A Travellerspoint blog

Beautiful Bali.

sunny

There were a lot of places I visited before I joined VT and started doing travel pages. I made travel pages for some of these from memory and by scanning old photos. One of the places I always meant to do a page for but never got round to was - Bali. Now that travellers point is my new home, I'll make one for here.

We've only been to Bali once. We went during our Easter holiday in 1997. We've always meant to go back and maybe some day we'll get round to that. Obviously this blog will not have very up to date information in it.

We flew to Denpasar and were picked up by a prearranged transfer that took us to our hotel in Sanur. I don't remember what our hotel was called. It was away from the beach down a dusty side street. The accommodation was in individual little huts and the resort had several small pools, each with their own traditional Balinese statue. Each morning offerings of flower garlands and fruit were placed in front of the statues of deities dispersed all around the grounds. The hotel had an arrangement with one of the large hotels on the beachfront and we were allowed to use their pool free of charge. We liked our accommodation. It was quiet, peaceful and an easy walk away from the centre.

Our accommodation.

Our accommodation.

Our accommodation.

Our accommodation.

Inside our accommodation.

Inside our accommodation.

Our pool.

Our pool.

Back in the days when I was slim enough to wear a bikini.

Back in the days when I was slim enough to wear a bikini.

Many people don't like Bali and most of the people I've heard criticizing it stayed in the Kuta or Legian area. This is the area with clubs, pubs, noise. It's also got a reputation for being very hassley and annoying. Sanur, on the other hand, is quite quiet and fairly peaceful. It is largely a beach resort.

Sanur has a long stretch of beautiful white sand, warm shallow water and lots of colourful boats bobbing around. We took a walk along the beach during our stay. We also enjoyed excellent food and drink in some of Sanur's very pleasant restaurants. On our last day we went souvenir shopping in some of Sanur's many shops. We bought some T-shirts. Oh and of course we went to the larger hotel on the beach that we were allowed to use and swam in their big pool.

I liked the traditional Balinese fishing boats known as "jukung". These are very colourful and normally have eyes painted on them presumably to ward off danger.

Sanur Beach.

Sanur Beach.

Sanur Beach.

Sanur Beach.

Sanur Beach.

Sanur Beach.

Sanur Beach.

Sanur Beach.

The big pool.

The big pool.

The big pool.

The big pool.

Statues everywhere.

Statues everywhere.

Statues everywhere.

Statues everywhere.

Statues everywhere.

Statues everywhere.

Statues everywhere.

Statues everywhere.

Satays and bali hai beer.

Satays and bali hai beer.

Satays and bali hai beer.

Satays and bali hai beer.

My favourite place in Bali was Ubud. This is the amazing cultural heart of Bali with well-established temples, villages, rice paddies, a monkey forest and more. We came here one evening to watch a Balinese musical performance and later we spent the day here. We saw some rice paddies and typical buildings. There was a Balinese funeral about to take place, but we did not take part in that. We also ate here and our restaurant overlooked the street. There seemed to be a constant procession of people in traditional clothes or playing customary Balinese instruments. It was fascinating.

A Balinese funeral is a strange event. Many tourists pay to join in in one. The body is carried through the street and twisted and turned around in circles. This is to confuse the dead person's ghost and stop it haunting its previous home. I'm sure the ceremony is fascinating, but it felt sort of voyeuristic to join one. We decided to give it a miss anyway.

Ubud.

Ubud.

Ubud.

Ubud.

Ubud.

Ubud.

Ubud.

Ubud.

Ubud.

Ubud.

Ubud.

Ubud.

Ubud.

Ubud.

Ubud.

Ubud.

Ubud.

Ubud.

Traditional Clothes.

Traditional Clothes.

Traditional Clothes.

Traditional Clothes.

Traditional Clothes.

Traditional Clothes.

Souvenir Shop.

Souvenir Shop.

Funeral Procession.

Funeral Procession.

Rice paddies.

Rice paddies.

Souvenir Shop, Ubud.

Souvenir Shop, Ubud.

We also took a bus to one of Bali's active volcanoes. I think it was Mount Agung. This is the highest point on Bali. We just went there for the view, had a drink in the cafe at the viewpoint and came back.

Looking towards Mount Agung.

Looking towards Mount Agung.

Cafe at the viewpoint.

Cafe at the viewpoint.

Cafe at the viewpoint.

Cafe at the viewpoint.

Another lovely day trip we did was to the Pura Ulun Danu Beratan Temple Complex - the temples in the lake. These were built in the seventeenth century. They are dedicated to the Hindu Gods Brajma, Vishnu and Shiva and the goddess of the lake, Dewi Danu. The temples are made up of different layers. The tallest temple is made up of eleven tiers and is dedicated to Vishnu. The second tallest has seven tiers and is devoted to Brahma. The shortest temple has just three tiers and is dedicated to Shiva. All the temples are surrounded by the waters of Lake Bratan, the second largest lake in Bali.

At the temples.

At the temples.

At the temples.

At the temples.

At the temples.

At the temples.

At the temples.

At the temples.

At the temples.

At the temples.

At the temples.

At the temples.

Near the temple complex is Bali's botanical gardens. We went for a walk there after our temple visit.

Botanical Gardens.

Botanical Gardens.

Botanical Gardens.

Botanical Gardens.

Botanical Gardens.

Botanical Gardens.

Botanical Gardens.

Botanical Gardens.

Botanical Gardens.

Botanical Gardens.

Posted by irenevt 07:30 Archived in Indonesia Comments (4)

Hong Kong2

large_6757509-Tai_O_Hong_Kong.jpg
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.

large_414464845095923-Harbour_view.._Hong_Kong.jpg
The Avenue of Stars.

large_5095921-Lights_camera_action_Hong_Kong.jpg
The Avenue of Stars.

large_238575895095920-Bruce_Lee_st.._Hong_Kong.jpg
The Avenue of Stars.

large_594973285037671-green_star_f.._Hong_Kong.jpg
The Avenue of Stars.

large_177707225095922-tragic_Lesli.._Hong_Kong.jpg
The Avenue of Stars.

large_5037748-Star_Cruises.jpg
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!

large_5095865-The_Peninsula_Hotel.jpg
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.

large_5095929-Clock_Tower.jpg Clock Tower.

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.

large_5095897-1881_Heritage_building_Hong_Kong.jpg
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.

large_5095846-flamingo_pond_Hong_Kong.jpg
Kowloon Park.

large_5095847-sculpture_garden_Hong_Kong.jpg
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.

large_6633908-Hong_Kongs_Rubber_Duckie.jpg
Hong Kong's Rubber Duckie.

large_6633911-Hong_Kongs_Rubber_Duckie.jpg
Hong Kong's Rubber Duckie.

large_6633910-Hong_Kongs_Rubber_Duckie.jpg
Hong Kong's Rubber Duckie.

large_6633913-Hong_Kongs_Rubber_Duckie.jpg
Hong Kong's Rubber Duckie.

large_6633912-Hong_Kongs_Rubber_Duckie.jpg
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.

large_7076058-Kwai_Tsing_Theatre_Hong_Kong.jpg
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.

large_7076059-Metroplaza_Shopping_Mall_Hong_Kong.jpg
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.

large_6765805-Wong_Tai_Sin_Temple_Hong_Kong.jpg
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.

large_5051617-character_parade_Hong_Kong.jpg
Hong Kong Disneyland.

large_5051618-character_parade_Hong_Kong.jpg
Hong Kong Disneyland.

large_5051619-Adventure_land_Hong_Kong.jpg
Hong Kong Disneyland.

large_5051616-Sleeping_Beauty_Hong_Kong.jpg
Hong Kong Disneyland.

large_299011455037707-Me_on_the_Di.._Hong_Kong.jpg
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.

large_5037706-Inspiration_Lake_Hong_Kong.jpg
Inspiration Lake.

large_5037705-Inspiration_Lake_Hong_Kong.jpg
Inspiration Lake.

large_5037708-Inspiration_Lake_Hong_Kong.jpg
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.

large_5037725-Discovery_Bay.jpg
Discovery Bay.

large_5037723-Discovery_Bay.jpg
Discovery Bay.

large_5037722-Discovery_Bay.jpg
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!

large_7337225-The_Dreaded_Love_Padlock.jpg
The Dreaded Love Padlock.

large_7337224-The_Dreaded_Love_Padlock.jpg
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.

large_7419527-Sunset_over_Sunny_Bay_Hong_Kong.jpg
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.

large_6757508-At_the_Big_Buddah_Hong_Kong.jpg
Big Buddha.

large_6757507-The_Big_Buddah_Hong_Kong.jpg
Big Buddha.

large_6757506-PO_Lin_Monastery_Hong_Kong.jpg
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.

large_6757511-Water_buffalo_Pui_O_Hong_Kong.jpg
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.

large_5051477-Tai_O_Fishing_Village.jpg
Tai O Fishing Village.

large_5051478-Tai_O_Fishing_Village.jpg
Tai O Fishing Village.

large_5051476-Tai_O_Fishing_Village.jpg
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.

large_5051534-Cheung_Sha_Beach.jpg
Cheung Sha Beach.

large_5051535-Cheung_Sha_Beach.jpg
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.

large_5051553-Mui_Wo.jpg
Mui Wo.

large_5051554-Mui_Wo.jpg
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.

large_5046938-Tsing_Yi.jpg
Tsing Yi.

large_5046940-Tsing_Yi.jpg
Tsing Yi.

large_5046939-Tsing_Yi.jpg
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.

large_5050043-Tung_Chung.jpg
Tung Chung.

large_5050044-Tung_Chung.jpg
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.

large_5051633-Kadoorie_Farm_And_Botanical_Gardens.jpg
Kadoorie Farm And Botanical Gardens.

