Hong Kong 2017 Day 3 – Ngong Ping and Citygate Outlet Mall

Third day in Hong Kong and we slept in a little more. It was much more tiring than I thought, underestimating the effect of the growing K against overestimating my capability as I aged. We only woke up at 8ish and K at 9am, after switching on the TV for some time and letting the cartoons wake him up naturally.

Everything was pretty smooth up to the point where he wanted to watch more TV instead of leaving. Whined and cried until we had to leave him in the room to force him to obey. We could have stayed longer if there was the luxury of time.

We walked outside to explore the external facilities and found deco that mimicked a scene of Hollywood, with the famous sign. We took a photo with the ocean behind us and took K to the playground that instantly removed his grouch from the morning while I went to do the check out. It was pretty quick since there was no queue and we got to keep the door cards for remembrance.

Lift at Disney Hollywood Hotel
Retro car at the hotel compound
Panoramic view from the compound
Hollywood Hotel sign
Garden path behind the hotel
Playground within the compound
Hotel Swimming pool
Entertainment for the young at hotel lobby
Room cards for souvenirs

Back at the playground K finished his round of slides, tremendously happy and we went to the shuttle bus to bring us to the train station. There was a UNICEF run that morning and thus the roads were blocked with a line of traffic built up. Thankfully there wasn’t much of an impact and we were soon at the MTR, paid a HKD15 per person to Tung Chung.

It was already 11am by the time I checked in my bags into lockers at Citygate outlet malls (HKD10 for 2 hrs, first 6hrs and subsequently doubled after that). There was only payment by notes and I paid HKD20 for it.

Exit C towards Citygate Outlets
Lockers at the basement

Went back through the MTR station to buy some breakfast from a bakery and proceeded to exit B on the other side, in the direction of the cable car station. Had our bread out in the open before a short stroll up the escalator and joining the queue at the prebooked line where again I have gotten my tickets from Klook. Since we had to redeemed at the counter, we had to wait again for almost 25mins before we got our tickets. Again it was a combination of a popular destination plus Sunday that summed up to the waiting time.

Map showing route to cable car station
Citygate outlets
Aroma bread for breakfast

The cable car line was again long but because the cable cars were coming in fast and furious, we cleared the line in no time, in about 10mins. Luckily we didn’t take the crystal cabin as it took a much longer time since the frequency of the cable cars were much lower but the line was long. We shared the cable car with another 2 groups as each one could take up to 10 people. Just before the cable car left the station, the staff would take photos for each group.

Ngong Ping cable car
Queue to Klook counter
A lot of people during the weekend
Map of cable car route
Tickets to cable car

The journey took about 25mins crossing seas and climbing mountains. Along the way we saw trekkers taking the footpath making their way up. The view would have been awesome if not for the mist that shrouded the skies, blurring everything. We saw the Big Buddha seated on top a hill and we knew we were almost there, arriving at the station at about 1225pm.

Much shorter queue for standard cable car
View from cable car
Big buddha and temple seen from cable car

Walking through the modern ancient Ngong Ping village, we quickly used the restroom there before heading towards the Big Buddha for the arduous climb up many flights of stairs to the top. It was a lot of hard work especially carrying a 11kg load on my shoulder. Took a few photos along the way, enjoyed the scenery for a bit before descending down, equally challenging and quite painful for my ankles which was probably inflamed due to gout.

Ngong Ping village
Xmas display at Ngong Ping
Walking through the village theme street
Tree with hanging wishing oranges
Gate towards the Big Buddha
Free roaming cows
Steep climb to the top
Panoramic view from the buddha
Close up view of the Big Buddha
Many flights of steps climb down

Then we wanted to visit the Wisdom Path, a place where the running man visited when they were in Hong Kong (a scene mommy remembered but I didn’t have a clue). The sign indicated a 15mins walk which shouldn’t be far. We saw a few free roaming cows along the way and then it was a footpath through the forest. We reached a clearing and then on the right were many tall pillars with inscriptions on it. Frankly I liked the majestic view of it and the nice weather and blue skies made walking there very much worth it. A short rest later, we took the return journey, distracting K with finding small sticks for him to break so that he could walk himself, which he did amazingly all the way back to start of the path.

