Category Archives: Travel – Hong Kong 2008

Magical Day Trip to Hong Kong Disneyland

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(This is a backdated post on my visit to HK Disneyland on 19th July 2008)

Despite my previous visits to Hong Kong, both on business and personal basis, I have never visited Hong Kong Disneyland. Usually that’s because my business trips were never over a weekend when I would have the time to pay a visit.

My last trip to HK allowed me one weekend in Hong Kong, and of course I jumped at the chance to whisk myself (via HK super efficient MTR, of course) to a magical ride in Hong Kong Disneyland. At first, the weather seems rather unforgiving. Dark clouds were rolling across the horizon. Needless to say, I was rather disheartened, but soon after around noon the sky cleared.

So I headed out. The journey from where I was took about 45 minutes by train. Your magical experience begins right in the Disney train!

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The last photo is of me trying to catch myself in action. It is kinda sad travelling on alone :(

The station itself is situated some 100 m away from the main entrance, but the pathway was designed to excite you. You are entering the realm of Disney! Music was blasting from the lamp posts, each designed around a particular cartoon show. I was grinning like a mad man as I made my way towards the ticketing booth.

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So I bought myself an adult ticket at HKD350 (that’s about S$70). The queue was quick – I was kinda expecting a huge crowd considering it was over the weekend and a summer holiday – and the courteous staff quickly directed me to the nearest counter. One thing I noted was that almost all the theme park staff were youngsters. It must be a holiday job for them. And the attire they donned were tastefully designed. I was expecting something… tacky, knowing it’s HK/Chinese and all. LOL.

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My first stop, naturally, was the Main Street USA. I noticed that “Disney on Parade” will be on about 1 p.m., and it will take place at this section of Disneyland. Of all the sections here (there were four), this is my favorite. The buildings here are mainly shops, and the whole place was just infused by some kind of… festive spirit. Everyone was chatting, laughing, eating… general merriment. Eventhough I was on my old, I can’t help but got pulled into the festivities.

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Soon, the Disney on Parade got started! I simply loveeeee parades, especially the marching band. The Disney parade was a small one, but being a tight group their sound was fabulous… or maybe that’s just me drunken on excitement talking. LOL. I also got to see many, many Disney characters waving and cheering from colourful floats. It was really a great experience. Too bad the parade was really short. It was over in less than 15 minutes. They should really call it Disney on a Short Parade.

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The weather was scorching hot! I was perspiring profusely throughout the whole thing. Right after the parade, I bought some mineral water and headed to my next destination, the Adventureland.

The Adventureland emphasis on action and (of course) adventure. So characters like Lion King and Tarzan were featured prominently. Most visitors to this section will be undoubtedly attracted to the Festival of the Lion King, a half-hour show depicting the story of Simba by a superb cast. It was a spectacular performances, complete with duo-language script and animated props. Towards the end of the show, I teared shamelessly to the song of “Can You Feel The Love Tonight”. I know, I know, I am a hopeless romantic.

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Two more clips from the “Festival of the Lion King” show here and here.

Another thing I realised about the crew of Disneyland here was that most of them seems to be foreigners. If I had to venture a guest, I would say many of them are from Philippines. Hmmm… perhaps an idea for our own Resorts World.

After that, I rushed over to Fantasyland to catch some shows here. Fantasyland, as its name suggests, is a whole section dedicated to the world of Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Cinderella, and the like. The games/rides here were very much catered to the kids. Well, to be honest… even if they were adult rides, I would still not have taken them. I just think it is plain silly for me to take the rides alone.

As a result, I didn’t take any of the rides here in Disney during my trip here. So don’t ask me about them – it will only get me all sad!

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On to the shows. The first show I caught was PhilharMagic. The queue was supposed to be only 15 minutes, which means the shows will run for less than that, but God was the crowd huge! Everyone seems to be wanting a piece of this show.

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As you would have probably guessed from the last photo, PhilharMagic was a 3D show, hence the stupid looking specs everyone was holding. But lo and behold, the show was damn good! Basically it tells the story of Donald Duck chasing after Mickey’s conductor hat through familiar scenes of Disney favorites, like Beauty & the Beast and Aladdin. The shows literally jumped in front of you, making many of the audiences gasping and grabbing in delight. Whooshes of air and sprinkle of water made the show even more realistic. It was so good that I returned for a second round later that day :)

The second show I caught here was The Golden Mickeys, a make-believe Grammy Award show for the bestest in various categories among Disney characters. Another good show, very cabaret-like. In fact, I was surprised the quality of the whole thing. Yes, the Cantonese portion of things were kinda off, but overall it was very enjoyable.

