Tuesday, May 28, 2013

~ Hong Kong 2012 - Day 7 Central–Mid-Levels Escalators ~

Central-Mid-Levels Escalators (中環至半山自動扶梯) has always been a place I wanted to visit during our previous visits to Hong Kong and we finally made it this time! Stretching over 800 meters in distance, it runs through Des Voeux Road, Shelley Street, cutting through the SOHO district and to Conduit Road in Mid Levels.

We took the MTR to Central and found our way to the staircase that lead us to the escalators. 

The escalator runs daily downhill from 6:00am to 10:00am and uphill from 10am to midnight. If you do not wish to climb all the way up, its best to visit after 10:30am and avoid the rush hours in the morning. The escalators are covered and there are several exits/entrance for us to explore the Soho district.

The Central-Mid-Levels Escalators has been a popular filming spot for a couple of movies. However, the one that left a deep impression on me are the scenes from the Hong Kong movie - Chunking Express (starring Faye Wong, Tony Leung). Two years ago, our favourite Korean game show - Running Man has also filmed an episode at the escalator where they did a speed quiz challenge which attracted a crowd. 

It feels so good to be standing here, admiring its unique structure and the pack of restaurants and shops surrounding it.

View from the top of the escalator

Shelley Street

Soho district - This area is filled with eateries, restaurants, bars, art and antique shops.
Do you know that SoHo stands for "South of Hollywood Road" and NoHo stands for "North of Hollywood Road"? 

Looking at the steep slopes, the series of 20 escalators and 3 inclined moving walkway has definitely helped the residents in their daily commute. We had a leisure walk and it took us about an hour (to and fro) to complete our trail along the Central-Mid-Levels Escalator.

Travelling on the covered walkway.

Central–Mid-Levels Escalators is not the usual tourist spot but definitely a not to be miss if you like to experience taking on the longest outdoor covered escalator system. I can only imagine how vibrant this area would be when the night falls with the restaurants and bars packed with the locals and tourists. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

~ New Launch - Journey 2 the Mysterious Island - 4D Experience ~

22nd May 2013 - Sentosa 4D AdventureLand (Southeast Asia's first 4-D Theatre) has recently launched its new 4D Movie Experience - "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island", starring Dwayne Johnson, Michael Cain, Luis Guzman, Josh Hutcherson and Venessa Hudgens, Have always known Dwayne as "The Rock" since young, watching him wrestling during his glory days in the WWF and seeing him progressing successfully into his acting career. We watched this adventure movie in 2-D format at the cinema and am looking forward to see what surprises it will give us in the 4-D setting .

 Waiting with loads of anticipation

The idea of 4-D effect is the combination of 3 dimension movie with the external 4th element added in the form of water, wind and movement. Putting on our 3-D glasses, we had a thrilling time enjoying the 15 minutes show. Taken from various clips from the movie, Journey 2, there's wind, water splashes, bubbles,  movement and an extra effect (which I shall not reveal here) that made me jump. At some point in time, I even thought I smell something different in the air. You will need to sit in to experience it all.

Apart from the 4D movie theater, the AdventureLand also house another 2 attractions that further enhance your 4-D experience.

Desperados - the first 4-D interactive shoot-out game in Singapore. Acting as Sheriffs  we saddled up on our horses, put on our 3-D glasses and aimed our sensor pistols at the bandits in the Wild Wild West. There is a score display on individual horses and somehow for the first 2 rounds, I didn't seem to hit anything! Not sure where and what I am aiming at, I pressed the trigger continuously and eventually felt the vibration on the pistol when I finally hit my target. It would be great if there is an instruction board indicating how this game works for first timers to enjoy the game better. The good thing is, with the one day adventure pass, you can go for unlimited rounds of shooting game and compete with your friends or family.

Extreme Log Ride - As the name implies, the 4-D simulated roller coaster ride took us on a series round of twirls and turns as we set our imagination wild imagining ourselves travelling on a super-tree log through the caves and valleys. Buckle on your seat belts and get ready to soar up and then plunge down over the waterfalls. Among the 3 rides, this is most intensive. However, that didn't really scare the kids off during the 10 minutes ride.

Visitors can now get to enjoy all 3 rides (unlimited) with the one-day adventure pass.

Sentosa 4D AdventureLand
Operating Hours: 10am - 9pm (Daily)
Admission rates: SGD $38.90 (Adults), SGD $26.90 (Child 3 to 12 years)
*Unlimited entries on day of visit and free entry for children below 3 years old.

We were honored to be able to experience the launch of the new 4-D Movie Experience - Journey 2 (presented first time in Asia). Thank you for the hospitality and making each guests feel welcome and important. Families now have another alternative to enjoy their day out in Sentosa during the up-coming holidays.

Disclosure: All comments and opinions are personal and no monetary compensation was received. Thank you Sentosa & DSPG for the invitation to experience the 4D AdventureLand and the official launch of Journey 2.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

~ Hong Kong 2012 - Day 7 Tim Ho Wan (添好運) ~

7 September 2012

Day 7 - Our second final day in Hong Kong and we are going to give ourselves a nice breakfast treat. While planning for our anniversary trip, we got to know Tim Ho Wan (添好運) is the cheapest 1 Michelin Star Dim Sum Restaurant. Reading through the good reviews from Tripadvisor and various websites definitely tempted us to mark this as the place that we Must-Go, Must-See and Must-Try.

