A Travellerspoint blog

Hong Kong

Hong Kong2

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Tai O.

Kowloon Side.

Tsim Sha Tsui. (TST):Things to do:

The Avenue of Stars.

This is a walkway along the harbour from Tsim Sha Tsui to Tsim Sha Tsui East. At night it is a great location for viewing the lights over the harbour. Sound and light shows take place here daily from 8pm. By day have a look at the hand prints of famous stars such as Jackie Chan, Leslie Cheung (who killed himself by leaping from the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Central), Chow Yun Fat of 'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon fame'. Get your photo taken with the Bruce Lee statue or with one of several lights, camera action type statue arrangements.

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The Avenue of Stars.

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The Avenue of Stars.

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The Avenue of Stars.

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The Avenue of Stars.

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The Avenue of Stars.

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Star Cruises.

The Peninsula Hotel.

Set in Tsim Sha Tsui this hotel is the oldest and probably the grandest in Hong Kong. It dates from the 1920's when its location by the railway station and harbour made it a very convenient stopping off point. Nowadays it is worth wandering around to have a look at its architecture and boutiques or to indulge in afternoon tea in the lobby or to try the famous Felix Bar with views over the harbour. I'm reliably informed men feel as if they are peeing over the harbour in the bar's urinal with a view, though I have never been in there myself!

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The Peninsula Hotel.

Clock Tower.

This rather isolated and out of place clock tower is all that remains of the former Kowloon Canton Railway Station in Tsim Sha Tsui. The original station was demolished and a new one was built in Hung Hom.

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1881 Heritage Building.

Located in Tsim Sha Tsui between Victoria Harbour and the Peninsula Hotel, this building was the former headquarters of the Hong Kong Marine Police. It has been redeveloped into a luxury hotel and high end shopping centre but some features such as the old signal tower have been retained.

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1881 Heritage Building.

Kowloon Park.

Kowloon Park lies in the centre of Tsim Sha Tsui next to Kowloon Mosque. The park is free entry. It is a lovely open space with a flamingo lake, an aviary, a sculpture garden, a maze and a public swimming pool. Very good place to sit and relax or watch people do tai chi. Worth visiting.

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Kowloon Park.

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Kowloon Park.

The Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre .

This centre is located within Kowloon Park. Admission is free and the centre is open until 6pm. The Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre is located in an interesting historical building which was once Whitfield Army Barracks. It was built around 1910 and was still used for accommodating British troops until 1967. This centre has some interactive displays and videos about traditional Chinese buildings and traditional Chinese life. I liked the ceramics room with its glass floor, underneath which were hundreds of shattered pieces of ceramics. If you happen to be in Tsim Sha Tsui you should certainly visit Kowloon Park, and while you are there you could easily pass an hour or so in this centre. The centre also provides free info about Hong Kong Historical Walking Trails.

Hong Kong Science Museum.

I am not hugely into museums, but I go to the HK Science Museum every year with my class as I am a primary school teacher. This museum is wonderful for anyone who has kids because everything in it is very hands on. The children can built electrical circuits; go for a simulated car ride; learn about animals and plants; wander around the surreal world of the mirror maze. This place will easily keep kids amused for several hours. Opening hours: Mon - Wed & Fri : 1pm - 9pm;Sat, Sun & Public Holidays : 10am - 9pm; Closed on Thur Address: 2 Science Museum Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Tel: +852 2732 3232 (General Enquiry). Website: http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/Museum/Science. Admission: Adult $25.00. Concession or reduced rate $12.50.Group discounts $17.50.Child 3 & under FREE: Free entry on Wednesday afternoons. Directions: Hong Kong Museum of Science, 2 Science Museum Road, Tsimshatsui East, Kowloon

The Hong Kong Museum Of History.

This museum is directly opposite the Science Museum, so if you visit one you may want to visit the other. I take my class here every year to the permanent exhibitions which show traditional aspects of Chinese lives such as fishing communities, Chinese temples; traditional village life; Chinese festivals. There is also an interesting transport section with an old tram which you can go on board. There are some replicas of old Hong Kong streets showing traditional Hong Kong shops. There are many temporary exhibitions, too. Open: Mon. & Wed. to Sat.: 10:00 – 18:00; Sun. & public holidays: 10:00 – 19:00; Closed Tuesdays. Admission fee $10; Concession: $5; Group Ticket: $7; Free admission on Wednesdays.

Hong Kong's Rubber Duckie.

A giant inflatable rubber duck sculpture floated into Hong Kong Harbour last Thursday, May 2nd. Designed by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman,the 16,9m high sculpture has already been in Osaka, Sydney, Sao Paolo and Amsterdam. It will be in Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour until June 9. It is located just outside ocean terminal in TST. The duck brings back memories of childhood to people from all over the world, but it is also about environmental awareness. It floats across the seas from continent to continent showing our oceans as a giant interconnected bathtub and above all it is just so cute. After Hong Kong next stop is the USA. On a rare clear day in Central looking towards TST I could not resist taking a picture of that duck again. Sadly the duck has sailed off into new waters now. Hopefully it will come back some day. It was quite a popular attraction.

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Hong Kong's Rubber Duckie.

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Hong Kong's Rubber Duckie.

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Hong Kong's Rubber Duckie.

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Hong Kong's Rubber Duckie.

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Hong Kong's Rubber Duckie.

Kwai Tsing Theatre.

Kwai Tsing Theatre is located in Kwai Fong right next to the MTR Station. We went here recently to watch an excellent performance of Dunsinane performed by the Scottish Theatre Company and The Royal Shakespeare Company. English theatre here is relatively rare unfortunately so we felt privileged to see this. Kwai Tsing Theatre stages Cantonese Operas, dance, music and other cultural events. Address: 12 Hing Ning Rd.

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Kwai Tsing Theatre.

Shopping:Hong Kong: Metroplaza Mall.

The Metroplaza Mall is yet another large shopping mall in Hong Kong. This one is more what I would call a normal shopping mall rather than one of those dreadful designer/designer/designer break the bank type malls which Hong Kong is nowadays brimming over with. As well as a good selection of shops there are lots of restaurants and cafes here, plus an outdoor play area for kids. This mall is in Kwai Fong near the MTR Station.

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Metroplaza Mall.

Wong Tai Sin Temple.

You can get here by taking the MTR to Wong Tai Sin. This temple is popular as when you pray here, your dreams are supposed to come true. Many people head here before heading to the race track. The temple is home to three religions: Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism. Wong Tai Sin was a 4th century monk who later became a deity. In 1915 a Taoist priest named Liang Ren-an brought a sacred portrait of Wong Tai Sin to Hong Kong from Guangdong. This portrait is now housed in the temple.

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Wong Tai Sin Temple.

Lantau Island.

Hong Kong Disneyland.

Hong Kong Disneyland is located on Lantau Island. To get there take the Tung Chung line train from Hong Kong Station in Central, get off at Sunny Bay Station and switch to the Disneyland train. You cannot miss it, it has Mickey Mouse shaped windows. You can buy your tickets at the front entrance of Disneyland or from the Disneyland ticketing office in Hong Kong Station or apparently from Circle K shops. Many people say the Hong Kong Disneyland is smaller than most Disneys. As it is the only Disneyland I've been to, I cannot comment. I thought it was quite entertaining and, of course, excellent if you have kids. I do not know if all Disneylands have the same attractions or not. In this one there is a train that takes you round the site; a mainstreet with souvenir shops and characters to pose with, a Tomorrow Land with lots of rides, a Fantasy Land with Sleeping Beauty's Castle and an Adventure Land. I personally liked the Adventure Land best as I liked the boat ride and raft ride. The children in my class all rave about space mountain - the Disneyland roller-coaster. There are restaurants and cafes on the site. There is a huge character parade and a firework display daily and then various other changing events.

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Hong Kong Disneyland.

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Hong Kong Disneyland.

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Hong Kong Disneyland.

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Hong Kong Disneyland.

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Hong Kong Disneyland.

Inspiration Lake.

