With its excellent public transport system, anyone can travel comfortably in and around Hong Kong.
The day started early for me and my friends on foot from our hotel – Maridor Mansion – along Nathan road towards Star Ferry Pier. Today’s destination in Hong Kong Island: Wan Chai, Western Market and Madame Tussauds Wax Museum.
As we stepped onto Nathan Rd., we noticed a group of general workers blasting water and scrubbing the pavements. What a great contribution from them to the city! We walked further, passing famous landmarks – Hyatt, Holiday Inn, Imperial Hotel and Louis Vuitton – but can’t stop admiring at the cleanliness of our route. The virtually empty and quiet street apart from accessional passes by taxis and buses was spotless.
At Sheraton, I got myself a quick photo snap at the entrance as my friends were on the move. At the end of Nathan Road, we turned into Salisbury Rd and stopped in front of The Peninsula. I liked the European design of this five-star luxury hotel, decorated with a huge water fountain at its entrance. Across the road is the Hong Kong Space Museum and HK Cultural Center. We walked few blocks away to the 1881 Heritage, another lavish stay for the rich. Here, you would not miss a majestic three headed copper statue welcoming you to its premise.
By now, we have almost reached the pier. A clock tower and a bus station are located close to the jetty. Upon arriving, we missed the Flag Raising Ceremony held daily at 7.50am before 1st ferry leaves the wharf.
We got ourselves a ticket with Octopus card and boarded the “Morning Star” as soon the gates opened. The green and white stripped ferry with its eye catching chimney looked tiny beside an enormous 6 decked Star Cruise. The classic exterior with flotation tires hanging from its sides matched with wood finishing and wooden seats. A metal plaque on the wall reads “M.V. “Morning Star” Hull Constructed & Machinery Installed by The Hong Kong & Whampoa Docks, Kowloon Docks 1965”, presenting its history.
As we slowly rocked across Victoria Harbour under the fresh rays of the morning sun, I noticed there’s not much excitement on the boat except for five of us. I tip toed from bow to stern enjoying every nook of the vehicle as the locals busy reading newspapers and magazines. View of many tall reflecting buildings on the other side accompanied by the sound of splashing water was peaceful and easily can keep one indulged in a deep thought.
“Clang Clung” noise heard as the metal ferry docked Central Pier. A man in “Sailor” outfit received us from our short trip when the mechanical door bridged to the building.
From Central Pier, we opted for an underground ride to Wan Chai. Wan Chai is one of the oldest towns in the island and first to be developed with commercial centers. To my delight the place retains the “Old Cantonese Movie” look, with its aged apartments, tram roads, coffee shops and a street market. I ordered a bowl of prawn dumpling noodles and a cup of tea for my breakfast at a coffee shop. With added vigor, we walked through busy streets of the wet market among the excitements around us. Feel this place yourself, from video which I have recorded.
Happy, with our bags filled with souvenirs, stomach with “Dim Sum” and cameras with loads of picture, we hopped on a tram (see separate story on “Hong Kong Tram Ride”) to Western Market. We dropped off at the Sheung Wan station to this historical commercial building. I found this four story building quiet with not much business activities ongoing. On the ground floor there were few souvenir shops and a florist. Second level occupied by clothing dealers and top floors were restaurants. Probably, we were there much earlier than other tourists.
Madame Tussauds Wax Museum came to Hong Kong in 2006. It is located on the way to the Peak of Victoria Hill. It was a golden opportunity for us to get up close with famous people of the world. My friends had a wonderful time here, busy getting their pose right with beloved pop icons, politicians, sports heroes and even superheroes. I got myself measured with the height of those displayed but did not come any close to Yao Ming, one of the tallest basketball players at 7ft 6inches. My other favorites was the figure of Michael Jackson, Bruce Lee, Mahatma Gandhi, Past and Present American Presidents, Hitler and Spiderman. Wish there was a figure of “The Incredible Hulk” too! Hmm….maybe they’ll consider it once “The Avengers” got released.
It’s almost six in the evening when we got ourselves down from the Victoria Hill and were exhausted and hungry after the two hours of “Meet the Celebrity” session. It was a unanimous decision to head to the Ladies Market near Mongkok Subway station to have our dinner. From Admiralty station, we zoomed back to Kowloon through MTR Channel beneath the sea. Hong Kong subway system is something which Hong Kongers proud of, as its efficiency was simply amazing. There’s a train every 2minutes apart and it stops almost at every hotspots within the city.
We exited the subway into the street of Tung Choi where the Ladies Market is located. The place was colorful with neon lights and crowded. Street food stalls sell from hotdogs, boiled squids, meat balls and freshly grind orange and sugarcane juice. The night’s highlight was the many street performances. Talented dancers, musicians and artists put up their best show to the awed bystanders. Rows of shopping stalls will spoil you with their collections of clothing and cheap souvenirs. The place closes by 11pm, so it is advisable to make it early to enjoy the most of this place.
I have completed my final leg of Hong Kong Island roundtrip in most exciting way – “on and off” may types of public transport – possible.