large_5051646-Kadoorie_Farm_And_Botanical_Gardens.jpg
Kadoorie Farm And Botanical Gardens.

large_5051635-Kadoorie_Farm_And_Botanical_Gardens.jpg
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.

large_6125507-Scenery_Sai_Kung_Hong_Kong.jpg
Sai Kung.

large_6125505-River_Sai_Kung_Hong_Kong.jpg
Sai Kung.

large_6125504-azaleas_Sai_Kung_Hong_Kong.jpg
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.

large_7211929-Organic_Farm_and_Fish_Pond_Hong_Kong.jpg
Lions Nature Education Centre.

large_7211927-Dragonfly_Pond_Hong_Kong.jpg
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.

large_7076040-Sha_Tin_Town_Hall_Hong_Kong.jpg
Sha Tin Town Hall.

large_942379927076041-Sculpture_ne.._Hong_Kong.jpg
Sha Tin Town Hall.

large_91966047076042-Sculpture_ne.._Hong_Kong.jpg
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.

large_6757505-10000_Buddahs_Temple_Hong_Kong.jpg
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.

large_7076037-Paper_offerings_for_burning_Hong_Kong.jpg
The Hong Kong Heritage Museum. Burning Paper Offerings,

large_861113147076030-Cantonese_Op.._Hong_Kong.jpg
The Hong Kong Heritage Museum. Cantonese Opera.

large_7076025-Cantonese_Opera_Star_Model_Hong_Kong.jpg
The Hong Kong Heritage Museum. Cantonese Opera.

large_454521787076032-Clothes_of_t.._Hong_Kong.jpg
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.

large_7076050-Sha_Tin_Park.jpg
Sha Tin Park.

large_7076048-Sha_Tin_Park.jpg
Sha Tin Park.

large_7076049-Sha_Tin_Park.jpg
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!

large_7076057-Snoopy_World_Sha_Tin.jpg
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.

large_7076051-Riverside_Cycle_Track.jpg
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.

large_5051564-Cheung_Chau_Harbour_Hong_Kong.jpg
Cheung Chau.

large_5051563-Cheung_Chau_Harbour_Hong_Kong.jpg
Cheung Chau.

large_5051639-Cheung_Chau_Beach_Hong_Kong.jpg
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.

large_448061637584476-Something_Fi.._Continued.jpg
Something Fishy In Cheung Chau.

large_7584471-Something_Fishy_In_Cheung_Chau.jpg
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.

large_939558307584482-Fish_Restaur.._Hong_Kong.jpg
Fish Restaurants - Cheung Chau.

large_474338497584483-Fish_Restaur.._Hong_Kong.jpg
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.

large_7584492-Shell_Shops_Cheung_Chau.jpg
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.

large_7306434-Lion_Dancing_Hong_Kong.jpg
Lion Dancing.

large_7306435-Lion_Dancing_Hong_Kong.jpg
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.

large_695172047563267-Getting_read.._Hong_Kong.jpg
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.

large_5095924-Dragon_Boat_Carnival_Hong_Kong.jpg
Dragon Boat Day.

large_7072202-Dragon_Boat_Day_Drummers_Hong_Kong.jpg
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.

large_571365536371301-Full_moon_on.._Hong_Kong.jpg
Mid Autumn Festival.

large_6371300-Mid_Autumn_Lanterns_Hong_Kong.jpg
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.

large_7337192-Hong_Kongs_National_Flower.jpg
Hong Kong's National Flower.

large_7337193-Hong_Kongs_National_Flower.jpg
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.

large_7337215-Flowers_Of_Hong_Kong.jpg
Flowers Of Hong Kong.

large_7337216-Flowers_Of_Hong_Kong.jpg
Flowers Of Hong Kong.

large_7337217-Flowers_Of_Hong_Kong.jpg
Flowers Of Hong Kong.

large_7337207-Flowers_Of_Hong_Kong.jpg
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.

large_7636467-Flame_Of_The_Forest_Trees.jpg
Flame Of The Forest Trees.

large_7636469-Flame_Of_The_Forest_Trees.jpg
Flame Of The Forest Trees.

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

Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Island.

large_5037561-Hong_Kong_Flower_Festival_Hong_Kong.jpg
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.

large_6757499-View_from_the_Peak_Hong_Kong.jpg
View from the Peak.

large_464153956757501-Youll_pass_t.._Hong_Kong.jpg
Mansion on the Peak.

large_6757503-View_over_harbour_from_Peak_Hong_Kong.jpg
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.

large_6765798-Life_Savers_Temple_Hong_Kong.jpg
Repulse Bay.

large_6765799-Life_Savers_Temple_Hong_Kong.jpg
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.

large_6765800-Aberdeen_Harbour_Hong_Kong.jpg
Aberdeen.

large_6765801-Aberdeen_Harbour_Hong_Kong.jpg
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.

large_6130948-Central_Library.jpg
Central Library.

large_6130946-Central_Library.jpg
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.

large_7261989-Sculptures_Around_Central_Library.jpg
Sculptures Around Central Library.

large_7261992-Sculptures_Around_Central_Library.jpg
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.

large_832226327261999-Saint_Marys_..useway_Bay.jpg
Saint Mary's Episcopal Church, Causeway Bay.

large_650461757262001-Saint_Marys_..useway_Bay.jpg
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.

large_7262025-Po_Leung_Kuk_Headquarters_Causewaybay.jpg
Po Leung Kuk Headquarters, Causewaybay.

large_7262024-Po_Leung_Kuk_Headquarters_Causewaybay.jpg
Po Leung Kuk Headquarters, Causewaybay.

large_7262023-Po_Leung_Kuk_Headquarters_Causewaybay.jpg
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.

large_7262036-Christmas_Decorations_Continued.jpg
Christmas Decorations.

large_7262034-Christmas_Decorations_Continued.jpg
Christmas Decorations.

large_7262037-Christmas_Decorations_Continued.jpg
Christmas Decorations.

large_7262032-Christmas_Decorations.jpg
Christmas Decorations.

large_7262033-Christmas_Decorations_Continued.jpg
Christmas Decorations.

large_7262028-Christmas_Decorations.jpg
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.

large_5037577-Victoria_Park.jpg
Victoria Park.

large_5037576-Victoria_Park.jpg
Victoria Park.

large_5037575-Victoria_Park.jpg
Victoria Park.

large_5037574-Victoria_Park.jpg
Victoria Park.

large_7622951-Victoria_Park_In_Detail.jpg
Victoria Park.

large_7622672-Victoria_Park_In_Detail.jpg
Victoria Park.

large_7622670-Victoria_Park_In_Detail.jpg
Victoria Park.

large_5037573-Victoria_Park.jpg
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.

large_DSCN8829.jpg
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.'

large_7622681-The_Noon_Day_Gun.jpg
The Noon Day Gun.

large_7622682-The_Noon_Day_Gun.jpg
The Noon Day Gun.

large_7622615-The_Noon_Day_Gun.jpg
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.

large_7622651-Causeway_Bay_Typhoon_Shelter.jpg
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.

large_5046908-Tin_Hau_Temple_Tin_Hau.jpg
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.

large_6765814-Horse_Racing.jpg
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.

large_5050481-Statue_Square.jpg
Statue Square.

large_5050483-Statue_Square.jpg
Statue Square.

large_5050482-Statue_Square.jpg
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.

large_5046920-Sculptures.jpg
Sculptures In Exchange Square, Central.

large_5046921-Sculptures.jpg
Sculptures In Exchange Square, Central.

large_5046918-Sculptures.jpg
Sculptures In Exchange Square, Central.

large_5046919-Sculptures.jpg
Sculptures In Exchange Square, Central.

large_696280797640832-Sculptures_I..ing_Couple.jpg
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.

large_5050485-Chater_Garden.jpg
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.

large_5050489-City_Hall_Central.jpg
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.

large_7534789-Hong_Kong_Maritime_Museum_Hong_Kong.jpg
Hong Kong Maritime Museum.

large_7534788-Hong_Kong_Maritime_Museum_Hong_Kong.jpg
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.

large_7563249-The_Man_Mo_Temple_Hong_Kong.jpg
The Man Mo Temple.

large_7563247-Lanterns_Hong_Kong.jpg
The Man Mo Temple.

large_7563248-Incense_coils_Hong_Kong.jpg
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.

large_5045526-one_of_hong_Kong_Park_Hong_Kong.jpg
Hong Kong Park.

large_5045525-the_lake_Hong_Kong_Park_Hong_Kong.jpg
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.

large_5046900-St_Johns_Cathedral.jpg
St John's Cathedral.

large_5046901-St_Johns_Cathedral.jpg
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.

large_5046909-tram_Hong_Kong.jpg
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.

large_7340821-150_Years_Of_HSBC.jpg
150 Years Of HSBC..Hong Kong: HSBC Bank.

large_7340822-150_Years_Of_HSBC.jpg
150 Years Of HSBC..Hong Kong: HSBC Bank.

large_7340819-150_Years_Of_HSBC.jpg
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.

large_7945497419544-Junk_Ride_on.._Hong_Kong.jpg
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.

large_466545445037672-The_IFC_Hong.._Hong_Kong.jpg
View from the IFC.

large_5041555-The_IFC_Building.jpg
View from the IFC.

large_5041556-The_IFC_Building.jpg
View from the IFC.

large_965785785037670-View_towards.._Hong_Kong.jpg
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.

large_7640808-Fernando_Botero_Sculpture_Exhibition.jpg
Fernando Botero Sculpture Exhibition.

large_7640803-Fernando_Botero_Sculpture_Exhibition.jpg
Fernando Botero Sculpture Exhibition.

large_7640806-Fernando_Botero_Sculpture_Exhibition.jpg
Fernando Botero Sculpture Exhibition.