Inspiration Lake is a large artificial lake near Hong Kong's Disneyland Resort. It opened in August 2005 a couple of months before Disneyland opened. The lake is in the centre of a beautifully landscaped, flower-filled park which occupies about 30 hectares of land. It is a lovely place for a stroll or a jog along the running track. You can also hire pedal boats there. There are some convenience shops near the entrance of the park, but it may be best to bring your own picnic with you and enjoy it in the lovely surroundings. You can get there by taking the Disneyland Resort train from Sunny Bay Station to Disneyland then either walking or taking bus R8A which runs between Inspiration Lake and the Disneyland Resort every 10 to 20 minutes between 9am and 7pm daily.The park is free entry and is open from 9am to 7pm daily. Outside the Disneyland Resort there is a large musical fountain which changes colour. If you return to Disneyland from the lake in the evening you might want to pause and enjoy the fireworks display from the outside of the theme park.

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Inspiration Lake.

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Inspiration Lake.

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Inspiration Lake.

Discovery Bay.

Discovery Bay is the area of Hong Kong I live in. It is located on Lantau Island. You can get there by bus from the airport, by ferry from Central pier 3; or by taking a train to Sunny Bay or Tung Chung then catching the Discovery Bay Bus. Discovery Bay is a residential area and a lot of ex-pats as well as Chinese choose to live there. There are some pretty landscaped walks in Discovery Bay. It also has a lovely beach but the sea is really quite murky there. There are many good restaurants in Discovery Bay and in many of them you can eat outside - something quite unusual in Hong Kong. People joke that DB means dogs and kids due to the large numbers of dogs and kids we have here, so if you visit HK with kids it is not a bad place to come. There are many little play areas for kids. Special events in DB are the free music festival Picnic in the Park on the first Saturday of November. DB is also good at Halloween when two of the streets decorate with over the top Halloween decorations and kids from all over HK come trick or treating. This takes place in Headland Drive. The Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated here every June, though Stanley is the more famous place to watch this.

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Discovery Bay.

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Discovery Bay.

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Discovery Bay.

The Dreaded Love Padlock.

Ever since a hotel was opened in Discovery Bay, it has become popular with mainland tour groups. As a result various highly touristy things keep springing up like horse drawn carriage rides and the latest - Love Padlock Walk. Help!

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The Dreaded Love Padlock.

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The Dreaded Love Padlock.

Sunsets over Sunny Bay.

I travel home from work via Sunny Bay. It has an MTR Station, the platform for the Mickey Mouse train that takes you to Disneyland and a bus station from which you can catch a bus to Discovery Bay only. It's not a lot, yet people go there to have their wedding photos taken with a lovely ocean backdrop or to photograph the often spectacular sunsets there. There is a long walkway by the sea with views over the sea and some islands. It is quite pretty.

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Sunsets over Sunny Bay.

Po Lin Monastery.

This monastery is situated on Lantau Island. You can reach it by bus from Tung Chung or Mui Wo. Or you can reach it by cable car from Tung Chung. Since the opening of the cable car, it has got more and more busy here. Next to the temple is the famous Big Buddah statue. This statue was erected in 1993. It is 34 metres high and faces north towards China. The right hand of the Buddah is raised to deliver a blessing to all who gaze on it. This massive Buddha, took 12 years to complete. Climb the 268 steps at the foot of the statue to see the great views from the top. Vegetarian meals are available in the monastery. Many lovely hiking trails start from here. I have done the one from here to Tai o fishing village.

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Big Buddha.

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Big Buddha.

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Po Lin Monastery.

Pui O, Lantau Island.

Pui O has a lovely beach and a restaurant on the beach. It is quite common to see Lantau's famous water buffalo wandering around here.

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Pui O.

Cattle.

Lantau has wild water buffalo and cattle. They are considered by the authorities as a bit of a nuisance and they like to find reasons to cull them. Personally I rather like them except maybe when they hit the motorway and my bus gets stuck behind them.

Tai O Fishing Village.

Tai O is a village on the edge of Lantau Island. It is one of the few remaining places in Hong Kong where you can still see wooden fishing houses on stilts. You can get there from Tung Chung on bus no.11, or from Mui Wo on bus no. 1, or from Ngong Ping on bus no 21. The village is an interesting place to walk around, there are stalls selling dried fish and several Chinese restaurants. There is also quite an interesting Chinese temple. It is possible to take boat trips around Tai O. Expect Tai O to be busy on Sundays and public holidays. Well worth a look. Can be combined with a trip to the Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery due to the bus service Tai O - Ngong Ping.

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Tai O Fishing Village.

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Tai O Fishing Village.

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Tai O Fishing Village.

Cheung Sha Beach.

Cheung Sha Beach is on Lantau Island. It is actually two beaches divided by a jutting headland. Lower Cheung Sha Beach is more popular because it has two outdoor restaurants - the Stoep - a South African restaurant and a Chinese restaurant next door - good food cannot remember its name. The big attraction of these restaurants is their setting right on the beach. Sit here and you feel you are a million miles from Hong Kong on a small island in Malaysia or the Philippines perhaps. Both Lower and Upper Cheung Sha Beaches have facilities for swimming: changing rooms, showers, toilets, life guards, shark nets etc. If you choose Upper Cheung Sha Beach, you will have the place almost to yourself - perfect for peace and tranquility. To get there take the ferry from Central to Mui Wo then bus number 4 Mui Wo towards Tong Fuk Village. You can get off this bus at Lower Cheung Sha Beach where the restaurants are, but we usually stay on to Tong Fuk and take a long leisurely walk back along the beaches to build up an appetite first. If you go at the right time of day, you may see some of Lantau's famous wild cattle arriving for a paddle.

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Cheung Sha Beach.

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Cheung Sha Beach.

Mui Wo.

Mui Wo is one of the main towns on Lantau Island. It has many excellent restaurants - Chinese, Turkish, Italian and big Wellcome and Park 'n' Shop supermarkets, a McDonalds and a 7-eleven if you prefer a picnic. Mui Wo used to be called Silvermine Bay. You can walk along the beautiful Mui Wo Beach towards the Silvermine Bay Hotel. Mui Wo is excellent for swimming, relaxing on the beach, or you can stroll around its village streets or take a walk to the waterfall and cave behind the town. There is a longer walk from here to Discovery Bay via the Trappist Monastery (maybe around one and a half hours). You get to Mui Wo from Central via ferry. You can also get to it by bus from Tung Chung and on some of the inter-island ferries.

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Mui Wo.

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Mui Wo.

New Territories.

Tsing Yi.

Tsing Yi is an island in Hong Kong. It takes its name from a type of fish. It is one stop away from the airport on the airport express. It can also be reached on the Tung Chung MTR line. Tsing Yi Island is very built up and has many residential areas, industry and a container port. Eight different bridges connect Tsing Yi with other parts of Hong Kong. On Tsing Yi you can find Maritime Square Shopping Mall which has a Marks and Spencers, Fortress for electrical goods, Pricerite and Taste supermarket among other things. There is also a large cinema complex within the shopping centre. Outside the shopping centre there is a lovely walkway by the sea. It makes a pleasant spot for a stroll, jog or picnic.

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Tsing Yi.

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Tsing Yi.

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Tsing Yi.

Tung Chung.

Tung Chung is a residential area near to the airport. To get there from the airport it is best to use the S1 bus. The airport express does not stop in Tung Chung. Tung Chung is not the liveliest spot in Hong Kong but it is on the Tung Chung to Hong Kong Station MTR line. There is a Novotel in Tung Chung. There is also a shopping centre called Citygate which has many outlet stores. There is a large cinema complex and several restaurants (Japanese, Thai, Chinese) including a large Food Republic food court there. Tung Chung also has a musical dancing fountain in the centre of its plaza. On hot summer days it's fun to watch the kids running through the fountain to get completely soaked. Tung Chung is the starting point for the cable car to the Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island. One other feature of Tung Chung is that it has a brand new huge swimming pool. An Olympic sized heated indoor pool and a reasonably large outdoor pool.

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Tung Chung.

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Tung Chung.

Kadoorie Farm And Botanical Gardens.

Kadoorie Farm is a farm and botanical gardens in the New Territories. It was established in 1956 and is located on the foothills of Tai Mo Shan Mountain. To get there by public transport take the train to Tai Po Market or Tai Wo. Get on the 64K bus towards Yuen Long (west). Ride for 20-25 minutes. Near the top of the extremely steep hill, get off at the Kadoorie Farm bus stop. I have taken my class here on school trips to see the animals: raptors, pigs, flamingos among others and plants and to teach them about conservation. It is a lovely sight and an enjoyable day out. There is a shuttle around the sight if you do not want to walk round . Ask for a free ticket at the entry booth.

