Well, when you are in Hong Kong, what else is there to have for breakfast if not dim sum? We didn’t really have a particular restaurant in mind, so, we’d just approached the Concierge and asked for his advice. He pointed out that there is one just one block away from the hotel, so, we went looking for it.
Just before that, we went and purchased an Octopus Card meant to be used for all our MTR travels. I didn’t keep that one as a souvenier though, as it had to be returned for our HKD50.00 deposit to be refunded. After this mission, we went to this restaurant by the name of Yaumatei Ho Choi Restaurant and embarassingly enough, had to ask for a English Menu!
We noticed that there were no tourists but a lot of pakciks and makciks taking their own sweet time sipping tea, reading newspapers and gossiping. Well, a sign of the right choice, perhaps? Good food is usually where the elderly locals go, I would say.
We ordered the usual:
We ordered more, of course (including chinese tea, porridge, xiaolongbao) – and the whole meal came up to about HKD160. Not too expensive, though, considering it being an air-conditioned restaurant.
The food however, was nothing spectacular. Taste the same to me as some of the better dim sum restaurants in KL. Compared to us, theirs is pretty bland, less salty, which I don’t think is too bad – cos Malaysian dim sum is overloaded with sodium.
One thing I learned from this visit was that their food no longer tasted as extraordinary as what they were 15-20 years ago. I wouldn’t say it was because of deteriorating quality, but perhaps the influx of Chinese chefs and Hong Kong themed restaurants in Malaysia has made access to quality HK food so much easier.
Lantau Island – Cable car
Our next stop was Lantau Island where attractions like Ngong Ping, Po Lin Monastry and the Giant Buddha sits. We made use of our Octopus Card of course and travelled using the MTR. One thing about HK is their wonderful and efficient MTR service. Nobody ever needs to drive and the trains are clean, fast and on-time.
We reached Tung Chung, a station near to the cable car station which was supposed to take us over the sea and hills to Ngong Ping Village. The cable car ride took us across the Tung Chung Bay, with a spectacular view of *almost* the whole of HK, including their International Airport.
Can’t remember how long the ride took but it was enough for both of us to snap loads of pictures. Thank god we didn’t freak out – both of us are afraid of heights. The panaromic view wasn’t really breathtaking but beautiful enough. Haha.
We were among the first in queue, so, other than the two of us, there were just another two guys from Canada sharing our cabin/capsule.
Lantau Island – Ngong Ping
We were the very first people to reach Ngong Ping Village and businesses were just starting to open. There wasn’t much to see or do in the village, unless you want to spend some money going in and out multimedia shows, nature walks, etc, etc, which we happily skipped. Of course, we did buy some souveniers and took photos around the area.
And oh, entrance fees to each of these attractions are not included in your cable car ticket, so, you’ll need to pay up.
Didn’t visit the Monkey’s Tale Theatre, cos don’t want to waste money. We just ‘monkeyed’ around taking pictures with this fella, proving that we’ve been there. The Village is Chinese-styled, so, do expect lots of cultural replicas and themes around. Like these:
These people with their wishes tied to the shrine actually paid money to display their foolishness sincere wishes here. But just in case IT IS a wishing shrine, I silently made a wish – I wanna become rich! – haha – am sure the shrine has heard this gazillion times.
Lantau Island – Giant Buddha and Po Lin Monastry
We’ve grown up watching TVB serials where, along the scenes, some one will surely make a trip to Lantau Island and give offerings to the Giant Buddha. So, how can we give it a miss? Furthermore, we are sure that mom will be happy to see pictures of these.
Ready to climb those steps
The Buddha sits at the Po Lin Monastry. The monastry is just a stone’s throw away from the Ngong Ping Village, accessible only on foot. The sun was extremely hot by the time we were arriving, so, please, if you are thinking of going there, bring an unbrella. I did bring mine, but happily left it at the hotel.
There is an entrance fee which costed us HKD60 inclusive of one vegetarian lunch. There isn’t any restaurants in sight around the area and unless you want to go back to Ngong Ping and eat at one of those overpriced restaurants, you might as well pay and go vegetarian. If it makes you feel any better, the money you are paying for the meal will go towards the monastry’s maintenance.
The Buddha’s name is actually Tian Tan (malas wanna explain, click on the link to read yourself) and my, oh, my, the steps leading up to Tian Tan reminds me of Batu Caves.
Thank goodness it wasn’t THAT hot in HK at that time. Although it was sunny, the weather was still bearable compared to Malaysia. There weren’t so many people there and we made the climb bearable by taking photos after photos at certain points.
We finally made it huffing and puffing. So, this statue is just one of Buddha sitting on the lotus. Nothing special but if you want to offer some joss sticks and what-not, you could buy those from the little shop underneath the Buddha. The shop was air conditioned and we went in there just to cool down.
There were a lot of souveniers on sale as well, but we didn’t get anything. The sales assistants claimed that the souveniers – which are mainly pendants and bracelets – are blessed by the Buddha. We were quite sceptical about it since the whole place is a tourist attraction meant to ‘earn’ from tourists.
Moving on quickly (cos we wanna go Disneyland later!) we took a quick tour of the Po Lin Monastry, just beside the Buddha. Lunch was also supposed to be served there, so, we walked around leisurely, snapping photos where necessary.
The Po Lin Monastry was not too busy, so, we were able to stroll and take pictures without anyone blocking our view. Luckily though, cos the day after our visit was the 15th day of the month according to the lunar calendar and I am sure this temple will be packed to the brim with devotees.
Why am I doing this? Don’t know cos I didn’t even bother reading this:
Lunch was so-so, maybe because I wasn’t that hungry after the dim sum breakfast. To our surprise, it wasn’t those simple economy rice sets though, cos we were ushered into this confortable air conditioned restaurant.
The prepaid lunch came with soup, appetiser (fried spring rolls) , two types of vegetable dishes and one tofu dish. Of course, there were rice and Chinese tea. Still, compared to Malaysian food, theirs were extremely bland. Don’t even dare to ask for cili padi to spice things up. Heh. Wished there was some sambal.
We quickly made a move after lunch, cos it was quite late already and we wanted to go to Disneyland. We had to walk all the way back to Ngong Ping Village, passing by the statue again to get to the cable car station 😦
We noticed that it was getting busier at the Village, so, if you really want to join the crowd, visit later in the day.
This time, we had the whole cabin to ourselves and continued to snap photos. We could stand up and make funny faces to the people in the next car, but thought we should not go to far…
By the way, many may not have noticed, but towards the sides of the cabin, there is a sticker on the glass prompting you to stand up and smile at a monkey as you approach the station. It is available on both sides of the cabin, depending on which direction you are arriving at.
There was a monkey at the station but the photo it took wasn’t that nice, so, we didn’t purchase it.