Category: Hong Kong

ADV: Hong Kong Disneyland 5th Anniversary

Regardless how many times I visited Disneyland, it never gets old. πŸ™‚

I first visited Hong Kong Disneyland when it opened its doors 5 years ago. I even blogged about it here.

Although I went alone that time, I still remember having lots of fun. After all, Hong Kong Disneyland is the closest one to Malaysia, and there’s just something magical and fantasy-like about Disneyland that keeps luring people back.

This time round, I was lucky I wasn’t travelling alone…

Everyone says hi to Ming!

It was Ming’s first Disneyland experience and our first time travelling together, so we were both doubly excited. Throughout our 3 days in Disneyland alone, we were both running around like two overly-excited overgrown kids.

Proof.

We flew into Hong Kong two days earlier, and went around exploring the big city for a bit before spending our next two days in Disneyland.

Getting to Disneyland is super easy. The park is linked to Hong Kong’s MTR train network, complete with their own Disney-themed train.

Even their handle-bars have Mickey ears.

I half-suspect the train driver to be Mickey too.

A short shuttle bus ride later, we reached our accommodation for the next two days… Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel!

What an amazing hotel!

The entire hotel is decorated like a Victorian-era fairy tale castle with grand golden above your head and plenty of sunlight seeping through four floors of glass windows.

Checking in at the front counter.

We were supposed to have a sea view room but it was all booked out. The receptionist was quick to upgrade us to a ‘Fantasia’ room without the sea view, but equipped with a Jacuzzi inside the bathroom.

Can’t complain about that!

The attention-to-detail inside the Hong Kong Disneyland hotel is incredible. Almost every single decor in the room has a either a Mickey Mouse silhouette or a Disney character drawn on it.

From the Seven Dwarves on the toiletries.

To the frame on the bathroom mirror.

To the "Do Not Disturb" sign.

Even the pillow cases have Cinderella and the Fairy godmothers printed on them.

The Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel also boasts a large heated indoor swimming pool and an indoor gym, all decorated like they come right out from 19th century England.

Well, except their gym equipment.

Guess what’s playing on their stationary bike TV?

The hotel I stayed at has nice romantic courtyard and a beautiful buffet restaurant called The Enchanted Garden.

This is the best place to have breakfast in Disneyland!

While we were munching on our food, all the familiar characters started coming out to shake hands, take photos and interact with us! We didn’t even have to fight with other people or queue for ages under the sun.

Goofy!

Pluto!

And of course, Mickey himself.

In other restaurants, the presence of a rodent would’ve shut their business down. Lucky The Enchanted Garden is not like "other restaurants".

Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel is one of two hotels within the vicinity of the theme park. The other is Disney’s Hollywood Hotel.

If Disneyland Hotel is old English, then the best way to describe Disney’s Hollywood Hotel is "old-fashioned American".

I love it! It even has a jogging path behind the hotel named after all the famous streets in Los Angeles.

 

Although we didn’t get to try the breakfast buffet in Disney’s Hollywood Hotel (someone woke up late mah), we managed to catch a glimpse. All I gotta say is that the presentation and array of food is simply mind-boggling.

Gotta love the Mickey Mouse chairs!

Anyway, after check-in, we headed over to the Chinese restaurant inside our hotel to have a dim sum lunch.

It was the cutest Chinese dim sum lunch I ever had in my whole entire life.

This is our appetizer – Steamed Piggy Mask Buns. Cuteness overload. How to eat liddat?!

I actually felt kinda bad when I sunk my teeth into the pig-faced BBQ pork bun.

If pigs were to look this cute in real life, I’m gonna feel so guilty that imma curl up in a fetal position, swear off pork for the rest of my life and change my religion to Islam.

What is this?

Tasmanian crab meat fried rice stuffed inside a golden crab shell.

Lucky they did not use Sebastian The Crab from The Little Mermaid.

After that (highly emotional) dim sum lunch, we hopped on the shuttle bus once again. This time – to have fun in the Disneyland theme park!

Hong Kong Disneyland isn’t too big nor too small. It is the perfect size to explore on foot and the entire park can be done in one day, but ideally two days. Staying at one of the theme park resort hotels overnight is highly recommended to get the full Disney experience!

Immediately after entering the park, we headed off to Main Street U.S.A. to watch the Flights of Fantasy Parade.

This is a must-see! It is Hong Kong Disneyland’s special 5th Anniversary parade and no other Disney theme parks around the whole have it.

All the popular Disney characters are out in their marching band uniforms!

My favourite Disney character – Donald Duck!

I’m always amused by the fact that Donald Duck never wear pants, except when he goes swimming.

Woody popped by to say hi.

Then I told him I have one of my body parts named "Woody" too.

A HUGE swan with all the well-known Disney princesses on top of it floated past us, which HUGE smiles on their faces, arms floating, going all princess-y and stuff.

Eeyore – one of the very rare occasions he actually smiles.

It was the middle of summer and the temperature was soaring hot. I think it was close to 35 degrees? All I know is that I was standing on the sidewalk desperately fanning myself.

Although I was having fun myself, I felt kinda sorry for the dancing cast members. I hope none of them fainted halfway through the parade.

After the very happy parade of dancers and Disney characters, we went on to explore the rest of theme park.

Navigating Hong Kong Disneyland is easy.

As with all other Disneylands throughout the world, the park entrance takes us to Main Street U.S.A. It is where we watched the Parade in the morning, the fireworks at night and also where all the shops are located.

From there, it branches off into the three smaller themed lands.

