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From Macau to Hong Kong onwards to Shenzhen, China

sunny 18 °C

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A bird's eye view of the Hong Kong Metropolitan city from Victoria Peak

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The St Paul's ruins in Macau

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Dongmen Pedestrian Street in Laojie, Shenzhen

Travelling within the 3 countries, Macau, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and China cannot be compared with those of that within South East Asia. I had been travelling cross-border between Cambodia and Vietnam, Thailand and Laos, Cambodia-Vietnam-Laos-Thailand and Thailand-Cambodia over the last 7 years and these overland crossings can be much more challenging and exhausting but were much more fun and interesting. Due to the fact that Hong Kong and China are developed countries with the former under the control of China authority while Macau is fast catching up as a result of its close proximity to both countries, the transport system in these countries within East Asia is very much organised, efficient and convenient. Hong Kong already has the MTR system (subway) in existence for over 30 years since while China has started the subway system even much earlier, since 1969. Macau in contrast, though being a fast developing country has yet to has a subway system being constructed as of now but the public bus transport is just as efficient as those of that of the subway trains in China and Hong Kong. I first arrived in Macau International Airport, then hopped into the public bus at the terminal just in front of the airport exit door to get to the Macau Ferry Terminal. However, there was no direct bus to the ferry terminal from the airport as the next stop would be the Praca Ferreira Amaral stop, which is the 1st stop after crossing the bridge from Taipa (a reclaimed land where the airport was located). Praca Ferreira Amaral terminal is located in the Macau Peninsula, which is located on the north direction within the Macau state. The fare was MOP or HKD 4.20. (HKD is widely acceptable in Macau and the exchange rate between the 2 currencies is 1 to 1, so, do not be worry if you do not have any MOP with you). There are several bus lines that run from the Macau airport to Praca Ferreira Amaral terminal ie MT 1, MT 2, 11 and 50 X. From Praca Ferreira Terminal, I have to get down and hopped into another bus line 10 A to get to Terminal Maritomo or Macau Ferry Terminal.

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A route map inside the bus from Macau International Airport to Praca Ferreira Amaral terminal and change of bus to Terminal Maritomo (Macau Ferry Terminal)

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The TurboJET ticket counter at Macau Ferry Terminal with destination to Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon's China Ferry Terminal

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TurboJET ferry ticket from Macau to Kowloon

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The interior of Macau Ferry Terminal

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The interior of the TurboJET ferry

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The interior of China Ferry Terminal, which is a multi-storey building at Canton Road

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Walking from China Ferry Terminal to the pedestrian tunnel connecting to MTR Austin and Jordan station

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The pedestrian tunnel at Canton Road with direction to MTR Austin and Jordan

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MTR Jordan Station

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From MTR Jordan to Prince Edward station

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Hong Kong jumbo cup noodle for dinner upon checking into accomodation at Prince Edward area

One of the ferry service companies that runs between Hong Kong-Macau-Hong Kong is the TurboJET company. TurboJET ferry is a notable red fleet owned by New World First Ferry and it sails from 2 ports, Hong Kong (Sheung Wan in Hong Kong island) to Macau Ferry Terminal and vice versa and from China Ferry Terminal in Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon to Macau Ferry Terminal and vice-versa. Depending on the travel day, the fare is between HKD 150 to HKD 185 for economy class. The journey takes about an hour. I purchased the ferry ticket to China Ferry Terminal from Macau Ferry Terminal as I thought it would be nearer to reach the place I stay in Prince Edward. Later, I found out that it would still be convenient to get to Hong Kong in Sheung Wan and hop into the MTR Sheung Wan station with interchange at Central station to get to Prince Edward. The nearest MTR station from China Ferry Terminal is the Austin station. There is a subway pedestrian tunnel getting out from China Ferry Terminal which leads to the MTR Austin station.

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A breathtaking view of Hong Kong city from Victoria Peak, Hong Kong Island

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From Victoria Peak With Love

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The Tram that gets up and down to and from Victoria Peak, Hong Kong

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The Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong Island

From Hong Kong to Shenzhen, China, there is the Hong Kong MTR (subway) line from the Hung Hom station to Lo Wu station (light blue line) and the cost of ticket is less than HKD 40 for a single journey. Depending on where you get on the train, there are several interchanges to get on the subway train within the Hung Hom-Lo Wu light blue line including, from the red line Prince Edward station, Mong Kok station and Yau Ma Tei station with change of train at Kowloon Tong station to get into the train to Lo Wu. Another option is to get on the train from East Tsim Sha Tsui station and head to Hung Hom station.

