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HK & MACAU Day 5 - Man Fat Sze Temple, Chilin Nunnery, Star Avenue, Hong Kong Island

Day 5: Airbnb Apartment -> Ten Thousand Buddhas (Man Fat Sze) -> Nan Lian Garden -> Chi Lin Nunnery -> Jenny Bakery Outlet @ TST -> Golden Crown Guesthouse -> Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade (Avenue of Stars) -> Wan Chai (Golden Bauhinia) -> Sheung Wan

Full cream evaporated milk
We thought that the can design seem pretty cute and hence we bought this canned milk the night before from ParkNShop Supermarket located near our apartment. It is so that we can make our own tea to accompany our breakfast.

We had a simple breakfast in the apartment - of bread. You may ask why did we not try their local breakfast like the famous Australian Dairy Co. We did have them in mind, however due to other considerations like wanting to have vegetarian food before we visit temple and also time issue, therefore we did not visit them. We saw from the internet that some popular cha chaan teng can attract long queues in the morning during breakfast!

Our first destination is Man Fat Sze Temple. Our first draft of itinerary was to visit Chi Lin Nunnery first as it is a more direct route from Yau Ma Tei than starting off to Man Fat Sze. However as we knew that there's a lot of climbing to be done for Man Fat Sze Temple, we decide to start it off first, hopefully when the sun has yet to be at its full power.

We left the apartment @ 8am in the morning. Once again we will be taking the MTR to reach our destination. Hong Kong's railway system makes travelling around extremely convenient. Hence, having an Octopus card is crucial!

Our train journey will be:
Yau Ma Tei (Kwun Tong Line) -> Kowloon Tong (East Rail Line) -> Sha Tin
The estimated time of travel is 21 minutes according to the Hong Kong MTR train journey planner.

MTRs come quite frequently in Hong Kong! So don't worry about missing one!
MTR on Kwun Tong Line @ 8.15am, Thursday
Plenty of empty seats on the MTR on Kwun Tong Line @ 8.15am, Thursday
Among the lines that we took in Hong Kong thus far, most seems to be underground tunnels!

We transited at Kowloon Tong for Sha Tin. The train here seems different. As you can see from the image below, the train still have overhead wires hanging. The feeling is so different!

Transit @ Kowloon Tong
For this train, they have First Class cabins! Some sections along the platform states 'Quiet Zone' too. We aren't too sure how to board the first class cabins - it feels like everyone has the same pass, so how do you differentiate the standard. 

We board at the Quiet Zone coincidentally. No one was talking in the cabin. However in general, even in other cabins, there's little interactions between people. We seldom hear them talking to each other either. Most seems to be solo commuters.

We finally reach Sha Tin MTR @ 8.40am, which is an approx 25 mins ride.

Destination: Sha Tin MTR exit B
To get to Man Fat Sze (Ten Thousands Buddha) Monastery, you will have to get out from Exit B. Once you head out, turn left and you will see this (see image below). Follow the ramp down.

Turn left and Follow the ramp down for the pedestrian crossing.
Then walk straight, following the pedestrian path. You don't need to cross opposite as it is the bus interchange.

Walk straight on the pedestrian path
To make sure you are on the right path, just walk along Pai Tau Street.

Pai Tau Street
Towards the end of the street you will meet a road. Cross it -> head towards the left side. You should be in the direction of Sha Tin Government Offices.

Towards ' Sha Tin government Offices'
Thereafter, walking straight along the pedestrian path, you will see Sha Tin government office just opposite the road. At this point of time, you would have reach Sheung Wo Che Road. Either you cross the road and turn right and walk all the way, or you turn right and walk all the way then you cross the road.

Sheung Wo Che Road - Sha Tin Government office in the background
You are extremely near to Man Fat Sze now. You may choose to cross the road and walk along the side of Sha Tin Government office or cross the road later. However as it is working hours, there's many people along that area. Man Fat Sze Temple is at the side of Sha Tin Government Offices.

Walk straight
And ta da ~ At the end of Sheung Wo Che Road you will see the sign towards Ten Thousands Buddha Monastery (Notice in Red and yellow words).

Sign to Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery / Man Fat Sze
We saw on the internet that many tourists ended up on the wrong track and headed towards a chinese cemetry. We believe that they headed to Fuk Shan Tse (Green and brown sign in the background of the image below)

signs at the end of the road to guide you!
So to get to Man Fat Sze, be sure to turn left, and follow the red sign. You will see this path. Follow the dog path in the image below!

