31 May 2009

In Hong Kong Island

May 2nd, 2009

Today plans are Ocean Park, and Madame Tussaud in The Peak. Both are located in Hong Kong Island.

To get Ocean Park, take the MTR trains and get off at Admiralty MTR station on Exit B to get on the special CityBus No. 629 (HK$10.6). There are 2 entrances of Ocean Park, the main entrance and Tai Shue Wan entrance on the higher place. CityBus 629 can take us up to Tai Shue Wan entrance, or alight at main entrance then take free shuttle bus or cable car later. We bought the tickets from Dragon Hostel where we're staying, because they give 10% discount for Ocean Park and Disneyland tickets.

In the down part of Ocean Park (main entrance), there are Giant Panda Habitat, Madagascar 2 Live, Dolphin University... well nothing much. It's actually more suitable for kids, regret that we spent too much time here until we wanted to move to upper part of Ocean Park with cable car but the queue had been already like hell. Sadly we decided to go up by shuttle bus, with hope that we would take cable car on the way back.

There are many attractions, like Dufan in Indonesia, such as Space Wheel, Raging River (Niagara), Mine Train (mini rollercoaster), The Dragon (giant rollercoaster), and The Abyss. It was very hot, should bring sunglasses, wear thin clothes and bring extra clothes if you want to get wet by riding some attractions. Unfortunately, the cable car had even much longer queue, so we went out by CityBus 629 direct from Tai Shue Wan entrance to Admiralty MTR station.

From there, we're heading to The Peak Tram terminus by taking MTR until Central Station, took Exit J2 and walked along Garden Road which is between The Bank of China building and The Cheung Kong Centre. The walk to the tram station only takes about 15 to 20 minutes. There is a fast line queue for buying Tram + Sky Terrace + Madame Tussaud tickets. Once you are onboard The Peak Tram, take a seat on the right hand side which has the better view, we can see skycrapper buildings along the way to the peak. The journey itself is not too long, only 15 minutes, but so crowded in public holiday.

It's very windy on Sky Terrace, we can see the Hong Kong buildings in the lights, so nice but we're in hurry to get into Madame Tussaud that's closed on 10 pm. There are many world famous artist figures like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Michael Jackson, Madonna, The Beatles, etc. There are also some political, historical, religion, science, athlete figures, and maybe only in Madame Tussaud HK that's filled with HK artist figures like Andy Lau, Aaron Kwok and Jackie Chan. Well, we can take photos with all figures free except Jackie Chan and Barrack Obama. Inside there's also ghost house named Scream. We walked in group of 5-7 people in the dark. I just held my buddy's shoulder and walked with eyes closed haha I was very scared.

Finish for today. My legs were so f*cking tired, and there was news of some people being quarantined in HK due to H1N1. It was not bothering us at all.

(*)Courtesy to Arie and Helen for some pictures. Click the images for bigger view.

Across the Canal and the Sea

May 1st, 2009

Today we're having breakfast at hotel. Ole London Hotel is nice, neat, clean, safe, simple, having free wi-fi and not too expensive. But tell you what, the foods are terrible. So if you're staying in this hotel, better get some foods outside.

First stop is Venetian again, because we hadn't tried the Gondola yet. It is located in 3rd floor Grand Canal Shop. They make whole things look real, such as decoration of European buildings on top of every shops, fake sky on the roof top that can be changed into sunrise or sunset, ancient Venetian street walk, and of course the canal with some bridges. The Gondola starts operating on 10 am until 10 pm (last departure is 9.45 pm), can take up to 4 people in one boat with 108 MOP for each person. There will be 1 Gondola man/woman who takes us sailing for about 15-20 minutes while singing Italian songs. Aside the canal, we can find world famous branded stores (some from HK) along the way, such as Tiffany & Co, Zara, Mango, Giorgo Armani, etc. These shops are opened until midnight.

At noon we're going back to Macau city, we planned to cross the sea to HK on the afternoon. We looked for Portuguese foods for lunch in Senado Square, found one near the fountain right opposite of Macau Tourism Center.

After lunch, we walked around Senado Square for a while (some are shopping, others are visiting St. Dominique Church), then by taxi went to Hotel. Btw, since the first day we got hotel's namecards in Chinese language of "Please Send Me To...", so we could just show it to the taxi drivers that mostly can not speak english.

