A Travellerspoint blog

Window shopping....my feet hurt!

rain 12 °C
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March 10
It was a foggy, rainy day today. With only summer clothes in my suitcase, I put on many layers of clothes before I headed out... Felt like the Michelin Man!

I boarded the shuttle to go the The Bauhinia Square at the HK Convention Centre.
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The bauhinia is the emblem of Hong Kong and is commonly called the Hong Kong orchid tree. The Forever Blooming Bauhinia Sculpture that gives the Expo Promenade the name, Golden Bauhinia Square, was a gift from the Central Government to mark the 1997 Handover. This occasion holds tremendous significance for the world’s largest nation and stands out as a landmark event. There is also a Reunificattion Monument there but I didn't stop there because of the rain.

I was able to take a few pictures of Kowloon (across the water).
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Here is the infamous Star Ferry (more to come on that in a few days).
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I then walked to Central (also Central District) is the central business district of Hong Kong. It is the area where many multi-national financial services corporations have their headquarters. Consulates general and consulates of many countries, and government headquarters are also located in this area.
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HK's newest attraction - Observation Wheel
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I spent most of the morning walking around HK, window shopping and people watching in the pouring rain.
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There are shopping malls at every turn. Designer shops everywhere...
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Back at the hotel for a few hours of rest (my feet were so sore) before I headed back out to Causeway Bay to explore. Causeway Bay is one of HK's prime shopping destinations. It is well known for it's independent and quirky fashion boutiques, along with designer stores.
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Thank you Neko for photoshopping the background.... This is what HK's skyline should look like. Photo credit: Neko!

Posted by Samchow58 05:13 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (2)

Neko and Sandra's one day adventure in Hong Kong

rain 22 °C
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March 9
What a wonderful day!!!!

At the start of my vacation, Roma (my sister from another mother) asked if I would meet a friend (Neko) of hers in Hong Kong. We met in my hotel lobby this morning and hit it off right away. Neko had a whole day planned!

We walked to the Blue House. According to the Discover HK website, The Blue House is a four-storey house that was built in the 1920s. The distinctive blue colour was not a deliberate decision – the decorators only had blue paint, so a blue house it became. The building houses the Wan
Chai Livelihood Museum, where visitors can visit the Blue House's typical living quarters. Unfortunately, the museum was closed for renovations. Neko told me that the residents live in the building despite a lack of modern conveniences such as flush toilets.
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We then walked over to Lei Tung Street, known as the Wedding Card Street. The street was famed in Hong Kong and abroad as a centre for publishing and for the manufacturing of wedding cards and other similar items. Lei Tung Street was demolished in December 2007 as part of an Urban Renewal Authority project and has recently been redeveloped as a luxury wedding shopping area.
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An early lunch was next on the agenda. We went to the Kee's Roast Goose Restaurant where we had a delicious lunch.
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It was then time to hail a taxi and head over to Stanley Maket and then over to the Plaza. We walked around the open-air market, then over to covered dock (behind us in the picture below). We sat there for awhile chatting and enjoying the quietness.
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Then back into a taxi and we were off to Aberdeen Harbour where we had dim sum at the Jumbo Floating Restaurant.
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We hopped onto a shuttle boat that took us over to the floating restaurant.
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We got into another taxi and headed to Victoria Peak. It is the highest point on Hong Kong Island with an altitude of 554 meters (1818 feet) and is considered a landmark of the island. It is the best spot to have a bird's eye view of the Victoria Harbor and the whole thriving island. Views from the peak, the scenes are different between day and night.

The Peak Tram is very popular with tourists who want to see Victoria Peak. It was first built in 1888, and it feels antique. However, you can also drive to the top. As you travel the 1.4 kilometers, you can relax as you see a lot of Hong Kong Island, Victoria Harbor and Kowloon.
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The line up to get on the tram
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At the summit, we arrived at the Peak Tower. The unique "wok" shaped tower sits at an elevation of 396 metres. Viewing terraces located on different levels offers amazing views.
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Unfortunately, it was very foggy at the top. This was our view....
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But we made the most of it
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There are more stores and Madame Tussauds Hong Kong also located in the tower. Since Neko and I have never been to Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum ever, we decided to go. We met many famous people....
Hanging out with Bruce Lee
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Here Bruce is showing me some of his moves
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And then there's royalty
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Famous stars and movie characters
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Korean and Chinese stars
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And newsmakers...
Dr. Sun Yat Sun
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Gandhi
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I left Hong Kong when I was 10 years old... 48 years ago! I have many great childhood memories, some of these memories are of the places I revisited today. Best part of today was making new memories with a wonderful new friend. Thank you Neko, I haven't laughed so much in a long time.

Thanks for spoiling me too! Love this gift from you!
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Posted by Samchow58 10:30 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (1)

Finally, Hong Kong!!!

overcast 24 °C
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March 8
Beijing from the plane
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We boarded the plane in Bangkkok at 12:30 am headed for Beijing. I was so excited because I had a whole row to myself. But my excitement soon disappeared the plane did not move for 2.5 hours because of mechanical troubles. I was scheduled to land at 6 am in Beijing and get my connecting flight at 8 am for Hong Kong. I landed 10 mins late and I missed my flight. The flight attendant had me get off first with my backpack (12 kg) and told me to get to the transfer desk as soon as I could to get the next flight out. Now, I haven't run since November and add 12 kg to that.... I was exhausted. The transfer desk moved me to the front of the line.

She had me flying out on the next flight..... I had 15 minutes to get to my gate as they we're boarding already. I had to get through 2 security points....so I budded in. Most people were great in letting be go ahead of them.