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Kadoorie Farm And Botanical Gardens.

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Kadoorie Farm And Botanical Gardens.

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Kadoorie Farm And Botanical Gardens.

Sai Kung.

Sai Kung is one of the most beautiful areas of Hong Kong with mountain and sea scenery and lots of little islands. The town of Sai Kung itself has lots of seafood restaurants where you pick your own food from a tank, then wait for it to be cooked. There are many other types of restaurants and bars. The area around Sai Kung has many country parks, barbeque areas, campsites and hiking trails. You can also take boat trips on sampans from Sai Kung or take a boat to Hong Kong's only public golf course on Kau Sai Chau island. To get to Sai Kung by public transport take the MTR to Choi Hung then take minibus 1A to Sai Kung. Or take the MTR/KCR to Sha Tin then take bus 299. Directions: Take MTR to the station, Mountain Diamond, then change bus or mini bus 1A to Sai Kung.

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Sai Kung.

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Sai Kung.

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Sai Kung.

Lions Nature Education Centre.

I visited this nature centre as I will be going there with my primary two class on a field trip. This centre is located near Sai Kung. You can get there by taking the MTR to Hang Hau and then minibus 101 towards Sai Kung. Ask the driver where to get off. A taxi from Hang Hau MTR will cost around HK$60 to HK$70. Lion's Nature Education Centre is situated on 34 hectares of land. Its purpose is to conserve nature and educate children about nature. Facilities at the centre include: a dragonfly pond, a bamboo grove, a butterfly valley, woodland walks, outdoor displays on rocks and minerals, a wild animal trail with models of animals on it, an insect house, an organic garden, shell house with displays of shells. The site also has toilets, parking facilities, picnic tables and benches. Entry is free. This is a pleasant and peaceful place to spend a couple of hours. The surrounding area has beautiful scenery. The gardens contain colourful flowers. There are fish ponds and turtles. A lovely place to bring small children.

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Lions Nature Education Centre.

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Lions Nature Education Centre.

Sha Tin Town Hall.

Sha Tin Town Hall is located between New Town Plaza Shopping Mall and Sha Tin Park. It stages concerts, plays, ballet, dance and other cultural events. When we lived in Fo Tan we used to come here all the time. It also has a little cafe, bar which is a pleasant place for drinks and snacks. You can look on-line for forthcoming events or pick up brochures at Sha Tin Town Hall or at other venues such as City Hall in Central. Address: 1 Yuen Wo Rd, Sha Tin.

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Sha Tin Town Hall.

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Sha Tin Town Hall.

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Sha Tin Town Hall.

10,000 Buddahs Temple.

OK embarrassing update around 20 years later. Just discovered this isn't the Tenn Thousand Buddhas Monastery. It's the cemetery adjacent to it. Have now (2021) just visited both the cemetery and the monastery.

This temple is located in Sha Tin and is well worth a visit. Inside there are large Buddah statues and 100s of small ones hence its name. The temple is located on the hillside overlooking Sha Tin. Part of it was damaged in landslides during the torrential rains that marked the handover in 1997. You can climb the stairs or if you are feeling lazy take the escalator up to the entrance. The ten thousand Buddahs temple complex is on two levels. The main temple on the lower level was built in 1957. It is dedicated to Kuan Yin, goddess of mercy. In one of the temple buildings is the body of the temple's founder, Yuet Kai. He was a monk who came to Hong Kong after the Second World War. He died at the age of 87 in 1965. Prior to his death he told his followers to exhume his body eight months after they buried him. When his followers found that his body was still in good condition they covered it in lacquer and gilding. Every year on May 26th, which is Buddha's birthday, the body is placed in the Buddha posture in a glass case and can be visited by worshipers. A visit here could be combined with a stroll through Sha Tin's lovely riverside park or with some shopping in New Town Plaza. If you are feeling energetic, you could even hire a bike and cycle along the banks of the Shing Mun River towards Tai Po.

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10,000 Buddahs Temple.

The Hong Kong Heritage Museum.

This museum is located in Sha Tin not too far from New Town Plaza Shopping Mall and Sha Tin Park. Entry is a very reasonable HK$10 or HK$20 if it includes the special exhibitions. One section of the museum focuses on Cantonese Opera. This section includes booths where you can listen to and watch scenes from some preludes to Cantonese operas and from some famous operas. There is also an exhibit of an opera star's dressing room and an interactive game in which you can turn yourself into an opera star. The Hong Kong Heritage Galllery has exhibits of temples, chemist shops, Hakka villages, paper offering shops and information about floating people - those who live on their boats or in fishing villages raised on stilts. Up another floor is the Bruce Lee Gallery where you can watch a hologram of Bruce Lee fight the bad guys as well as find out information about Bruce Lee's life and posters from his films. On the same floor there is an art gallery containing pottery, ceramics and an exhibition on Tibet containing among other things beautiful prayer rugs. Address: 1 Man Lam Rd, Sha Tin. Opening Hours: Monday, Wednesday to Friday : 10am - 6pm Saturday, Sunday and public holidays : 10am - 7pm Christmas Eve and Chinese New Year's Eve : 10am - 5pm Closed on Tuesdays (except public holidays) and the first two days of the Chinese New Year.

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The Hong Kong Heritage Museum. Burning Paper Offerings,

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The Hong Kong Heritage Museum. Cantonese Opera.

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The Hong Kong Heritage Museum. Cantonese Opera.

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Hakka clothes.

Sha Tin Park.

Sha Tin has a large and very pretty park located along the banks of the Shing Mun River. I especially like the little Chinese gardens there with their ponds, bridges, pagodas, flowers, fish and turtles.

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Sha Tin Park.

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Sha Tin Park.

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Sha Tin Park.

Snoopy World, Sha Tin.

This is one for the kids to enjoy. If you plan a day's shopping in Sha Tin or a visit to the lovely 10,000 Buddahs Temple, you might want to combine it with a visit to the park and a visit to Snoopy World if you are travelling with kids. Snoopy World was closed on my recent visit. It consists of models of the famous Peanuts characters including a huge kennel with Snoopy sleeping on top of it. It is a popular spot for photos though I only took one as my camera was playing up by the time I got there. Typical!

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Snoopy World, Sha Tin.

Riverside Cycle Track.

You can hire bicycles by the hour or for a day in Sha Tin and Tai Wai. Then you can follow the cycle path along the edge of the Shing Mun River all the way to Tai Po. This is a popular pastime and the route gets busy especially at weekends.

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Riverside Cycle Track.

Cheung Chau Island.

Get to Cheung Chau by ferry from pier 5 outlying islands ferry piers, Central.In my opinion Cheung Chau is the most beautiful of all Hong Kong's islands. It has quite a big main town with a harbour filled with colourful fishing boats and house boats. There is a very clean and lovely main beach and of course other beaches scattered around. There are many restaurants on Cheung Chau most specialize in Chinese food but there is also an Indian restaurant. Have a stroll round Cheung Chau's fish market for a look at the day's catch. Go on one of the islands many walks, for example The Mini Great Wall Walk is good for views and picnics.Go and visit the island's famous pirate cave. Then of course there is the famous temple where Cheung Chau's annual Bun Festival takes place. It is a lovely temple very well kept. I have never been to the actual festival due to the fact it is so, so crowded but it's traditional for people to climb up a big pole and grab buns down for good luck. This used to be a free for all but due to accidents is now organized and has fewer climbers. The festival is also famous for its floating children. Children in lovely traditional Chinese clothes being carried around in a procession. Address: Southwest of Hong Kong Island Directions: Situated southwest of HK Island. The ferry ride (from Central) takes about one hour.

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Cheung Chau.

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Cheung Chau.

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Cheung Chau.

Something Fishy In Cheung Chau.

I was very recently (Tuesday 8th March 2016) on a school trip to Cheung Chau. I managed to take a stroll along the waterfront and enjoyed taking a look at all the trays of white fish and prawns that had been left to dry in the sun. As well as looking at the fish drying on the waterfront, I also had a look at some of the shops selling fish. Many shops here specialise in dried fish products. In addition to several types of fish, I saw dried starfish, dried seahorses in a medicine shop, dried squid and many, many more.