Right way to Man Fat Sze Temple
As you walk on, soon you reach the foot of the temple!
Foot of Man Fat Sze Temple
It took us a leisurely 10-15 minutes walk to foot of Man Fat Sze Temple from Sha Tin MTR.

One you reach the foot of the temple, be prepared to climb the steps up! Plenty of steps!

steps up to reach the temple
There's plenty of steps but they are quite shallow and not steep. Do not try to attempt the slope at the left side of the walkway, as it is pretty steep. Along the way, there are plenty of Arhats on both side of the walk way. There are chinese wordings on red paper along the way too.

Chinese wordings
If you are interested, do take some time to read them, afterall they are 'wisdom wordings'! No harm no harm!

Rest stop
Halfway through we come across a rest stop, with a drinks fridge for you to refuel before you continue to climb. They do not dictate the amount to the soft drinks but do pay the amount that you deem it to be worth.

More steps!
Nearing the top ~

Final few steps and we are nearing the temple! 
Temple - viewed from the steps
Pretty scenary
Yup, after climbing all the steps, you are almost at the 'top of the world'. Haha. There's great scenary up there. The temple is situated on a 'hill'. The whole place is pretty peaceful. When we reach, there was only another solo traveller and a few temple volunteers. If you are seeking for peacefulness within the Hong Kong city, this is a place to visit.
Man Fat Sze Temple - Main Hall
It was a leisurely 15 minutes walk up the steps to reach the main hall of the temple. By the time we reach the main hall of the temple it's around 9.15am. The weather is starting to get more and more humid.

We made our offerings and prayers at the main hall of the temple. Just opposite the main hall, is a pagoda and some statues of the Goddess of Mercy. There is a reason for its name - Ten Thousand Buddha Monastery because it really has around 10,000 buddha statues in its compound.

Goddess of Mercy
Other statues of the Goddess of Mercy
There is also a second level after the main hall level. Yup more steps coming up!

More steps to the 'second level'
statue of buddhas around you as you climb up the steps to the 'second level'
'Second level'
There are more buddha statues here and also pagoda. There is also a 玉皇殿 which is also the Hall for the Jade Emperor.

More buddha statues with the city and sky as its backdrop
Pagoda and rocks
On the rocks, there's different characters on it. Some maintenance work was ongoing when we were there. Be careful!

Characters on the rocky hill
The 'second level' is higher hence the view of the city is nicer too from there too. You see plenty of hills which is a rare sight in Singapore where all you see is skyscrapers.
View from the 'second level'
We spotted a family of monkeys there too! So be cautious if you are bringing food there.

We saw on the internet that they do serve vegetarian dishes too and it is not bad. However we wanted to try the vegetarian dishes at Chilin Nunnery more, so we did not stop for lunch before setting off. We start to make our way down at around 10.05am.

View on our way down
This time round, we saw more people along the pathway, but they are heading in the opposite direction from us. We are headed down but they are heading upwards. At this point of time, its getting even hotter. We can really feel the heat. So I would recommend that unless you are coming during winter when its cooling, if not start off early. The monastery opens at 9am, but it is the main hall gate that opens at 9am, the foot of the monastery where you start climbing the steps up is opened a little earlier! We were there at aroudn 8.55am and it was already opened. Climbing the steps up when it is very hot and humid can be a chore and it is definitely not gonna be an easy task!

On our way back to Sha Tin MTR we saw a make shift preserved sweets store.

Temporary preserved sweets store @ Sha Tin MTR
Now our next stop is to Chilin Nunnery which is situated near Diamond Hill MTR!

To get to Diamond Hill MTR from Sha Tin MTR, this is the route we have to take:

Sha Tin (East Rail Line) -> Kowloon Tong (Kwun Tong Line) -> Diamond Hill

The East Rail Line is generally above land surface and there's wires hanging over the train. We took the train from Sha Tin and alighted after 1 stop.

MTR @ Kowloon Tong
The above picture show where we alighted and as we walk we pass by the 'first class' cabin! Generally first class cabin has more comfy seats - seats are cushioned like those long distance/cross border trains.

To transit to Diamond Hill, we get off the '火车‘ (Railway train) and hop on to an underground MTR.

Kowloon Tong MTR underground subway
However when we reached Kowloon Tong MTR, one of us needed a shoe replacement at Kowloon Tong MTR area as the shoe strap snap :(

Sigh what an unfortunate event which no one would hope to happen when you are overseas, especially when it is still the early part of the day and there's many more places to go and you aren't too familiar with the place around hence clueless as to where to get a pair of shoes.