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I took a couple of nice videos here of some of my favorite scenes – Beauty & the Beast, Mulan, Lilo & Stitch and Tarzan.

By that time the show ended, it was late in the afternoon, and my stomach was rumbling in protest. Decided to walk to Main Street USA for a bite, passing through Tomorrowland on the way. This section of the theme park focuses on space adventure and sci-fi. Sounds cool eh? I guess it was, for the rides, of which I didn’t take, so I found this whole section a big bore… though the impromptu percussion performance by these two “cleaners” captured my attention.

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After my very late lunch, I went off to catch the “High School Musical” show right in front of the entrance of Fantasyland. The show was highly colourful and well coordinated. Though I wasn’t a fan of the Disney series, my fellow spectators obviously were, so the whole experience was rather enjoyable. Especially the part when the cast invited kids to join in the dance moves. It was truly hilarious and heartwarming to see how the kids learned so fast, on the spot!

By this time my camera is already running flat on batteries, so most of the photos and videos beyond this point were taken using my trusty Nokia. So pardon the quality :)

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After the show, I didn’t have much plans to do anything else, except to catch the fireworks show later that night which was scheduled at 9 p.m. A good two hours away! So I walked around for a bit, before finally plonking down my ass at a perfect spot and wait.

Yes, I waited for close to two hours for the show to start, but it was worth it. “Disney in the Stars” was a spectacular show of lights, sound and effects against the backdrop of Fantasyland, the castle of Sleeping Beauty. By the time the show started, I estimated there were thousands of people gathered at the courtyard, ooh-ing and ahh-ing at the sight in front of them.

I managed to snap some videos of the show:

The show only lasted a mere 15 minutes. I was kinda disappointed, especially after such a long wait. By then I was feeling all washed after such a long day here, so I lost myself in the hordes of people heading to the train station.

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The full set of photos I took can be viewed here.

So was the trip to Disneyland Hong Kong worth it? You bet. It literally transported me into my fantasy of what a Disney world will be. Somehow it worked its magic to bring much smile and happiness to is guests like me. I know that the park in Hong Kong is very small and not as exciting as those in Tokyo and US… and I told myself, if I have the chance to visit these countries, I wil definitely make a point to go to their Disneylands.

Perhaps I should make a pact with myself to visit all of them and blog about my complete Disney experience. LOL.

I am mad, I know :P

Off to Hong Kong – Again!

Once again reporting live from Pacific Coffee internet kiosk at Terminal 1, Changi Airport.

It seems like only yesterday when I went to Hong Kong for meetings with my boss. This time round, I am going on my own, and will have to hold my own ground in getting things done the right way.

It seems egoistic for me to say that, but hey, if you don’t believe your ideas are the best, then perhaps you are in the wrong job. Things should go my way… unless you convince me otherwise.

More often that not, I find it intriguing to hear about other people’s ideas. Haha. Well, at least I tried to be egoistic, but deep inside I am not one.

I don’t think I want to be. Ever.

Anyway. Yup, will be in HK for a week or so. Internet connection might be erratic, so updates might not be forthcoming.

But I know you guys got better things to do than missing me ;)

Tales of Hong Kong

Views of Hong Kong - on the way back to Central

After much procrastination, I have finally completed my blog entries and photos from my recent business trip to Hong Kong!

Read all about them by clicking on this link

I have included some nice photos to go with each of the posting. You can view the entire photo gallery here on Flickr.

Let me know what you guys think! :D

To Hong Kong With Love – Part 6

Views from around the HK CBD area

And so the final day of my HK trip dawned on me. I woke up with a start with a call from my boss, who was obviously afraid I was hungover from my night out.

He wasn’t wrong. Hahah…

Had a super quick shower before packing up all my stuff to prepare for check out. Headed down to the restaurant for a buffet breakfast. The spread was alright, nothing to scream about, but I was still happy to try the buffet at least once.

After a fuss-free check out from the hotel, we took a cab down to the office, before we had our final meeting with the executive director. Everything went very well, and we wrapped up the discussion ahead of schedule.

