Monday, February 27, 2012

Hong Kong Trip 2012 - Disneyland

Day 2 - Disneyland

One thing that you never wanna missed when you're in Hong Kong is of course Disneyland. This is the main purpose why I travel 0345 hours on the flight for. Sometimes you don't want to admit that you want to, but there is this 5 years old in you who still believe in the magic of fairy tale. (wink).

Well for the start, to go to Disneyland from Tsim Tsa Tsui was quite easy. First you must not panic when you used the touch screen monitor to purchase your train ticket. I know this because I did. Unlike here in Malaysia, where you must purchase a new ticket where you drops off at the interchange, in Hong Kong it's quite convenient whereby you may purchase one way ticket to your destination though there are few interchanges and different train lines. Only that you must take note of the interchange and know where you need to drop off and hitch the next ride.

From East Tsim Tsa Tsui (Tseung Kwan Line) --> Nam Cheong (Tung Chung Line) --> Sunny Bay (Disneyland Resort Line) --> Disneyland. As shown in below map. The total price for one way ticket is roughly HK$18 (RM7.20). The train are quite fast and always on time.

(Click on the map for larger scale. Follow the black stars)

Once you get into the Disneyland line, you'll fell in love with the cuteness of the train with all Disney themed things. You know your life going to be different after you come back from Disneyland. Lol.

Hong Kong Disneyland is divided into few main areas, as listed below (also highlight on the attraction based on my experience):

1) Tomorrow Land
--> You don't want to miss the Space Mountain ride, it's pretty scary but worth the thrill!
--> Do catch Buzz Lightyear for a character greeting! And don't missed the Astro Blasters ride. It's hell of a fun!
2) Fantasy Land
--> Don't missed all the stage performance, they are spectacular!
--> Lotsa characters for greetings : Mickey mouse, Donald Duck, Winnie the Pooh, Pluto, Goofy, etc.
--> Do catch the parade show which is somewhere around 3.30pm on the main street.
3) Toy Story Land
--> Don't missed the chance to hop on the thrill rides they have to offer here. They have the most exciting rides in Disneyland.
4) Adventure Land
--> The Lion King show is never to be missed! I fell in love with the show. The team performed very well, I almost felt like crying for watching such a beautiful show.

Also never ever to be missed, don't plan to leave Disneyland before 8pm since that is the time where all people are waiting for. The Magical firework show at Sleeping Beauty's Castle. It was the most magical firework show I've ever seen in my life. Lol. Too much of hype ha? But indeed it was beautiful.

At the Disneyland main entrance.

 View of Sleeping Beauty's castle from Main street USA

Main Street, USA
Tomorrow Land
Dancing with Buzz Lightyear
In front of Sleeping Beauty's castle, marked the entrance to Fantasy Land

The adorable Winnie the Pooh, always for a warm hug
The cute Donald Duck
Mr. Mickey Mouse

The night view of Sleeping Beauty's castle just before the fireworks.

To sum them all up, here's few tips on Disneyland based on my experience there.
 - Arrive early, 10am
 - Don't waste time queing for children rides, unless you have kids with you
 - Mark the stage shows and plan your time to attend it
 - Bring extra money for food/souvenirs, it's quite pricy in there

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Hong Kong Trip 2012 - The Avenue of Stars

On February 2012, that is all where it happens. Finally we made our marks in Hong Kong.

Travel itineraries:

Flight : Airasia
Length of visit : 25th February - 1st March 2012
Accomodation : Golden Maple Leaf Guesthouse, Kowloon
Weather : End of winter, early of spring (14-17 degree Celcius with lotsa wind nearby the shores)

Day 1 : Touch-down
Day 2 : Avenue of Stars, Museum of Art, Star Ferry, Hong Kong Island
Day 3 : Disneyland
Day 4 : Ladies Market, Temple Street (night market), stroll along Kowloon street
Day 5 : Ocean Park
Day 6 : Journey home


Day 1 : The Avenue of Stars

I'm pretty much impressed on how the guesthouse we booked is situated at the Kowloon city itself, whereby public transport, food and all are very convenient to locate. Though the place is nothing to be rated of any stars but overall (small but good enough, afterall you only need a place to sleep and clean). ChungKing Mansion provided the safe feeling of having a bunch of other foreign visitors living under one building and is always busy. Though on your way to the guesthouse you will be bugged by those Indian Muslims sellers who would tried to sell you simcards, money exchange and all, just smile politely saying no is enough for them to understand, but nevertheless they are very helpful in terms of giving you directions and where to go around in Hong Kong.