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Something Fishy In Cheung Chau.

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Something Fishy In Cheung Chau.

Favorite thing: Of course with all the fishing boats, fishermen, a fish market and countless fish shops, Cheung Chau has to have plenty of restaurants selling ...... fish. Many of them are the sort of restaurants where you choose your fish from a large tank in which it is still swimming around.

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Fish Restaurants - Cheung Chau.

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Fish Restaurants - Cheung Chau.

Shell Shops - Cheung Chau.

On our recent trip to Cheung Chau we took a look at some of the shell shops there. They sold a variety of products from individual shells, to shell jewellery, to hanging shell mobiles to shell covered ornaments. I did not buy any shell products, but found them interesting enough to browse.

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Shell Shops.

Festivals.

Chinese New Year.

This is the biggest festival here. It takes place in January or February on a different date each year. Each year is called after a different animal: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit,dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, pig. In preparation people clean out their homes and decorate them. During the festival red packets containing money are given to children and unmarried adults. Families get together for special meals. Children wear traditional Chinese clothes. At Chinese new Year noisy lion dancers scare away all the bad luck and hasten in the good luck. We had lion dancers at my school and our heads and directors painted the lion's eye for good luck. I have not seen this done before, but everyone else had. One of the good things about Chinese New Year is that people, especially children, dress up in traditional Chinese clothes which are very colourful and attractive. At school we always have a Chinese New Year Concert with singing and dancing. Chinese New Year is the most important of all the Chinese Festivals.

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Lion Dancing.

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Lion Dancing.

Why the years are named after animals.

Welcome to the year of the horse 2014. Ever wonder why the years are called after animals? There is an old Chinese legend to explain it. Many years ago the Jade Emperor decided to call the years after animals in a twelve yearly cycle, but which animals to choose? He decided to solve his problem by getting the animals to compete in a race. The first twelve to reach him would have a year named after them. The hardest part of the race was right at the end when the animals had to cross a fast flowing river. Each animal crossed in their own way and their actions resulted in their position in the race; plus they tell us about the personalities of those born in each year. Rat and cat were the worst swimmers of the animals so they asked kind ox, a very powerful swimmer, to let them sit on his back when he swam across. When they were nearing the bank of the river, rat suddenly pushed cat into the water and leapt off ox's head to arrive in first place. I think we all know rats in this world !!!! Ox clambered out in second place. Cat was swept away by the water. The tiger a strong and powerful animal arrived in third place. Behind him came rabbit. He was not a good swimmer, but he was clever and used some stepping stones to help him cross the river. As he hopped across, he suddenly fell in and just managed to grab onto a floating log. Dragon was right behind him. He was able tofly and could easily have won the race but he stopped to help the rabbit and used his powerful breath to blow him to the shore. Rabbit took fourth place and kind dragon took fifth. Horse was also a good swimmer, but sneaky snake (that's me) had secretly wrapped himself around his leg to cross the stream. As the horse emerged from the water, snake slithered off his hoof giving horse such a fright that he stepped backwards allowing snake to take sixth place and horse seventh. Meanwhile goat, monkey and rooster who were not able to swim at all, decided to work together to cross the stream. Clever rooster found a raft hidden in the rushes, monkey and goat helped clear the rushes away and free the raft and the three animals crossed together. Goat finished in eighth place, monkey in ninth and rooster in tenth. Meanwhile dog (all my class are dogs this year and how they laughed at this story) was a strong swimmer and could have finished much earlier, but the water was so lovely he stopped to play and enjoy himself. He finished in eleventh place. In twelfth place pig waddled out of the water. He had taken a long time as he had stopped to eat and take a nap on the way. Finally, out of the water, half drowned and exhausted came cat. The Jade Emperor looked at him sadly and told him all the years had already been named. Cat was furious and to this day every time he sees his great enemy rat he chases him to get his revenge. Kung Hei Fat Choi!

The Year of the Monkey.

The Year of the Monkey will start from February 8th and last until January 27th, 2017. The Monkey is ninth of the twelve animals in the 12-year Chinese zodiac cycle. 2016 will be a Fire Monkey Year. In Chinese astrology, each year is linked with an animal sign and one the Five Elements: Metal, Water, Wood, Fire, or Earth. The sign and element you are born under affect your personality and destiny. Element-sign combinations recur every 60 years.

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The Year of the Monkey.

Dragon Boat Day.

Dragon Boat Day is a wonderful, colourful festival which takes place in June each year. Dragon Boat Races are held in many locations in Hong Kong such as Stanley, Sha Tin, Mui Wo, Discovery Bay. The Dragon Boat Festival commemorates the life and death of the ancient poet, Qu Yuan, who lived from 340-278 B.C. He was appalled by state corruption and commited suicide by throwing himself in a river. When the people of his native state heard what he had done, they rushed out in their fishing boats and tried desperatedly to save him. They beat drums and splashed water in order to keep the fish and evil spirits away from his body. Then later they scattered rice into the water to prevent him from being hungry and also to feed the fishes in the river so that they would not devour his body. I used to live in Sha Tin and watch the races on the Shing Mun River. I've also see them on Stanley Main Beach, but nowadays I am more likely to watch them in Discovery Bay since I live there. In Discovery Bay the whole event turns into a carnival with food stalls and market stalls and live musical performances. It is good fun.

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Dragon Boat Day.

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Dragon Boat Day.

Mid Autumn Festival.

One of my favourite Chinese Festivals is Mid Autumn Festival or lantern festival. It is celebrated at the end of September or beginning of October on the night of a full moon. People go out at night carrying lanterns.They normally head to a park or beach and sit and gaze at the full moon and eat mooncakes and brightly coloured round fruits.The festival is based on a legend in which a famous archer, Houyi, was asked by the Chinese emperor to shoot down nine of the ten suns that exsisted in the sky at that time as they were scorching the Earth. Houyi did so and was rewarded with a pill that could make him immortal. He was advised that the pill was so strong he should only consume half of it. Houyi hid the pill in his home, but while he was out his beautiful wife, Chang'e found the pill and consumed all of it. The pill was so strong she flew out of the house and floated up to the moon. She asked the moon hare to make her a new pill so she could return to her husband. and hundreds of years later the moon hare is still trying to make the pill. Meanwhile Houyi is able to visit Chang'e on the moon once a year during the Mid-Autumn Festival on the night of the full moon.

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Mid Autumn Festival.

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Mid Autumn Festival.

Hong Kong's National Flower.

The national flower of Hong Kong is the bauhinia. It is also known as the Hong Kong tree orchid. It is a large purple flower which grows on trees. It blossoms from around early November to around the end of March. The bauhinia is depicted on the Hong Kong flag and on several Hong Kong coins.

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Hong Kong's National Flower.

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Hong Kong's National Flower.

Flowers Of Hong Kong.

Hong Kong has a sub-tropical climate. It does get cold for part of the year but still manages to have wonderful flowers all year round. Bougainvillea is native to South America rather than Hong Kong but lots of beautiful bougainvillea grows near where I live in Discovery Bay and in most Hong Kong parks or nature centres. Azaleas are also abundant in Hong Kong and at the moment - March - they certainly appear to be at their peak. In China the azalea is referred to as the "thinking of home bush". Azaleas are extremely toxic. In the past receiving azaleas in a black vase was apparently a death threat.

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Flowers Of Hong Kong.

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Flowers Of Hong Kong.

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Flowers Of Hong Kong.

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Flowers Of Hong Kong.

Flame Of The Forest Trees.

Although it is a majorly built up place, Hong Kong does have some wonderful, colourful flowering trees. One of my favourites is the flame of the forest tree. It blooms here around May and June and brightens up any surroundings with its mass of bright red flowers. The flame tree is a member of the bean family. It comes originally from Madagascar, but there are many of them here in Hong Kong. The flame of the forest was successfully introduced into Hong Kong in 1908 and had been planted all over Hong Kong by the 1920's. The Hong Kong Standard recently did an article in which it compared flame tree viewing in Tai Po to cherry tree viewing in Japan.