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At the MTR Hung Hom Station to Lu Wu Station to get overland to Shenzhen, China

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The MTR train to Lo Wu station for overland crossing to Shenzhen from Hong Kong

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Arriving at MTR Lo Wu station to get to Shenzhen, China from Hong Kong

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To the Hong Kong Lo Wu Immigration Checkpoint after exiting the train from MTR Lo Wu Station to head overland to Shenzhen, China

In Shenzhen, China you can get the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Visa, which is a 5 days visa-on-arrival facility which allows visa holder to stay within Shenzhen for 5 days. Arriving at the Lo Wu MTR station, I had my passport stamped out of Hong Kong at the Hong Kong Immigration checkpoint within the Lo Wu MTR station and walk out after immigration clearance towards the Shenzhen Immigration checkpoint. Before the Shenzhen Immigration checkpoint, there is an escalator on the left (not front left but side left) to get to the SEZ visa office. Outside the office, I had to filled up a small and simple visa application form. After completed the from, get a number at the ticket machine on the right of the entrance and wait for the number being called upon. Passport together with the application form would be submitted to the immigration officer over the counter for visa processing purpose and photo would be taken on the spot. Then, wait for the number being called again for payment. The fee charged was RMB 168. After payment, wait for number being called for passport collection. The whole Shenzhen SEZ Visa application was almost hassle free minus the crowd. From here, get down again to head to the Shenzhen Immigration checkpoint and filled up the arrival and departure from before proceed to have the passport stamped into China. Here I was in Shenzhen China. From China, the Shenzhen Metro (subway) allows the travel to several interesting tourist spot conveniently as well as shopping malls. I stayed at the Sun On Hotel in Laojie, which is strategically located just within walking distance from Shenzhen Metro Laojie Station where the shopping heaven of Dongmen Pedestrian Street is located. Here at Dongmen Pedestrian Street, you can all you want at very affordable and inexpensive items as well as sampling some of the best street food in Shenzhen. There are also various shopping malls within short walking distance within the street. You can also go to Shopping Park Station from Laojie Station where various other big malls are located including the Coco Park Shenzhen.

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The Shenzhen Special Economic Zone Visa Office in Luohu, Shenzhen

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Shenzhen Special Economic Zone Visa application card @ Luohu Immigration Checkpoint, Shenzhen

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Inside the Luohu Visa Office @ Luohu Immigration Checkpoint, Shenzhen

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To the Shenzhen Metro station after Luohu Immigration checkpoint clearance

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The interior of the Shenzhen Metro Luohu station

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The route map at Shenzhen Metro Luohu station

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The entrance door to the subway train at Shenzhen Metro Luohu station

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Parts of Dongmen Pedestrian Street in Laojie, Shenzhen

Posted by kidd27 01:12 Archived in China

Hong Kong (Part 1)

sunny 21 °C

There was this saying that went like this: If you did not visit Victoria Peak when in Hong Kong, it was as good as you did not stepped your foot there. Well, I would certainly agree with this statement, simply because, at Victoria Peak, this is the highest point in Hong Kong where you can get the greatest and most wonderful view of the Special Administrative Region of China's metropolis landscape. Victoria Peak is the first place that I visited while travelling Hong Kong. To get to the peak, it was quite convenient with the MTR. Remember if you are a tourist in Hong Kong, you have the privilege to access to the MTR 1 Day Tourist Pass which allows user of the subway train to get on an unlimited rides for 24 hours. 24 hours means, the usage of this MTR tourist pass started from the hour that the card being used on a particular day and ended 24 hours from the 1st hour of usage. Example, if you use the pass at 9 am today, the card will expires at 9 am tomorrow. This tourist pass is definitely worth the money spent for only HKD 55 per pass. However, this card cannot be use for the trip to Hong Kong airport and the border stations to China.