large_7640807-Fernando_Botero_Sculpture_Exhibition.jpg
Fernando Botero Sculpture Exhibition.

large_7640802-Fernando_Botero_Sculpture_Exhibition.jpg
Fernando Botero Sculpture Exhibition.

large_7640811-Fernando_Botero_Sculptures_Cont.jpg
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.

large_7640818-Central_Harbourfront.jpg
Central Harbourfront.

large_7640819-Central_Harbourfront.jpg
Central Harbourfront.

large_7640817-Central_Harbourfront.jpg
Central Harbourfront.

large_7254957-Hong_Kongs_New_Ferris_Wheel.jpg
Central Harbourfront.

large_7254958-Hong_Kongs_New_Ferris_Wheel.jpg
Central Harbourfront.

large_7640815-Central_Harbourfront.jpg
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.

large_7709750-King_George_VI_Hong_Kong.jpg
Hong Kong: Zoological & Botanical Garden.

large_7709749-Tortoise_Hong_Kong.jpg
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.

large_7285965-Lei_Yue_Mun_Holiday_Park_And_Village.jpg
Lei Yue Mun Holiday Park And Village.

large_7285964-Lei_Yue_Mun_Holiday_Park_And_Village.jpg
Lei Yue Mun Holiday Park And Village.

large_7285963-Lei_Yue_Mun_Holiday_Park_And_Village.jpg
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.

large_7076071-Horse_Statue.jpg
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.

large_7419523-Moose_Statue_Hong_Kong.jpg
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.

large_6654040-Elephant_Sculpture_Central.jpg
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.

large_7419535-Entrance_to_funfair_Hong_Kong.jpg
Lai Chi Kok.

large_7419534-Lai_Chi_Kok_Hong_Kong.jpg
Lai Chi Kok.

large_7419533-Dinosaur_Slide_Hong_Kong.jpg
Lai Chi Kok.

large_7419536-Lai_Chi_Kok_Hong_Kong.jpg
Lai Chi Kok.

large_7419537-The_big_wheel_Hong_Kong.jpg

large_7419532-That_elephant_Hong_Kong.jpg
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.

large_7419541-Central_Pier_Hong_Kong.jpg
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.

large_7563255-The_Sun_Yat_Sen_Museum_Hong_Kong.jpg
The Sun Yat Sen Museum.

large_7563256-The_Sun_Yat_Sen_Museum_Hong_Kong.jpg
The Sun Yat Sen Museum.

large_7563257-The_Sun_Yat_Sen_Museum_Hong_Kong.jpg
The Sun Yat Sen Museum.

large_7563258-The_Sun_Yat_Sen_Museum_Hong_Kong.jpg
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.

large_649065297563261-The_Museum_o.._Hong_Kong.jpg
The Museum of Medical Sciences.

large_55908047563262-The_Museum_o.._Hong_Kong.jpg
The Museum of Medical Sciences.

large_851955587563265-The_Museum_o.._Hong_Kong.jpg
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.

large_6130950-Bonsai.jpg
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.

large_6654062-Stephen_And_Stitt.jpg
Stephen And Stitt.

large_6654058-Stephen_And_Stitt.jpg
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.

large_6655364-Bank_Of_China_Lions.jpg
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.

large_6757516-Handover_To_China_1997.jpg
Handover To China 1997.

large_6757515-Handover_To_China_1997.jpg
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.

large_7644679-Central_meeting_point.jpg
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.

large_6741747-Typhoons.jpg
Typhoons.

large_6741907-Typhoons.jpg
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.

large_168192287211968-Barriers_blo.._Hong_Kong.jpg
Barriers block the roads.

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

Macau Two Casinos, Islands and Festivals.

More about Macau

large_6752616-Chinese_New_Year.jpg
Chinese New Year.

Casinos.

I am so not into gambling and you would never find me in a casino. In fact, two American guys stopped me and my husband in the street during our last Macau visit and asked where they could find some cheap tables. We both started talking about furniture much to their amusement. When we all realised we were talking at cross purposes, we explained that we did not gamble and they looked amazed and asked "Why are you here then?" I could answer that with food, history etc but even I have to admit the casinos can look attractive lit up at night and the new Grand Lisboa adds an interesting shape to Macau's skyline.

large_6963901-Casinos.jpg
Casinos.

The Venetian.

The Venetian Hotel is located on the Cotai Strip, Taipa. It is currently the most expensive place to stay in Macau and one of the most popular. I have not stayed there and this was my first visit. The outside of the hotel is designed to look like Venice complete with the Bridge of Sighs, gondolas and all the other sights of Venice. It is a fun place to look around and photograph. I personally did not like the inside of the hotel. It was garishly painted, crowded and noisy. Like most new Macau hotels it has a large casino. During our visit the hotel was decorated for carnival. The Venetian Macau is owned by the Las Vegas Sands Group and has a sister hotel in Las Vegas - The Venetian, Las Vegas. The Venetian has the largest casino in the world. The Venetian first opened for business in August 2007. It has four swimming pools. The Venetian cost around 2.4 billion US dollars to build.

large_7017647-The_Venetian_Continued.jpg
The Venetian.

large_7017651-The_Venetian_Continued.jpg
The Venetian.

large_7017617-The_Venetian.jpg
The Venetian.

large_7017619-The_Venetian.jpg
The Venetian.

large_7017626-The_Venetian.jpg
The Venetian.

large_7017628-The_Venetian.jpg
The Venetian.

large_7017633-The_Venetian.jpg
The Venetian.

The City Of Dreams.

The City of Dreams is located opposite the Venetian Hotel. It was built by the Melco Crown Entertainment Group. Inside there are three hotels: The Crown Towers Hotel, the Grand Hyatt Hotel and the Hard Rock Hotel. There are also many restaurants including Chinese, Japanese and Western. In addition there are many, many shops. The City of Dreams is also an entertainment complex which contains a theatre currently showing The House of the Dancing Water and Taboo. Another show housed in The Bubble Theatre is called the Dragon's Treasure. It is also possible to visit Vquarium a virtual reality screen designed to look like a huge aquarium with fish, jelly-fish, penguins and even mermaids. Every time a mermaid appears people go crazy trying to photograph her. I liked the reception of the Hard Rock Hotel with its huge inscription on the wall "Hello, I love you, won't you tell me your name." It also had lots of guitars and rock star memorabilia on display behind a glass wall. I also liked the superhero store and the gift shop of the house of the dancing water theatre. We had a tasty meal in the restaurant in the Hard Rock Hotel.

large_7018602-The_City_Of_Dreams.jpg
The City Of Dreams.

large_7018604-The_City_Of_Dreams.jpg
The City Of Dreams.

large_7018606-The_City_Of_Dreams.jpg
The City Of Dreams.

Sands Macau.

I decided to have a look at several Macau hotel/casino complexes on one trip. One of these was Sands Macau. This was right next door to our hotel and had a very convenient free shuttle bus to the Macau Ferry Terminal and to the ferry terminal on the Cotai Strip. We had a great view of the Sands from our hotel bedroom and liked the way it was lit up at night. Inside it there are several restaurants, a casino and a 289-suite hotel. In its main lobby it has an enormous chandelier. Sands Casino opened on May 18th, 2004 and cost $240 million. It is owned and operated by the Las Vegas Sands Corporation.

large_7631384-Sands_Macau.jpg
Sands, Macau.

MGM Macau.

MGM Macau is 35 stories high, has 600 rooms, a large shopping centre and a casino. It is owned by MGM Resorts International and Pansy Ho, daughter of the famous Macau casino magnate Stanley Ho. It was opened on 18th December 2007 at a cost of US$1.25 billion. The only part of it that impressed us (we don't gamble and hate shopping so are not the right people for this place) was its lion which is rather cute. Oh, and its free shuttle service to and from the Macau Ferry Terminal. If you like shopping, you will probably love its large shopping centre. It also has some restaurants.

large_7631394-MGM_Macau.jpg
MGM Macau.

large_7631433-MGM_Macau.jpg
MGM Macau.

Wynn Macau.

Wynn Macau is owned by Wynn Resorts. It consists of a hotel, restaurants, shops and a casino which apparently was featured in the James Bond film Skyfall. It opened on the 6th of September 2006. In the rotunda of Wynn Resorts you can watch two free shows. On the hour there is a show called The Dragon of Fortune and on the half hour The Tree of Prosperity. Shows start at 10am and continue until midnight. We watched both. The roof of the rotunda is decorated with the animals from the Chinese zodiac. Under this there is a dome decorated with the symbols of the western zodiac. In the tree of proserity show a huge chandelier descends from the roof and a tree sprouts out of the floor below. It changes colour several times. In the dragon show a long coiling dragon ascends out of the floor. These shows get very busy with mainland tourists. The Wynn also has a performing lake with musical fountains. We were told off for crossing the road near them, so did not see them properly. They would be better viewed from the further side of the lake. We saw them by day. Apparently they are lit up and colourful by night.

large_7631428-Wynn_Macau.jpg
Wynn Macau.

large_7631422-Wynn_Macau.jpg
Wynn Macau.

large_7631423-Wynn_Macau.jpg
Wynn Macau.

large_7631420-Wynn_Macau.jpg
Wynn Macau.

large_7631418-Wynn_Macau.jpg
Wynn Macau.

Hotel Lisboa.

The Hotel Lisboa has been around for a long time and is a well known Macau landmark. It was built in the late 1960s and was owned by Stanley Ho. Even with all the competition, the Hotel Lisboa still has the largest casino in Macau. It has an interesting lobby which is worth taking a stroll around to see several works of art such as porcelain vases, Chinese carvings, large fish tanks and the dragon wall. This hotel has several restaurants and stages shows such as the famous Crazy Paris Show.

large_7631447-Hotel_Lisboa.jpg
Hotel Lisboa.

large_7631450-Hotel_Lisboa.jpg
Hotel Lisboa.

large_7631451-Hotel_Lisboa.jpg
Hotel Lisboa.