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Flame Of The Forest Trees.

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Flame Of The Forest Trees.

Posted by irenevt 05:35 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (2)

Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Island.

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Hong Kong Flower Festival.

Hong Kong.

Life in Hong Kong.

I have now been living in Hong Kong since 1996, so felt it was about time I wrote some information about Hong Kong. The problem is, though I have been here so long I almost never do anything touristy here any more, so instead of running around madly redoing everything - where on earth would I find time - I will be doing this page very, very slowly as I re-encounter parts of Hong Kong and happen to have my camera on me. The most accurate depiction of life in Hong Kong would involve sky high buildings, mountains, beautiful islands, busy streets, Chinese temples, traffic jams; shops, shops and more shops, a very international assortment of restaurants and lovely sandy beaches next to a rather more murky sea.

The Peak.

The Peak on Hong Kong Island is the highest mountain in Hong Kong and probably its most famous sight. You can get here on a funicular railway called the Peak tram or by number 15 bus from Exchange Square Bus Station, Central. There is a shopping centre at the top of the Peak and a Ripley's Believe it or not. There are restaurants, too. You can also walk to the governor's gardens, or take a walk around the Peak. On clear days there are great views over the harbour. Be careful though most days in Hong Kong are smoggy.

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View from the Peak.

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Mansion on the Peak.

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View from the Peak.

Repulse Bay.

Repulse Bay is on the south of Hong Kong Island. You can get here by number 6 bus from Exchange Square Bus Station, Central. There is a lovely clean beach and at the far end of the beach you can visit the Lifesaver's Temple.

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Repulse Bay.

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Repulse Bay.

Stanley.

This is also on the south side of Hong Kong Island. It has a lovely beach and a market which sells lots of different souvenirs. It also has many restaurants. It is close to St Stephen's which has a beach and a war cemetery.

Aberdeen.
This is also located on the south side of Hong Kong Island. You can get here by bus from Central. It has a busy harbour, many boat houses and the Jumbo floating restaurant which you can reach by boat.

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Aberdeen.

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Aberdeen.

Causewaybay.

Central Library.

Central Library is located in Causewaybay near Victoria Park. It is a fairly new building and has several interesting sculptures around it. Inside of course there are several floors filled with books including English books. There is a little gift shop on the ground floor and a very peaceful and pleasant DeliFrance just outside on the ground floor. The Delifrance has indoor and outdoor seating. The library is an oasis of calm in Causewaybay. My photos are taken at the Hong Kong Garden Festival in Victoria Park and show the library in the background, so you would only see it looking like this during the festival.

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Central Library.

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Central Library.

Sculptures Around Central Library.

It was my school's annual PTA Christmas dinner the other night. School finishes at 4 and the dinner starts at 7, so with no real time to go home and back, I decided to walk to Causewaybay and take some photos. I started with the sculptures around Central Library. Central Library is located in opposite Victoria Park. It has English and Chinese books and a peaceful Deli-France restaurant at the back. Around the outside of the library there are a variety of different sculptures.

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Sculptures Around Central Library.

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Sculptures Around Central Library.

Saint Mary's Episcopal Church, Causeway Bay.

I kept seeing this fancy looking Chinese building from my bus on the way to school. I decided to find out what it was. It turned out to be a beautiful Chinese style church called St. Mary's Episcopal Church. There has been a church at this site since 1911. The church was rebuilt in Chinese-Anglican architectural style in 1937. It was consecrated after the Second World War in 1949. Unfortunately I did not get a chance to go inside the building, but the exterior is certainly very attractive and striking. The church is located at 2A Tai Hang Road, Causewaybay.

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Saint Mary's Episcopal Church, Causeway Bay.

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Saint Mary's Episcopal Church, Causeway Bay.

Po Leung Kuk Headquarters, Causewaybay.

Po Leung Kuk is a charitable organisation in Hong Kong. Among other things it runs many different schools. The Po Leung Kuk Headquarters are located at 66 Leighton Road in Causeway Bay. These headquarters are noticeable for their impressive looking Chinese style gate and pagoda. The headquarters also house a museum which displays the historic documents of Po Leung Kuk. The Old Hall and the Exhibition Hall of the Po Leung Kuk Headquarters are open to the public.

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Po Leung Kuk Headquarters, Causewaybay.

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Po Leung Kuk Headquarters, Causewaybay.

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Po Leung Kuk Headquarters, Causewaybay.

Christmas Decorations.

Hong Kong likes to indulge in over the top Christmas decorations. Christmas or Chinese New Year are a good time to take a ferry trip on the harbour at night to see the buildings all lit up. Hong Kong's Shopping Malls - of which there are so many - do the best decorations. Try Ocean Terminal that is, in my opinion, the most over the top. Pacific Place and Festival Walk are good, too. The decorations in my photos are from Causewaybay. Most of them are outside Times Square - a big shopping and restaurant complex. Even the clock was festive. There were several snow globe decorations around Causewaybay this year. The idea is the decorations are inside a snow globe and you make a donation to charity to go inside it and have your photo taken. Most people were just standing in front of them for free when I was there so not sure how successful it was.

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Christmas Decorations.

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Christmas Decorations.

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Christmas Decorations.

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Christmas Decorations.

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Christmas Decorations.

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Christmas Decorations.

Victoria Park.

Victoria Park lies on the edge of Causewaybay in the direction of Tin Hau. It is a welcome green area in the heart of one of the most built up areas of Hong Kong. The park is an excellent place for a stroll and a spot of people watching. If you come early in the morning, you can watch people performing tai chi here. Another fun spot is the boat pond where small kids and bigger adult kids sail their remote controlled boats. There are also lots of sporting facilities here such as swimming pools, tennis courts and basketball courts. The park plays host to a lot of festivals such as the Hong Kong Flower Show; Hong Kong Shopping Expo; international tennis championships and the June 4th candlelight vigil in remembrance of the Tiannamen Square Massacre. At the top end of the park gazing towards Hong Kong's excellent Central Library sits a statue of Queen Victoria after whom the park is named. This statue has a rich history which includes being rescued from a rubbish heap after the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong during world war II, and being battered by a hammer and covered in red paint by a lone attacker just prior to the handover in 1997. Entry to the park is free and if there is an event going on it is generally very reasonably priced. You can get here by taking the MTR to Causewaybay or Tin Hau and following exit signs for the park. Well worth a stroll. I recently wandered around Victoria Park slowly really paying attention to the things I normally just pass by without noticing. My conclusion is someone, somewhere really cares for this park and has landscaped multiple little scenes into it beautifully. I will let my photos speak for themselves.

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Victoria Park.

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Victoria Park.

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Victoria Park.

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Victoria Park.

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Victoria Park.

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Victoria Park.

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Victoria Park.

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Victoria Park.

Every year a wonderful flower festival is held in this park. It has district garden competitions, bonsai competitions, flower filled floats and much, much more.

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Flower Festival.

The Noon Day Gun.

I had around an hour to spare before meeting my husband and a friend for dinner in Causewaybay, so I decided to visit the noon day gun. The reason for this was I had just seen a picture of it in the paper that morning being fired by a Leicester City player out in Hong Kong for the 2016 Soccer Sevens. The noon day gun is on the seafront in front of the Excelsior Hotel. It can be reached via a tunnel which can be accessed near the hotel, or by climbing over the overpass at the bottom of Victoria Park. The noon day gun belongs to Jardine Matheson Holdings who have been an important company in Hong Kong since around 1842. At that time they had a lot of warehouses on the waterfront where the noon day gun is located and whenever an important tai-pan was arriving there by boat, they used to fire a gun in salute. Legend has it that a newly arrived senior British naval officer was angered by this practice as he felt a gun salute should only be fired for important government officials. As a penalty for their unacceptable behaviour Jardine Matheson were ordered to fire a gun at noon every day forever and they still do it to this day. The gun is also fired at midnight to welcome in a new year. Hong Kong's noon day gun was made famous by Noel Coward in his song 'Mad Dogs and Englishmen'.

'Mad dogs and Englishmen Go out in the midday sun.
The smallest Malay rabbit deplores this foolish habit
In Hong Kong they strike a gong and fire off a noonday gun
To reprimand each inmate, who's in late.'

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The Noon Day Gun.