Wisdom path
Walk through the forest
Clearing near the pillars
Many pillars of wisdom

We skipped the visit to Po Lin monastery since it was already 140pm. Went into a Ngong Ping 360 shop to get some souvenirs before going to a wishing board to hang a wish tag (given by the shop). Then it was lunchtime at Zen Noodle cafe, where we ordered fried rice and ramen plus a big plate of xiao bai chai so that K could have some vegetables, at a price of HKD250.

Ngong Ping Village map
Wishing board
Zen noodle cafe
Fried rice

By the time we left for the station for the return trip down, it was already 250pm, and the line was much shorter. This time round the crystal cabin cleared faster too since there was a much shorter queue. So the better idea was to take a standard cabin up and a crystal cabin down, if anyone would like a taste of the crystal cabin. It didn’t matter to us and again it was with 3 groups when we boarded the cable car.

The mist had cleared revealing the the blue of the skies and the nice scenery around. K was just as excited going down as when he was going up, talking really loudly and really chatty.

View on the return cable car
View of the waters on return

Back on the ground K was beginning to feel tired so we tried entering a restaurant with long cushion seating to get him to sleep but he didn’t want. We decided and we would carry him till he dozed off which happened really quickly and then returned to the same Urban city diner and let him lay on the seat while I had some coffee and mommy carry out her shopping first.

Urban Cafe

There wasn’t free WiFi so I relied on my data roam to keep me entertained until mommy came back, half an hour later. She had a pair of jeans that she wanted to get and would combine with mine for an additional discount. Then placing K’s head on a rolled up jacket, I left for my shopping time.

Crowded Citygate

As the website of Citygate mentioned that there was free handphone charging so I went to the counter whom advised that the charging station was across the bridge at the other building. I proceeded to walk to the other building as approached the information counter there, expecting to see some lockers with charging cables. But when the staff brought me there, I was disappointed to see that it was an open area with 4 miserable cables, all fully utilized. Waste of time, I went back to start my shopping.

A sucker for jeans, the Evisu outlet was the store that I spent a lot of time there, and I scored a pair of jeans with 70% off plus a 10 that mommy wanted to get ( only thing was I had to return to check with her if that was the pair she left at the counter). After paying, I returned to the restaurant as K had woken up. We paid for the drinks and went to the 10th floor where 10th Avenue was, the entire floor dedicated to shoes.

Lift to 10th Avenue
At the 10th Avenue
All the shoes shops

As I was looking for both a pair of running shoes and a pair of shoes for the new year, we all bought at least a pair from there. After K changed his diapers, we went to Hugo boss where I got myself some shirt (the cheaper ones, they were really comfortable). That was the end of my shopping experience but it had already added up the weight to lug back to the hotel.

Inside Citygate

Claiming the bag left in the locker, I had to pay an additional of HKD50, in which I paid 60 as I didn’t have a 10 dollar note and there was no change given. Bought the tickets back to TST station for HKD19.5 each and we were on an hour journey back, including the long walk within the station (so thankful for the travelators as my back was breaking). We went to iSquare to visit a Maxim cake shop to get a small piece of cake for K as it was his actual day birthday and then returned to Citadines. Checked in was quick as the staff knew who we were as we had initially stayed there and gave us the keys.

Receipt from the locker
Maxim’s cakes

This time around, we were one floor higher but with the exact same design. We put everything down, rested a bit while K watched a video and then proceeded to a diner called Sweetheart Garden restaurant just across the street for dinner. Although mommy wanted to visit a Cha Chan Ting, we had to settle for this since it was almost 9pm already. Mommy ordered a sumptuous pork chop with fish and fried egg rice and a black pepper pork chop served on a hot plate. K shared the rice with mommy and I took pork chop.

Separated toilet and wash basin
Small desk
Kitchenette equipment
Living room
Goodies from the outlet mall
Garden Restaurant
Soup and bread
Fried rice with egg and cutlet
Chicken chop on hot plate
Milk tea and red bean dessert

Halfway through, mommy and K returned to the room first as he said that he wanted to go poo. Left myself to finish whatever was on the table and paid around HKD 216. Retrieved our luggage and from reception and also our delivery from Door Door, super delicious nougat shop, and brought everything back to the room.