Anticipating that there will be a long queue (even though it was a weekday morning), we arrived at Tim Ho Wan 45 minutes before it opens for business at 10am. Tourists and locals were already forming a long queue outside the shop. Despite being early, we were number 35 in the line. -__-

The restaurant opens at 10am to give out 130 queue tickets and another 60 tickets at 4pm. If you wish to taste good dim sum, you will need to have lots of patience. (*Note: The shop at Mongkok has closed due to high rental cost. Diners can continue to visit other outlets to enjoy the dim sum at Tim Ho Wan.)

The shop space at Mongkok was very small. It can only accommodate about 30 people at one time. The first batch of 30 diners went in at 10am and we have to wait for our turn as the 2nd batch.

10:45am - After waiting for 1.5 hours, we finally got a seat! We were famished by now. 

The famous Baked Bun with BBQ Pork! It is not the usual 叉烧包 that we normally eat. The crust is crispy and the BBQ pork filling melts in your mouth as you sink your teeth into it.

We ordered two portions and it was cleared in a few minutes. We were definitely HUNGRY!

Siew Mai, Har Gao and other assorted dim sum. All of them taste delicious.
Steamed mixed vegetable dumpling. The dumpling has a good stuffing and of assorted crispy veggie within. Tasted yummy too.

Our children favourite - Chee Cheong Fun! We ordered 3 different types of Vermicelli. 

Vermicelli roll stuffed with shrimp
Vermicelli roll stuffed with BBQ Pork
Vermicelli roll stuffed with beef

They also have Vermicelli roll stuffed with pig's liver but we decided to give it a miss. :)

Pan-fried turnip cake

Steamed rice with Chicken feet and Sparerib - This is probably the only dish that I don't really fancy throughout my dim sum meal at Tim Ho Wan. Somehow I do not like the unique taste of the meat.

Steamed rice with Chicken feet and Sparerib (left) Steamed rice with beef and egg (right).

Congee and Glutinous rice dumpling. I adore glutinous rice a lot and will not miss ordering one even though it is rather filling to the tummy. 

Deep fried spring roll filled with shrimp & vegetable (left) Deep fried dumpling filled with meat (right)

Our tummies were so full that we have to "Ta bao" (packet) our dessert back - Tonic Medlar & Osmanthus Cake.

Dining at Tim Ho Wan has definitely left an impression on us. To date, it is our longest waiting time that we have ever encounter and our first dining experience at a Michelin rated restaurant.

Tim Ho Wan has ventured out of Hong Kong and set up a branch at The Atrium @ Orchard in Plaza Singapura. Not sure how much is the difference in pricing or taste compared to its 'mother' branch in HK, but its good name has definitely attracted a huge crowd during its opening. 

Tim Ho Wan (添好運點心專門店)
Address: Multiple outlets 

G/F, 9-11 Fuk Wing Street, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon
Nearest MTR station: Tsuen Wan Line, Sham Shui Po, Exit B2

Shop 12A, Hong Kong Station (Podium Level 1, ifc Mall), Central
Nearest MTR station: Tung Chung Line, Hong Kong, Exit A1

*The shop at Mongkok has closed due to high rentals.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

~ Singapore Cable Car Museum - A ride through History ~

If you took the cable car ride into Sentosa, you may want to drop by the Singapore Cable Car Museum. Quietly hidden in a corner, it seems like not many people is aware of this place.

Upon alighting from the cable car at Sentosa station, make a left turn and walk down the flight of stairs and you will reach the entrance of the museum.

As we are Jewel Box card holders, admission is free. I'm not sure if there is an admission price tied to it. There are no entrance barriers and no one to check for tickets. The museum has a few cable cars inside and a collection of information that brings you back to the its history.

Cable car fare structure in the past. See how much inflation has caused the price to multiply.

There is a life-size lego cable car, luxury style cable car and of course the famous Angry Bird designed cable car for our kiddos to pose.

The museum is not very big but it was pretty interesting to learn its fun little facts. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

~ Mother's Day Breakfast Buffet with IKEA ~

12th May 2013 - To celebrate Mother's Day, Hubby bought 3 breakfast buffet tickets from IKEA Tampines some weeks ago. (Adult - $10, Child - $5). Why three? Cos Mommy gets to dine for FREE! ^_^

From 9am - 11am, IKEA restaurant was closed to the public for the Breakfast Buffet Event and only ticket holders can enter. Seating was previously allocated during the purchase of the tickets and we managed to secure the table nearer to the buffet line.

The buffet spread looked really tempting. All sorts of bread, cakes, fruits and spread was neatly laid out. There is also a variety of free flow drinks to select. Milk, orange juice, coffee, tea as well as soft drinks are available at the drinks counter.

The main dish counter - Pancakes, eggs, beehoon, spaghetti, eggs, hot dogs, potatoes as well as IKEA's signature meatballs!

