Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Hong Kong with Kids: Science Museum, Disneyland and Ocean Park

What to do in Hong Kong if you have the littles along with you? There's plenty to choose from, including Hong Kong's Science Museum.

Hong Kong Science Museum

There is plenty of stuff to keep kids of all ages entertained.

Activity stands at the Hong Kong Science Museum

It's also very interactive and hands-on, just the way kids like it.

And I learned a lot about...um...ah, what was I learning again?

The mirrors room was tons of fun.


Monkey skeletons are scary:


I managed to get ahead of the kids for a bit in the biology area - I came back and steered them away from these ones:

4pm in a museum was not where I wanted to answer those questions, if you know what I mean.


Adults and kids alike will really enjoy this museum, and it's a handy option if the weather's not so great.


Next up is that timeless treasure: chez Disney.

Just like the slogan promises, it was magical. From the metro carriages that take you into the park:

Disney metro carriage at Hong Kong Disneyland

To all the other typically Disney sights, with a touch of Asia.

Muppets at Hong Kong Disneyland
The first time I've ever seen Beaker's knees.

Winter is a fantastic time to visit - we arrived an hour after opening and there were three people in front of us at the entrance ticket stands. Does that ever happen in the US?

The longest ride wait was 20 mins - and only for one of the rides we encountered (most were only a 5-10 min wait). No need to elbow in to get a place at the afternoon parade, either. It was very civilised:


Our blond kids had the locals fascinated:


At least a dozen Chinese families asked if they could take their photo with our children (adults not invited). There were plenty who didn't bother asking, like these two guys:

It was amusing, annoying and kinda weird in equal amounts.

Come 8pm it was time for the fireworks and a twilight stroll down Main Street:

Main Street, Hong Kong Disneyland

Hong Kong Disneyland is smaller than the US parks (we never made it to EuroDisney so I can't comment there) which makes it perfect for a single day out. No need for 3 day tickets.


I would say the rides are more on the quiet side - which was great for us, having younger kids. If you have adrenalin-junkie teenagers, you'd be better heading to...

Ocean Park.

A much bigger amusement park - a blend of rides, animal shows/displays and deep fried seafood vendors.

Ocean Park in Hong Kong

Again, we all had a ball here, even though our kids weren't big enough for over half the rides. The penguins made up for it. And the seals:





Panda at Ocean Park in Hong Kong

Really weird goldfish:


Teddy shoes:


One of the roller coasters we could all go on (except the baby) - how good is that view?


At the end of the day there is a hologram/laser type show around the large central fountain, complete with music, pyrotechnics and the odd dragon. Needless to say, the kids (and us, actually) were impressed.

So, a few more options to consider if you find yourself lucky enough to travel to Hong Kong.

If you're looking for more you'll find previous posts here and here.

A bientôt! 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Fun in Hong Kong: the Big Buddha, Po Lin Monastery and Tai O

Back again with more fun things to do in Hong Kong! You can find the first instalment back over here.

We decided to pop over to Lantau Island to see the Big Buddha, a 34 metre statue of the big man at the Po Lin Monastery.

We took the Ngong Ping 360, a cable car, over to the island. What a fantastic way to travel.

Ngong Ping 360 cable car in Hong Kong

We paid a little extra to get the glass bottomed car (known as the Crystal Cabin) which the kids loved.

Don't worry, someone cleans the nose prints off after every ride.

When you hop off the cable car you make your way through the Ngong Ping Village, which as far as I could see was a street filled with take-away food and souvenirs.


But once you get past that little pocket of commercialism you find yourself in the Po Lin Monastery grounds:


Dominated by the bronze Tian Tan Buddha statue:

the Big Buddha at Po Lin Monastery in Hong Kong

Built in 1993, you'll have to climb up 268 steps to make it up to his lotus throne.

The Tian Tan Buddha at the Po Lin Monastery in Hong Kong

Once there you will be treated to beautiful views:


And some lovely smaller statues known as The Offering of the Six Devas (not the Sex Divas, as I accidentally typed), who face the Buddha with their gifts.


In the background of this photo you can see the golden-roofed monastery (the building behind it, under all the scaffolding, is apparently the monks' accommodation).

Deva offering to the Big Buddha on Lantau Island, Hong Kong

So we headed back down all those stairs:


To see the Po Lin Monastery.

Po Lin Monastery in Hong Kong

It is filled with so many beautiful Buddha-y things - you really must see it.

Stairs leading to the Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island

You can't go in (or take photos of the interior) but there are many large open doors so you can watch the monks praying amongst the gorgeousness.

Chinese dragon at the Po Lin Monastery, Hong Kong

It's hard not to be affected by the peace and calm that emanates from the building.


On the way out we walked through an area where incense offerings could be made.

Of course, the 3 yr old touched the tip of an incense stick. Of course he did.

We didn't have a great deal of daylight left but we decided to make a quick visit to the nearby Tai O fishing village.

Waterway in the Tai O fishing village, Hong Kong

We caught the bus from the Ngong Ping and 20 minutes later (after a rather curvaceous ride) arrived in a village very different to the Hong Kong we had seen so far.

Houses on stilts at Tai O fishing village, Lantau Island

The village is essentially mounted on stilts. You can pay to take a boat ride through the waterways (which we would've done if we'd had the time) or just do like we did and wander the several streets that are built on land.

The best house in the village (the one that appears on all the postcards)

There are market stalls everywhere, specialising in dried seafood. Every sea creature you could think of had been caught, dried and sometimes, pressed.


Check out the whole shark hanging on the back wall in this photo:

Seafood market stalls at Tai O fishing village, Hong Kong

We were racing the bus schedule so we didn't get to spend as much time in the village as we wanted (I didn't get to see the temple, boo), but we were still very glad we made it there.

We took the ferry home from Lantau Island that night and we were all rather tired.

Another weekend is upon us, hooray! Hope you all have a good one!


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