Fantasyland – where rides like the Mad Hatter Tea Cups and Cinderella Carousel are so slow and gentle they are suitable for those who do not come to Disneyland for an adrenaline-induced heart attack.

I met Merlin the Magician here!

He was so funny. I jokingly asked, "Merlin! Show me some magic!"

Merlin pondered for a while, then suddenly he shouted "LOOK! OVER THERE!" as he pointed to the opposite direction. While I was momentarily distracted, Merlin pulled some stickers out of his pocket and gave them to me.

"Ta-da! Magic!"

 

Adventureland – modelled after the lush remote jungles of Asia. As a resident of Borneo, this feels like home to me.

Better not let Taib come here, later he chop the trees and build palm oil plantation all over the place.

 

Tomorrowland – a futuristic land where some of the most exhilarating theme park rides can be found!

I’m gonna try to summarize my favourite Hong Kong Disneyland attractions here.

it’s a small world

It’s a ride around the world on a boat. Most importantly, it is inside an air-conditioned building which makes it perfect on a hot day like this!

Along the way, hundreds of brightly costumed robot dolls in different cultural costumes of the world sings "it’s a small world" in their native languages.

I had fun testing Ming her geographical knowledge.

Me: "Where is this?"

Ming: "Holland!"

Me: "Good! Now, where is this?"

Ming: "Thailand?"

Me: "So smart! Ok, now tell me where is this?"

Ming: *excited* "I know! I know! KUALA LUMPUR."

Me: *BIG SWEAT*

 

The Golden Mickeys

It’s a sing and dance stage performance show, exclusive only to Hong Kong Disneyland. There are awards up for grabs like "Best Hero" or "Best Romance".

Just like in actual award shows, a small snippet of the nominees in each of the well-known Disney movies are shown. Unlike in actual award shows, no winners are actually announced in the end!

I remember watching the same show 5 years ago. It still is just as entertaining!

 

The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh

Very similar to it’s a small world except it’s a ride through the Hundred Acre Woods. Judging by the queues outside, small kids seem to love this place to bits although I personally find nothing earth-shattering about it.

Don’t bring your kids here if you want them to spell properly.

 

Festival of the Lion King

Definitely not to be missed! It’s a musical that uses songs from the movie, dance and special effects to re-create an African savannah animated with lions, elephants and giraffes.

 

Tarzan’s Treehouse

We took a raft across the river to explore this attraction while waiting for The Lion King show to start. The walk through the Treehouse tells the story of Tarzan and Jane. For me, the tree is worth climbing up only for this view.

Doesn’t feel like Hong Kong, does it?

 

Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters

 

Stich Encounter

By far the most hilarious show in Disneyland! When we read the description saying "no two shows are alike", I wondered how they were gonna accomplish it. Stitch appears on screen to actually talk and interact with the audience in real time – complete with facial expressions and animation!

The show would have been bland if it weren’t for Stitch’s mischievous smart-alec responses.

 

Space Mountain

The ultimate thrill-seekers ride of choice. It’s a high speed space-themed roller-coaster ride, set completely indoors with hard-hitting music as soundtrack.

Apparently, it was so scary they had to put this warning notice outside. Personally, I have sat through scarier rides, so this was a walk in the park for me.

Just look at how calm and collected I was in the picture.

 

Disney in the Stars Fireworks

No matter how many times I watched this, I feel like a wide-eyed little boy everytime I watch the fireworks in Disneyland. Something about the sheer magic of colourful lights exploding over the skies set to the soundtrack of Disney movies never fail to send my heartstrings tugging.

I want to go back to Disneyland again.

 

I guess Disneyland does that to you – it makes everyone feel like a kid, living in a plac
e where fairy tales and dreams come true.

Disneyland Resort Hong Kong

I hadn’t planned on going to Disneyland when I was in Hong Kong.

Reviews from friends and families who’ve been there were generally not so good, citing long queues, incomplete parks and lack of attractions as their major complaints.
Besides, going to a theme park alone is like making love to your own hand. You shiok sendiri, but no one really cares.

Anyhway, my brother who was there earlier in the year convinced me that it was worth the trip and the HK350/RM174 entrance ticket. So I changed my mind and went at the last minute.

The cemetery often seen in HK drama

Disneyland Resort is located on Lantau Island, a lush green and mountainous land devoid of the high-rise buildings typical of other parts of Hong Kong.
If Kowloon is Petaling Street and central Hong Kong is Orchard Road, then Lantau Island must be Kuching!

I didn’t want to waste my whole day at a theme park, so I detoured to another tourist attraction on Lantau first.
Po Lin Monastery is about 45 minutes drive by coach from the nearest MTR station. It houses the Giant Buddha, which according to my brochure, is the World’s Largest outdoor, bronze, seated Buddha on a lotus

I like how the imposed so many conditions just to justify describing it as a World’s Largest.
Technically speaking, I’m also the World’s Sexiest Kuching-born, hairy, “a bitch overweight” 24-year-old man.

A vegetarian lunch at the monastery costs HK60, which is not bad coming from someone who eats meat almost everyday.
After that it’s off to to destination Disneyland in their themed MTR train.

I have to say, this wasn’t my first Disneyland experience.
I first visited Disneyland in Los Angeles, California back when I was only 11 years old and too spoilt to appreciate how expensive it is to travel from Kuching to the USA.

Don’t laugh.