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The Noon Day Gun.

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The Noon Day Gun.

Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter.

I went recently to have another look at the noon day gun which is right next to Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter . The typhoon shelter is quite interesting and scenic, though to be honest, this area is currently in the centre of a major construction drive and is a total mess with its forest of cranes, no entry signs and army of construction workers in hard hats. However, visiting this area led me to looking up Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter on line and I was totally shocked to discover that at one point it was to be expanded but this was delayed due to lack of funds and in 1906 there was an absolutely horrendous typhoon that resulted in a massive number of deaths, around 15,000, most of them fishermen whose boats sank in the typhoon. This occurred on September 18th 1906. In other countries such a shocking event would be commemorated. Here it is largely ignored and unknown. Those of us who live in Hong Kong nowadays don't know how lucky we are. Slopes are concreted to prevent landslides in the frequent torrential rain and buildings are designed to sway in typhoons.

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Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter.

Tin Hau Temple, Tin Hau.

This temple is on Tin Hau Temple Road in Tin Hau near Causewaybay. Tin Hau is the goddess of the sea. This temple was built by the Tai family in the early 18th century and is still looked after by the Tai family nowadays. The Tai family were Hakkas from Guangdong. Legend states that while they were collecting grass in Causeway Bay, they discovered a statue of the goddess Tin Hau lying among the grass so they built a temple to her on this site. The temple has beautiful carved dragons on its roof and paintings of gods on its temple doors. It is a popular site of worship.

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Tin Hau Temple, Tin Hau

Horse Racing

Most Chinese people believe in luck. They love to gamble. The only legal gambling in Hong Kong is on horse racing. For casinos you would need to go to Macau. There are two race courses here: one in Sha Tin, the other in Happy Valley. Both are run by the Hong Kong Jockey Club. Both are very popular.

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Horse racing.

Central.

Statue Square.

Statue Square is right in the heart of Central district. It was created at the end of the 19th century and was originally called Statue Square because it housed statues of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, Edward VII and Sir Thomas Jackson the chief manager of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) from 1876 to 1902. These status together with the bronze lion statues from outside the nearby Hong Kong Shanghai Bank building were all removed by the Japanese during World War II. At the end of the war, Sir Thomas Jackson was returned to the square, the lions to outside the HSBC building and Queen Victoria to Victoria Park. The other statues were lost. Statue Square is bordered by the HSBC and Bank of China to the north, the Princes Building to the west and the beautiful old Legco Building (formerly the supreme court) to the west and the cenotaph to the south. Statue Square was once very close to Victoria Harbour but is now quite far away due to land reclamation. An interesting time to visit Statue Square is on Sundays - maids day off - the whole of the square is covered with Filipinas. Walk under the futuristic new HSBC building and the sound of the maids chatter is like the chirping of thousands of small birds. Statue Square is also home to Hong Kong Winter Fest around Christmas time and always has a huge tree.

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Statue Square.

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Statue Square.

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Statue Square.

Sculptures In Exchange Square, Central.

There are several wonderful sculptures in Exchange Square next to the IFC Building in Central, Hong Kong. The standing and lying down water buffalo are two such statues. These were created by Dame Elisabeth Frink, a leading figure in British sculpture. Fink studied at the Chelsea School of Art from 1949 to 1953. She created a lot of animal sculptures suitable for viewing outdoors. Hong Kong Land commissioned her Water Buffalo statues in 1986. Another lovely sculpture in Exchange Square, Central is Sitting Couple. It is made of bronze and was created by Lynn Chadwick between 1989 and 1990. Lynn Chadwick was a British sculptor. He was born in Barnes, London in 1914. He died at Lypiatt Park, Gloucestershire. There is also a Henry Moore Sculpture here. The sculpture is called 'Oval with Points'. It is located in Exchange Square. Even if you are not into art, it is a pleasant place to sit!!! It looks like a figure eight and eight is lucky in Chinese so maybe that is why it is popular. Exchange Square also has two sculptures by Taiwanese sculptor, Ju Ming. These depict people doing tai chi, a very popular activity here. Ju Ming was born in 1938. He became famous in Taiwan in the 1970's, and in New York in the 80's.

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Sculptures In Exchange Square, Central.

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Sculptures In Exchange Square, Central.

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Sculptures In Exchange Square, Central.

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Sculptures In Exchange Square, Central.

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Sculptures In Exchange Square, Central.

Chater Garden.

This garden is to the east of the Legco Building. It is a pleasant place to stop and sit or maybe grab a sandwich for lunch. The park has a tree walk, fountains and sculptures. It is very much an urban park, surrounded by roads and tall buildings. As it is so close to Legco many political demonstrations, take place here. The gardens were built in the 1970s and opened in 1978. They are on the former site of the Hong Kong Cricket Club located here from 1851 to 1975, then moved to Wong Nai Chung Gap.

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Chater Garden.

City Hall, Central.

The City Hall in Central dates from the 1950's. The site contains a library, registry office, pleasant garden with sculptures, cafe and theatres. You can come here to watch ballet or listen to classical music. Events are listed on-line or drop into the lobby and pick up some information leaflets. The original City Hall was on the site now occupied by the HSBC. It was a much grander building but was sadly demolished.

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City Hall, Central.

Hong Kong Maritime Museum.

This museum is located at pier 8 of the outlying ferry piers in Central. We visited here with our classes for a school trip. The best bit of the museum for me was its wonderful huge glass windows with great views over the harbour and star ferry pier. The museum is located on three floor or decks. The bottom floor deals with the maritime history of Hong Kong and includes sections on sampans, junks, sailing ships, trade and pirates. The next floor had information about ferries, marine life, marine pollution. The top floor was about navigating ships. Several of the exhibits were interactive. The children we took along enjoyed trying to pull up a huge diving helmet, looking for objects in a sand pit and separating them into things that should be in the ocean and things that should not, and listening to different ship sounds. Tel: +852 3713 2500. Fax: +852 2813 8033. Email: info@hkmaritimemuseum.org. Opening Hours 09:30 - 17:30 (Monday to Friday);10:00 - 19:00 (Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays); Closed on the first two days of the Chinese New Year. Ticket Information: HK$30 for Adults, HK$15 for seniors/students, children and disabled (aged 60 and above, with valid ID, under 18, and accompanied by a carer), respectively. The museum has clean toilets and a gift shop.

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Hong Kong Maritime Museum.

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Hong Kong Maritime Museum.

The Man Mo Temple.

This was my second visit to the Man Mo Temple. I visited soon after coming to Hong Kong and have not been back for around 18 years. This temple is dedicated to Man - the God of Literature and Mo - the God of War. It was built in 1847 and entrusted to the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals in 1908. In 2009 it was listed as a Grade I historic building. This temple is interesting to visit. It was crowded with worshippers when I went. The ceiling is covered with great coils of burning incense and the temple is filled with many red lanterns. Address:124-126 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan.

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The Man Mo Temple.

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The Man Mo Temple.

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The Man Mo Temple.

Hong Kong's New Ferris Wheel.

When I returned to Hong Kong after spending the summer in Europe, I was surprised to see a semi-built ferris wheel on the waterfront at Central. Each day when I went to the bus stop to wait for my bus up to work, a new part of the wheel would be visible. Despite the fact it has been complete for a while, the wheel has only just become open in December 2014. I stood and watched it rotating slowly before my visit to the cinema last Tuesday and when I left after the film the wheel was beautifully lit up at night. It is a slow rotating wheel which is there for viewing purposes. It looks out over Victoria Harbour. The wheel was the idea of the company Swiss AEX who also built the Bangkok Ferris Wheel. The wheel is 60 metres high and has 42 gondolas which can each hold 8 to 10 passengers. It will operate daily from 10am to 11pm for day time and night time views. A ride on the wheel costs $100 for adults and $70 for children.

Hong Kong Park.