Lunch was at this Shanghainese restaurant nearby the office. HK is really confusing. You have residence flats, office building and typical neighbourhood building all squezed onto a small plot of land. The food was pretty nice. Different from what you can find in Singapore.

And soon it was time to go home. Both my boss and I were looking forward to our flight back to Singapore. HK has been a whirlwind of experience, work wise, and nothing beats the familiar comfort of home.

But if all goes well, I would expect myself to spend more time in HK for the months to come. I am not too sure if I am exactly thrilled with the idea. Oh well! I will take it one day at a time :)

(more photos after the jump)

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To Hong Kong With Love – Part 5

Views of Lan Kwai Fong

A wonderfully cold morning heralded my third day in Hong Kong. Took a short stroll from the hotel to the office, before the commencement of yet another day-long meeting.

As expected, it was a day full of debates, debates and more debates. At the end of it, my head was bursting with all the conclusions that we have drawn up, and I looked at my to-do list with some apprehension. Oh well, at least things are really moving now.

A HK colleague, the boss and I went down to have some happy hour pints at a bar a stone throw away from the office. Chatters were easy, and we deliberately stayed clear of work topics since we have been doing that for a full day! To my amazement, my boss downed four bottles of San Miguel while I haven’t even finish my two pints (it was one-for-one till 8 p.m.!)

While my boss was contemplating what to do to mark the final night we are in Hong Kong, my mind was made up. I need to shop! Before the shops close! So after a quick farewell to my boss and colleague, I rushed back to the hotel to shower and change….

… after which, I was too tired to rush anymore and decided to head down to Lan Kwai Fong instead :P

It was a good decision. Cooling down after an intense work day with your boss is one thing; chilling out on your own terms is another. I was bar-hopping from one place to another, enjoying the chilly weather and the mostly-expat crowd.

Soon it was close to 12 p.m., and I decided to head back to the hotel.

So I walked out of some club, and spotted this roadside stall selling some kind of noodle. My stomach grumbled, so I walked over and asked the stall owner if they sell wanton noodle (I can’t read their Chinese menu)? The lady looked at me strangely, and said, yes they do, and would I like one bowl. I smiled, and placed an order for one.

The noodle was deliciously light and tasty. It cost me S$7 though. Lan Kwai Fong is really an expensive area for Asians like me.

Then I took a cab back to hotel. Did you know that HK cabs have no midnight surcharge, unlike Singapore?

It was close to 1 a.m. when I was finally back in my hotel room. On a wimp I decided to order a room service supper. Angel pasta with baby lobster. LOL.

There goes my diet! HK doesn’t count :P

(more photos after the jump)

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To Hong Kong With Love – Part 4

Views from the office at mainland HK - Growing Plants

What a day it was! Packed with meetings, talks, discussion… and of course sights of Hong Kong that I never seen before.

My boss and I cabbed down to the office – only to discover the location is really mere minutes of walking distance from our hotel. Haha… and the weather is (finally) cold! It was windy, and people around me were donned in stylish jackets, coats and scarfs. It felt like walking in an Asian version of downtown Paris. LOL.

We were early, of course, and apparently the people in our HK office rarely show up on the dot at 9 a.m., since most of them work late every night due to their job nature.

Our first meeting of the day was a “strategic” workshop of sorts. It was an eye opening experience, and I really learned quite a bit from the facilitator of the workshop, whom validated our local strategies against market data collected for the past few weeks.

Lunch was a foursome affair at a nearby Thai restaurant. I must say Thai food in HK is much milder compared those I had in Singapore – even those at Thai Express possess stronger flavour.

Then again, the huge number of expats working around the area might explain why the chefs are light-handed in their cookery.

The afternoon session was with the technical team, and for that we have to take a one-hour shuttle bus ride into New Territories. For those who are unfamiliar with Hong Kong, the New Territories are located at mainland HK and is a large area relatively undeveloped compared to the central area. Here are where all the industrial buildings and factories are located at.

I was gasping at the unfamiliar side of HK that I couldn’t stop snapping away through the window of the bus (see photos below).

The technical discussion in the afternoon was yet another eye opening experience. Won’t elaborate more – work stuff la! Hehe :D

The journey back to the center of civilisation took yet another hour, and by the time we reached our hotel it was already past seven. Both my boss and I were dead tired. The night was chilly and I left my precious jacket in the office!