Luckily Kowloon Tong MTR has a shopping mall called Festival Walk linked to it, so we were able to get a pair of shoes instantly. However it houses big brands like Burberry :/ And all we are looking for is just a simple pair of shoes so that the person can just continue with walking. At this point of time, we are really thankful for the existence of huge department stores like Uniqlo and H&M that makes things affordable yet not expensive.

Festival Walk has a Uniqlo department store and a H&M department store. We passed by the H&M departmental store first and just nice, its flats were on sale. We purchased a basic Black flats for HKD 70 (SGD $12.20). Not too bad! Yay unlucky yet lucky us! A quick walk around the H&M store, we realised the price is not too bad. Not too sure if its the exchange rate difference or what but the price is cheaper than what we can get in Singapore. So do visit H&M in Hong Kong! Uniqlo wise the clothes are cheaper but not exactly as cheap cos afterall Uniqlo's Singapore has plenty of offers on and off.

Okay back to topic, we are well equipped with comfy shoes and we board the train again! We alighted at Diamond Hill MTR at We reached Diamond Hill MTR at around 11.40am. If everything is smooth, the train ride including transit trains from Sha Tin to Diamond Hill should take approx 20 mins only!
Exit C2 @ Diamond hill MTR
Remember to get out from Exit C2 of Diamond Hill MTR, you should see the Uniqlo department store on your left when you reach ground floor from the exit. On the main pavement you will see signs directing you to Chi Lin Nunnery. Just follow the signs and you are in safe hands.

Turn left for Chi Lin Nunnery
It was only a 2-3 mins walk to Chi Lin Nunnery entrance.

Chilin Nunnery entrance
Just entered Chi Lin Nunnery
When we first entered Chi Lin Nunnery, our expectations was kept low. We knew that it was ranked high on Tripadvisor but to know that admission is free and it is easily accessible, we thought it must be small and there's nothing too fancy given that maintenance cost are often high and this doesn't seem to be funded by government. Afterall when we just entered Chi Lin Nunnery (see image above), the first impression doesn't seem good.

But oh my, look at how much we have underestimated it! We were totally GRATEFUL that we actually pay a visit to this city beauty! 

Chi Lin Nunnery
It is a really big 'park' with traditional architecture inside. There is a pond/lake around the middle too. The flowers/bushes/grasses were all in a nice pattern which just reflects how well maintained it is. We wouldn't mind even if we need to pay a small admission fee to enter! It is really beautiful and it amazed us on how this park can exist in this city.

Trees and greenery in Chi Lin Nunnery
There are many photo taking opportunities because everything is just too pretty and the houses/greenery makes you feel as if you are in Korea or Japan too!

This whole park is actually called 'Nan Lian Garden', but it is often known as Chi Lin Nunnery. The nunnery is actually really a nunnery which is situated at the back of the garden which we visited after lunch. Speaking of lunch, if you are here at Nan Lian Garden, we strongly recommend you to have a vegetarian lunch @ Chi Lin Vegetarian.

So why?

1. For the scenary
2. The food is delicious. Best vegetarian that we have tasted.
3. Now that you have appreciated the garden scenary, time for you to contribute back. All proceeds from your spending in the restaurant, will be contributed to maintaining Nan Lian Garden.

Chi Lin Vegetarian house under the waterfall
Look at how classy and nice to dine under the waterfall! However, if you want to get seats right beside the glass window overlooking the waterfall, we recommend reaching early (11.45am or earlier) OR make a reservation. The latter is preferred because it is really popular even with the local working people. Hence as we did not make a reservation, we did not enjoy a good seat (beside the window) and we have to finish our food within 1 hour. However if you had reserved beforehand, there will be no time restriction!

Chi Lin Vegetarian
Chi Lin vegetarian poster 2
If you are not sure how to get here, do look out for the signs along your way in the garden, it will state to Chi Lin Vegetarian /Restaurant. There's only 1 place selling food in Nan Lian Garden.

When we reached the restaurant it is 12pm. By the time we enter, there were plenty of people sitted inside the restaurant already! The opening hours of the restaurant is 12pm! So, be there early if you dont want to reserve!