Hong Kong Park lies between Admiralty and Central. You can enter it by taking the MTR to Admiralty, going into Pacific Place shopping mall, then taking the escalators up towards the British consulate. The park is surrounded by tall buildings, but it is still a very pleasant spot for a visit. On the park grounds there is a large open aviary; a conservatory showcasing the flora of different climatic zones such as desert, tropical; there is a teaware museum housed in Flagstaff House the oldest existing colonial building in Hong Kong, an art gallery also housed in an old colonial building and a large lake with a waterfall feature, fish and turtles. The park is open from 6am to 11pm daily and is free entry. The aviary and conservatory are open from 9am to 5pm and are also free entry. There is a children's play park with a much loved huge slide at the top end of the park. The park also contains a restaurant which is pretty good and in a lovely setting. Management of the restaurant changes a lot. The current restaurant is Italian and Thai. Open 11am to 10.30pm.

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Hong Kong Park.

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Hong Kong Park.

St John's Cathedral.

St John's Cathedral is located in Central on Garden Road. It is a beautiful Anglican cathedral which was built in 1849. It has several lovely stain glass windows. There is a religious book store on one side of it and the Court of Final Appeal on the other. The Court of Final Appeal is housed in an old red brick building which dates from 1917 and which once housed the former French Mission Building. The cathedral is open from 7am to 6pm daily.

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St John's Cathedral.

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St John's Cathedral.

Hong Kong Trams.

Hong Kong trams are one of the cheapest ways to see the north of Hong Kong Island. A journey costs $2 . Pay as you leave the tram. You can also use your octopus card. The original Hong Kong trams were all single-deck trams. These were followed by open-air double-deck trams in 1912 and by enclosed double-deck trams in 1925. The trams run from Kennedy Town in the west to Shau Kei Wan in the east. There is also a line out to Happy Valley. Sometimes the trams are very crowded and you have to stand, but if you can get a seat they are an excellent way to sightsee on Hong Kong Island.

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Hong Kong Trams.

150 Years Of HSBC..Hong Kong: HSBC Bank.

Apparently HSBC opened its first branch in Hong Kong in March 1865, so 2015 is its 150th anniversary in Hong Kong. To commemorate this, it is bringing out a special 150 HK$ note. It also put up a great advert in the MTR showing some of the changes that have taken place in Hong Kong during that time. The adverts show pictures of the same thing in the past and present such as the harbour, industry, schools, housing. I loved these adverts and was sorry to see them coming down. Very clever.

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150 Years Of HSBC..Hong Kong: HSBC Bank.

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150 Years Of HSBC..Hong Kong: HSBC Bank.

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150 Years Of HSBC..Hong Kong: HSBC Bank.

Victoria Harbour.

Victoria Harbour separates Hong Kong Island from Kowloon. It is a wonderful natural asset for Hong Kong but is gradually getting smaller and smaller due to land reclamation. There are three road tunnels under the harbour plus tunnels for the MTR lines. The best way to cross the harbour with a view is to cross it by Star Ferry. You can board the ferry at pier 7 Central and go to Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon. It only takes a few minutes and costs next to nothing. There are two decks to the ferry: upper deck costs slightly more than lower deck. The star ferry was founded in1880 by Dorabjee Naorojee Mithaiwala a Parsee resident of Hong Kong. All the Star Ferries have star in their name such as Morning Star, Evening Star etc. The Star Ferry Company also does Harbour Tours.

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Junk on Victoria Harbour.

The IFC Building.

The IFC building- the International Finance Building - is the tallest building in Hong Kong. It is located in Central near the outlying island ferry piers. Most of the building is offices, but it also includes The Four Seasons Hotel; a shopping centre and a cinema. One of the things we like to do is to take the lift near City Super to Podium 4 (P4) level where there is a rooftop garden with seats, a water feature, excellent views over the harbour and towards some of the surrounding tall buildings. Whenever we visit the excellent, and extremely comfortable IFC cinema we buy food from one of the IFC food outlets - City Super, McDonalds, Starbucks, Pacific Coffee and bring it to this garden to eat before the show. There are also some rather expensive cafes and bars on P4 level with excellent views. By the way cinema tickets in HK are cheaper on Tuesdays, except public holidays.

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View from the IFC.

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View from the IFC.

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View from the IFC.

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View from the IFC.

Fernando Botero Sculpture Exhibition.

Yesterday I visited Central Harbourfront to see a collection of nine sculptures by Fernando Botero, the famous Colombian painter and sculptor. These sculptures will be on display in Hong Kong between now and August 14th, 2016. Botero’s sculptures have already been displayed in New York, Paris, Venice, Berlin, Mexico and Japan. Fernando Botero Angulo was born on April 19th, 1932 in Medellín, Colombia. Throughout his career he has travelled widely. He currently lives and works in Monte Carlo. Botero created these nine sculptures between 1982 and 2003. One sculpture was of a cat, the others were mainly of rather generously proportioned women. I went to visit the nine Fernando Botero sculptures on display at Central Harbourfront. They look good with the Central skyline behind them and they are worth a visit if you are in Hong Kong before August 14th, 2016. They are located near the big wheel.

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Fernando Botero Sculpture Exhibition.

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Fernando Botero Sculpture Exhibition.

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Fernando Botero Sculpture Exhibition.

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Fernando Botero Sculpture Exhibition.

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Fernando Botero Sculpture Exhibition.

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Fernando Botero Sculpture Exhibition.large_7640813-Fernando_Botero_Sculptures_Cont.jpg

Central Harbourfront.

Built on reclaimed land Central Harbourfront is a flexible event space in Hong Kong. It is home to Hong Kong's big wheel - the Hong Kong Eye. It is currently hosting a summer fest and sculpture exhibition - June 2016. It hosted a Hindu monkey god festival last week and I have also been there for a revival of Li Chi Kok amusement park. It is near the star ferry pier and maritime museum. Watch this space.

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Central Harbourfront.

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Central Harbourfront.

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Central Harbourfront.

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Central Harbourfront.

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Central Harbourfront.

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Central Harbourfront.

Hong Kong: Zoological & Botanical Garden.

I recently visited the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens on a school trip with my P2 class. I think it is around eighteen years since I was last here and it has changed a lot. I think there are more cages and animals than there used to be. The animals are mainly birds, tortoises, lemurs, raccoons, orangutans and some rather noisy gibbons. As well as the animals there is a refreshment kiosk and a children's play area. I also noticed a rather grand statue of King George VI, which was erected in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of British colonial rule over Hong Kong (1841–1941). This is not a huge zoo and it is free entry. The zoo is near the former residence of the governor of Hong Kong.

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Hong Kong: Zoological & Botanical Garden.

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Hong Kong: Zoological & Botanical Garden.

Lei Yue Mun Holiday Park And Village.

One of the advantages of living in Hong Kong and being a primary school teacher is that I get to visit some places that a tourist or even a non-teaching resident would not normally get to see. Lei Yue Mun Holiday Park and Village is one such place. It is a former British military barracks which since 1985 has been run as a children's holiday camp. Lei Yue Mun Park and Holiday Village nowadays is open to the public and has facilities such as soccer, gate ball, basketball, tennis, archery, indoor bowls, a swimming pool, climbing, badminton, plus barbecue sites. It also has a horse-riding school. Under British rule this barracks was known as Lyemun Barracks. The barracks were captured by the Japanese during World War II. Lei Yue Mun is located at 75 Chai Wan Road. It covers an area of 22.97 hectares. The camp site overlooks Lei Yue Mun Channel and thus has magnificent views over Victoria Harbour and Kowloon. To get to the camp site take MTR train to Chai Wan and get off at Chai Wan Road, then walk for about 10 minutes to the Holiday Camp.

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Lei Yue Mun Holiday Park And Village.

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Lei Yue Mun Holiday Park And Village.

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Lei Yue Mun Holiday Park And Village.

Horse Statue.

The podium in the centre of a pond in Central near the cenotaph and statue square houses different sculptures at different times. On my previous visit it had an elephant standing on a man's back. Now it has a horse sculpture. This sculpture is known as 'Monument for a Horse' which is part of Le French May. The horse was sculpted by Jean-Marie Fiori. It depicts a horse but it is riderless with no king or hero on its back unlike traditional equestrian statues. Jean Marie Fiori was born in France in 1952 and now lives and works in Paris. He is a graduate of the Beaux-Arts and holds a master’s degree in Fine Arts form Paris Vincennes VII. A lot of his work focuses on animals.

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Horse Statue.