Decided to head for a pint at the hotel bar and chatted.

After that, I am too tired to venture out of my room now for proper dinner. Most likely will just order room service, and then have an early night. Tomorrow will be an all-day strategic discusssion, with some really really senior people.

Plus we have arranged for a 9-person dim sum lunch, and we will go for a drink after work. Yay! Can’t wait!

P.S.: I miss you, sweets. I want you to know that *hugs*

(more photos after the jump)

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To Hong Kong With Love – Part 3

Views from my hotel room

Good morning, babes!

Had a fitful sleep last night. Somehow my heart was beating very fast – was it the coffee? – and I was tossing and turning trying to get some sleep.

Perhaps my late night supper (Hoi Yat Fried Rice) has got something to do with it.

I knew I must have been deep asleep because I was having many different, vivid dreams. Woke up several times not knowing where I am, and (bloody hell!) I was having toothache!

So I popped two extra strong panadol when I woke up this morning at 7 a.m., before heading down to the restaurant to have breakfast with my boss.

Had a nice little chat with him over my plate of mushroom omelette. Stories about his old company and mine.

Now back in my room, typing this, and soon will get ready to go to the office. The last time I was there was for my interview. Right now I am going back as a staff.

Somehow I feel nervous of what to come. Wish me luck!

(more photos after the jump)

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To Hong Kong With Love – Part 2

Hong Kong International Airport

So I arrived to Hong Kong with little fanfare – and a little hot.

The flight was uneventful, as usual, except for one small difference. I am so used to traveling alone that I totally forgot what it will be like to travel with companion.

So I spent most of my 3-hours flight splitting my attention listening to my boss (Malaysian politics, anyone?), watching No Country for Old Men (it was a fantastic show) and taking my customary photos inside the plane (see below).

We landed at Hong Kong International Airport on time, took the express train to Hong Kong. Surprisingly the weather wasn’t cold or anything. In fact, I was perspiring lugging my suitcase around. Hmmm…

Took a cab to Harbour Plaza North Point, which will be our accommodation for the next three nights. Thank goodness my company has the foresight to book separate rooms for my boss and I. After my last job, I was kinda expecting a three-star hotel and a twin room, shared.

The hotel was good. Not luxurious like the ones I used to experience when I was still with the conference company, but good enough. I was told that it was a short cab ride away to the office.

My stomach was rumbling by that point of time, but apparently there were no eateries around the hotel area.

So after settling down in my room (including ironing my clothes for the next three days), I did what I vowed not not to do.

I ordered room service.

A plate of Hoi Yat Fried Rice for HK$80. It’s overpriced, it’s oily, it’s fattening.

But it soothed my hunger, and now I am like a contended bear sitting on my bed typing this.

Oh, Internet connection in my room is charged by the hour, and I seriously don’t think my company will pay for the access. So I am typing all these offline, and will upload them the moment I have a moment to spare from my endless scheduled meetings.

The next few days will be rounds of discussion with some directors and big shots of the business. Really hope things will work out.

(more photos after the jump)

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To Hong Kong With Love – Part 1

Now reporting live from Changi Airport! :D

The check in to Cathay Pacific was a breeze. I was done within 2 minutes – I timed myself to see how efficient they are!

The custom clearance was a bit tricky though.

Custom Officer: (in Malay) Can you please remove your glasses?

Me: Huh?

Custom Officer: (narrowed his eyes, still speaking in Malay) Can you remove your glasses?

Me: (Puzzled) Oh! Okay! (Removed glasses)

Custom Officer: (Looked at me and looked down on my passport) Hmmmm….

Me: (Gave my most winning smile)

Custom Officer: Okay, you can go

With that he slapped my passport on the counter a little unceremoniously. I was still puzzled – that never happened to me before.

So I flipped open my passport and looked at myself.

*GASP*

I look so different! No wonder he was suspicious. Granted, the photo was taken in 1999, so it has been like… nine years.

Nine years.

How time flies. And I definitely prefer my current look. Hehe.

Walking around the aiport was a fun experience. I always loveeeeee airport. The buzz, the music, the shops, the cafes… it signal the fun stuff to come.

I had always travelled alone. No complaints ’cause I preferred it that way. But right now I wish I can share this… excitement with someone.

No, not my boss. You twit. LOL. Someone special la!

(Photos to come)

(Yes I always take photos at airports)