Entrance to Chi Lin Restaurant
Don't you think that the entrance to Chi Lin Restaurant looks like traditional houses in Japan? Haha

Interior of the restaurant
We were seated at the last row from where the image of the restaurant (above) was taken. Thus as you can see Chi Lin Vegetarian is not exactly big. The windows seats (left side of the image) are the best for scenary ~

Menu pg 1
Menu pg 2
So what to order? You can order ala-carte or their set menu. As we saw good online reviews about Chi Lin Vegetarian, we decided to go for their 4 persons set @ HKD 688 (SGD $120). It is around SGD $ 30 per pax. Whether it is expensive or not I guess it is subjective. If you think it is expensive, then just treat it as doing a good deed - donation yet you are able to satisfy your meal need. 

Another reason on why we ordered the set meal is because we thought they will cook and serve faster too since its standard on their menu.

Yup, food was served pretty fast. The first 2 dishes came at 12.10pm, just 10 mins after we were seated. There are a total of 8 dishes in the 4 persons set.

From left to right: Beancurd with spicy sauce, Roasted Marinated mushroom in homemade sauce
From left to right: Braised Shimeji Mushrooms with white fungus, Braised Cauliflower fungus w/ Faba beans & beancurd
Stir Fried black termite mushroom
Yellow Porcini Mushroom Fried Rice
From left to right: Deep fried pumpkin & seaweed wrapped in beancurd roll, Braised beancurd patty with mixed vegetables
There is simply nothing that we dislike.Everything is really good. The dishes looks exquisite and not common from the vegetarian dishes we typically have. Do note that the deep fried pumpkin and seaweed wrapped in beancurd roll consist of 2 different flavours, the slightly curved pastry is pumpkin wrapped in beancurd roll while the other one that looks like a bolster is the seaweed wrapped in beancurd roll.

List of dishes
Receipt @ Chi Lin Vegetarian
In total we paid HKD 688 (SGD $120.70) and as you can see from the bottom of the receipt " Net proceeds will be used to finance the management and conservation of Nan Lian Garden". 

So how's eating plenty of delicious vegetarian dishes, and under a waterfall

Chi Lin Vegetarian
yet knowing you can contribute to the greenery of the garden. Doesn't that sounds good?

They need plenty of workers to trim the bushes and maintain the garden and that's involve a high running cost!

If you are interested, here's Chi Lin Vegetarian name card! Do give them a reservation for a better view!
Chi Lin Vegetarian name card
After a hearty lunch, we continued our journey to Chi Lin Nunnery ( The place of worship which is just beside Nan Lian Garden). Time checked: 1pm. 

Do note that if you happen to visit the place on a Wednesday, you will get free admission to their Exhibition of Chinese Enamel Wares and Japanese Cloisonne Enamels.

The exhibition is on till 30th September 2015, from 10am-5pm daily. Usual price is HKD 20 (SGD $3.5) but free admission on Wednesday. We weren't exactly interested in it so we did not specifically plan it on a Wednesday. If you are interested, the exhibition is located at: Xiang Hai Xuan Multi Purpose Hall @ Nan Lian Garden. It is situated near Chi Lin Vegetarian.

In order to get to Chi Lin Nunnery we have to cross a Tang Dynasty style grey bridge which overlooks a pavilion.
Bridge overlooking a tower/pavilion
Thereafter you will see temples looking like structure and that's Chi Lin Nunnery - place of worship.

Chi Lin Nunnery main entrance
There are a couple of temple halls around so do take your time to look around. The whole place reminds us of our trip to Korea's Gyeongbokgung palace in Seoul.

We offered our prayers and that's about it for Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Garden. We thought that we would take a much longer time, but looks like we didnt. It was around 1.30pm. 

Our original plan for the day was to head to Chilin nunnery, Man Fat Sze Temple and Mong Kok. However as we went Mong Kok yesterday, and since we realised we overestimated the time for Chilin Nunnery and Man Fat Sze Temple, so we actually push forward most of Day 6 itinerary (Hong Kong Island) to this day. We decide to conquer the famous Avenue of Stars and Hong Kong Island. Stay tune for our rides on the Star Ferry and Ding Ding Tram!

We decided to take the MTR to Tsim Sha Tsui MTR as we have a couple of 'errands' to run!

Diamond Hill (Kwun Tong Line) -> Mong Kok (Tsuen Wan Line) - > Tsim Sha Tsui 

It was around a 20 minutes train ride inclusive of transfers. We reached Tsim Sha Tsui at 2pm.

Our first stop at Tsim Sha Tsui is Golden Crown Court - to collect our admission ticket to the Peak from Golden Crown Guesthouse.

