August 8, 2011

Hong Kong Star Ferry

Filed under: abroad, China, Hong Kong, Trips — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , — myyearinjapan @ 4:16 am

The iconic Star Ferry has been freighting passengers between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island since 1880. It costs 2.50 0r 3.00 Hong Kong dollars, or less than 50 cents USD to take the ferry and if you visit Hong Kong, you will almost certainly want to cross the bay at some point and will most likely make use of the convenient ferry. The view is suppose to be more impressive going from Kowloon to Central than the other way around.

Viewing the skyline from the ferry

Star ferry


July 20, 2011

Ultimate Fusion Cuisine

Filed under: abroad, China, Cuisine, Food, Hong Kong, Strange, Trips — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — myyearinjapan @ 8:06 am

Foie Gras Sushi in Hong Kong.

July 19, 2011

Mongkok Flower Market

Filed under: abroad, China, Hong Kong, Trips — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , — myyearinjapan @ 7:24 am

After my day trip to Lantau Island, I took the train back into town and ended up with a little over an hour to spare before I was supposed to meet my friend for dinner.  I was beginning to think that my best option for killing time was to find a cafe to duck into, when I stumbled upon the flower market. It was a little bit late and things were winding down when I got there, but it was still very cool to see so many flowers shops concentrated in one little area.


Flower shop.

Browsing the flowers as night falls


July 13, 2011

Day Trip to Lantau Island

Lantau island is the largest of Hong Kong’s islands, almost twice as large as Hong Kong island. Most visitors to Hong Kong arrive first in Lantau because the airport is on this island. Hong Kong Disneyland is on Lantau island as well. Most people visiting Lautau island will either be heading to the airport, Disneyland, or the Tian Tan Buddha, allegedly the world”s largest outdoor Buddha.

Until 1997, Lantau island was only accessible by ferry and walking around the Tung Chung area (the end of the line of the MTR train) or the airport area, everything does seem pretty new. During my day trip to Lantau island, I took the MTR to Tung Chung and then took the nearby Ngong Ping Cable car up to the peak. At the top, there is a very fake model of a “traditional Chinese village” (meaning the souvenir shops are supposed to look like Chinese architecture from the outside) that you walk through to get to the Po Lin Monastery and the Tian Tau Buddha. The cable car is supposed to have gorgeous views, which I was looking forward to, but unfortunately, it was raining so I couldn’t see much.

Like most of Hong Kong, high-rise apartment buildings are the norm on Lantau. This is in Tung Chung, near the MTR station.

Giant outlet mall next to Tung Chung station.

Walking around Lantau in the rain.

Click more to see my cable car ride and the giant buddha.


July 12, 2011

Hong Kong Museum of History

Filed under: abroad, China, Hong Kong, Trips — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — myyearinjapan @ 5:09 am

If you ever find yourself with nothing to do in Hong Kong on a Wednesday, then you might consider a visit to the Hong Kong Museum of History (香港歴史博物館). The museum is free on Wednesdays.  But at $10HKD on other days, you won’t break the bank visiting on a different day of the week. (Just keep in mind that they’re closed on Tuesdays.)

The museum looks at the history of Hong Kong going back to prehistoric times and continuing almost up to the present day. There are exhibits about the different ethnic groups who live/lived in Hong Kong, festivals that take place in Hong Kong and different historical events that have had a big effect on Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Museum of HIstory

A little while ago, I posted pictures from my day trip to Cheung Chau Island and in some of those pictures, people were preparing for the Steamed Bun Festival. The history museum has a model of the “bun mountain” that I photographed, but with fake steamed buns on it.

Bun mountain (包山) model


July 8, 2011

The Peak

In the blink of an eye a month has gone by without updating my blog. My sincerest apologies! I hope to catch up in the next few weeks.

And now, a return to our regularly scheduled programming:

Every day tourists visiting Hong Kong flock to the peak. The real name of the area is Victoria Peak (太平山 in Chinese). Many Europeans built homes up on the peak during the colonial days, and in those days, they were carried up to the top on chairs. I feel bad for the people who had to carry them up this horribly steep hillside. In 1888, the first tram was completed, and now it’s mostly a tourist center with shopping malls and souvenir shops.

The Peak Tram. Hint: try to get a seat on the right hand side of the tram to have a panoramic view of Hong Kong.

Inside the pretty packed tram.

The stunning Hong Kong skyline, the reason people come to the peak.

Old and new

A closer-up view of some of the Hong Kong skyline.

Rickshaw driver waits for customers at the Peak.

The Peak Tower: basically a tourist trap. There's a big mall inside with your typical chain stores and souvenir shops. You can also pay to see the city from up there instead up on top of the hill like the regular folk.

June 6, 2011

Elevator Safety Sign

Filed under: abroad, China, Hong Kong, Trips — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — myyearinjapan @ 5:12 am

In Japan, all the elevator safety signs are telling you to keep your crocs away from the edges of the steps. (There have been several incidents where people got crocs or croc style sandals caught in escalators and were injured in Japan.) But in Hong Kong, I just saw a smiling penguin (?) telling me to hold the handrail and be safe.


I can't tell if the bird is a penguin or something else, so the safety message was almost lost on me trying to figure out what kind of bird I was looking at......Maybe it's a puffin???


June 2, 2011

Afternoon Tea at the Peninsula Hotel

Anyone who knows me knows that I love tea. It is far and away my favorite thing to drink. Whenever I’m in the office, I always have my over sized Chicago Botanic Garden mug (a gift from some friends. Thanks friends!) filled with some kind of tea next to me. Usually I drink bancha (a type of green tea) or assam tea (a type of black tea) because those are the teas I can plunder from the snack corner of the office.

So when my friend in Hong Kong suggested going to the Peninsula hotel for their Afternoon Tea Service, I ignored her follow-up of “but it’s a bit pricey” and insisted that we go. We showed up on Sunday afternoon around 4 and got in the back of a long line. It was a holiday weekend and I guess we weren’t the only people with the idea that it might be nice to have some tea.

Tea drinkers drinking tea.

This is the queue as it was when we were about to be seated. The line had actually gotten shorter since we arrived, possibly because it was getting close to the end of the tea service at that time.


June 1, 2011

Cheung Chau (Part 3)

Yesterday and the day before, I posted pictures of Cheung Chau island in Hong Kong and today I have a few more pictures to share from Cheung Chau.

I visited Cheung Chau a couple weeks before their biggest event of the year, the bun festival. During the bun festival, a big wooden structure is built and covered with buns. Then people start to climb up the mountain and grab as many buns as they can. Sounds like fun!

Bao (steamed bun) Moutian, a wooden structure used in the Cheung Chau Bao Festival.

Temples, beaches, and boats still to come! (more…)

May 31, 2011

Cheung Chau Island (Part 2 – Food and Drink)

Yesterday I wrote a post about taking a day trip to Cheung Chau Island while I was in Hong Kong. But I didn’t show you everything, so today, I bring you more Cheung Chau fun!

First, I have some pictures of the dim sum I ate for brunch on Cheung Chau.

Look at all those steaming backets filled with various goodies.

In the full post: chicken feet, shrimp dumplings and gaiwan cups. (more…)

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