The Parisian.

The Parisian Hotel is the latest addition to the Macau hotel and casino scene. It is owned by the Las Vegas Sands Group. The hotel is new to Macau. It officially opened on the 13th of September 2016. It is located on the Cotai Strip next door to the Venetian. The Parisian has a half-scale Eiffel Tower and a town square under a dome done up to look like an ever changing sky. It also has a fountain in the main lobby that constantly changes colour. The Parisian provides lots of photo opportunities as it is possible to pose for photos with stereotypical French characters dressed in stripy black and white tops, Pierrot and elegant Parisians from yesteryear out for a stroll. The Parisian has more than 3,000 rooms and suites, a casino, restaurants, shops and a theatre.

large_7723719-The_Parisian_Hotel_Concelho_de_Macau.jpg
The Parisian.

large_336033237723720-Fountain_in_..o_de_Macau.jpg
The Parisian.

Catch A Show.

Macau is the Las Vegas of South East Asia. It is becoming more and more popular to come here to catch a show in one of the many hotels. We just went to our first ever Macau show. We saw the excellent 'Thriller' in the newly opened Parisian Hotel and very entertaining it was, too. The theatre in the Parisian is comfortable with good acoustics and lots of space. There is plenty of choice for live entertainment here. Google what is on before you visit.

large_585564027723713-So_like_the_..o_de_Macau.jpg
Catch A Show.

Old Taipa Village.

Continual land reclamation in Macau is joining the mainland and islands more and more together. One interesting area to visit in Taipa is Old Taipa Village with its beautiful old blue and green colonial houses and yellow Church of Our Lady of Carmel. Some of the old houses are now museums. Food Street with its many restaurants is nearby.

large_6752877-Old_Taipa_Village.jpg
Old Taipa Village.

large_6753168-Old_Taipa_Village.jpg
Old Taipa Village.

Coloane Island.

Coloane is the furthest away island from mainland Macau. There are several things to see here. First of all, there is Coloane Village with its fish hanging up drying in the sun, its picturesque old houses, its little Chapel of St Francis Xavier and its Lord Stow Bakery, this is the best place in Macau for the Portuguese egg tart. Delicious! Chris Patten was a regular. Then there is the statue of Tin Hau perched on its hill top. We spent a very pleasant day hiking up to the base of that. Furthermore, there are its beaches: Hac Sa with its black volcanic sands and the much quieter Cheok Van. Many people come to Coloane purely for the most famous restaurant in Macau - Fernando's.

large_6753269-Coloane_Island.jpg
Coloane Island.

large_6753270-Coloane_Island.jpg
Coloane Island.

large_6753266-Coloane_Island.jpg
Coloane Island.

large_955396436752594-Hubbie_with_..o_de_Macau.jpg
Coloane Island.

Hac Sa Beach, Coloane Island.

We recently returned to Hac Sa when I took my husband to the Hotel Westin for his birthday. Hac Sa means black sands and it is located on Coloane Island. The black sands refer to the 4KM long crescent shaped volcanic sand beach located here. As the beach erodes, the local authorities are bringing in yellow sand to replace it, so the beach is currently a mixture of the two types of sand. Behind the beach there is a village with restaurants, a park, barbeque pits and lots of marine themed statues. Hac Sa is popular with locals and is a relatively peaceful place away from the crowds and casino madness.

large_7017580-Hac_Sa_Beach_Coloane_Island.jpg
Hac Sa Beach, Coloane Island.

large_7017578-Hac_Sa_Beach_Coloane_Island.jpg
Hac Sa Beach, Coloane Island.

large_7017582-Hac_Sa_Beach_Coloane_Island.jpg
Hac Sa Beach, Coloane Island.

Hac Sa Park, Coloane.

Just behind the main bus stop for Hac Sa there is a park which is a pleasant place to visit. In addition to flowers, greenery, drinks machines, it has a huge swimming pool (waterless during our visit), tennis courts and a basketball court.

large_7017590-Hac_Sa_Park_Coloane.jpg
Hac Sa Park, Coloane.

large_7017592-Hac_Sa_Park_Coloane.jpg
Hac Sa Park, Coloane.

Fernando's Restaurant. Hac Sa.

Many people travel to Hac Sa to go to Fernando's restaurant. This is a famous Portuguese restaurant in Macau. It is normally very busy and you cannot reserve a table there. We tried to get in several times in the past, but as we dislike queuing, always ended up in the Hac Sa Parque Restaurant next door. This time there was no queue at Fernando's, perhaps because it was such a miserable day, but as we have now developed a fondness for the Hac Sa Parque Restaurant, we went straight there instead.

large_7017601-Fernandos_Restaurant_Hac_Sa.jpg
Fernando's Restaurant.

The Rubber Duck.

The rubber duck Dutch designed by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman was in Macau when we visited in May 2016. We had come across this duck before as it has also been to Hong Kong. The duck has been sailing around the world since 2007. The duck was located near Macau Science Museum. It was generating lots of interest with lots of people photographing it. There was even a couple having their wedding photos taken with it when we visited.

large_7631679-The_Rubber_Duck_Macau.jpg
The Rubber Duck.

large_7631680-The_Rubber_Duck_Macau.jpg
The Rubber Duck.

large_7631681-The_Rubber_Duck_Macau.jpg
The Rubber Duck.

large_7631678-The_Rubber_Duck_Macau.jpg
The Rubber Duck.

large_7631675-The_Rubber_Duck_Macau.jpg
The Rubber Duck.

Rubber Duck Garden - Fisherman's Wharf.

To celebrate Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman's huge floating rubber duck being in Macau, Fisherman's Wharf opened a Rubber Duck Garden. Essentially this meant that Fisherman's Wharf had lots of wonderful rubber duck models to photograph or pose with. There were also rubber duck stalls and songs about rubber ducks blasting away day and night. It was all quite good fun.The Rubber Duck, Macau.

large_7631362-Rubber_Duck_Garden_Fishermans_Wharf.jpg
Rubber Duck Garden - Fisherman's Wharf.

large_7631364-Rubber_Duck_Garden_Fishermans_Wharf.jpg
Rubber Duck Garden - Fisherman's Wharf.

large_7631366-Rubber_Duck_Garden_Fishermans_Wharf.jpg
Rubber Duck Garden - Fisherman's Wharf.

Chinese New Year.

large_6752617-Chinese_New_Year.jpg
Chinese New Year.

Dragon Dancing.

We have been lucky enough to spend several Chinese New years in Macau. During one when we were staying at the Hyatt Hotel on Taipa, we brought the new year in with fire crackers, dragon dancing and lion dancing. Dragon Dancing started in China during the Han Dynasty. The emperors of Ancient China considered themselves to be dragons. The dragon represents supernatural power, goodness, fertility and dignity. Dragon dances are a common feature of Chinese New Year celebrations to usher in good luck.

Lion Dancing.

Lion dancing started more than a thousand years ago. The lion is seen as a protector able to drive away evil spirits. This is why many Chinese temples and palaces have lion statues guarding their entrances. A lion dance is supposed to bring good luck and prosperity, therefore, it is often performed on special occasions, such as festivals, weddings, the opening of a new business and at Chinese New Year. Performances normally involve two dancers. One is hidden under the head of the costume; the other is under the tail. The dance is accompanied by the sound of a drum, cymbals and gong. The loud noise drives away bad luck and evil spirits. Performances are often very acrobatic involving balancing on ropes or jumping from stand to stand. The dancer under the head also portrays the emotions of the lion by making its head and eyes move.

large_6752623-Lion_Dancing.jpg
Lion Dancing.

large_6752622-Lion_Dancing.jpg
Lion Dancing.

Fire Crackers.

During the lion dance and dragon dance ceremonies fire crackers are lit. These make an incredible deafening sound like multiple gun shots. They are supposed to drive away bad luck and evil spirits. Fire crackers are allowed in Macau but banned in Hong Kong (though you can still hear them from time to time). As well as being very loud, they are also a fire hazard and quite terrifying.

large_6752630-Fire_Crackers.jpg
Fire Crackers.

Chinese New Year.

At Chinese New Year many animal decorations will be placed around the streets, shopping malls, hotels etc representing the animal whose year it is changing to. This decoration must be from 2005 the last year of the rooster.

large_6752634-Chinese_New_Year.jpg
Chinese New Year.

Welcoming In The Year Of The Horse 2014.

Just returned from a 3 day/2 night visit to Macau over Chinese New Year. We were impressed by the lovely year of the horse decorations we came across.We often visit Macau for Chinese New Year and always enjoying welcoming in each animal.

large_556512266963830-Welcoming_In..Horse_2014.jpg
Welcoming In The Year Of The Horse 2014.

large_139472516963839-Welcoming_In..Horse_2014.jpg
Welcoming In The Year Of The Horse 2014.

Other Chinese New Year Decorations.

As well as decorations about horses Chinese New Year decorations consist of colourful fruit, flower, plant and red packet displays. We love to go to Macau for Chinese New Year. There is always lots going on.

large_6963844-Other_Chinese_New_Year_Decorations.jpg
Chinese New Year Decorations.

large_6963847-Other_Chinese_New_Year_Decorations.jpg
Chinese New Year Decorations.

large_6963845-Other_Chinese_New_Year_Decorations.jpg
Chinese New Year Decorations.

large_6963843-Other_Chinese_New_Year_Decorations.jpg
Chinese New Year Decorations.

large_6963842-Other_Chinese_New_Year_Decorations.jpg
Chinese New Year Decorations.