My late father, in a fit of generosity, decided to treat the whole family to a tour of Los Angeles, San Diego and Las Vegas. I even remembered staying at the penthouse suite in the famous Mirage Hotel, fake volcanos and white tigers and all.
Needless to say, a luxury holiday like that literally cost my dad a fortune. There was no AirAsia back then and very few 11-year-olds in Kuching had the same opportunity as I did.

Ironically, the lowlight of the trip was my visit to Disneyland. I wanted to get on as many rides as I could, but my parents took their time walking around and spending hours in the restaurant, thinking why rush since we had the whole day here.
What they didn’t realise was that it was winter and the park closes earlier at 6pm instead of 10pm.

So when the park attendants ushered us to the exit earlier than expected, I cried.
I cried like a sook and being the brat that I was, blamed my dad for wasting time. Then I demanded that he bring me back here the next day.

Upon hearing that, my dad forced an awkward smile and said to me “Kenny, the next time you come to Disneyland, it won’t be Papa bringing you here. It would be you bringing Papa here.
He passed away before I had the chance to bring him to Disneyland.

But let’s move on and get back to the topic, shall we? πŸ™‚
So here I was 13 years later, at the entrance of my second Disneyland with my own hard-earned cash.

I thought I’ve outgrown Disneyland, but I was wrong.
I wasn’t even expecting much, given the negative feedback, but honestly I had an awesome experience.

Disneyland is probably not The Happiest Place on Earthβ„’, but I say it’s definitely got the title as The Second Happiest Place On Earth.
The happiest place on Earth is still the Playboy Mansion.

The Disney parade was worth half the entrance ticket alone.
Most memorable characters, from Ariel to Woody, make an appearance here singing and waving to the audience.

You can see a lot of effort is put into this. The lengths the dancers go through to entertain the crowd is simply phenomenal.
Some of dancers scared me though.

You can feel the energy and enthusiasm coming from the dancers, and it’s hard not to put a smile on your face. I mean, how could you not laugh at a DANCING PINK FLAMINGO!?

If pink flamingos and coconut trees dancing doesn’t make you smile, nothing will.
Another must-go attraction is the Golden Mickey show.

Done in the style of an Academy Awards show, it features even more singers and dancers in typical Disney fashion and some really great thearetical work.
If anything, it’s worth attending just to see Mickey Mouse speak in Cantonese.

It was so good, I kinda teared during the Beauty and the Beast dance sequence.
Hey I liked that movie when it came out. Maybe it’s ‘cos I could relate to it.
Over in FantasyLand, I spotted my favourite Disney character of all time.

Donald Duck so totally owns Mickey Mouse’s ass. I reckon the mouse is overrated. What did Mickey Mouse ever do to deserve his place as the star of Disneyland. All he ever did was pose and smile like a nutcase.
Donald Duck on the other hand, wears a sailor’s outfit and doesn’t put on pants. Except when he goes swimming. Now that’s something.

Donald wears detachable duck feet

While I was lining up to take a photo with Donald Duck, I noticed something peculiar.
A little girl in front of me was asking Donald Duck for an autograph.
When I saw that I couldn’t help but to wonder. See, the name of the guy inside the Donald Duck suit most likely is not “Donald Duck”. His name is probably something lame like Lee Boon Teck or something. But he dressed up as Donald Duck because that’s his job.

Question is, when he signed the autograph, did he sign it as “Donald Duck”? Or did he sign it as “Lee Boon Teck”?
Obviously he signed it as “Donald Duck” right?
Isn’t that signature forgery? You bet.

If you sign your name as another person, and you knowingly led other people to (in this case, an innocent little girl) believe that you’re the real deal, isn’t that identity theft? Of course it is.
In which case, doesn’t that make Donald Duck a criminal?

Someone put that deceitful duck in jail.
πŸ˜›
Before I knew it, it was time to go. The night concluded with bang as the fireworks went off at the Sleeping Beauty Castle for the finale.

How many digital cameras can you spot in this pic

Overall, the Hong Kong Disneyland experience comes highly recommended from me.
If there’s anything I didn’t like about Disneyland, it would be that the drinks were WAY too expensive. RM10 for a bottle of Coke. And there’s not even vodka in it.

Apart from Space Mountain, the rides in Disneyland are nothing compared to most other theme parks I’ve been to.
Sure, it’s got the whole “Disney theme” going on for it. But most of the time you line up for ages and ages and in the end, you get on and uninteresting ride that lasts for at most 2 minutes. It’s really not worth it.
You get more thrilling rides in Genting than in Disneyland.

The queues for the rides can get quite long at times. And it’s not uncommon to queue for more than an hour just to get on a ride.
If I gotta queue for more than an hour just to get to what I want, it better be for something worth it. Like Hello Kitty toys at McDonald’s.
As if that’s not bad enough, “some people” there has a penchant of jumping queues.

Look, I’m trying my best not to permeate stereotype here because I’ve read in the the mainstream newspapers about how some asshats there are notorious for inconsiderate behaviour that spoils the experience for everyone.
The papers were writing about people climbing fences, smokers in non-smoking zones and kids peeing in the lawn. And I was giving them the benefit of the doubt, because seriously how bad could it be?

I was wrong. There are people there being really inconsiderate. The park attendants must have a hard time because they gotta discipline 40-year-old uncles and aunties whilst still smiling and be as friendly as possbile.
Among some of the techniques these morons used to jump queues:
1. Little boy squeeze through to the front yelling he’s looking for his parents. Five minutes later, parents squeeze through the queue yelling they’re looking for their kid.
2. Mother carrying her boy, frantically waving her air ticket screaming how she’s gonna miss her flight if we don’t let her through. Auntie, if you’re gonna catch a flight you’re supposed to be at the airport, not Disneyland.