On the morning we already packed all stuffs and checked out from the hotel (we can deposit luggages for a while), so we just stopped by hotel to take luggages then with the same cabs we went to Macau Ferry Terminal. We reached ferry terminal around 3 pm. There is Turbo Jet ferry Macau-HK every 30 minutes. Because the last check in is at least 30 minutes before departure, so we only could take the fastest Turbo Jet ferry on 4 pm. There are some promotions for Visa credit card. First one is buying 2 return tickets, get 1 return ticket free. The second one, can buy up to 6 tickets with 20% discount. Because we only have 2 Visa credit cards and there are 11 people of us, we took the second promotion. The trip to HK takes 45-60 minutes. And guess what when we reached HK ferry terminal... we got lost haha.

So there are 4 islands in HK: Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, Lantau Island and New Territories. Our hostel is located in Kowloon. We knew that there is ferry terminal in Kowloon, but we didn't check it again when we bought the tickets, we're just so sure that this ferry would go to Kowloon. Well actually it ended up at ferry terminal in Hong Kong Island, we bought the wrong ticket. Then because we're afraid it would be so expensive to take taxi, we bought Octopus card (minimum 50 HKD) for taking MTR from Sheung Wan to Mong Kok while carrying our big luggages.

Hopefully our hostel is quite near with Mong Kok MTR station. We're staying in Dragon Hostel, a famous backpacker hostel in HK. OK, the room is very small for 5 people inside, but I didn't care too much since we didn't have too much time in the hostel, and instead spending money on nice hotel I can save the money for shopping yay! After putting our bags, we directly went out to Avenue of Stars to catch Symphony of Lights show at 8 pm, where there would be lights flickering according to the music. To get there by MTR, alight at Tsim Sha Tsui Station then walk through Exit E. It will pass New World Center shopping center.

The show lasts about 15 minutes, unfortunately there's no fireworks that night. After it finished, we came into New World Center first looking for dinner then going back again to the waterfront promenade. It is very cold and windy, glad I brought my jacket. In Avenue of Stars, we could find printed hand and signature of HK movie artists like Jet Li and Andy Lau.

So this is it, our first night in Hong Kong.

(*)Courtesy to Arie for some pictures. Click the images for bigger view.

18 May 2009

Macau Race

April 30th, 2009

This is our map walking around Macau on the 2nd day ;)

View Amazing Race in Macau in a larger map

Around 9 am in the morning, from Hotel we're heading to St. Augustine's Square. There are 5 objects we can see there which located not too far from each other: St. Lawrence, Dom Pedro V Theater, St. Augustine's Church, Sir Robert Ho Tung Library, and St. Joseph's Seminary and Church. The cobblestones pavement reflects the traditional Portuguese streetscape.

Then we walked again to Lilau Square, Penha Church and A-Ma Temple. Penha Church is located quite high, we can see Macau city and Macau Tower from up there. At noon, we're all already too hungry and tired (but happy), so we took taxi to bring us to Macau Tower. Well that was kinda wrong decision to have lunch in Macau Tower because restaurants there are all expensive.

As you know, Macau Tower offers the highest bungee jumping in the world. But even if somebody pay for me, I don't want to give it a try. We just went up to Observation Lounge in 59th floor, it's already freaking me out haha. There's also Sky Walk, Sky Jump and Mast Climb if you want to try other adrenaline experiences.

After that, we're heading to Coloane Village, into another island of Macau. In some references they said that this area is very nice to see Macau houses in Portuguese style, but actually it's not that worth it to go long way from Macau. But well egg tart there is the best!

Afternoon, we wanted to go back to Macau city... by trying bus! It's so difficult to understand the track in bus stop. And it's more difficult asking people around. After a while, we decided to stop any bus passing by, asked the driver whether it goes to Largo de Senado or not. Senado Square is the centre of Macau since the beginning, and plays host to many public events and festivities. It's like Orchard in Singapore, but in European style.

