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Last night ended up being quite the night. After getting back from Lantau Island we took a little nap before heading out for dinner. We originally wanted to hit up a wonton place that was recommended to us but didn't realize what time it closed and we didn't get there in time. Instead, I tried something at McDonalds called the Green Lantern burger. It's basically a hamburger with a hashbrown and some weird sauce on top. I wouldn't get it again but it's interesting to see the different variations of food they have at the global chains.
After that we took the MTR to the mainland part of Hong Kong and were planning on checking out some of the nightlife. Instead, when we got out of the MTR station we saw that we were dead in the middle of some of the Occupy Hong Kong protests. We hung around there for a while taking photos and seeing what was going on.
By the time we wanted to head back to the hotel we realized that the MTR had shut down and we were on the wrong side of Hong Kong (aka, the hotel was on the island and we were on the mainland). None of the taxis wanted to take us across so after about 45 minutes of wandering around we finally found a bus that would get us to our island. After that we had to catch a taxi to get us closer to the hotel and still had a 10 minute walk afterward. We didn't end up getting back to the hotel until around 3am.
Today however, we wanted to head to Macau and check out their version of Vegas. We slept in a little bit since we got to bed so late last night. For an early lunch/late breakfast we went to the wonton place that we missed last night. The food was good and also really cheap.
The process of getting a ferry ticket was really easy and once we were on it, it only took about an hour to get to Macau. Macau itself was actually really disappointing. The entire place was under construction and crowded. None of the casinos were really that impressive. The nice thing about Vegas is how it's built around entertainment whereas Macau is strictly built around hardcore gambling.
Macau used to be controlled by the Portuguese so we were excited to find some legitimate Portuguese food. We did some searching and found a few places. When we got to the one called O Santo we sat down and started looking through the menu. It was a joke how expensive everything was as well as how lame all the food was. It would have been $22+USD just for some pork fried rice. None of the food was authentic Portuguese (we saw some people eating and it was mostly frozen style french fries and chicken or pork).
We left without ordering and found a sitdown fast food place called Curry Monster. Mike and I were able to each get a milk tea and full meal and combined it was less than the average food price for one dish at O Santo.
We walked around a little more and decided to see some of the casinos and then head back to our hotel. We used the free hotel buses to get us to the ferry terminal and booked our ferry back. I think we both passed out for the ride home and got back around 1:30am.
Portuguese square in Macau
Venetian hotel/casino in Macau
The agenda for today was to head over to Lantau Island and visit the Big Buddah, Po Lin temple and then hit the Cheung Sha beach on the southern side of the island. We took the MTR to the island then got on a tram up to the Buddah and Temple area. Fortunately we read some tips that said to buy our tickets online instead of at the tram station and that paid off really well. We saved 10% and also avoided an hour and a half ticket line.
We opted for the glassed bottom tram on the way up. It was pretty cool but probably not worth the couple dollar upgrade. It was nice and sunny at the base of the tram but after the 20 minute ride up to the top we got into more and more clouds and haze. It was still nice up at the top and it made for some cloudy backdrops for the Big Buddah. The Big Buddah used to be the largest buddah in the world until a few years ago. I think it's still the largest bronze buddah in China.
We climbed the 260+ steps up to the base of the Buddah which wasn't too bad. There were some people that were really suffering on the way up though. We walked around and took some photos before heading over to the Po Lin temple area next to the Buddah. The temple must have been freshly painted really recently because all of the colors were really bright.
Once we got to the tram base station we found a bus that would take us around to the southern side of the island where the beaches were. The road between the port/MTR station and the beaches was extremely steep. The buses were having major issues getting over the pass. Fortunately it only took us about 20 minutes to get to the beach.
Trip Advisor said there was a restaurant in town but we couldn't find it. We ended up going down to the beach and found a little tour company that had a convenience shop. We got some beers and some chips since that's about all they had and spent some time on the beach. It started off being really nice but as time went on the clouds rolled in and it got a little more gross.
We got back on the bus and headed back to the station and then got off near Kowloon to try and find the goldfish market. We couldn't find it but instead we found a bunch of street markets and a giant flower market. We walked around a little more before heading back to the hotel. We're getting ready to head out for dinner now. Unfortunately we forgot the restaurant we wanted to go to closed earlier than we thought so we'll have to find something else to eat.
Big Buddah on Lantau Island
Incense at the Po Lin temple
Po Lin Temple
Cheung Sha beach
Today was planned to be dedicated to beaches but unfortunately it rained pretty much the entire day. We started out by heading to Repulse Bay which was actually a pretty decent beach. We hung out there for a little bit until it started to rain. After moving under some tents we decided to head out and visit Turtle Cove Beach via Stanley which supposedly had some nice markets.
We took a minibus to Stanley which was interesting. The minibus drivers seem to go flying through these little narrow and windy roads. It's definitely a little on the sketchy side. Once we got to Stanley we walked around a little bit but it was pretty touristy and the market wasn't really anything special. It was still raining so we ducked into an Indian restaurant that had some really good lunch specials and had some good food.
Turtle Cove beach was next on the list and was definitely worth it. It was a much smaller beach and there were some really good shells that were surprisingly not picked over. It started pouring down rain again so we came back into the city to shower and change. We took a little nap and did some research to figure out where to find dinner and we found a lot of recommendations for Delicious Kitchen.
We went there and got the vegetable rice with fried pork chops and some "mock chicken" which is some kind of rolled tofu. Both were really good. They sat us at a table with an Indonesian guy who comes to Hong Kong a lot. He gave us a lot of helpful info about the city as well as some tips on other places we're going to visit.
After eating we went to the Wan Chai district and saw that it was really just a red light district and nothing like we were looking for. We took the MTR to the Central station and found a bunch of bars and people walking around. We hung around there for a while but the bars were all pretty expensive so we came back to the hotel to get some sleep.
Stanley, Hong Kong
Lunch in Stanley
Dinner at Delicious Kitchen
Day 1 in Hong Kong went really well. Mike and I got a full night of sleep and started the day with breakfast at the hotel. After eating we headed to the Ocean Park amusement park on the south side of the island. It took us a little while to figure out how to catch the bus down to the park. We were misreading the instructions Google gave us which mean we spent quite a bit of time wandering around before we found the bus. We didn't realize we had to catch a subway trail for a few stops before we were supposed to get on the bus.
We finally got to the park and it was extremely empty. We were able to get on every rollercoaster without having to wait in a single line the entire day. After riding every coaster and ride in the park we went and toured the aquariums and various other exhibits. The park actually wasn't that bad but a lot of it was under construction.
Once we finished up at the park we went over to Aberdeen to check out all the fishing boats. We were planning on eating there but we got there too early and didn't feel like sticking around for a few hours to wait for all the boat restaurants to open. Instead, we walked around through some of the city and got to see some local markets that had a lot of fresh vegetables and seafood.
We headed into the Tsim Shai Tsui area and Temple Street and walked around for a while. Open container laws don't exist in Hong Kong so we had a few beers while exploring the city. We did that for a couple hours until the light show on the Tsim Shai Tsui Promenade at 8. It was pretty cool except for how foggy it still was.
Once the show ended we headed back to our side of the island and started searching for food. We found a local place near our hotel that was a little like a dim sum restaurant except you ordered it like sushi. The food was good and extremely cheap. For both Mike and I to have 4 dishes and tea the total was only $10USD.
Tomorrow we're planning on heading out to visit some beaches although the weather is calling for a 60% chance of rain. We're hoping it holds off long enough for us to get a little beach time in.
Pandas at Ocean Park in Hong Kong
Ocean Park in Hong Kong
Laser show on Hong Kong