Hong Kong Hustle: Day 3; Ngong Ping, Star Street Precinct, and Tired Feet

There is more to Hong Kong than skyscrapers and fast pace. We got to know the countryside and the side of the city that's a bit quieter than the rest of Central.

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Day 3 and the walking wasn’t backing down! We headed to Lantau Island where the Tian Tan Buddha is. It’s the big bronze (was it??) Buddha bronze statue you see in postcards. Lantau is the biggest outlying island in Hong Kong and has the country feel on it – save for the humongous number of tourists though! We took the train to Tung Chung station and rode the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car to the island itself. It lands you to Ngong Ping Village where you can walk to the Tian Tan and Po Lin Monastery (thousand Buddhas!)

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Took us an hour or so to get to the island – including the time to queue for the cable car. Ngong Ping offers Standard Cabins and Crystal Cabins for HK$ 150 (US$ 20) and HK$235 (US$ 30) respectively. I am so glad we didn’t take the crystal cabin no matter how tempting it was. It will make you see how many hundreds of feet you’re high up. The Standard Cabin made me light in the head already and was thankful to see ground after. On the way back, I was a bit braver but still heights are not my strongest suit… so maybe no Crystal Cabin for me… ever!
IMG_5641IMG_5642IMG_5643There’s also a trail for hikers up to the Tian Tan Buddha. You may start by taking the ferry to Lantau from the pier at Central. 

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Throngs and throngs of tourists flock towards this part of Hong Kong as the Tian Tan Buddha is one of its most famous attractions. But there’s a laidback feel and you should feel comfortable enough to walk side by side them. Right beside the cable car station is Ngong Ping Village where there are a respectable lot of establishments to keep you from famishing yourself, or deprived of souvenirs.

IMG_5649IMG_5650IMG_5653High five, Gautama!

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One can easily spend a half day in Lantau, but there’s really nothing much to do there. Still, I really appreciated the calm break from the fast-paced city side. Very country mouse moment right there, folks! Now if you ask me, I believe that in every city there is a patch of quietness and it’ll just take you a little more strolling around… and a bit of research. Back in Wan Chai, we headed for the quiet yet really straightforward and downright artsy alley called the Star Street Precinct. The goal is: to pay homage to the Monocle store, and you know, get my monthly fix of read – which is cheaper by around PhP 200 elsewhere but Manila.

IMG_5664IMG_5665Stopped by JP Books for some more postcards to send back home

IMG_5666IMG_5667IMG_5668IMG_5669IMG_5670IMG_5671My favorite store, which name I forgot, by the corner of the precinct

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On our third day we were starting to feel the fatigue creep up, and we were in much need of a massage already. So off to Google to find the nearest to us. We found a small massage place which offers authentic Thai massage called Nirvana. It’s along the main drag in Wan Chai – Johnston Rd. – but may be a bit difficult to spot as it is in the nondescript Tung Fong building. The massage was a-ok, and the only masseur is a cute Thai guy *hihi*

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A bit of a side story: we were strapped for cash because we didn’t anticipate our, errr… lack of resistance to purchase things. All’s good though since we brought our ATM cards but, boom! BPI requires you to call before to activate your ATM for international use. So if you plan, or even just for backup, save yourself from the hassles of roaming charges and call the bank (any, for that matter, just to be sure) before leaving. BPI was kind enough to expedite (usually takes a day, I guess) because we were really in dire need.

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Oh well, what’s a trip without the misadventures? You only learn and become a better citizen of the world. And saves you the hassle on more important trips! Before that day ended, we rewarded ourself with fastfood (because, stress) and off to the Temple Street Night Market where we totally didn’t find anything interesting but saw the local life at night which was great – makeshift karaoke booths in the streets, hawkers, that escalated quickly porn DVDs and lots of sex toys.

I wish I brought mandals… there you go, another lesson!

 

Weekend Diary: Veg, BSO, and Reads

20140707-205054-75054936.jpgI like chill weekends when no one is rushed and you can just take a walk… and the weather, good; meeting up a friend; having coffee; and driving around town.

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20140707-205057-75057352.jpgThe perfect trifecta of my breakfast is coffee, orange juice, and… no not veggies, but — CHEESE! BLEU CHEESE! SACREBLEUUU!

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20140707-205058-75058159.jpgEver since I joined the vegetarian program in the office, I now find ways to eat (and enjoy!) more veggies and incorporate it to my diet. It goes like this – since most of the time I eat in the office, I eat more vegetables… but I didn’t give up meat — like WHY WOULD I OKAY

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20140707-205100-75060570.jpgI convinced Ella to go to the Travel Expo. The mission: find the cheapest flight to the northest of all the north islands in the Philippines.

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20140707-205226-75146036.jpgSay hi to Ms. Val who found me a week worth of vacation!!! ON MY BIRTHDAY! It’s still next year, but what the hell. I am excited!

20140707-205227-75147747.jpgJust because

20140707-205229-75149329.jpgThe embassy of Japan had a live traditional painting x guitar session at the Travel Expo

20140707-205233-75153036.jpgAnd Cai is back home and got me a copy of Monocle’s design issue

20140707-205230-75150153.jpgAnd more magazines — this time from the Travel Expo

20140707-205232-75152067.jpgWalking around town and running errands made me deserve a good glass of iced Sagadan coffee at Cool Beans in Maginhawa. Check out their traditionally weaved table runner!

20140707-205230-75150985.jpgAnd a piping hot bowl of shoyu ramen from Shinjuku at Little Tokyo after watching Eiga Sai. A day of watching Japanese films only made me wanna shove my face to this bowl

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And yes, because I’m mature like dut.

All photos taken using iPhone 5

 

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