October 26, 2013

Hong Kong: Off the Beaten Path

For those who've had their fill of the usual tourist spots in Hong Kong, i.e. Victoria's Peak, Hong Kong Disneyland, Mong Kok Night Market, and Causeway Bay Harbour, here are other places to consider visiting.

Of course, it goes without saying that there's always the option of shopping. Lots and lots of shopping.

Ngong Ping 360

Opened in 2006, Ngong Ping 360 is a fairly new tourist attraction that offers various cultural and ecological sightseeing experiences. It is located at Lantau island, and among its highlights are a 5.7km cable car ride and a giant Buddha on top of  a 268-step hill.

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How To Get There
Technically, the park grounds are located on the other side of the mountain so you really have to travel via cable car. The most convenient way to get to the cable car terminal is via MTR, Tung Chung Line, Tung Chung Station. It is a two-minute walk from Exit B.  

Opening Hours
Weekdays: 10am to 6pm
Weekends 9am to 6:30pm

Rates
Visitors can have the option to buy tickets at the Cable Car terminal or online. Adult rates are as follows:

Cable Car
Round Trip
Standard Cabin: 135 HKD
Crystal Cabin: 213 HKD
Single Trip
Standard Cabin: 94 HKD
Crystal Cabin: 149 HKD

Day Pass (Includes round trip cable car ride, unlimited NLB bus rides and Tai O boat excursion)
Standard Round Trip Cable Car: 200 HKD
Crystal Cabin Round Trip Cable Car: 278 HKD
1 + 1 Standard and Crystal Round Trip Cable Car: 255 HKD

Guided Tour (Includes Ngong Ping Village, Po Lin Monastery, Big Buddha, Tai O Fishing Village with boat excursion, Ngong Ping Piazza)
Standard Cabin: 338 HKD
Crystal Cabin: 398 HKD

Private Cabin (Includes Round-trip cable car ride in private cabin, fast lane for ticket purchase, priority boarding and free admission to Ngong Ping Village's Walking with Buddha attractions_
Standard Cabin: 3,000 HKD per cabin
Crystal Cabin: 3,600 HKD per cabin
 

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What to Do

The Ngong Ping 360 website has a suggested itinerary that you can follow, depending on your purpose of visit (i.e. nature sightseeing, culture sightseeing, shopping, etc). Additional tips for day visitors:
  • Opt for the Crystal Cabin going to Ngong Ping 360, and the Standard Cabin going back. The Crystal Cabin is a must-do experience best done in full daylight (and full energy), so the best time to do it is at the start of the day.
  • Plan your visit during clear weather. Especially if you plan to visit the big Buddha, you have to visit when the weather is good as there is a tendency for the big Buddha to be covered with clouds.
  • Check out the Ngong Ping website for special shows and announcements. There are times where there are cultural performances such as Kung Fu exhibitions, so to make the most of your visit you may want to time it accordingly.
  • Bring lots of water and energy bars! The park is HUGE, and there are some areas where you have to trek a bit in order to get there. So stamina is a must.

Din Tai Fung - Silvercord branch

Din Tai Fung is a Michelin Star awardee, best known for its Xiao Long Bao. The original restaurant is in Taiwan, but since then it has made its way to Hong Kong.

I'm no expert in food, but it isn't often that I am able to eat at Michelin Star-awarded restaurants, so for me this is a must-try experience.

There are five types of Xiao Long Bao in the menu, namely:
  • Pork Xiao Long Bao
  • Crab Roe and Pork Xiao Long Bao
  • Chicken Xiao Long Bao
  • Angled Loofah and Shrimp Xiao Long Bao
  • Truffle and Pork Xiao Long Bao

I've tried the Pork and the Crab Roe and Pork, and among the two, I like the Crab Roe and Pork more (but both are delicious). Being a Michelin Star restaurant, expect that the consistency of taste in each dish remains the same.

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I forgot the price range of the dim sum, but expect to shell out at least 50 HKD per order. They have an English menu, and English-speaking staff, and even English instructions on how to eat the Xiao Long Bao, so you do not have to worry about the language barrier in this restaurant.

Quick Tip: This restaurant fills up easily during meal hours so it is best that you queue on early lunch or early dinner so you don't have to fall in line too long.

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Tim Ho Wan, the Dim Sum Specialists - Hong Kong Station branch

Tim Ho Wan is another Michelin Star awarded restaurant, but in an unusual way because this restaurant isn't posh at all. Prices range at 20 to 30 HKD per order, which isn't bad at all. The most popular dish of theirs is the Baked Bun with BBQ Pork.

There are four locations of Tim Ho Wan in Hong Kong:

  • Olympian City
  • Hong Kong Station (Podium Level 1, IFC Mall)
  • G/F, 9-11 Fuk Wing Street, Sham Shui Po
  • Seaview Building, North Point

Image courtesy of Google Images.
We've been use to the malinamnam flavor of Binondo-style dim sum, so expect to be underwhelmed at first taste of the dishes. They also serve chicken feet, siomai, spareribs, etc, but if you're expecting a kick of flavor like the dim sum restaurants you've eaten in the Philippines, you might end up getting a bit disappointed. And for this I only recommend that you try the pork buns; even for that alone it is still worth trying.

Quick Tip: Being a restaurant on the "cheap" side, the queues in Tim Ho Wan is even longer than Din Tai Fung. Consider visiting on the late hours instead (i.e. merienda time) as the restaurant fills up as early as 11 o'clock in the morning. Oh, and they have a take away counter, too. From what I've heard, you have to consume the pork buns within 3 days.

Image courtesy of Google Images.

Discovery Bay

Discovery Bay is a simple man-made beachfront (so there is no need to compare it to the beaches back in the Philippines), but interesting beach-related activities are held there. From dragonboat races to ultimate frisbee tournaments to family day activities, visitors can drop by to spectate or register to participate. Just check out their website for more information.

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Flower Market Road, Mong Kok

While the most popular area in Mong Kok is the Night Market, there are other areas in Mong Kong that sell commodities other than clothes and shoes. One of which is the Flower Market Road, where you can find flower shops and seed shops, and sometimes they even sell fresh produce.

Near Flower Market Road, there are streets that sell other stuff like fish, birds and other small pets. Not that you can bring home live animals back to the Philippines, but an interesting stroll nevertheless, if you're looking for a different view of Hong Kong market life.

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Quick Tip: This area isn't part of the Night Market, so it's best to visit this side of the road before 6pm.

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4 comments:

  1. Fun stuff! We're going to HK tomorrow (Din Tai Fung and Tim Ho Wan are in the plan) so this is perfect timing! :)

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  2. How much was the Hongkong tour package? How many days and night?

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    Replies
    1. Hi, ours was a do-it-yourself trip; we did not avail of any tour package for this. :)

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