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The Hong Kong MTR Tourist Day Pass

As I was staying at the Prince Edward area, I took the train from Prince Edward station to the Central station in Hong Kong Island. From Central station, get out from the station at Exit J, which would leads you to Chater Garden. From Chater Garden, you would be greeted with the landmark view of Hong Kong, the Bank of China Tower, which in my view symbolised the metropolis status of Hong Kong to-date. From Chater Garden walk towards the main road where you would see the Cheong Kong Centre Building in front just opposite the main road. Walk across the road and pay attention to the signboard nearby which provides direction to The Tram Terminus. Some of the other interesting sights here apart from the Bank of China Tower would be the HSBC Tower, Citibank Tower, Cheung Kong Centre Building and the Standard Chatered Bank Tower all within the close proximity within each other and also adjacent to The Tram Terminus. It is well to take note that you would be thankful to reach the Tram terminus early in particular on weekends as the number of visitors surged rapidly by late morning, The cost of return journey ticket for the Peak Tram Sky Pass is HKD 75 which include access to the Sky Terrace 428, which is a 360 degrees view of the metropolis Hong Kong and return journey with the Tram to and from the peak. The notable towers from the Sky Terrace include The Bank of China, Standard Charted Tower, HSBC Tower and Citibank Tower. To get to the Victoria Peak, the Tram would be most convenient and easy way though you could also have the options of the public bus as well as jog or walk your way up to the peak. At the peak, there is the Peak Tower, which looked very much like a hanging ship which is a multi-level building started with the Peak Market where you would first have access to when reaching Victoria Peak. There are many souvenirs available here which you can purchase for family and friends. Few other levels would have coffee house, restaurants as well as the Hong Kong Madame Tussauds. The Tram Sky Pass did not include entry to Madame Tussauds. At one level, which was an open air area is where the Peak Galleria is located. From here, you can get a full view of the Peak Tower. Finally, the peak level would be the Sky Terrace 428 where the wonderful view of the Hong Kong metropolis landscape can be experienced from here.

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From MTR Prince Edward station to Central station

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To MTR Central Station from Prince Edward Station heading to Victoria Peak

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Exit J to get to The Tram Terminus for journey up to Victoria Peak

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The Bank of China Tower and Cheung Kong Centre Tower from Chater Garden

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The Cheung Kong Center Tower in Hong Kong

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The entrance door to Cheung Kong Center Tower

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A double-decker tram passing through at the Central, Hong Kong with AIA Tower on the background

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The signboard which shows direction to the Peak Tram Terminus

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The Citibank Tower at Central, Hong Kong

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The view of Bank of China Tower and Cheung Kong Center at Central, Hong Kong

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Standard Chartered Bank Tower & HSBC Tower at Central, Hong Kong

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St.John's Cathedral in Central, Hong Kong

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The Peak Tram Terminus to Victoria Peak at Central, Hong Kong

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The ticket counter at The Peak Tram terminus

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This way to The Peak Tram

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One of the interior decoration at The Peak Tram terminus

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The tram to Victoria Peak

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The rail track of the Tram to Victoria Peak

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Another interior decoration at The Peak Tram Terminus

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The Peak Market at The Peak Tower, Victoria Peak, Hong Kong

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Some of the souvenirs available at The Peak Market

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A sneak view of the Hong Kong metropolis landscape from inside the Peak Tower

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A general view of the Peak Galleria at The Peak Tower

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The Peak Galleria at The Peak Tower

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The Peak Tower @ Victoria Peak, Central, Hong Kong

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The old tram which has been converted to tourist information centre at The Peak Tower

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The rear view at Victoria Peak

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Some of the great views of the Hong Kong metropolis landscape from The Peak Tower @ Victoria Peak

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Posted by kidd27 09:17 Archived in Hong Kong

Hong Kong (Part 2)

sunny 21 °C

Continuing my next itinerary in Hong was to Sheung Wan from the MTR Central station. Some of the notable and interesting sights in Sheung Wan include the Hong Kong ferry terminal to Macau and vice versa, in which I mentioned in my earlier writing. The TurboJET ferry sails from 2 ports in Hong Kong, one which is in Sheung Wan and the other from China Ferry Terminal at Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon. Other than the ferry terminal, the Western Market was another landmark here with its odd dark red coloured paint which actually stands out among the other buildings within the area. It was worth to take a stroll inside Western Market and have short walking tour around the streets within the Western Market. Sheung Wan represents the old part of Hong Kong and this is also the place to get the closer look or to ride on the double-decker tram which is synonymous to Hong Kong city. After an interesting walk, it was time for a break and sample some authentic Hong Kong wanton noodle as well as the tasty and aromatic Hong Kong milk tea. Surely, the "cha chan theng" is something that one should not missed out while in Hong Kong. "Cha chan theng" translated into english means tea house and its a culture for Hong Kongers to patron such outlets when meeting up with friends or just for breakfast and lunck break.