Went to reception to borrow a lighter for lighting up Ks candles but was informed that there wasn’t one available but the staff could lend it to us as she was a smoker. Went to get it from the reception was told to return it only at check out, a nice gesture. Back at the room, we sang a birthday song for K and he blew out the 3 candles after multiple attempts, the 4th time this month he was celebrating (school, and with the grandparents). After a few mouthfuls of cakes, it was bath time, storytime and bedtime.

My ankles were still painful after taking some pills but the tiredness overtook the pain and drove me to dreamland quickly, a eventful day at Lantau island.

Hong Kong 2017 Day 2 – Disneyland

Woke up early as my bodily clock didn’t change even overseas. Spent some time jotting and completing the travel memories from the day before and spent some time on Pogo, which was having a thanksgiving event.

Mommy woke up when her alarm sounded at 730 and she started preparing the soup and pasta for K. K woke up at around 830am, also around the same time he usually wakes up back in Singapore. Though he looked a little tired, the thought of visiting Disneyland made him excited again.

After having our pastries that mommy bought for breakfast, and a little TV, K got changed and was ready to go, even chasing his slow poke parents to hurry up – it was a first!

We finally checked out at about 930ish and left our main luggage at the hotel as we would be back the next day. Walked to TST MTR and bought 2 tickets costing HKD46 in all to Disneyland. It was a short ride back to Central, a 10mins walk and then around a 20mins journey on the orange line. Then finally a changeover to a dedicated pink line in which a Mickey Mouse design train arrived and picked up the passengers. Even the interior was different and felt a little more atas then the usual one. K was amused!

MTR train with Mickey window
Mickey design handles too.
Interior layout was different from the standard trains
Statue of Donald Duck in the MTR

We arrived shortly at around 1030am, 30mins after park opening and already there were hordes of people around. After a few quick shots at the fountain, we proceeded past the bags check which took a while as the security was a little slow and unsure, then straight to the entrance as we had already purchased 2 adult tickets on Klook. Having already downloaded the voucher on the phone, we entered using the QR codes and were given 2 physical tickets at the gate itself.

Disneyland MTR station looked like a fantasy train station
Fountain at the entrance of Disneyland
Our tickets

Using the HK Disneyland app which was just really useful, we could locate all the services we needed. So mommy went to get a stroller for rental cos we knew K wouldn’t walk that long and the park was huge and I went to drop off my heavy haversack at the locker rental. It was HKD100 for the stroller rental and similarly for the locker rental too.

Stroller rental rates
Locker rental place
Quite a few lockers to choose from
Panoramic view the spacious Disneyland resort

As there was a show about to start, we went straight to the Fantasyland and entered a huge theatre. It was almost like a real musical and the effects were pretty fascinating. There was also fake snow and ending had falling confetti which wowed the crowd. Songs from the Disney movies such as the Little mermaid, Tangled and Brave and of course Frozen entertained all. But K wasn’t impressed and wanted to return to the hotel, maybe because he hadn’t seen any of the movies and had no connection to them, except “let it go”.

3 Disney princesses
Colourful stage such as this Aladdin
Kids’ fave – Elsa

After the show ended, we popped next door to the “it’s a small world” and K actually changed his mind about taking the boat ride. However, we got him on the slow boat ride and he was amazed by the different displays that brought him through different continents complemented with Disney characters. He then wanted to go one more round! After we exited and mommy went to the toilet while we took some photos of the castle outside, did I convinced him to go check out other stuff, such as visiting Tinklebell at the fairytale forest. He wasn’t even interested in taking the flying dumbo rides or the Cinderella carousel.

Tiny world castle
While inside, lining up for the boat
Toy soldiers
Colourful themes of countries
Another world

We entered the forest that had an interesting display of Disney’s princesses’ stories from Rapunzel, Beauty, Cinderella and Snow White. Different displays all had a fake winding mechanism that K like to wind. He went through it all without asking to be carried which was good. However he was disappointed he wasn’t able to find Tinklebell at the location, there wasn’t even a time schedule so we just told him that she wasn’t around at the moment and we could try later.