Posted by irenevt 02:58 Archived in Macau Comments (0)

Macau. History, Hotels and Food.

An ever changing friend.

Macau.

large_6963851-The_Mandarins_House.jpg
The Mandarin's House.

Many visits to Macau.

We have been to Macau many, many times since we live in Hong Kong and Macau is only around an hour away. Things I like about Macau are: it has kept a lot of its historical remains whereas Hong Kong has not; it has got lots of excellent restaurants and very tasty food; you can get a good selection of Portuguese wine here, too. We always buy a couple of bottles from the huge Johann near the ferry pier to back with us. (Please note on our latest visit - January 2014 - the Johann near the ferry had closed and been made into a casino). There is a small Johann in the ferry terminal itself, but I don't think it has a supermarket. There is a huge Johann in the centre of town with a supermarket on the seventh floor. It no longer had a good selection of Portuguese wine. We bought these instead from Sun Supermercado.

A refuge.

At one point, during the SARS crisis in Hong Kong (2002-2003), Macau became our adopted home. We still lived in Hong Kong but went to Macau at every opportunity. Why? Well, the whole of Hong Kong had gone crazy, everyone was wearing masks, the price of alcoholic hand gel had gone through the roof, places like Causeway Bay had become ghost towns. In Macau, on the other hand, everything was blessedly normal and we could forget about our fear of dying horribly from a dreadful respiratory disease for a while. During this time hotel prices in both Hong Kong and Macau were dirt cheap due to lack of tourism.Sightseeing was not as crowded as usual. Service in restaurants was friendly and welcoming (even in Hong Kong, believe it or not) due to lack of customers. We were in some Macau restaurants so frequently the staff thought we were locals. We felt our stresses evaporate the moment we stepped off the ferry. It really was our home from home.

Then it all went sadly wrong.

I do not know exactly when our last visit to Macau was (I reckon this was 2008), but it was our last for good reason. Restrictions on opening casinos had been removed or relaxed and a building frenzy was taking hold of Macau. This began, I believe, around 2004. We foolishly thought this would not affect us, we don't gamble, never, ever go to casinos. We turned up a couple of hours before hotel check in time, as we always did, and walked to the restaurant we always went to in a lovely little park near our hotel. The restaurant had been demolished and the park ripped up to build a casino. Yes, yet another one to go with all the other ones that had shot up everywhere. That green space provided by the park in such a small, claustrophobic and built up place was essential. It was loved and needed by locals not just visitors like us. Locals are not even allowed to gamble. The casinos don't improve their lives. Deeply saddened we went to the Holiday Inn Hotel where we always stayed. We decided to cheer ourselves up with a relaxing swim. Not a bit of it; they had just ripped out the pool in order to extend their casino. (I believe nowadays they have a new pool). We felt like we were watching an old friend being destroyed by greed. We have not been back since. Scared to see what else has changed.
Well, we finally took the plunge and returned in January 2014. It did not start well; we discovered the Johann was a casino and we were plagued on arrival by SMS after SMS from casinos. However, we were delighted to see our park had not been torn apart. It was still there. They must just have been renovating it. Even the little cafe we loved was still there. The historical parts of Macau were as lovely as ever and were even improved. We loved our visit to the newly renovated Mandarin's House. Our favourite restaurants were still there. Yes, there were changes, even more casinos, lots of land reclamation, new roads, more people, higher prices, but there is still a well preserved history and culture and there are still peaceful places to sit in the sun and relax as the world passes by. We will not wait so long till our next visit.

Sightseeing in Macau.

Largo Do Senado - Senate Square.

Largo do Senado - Senate Square - is a public square in the centre of Macau occupying an area of around 3,700 square meters. In 2005 it was added to UNESCO's World Heritage List. The square is called Senate Square because Macau's Senate Building stands at one end of the square. At one time there used to be a statue of a famous Portuguese soldier named Mesquita in the centre of the square. However, as he was responsible for the deaths of many Chinese soldiers during the hostilities with the Qing Dynasty this statue has been removed and replaced by a fountain instead. In the early 1990s the Macau authorities comissioned Portuguese experts to re-pave the square with a wave-patterned mosaic of coloured stones. The square is lined with beautiful old European style buildings. The beautiful St Domingo's Church with its religious icons museum is near the far end of this square. The square is always busy and is used to host various local events.

large_6752761-Largo_Do_Senado_Senate_Square.jpg
Largo Do Senado - Senate Square.

large_6752758-Largo_Do_Senado_Senate_Square.jpg
Largo Do Senado - Senate Square.

large_6752763-Largo_Do_Senado_Senate_Square.jpg
Largo Do Senado - Senate Square.

large_6752752-Largo_Do_Senado_Senate_Square.jpg
Largo Do Senado - Senate Square.

Largo Senado At Night.

There is always something going on in the lovely, but eternally busy, Largo Senado. On one visit it was beautifully decorated for the year of the horse and was stunningly illuminated at night. Well worth seeing.

large_6963893-Largo_Senado_At_Night.jpg
Largo Senado At Night.

large_6963895-Largo_Senado_At_Night.jpg
Largo Senado At Night.

large_6963892-Largo_Senado_At_Night.jpg
Largo Senado At Night.

Leal Senado - Loyal Senate Building.

The Leal Senado building faces onto the beautiful Largo de Senado - Senado Square. The Leal Senado was built in 1784. It is Macau’s municipal chamber. Leal Senado means Loyal Senate. This name comes from the fact that Macau remained loyal to Portugal even during the sixty years from 1580 to 1640 when Portugal was occupied by Spain and the Portuguese king was exiled in Brazil. I have never been inside the building, but its courtyards are beautiful with seating areas, statues, fountains, plants.

large_6963872-Leal_Senado_Loyal_Senate_Building.jpg
Leal Senado - Loyal Senate Building.

large_6963871-Leal_Senado_Loyal_Senate_Building.jpg
Leal Senado - Loyal Senate Building.

large_6963870-Leal_Senado_Loyal_Senate_Building.jpg
Leal Senado - Loyal Senate Building.

The Ruins Of St Paul's.

The Church of Mater Dei - the Mother of God- was built between 1602 and 1640. It stood near St Paul's College, the first western-style university in the Far East. Both of these buildings were destroyed by fire in 1835. The Ruins of St Paul's refers to the beautiful ornate facade of the Church of the Mater Dei and the ruins of the college. These buildings together with the nearby Mount Fortress were all built by the Jesuits. The Ruins of St Paul's have become the symbol of Macau. They stand high on a hill with excellent views over Macau below.

large_6752698-The_Ruins_Of_St_Pauls.jpg
The Ruins Of St Paul's.

large_6752699-The_Ruins_Of_St_Pauls.jpg
The Ruins Of St Paul's.

large_6752700-The_Ruins_Of_St_Pauls.jpg
The Ruins Of St Paul's.

Mount Fortress.

This fortress was built by the Jesuits between 1617 and 1626. The fortress's full name is the Fortress of Our Lady of the Mount of St. Paul but is more commonly known as Mount Fortress. The fortress stands on a hill 52 metres above sea level. From its gardens you can see spectacular views over Macau. Several old cannons can be seen in the fortress gardens. The fortress was originally built to protect Macau against attackers arriving from the sea. In 1965 the fortress became a weather observatory. It changed to a tourist site in 1996 when the observatory moved to Taipa. In September 1998, the government opened the Macau Museum in the former observatory buildings. This fortress is one of three mountain top fortresses in Macau.

large_6752992-Mount_Fortress.jpg
Mount Fortress.

large_6752998-Mount_Fortress.jpg
Mount Fortress.

large_6752863-Mount_Fortress.jpg
Mount Fortress.

The Old Protestant Cemetery.

I would strongly recommend a visit here if you are at all interested in history. This cemetery is located next to the lovely Luis de Camoes Gardens. Near the entrance to the cemetery stands an imposing colonial villa. This was constructed in 1770 by a wealthy Portuguese merchant. Later the house was leased to the British East India Company, who used it as accommodation for their high ranking officers. Nowadays, the house is used by a local cultural foundation called The Orient Foundation. The Old Protestant cemetery was first used in 1821, when The British East India Company bought this small piece of land. At that time this land was just outside Macau's city walls. There was no place within Macau itself where it was permitted to bury non-catholics. The cemetery is well maintained and has several beautiful tombs, but the reason it is so interesting is that the tomb stones are extremely informative about the individuals buried in this lovely spot. Many were sailors who had come to Macau to trade. Some were killed through accidents on the ship like falling from the crow's nest. One man fell down a trap door that had accidentally been left open. Many people came to Macau from overseas and contracted terrible tropical diseases such as malaria. Some people died soon after arrival weakened by the dreadful sea voyage they had endured to reach here. Many women died in childbirth. I even found the grave of one of the Spencer family - a distant relative of Winston Churchill and Lady Diana Spencer.

Take Your Bird For A Walk.

In both Macau and Hong Kong most people live in small, cramped apartments. Few people can have the luxury of having a big pet so caged birds or pet fish are popular. It is a common practice in both places to take your pet bird out for a walk to give it a bit of fresh air. People also take their bird cage to the nearest park and hang it on a tree for a while for the same reason. The caged birds in the photos are taking the air in the lovely Luis de Camoes Park. This park is called after Portugal's national poet. One of the park's main attractions is the grotto where the famous poet worked on his epic poem, Os Lusíadas, while he was living in Macau. At the entrance to the grotto there is a small bust, commemorating Camoes and his poem. At the entrance to the garden there is a fountain with an abstract bronze statue, called the Embrace. This statue symbolizes the ties of friendship between Portugal and China. The park is across the road from the lovely St Anthony's Church and right next door to the fascinating Protestant cemetery.

large_6752668-Take_Your_Bird_For_A_Walk.jpg
Take Your Bird For A Walk.

large_6752666-Take_Your_Bird_For_A_Walk.jpg
Take Your Bird For A Walk.

large_6752667-Take_Your_Bird_For_A_Walk.jpg
Take Your Bird For A Walk.