Ever changing statues

Between Statue Square and Victoria Harbour in Central there is a podium surrounded by water. It hosts different statues. I do not pass it often but when I do the statue has often changed. Last time I passed there was a moose on proud display. I looked for info on what it was and why it was there, but could not find any. Just looked it up on line. The statue is by French sculptor Daniel Daviau and is called Moose in the City. It is part of Le French May.

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Moose Statue.

Elephant Sculpture, Central.

A gigantic elephant statue balancing on a man's back has appeared in Central district near the cenotaph and statue square. The statue was created by French artist Fabien Merelle and will be on display until 6th July, 2013. The elephant is modelled on an elephant in Singapore zoo, The man is based on the artist Fabien Merelle himself. The sculpture is called Pentateuque which apparently refers to the first five books of the bible and is supposed to represent man bending over under the weight of religion, culture, customs etc. The sculpture, part of a Hong Kong luxury art festival, has been sold for 250,000 euros to a Malaysian art collector. We seem to be going through a weird and wonderful animal art phase - see also rubber duckie.

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Elephant Sculpture, Central.

The Resurrection of Lai Chi Kok.

When I arrived in Hong Kong in 1996 my guide book mentioned a fun fair in Lai Chi Kok. Neither of us are especially funfair people, but it was on our things to do list. Before we got around to getting there, it suddenly closed down in 1997. For many Hong Kongers of around my age this was a major tragedy. They had lots of happy childhood memories of visiting this fairground, so this summer 2015 it was revived in a new location at Central Waterfront. It will only be there for 70 days. It is near the new big wheel. The funfair dates from the 1960's and has elephants, dinosaur slides, bumper cars, a haunted primary school and much more. It was very very hot when I visited, but definitely worth a look. Entry is free. You just pay for any activities you do.

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Lai Chi Kok.

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Lai Chi Kok.

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Lai Chi Kok.

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Lai Chi Kok.

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Lai Chi Kok.

Central Ferry Pier.

The reclaimed land near Central Ferry Pier is still being worked on. I do not often go to this area, but when I did recently I found: big wheels, junk rides, fancy harbour star ferry rides, the big bus, the Maritime Museum and the revitalized Lai Chi Kok Funfair. The funfair is supposedly only there for seventy days. When I have more time I will visit the Maritime Museum.

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Central Ferry Pier.

The Sun Yat Sen Museum.

Sun Yat-sen was a revolutionary leader. He dedicated his life to overthrowing the Qing Dynasty and setting up the Republic of China. He attended secondary school and university in Hong Kong. The Sun Yat Sen Museum was opened in 2006. It is located in a beautiful old building, the Kom Tong Hall, which dates from 1914. This building was originally the residence of a local businessman Ho Kom-tong. It has many fantastic period features such as stained glass windows, wooden panelling, beautiful staircases and fireplaces. It has been listed as a declared monument since 2010. Outside the front of the building there is a statue of Sun Yat Sen. Inside there are exhibitions about his life and about Hong Kong during his lifetime. There are also several film shows. Admission is HK$10. The museum is located at 7 Castle Road Mid Levels. It is open Monday to Wednesday, Friday: 10am - 6pm Saturday, Sunday and public holidays: 10am - 7pm Christmas Eve and Chinese New Year's Eve: 10am - 5pm It is closed on Thursdays (except public holidays, the anniversaries of Dr Sun's birth on 12 November and death on 12 March), and the first two days of the Chinese New Year.

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The Sun Yat Sen Museum.

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The Sun Yat Sen Museum.

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The Sun Yat Sen Museum.

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The Sun Yat Sen Museum.

The Museum of Medical Sciences.

The Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences was established in 1996. It is housed in a lovely old colonial building - the Old Pathological Institute of Hong Kong. It is surrounded by pretty gardens. The ground floor houses an exhibition on SARS. There is an upstairs section and a basement section. I was interested in the horrific model of bound feet. There was also a diagram showing what happens to the bones when feet are bound and a tiny pair of shoes worn by women with bound feet. Admission is HK$20. Opening hours are: Tuesday to Saturday: 10 am to 5 pm; Sunday & Public Holidays 1 pm to 5 pm; Mondays, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and the first three days of the Chinese New Year Closed Christmas Eve and Chinese New Year’s Eve Close at 3pm. Address: Caine Lane, Mid Levels.

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The Museum of Medical Sciences.

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The Museum of Medical Sciences.

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The Museum of Medical Sciences.

Bonsai.

Yes, I do realise bonsai are Japanese, but these miniature trees are also very popular in Hong Kong, too. You can buy them pretty cheaply at Hong Kong Flower Market, Mong Kok. I used to own several but was not very successful with them, so sadly they are no more. There is also always a wonderful display of them at the Hong Kong Garden Festival. I love the ones that are used to create an entire mini-landscape as in my photo here.

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Bonsai.

Stephen And Stitt.

The original HSBC bank in Shanghai had 2 lion sculptures placed outside it. The main Hong Kong branch of HSBC at 1 Queen's Road Central decided to have the same. In 1935 the bank commissioned two bronze lions from Shanghai-based British sculptor W W Wagstaff who died in 1977, aged 82. The lions took around two years to make. When they were finished, the Hong Kong lions became objects of veneration and people brought their children to see them and stroke their paws and noses for good luck. During the Second World War when Hong Kong was occupied by Japan, the lions were confiscated by theJapanese and sent to Japan to be melted down. Fortunately the war ended before this took place. After the war an American sailor spotted the lions in a dockyard in Osaka and knew where they had come from. They were returned a few months later and to their original guard posts in October 1946. The Hong Kong lions are also called Stephen and Stitt. Stephen is open mouthed and roaring, Stitt has his mouth closed. Stephen has bullet wounds in his left hind-quarters dating from the fighting in the Battle of Hong Kong.

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Stephen And Stitt.

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Stephen And Stitt.

Bank Of China Lions

Just for contrast with Stephen and Stitt, the HSBC lions, next door the Bank of China lions are very Chinese in character. They remind me of the lion costumes used in the lion dance. They do not look at all like real lions.

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Bank of China Lion.

Handover To China 1997.

The handover to China took place on 1st July 1997. This is marked by a public holiday on July first each year - SAR Day - Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Day. These old photos show the royal yacht Britannia waiting to take the last British govenor - Chris Patten and his family back to the UK and HMS Chatham waiting to take back some of the army.

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Handover To China 1997.

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Handover To China 1997.

Restaurants.

Grappas Pizzeria: Relaxing evening out.

Grappa's is an Italian restaurant situated in Hong Kong. There are several the one we just visited is located in the basement of Jardine House in Central. It was more relaxed than most Hong Kong restaurants as they did not give us an out time and allowed us to sit and talk as long as we wanted. We had an excellent thin crust four cheeses pizza and a penne arabiata. Happy Hour lasts till 9pm. Staff were friendly and there is free wifi.

Outback Steakhouse: Central meeting point.

There are several Outback restaurants in Hong Kong. We normally go to the one in Causewaybay. They are also located in Wanchai and Tsuen Wan. This is an Australian restaurant. It offers a selection of steaks, salads, pasta and burgers. We love their very unhealthy Aussie loaded fries which are smothered in cheese and bacon bits and come with ranch dressing. Service here is generally quite good.

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Outback Steakhouse.

Typhoons.

Summer is typhoon season here. There is a warning system in force. Typhoon 1 is the lowest level - won't affect you, typhoon 3 - getting closer, expect unstable weather, typhoon 8 and 10 - stay indoors avoid sea areas. The buildings here can withstand typhoons. In severe typhoons the tall towers are designed to sway. Everything closes in a severe typhoon and public transport will eventually stop running. Biggest dangers are being hit by flying debris, being swept into the sea, landslides from torrential rain. The photos show the aftermath of Typhoon York. A typhoon 10 direct hit. Worst typhoon I ever experienced.

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Typhoons.

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Typhoons.

Protests and Road Closures

At the moment, October 2014, there are protests going on in Hong Kong. For a while many roads were closed due to the protests. Most but not all are now re-opened. Some bus, minibus services still have slightly diverted routes. As a tourist this will not affect you much. My pictures show one of Central's busiest roads a few weeks ago when it was closed to traffic. *Update these protests are no longer taking place. Traffic back to normal.

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Barriers block the roads.

Posted by irenevt 05:26 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (4)

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