Fantasy Forest
7 dwarves
Tale as old as time
Beauty and the Beast castle
Castle with a garden
Cinderalla castle
Underwater castle
Where’s tinkerbell?

We proceeded to lunch at Clopins festival of food after we saw a long queue at the Royal Banquet Hall. It was around HKD 112 for a set meal of main and a soft drink, which mommy bought a BBQ chicken set and I got myself a huge bowl of Wanton noodles. K gobbled up his pasta and even had a bit of my noodles, all the while kept entertained by his pencil tablet.

BBQ chicken set
Wanton noodles
Clopins’ festival of food eatery

We got K to change his diapers at the restroom and tried the fairytale forest one last time after our lunch and found out after exiting from the staff that Tinkerbell would only be there at 3pm, a little late already. So mommy brought K and boarded the park train while I brought the stroller back to the rental location as the stroller cannot go up the train. Met them at the main train station and as I parked the stroller back at the rental store, promising to return later after Ks afternoon nap, and retrieve our haversack, mommy went to the store for some shopping.

Internal train within the park
Spewing volcano for an adventurous boat ride
Xmas tree in the middle of the park

K wanted the bubble making toy and broke down crying and whining for it and only stopped after I brought him outside the store and ignored him. Down the Main Street people lined the sides waiting for the parade to start at 3pm. K then requested to enter to store again, this time being more obedient, knowing that he couldn’t have the bubble toy until much older and settled for a interesting Lightning McQueen cup instead.

Met mommy who was still busy shopping for stuff (HKD600 ish spent) and have her paid for the cup while I brought K out of the store to see huge display mobiles on the street, where dances with music were performed by people and costumed characters. It was frankly quite impressive and even K thought it was nice. However it was short lived as it was already at the end of the parade and they were already moving off.

Inside the huge souvenir shop
Afternoon parade with Tinkerbell
Toy story

Back at the store, mommy was still in line. After the payment, we exited the park with invisible stamps on our hands for reentry, already 4pm. Thought that the resort was nearby so I made the decision to walk, and it was about a 10mins walk. Felt difficult as I was carrying the day bag and K on my shoulder. We entered the Disneyland hotel only to find out that I booked the Hollywood hotel via the reception after lining up for my turn. I forgotten I booked the cheaper option, it was no wonder the original Disneyland hotel looked more grand. Boarded the shuttle bus just outside and alighted at the right one, 2 stops away.

Walking path back to the resort
Disneyland hotel entrance

Check in done and we were up to the top 2nd floor. There was a nice birthday cake display and a greeting card for K which he was happy about it. The accessories were also nice and even had nice room slippers, a pair for K. We quickly changed his diapers and gave him a packet of milk, read a story and he was then fast asleep. The parents took the time to nap as well before I woke up to write up this blog. Before I knew it, K was awake after 2hrs of nap time.

Disney Hollywood hotel
Inside the hotel
Xmas feels
2 queens
Mini bar next to the corridor
Bathroom sink
Toiletries box
Disney themed toiletries
Birthday gift
Cute room slippers
Not so awesome view

We left the room at 7pm and caught the shuttle bus back to the park. The skies were already dark and the streets were illuminated with lots of lights overflowing with the Xmas feels. Though these were essentially the same things in the day, it looked nicer in the night.

Xmas deco on the windows
Night view of Hollywood hotel
Shuttlebus back to the theme park

We went through the security again after some photos at the fountain and even though there was a priority queue for hotel guests, it made no difference as there weren’t many people entering the park at this time.

Theme park gate lighted up
The fountain at night

We couldn’t find one of our tickets but because we had the stamp on our hands, we were allowed reentry thankfully. Made a beeline to reclaim our stroller while K and mommy went to the giant Xmas tree to take some pictures. Then proceeded in the direction of Iron man expo, in the hope of using a priority pass that hotel guests were given.

Lights lined buildings

As we hit the Main Street, we found many people seated along the kerb – the parade was about to begin and I had forgotten about it. We walked the furthest we could and stopped to watch the parade instead. It was a better idea as it was awesome!