Golden Crown Guesthouse offers cheap accomodation (but only if you aren't a fussy traveller) and also cheap tickets! Since we have used the tickets before, I can safely say that the tickets are legit! Also, you DO NOT need to stay at the guesthouse to be eligible for the tickets. We decided to buy our peak combo tickets (Sky terrace + Peak tram + Madame Tussaud) tickets from Golden crown Guesthouse as it offers the best pricing among all the other agencies that we have compared. Furthermore, there is no need to pay online, but rather they accept cash when you get your physical tickets at their office which is located at Tsim Sha Tsui - a VERY centrally located area!

We reserved 4 Peak combo tickets on Golden Crown Guesthouse website a week before departure. The website comes in English and Mandarin version :) You just have to reserve the number of tickets and the date of your collection and they will send you a reservation form where you just need to print it out for collection on the day.

Golden Crown Guesthouse reservation
They provide other discounted admission tickets such as : Disneyland, Ocean Park, Ngong Ping cable car and Sky 100. Trust me, the admission tickets are all open dated which makes it flexible and they are all competitively priced. You get the same deal at a lower price!

For example, for the 3-in-1 peak combo tickets, if you were to buy on the spot at the Peak counter, it would cost you HKD 320 (SGD $56.14) and if you were to buy online in advance from the official website, it will still cost you HKD 300 (SGD $52.63). However if you purchase from Golden Crown Guesthouse, it cost you HKD 218 (SGD $38.25) only! Look at the amount of savings per pax you get - a whopping SGD $18 per person. For a family of 4 like us, we have saved SGD $72!

So, we recommend that you put Golden Crown Guesthouse discounted tickets in your consideration during planning! :) 

For The Peak, if you are just interested in heading up the peak and Madame Tussaud Museum but not the Sky terrace 428, then we suggest you to purchase the Madame Tussaud ticket form the website directly and pay for your tram ride via Octopus Card. It is cheaper this way if you are visiting the museum during the off peak period of 10am-11am or after 8pm.

So, we alighted at Exit A2 of Tsim Sha Tsui station. It is just beside Standard Chartered bank. Thereafter take the lift to 5th storey and you will see Golden Crown Guesthouse office. Collection if fast, just provide the person with the printed reservation and cash, then he will pass you the tickets instantly. For the Peak 3-in 1, we get 2 physical tickets each - 1 for the Peak tram and sky terrace, and another one for the Madame Tussaud Museum.

After settling, we went straight to the building beside it - Mirador Mansion for the famous Jenny Bakery cookies!

Jenny Bakery @ Tsim Sha Tsui (Mirador Mansion)
Jenny Bakery @ Tsim Sha Tsui
Shop 24 Ground Floor, 
Mirador Mansion,
54-64 Nathan Road.

Jenny Bakery has 2 outlets in Hong Kong - Tsim Sha Tsui and Sheung Wan.We read that there has been long queue for the biscuits in Hong Kong so we wanted to find out whats the hype about it. Luckily when we reached at 2.30pm, the queue was still alright! We decided to buy the smallest tin for trying. Then if it's really that nice perhaps we can go over to its outlet at Sheung Wan to buy again the next day if we pass by that area. The attitude of the staff is like what's described online - fast pace and rude. Typically they expect no questions asked and just get the goods and you pay them the money and leave.

4 mix butter cookies @ HKD 70 (SGD $12.30) 
We bought that 4 mix butter cookies for HKD 70 (SGD $12.30). On our way to the Avenue of star, there was some sitting area with nice green grass patch, so we decided to have an 'open picnic' there just like everyone else. We opened our tin of Jenny Bakery cookies and tried. It is indeed crunchy and it seems to melt in your mouth. However we thought that it isn't that fragrant. Afterall given the price we paid it isn't considered cheap, we thought the butter smell or so might be more fragrant but it wasn't. However, something funny about Jenny Bakery cookies is that, there seem to be friends like us who does not think Jenny Bakery is worth queuing up for, but there are friends who really adore the cookies though! So we will leave it up to you to decide! But to play safe, we recommend buying the small tin to try first. If it's to your liking, then buy more thereafter.

If you are interested, do visit Jenny Bakery's website to find out more. They are quite transparent with their pricing too!

Avenue of Stars ~
We reached Avenue of Stars at around 3.30pm and the sun was blazing hot :( You can just follow the whole Nathan Road down ( see map below) and you will reach the Avenue of stars / promenade in around a 10-15 minutes walk - depending on weather conditions too.

Map ( Mirador Mansion to Avenue of Stars) - Courtesy of Google Map
Victoria Harbour is the natural landform harbour situated between the Hong Kong island and Kowloon in Hong Kong.