A-Ma Temple.

Macau takes its name from the A-Ma Temple. The A-Ma Temple is dedicated to the Chinese sea-goddess. It was built in 1488. The temple has six parts: the Gate Pavilion, the Memorial Arch, the Prayer Hall, the Hall of Benevolence, the Hall of Guanyin and the Buddhist Pavillion.

The Maritime Museum.

I am not really a museum person, but this museum is interesting and all the more so because of Macau's strong links with the sea. Last time we did not visit. We just had a drink in the peaceful little cafe located just outside. We used to enjoy doing boat trips from here, but now with the construction of a new road I'm no longer sure they run. The museum is as you would expect, near the A Ma Temple - a temple to the goddess of the sea from whom Macau takes its name. There are stalls selling windmills and incense for the temple nearby. The museum was originally housed in the lovely old colonial building in the adjacent square. Opening hours: 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. The Museum closes on Tuesdays. Admission: 10 to 17 years old: MOP$5.00 (Mon. to Sat.); $3.00 (Sun.) 18 to 64 years old: MOP$10.00 - standard ticket (Mon. to Sat.); $5.00 (Sun.) Free admission - children under 10 or senior of 65 years old or over. Address: 1, Largo do Pagode da Barra, Macau.

large_6964238-The_Maritime_Museum.jpg
The Maritime Museum.

large_6964243-The_Maritime_Museum.jpg
The Maritime Museum.

The Mandarin's House.

The Mandarin's House was a new sight for us. I believe it had not been renovated during our previous visits. This beautiful house was built around 1869. It was once the ancestral home of Zheng Guanying. The building of the house was started by Zheng Wenrui, who was the father of Zheng Guanying. Entry to this house is free and visitors can wander around the many rooms and courtyards of the complex. The building's many circular doorways make an excellent frame for any photos you may take. There were seats in the main courtyard, a well and a beautiful tree festooned with red lanterns. Inside the building there was an exhibit about the renovation of the house, flower displays and examples of traditional Chinese dark wood furniture. The site also had free, clean toilets and a gift shop. I loved this building and could have spent hours here. Opening Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (No admission after 5.30 p.m. closed on Wednesdays, except public holidays) Address: No 10, Travessa de António da Silva, Macau
Bus 18 or 28b to Lilau Square.

large_6963864-The_Mandarins_House_Two.jpg
The Mandarin's House.

large_6963863-The_Mandarins_House_Two.jpg
The Mandarin's House.

large_6963861-The_Mandarins_House_Two.jpg
The Mandarin's House.

large_6963853-The_Mandarins_House.jpg
The Mandarin's House.

Lilau Square.

This pretty little square has seats, a kiosk and colourful Portuguese style buildings. It is near the mandarin's house, the Moorish barracks, the Ama Temple and Penha Church. A pleasant place to sit and relax.

large_6963969-Lilau_Square.jpg
Lilau Square.

large_6963970-Lilau_Square.jpg
Lilau Square.

The Moorish Barracks.

These barracks are located near Lilau Square. They date from around 1874. They were designed by an Italian architect to house around two hundred Muslim Indian policemen who came to Macau from Goa. We were not able to go inside. I'm not sure if that is always true or if they were just closed when we visited.

large_6963988-The_Moorish_Barracks.jpg
The Moorish Barracks.

large_6963986-The_Moorish_Barracks.jpg
The Moorish Barracks.

large_6963983-The_Moorish_Barracks.jpg
The Moorish Barracks.

Balconies.

I love the old Macau houses with balconies, especially the ones enclosed behind long metal bars. They are quite picturesque and well worth having a look at. There are lots around the Barra and Penha areas.

large_6964247-Balconies.jpg
Balconies.

large_6964249-Balconies.jpg
Balconies.

Throw Yourself Off A Tall Building.

The Macau Tower has a viewing area, a revolving restaurant, a shopping centre with cafes and restaurants. It also has, what it advertises as, the highest bungee jump in the world. I am no sensation seeker. This is not for me, but as we wandered around looking at the horse displays and wind-mills below, we were occasionally disturbed by the terrified screams of the mad people who had just leapt from the tower.

large_6964110-Throw_Yourself_Off_A_Tall_Building.jpg
Throw Yourself Off A Tall Building

large_6964125-Throw_Yourself_Off_A_Tall_Building.jpg
Throw Yourself Off A Tall Building

The Chapel Of Our Lady Of Penha.

The Chapel of Our Lady of Penha sits on top of Penha Hill on the Barra Peninsula. The original chapel was built here in 1622 by the crew and passengers of a Portuguese ship which had only just narrowly escaped capture by the Dutch. The chapel became a common place of worship for those about to set out on dangerous voyages. There are good views from this location and the steep walk up the hill involves passing some interesting buildings. This is a lovely old church. There are several statues of the Virgin Mary here - on the roof, outside the church and in a little grotto below the church. There are lovely views from here too. On our visit to the Lady of Penha Chapel we came across two sets of stone lion guards. They are smaller than most sets of stone lions and I thought they were quite cute.

large_7631627-Our_Lady_Of_Penha_Chapel_Revisited.jpg
The Chapel Of Our Lady Of Penha.

large_7631628-Our_Lady_Of_Penha_Chapel_Revisited.jpg
The Chapel Of Our Lady Of Penha.

large_7631625-Our_Lady_Of_Penha_Chapel_Revisited.jpg
The Chapel Of Our Lady Of Penha.

large_7631619-Our_Lady_Of_Penha_Chapel_Revisited.jpg
The Chapel Of Our Lady Of Penha.

large_6752984-The_Chapel_Of_Our_Lady_Of_Penha.jpg
The Chapel Of Our Lady Of Penha.

large_7631642-An_Interesting_Mix_Of_Old_And_New.jpg
The Chapel Of Our Lady Of Penha.

large_610417947631637-Lion_Guards_..nha_Chapel.jpg
The Chapel Of Our Lady Of Penha.

large_366676297631636-Lion_Guards_..nha_Chapel.jpg
The Chapel Of Our Lady Of Penha.

large_7631643-An_Interesting_Mix_Of_Old_And_New.jpg
The Chapel Of Our Lady Of Penha.

large_6752866-The_Chapel_Of_Our_Lady_Of_Penha.jpg
The Chapel Of Our Lady Of Penha.

Miradors Or Lookout Points.

One legacy of the Portuguese in Macau is that there are lots of little lookout points dotted around the hillsides. We noticed several on our trip up Penha Hill. Near the church there was a lookout over the harbour and another one out towards the Macau Tower. We were also fortunate that there were good views from both of our hotels on our last visit.

large_7631647-Miradors_Or_Lookout_Points.jpg
Miradors Or Lookout Points.

large_7631664-Miradors_Or_Lookout_Points.jpg
Miradors Or Lookout Points.

large_7631650-Miradors_Or_Lookout_Points.jpg
Miradors Or Lookout Points.

large_7631666-Miradors_Or_Lookout_Points.jpg
Miradors Or Lookout Points.

The Wine Museum.

Macau Wine Museum first opened on December 25, 1995. It occupies an area of 1400 square meters and has a collection of more than 1115 brands of wine. The museum is divided into three parts: the history of wine-making, collections of wine and wine displays. A visit here also involves the chance to sample some newly created wines. Mannequins wearing national dress from different regions of Portugal are also on display. Admission: free. Opening Hours: 10:00 to 18:00 (Closed on Tuesday) This museum is inside Macau Tourism Activities Centre together with the Grand Prix Museum. Well, the information I found says admssion free, but we went here because we bought a Macau Museums Pass and visited every museum on Macau during one trip.

large_6753278-The_Wine_Museum.jpg
The Wine Museum.

The Grand Prix Museum.

We went here because we bought a Macau museum pass and it was next to the Museum of Wine. Macau may be famous for its Grand Prix but neither of us have an iota of interest in cars and yet we really enjoyed our visit!!! I would happily go back. How come? Well, either it was down to the exhibits or maybe the free samples of wine we consumed in the Wine Museum beforehand. Either way we had a great time and I would heartily recommend it. The Grand Prix Museum houses many exhibits related to worldwide Grand Prix races. It includes photos, videos, cups, records of champions and commemorative items. This museum was built in 1933 which was the the 40th anniversary of Grand Prix Racing in Macau More than twenty cars and motorcycles once driven by famous drivers such as Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard, are on display here. The most memorable exhibit is a racing car that was once driven by Aryton Senna, who died at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. His racing cloth and helmet are also exhibited. If you want to experience the thrill of a race, there are also two racing car simulators here. Admission: Free Hours:10:00-18:00 (Closed on Tuesday) How to Get there: The museum is inside the Macau Tourism Activities Centre.

large_6753294-The_Grand_Prix_Museum.jpg
The Grand Prix Museum.

large_6753293-The_Grand_Prix_Museum.jpg
The Grand Prix Museum.

Macau Museum Of Art.

We visited this museum long ago when we bought a Macau museum pass. We did not visit this time, but were rather impressed by the design of the building with its unusual sloping roof and the garden in front of it with its rather attractive sculptures.

large_7631683-Macau_Museum_Of_Art.jpg
Macau Museum Of Art.

The Kuan Yin Statue.