That reminds me of an incident that happened at the KL airport when I was returning from Hong Kong.
I was at the immigration checkpoint at the arrival hall, passport in hand, queueing up like an obedient citizen should. Then out of nowhere, this lady carrying her Mainland Chinese passport came up and cut in right in front of me like that.

I was mildly annoyed, but maintained my cool nonetheless so I just stuck out my hand before she could cut in and smiled at her.
She took the hint, apologised, and promptly lined up behind me where she’s supposed to be. All’s fine.

So there I was, minding my own business, looking idly around, moving when the queue moved forward when suddenly…

She cut into my queue again! When I was not looking! What the hell! That stealthy auntie!
Nevermind lah. Let her be since I wasn’t rushing for time and besides, my luggages weren’t even out yet.
But the highlight of this whole incident was when this queue-cutting Chinese auntie successfully got to the immigration counter. The auntie took out her Chinese passport and then got REJECTED when she…

…put it into AN AUTOGATE MACHINE.
IDIOT!

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Shopping in Hong Kong

If there’s any truth to the words “shopping haven”, Hong Kong would be the proof.

Coming from the humble city of Kuching, a place where there’s at best 3 shopping centres of reasonable standards, I was absolutely blown away by the sheer size and magnitude of the shopping districts in Hong Kong.
They’ve got shops in every nook and corner possible. And I do mean every nook and corner possible.

For God’s sakes, they’ve got Giordano in MTR train stations. So technically speaking, you could take the train naked and buy the whole set of t-shirt, pants and underwear before you even step out of the station.
Food and drinks at a train station, I can understand. But who the heck goes shopping for clothes in MTR stations? I have no idea, but apparently Hong Kong people does that.

I must’ve picked the right time to visit because the Hong Kong Shopping Festival is going on in full swing, and everywhere I go I see that dreaded four-letter word.
SALE.
It’s like 99.9% of all clothing stores here are screaming “Final Reductions” and “XX% off”. Stores in Causeway Bay like G2000 open till past midnight.

Some even got their poor staff members to stand outside the doorway, clapping their hands loudly to draw attention to their store.
And this is shops like Bossini we’re talking about here, not some ciplak pasar malam streetside stall.

In Kowloon alone, the street markets and shoplots stretch some 5km all the way from Sham Sui Po in the north to Tsim Tsa Tsui in the south.
There’s virtually everything and anything imaginable for sale here.

Sham Sui Po is home to two large shopping complexes selling nothing but computer products. This place is a geek heaven and I swear to you, Golden Computer Centre can kick both Sim Lim and Low Yat’s collective asses blindfolded, with one hand tied behind his back.
Sure, it’s not as big nor as glam as their counterparts back home.

It’s small and crampy. When I bought a laptop backpack, the poor lady had to climb a ladder up into this hole in the ceiling to get a new one for me.
However I do find their prices much much lower than back home.

I got this light and foldable tripod for a bargain HK48/RM23.
A full-length tripod a good thing to bring around especially when I’m travelling alone. It’s brandless, but for the same amount of money I could only get a suckass table tripod in KL or Singapore.
Just to give you a better idea of the prices here.

4GB Apple iPod nano
Malaysian price: RM 1099
Hong Kong price: HKD 1780 = RM 855

2GB SanDisk Memory Stick Pro Duo
Malaysian price: RM 370
Hong Kong price: HKD 600 = RM 288

O2 Atom Exec
Malaysian price: RM 2988
Hong Kong price: HKD 5980 = RM 2870
The range here is simply astounding.

This pair of high-end Shure E2c earphones sets me back HK635/RM305. Can’t find something like that in Kuching that’s for sure.
My only regret is that I have most of the gadgets I needed already, so there really isn’t a much I could buy over there.

Best. Mousepad. Ever.

Still, it’s fun to come here and listen to the shopkeepers blah-ing out English terms in their Hongkie accent.
Instead of “computer”, they say compu-TAH. Instead of “mouse”, they say MOU-SY.
So cute! “Mousy”!

Designer toy figurines.

The street markets of Kowloon are a completely different kind of creature on its own.
This is no Petaling Street. For one, the street vendors are the most polite I’ve seen anywhere in the world. When I approach their stall they’d say sui bin tai (browse all you want). Even if I leave without buying anything, they’d still thank me.
Who said in Hong Kong “you got pressure, I got pressure, everyone got pressure”?

In amongst the pasar malam regulars like fake LV handbags and so on, are treasure throves of bizzare little things for sale.
Such as colourful fish in plastic bags.


And butt ugly superhero costumes.


And… what is this.

Breast massagers?
WHO THE HELL BUYS BREAST MASSAGERS!?
Wtf. Breasts also need massages one meh. Blood circulation not good enough is it. Go jump up and down lah, why buy breast massager? Can just ask any guy to massage for you, free of charge some more.
RIDICULOUS.
Let’s all hope Osim doesn’t release those as Osim iBoob. But after watching them release those god-awful mechanical horse-riding machine I’m willing to believe anything.
My gawd, can you imagine what the ad for Osim iBoobis gonna be like?

I dropped by to visit Ladies Market after recommendation by several people.
If one could buy fish at the fish market, what could I get at a “Ladies Market”. πŸ˜‰

There really wasn’t anything suitable for me here, but I bet girls would love this place.
There’s at least one sexified version of every single occupational uniform available in here. I’m sure somewhere in there you could find a leather-tight version of McDonald’s uniform.
Anyway, I noticed somewhat strangely that they’re selling puppets alongside sexy lingerie.