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The rear of the Western Market in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

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Hong Kong Ferry Terminal to Macau at Sheung Wan

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A view of the pier at Sheung Wan

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The side view of the Western Market building

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A street adjacent to Western Market in Sheung Wan

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A bowl of tasty wanton noodle in a "cha chan theng" in Sheung Wan

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A glass of aromatic Hong Kong milk tea in a "cha chan theng" in Sheung Wan

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A tram station in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

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A tram in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

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A tram moving out from its station in Sheung Wan

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Another view of a street with tram tracks in sights in Sheung Wan

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Some of the shops inside Western Market in Sheung Wan

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A public phone inside the Western Market in Sheung Wan

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The main entrance to Western Market in Sheung Wan

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"Loh mai chee" or sticky rice roll filled with stew pork & shrimp which is another must-try food while in Hong Kong

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Hong Kong's "loh mai chee"

From Sheung Wan, next on was to take a stroll along the promenade at Avenue of Stars from the MTR Tsim Sha Tsui station. From the station, exit at gate J to get to Avenue of Stars which features the hand prints of some of the veteran and famous Hong Kong movies and drama actors and actresses as well as Hong Kong singers some of which yet to have these superstars hand print sealed. The sights here were beautiful with view of the corporate buildings on the backdrop of the sea along the promenade. There were also some structures including that of Bruce Lee as well as the movie filming equipments displayed at some spots along the promenade.

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The MTR Tsim Sha Tsui station to get to Avenue of Stars

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Exit J at MTR Tsim Sha Tsui station to get to Avenue of Stars

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A direction signboard to get to Avenue of Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui

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Hong Kong Museum of Art adjacent to Avenue of Stars

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The Avenue of Stars, Hong Kong

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Some of the sea views at the promenade on the backdrop of high rise buildings at Avenue of Stars, Tsim Sha Tsui

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Some of the decoration structures at Avenue of Stars

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This was meant for Bruce Lee hand prints

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Hand prints of Hong Kong actor, Tony Leong Chiu Wai at Avenue of Stars

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A structure of Bruce Lee at the Avenue of Stars, Tsim Sha Tsui

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Posted by kidd27 21:46 Archived in Hong Kong

Hong Kong (Part 3)

Temple visiting & Shopping

sunny 21 °C

Apart from sightseeing and food, one should also not to missed the shopping scenes as well as visiting temples while travelling Hong Kong. From Sheung Wan, I moved on to Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple. One of the special features of this combination of Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism is the 12 Chinese Zodiacs black sculpture displayed at the area on the higher level of the temple ground upon entrance from the main gate and walking up on a staircase on the left of the main gate. From here, there was another short staircase to walk up to the squared concourse area where visitors and worshippers offer prayers to the Wong Tai Sin (a sacred monk). On the front of the concourse area was where the main temple building area being located. Apart from the main temple, there were others such as Yue Heung Shrine, 3 Saints Hall, the Confucian Hall and God Wish Garden.

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The MTR Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple

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The main gate at Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple

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One of the sculpture located right after the entrance from main gate of Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple

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The staircase to the 12 Chinese Zodiacs area and the main temple of Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin

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The 12 Chinese Zodiacs at Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sim

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The arch to the concourse and main temple of Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin

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The concourse and main temple of Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin

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The left and right side of the concourse of Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin

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The plaque that describe about the main altar of Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin

The shrine, hall and garden at Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin

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The souvenir shops outside Sik Sik yeun Wong Tai Sin

Of course when in Hong Kong, shopping is one of the must-do activity on the travel itinerary. There are abundance of shopping options in Hong Kong and you can get good bargain from the reasonable prices of loads of items suitable for everyone. One of the best shopping experience in Hong Kong is the Times Square mall located at Causeway Bay in Hong Kong Island. During my visit, the mall was packed with many shoppers who gathered at the concourse area of the main entrance to the mall, which was filled with Christmas decorations. Other than shopping, there was a famous noodle house adjacent to Times Square, the Chee Kee where you would have to lined up in queue to wait for availability of seats due to its small shop space and the packed diners. Over in Kowloon, the Temple Street night market and the Ladies Market offer some of the good bargain souvenir items as well as clothing and women accessories all that suit travellers and shoppers with small budget. To experience Hong Kong delicious street food, Kowloon also offers food lovers some different experience such as the stinky tofu (unique to Hong Kong), "gai dan chai" (little egg waffles, egg tarts and others such as the variety of skewers options.