First impression of Hong Kong from the plane
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After all that, I was only an hour later. Went through customs and headed out for the Airport Express Line train to the HK stop where I waited for a free shuttle to my hotel.
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Checked in and was given a free smart phone to use while I stayed there. Free internet and free calling to Canada!!! (It's not an iPhone so I'm not working it too well).

I went out looking for an eyewear store. It seems I lost both my nose pads off my glasses. Got them replaced and then went shopping....now this place is real retail therapy! I walked to a shopping area called Time Squuare - all designer stores... Jimmy Choo, Burberry, Kate Spade, Yves St. Laurent, Channel - just to name a few.

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Around the corner, I found these stores - a sharp contrast between new and old.
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Tomorrow I am meeting up with a friend (Roma) of a friend (Neko). Neko lives here in HK and had planned an exciting tour day for me. Stay tuned!

Posted by Samchow58 04:49 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (0)

Another awesome dive - Until the next time Thailand!

sunny 34 °C
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March 6
Got up and saw the sunrise. It's going to be a beautiful day.
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Met at the dive shop to get my gear. We headed out in a long tail boat to go diving.... Just Pierre and I! Another one on one dive. We went to two dive sites - Nui Rock and Lanna Bay. I'm having difficulties loading videos on this blog. So I posted one on Facebook.
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Nui Rock was amazing, visibility was so good. We saw puffer fish, cleaner shrimps, clams, schools of fish, and so much more!
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Pierre told me that visitility at Lanna Bay would not be too good because of the wind and weather they've been having. Boy! He was so wrong.... We saw lion fish, puffer fish, sea snake, scorpion fish....
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I was going to take the long tail boat into Tonsa to look around town, but decided to relax on the beach... Seeing that it's my last ful day in Thailand.
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Look what I found on my bed... They must know I love elephants.
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Saw the sunset , then had an hour Thai massage..... So relaxing!
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Late dinner on the beach... This is their kitchen
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March 7
Up early, packed and on the beach by 7:30 am.... Yes 7:30 am! Trying to enjoy the last few hours on this fantastic beach. I checked out of my hotel room at 11 am. Sat around the pool until it was time to get my shuttle to the Tonsai pier.
Sure am going to miss this view!
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Boarded my 3:30 pm ferry for Krabi
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I'm sitting in the airport in Bangkok waiting to board my flight to Beijing. Then to Hong Kong....I figure I will be there around 7:30 pm tonight, Nanaimo time. I think!

My last day in Thailand.... What have I learnt about this beautiful country?
There's a bit of home here... At least one on every block
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People here are very polite and respectful
Like Vietnam, you'll never go hungry because there are street vendors everywhere.
The islands are beautiful, especially Koh Phi Phi.
Don't stay in Bangkok for too long... See Ko San road and then get out!
There are so many temples EVERYWHERE.
... And I've been mistaken for Thai. Go figure!

See you in Hong Kong.

Posted by Samchow58 07:58 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Koh Phi Phi

sunny 38 °C
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March 3 & 4
I spent both days relaxing poolside... Reading. I finished a book a day, what a treat!!! I went to my room around lunch time on Thursday and noticed that my message light on my hotel phone was blinking. Of course I couldn't access the message so I called the front desk. They told me that the Buffalo Tour representative was trying to get hold of me. So I call Ms. Cherry. She informed me that my flight from Koh Samui to. Krabi does not jive with my ferry time. Apparently, the ferry to Koh Phi Phi leaves before Noon while my flight doesn't take off from Koh Samui until 1:15 pm. So this means I have to spend the night in Krabi and take the ferry on Saturday to Koh Phi Phi and that I have to contact my travel agent because only she can make changes to my bookings!!! I am certainly not amused at this point!!!

I call my travel agent on her cell (it's now 9:30 pm Thursday Vanccouver time) to explain the situation. She gets on the computer and finds an alternative travel plan for me. She emails me to tell me that there is another ferry company that leaves at 3 pm so I can make it to Koh Phi Phi. However, according to Ms. Cherry I will be able to make that ferry either because my flight leaves at 1:15 pm. So I checked my itinerary and checked on line everything points to my flight leaving at 12:20 and arriving in Krabi at 1:15 pm. Ms. Cherry calls about an hour later admitting that my flight information is correct and that I am booked on the 3 pm ferry to Koh Phi Phi tomorrow. Phew!!!

Here are some pictures of Bophut Beach
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They were selling this at the night market tonight...
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March 5
Off to the airport to get my 12:20 pm flight. I love Bangkok Airway.....lounge, wifi, snack, drinks, all free. Quick flight only 55 minutes to Krabi.
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Farewell Koh Samui
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I got picked up at the airport and driven to the ferry. It was a great ride, sunny and no rough seas.... Only a 1.5 hour trip (just like going to Vancouver).
Some of the island's along the way
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Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Ley are the largest, and most well known of the Phi Phi Islands. The main island of Phi Phi Don has accommodation, restaurants, dive centers, and a very vibrant nightlife! The other islands are part of the National Park and can only be seen on tours. There are breathtaking beaches, stunning rock formations and tranquil turquoise waters teeming with colourful marine life, rock climbing, world-class diving.

Phi Phi Islands is widely considered to be amongst the most beautiful islands in the world, recently rocking to fame with the filming of the movie "The Beach" on Maya Bay. There are no roads on Phi Phi Don. Long tail boats are used to get around the island.

I was greeted by someone from the hotel. The resort is only accessible by taking a long tail boat.
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There is no wifi in my room so I'm sitting in the lobby typing this blog and getting eaten alive. I'm off diving tomorrow.

Posted by Samchow58 05:31 Archived in Thailand Comments (3)

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