What kinda connection does puppets have with intimate underwears?

And then it hit me. Boy, did it hit me hard.
Those weren’t puppets at all.

This, my friend, is a pair of men’s underwear.
Wait, do you even call it a pair of underwear? There’s no pair in this underwear ‘cos there’s no holes to put your two legs through. That’s because you supposed wear it over your dick.

So what do you call this thing?
A penis sock?
Why would anyone buy this thing?
I don’t know about you but I reckon whoever designed this thing needs to go on holiday and rediscover the meaning of life.

Speaking of the meaning of life, I paid a visit to this fortune teller at the Temple Street markets and I am FURIOUS!
On the outset, this Stephen Shum guy seems pretty professional. His stall is small but filled with photographs of him with famous people. So I guess he must be good. He even got his own website at www.stephenshum.hk
Nowadays, fortune teller also go high tech.

At first, everything seems fine. Stephen Shum checked my birthdate, checked my ears, checked my palms. Then halfway through reading my palm, the fella told me that I’M FAT!
Maiguliu Stephen Shum! I pay you HK70 to tell me about my future, not to say how you think I look ok!
Somemore why you care if I’m fat or thin. I’m your wife ah?
Bus turd.

Click to watch a fortune teller calling me an overweight bitch.
Regardless of that “interesting” incident, I bought plenty of stuff. Not only did I fill up my luggage bag, I had to buy a NEW bag to put all my other stuff.
Here’s my loot from the trip.

I know, I shall eat grass for lunch and dinner from now on.
By the way, the Watson’s here is worth a look. In Hong Kong, Your Personal Store™ is more like a department store. Four floors selling everything from perfumes to electric toothbrush.

Anyway, for some inexplicable reason, I find myself walking towards the uhh… family planning section of the store. (I like how Watson’s and Guardian use politically-correct labels like “family planning” instead of more appropriate names like “sex toys”)
Apart from the usual condoms and pregnancy strips and stuff, something else there caught my attention.

This is definitely not something I’ve seen before, and I was curious.
Colourful oval-shaped boxes in the family planning section of Watson’s. What could it possibly mean?

I was shocked. It could only mean one thing.
Watson’s in Hong Kong sells vibrators.

And they even had on display demo units to encourage everyone to try.

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Hong Kong’s Touch N Go

Getting around in Hong Kong couldn’t be any easier.

Their underground rail system is damn efficient, possibly among the best in Asia.
It is the quickest and cheapest way to get around the peninsular and two main islands in Hong Kong. Trains arrive fast and carriages are never too crowded, even during peak hours. Pretty much all their tourist destinations are accessible by rail.
You don’t appreciate how good their MTR is until you compare them side-by-side with KL’s train network.

Hong Kong’s MTR must have picked the same designer as Singapore’s MRT. The two share a lot of similarities, from their alphabetically-ordered exits right down to the text font on the signboards.
In fact, if it weren’t for the voice overs blaring cautionary messages continuously in Cantonese, I’d have thought I was in Singapore instead.

There’s a lot of amusing posters in their train stations. This one says “When taking the escalators, hold on to the handrails, don’t walk away.”
How stupid. Who the heck holds on to BOTH handrails on the escalators like that.
If you do that you’re gonna block people’s way and get your nuts kick.

The only difference between Singapore and Hong Kong, rubbish bins are easily available in the train stations here.
You can’t find rubbish bins anywhere inside Singapore’s MRT stations because evil terrorists might plant bombs in them.

Har! Want to use octopus also have conditions one.

In Hong Kong, their version of the Touch n Go or EZ-Link card is called Octopus.
These RFID cards have a lot more uses apart from just paying for the use of public transport. Many shop and food outlets are accepting octopus as tender.
The card lah, not the animal. You think what. Barter system ah.

It’s very high tech. And it brings a lot of convenience to the Hongkies because they don’t need to carry spare coins on them when they’re out and about.
You can shop at 7-11, do your groceries at the supermarket or have even yummy mango puddings at XuLiuShan with your octopus… pus… pussies?

This is how I pay for my drinks.

Sometimes I find myself shunning shops that don’t accept octopussies and go for shops that do because I’m too lazy to dig coins out from my wallet.
Even the vending machines that accept octopus. No more trying to find the right change when you’re thirsty.

I reckon the buskers and homeless people should also have octopus card readers installed. Maybe then people won’t give excuses like “sorry, no change” as a reason not to give money.

I wonder when our Touch n Go cards here can be as useful as that. And please, they gotta stop using that horrible name “Touch n Go”.
Touch n Go is when you molest someone’s butt then quickly go. That’s Touch n Go.

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More Touristy Things To Do In Hong Kong

After much time doing it rough in middle-class Kowloon, Day Two was spent in Hong Kong Island exploring how the upper echelon lives.

Taking the Star Ferry from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island is like going down the causeway from Johor to Singapore.
If Kowloon is Petaling Street, the Island south of it must be the Orchard Rd and Bukit Bintang of Hong Kong. Life here is too fast too furious. Everyday tens and thousands of Hongkies commute from their suburban homes to this skyscraper jungle in central Hong Kong – the heartbeat of the SAR and home to towers after towers of multinational companies.

