Jun 16, 2013

Hong Kong Travelogue: Journey of Discoveries (Day 1 - 7 June 2013)

My sleepiness got the hang of me after the flight took off. I slept for an hour plus, which felt like 2-3 hours. My butt felt sore after sitting in the same position for hours but my Crumpler was heavy and bulky.

I was placed between two male strangers. Hence I couldn't move much. On my left was a 60s uncle, listening to music on his pad and playing angry bird game. On my right was a 30s guy, sleeping almost throughout the journey.

After two hours, I decided that I seriously needed a stretch. I asked the uncle on my left to give way for me to head to the lavatory. That lavatory session was perhaps the most refreshing time aboard. Don't get me wrong, my body was almost numb.

30minutes before landing, this uncle on my left and I started to talk. Then only I found out that he is Hong Kong resident currently staying in Malaysia, stopping by Hong Kong to bring a friend around before his business cum personal trip in China. Quite a friendly dude I would say but he spoke pretty soft. At least he spoke proper English. Also, I wasted no chance to practice my Cantonese!

Soon, the plane landed. I must say, Hong  Kong airport is a very easy to navigate and systematic too! I was led to find myself needing to take a train transit to immigration and baggage collection. This was interesting.

First stop was the immigration. They have around 10 counters opening to accommodate the filing crowd. The queue was long but the wait was less than 3 minutes long. When it was my turn, it was done in 30 seconds. I was amazed by their efficiency.

Second stop was the baggage collection. Being first timer, I headed to enquiry desks and asked in English, "AK1656 baggage is at which lane?". I was promptly led to another side of enquiry desk. Then I asked again, this time in Cantonese. Again, I was responded within 10 seconds. Whoa, what else I could say?

Baggage collection was no hard chore. Right after I was done, I wandered around looking for exit and I came out from another terminal instead. Feeling a little adventurous, I decided to look around for 1010 shop to get my new broadband prepaid sim. I ended up googling the location. It is right at the departure hall at level 7 area F. Just walk along the row and you will find 1010 shop.

I had around 3 persons queuing right in front of me waiting to get my hand of my broadband sim. Korean, Chinese, maybe Japanese? The staff was very responsive and spoke excellent Chinese. I got my mobile broadband prepaid sim (compatible with iPhone 5) for HKD100 and they activated my weekly unlimited surfing for HKD78. I still had HKD19+ balance in my account.

I took a double decker bus, S56, from Terminal 1 bus station to Citygate Outlet for HKD3.80/pax. The journey was about 10minutes. The bus was very well air-conditioned and equally economic! What so interesting about Citygate Outlet? Yes, you can find a lot of discounted items here. For example, a Couch handbag is HKD4600 with 30% discount. I went to New Balance and Nike shops but nothing strike my fancy. Moreover, their stocks are very limited. Food wise, it really has nothing to shout about.

I left after half an hour or so and headed to Tung Chung MTR where I grabbed my first Octopus card. It costed me HKD150 with HKD100 credit. After three months, you may return the card and get back your HKD50 deposit. Alternatively they would charge HKD9 for early return.

Then my course was set from the station to Tsing Yi MTR, where Maritime Square is located and had an hour of look-see-look-see before the lunch promo started at 2pm at Federal Palace. There were pretty large crowd waiting for the lunch promo outside the restaurant too. I was told they were all Hongkies queuing to enjoy their tea time.

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*Random Dim Sum Restaurant in Maritime Square*

To begin with, I didn't have any high expectation as it wasn't in my to-eat list. Apart from the crunching smooth beehive fried wu kok (HKD16) and the decent soupy roast goose lai fun (HKD25.80), the lau sha pao (HKD16) and XO sauce fried carrot cake (HKD18) were plain disappointment. There wasn't any tongue scorching salted egg yolk fillings but thick skin; there wasn't crispy outer skin on small cubes of carrot cake and garnishing/condiments to go with the carrot cake but floury and bland carrot cake.

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*Beehive Fried Wu Kok (HKD16)* - :)

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*Roast Goose Lai Fun Soup (HKD25.80)* :)

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* Lau Sha Pao (HKD16)* :(


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*XO Sauce Fried Carrot Cake (HKD18)* :(

Few interesting facts about Hong Kong's MTR:
1) escalators are rushing fast and you have to put down your phone and watch where you step on. Else, you might end up face down, phone fly or worse, leg goner?
2) there are plenty of exits in each MTR station. You have to know exactly where to exit. My advice is download the MTR mobile app (link) if you have access to data or check the map at each MTR station before you embark on any footwork.

Other than that, I must say the design of residential area in Hong Kong was superb. The supermarkets, market, shoplots, restaurants, kindergartens, bus stops are usually located below the blocks of houses. Sometimes even MTR station! So all you need to do is take a lift down to get whatever you need to cook a meal downstairs; send your kids to school downstairs; take a train to work downstairs. It is very self sustainable and safe too as there are few security measures being put in place even for a typical residential.

The market place itself was another discovery: the market is opened from morning until 7pm (in Malaysia, market is opened from morning until 12noon at most); the market is equipped with fans (sometimes there are markets equipped with air conditions!).

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It was such a bliss to be able to put down my Karrimor Munro 65litre backpack once I had arrived at my destination. Nap would probably be wise but my mind and body was just too excited to take a rest. Probably I could use some juice for my devices :D

More updates coming your way.

4 comments:

  1. HiTomi, HK appears to be a most intersting place!

    The open markets are quite unique to Asia, nothing quite the same in North America.

    The food looks so appealing. You photos make one yearn for a taste of something exotic.

    Say hello to Mr. Snowden if you happen to run into him, as that is likely the only way you would see him, if at all. That is it would take an accident.

    As oftne portrayed in movies HK is an international crossroads for intrigue.

    BTW, is this trip business or pleasure, or a little bit of both?

    David

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. David,

      The open market is quite unique to Malaysia too.
      I am currently back in Malaysia. No chance to meet Mr. Snowden by any chance.
      It was a leisure trip :)

      Delete
  2. Heyyyyy!! Still remember me? wowww really been a long time never visit your blog!
    i was reading my old post and saw your comment!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Henry,

      It has been so long since we last visited each other.
      Blame the work. Nowadays I hardly update my blog :(

      Delete

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