It is indeed very nice. There are also some cultural historical buildings around it: Leal Senado Building, Holy House of Mercy, and St Dominic's Church. We bought some foods then to hotel to get ready to go to Casinos ;)

I thought we need to be well-dressed to enter casino, moreover in a luxury building like Venetian resort in Taipa. Venetian casino is the largest casino in the world. We can't take pictures and children can't pass by inside, but actually the clothes are very very casual. You don't have to wear gown or tuxedo. I was just trying the slot machine games, still affordable for us. Well one of us tried to play blackjack with HKD 100, only got 2 chips and it's gone in... 1 minute. Well we don't have any gambling skills.

After walking around in this huge and gorgeous Venetian resort (I'll talk more about it in the next posting), we visited one casino in Macau city, Lisboa. It's located beside Grand Lisboa hotel. I found this area is not too safe for girls being around alone. The casino is also not as convenient as Venetian. But it was really like being in Las Vegas with all the lights.

(*)Courtesy to Arie for some pictures. Click the images for bigger view.

14 May 2009

We were Strangers, Starting out on a Journey

April 29th, 2009

We're 9 people, flying with JetStar from Changi Airport Singapore to Macau International Airport. Another friend flew from KL, and another one was in the next flight. We're staying in Ole London Hotel, a nice 2 stars hotel in the city. Macau consists of 3 islands: Macau Peninsula/City itself, Coloane and Taipa. These last 2 islands are already connected by land reclamation. While with Macau city, they are connected by long bridges which are so beautiful to see at night. From airport in Taipa to our hotel in Macau city, spent MOP 80-90 per taxi (up to 4 people).

After putting our stuffs in the hotel, we went out to get late dinner and sightseeing the city. It's already 10pm, guy from hotel said that all shops at Senado Square are already closed, so we searched for foods nearby. What is Senado Square? I save it for later. Apparently there are many seafood restaurants opened at that hour, but the problem is... we couldn't understand the menu, all written in Chinese. Speaking part is also hard, they don't really understand english. Some friends can speak chinese but a little useless, cause they speak Cantonese. So with a little chinese language and much body language, we had our dinner, spent MOP 450 for 11 people. Not bad.

So this is part of Macau city in the night. The road is paved with a wave-patterned mosaic of colored stones, very nice. We're walking in narrow streets, surrounding by antique shop buildings. It's like the bigger version of Braga Bandung.

We're heading to St. Paul's Ruin. The Ruins of St. Paul's refer to the facade of what remains of the Church of Mater Dei. The church was part of St. Paul's College, which was founded in 1594, the first western-styled university in the Far East. In the fire happened in 1835, the College and church were also burnt, leaving only the facade, most of the foundations and the front steps.

That's it for 1st day in Macau.

(*)Courtesy to Arie for the pictures. Click the images for bigger view.

10 May 2009

Another Coincident Day

I went to dental near house but it's closed. So I went to a clinic in Jurong Point which I know it's opened in Sunday. But apparently today the dentist was already full and I didn't make appointment first. Then I made one for tomorrow evening. So yay no dentist today (lahh ko seneng?!).

Then I walked around in Jurong Point mal to look for food and bookstore. A friend asked me to find one particular book. I know there's Popular here but I don't know exactly the place. I'm not too familiar with this shopping centre. And I know there's Banquet, halal food court, here but dunno where. I thought it's OK if I can't find Banquet, I'd just grab into KFC then. So I put my luck on my feet to search bookstore.

When I passed UOB, there are an MC, a box and many people gather around in front. I came closer and found out that there's a chance to get PSP and other gifts, by showing your visa or master card. After showing my UOB visa card, I came into the box with papers in it consists of point(s). They turned on the fan so the papers flied over everywhere around the box, I had to catch them as many as I can to get 100 points to win PSP. After counting, I got 73 points, no PSP but spa voucher in Subtle Sense worth S$150. Yay just in right time I need facial for my burned face after Macau-HK trip last week.

Then I continue my journey. Still not find bookstore, I saw some teens sitting with a yogurt cup. I looked around and tada... I found a new fro-yo stall called Yami (97% free fat). It has taste of natural, blueberry, peach and other one I forget. I ordered 1 regular cup of natural taste, it's really yummy!

Not far away from it, there's Banquet (and Popular beside it :D). Finally I can eat porridge. I was craving for it since I got toothache.

End of unimportant blabbering.

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