Overlooking Hong Kong Island - view of the Victoria Harbour
There is a light show against the backdrop of the Victoria Harbour on 8pm every night. Several places good for viewing are at the Wan Chai Promenade or Avenue of stars promenade. However a research on tripadvisor, we found that many recommended viewing at Avenue of stars area as there's more building on the Hong Kong Island then Kowloon island where Tsim Sha Tsui is, so the effect isn't that great? As there's still around 4-5 hours to the light show, we have no idea where else to head to, so we didn't catch the light show. We were in the hope of watching it the next day on the Peak, but sadly if you read our Day 6 post, we can't see any light show from the peak :(

Do note that The avenue of stars - where you can see many famous artiste statues is at the opposite end of promenade from the star ferry pier where you can take a very affordable ferry across the island to Wan Chai or Central.

Who can forget Bruce Lee when they think of Hong Kong martial arts?

Bruce Lee's statue
Aqua Luna boat in the background
"To pay tribute to outstanding professionals of Hong Kong's film industry, to promote tourism industry, and to consolidate Hong Kong's position as Asia's World City, the Avenue of Stars which is located at the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade was given a glittering official opening on 27 April 2004"

- Avenue of Stars official webpage
hand print of Jackie Chan and the entertainment industry of Hong Kong
There are plenty of photo taking opportunities there against the Victoria Harbour. You can spot many people vying to get the best shots!
Photo taking
If your itinerary allows, it would be good to plan a trip to Avenue of stars in the evening so that it is much cooling to walk along the promenade too! However do keep in mind that evening is the most 'peak' period of the promenade as many tourists flock here to get the sunset view of Hong Kong and also to wait for the Symphony of lights performance.

As mentioned, the Avenue of stars is opposite the ferry pier where you can get a star ferry to Hong Kong Island. So we have to walk back along the promenade to the Star Ferry pier to catch the ferry!
Star Ferry @ Star Ferry Pier
The Star Ferry is an iconic classic symbol of Hong Kong too as it used to be an important part of the commuter system between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon Island, before the subway/buses came about when underwater tunnels were built. The Star Ferry traces its origins back to 1880!

Furthermore, it costs just HKD 2.50 (SGD 44c) per ride and it is quite frequent. So why not?

The Star Ferry pier @ Tsim Sha Tsui is also located near the famous clock tower!

Star Ferry pier ( To Central & to wan chai)
It is quite crowded actually. Do take note of the signs where you are heading to!

Ferry To Wan Chai 
On the top right hand corner of the steps, there is a clock and an electronic board that states the next ferry timing. Alternatively you can keep track of the ferry frequency on the Star Ferry website. You may select 'Download timetable' and print out the pdf file for easier reference on your trip! It's frequency range from 6-20 minutes depending on the timing you board.

Payment for your ferry fare can be paid by tapping your octopus card! Extremely convenient !

Payment by octopus card and enter the gantry
Waiting area for the ferry
Don't you think that the infrastructure doesn't seem that well maintained/developed. It seem to be a little different from what we see in city states, but it is this that makes it very 古色古香? haha

We didn't have to wait long and we board the ferry at around 4.38pm.

Once everyone board the ferry, it departs off - across the harbour. Do note that the seats on the Star Ferry is reversible! you will have to change the backing of the bench around so that you are facing in the direction of sail! If you are unsure, dont worry, just follow the other commuters!
And we cross the victoria harbour ~
It was indeed around a 8 minutes ferry ride as stated on their website. Very short ferry ride but we were really glad that we took the star ferry! Afterall it is extremely affordable at just SGD 44c per ride. Do you know it is cheaper than taking the MTR. If you take the MTR from Tsim Sha Tsui to Wan Chai it will cost HKD 9.4 (SGD $1.65), which is 4 times more expensive!

We are worried for the future of the Star Ferry as we understand that ferry operation costs is high yet they only earn a meagre SGD 44c from each commuter each trip. Their ferries are not new either, so that means higher maintainence costs too. Furthermore it's not full load when we took their ferry. It seem like they might slowly get replaced by bus and MTR, but we really hope, that the Star Ferry can still survive one day when we return back to Hong Kong...

Back to topic again! So we alighted at the bustling Hong Kong Island. Everywhere is human traffic. It is really full of people and everyone is walking at a very fast pace mode. The Wan Chai Star Ferry pier is near to the Hong Kong Convention centre which is located next to the Golden Bauhinia - which is our destination!