Kuan Yin is the Chinese goddess of mercy. There is a lovely statue of her standing on a lotus flower. The statue juts out into the sea. Inside the statue complex there are exhibitions about Kuan Yin, some stalls and a library. We sat downstairs for a while: me - falling asleep while listening to the deeply meditative music; my husband - making use of the free Wifi. You can also sit outside and listen to the music while gazing out over the sea. Very relaxing.

large_6964215-The_Kuan_Yin_Statue.jpg
The Kuan Yin Statue.

large_6964216-The_Kuan_Yin_Statue.jpg
The Kuan Yin Statue.

large_180286486752595-Kuan_Yin_sta..o_de_Macau.jpg

Golden Lotus Square.

This square is near the Grand Prix Museum and Wine Museum. In the centre is a large golden lotus. Its layers represent Macau mainland, Taipa and Coloane. It was placed there to commemorate the end of Portuguese rule and the return to Mainland China.

large_6964218-Golden_Lotus_Square.jpg
Golden Lotus Square.

Dr. Carlos D'assumpcao Park.

This park near the Kuan Yin statue is a peaceful place for a stroll, a seat in the shade on a hot day or a visit to the little tea house. It is not a must see site, but it is a lovely quiet local area to sit down and relax in.

large_6964235-Dr_Carlos_Dassumpcao_Park.jpg
Dr. Carlos D'assumpcao Park.

large_6964233-Dr_Carlos_Dassumpcao_Park.jpg
Dr. Carlos D'assumpcao Park.

Fisherman's Wharf.

Fisherman's Wharf was located very close to our hotel so we went to take a look. At the moment, May 2016, it is a bit of a mess as there is lots of redevelopment going on. Fisherman's Wharf is a sort of theme park. It has buildings designed to look like various European buildings including a sort of open air theatre set in a model of the colliseum. Its buildings house restaurants and shops. It is also home to several hotels such as The Rocks Hotel, The Harbourview Hotel and the Babylon Casino. This place has good places to eat and drink and when the redevelopment is over it may even look nice.

large_7631357-Fishermans_Wharf.jpg
Fisherman's Wharf.

large_7631361-Fishermans_Wharf.jpg
Fisherman's Wharf.

The Guia Fortress: The Guia Lighthouse.

The Guia Fortress was built between 1622 and 1638. Along with the Mount Fortress this fortress played a huge role in driving off the attempted Dutch invasion of Macau in 1622. Inside the fortress is Guia Chapel which was set up by Clarist nuns in 1622, and Guia Lighthouse, which dates from 1865. This lighthouse was the first modern lighthouse on the Chinese coast. Macau takes its co-ordinates from the location of the lighthouse. Guia Fortress sits on top of Guia Hill. It is possible to walk here or take the cable car up the hill. Near the foot of Guia Hill there are pleasant gardens and a small zoo and aviary.

large_6765340-The_Guia_Fortress.jpg
The Guia Fortress.

Sun Yat Sen Park.

The Sun Yat-Sen Park is located in the northwest of the Macau near the Chinese border. The park is 390 meters long and 130 meters wide and covers an area of about 70,000 square meters. The park was originally created in 1987. Then in 1990 a bronze statue of Doctor Sun Yat-sen was placed at the entrance to the park and the park became known as the Sun Yat Sen Park. Doctor Sun Yat-sen is the Father of the Revolution in China. The park has two main parts. The northeast part has traditional Chinese garden with lakes, zig-zag bridges and towers. The southwestern section is more European and has sports facilities and greenhouses. In the centre of the park there is a steel statue of two shaking hands. This symbolizes the friendship between Portugal and China. The park also has an open-air theatre and a swimming pool. There are good views from the park into Mainland China.

large_6753304-SunYat_Sen_Park.jpg
Sun Yat Sen Park.

large_6753302-SunYat_Sen_Park.jpg
Sun Yat Sen Park.

Accommodation in Macau..

We have stayed in many different hotels in Macau. Some of these are listed below.

The Westin Resort: Peaceful, Relaxing Location.

We stayed in the Westin Resort, Macau for one night. We got there by taking their free shuttle from the Macau Ferry Terminal. To access the hotel shuttles, exit the ferry terminal and go into the tunnel that will take you under the road to the bus stands for hotels shuttles and casinos. Casino buses are to the right, hotel shuttles to the left. The shuttle stopped to pick people up on Taipa and outside the Venetian Hotel on the Cotai Strip on the way. Check in was efficient and friendly. Our room was large, comfortable and clean. It had a huge balcony with a beautiful ocean view. On the balcony there was a table and two chairs. We bought ourselves sandwiches before reaching the hotel and ate them for breakfast on the balcony the next day. Our room had two double beds which were very comfortable, a fridge with minibar and four free bottles of water. We had a kettle, two coffee bags, a cafetiere, lots of tea-bags. Our room had an in-room safe, a hairdryer and an iron and ironing board. The bathroom had a bath and shower, though the water was lukewarm when I took a bath. Free toothbrushes, shampoo, conditioner and shower gel were provided. There is no free wifi in the room, though it is available in the lobby. The hotel has an indoor and an outdoor swimming pool. Unfortunately the outdoor pool was closed for cleaning during our visit, which was a shame as it looked lovely. There was a children's pool and a whirlpool outdoors, too. There was also a play area for children. The indoor pool was very warm and pleasant. It stayed open till 10pm at night. There was also a well equipped gym and in the changing rooms there was a sauna and a steam-room. We did not eat in the hotel. The hotel is quiet and peaceful, but is not near many other things. Next door to it there is a golf course. On the other side you can walk along the Hac Sa - black sands beach into Hac Sa Village. There is a restaurant called the Miramar very close to the hotel and near the beach. We walked into Hac Sa in around 10 - 15 minutes and ate in the Hac Sa Park Restaurant which is very good. Next door to the Hac Sa Park restaurant is the famous Fernando's Restaurant. The hotel provides a free shuttle to the Venetian and the Macau ferry terminal every half hour. You must book the return shuttle in advance to get on. Our hotel package was supposed to include a free plate of fruit and a free half bottle of wine. We had to ask for this in order to get it, which always annoys me. Free offers should be given without you having to ask in my view. The hotel has a driving range and putting green. The grounds of the hotel are pretty. Check out involved a bit of a queue but was accurate and efficient, just busy. Check-in time is 3pm and check-out is midday. We had a lovely, relaxing, comfortable and enjoyable stay here and would happily stay here again. All the hotel staff were very pleasant and polite.

The Metropark Hotel: Good Central Location.

We stayed in the Metropark Hotel for two nights. We know the area it is located in well as we have stayed many times in the nearby Holiday Inn. The Metropark does have a shuttle from the ferry, but we did not wait for it and just walked from the ferry terminal. Check-in was quick and efficient, though the girl was a bit brisk - language difficulty, I would guess. The man working on reception was much more pleasant and gave us a free map of Macau. We could have swiped our credit card for expenses but the girl kept saying the bank would hold the money for a month. We were not really sure what she meant but we ended up giving her HK$500 in cash instead of swiping the card. We got a receipt and had no problem getting our money back when we left. The hotel was decorated for Chinese New Year though it looked Christmasy to me and the corridors looked pretty. The room was good. It was clean and had everything we needed: a very large double bed which was very comfortable, a kettle with four tea bags, no coffee, an in-room safe, a fridge, a TV. The bathroom had a shower and a bath. They provided toothbrushes, combs, shampoo, no conditioner. Our next door neighbours came home around 4am on the first night and put their TV on at high volume which was annoying. The next night it was very quiet and we slept really well. On the third floor of the hotel there is a swimming pool, long and thin, not that big but each time we went we had it to ourselves so it was great. There was also a jacuzzi, steam room, sauna and a gym. The swimming pool stayed open till 10pm, which was also great. We were very pleased with these facilities. The hotel has a revolving restaurant on its roof but this is only for special pre booked functions. On the second floor there is a Chinese restaurant on the third floor there is Ciao Restaurant. Food there is more local than Italian. On our last day we had the lunch buffet there. The food was plentiful and tasty and very cheap at MOP58 plus 10%. It was MOP28 for a bottle of Macau beer. At check-in we had been given a MOP50 discount voucher if we spent MOP200 or above in the restaurants. We had to drink lots of beer to get the price up enough to get the discount. No hardship there. I was very impressed with the buffet which had a salad bar, caldo verde soup, bread rolls, main courses, dessert - the creme caramel was delicious, tea, coffee. The location of the hotel is very good. There is a 7-eleven straight across the road, from which we purchased breakfast each day. It's a short walk to casinos if that is your thing; it is a short walk to the Largo do Senado and Macau's historical centre. There are lots of restaurants around. Exit the hotel, go left, walk past the park and there are lots of restaurants in this area plus a supermarket. There are good bus transport links to everywhere. Room prices on the hotel site are high. We got a much better rate than they advertise. I would not stay here at the full rate, but then I remember Macau when it used to be cheap. If we find a deal again, we would love to go back.

The Grand Lapa: Relaxing and Refreshing Stay.

We stayed in the Grand Lapa Hotel for one night in May 2016. This hotel used to be the Mandarin Oriental. The hotel is easy to get to from the Macau Ferry Terminal. It has a free shuttle bus. To get it exit the ferry terminal, go through the underpass and turn left. The hotel is right next to the Sands Hotel/casino which has a more frequent shuttle bus. To get this go through the underpass and turn right. Walking to the hotel from the ferry terminal is easy. It should take around 10 to 15 minutes. Exit the ferry terminal, go left and follow the waterfront, you will soon see it. At check in we were given a free upgrade to a room with a balcony. This was great, but the receptionist gave us almost no information about the hotel, not even where the lifts were or how to access the wifi. She just seemed concerned with making sure we paid and charging us a deposit. Our room was large and clean and comfortable. The bed was huge and we slept really well here. We had a balcony overlooking the pool. It had a table and two chairs. The room had a fridge/minibar, free water, a safe and tea/coffee making facilities. The bathroom provided toothbrushes, comb, nailfiles, bath gel, shampoo, conditioner and body lotion. We loved the hotel's pool which was open till 10pm. It had fake waterfalls, a kids' pool with a waterslide and a jacuzzi with three waterfalls. The pool was set in a lovely grassy garden with flame trees and play areas for the kids. There was also a gym and sauna, but we did not use these. The hotel provides free wifi and this worked well. The hotel has restaurants and shops, but we did not use these, there were plenty of restaurants and shops nearby. When we checked out, the receptionist tried to charge us for the room though we had already paid. He apologised profusely for this and I got the impression the girl who checked us in had messed up. Despite this we enjoyed our stay and would happily stay here again. Address: Address: 956 Avenida da Amizade, Macau.

large_7631355-Hotel_Grand_Lapa_Concelho_de_Macau.jpg
The Grand Lapa.

large_465800617631352-Hotel_Grand_..o_de_Macau.jpg
The Grand Lapa.

