yk's Hong Kong trip report

Dec 13th, 2004, 02:00 PM
  #1  
yk
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yk's Hong Kong trip report

I usually post on the US & Europe forums, but I recently went to Hong Kong for a brief trip and figured I will share my experiences here.

Lantau Island (Po Lin Monastery & Tai O fishing village):

We took the MTR to Tung Chung station and went to the bus stop for bus #23 for Po Lin Monastery. The bus trip took 50mins. At Po Lin, we toured the temple buildings (they are now raising money to build an 8-storey hign new temple). We decided to try their vegetarian lunch (HK$60pp for regular, HK$100 for "VIP"). The lunch includes admission ticket to visit the Tin Tan Buddha. We opted for the regular lunch set, which was excellent. We got 1 soup and 4 dishes and rice. All were delicious and they had no problem refilling our bowls for more soup without charging us more. I don't know if it is worth the extra $ for the VIP lunch. I peeked into the "VIP" room - which has nicer decor - but the food looked pretty much the same to me.

After lunch we visited Tin Tan Buddha, then we decided to head to Tai O.

We took Bus #21 from Po Lin to Tai O, the trip took 15 minutes. Tai O is a fishing village and still has its charms. Lots of dried seafood for sale, plus live seafood being sold from roadside buckets, or even directly from the boats! We walked around for a little while, visited 2 small temples, then stopped at a cafe for afternoon snack. I had a HK-style French Toast and HK-style milk tea.

After Tai O, we took bus #11 from back to Tung Chung MTR station (bus ride 45 mins).
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Dec 13th, 2004, 02:15 PM
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The Peak:

We felt like being tourists, so we took the Peak Tram up. It has always been (and still is) a fun experience. We got up to the Peak Tower for a view. Unfortunately, like most days, it was "smoggy". Still a nice view no less. We then went on a trail and walked for about 20mins or so, before we decided it was time for more food. Instead of going to the restaurants in the Peak Tower, we opted for the Peak Lookout restaurant. It is a pink building right across from Peak Tower, and has been there for many many years. It doesn't provide a view, but it is very charming with a nice outdoor seating area. Though it was a cool afternoon, we sat outside and they had heaters around us. It definitely is a cozy & romantic place to dine.


Central:

The entire Central is a showcase of Haute Couture. Everywhere I look, it's Gucci, Prada, Bvlgari etc. You get the idea. Several buildings have had a facelift since my last visit 5 years ago: Alexander House, Prince Edward's Building. I hear that the Landmark is adding a new annex to it with ... more shops! I did not get a chance to visit the new IFC building, though I did get a soar neck by just looking up at it (88 floors). It completely dwarfs the Jardine House (50 floors) which was once the tallest building in Hong Kong in the 70s.
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Dec 13th, 2004, 02:43 PM
  #3  
yk
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Green Space:

Hong Kong Park-
Situated above Pacific Place, it is a nice green space amidst towering financial buildings. We had lunch at L16 - a modern Thai restaurant overlooking the artificial lake. Food is excellent (don't miss their signature grapefruit salad). Hong Kong Park is home to 2 British Colonial-style buildings: Flagstaff House (now as Museum of Tea Ware) and Rawlinson House (now as marriage registry). Both served as residences for the British troops Commanders. These serve as nice preservations of old colonial Hong Kong in the sea of skycrapers.

Hong Kong Zoological & Botanical Gardens-
Located across Cotton Tree Drive above Central, it is practically a little zoo. Again, it provides a nice escape from the concrete jungle. If you take the time, you'll find a statue of King George VI inside the park.
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Dec 13th, 2004, 02:49 PM
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Last thoughts:

The people who work in the service industry (shops, restaurants etc) are a million times more courteous than they used to be. Big plus!

Hong Kong seems more crowded than ever. Most of the tourist spots these days are frequented not by "westerners", but by chinese from Mainland China. I was surprised to find myself hearing Mandarin all the time.

That's all folks! Let me know if you have specific questions.
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Dec 13th, 2004, 04:15 PM
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From what I understand, one of the main buildings at The Landmark is being converted into a hotel, and will be part of the Mandarin Oriental chain. [Both Hong Kong Land, owner of The Landmark, and Mandarin Oriental are members of the Jardine Matheson conglomerate.]

Last time I had the vegetarian lunch at Po Lin Monastery, it was the same deal. 4 dishes and 1 soup. Soup can be refilled at the large container in the middle of the dining hall, along with white rice. The very neat thing is that it doesn't matter if you're by yourself, in a party of 4, or 12 - you will be get the same amount of food per person; and no waiting. Very efficient.

Interesting that there's another thread today about how rude people are in Hong Kong. As you observed, they are so much better than in the go-go years of the mid-1990's. Nowadays, you get thanked by store clerks, supermarket cashiers, etc... That simply did not happen in Hong Kong from the 70's to the 90's.
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