The salad counter was a hot favourite! There aren't enough seafood platter to go around for all! 

Halal Breakfast Buffet Counter - Strictly only for diners who wish to take the Halal meals. There is Nasi Lemak, curry, dim sum, fried chicken, potatoes and meatballs to satisfy the diners appetite.

The queue along the salad and main dish counter was tremendously long. To avoid re-queuing, we went full force filling up our plates as much as we can. The crowd at the toast and cakes section was much better probably because it was not restricted by the queue line.

For $20, our family definitely had a sumptuous breakfast. Although we are frequent patrons of the megastore, it was the first time we had breakfast at IKEA.

It was sweet and nice to spend the morning together in admist of the examination fever. Hopefully, we will get to see more of such events at IKEA. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

~ Hong Kong 2012 - Day 6 (Part 4) Tai Yuen Street ~

To reward our kiddos for completing the hiking trail at Lamma Island, we brought them to Tai Yuen Street to hunt for a toy each for themselves. ^_^

Tai Yuen Street (also known as Toy Street), is located in the Wan Chai district. There are all sorts of toys here and it is a paradise for children. Denver & Gladys' face brimmed with joy as they hopped from one shop to the other in search for their present. Although the area is not as big compared to the other night markets, children will be delighted to see the range of toy collection it has to offer here.

It started to drizzle and we had to end our walk earlier. We have never taken a tram in Hong Kong and  decided to take the tram ride to the next MTR station - Admiralty. Tram system is one of the earliest public transport in Hong Kong and it has undergone some changes since it started its service in the 1900s. Passengers can pay the exact fare via Octopus card or coins and the experience is best sitting on the upper deck.

6:50pm - We had a late lunch earlier and hence we had a light dinner at McDonalds. It was very interesting to find the Sausage McMuffin hamburger meat patty is made of pork. Definitely not something that we can find in Singapore. :)

I love Yau Ma Tei as there are shops still operating till late hours. ^_^ Hubby and I can always go out to look for extra food around the area. The next day will be our final full day in HK and we will be missing a lot on our late night supper hunt when we return home.

Places of Interest 
Tai Yuen Street (太原街)
Address: Tai Yuen Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong Island 
How to Get there: MTR, Wan Chai Station, Exit A3.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

~ Hong Kong 2012 - Day 6 (Part 3) Lamma Island ~

1:50pm - We were halfway through the hiking trail. Denver & Gladys had done a great job following us through ever since we started our walk in the morning.

It was a hot day and the slopes were steep. We have to replenish our body with water constantly to avoid getting dehydrated. 

Our reward for the workout- Magnificent scenic view of the mountains and Lamma island along the walking trail.  

2:15pm - Spotted another pavilion. Denver & Gladys making their way down to rest.

Hill Top Pavilion - Best viewing spot on the island.

"Hi" !!

View of Sok Kwu Wan from afar.

The trail from here gets easier as most of the slopes were heading downwards. The hardest journey is finally over. :)
Heading towards Sok Kwu Wan town.

We were at the lowlands. :)

"Kamikaze Grottos" (神风洞) - Looked very eerie and it was so dark that we only dare to see it from afar. The paint of the wordings engraved on the plate has mostly gone off but here's whats written on it.

"Along the coast of Sok Kwu Wan, there are several grottos about 10 metres wide and several tens of metres deep. They are named by the locals as Kamikaze Grottos. It is said that during Second World War, the Japanese army took Lo So Shing as a naval port and thousands of soldiers were stationed there. The Japanese had a plan to hide some speedboats in the grottos, which would launch a suicidal attack on teh Allies' warships if they passed  by. But the war ended before the work had been completed"

3pm - We were totally famished by now. Many hours of walk and its way past our lunch hours! There are so many seafood restaurants in Sok Kwu Wan and we were spoil with choices. We heard that Rainbow Seafood Restaurant is very renowned and popular here but we decided to dine at Tai Yuen Shark's Fin Seafood Restaurant instead.

We ordered the set lunch for 3 at HKD258 (~SGD43). Here's what we got: shrimp, scallops, clams, fried calamari, 3 bowls of rice, choice of soft drink/beer and a serving of fruits. Ordered an additional bowl of rice for Gladys and it was a filling and satisfactory lunch.

The string of seafood restaurants along Sok Kwu Wan. Diners can enjoy the view as they indulge in their meal.

4pm - Sok Kwu Wan Pier - Our boat ride back to Hong Kong Island.

*The schedule of the rides is listed and it is advisable to check out the timings first. If we missed the 4:05pm ferry, we would have to wait for another 1 hour plus before the next ferry arrives. 

Although tiring, it has been a rewarding 5 hours experience taking on the family trail around Lamma Island. Initially I was a bit worried that our children will have difficulties completing the trail but they proved me wrong. Our very first outlying island trip in Hong Kong was full of surprises and we love to come back again and explore other islands when we are planning for our next trip. 

Tai Yuen Shark's Fin Seafood Restaurant (泰苑魚翅海鮮酒家)
Address: 15 First Street, Sok Kwu Wan, Lamma Island, Hong Kong