Golden Bauhinia Square, situated outside the Hong Kong Convention and exhibition centre
There will be signs along the way to guide you to the Golden Bauhinia. Just look out for directions saying "Hong Kong Expo/convention centre" or "Golden Bauhinia" and you are in the right way to this place.
Up close shot of the Golden Bauhinia
"The bauhinia is the emblem of Hong Kong. The Forever Blooming Bauhinia Sculpture that gives the Expo Promenade the commonly-used name, Golden Bauhinia Square, was a gift from the Central Government to mark the 1997 Handover -- an occasion that held tremendous significance for the world’s largest nation and that stands out as a landmark event in 20th century history."                                            
  Hong Kong Tourism Board
It is a touristy place - famous with Mainland tourists especially. It is a historic landmark in Hong Kong as it is a gift from the central government to mark the return of Hong Kong to People's Republic of China.

Just opposite the Golden Bauhina is also the Wan Chai Promenade, which is similar to the Avenue of stars Promenade. 
View of the Victoria Harbour from Wan Chai Waterfront Promenade
There's a huge helicopter landing pad there and our timing was just alright - we happened to caught the landing and departure of the helicopter coincidentally!
Here comes the helicopter in action !
We thought there might be a chance of seeing celebrities (明星) alighting from the helicopter but sadly we didnt. 3 guys alighted from the helicopter but they seem like ordinary people :/ 

There were plenty of others rushing to the promenade to catch the helicopter in action too! Afterall, how many times in your live do you even see a helicopter?

Do note that the star ferry pier and the Golden Bauhinia is not located directly next to the MTR (Subway). So you will need to walk a distance. According to the map, there's a few ding ding tram lines near the MTR and we decide to take them! 

Direction from Golden Bauhinia Sq to Wan Chai MTR - Map courtesy of Google Maps
As you can see from the Google Map above, it is generally a straight walk through Expo Drive and Fleming Road.

We left Golden Bauhinia Square at around 5.20pm and we past by the Hong Kong Convention and exhibition centre. There was PLENTY of people leaving the exhibition centre. We wonder what exhibition was ongoing. What made it worse was there's plenty of Hong Kong-ers selling the limited edition HSBC 150th anniversary notes! We then realise it should be the collection of the notes in the exhibition centre, and then profiteers start to sell it outside of the exhibition centre at double or triple the price.
Human traffic everywhere
A search on the internet and we saw an official announcement by HSBC that collection of the 150th Commemorative notes is available from 9th - 28th June 2015.

The commemorative notes were launched in celebration of HSBC's 150th anniversary in Hong Kong. All net proceeds from the sale of the notes is said to be going towards local charity. Only permanant residents in Hong Kong are allowed to apply for the commemorative notes and you will need to auction for special set of bank notes (like with selected numbers on the notes or in folders).

Retailing HSBC 150th Commemorative Notes
Look at the stack of HSBC commemorative notes folder this retailer has. She/he is not the only one. There's more of them all along the street and road. Many were selling them and they do not just have 1 or 2 but really bags of them. It comes to a point where we doubt whether the notes are real or it may be counterfeit goods! We were appalled by this scene since we have never experience it in home country. I really wonder if they are going to earn huge profits from these sales to mainland tourists. No comments on whether they should do so, but still an interesting sight for foreigners like us.

If you are interested in the 150th commemorative notes by HSBC feel free to head to their website to find out more.

Along our way on Wan Chai, we see plenty of people getting on the buses as its the time where most knock off from work. Bus seems to be a popular way of transport for the locals. Their bus are pretty comfortable too!

Spot the human traffic on the overhead bridge!
more people!
Wan Chai MTR
And finally we saw our ding ding ~ *Excitement*
Ding Ding Tram
Ding Ding was first founded in 1904 and is formally known as Hong Kong Tramways. However because  the tram will make a 'ding ding' sound when it reaches the station, hence tourists and locals alike start to call it ding ding.

It operates on track lines on the road  with overhead hanging wires to provide it with the electricity.
So as you can see, even if there's traffic congestion on the road, it should not affect ding ding tram since it is a separate section on the road.

Board from the back and alight from the front!
Each tram ride cost HKD 2.30 (SGD 40c) no matter how far the journey you take. You can board it for a stop or bord from the start to the end of the tram journey it will still cost the same price. Fare payment is via Octopus Card or cash (no change provided) when you alight the tram at the front. 
Contrary to Singapore's Public transport, you have to board the tram from the back door!

The tram only operates on the Hong Kong Island (it is a straight route). As we are not rushing off to anywhere, and our main aim is to have the ding ding experience, thus we just board on to any tram that came. Mind you, the trams come very frequent! Not too sure if it's because of the time - 6pm.

