I first stayed here in 2006 and...more
8 Pak Hok Ting Street, Shatin, Hong Kong, China
Good for: Couples
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