My first order of business was of course, FOOD.
According to the many magazines and tour guides that I read, City Hall Maxim’s Palace is supposedly the most popular dim sum restaurant in Hong Kong. Sure enough, when I arrived there on a Sunday morning, there were lines spilling out from the front. I had to take a number and come back again 30 minutes later.

By all means was this a typical dim sum fare held in a giant banquet hall with some aunties pushing their trollies round and round. Most of their dishes were nothing to shout about, but their har gao (prawn dumplings) was superb and the siu mai (pork rolls?) was similarly mouth-watering.

What sucks is that travelling alone means I can’t share my food with someone else like what a proper dim sum breakfast should be.
The bill was frightening when it arrived. HK$173/RM84 just for myself alone. That’s equivalent of 178 sio bee’s at the Kuching open air market.

In Hong Kong, every Sunday is the Filipino maids’ rest day. And every Sunday, these maids come out in full force.
I was quite taken aback to see so many of them picnicking in the CBD. Their picnic area literally stretch from the pier right down the underpass all the way up to the luxury shopping centres in central Hong Kong. It’s like a friggin’ Filipino Maid Convention over here. Seriously, I thought I’d accidentally taken the ferry to Manila instead.

They even set up a stage in the middle of the square. I don’t speak Tagalog so can’t make out what they’re saying exactly, but I’m pretty sure it’s got something to do with Filipino President Gloria Aroyo.
Alas, I doubt the mightly lady could hear them in Manila. So Gloria, if you’re reading this, Filipino maids in Hong Kong wanna tell you that YOU SUCK!
*cough* Just doing my part for the maids. πŸ˜›

A trip to Hong Kong isn’t complete without at least a tokenistic visit to The World’s Local Bank™.
Every HSBC Headquarters in the world has a pair of bronze lions guarding the front entrance. At their Hong Kong headquarters, these iconic pair were particularly legendary. When the Japanese occupied Hong Kong, the soldiers used these two poor lion statues as target practices.

Bullet holes inflicted more than 60 years ago are still visible on one of the lions.
Lunch was a lot better at this famous restaurant called Yung Kee on Wellington Street.

A reader of mine recommended them for their century eggs and roasted geese. I have no regrets following his advice.

Yung Kee’s expensive roasted geese (HK$100/RM50) are overrated, but their century eggs are the bomb. They cost HK$6.40/RM3 each, and are served together with sweet preserved ginger.
I ordered their super-delicious century-egg porridge and it sent me straight to heaven.
Then the bill came at HK$160/RM77 and it sent me straight to hell. πŸ™

It was nearing sunset and I decided took the Peak Tram and rode up to the top of Victoria Peak.
The Peak Tram is this century old carriage that goes some 800m up the hill. The Madame Tussauds Wax Museum was there.

It is here that I had a bird’s eye-view of Hong Kong’s impressive city scape. I love how the vertical towers on the Island foreground contrast with shabby Kowloon in the smoggy background.
Speaking of which, there’s this myth going around on how Kowloon got it’s name.

Kowloon literally means “Nine Dragons”. Apparently some Chinese emperor travelled to the area centuries ago, counted eight mountains and concluded that there must be eight dragons living there. His servant, obviously trying to lick some royal ass, quickly retorted “but Your Highness, you are a dragon as well so this place must have nine dragons!”
Hence, the name Kowloon is born.

When I first heard that I story, I was like “Har? Liddat also can.”
If that’s the case, I can just anyhow go to Kuching, see no birds and say “There are no birds butI have one Big Bird. So I shall name this place 1Bird!”

Nuts.
Anyway, I made the foolish decision to walk down from the Peak after I spent enough time up there. It took me almost one whole hour to reach to the foot of the mountain. I ended up a sweaty mess.

Tell you don’t feed bird liaw you still feed bird!

Even more amazing was that there’s a couple of mainland Chinese guys following me, thinking that I’m a local and that I know the easiest way to get to the bottom. Halfway down the mountain, sensing something amiss, one of them innocently struck a conversation with me.
“Har! You mean you don’t know the way at all!?”
Oops. Shit hit the fan.

Before I call it a night, I made my way down to Lan Kwai Fong, the city’s party district popular with expats and SPGs.
For a city as big as Hong Kong, their nightspots were disappointingly small. It’s not even half the size of Shanghai’s XinTianDi. Maybe it’s a Sunday, and the crowd wasn’t too happening. I didn’t have the mood to drink that night.

Brides with tatts.

Around the corner, I spotted two young models in wedding gowns doing a photoshoot on the streets of Lan Kwai Fong.
I asked them for permission to pose for my camera and they were all too happy to comply.

I also spotted Frank Lampard (aka England’s Most Inaccurate Striker) in the background wearing his football jersey and carrying a woman’s handbag. The guy should quit football after missing so many goals at the World Cup lah.
Somewhere in the smaller streets, a commotion was erupting.

Looks like they were shooting a HK drama. A small crowd was gathering around the actors taking photos. The film crew had a hard time controlling the bystanders because some of them were using flash photography and ruined the picture on screen.
I managed to catch a glimpse of the actress. Couldn’t identify who she was though.

Any idea?
[Next Entry: Shopping in Hong Kong]

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Fun And Games With The Madame

I met someone important while I was in Hong Kong.

The one and only Minister Mentor of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew was having dim sum lunch with his entourage at a restaurant near Central.
He spotted me just as I was walking in, hollered me over and much to my surprise, told me that he’s a big fan of kennysia.com. He also said to me he liked reading Dawn Yang and hoped Paul Twohill would win Singapore Idol.