(Click the above map for better view)

Our guesthouse situated in Tsim Tsa Tsui, which is only 100m away from East Tsim Tsui train station (connecting train to Disneyland) and 200m away from Tsim Tsa Tsui Station (connecting train to Ocean park), 250m away from the Star Ferry Terminal, 200m from Avenue of Stars and Museum of Art, which are all walking distance. Very convenient indeed.

Avenue of stars was abit crowded with Tourist that day, since it was a Sunday. Most tourist came from mainland China, I only met one or two Malaysian and Indonesian family tourist throughout the whole visit. Though it's not as glamour as Hollywood's Walk of Fame, but it does provide familiar names such as Dato' Michelle Yoeh, Jackie Chan, Chow Yun Fatt, Leon Lie, Jacky Cheung etc. I didn't missed the chance to mark my presence there too!

Not to forget the wonderful view of the Hong Kong harbour of the Hong Kong Island. It was just spectacular! You just want to pushed away through the crowd and make sure you had all the opportunities to take your photo for memories there.

Just a distance away from Avenue of Stars is the Museum of Art. On that month, they have a new exhibition going on called, Fantastic Creatures from the British Museum. Though I'm not really a big fan of art or any museum, but I decided to join in. It's only HK$20 (RM8). There we huge collections of mystical antiques dating back from few centuries ago on several civilizations for e.g Greek, Egyptian, Persian, Hindu, etc. The theme of exhibition is about those mystical creatures like Medusa, unicorns, mermaids, etc were being mentioned in history and have their sculpture made. I wished I could share some pictures here but photography/video recording was not allowed in the museum. Bommer. But they do have astonishing antiques and collections. If you appreciate art and antiques, this is the place for you. Also on Sundays, just outside the museum, they have small stalls set up which sells various interesting items, which you may bring home as souvenirs for e.g fashion accessories, musical instruments, decorations, etc.

The Museum of Art, Hong Kong

From Museum of Art, just another 100m or so, is the Star Ferry Terminal. We decide to catch a ferry ride to Hong Kong Island and make our way to the Peak Tram. One ferry ride only cost you HK$6 (RM1.50), and they will make a stop at Central terminal. From there, you will walk across a bridge which you may stroll pass along huge shopping malls and business offices, more like a pedestarian bridge, covered, which is so convenient. I wished our country had something like this. The walk from Central to the Peak Tram took us around 45 minutes, which was quite a journey. Luckily there are signboards leading towards the Peak Tram, you don't really need a map to go around there. (Just make sure you have one in hand, in case of emergency). Arriving at the Peak Tram, as soon as I saw the crowd cramming in to get the tickets, I decided to drop the idea of hitching the ride to the peak and even abandon Madame Tussauds from our list. We made our way back to Central terminal while stopping here and there at the street markets to check out stuffs.

The Peak Tram Building

View from the pedestarian bridge
We made it to the Central Terminal just after sunset and the view at night was very spectacular.
You'll get whisked away with the splashes of neon lights and can just sit there forever to enjoy the view. If you don't own a fancy camera, not to worry, the hawkers there provide professional photography and printing services for you to capture the memory of you and Hong Kong harbour view with only HK$20 each.

Hong Kong Island night view

Spectacular ain't it?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The hidden beauty of Bako National Park, Sarawak

I have always been a fan of nature, I even tag-lined myself as "Reserved for Nature" and encourage my siblings to enjoy and love outdoor adventures (Though our parents are always against us doing outdoor sports which to them it's consider as dangerous and unfeminine....)

