Friday, 2 December 2011

Fri 2 Dec - Hong Kong

Today, our last full day of our holidays, we decided to get a bit touristy and go to Lantau Island to check out the Big Buddha.

We saw it in 2007 the last time when we were here, but the difference now is that there is a 5.7 km long cable car line that connects the area with Tung Chung, the local MTR station out there.

The weather forecast was for a "rather cool" morning, but fine and dry day (gotta love that English influence)

Again, we were in MTR peak hour (albeit early), but it was still very orderly. One of umpteen tunnels at Central connecting the various lines below.

At Tung Chung, we were there too early at 9am for the cable car start at 10am, so we were convinced to purchase 2 day pass packages (unlimited bus on the island + one cable car ride) by a determined lady salesperson down from the cable car entry.
That turned out to be a winner and 9.15am we were on our way in a local bus 23 to Ngong Ping which is the area where the Giant Buddha is.

Hence, we ended up walking around the area before all the crowds arrived by cable car about 45 minutes later, which was very nice and peaceful.

 All these colourful flags were also new since we were there in 2007, but after the initial Disneyland comparison, it kind of worked and looked nice.

Great views in all directions from the platform around the Big Buddha. It made you want to go hiking in the area.

The local monks are building a new temple of 10,000 buddhas but we think the existing temple is very nice already. They were looking for donations (of course) and you could buy anything from a brick for HKD200 to half the temple or thereabout for lots and lots of money.

And of course being buddist there are some rules , which would never work for us...

Down again to the maine entry path, and there were the 12 generals asociated with the Zodiac including th statue for the General associated with the Year of the Dog...
 Highly appropriately there were dogs lying around on the ground just next to him.

Learning for the day was that the 24 hours of the day were also divided into 2 hour blocks, each block associated with one of the zodiacs and generals.

Around 11am we head to the cable car to go down to Tung Chung again, in the opposite direction of all the school classes and tour groups...

This took all Di's willpower to get on. The trip takes about 35 minutes and goes over the top of the mountain and down the other side.  The views are amazing and photos don't do it justice. 

You can see the whole of Hong Kong International Airport from the cable car.

Di "shit-scared" but faking it for the camera...

This section is one long cable between two staunchions on different parts of the island - nothing in between...

We decided this was well worth every cent (very cool) and were tempted to ride it again (costs $86HK one way) but chose to use our bus tickets to explore more of Lantau Island.

After a quick coffee/snack break in Tung Chung we hopped onto Bus 11 to Tai O. Again, it's a local bus and the driver clearly knows the road because even in 30 zones and on steep hills he's doing 60km/hour or more.
Trip across still takes about 50 minutes once you dodge a few cows and some road repairs.

Tai O is an old stilt fishing village and we loved it immediately.  We have to limit photos here as Hans took so many because it's so interesting.

We set out to explore - and eat snacks from road side stalls along the way - fish balls, Shu Mai and the most fantastic fresh scallops, which are cooked directly on the BBQ on their shells with crushed garlic smeared over them, and a little salt and pepper.  So good we had to have another.  We think the young lady cooking them was pleased with our reaction.

Of course we quickly find our usual dried seafood district but this time with some key differences (they breed them tough here) as this is a whole dried shark.

Stay away from the helipad when a helicopter approaches...

Sometimes it felt like you were walking into someone's home because the lanes were very narrow corridors between houses and the locals expand their storage space into these areas.  We wander up and down more, find a great coffee place on the water selling "syphon coffee" and playing french music. Aahhh this is the life... we could stay here longer!

We find the path to the public cemetery - which we explore on our own because it's up on the hill behind the town - and you face about 200 stairs to get there.  Great views for the your old deceased ancestors.


And the view for the living...

We reluctantly head back to the bus to Mui Wo to take the ferry home again instead of the MTR.  First ferry was fine, but no photos through the windows as they were all are salt encrusted.

Back at the ferry terminal near Central on Hong Kong Island, we were walking on footbridges towards the Central MTR station to get back home.

Friday afternoon, 5.30pm or so, and construction is in full swing. If only Barangaroo could look like this. They are not mucking around here and producing another feasibility report, they are building. The water front here is just to the left.

We also saw the local Apple store. A bit like the one in Sydney, but with much more people in it.

Decided on a nice dinner out for our final night and we track down a recommended "old style" Cantonese restuarant using Google (how did we survive before the internet?). 
It's called the Manor Restaurant, on Jaffe Road, and is supposed to be popular with old Chinese film stars.  We thought we recognised the guy at the next table - he looked like a "bad guy" from some chinese movies. Excellent food, crispy Roast Pork and the house specialty of tea-smoked chicken.  Delicious.

Back to the hotel with a bottle of South African red wine from the supermarket (no corkscrew but we managed) and watched some fussball on TV.  A great day and sad to be our last.

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