Fine, I lied. It wasn’t actually Lee Kuan Yew. Just a wax figure of him.
But still! I was having a stimulating monologue with an inanimated object that looked vaguely like the Minister Mentor. That’s something ok. That means I’m like, cooler than the rest of you plebians.
So who wanna touch me?

I was at the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum at Victoria Peak, Hong Kong.
Madame Tussauds of course is well known for their realistic wax models of famous personalities. Their branch in Hong Kong is the first in Asia and features wax sculptures of celebrities that we’re more familiar with in this part of the world.

Entrance tickets to the wax museum are HKD110/RM55 a pop, which is actually quite expensive, but it’s fun to see how detailed the wax works are.
You can try fooling your friends into believing that you met so-and-so celebrity in Hong Kong. I attempted to do the same, but all they said was “Eh, this one quite realistic hor!”
Dammit, am I that predictable? πŸ™
At least I had fun kicking David Beckham’s balls.

Getting poked by Madonna’s breasts.

And delivering a speech at the White House with Dubya by my side.

Personally, I don’t think it’s a good idea to have a wax figure of yourself on display for everyone to touch and see.
I mean, you could be the world’s most successful golf player and people could still make fun of you.

I guess it’s alright if you’re like Gandhi and everyone loves you.
But what if you’re “Aunty Killer” Bae Yong-Jun and half the male population hates you to death?

I hate Bae Yong-Jun.
I still hold him personally responsible for that bloody annoying Winter Sonata theme song that’s playing repetitively in my head. That stupid Korean baby face.

The worst thing is, I spotted a couple of these posers taking photos with Andy Lau like this.

How horrible right. What would Andy Lau think if he saw people taking photo with his wax figure like that! Like getting molested liddat.
Then suddenly, I saw Ayumi Hamasaki.


And then I did this.

Hehe.
Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

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Hong Kong – Kowloon

I had fun in Hong Kong.

Part of me wished I didn’t have to go alone, but hey, I know I wouldn’t be able to pack everything in a tight 4D3N schedule if it’s otherwise.
There’s too much to see and do. I left Hong Kong knowing that there’s always going to be something new to experience when (not if) I do return one day.

As a tourist destination, Hong Kong can be roughly divided into 3 parts – middle-class Kowloon to the north, cosmopolitan Hong Kong Island to the south-east, and idylic Lantau Island to the south-west. That’s good for me because I can pretty much plan my time evenly among the three.

My journey began at Kowloon. I stayed at a hostel in Mongkok, Kowloon, which is not so bad a place if it weren’t for the cesspool of hourly-rate hotels and prostitution dens littered across every nook and corner of the streets.
Kowloon is a very tightly-packed area. At one point in time, it was named the most densely populated place on the planet, and I believe them.

You get shops located on the 9th floor, storerooms behind restaurant tables, and coffee houses with bars – not because it’s chic and stylish, but because there’s simply not enough space to go around for everyone.

Where the heck do all these people come from?!

My first day in Hong Kong, I had to share a table in a Wanton Mee restaurant with two other strangers. It was strange to me, but for them it seems pretty normal. Looking at how people living here squeeze through one another all the time with difficulty, it’s hard not to feel lucky living in a landed house.

Chungking Express, famous for that Wong Kar Wai movie of the same name, has a VERY liberal definition of the term “deluxe hotel” and “mansion”

Kowloon is the Petaling Street and Geylang of Hong Kong.
What Kowloon lacks in the glitz and glamour typical of central Hong Kong, it more than makes up for it with its distinct Asian flavour.

The rows and rows of run-down tenement buildings, bright protuding signs and streetside vendors while an eyesore to some, certainly lends a lot of character to the middle-class Chinese ground.

Btw, there’s one interesting thing I noticed about kids here. The kids here, when you take photos of them, THEY POSE.
We’re not talking just any boring “Si Qian Jin” pose kids here do.

“Oi! Quick quick take photo lah. Damn sien pose liddat.”

THEY DO THE ACT CUTE POSE! Just like FireAngel, but so much more damn cuter lah.

One touristy place I did visit was the Avenue of Stars on the Tsim Tsa Shui waterfront, otherwise known as Hong Kong’s answer to Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.

The Avenue of Stars is definitely a must-go place for all tourists, not just because it features the commemoration Hong Kong’s most celebrated actors and actresses, but because you get the best view of Hong Kong Island’s spectacular skyline. I must say it is among the best in the world.

I stayed at the Avenue of Stars for The Symphony of Lights show heavily hyped by the tourism board. It is basically a choreographed spotlight-fest atop skyscrapers. Though beautiful, it was nothing to shout about.

Before the end of the first night, I went to this bar called Felix, a swanky little place on the top floor of the Peninsula Hotel.
Judging by the number of wealthy-looking businessmen and bevy of supermodel beauties chilling out in this Phillipe Starke-designed bar, I’m guessing this must be one of those “hi-so” place to hang out at in Hong Kong.

I made it my point to sample a city’s signature drink at its top bar whenever I travel.
Rumour has it that the world’s first Screwdriver was mixed here at Felix. For non-alcoholics, a screwdriver is basically vodka orange.

Over here, this simple mix of drink set me back HKD$99/RM50 a pop.

The view was worth it though.

I tried getting Bruce Lee’s physique, but failed miserably.

Coincidentally, the week I was there was Bruce Lee’s 33rd Anniversary. The Hong Kong Bruce Lee Association (wtf? Where’s the Kuching Kenny Sia Association?) set up a series of life-sized posters on the harbour to pay tribute to their nation’s most iconic character.