Riveria Hotel: Peaceful and quiet Macau Hotel.

We stayed in the Riviera Hotel for one night in May 2016. The Riviera Hotel Macau used to be the Ritz Macau. The easiest way to get there is to take its free shuttle bus from the Macau Ferry Terminal. Get it by exiting the ferry building, going through the underpass, then going left. This hotel is located on Penha Hill and has lovely views out towards the Macau Tower. Check in was quick and efficient. Our room was located on the first floor which has just been renovated. The corridors have strange twisty lighting and music. Our room had twin beds, no double beds were available. It also had a small patio area with one seat and some plants. The room was clean, the beds were comfortable. We had a safe, a fridge and tea/coffee making facilities. Lots of toiletries were provided in the bathroom. The hotel had tennis courts on the roof. Each floor had some interesting decorations. Some floors are still in need of renovation. The hotel had two restaurants and a music lounge. The hotel provided free wifi. We ate breakfast at this hotel. It provided teas, coffees, juices, cereal, congee, cooked food such as bacon, eggs, noodles, samosas, chips, corn, sweet potato, breads and salad. Breakfast was quite good. Our room had free bottled water and snacks and drinks were on sale at reasonable prices. There were two snack vending machines in the lobby. Check out was fine, but a bit slow. Address: Rua Comendador do Kou Ho Neng, No. 7-13, Macau.

large_7631497-The_Riviera_Hotel_Concelho_de_Macau.jpg
Riveria Hotel.

Eating in Macau.

Macau has some interesting restaurants . Some are listed below.

Aruna's: The best Indian food in Macau.

We have lived in Hong Kong for about 18 years now. At one time we used to go across to Macau frequently. Especially during the time of SARS we were there practically all the time. Then around 8 years ago we stopped going as we saw casino after casino being built, construction everywhere, and it felt like watching an old friend being torn apart. Aruna's was our favourite Indian restaurant every time we visited. We always went there. We returned after a six year absence, not expecting anyone to remember us at all, and the first thing Aruna's aunt said to us when we entered was: "It has been a long time since I saw you two". In Hong Kong you could go to the same restaurant every day and they would never remember you. Macau is much more friendly. In some ways Aruna's was the same, in some different. It was more expensive than before, so was all of Macau. We paid about the same as we would in Hong Kong. It had more choices on the menu. One thing that was the same was that the food was excellent. We had wonderful crispy poppadoms, vegetable samosa, lamb rogan josh and chicken kadai. Aruna's does fantastic freshly made chappatis. They used to make them more or less right in front of you. Now it is back a bit in the kitchen. The aunt told us that the original Aruna's is going to close and that there is one facing onto Golden Lotus Square and in the Sheraton Food Court. It is sad to see the original going, but we will certainly be back to try the new ones. A great restaurant. Favorite Dish: Make sure you try the freshly made chapatis.

large_865371937022295-My_husband_a..o_de_Macau.jpg
Aruna's.

large_7022296-In_the_restaurant_Concelho_de_Macau.jpg
Aruna's.

Hac Sa Parque Restaurant: Friendly restaurant with good local food.

Like many people, we first encountered the Hac Sa Parque Restaurant when we were trying to visit Fernando's next door. Fernando's had a long queue so we turned to the Hac Sa Parque instead. That was years ago. Now I would not dream of visiting Hac Sa without visiting here. There's an outdoor area, Norman's bar and a restaurant area. We always sit in Norman's bar. The wait staff are very friendly and pleasant. The overall atmosphere is relaxed. The restaurant serves Portuguese, Asian and international food and stocks Portuguese wine and beer as well as other brands. We have always enjoyed our food here. On this occasion my husband had fish and chips, while I had baked pork chop rice. Both dishes were very good. We drank draft Carlsberg and Asahi with it. One oddity is that it is more economical to order the smaller measures of beer with the jug being the worst value of all size wise. Not sure why. The owner is clearly into music and the walls are decorated with musical memoribilia especially the Beatles. This is a very pleasant location for a relaxing meal and the food is good value for money.

large_161537317022298-Hac_Sa_Parqu..o_de_Macau.jpg
Hac Sa Parque Restaurant.

large_1887937022299-Hac_Sa_Parqu..o_de_Macau.jpg
Hac Sa Parque Restaurant.

Hard Rock Cafe: Good food, pleasant service.

The Hard Rock Cafe in Macau is located in the lobby of the Hard Rock Hotel in the City of Dreams. The staff were very pleasant, cheerful and friendly. The restaurant did not serve draft beer so I had a bottle of Macau beer and my husband had a bottle of Tsingtao. The food took quite a long time to come, but was worth waiting for, as it was very tasty. I had the club sandwich which I really enjoyed. My husband had fish and chips. This came with an absolute heap of chips, more than we could eat, but they were good and crispy. Our main meals cost MOP108 and the beers were between MOP 30 and 40 I think depending on whether they were local or imported. The overall price was comparable with a similar restaurant in Hong Kong - perhaps a bit cheaper. The City of Dreams is easy to get to as there are free shuttle buses to it from the Macau Ferry Terminal. As the food was good and service pleasant we will certainly go back.

large_675987587022300-At_the_Hard_..o_de_Macau.jpg
Hard Rock Cafe.

The Ciao Restaurant Metropark Hotel: Excellent value.

The Ciao Restaurant is located on the third floor of the Metropark Hotel. Despite its name, food there is more local, Chinese and Portugueses, than Italian. On our last day at the hotel we had the lunch buffet there. The food was plentiful and tasty and very cheap at MOP58 plus 10%. It was MOP28 for a bottle of Macau beer. I was very impressed with the buffet which had a salad bar, caldo verde soup, bread rolls, main courses, dessert - the creme caramel was delicious, tea, coffee. I noticed the lunch buffet was very popular with tour groups. The restaurant was busy and as it was Chinese New Year during our visit, had quite a festive atmosphere.

large_458643167022301-CCiao_Restau..o_de_Macau.jpg
The Ciao Restaurant.

Talay Thai: Thai Restaurant in Fisherman's Wharf.

This Thai restaurant is located in Fisherman's Wharf. It has indoor and outdoor seating. The outdoor seating is on the waterfront. We sat inside. Service was friendly and efficient. We had pork with green beans, a fish dish and a fried rice with pork dish. I liked the food, but my husband did not. He found the meat too chewy. We drank bottles of Portuguese superbock beer and got two free ones, which was rather nice. I enjoyed my meal and would eat here again. Peter would not have the same food again. The service and location were good. The price was reasonable.

large_408510527631369-Talay_Thai_R..o_de_Macau.jpg
Talay Thai.

large_854087617631371-Talay_Thai_R..o_de_Macau.jpg
Talay Thai

Ali Curry House: A victim of its own success.

We used to like this restaurant and eat here regularly when we came to Macau, but no more. We arrived at around 5.40pm and were told they would be busy later so could we return the table by 7pm. Not a generous amount of time but we said OK. At 6.50pm we were suddenly given the bill and told to leave as the people who had reserved the table had arrived. There were other empty tables in the restaurant. We had finished eating and my husband was just finishing off his beer. We would have left voluntarily within the next five minutes, so such rudeness was totally unnecessary. My advice to this restaurant would be train your staff to have better manners. As for the food here we like the cod cakes and the chorizo. The samosas are also quite nice. Everything else we had was mediocre, so there is really no redeeming feature to make anyone put up with rude service. I was particularly upset by this experience because we have been coming to Ali Curry House on and off for years.

large_329414827631617-The_cod_cake..o_de_Macau.jpg
Ali Curry House.

Transport in Macau.

Getting To Macau From Hong Kong: Ferries.

It is easy to get to Macau from Hong Kong. You can catch a ferry from the Shun Tak Centre, in Sheung Wan or from the China Ferry Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui. Nowadays from Sheung Wan you can go to the Macau Ferry Terminal or the Cotai Strip Ferry Terminal. There is no need to pre-book. Departures are frequent. You need a passport or Hong Kong permanent I.D. card. Price depends on time of day and day of the week. Turbojet economy class for adults on weekdays is HK$159; back from Macau $148. Economy class weekends and public holidays is $172; back from Macau is $161. Night service, weekdays, weekends and holidays is $195; back from Macau $184. Journey time is around an hour. Snacks are available on board. Toilets on board.

large_7022563-Getting_To_Macau_From_Hong_Kong.jpg
Getting to Macau by ferry.

Getting Around Macau: Buses

There are plenty of public buses for getting around Macau. Plus now there are lots of free casino buses. When you exit the Macau ferry terminal go through the tunnel and go right you will find lots of free buses such as the blue coloured Venetian one or the purple coloured City of Dreams one.

Nowadays you can also get to Macau by bus on a bridge across the sea. We have not done this yet.

Posted by irenevt 02:50 Archived in Macau Comments (4)

(Entries 6 - 10 of 55) « Page 1 [2] 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 .. »