For a better planning in using Ding Ding to commute around Hong Kong island - do look at their website and plan your trips from there. It is quite useful!

The distance between each stations does not seem far.
onboard the Ding Ding
We went up to the upper deck and the view is so much nicer! You can feel the breeze as the ding ding moves along! It took us around 40 minutes to reach Sheung Wan MTR. This is because there was a traffic accident at one of the junction and hence, it resulted in some inconvenience for the road traffic including ding ding. Thus the traffic slowed down to a halt. Otherwise, the tram ride should not take that long perhaps maybe 20 mins only! It was a very scenic ride - in the sense you get to see the streets of Hong Kong not by foot but in the comfort of sitting in the tram. We strongly recommend everyone to give the tram a try - especially when you have some time to spend and you just take it on leisure and alight at the stop which you feel like it or nearer to the MTR station.

Similar to the Star ferry, we fear for its future. In recent news, there have been rumours of removing the ding ding tracks in Central too. Maintenance of this railway track and overhead wires yet charging at a minimal amount can be a heavy toll on the operators. Ding Ding tram is a classic yet fading icon in Hong Kong,we will definitely missed it and will be back to board it again as long as it is there!

Back to topic, we alighted near Sheung Wan MTR and we call it a day - retreat back to Yau Ma Tei.
Central MTR @ 7.10pm, Thursday
We reached back at Yau Ma Tei MTR at around 7.30pm. We are on 3 final missions before we head back to our apartment!
1. To get Hong Kong egglet (雞蛋仔) near Yau Ma Tei MTR
2. Get next day's morning breakfast @ Dragon Ball Bakery
3. Sham Tsai Kee wonton Noodles for supper!

Hong Kong Egglet store @ Yau Ma Tei
Yau Ma Tei MTR Exit A2
Walk along Pitt Street, till you reach Shanghai Street.

We will have to pass by this shop everyday along the way to/fro Yau Ma Tei MTR from our apartment. The smell coming out from this store is always very fragrant. Hence we decide to try this local delicacy!

Hong Kong Egglet @ HKD 12 (SGD $2.10) 
It is really nice and 'crispy' on its skin. It basically taste like waffle. I guess for the price of HKD 12 (SGD $2.10) it is considered cheap, and we think it taste really not bad, so it can be considered as value for money! Haha

Beside the store is Dragon Ball Bakery (龙珠饼店).
Dragon Ball Bakery @ Yau Ma Tei
It has freshly baked egg tarts everyday, once sold out means sold out. We love their egg tarts as well as its other bakery items like cha Siew bun too! 

Last but not least, our host recommended us to Sham Tsai Kee wonton noodles which is just a straight road down from our apartment. This wonton noodle store is especially famous for its supper given that it opens till 4am in the morning!
Sham Tsai Kee 深仔记 Wonton Mee
Side door of the eatery
Sham Tsai Kee
G/F, 97 Portland Street, 
Yau Ma Tei 
2 Min walk from Exit A1, Yau Ma Tei MTR

There was no seats inside during our time of visit - 7.45pm. Hence we decided to take away back to our apartment. We ordered the Wonton Mee (鲜虾云吞面) for HKD 25 (SGD $4.40). Do note that similar to our earlier experiences, soup and without soup cost differently. I have no idea why though that noodles with soup cost cheaper.

We waited for around 5-10 minutes for the wonton mee. There is no extra charge for take away.

Take away wonton mee - bowl is courtesy of the host
Wonton Noodle HKD 25 (SGD $4.40)
There are 5 dumplings in total. We think that the noodles is nice but perhaps a little too flavourful which we suspect is MSG. However one thing about wonton noodles in Hong Kong is that you really get to taste prawns in each and every 1 of the dumpling. This is not something you will find in Singapore. Even if there's prawns in the dumpling, it is not a whole prawn. But in Hong Kong, tehey are absolutely generous with it.

Our day ended early (around 8pm) as we were tired from the 1 full day of activities. However we had an enjoyable experience today and of course a hearty Hong Kong meal - Wonton noodles and egglet to end the day on a happy note :)

bamboo scaffolding
Bamboo Scaffolding is a common sight in Hong Kong. Typically you don't get to see this in cities like Singapore, especially when they even use bamboo which is pretty traditional!
The photo above was taken at Yau Ma Tei where we pass by many houses with this typical scaffolding everyday during our stay there.

Rental prices
How's rental prices in Hong Kong compared to your own country? ;)


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