The street lights were dimmed for the parade and then from a distance, we could hear music as big display mobiles and street dancers headed our direction. The dazzling lights on both the dancers and the mobiles wowed the crowd as they strolled past us, entertaining people young and old. I thought it was way better than any parade than I have seen, like Chingay, only much more dazzling. One by one, K’s favorite character turned up, starting with the flying Tinklebell, and a red hot Lightning McQueen and his huge disco container truck. Mickey was last but had one of the most eye catching moving display, suited his wizardry theme and many others in between.

K’s fave, Lightning McQueen
Mac, the container truck from Cars
Beauty and a huge rose
Slinky dog from Toy Story
Fantasia Mickey as the finale

As the parade ended at almost 8 and people cleared the street, we could finally walk to the Ironman expo. We had to walk back from theatre to Tomorrowland after I mistaken where I thought it was. K was pretty hyped to go see Iron man but were left disappointed when we found that there was height limit. Checking back on the app, the one applicable for all ages was the Heroic encounter instead of Ironman experience. The heroic encounter was closed unfortunately.

We then decided to return to it’s a tiny world to take the boat since he liked it in the afternoon and also agreed to go there instead. Then a brisk walk later, we found it closed, a 2nd disappointment, and K was close to tears. Consoled K a bit and we then went around to look for dinner. Went past the other side then we missed completely in the afternoon and found most of the areas closed already. Ended up at the USA streets and in the Plaza Inn restaurant, thinking that since it was $$$ in price, we could most likely get a seat. Dead wrong, there were in fact 15 more people waiting in front of us, according to the queue number.

We walked again, this time back to the place that we had lunch in the afternoon and found it closed. The staff pointed us to the Royal Banquet Hall and the second time we pass through the brightly lighted carousel ( one of the few attractions on OT), we entered the impressive Beauty and the beast medieval theme hall and got a seat while mommy went to buy food.

She came back with a trolley of 3 meals, HKD130 each which was too much for 2.5 people. There was meatball spaghetti, baked rice and curry chicken rice and K was ok having the spaghetti and fish from my baked rice. I couldn’t finish the spaghetti as the baked rice was huge enough for myself already.

Royal Banquet Hall
Meatball spaghetti
Curry chicken rice and baked rice
Inside the Banquet hall

We ate till 855 and then we rushed outside to catch the fireworks, which was back at the USA street. This meant we actually made two rounds around the park in that night alone! The main space in front of the famous Disney castle was already packed and we tried to get as close as possible. The spectacle was about to begin.

Music and snippets of Disney movies begin to show, using the castle as a screen. Then later, small teasing fireworks shot up the sky. Both music and movie complemented the buildup in intensity of the fireworks, much like telling a magical story, which was a similar concept that we saw the entire day in the park. Soon flames and spotlights also came in and gave the night sky canvas a beautiful combination. It was a pity that we were slightly too near to the action and too sideways to see the entire view but still fireworks were always nice to watch. K felt a little scared and wanted to leave but I tried to calm him down, telling him that it was ok while seated on my shoulder.

Whatever best shots I took

The 15mins show ended and then it was a mass movement of people towards the exit. Slowly but surely we took baby steps to get out, passing through the USA streets that by now was snowing (foam). Incredible Xmas feelings warmed the heart, K having fun seeing snow falling on mommy’s head. With the Xmas tree in the middle, we tried to get a family selfie.

Xmas tree lighted up

Returned the stroller quickly and exited the park, with Santa Goofy singing some Xmas tunes with singers at the main train station. Went back to the shuttle bus station and I thought we had to wait since there were so many people leaving, but the clever management anticipated the huge influx of leaving crowd and catered additional buses to ferry the guests back the hotel so we didn’t have to wait. 5mins ride and we were back in the hotel.

MTR station looked nice too
Shuttlebus station

Visited the hotel shop to get a gift for nephew and after a while, we returned to the hotel room. I was physically tired and had to rest a little before giving K a bath in the tub while K was playing his all new remote control Lightning McQueen car. He spent some time in the tub, like all kids loved, changed to pyjamas, and later watched Disney’s cartoons (those I remembered watching before when I was much younger). His parents bathed, cleaned up the containers and bottles and packed for the next day. Made K a bottle of milk and 2 storybooks later, it was lights off, mommy alone on her queen bed and K sharing it with me on another.

Hotel souvenir store