To tell you the truth, though there's alot of Reserved National Park in the Peninsular, but I never actually been to one. (Knock myself on the head cause I couldn't answer why too...) I never would have thought that the first National Park I ever visited would be away in Borneo Island.

So after the ups and downs, got lost and back on track (you need a google map or a working GPS should you wanna drive around Sarawak), we finally reached Bako Village after 1.5hours drive from Kuching city. At first we were confused, is this the National Park because it's only consists of a jetty. Then after processing some information, we finally figured out that we had to hitch a speedboat ride from Bako Village along the river and out to the open sea to actually reached the real Bako National Park.

Speed-boat ride? Awesome!
Out to the sea? Awesome!

Beware of Crocodiles? Not-so-cool!

A small speedboat? You gotta be kidding me!

The entrance fee into the park is not expensive, only RM10 per pax, if you come in group of 5 pax, they'll give you RM30 for all. That's a good deal, isn't it? ~nod nod~
They charge differently for the speed boat transfer, which is RM94 (two ways) for group of 3-5 person.
Our parents were reluctant to come at first but since the price is the same for 3 and 5 person, I believe they find it irrelevant of why wasting the free ride. :p

The speedboat ride was super fun! The small rocky boat did made us worried once in awhile (actually most of the time), but the 20 minutes ride was crazy! Equipped with just lifejacket, in a small boat, out on the open sea, anything could have happen... the adrenaline rush was awesome! It's like being on a roller coaster ride.

The rock formations found around the Bako National Park are spectacular. We enjoyed ourselves taking photos all over the place. We didn't know that Bako National Park offers alot of interesting jungle trails, we missed the opportunity to explore them cause we came with just slippers... :(

Nevertheless we tried trailing to the nearest path which is to the Telok Paku Beach, only 800m away from the entrance of the park (which took us 30 minutes to reach the destination).

Enjoy the pictures of Bako National Park, peeps! Don't mind the silly poses and jumps.
We have lost our minds there... lol

 This is the view of Santubong Mountain from Bako National Park, Sarawak.
Next stop, Santubong Mountain!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Kayaking in Sungai Sarawak

Our next day activity was a pre-booked kayaking package taken with Borneo Kuching Kayak which includes a visit to Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Center to see the orang utans at feeding time. With RM218 per pax, I found that it's quite expensive and was reluctant to take the package at first but then again, how often that I can kayak along the river for six hours? Money is not everything... :p

We started our day with a stop at the Wildlife Center, we actually arrived just in time during their morning feeding hours. So we managed to catch a glimpse of the huge dominant orang utan male in the group and few other stunts done by the younger orang utans.

After meeting the shy orang utans, we then proceed to kayaking activities through the rainforests between the foothills of soaring limestone mountains.

Our first stop is at Semadang Village, which will be our finishing point to pick up our kayaking gears then they drove us further to the starting point.
Before starting, we got ourselves busy applying sunblocks all over our exposed parts, not that I don't know that it doesn't make any difference anyway... :p

Along the river kayaking, we stopped by few interesting places which includes a secluded waterfall, which is situated just a short walking distance from the river bank. We had a blast playing at the waterfall and capturing little fishes in the clear fresh water. We even caught a little swordsfish, yes a swordfish, at the waterfall, no kidding!

Then our next stop is for a lunch break at a friendly Bidayuh village at Danu Village with the packed lunch provided by the tour packages themselves. Along the kayak trip, we passed by few traverse rapids and pay a visit to a cave under the mountains beside the riverbank. Then we stopped by a sandy river bank which was close to the river cave and took a swimming before reaching Semadang Village.

The day was made more enjoyable and fun thanks to the friendly crew from Singapore and a very nice guide. There were few times we actually had kayak race along the river and have splashes war between each other's kayak.

Overall, it was indeed a wonderful experience to be floating along the river, enjoying the beautiful wonders of nature and the peaceful of the ride.

If you happen to visit Kuching, do try it! Don't worry, there's no crocodiles along the river!