The legendary founder of Jeet Kun Do who achieved cult status internationally would’ve been 66 years old if he were still alive today.

Dammit Bruce! Can’t a guy take a photo without you sabotaging it with bunny ears?
[a lot more to come…]

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Best Pudding Ever

If you’re ever in Hong Kong for any reason at all, there is one place that you absolutely must go.

Don’t be fooled by its appearance.
On the outside, this shop looks like some place you your grandmother buy Chinese medicine from. But I’m telling ya, I had better time in the shop than in Disneyland.

The name of the place is called Chu Xu Liu Shan, probably named after a famous maiden from ancient China.
They serve mango puddings. Nothing else but mango puddings.
They’ve got mango puddings by itself, mango puddings with sago balls, mango puddings with fruits, mango puddings with ice cream, … anything and every possible combination you could think of. And they are absolutely sensational.

I discovered it when I was at Causeway Bay (Hong Kong’s main shopping area) and saw a sizable crowd forming by the shopfront. My instinct immediately tells me that one of the following must be true:
a) Some celebrity sighting
b) Someone fighting
c) Someone giving out something for free

Turns out none of the above was happening at all. The Chu Liu Shan outlet was just having one of their normal days.
Out of curiousity, I hopped into their almost-full shop and ordered their basic mango pudding. And I got THIS.

This is not an ordinary dessert dish at all. Their mango puddings are absolutely out of this world.
And It’s not exactly cheap either you know. A bowl of mango pudding like that costs HK$26/RM13. That’s the price of Starbucks! Yet business is still doing so well. That’s how good they are.

It’s not difficult to see why. One spoonful of their mango pudding and I’m already in seventh heaven. Their pudding is smooth and silky, their mango fresh and aromatic. I can’t remember the last time I tasted something so… orgasmic before.

It’s so good I came back the second day and ordered another dish. This time, mango pudding with glutinous rice balls and fruits. This one’s even better than the basic variation.
It’s so yummmy I’m gonna go for it again tomorrow before I leave for the airport. No doubt when I leave Hong Kong, this will be one of the things I miss most.

Want some?
Dammit, someone quick go start a franchise in Malaysia already!

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Honging The Kong

8 hours, 4 cities, 2 flights and 1 ferry ride later, I’ve escaped from sleepy Kuching and injected myself right into the thick of action at the cosmopolitan city of Hong Kong.
`
The journey was a hellish 4-hour plane ride from KL to Macau in one of those planes with seats that could not recline. I had intended to recharge myself on the plane so that I could be ready for a full day of sightseeing and shopping today, but I had as much sleep as a $2 prostitute I can tell you that.

Lucky I did not bring my mom along with me. This was supposed to be a mother-son trip. I even booked the tix for her already. But alas, things cropped up, mom had to forfeit her ticket and this turned into a solo backpacking holiday instead.

At least without mom along, I can be naughty and try my luck (or lack thereof) at the famous casinos of Macau.

Even Bruce Lee endorses the casinos of Macau

Bad move. 2 hours in East Asia’s sin city and I’ve ended up RM150 poorer playing Baccarat. And I don’t even know how to play Baccarat.

Macau is an interesting little city that’s part Las Vegas, part China, part Portugal. Away from the glitzy casinos, the former Portugese colony exudes a unique European charm with it’s quaint churches and Mediterranean architecture.

Malaca? That sounds familiar

In fact, if it weren’t for the Asian people around, it’s difficult to believe I’m not actually in Europe. Most signages here are written in Portugese in addition to Chinese and maybe English. Strange really, considering most local Macanese can’t even speak or read Portugese.

Perils of falling asleep next to a blogger: photos of you setting up a trousers tent might get uploaded onto the Internet

Weather here is hot and humid, just like in Malaysia. It’s in the middle of summer after all.
The journey from Macau to Hong Kong is a much pleasant 1-hour TurboJet ferry ride (HK$154/RM75), but still with seats that cannot recline. πŸ™ By this time I was already very exhausted as I hadn’t had a proper sleep for 36 hours.

I hadn’t really had time to walk around Hong Kong yet. First impression of it is that it reminded me a lot of Melbourne – big, noisy and messy.
This is the big city after all. Surprisingly, the people here are very friendly. I have some trouble understanding the locals here because my Cantonese totally cannot make it and their Mandarin is half bucket full.

Girls here in general are prettier too. Sure, it’s good eye candy for us, but the sad bit in that fact is that Hong Kong girls are under a lot of pressure to look good. If you think weight loss ads back home are ridiculous enough, it’s nothing compared to over here. The number of weight loss ads and beauty services targetted towards female are so aggressive it’s obscene.

Well, I’m finally in the room of my hostel now as I’m typing this. Hotels in Hong Kong are very expensive – a basic 3-star hotel will set me back around RM400 a night.
Since I’m travelling alone I find no need to indulge in unnecessary luxuries. The name of my accomodation is Dragon Hostel, and it’s on the 7th floor of a typical residential flat right in the middle of Mongkok. It costs me on average HK$220/RM110 a night. Can’t complain for the price I pay.
Here is a picture of my room.

Here is a picture of my toilet cum bathroom.

I wish I could show you more pictures of my room, but sorry, that’s all. It’s so small in here it’s not funny.
Anyway I’m going to log off now and do some shopping now.

See that bag? That’s my luggage before I left Malaysia.
When I come back it’s gonna be full. And then some. πŸ˜‰

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