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The MTR Causeway Bay to Times Square

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Times Square Mall at Causeway Bay Hong Kong

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Some of the Christmas decorations at Times Square mall

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The clock tower at Times Square

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A double decker tram in Causeway Bay at a street near Times Square

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The interior of Times Square

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Some of the crowds at a street in Causeway Bay, near Times Square

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Chee Kee Noodle House at Causeway Bay

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A bowl of wanton noodle at Chee Kee Causeway Bay

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Soy bean drink at Chee Kee

Some of the items sold at Temple Street Night Market

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A street near Temple Street Night Market

Some of the street food near Temple Street night market

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Hong Kong stinky tofu

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The arch at Temple Street

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Gai Dan Chai (little egg waffle)

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MTR Mong Kok to get to Ladies Market

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Mong Kok night scenes

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Ladies Market

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A street in Mong Kok, Kowloon

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Hong Kong egg tart

Posted by kidd27 08:19 Archived in Hong Kong

Shenzhen

overcast 19 °C

Travelling overland from Hong Kong to Shenzhen, China is quite direct and without much hassle. The best way to travel overland between these 2 cities is through the Hong Kong MTR with a final stop at Lo Wu station. From Lo Wu, after the Hong Kong Immigration checkpoint clearance, you are required to obtain the visa-on-arrival which permits visa holder for a stay within Shenzhen for up to 5 days. This visa facility is only applicable if you do not travel beyond Shenzhen and would exit Shenzhen within 5 days from the date of visa issuance. From Lo Wu in Hong Kong, after stamped out from Hong Kong immigration, you need to walk to the Luohu Port (Luohu Immigration) which is where your passport is stamped by Chinese immigration officer for entry into Shenzhen. Before reaching Luohu Immigration, if you do not have a Chinese visa in advance, you need to proceed to the Luohu Visa office on the 1st floor to apply for the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone Visa with a visa fee of RMB 168. It requires completion of simple 1 page application card, proceed to obtain a queue number, wait for the queue number to be called upon, have your passport and the completed visa application card submitted as well as instant photo taken by the visa office, wait again for the queue number being called for payment and finally, collect your passport once it is ready. Still, with the visa sticked on your passport, you are still required to filled in the arrival and departure card at the edge of the immigration hall before lining up in queue to have your passport stamped in to Luohu, Shenzhen. Once the immigration procedure is cleared, the hassle free way to get to Shenzhen city is by hopping into the Shenzhen Metro. As I have booked my accommodation in Laojie where the commercial and shopping heaven of Shenzhen, the Dongmen Pedestrian Street is located, I get on the subway train from the Luohu Metro station to Laojie Metro station which costs RMB 2 for single journey. The Shenzhen Metro Luohu Station is located on the ground floor after exiting from the Luohu Port. As I only have limited time to spend in Shenzhen and arriving late in the afternoon from Hong Kong, most of the day was confined to shopping at Dongmen Pedestrian Street, which has several shopping malls and shops catered to shoppers with any level of budget. There were also lots of street foods stalls available and as you shopped, you can sample some of these street food which can be quite an experience for travellers like me. Most of the items sold in Dongmen Pedestrian Street were shoes, handbags, ladies accessories, electronic gadgets, handphones and related accessories, consumer goods and many more suitable for each and everyone. From Luohu Metro station, I took a ride to the Shopping Park Metro station, in which one of the largest shopping mall in Shenzhen, Coco Park was located. Some of the best experience over at Coco Park is the Bar Street where beer bars cum restaurants are located and a massive open concourse area where shoppers and visitors could take a walk and enjoy the atmosphere in particular during night time. The major supermarket at Coco Park is Aeon, a Japanese establishment with great number of consumer goods could be found here.

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Travelling on HK MTR to Lo Su station to get to Luohu, a gateway to Shenzhen, China

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Arriving at MTR Lo Wu station and heading to Hong Kong Lo Wu Immigration for overland crossing to Luohu, Shenzhen

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The Shenzhen Special Economic Zone Visa Office at Luohu Port, Shenzhen

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The Luohu Port, Shenzhen

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The Shenzhen Metro Luohu Station

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Sun On Hotel at Laojie with Dongmen Pedestrian Street right in front of its doorstep

SOME OF THE SCENES AT DONGMEN PEDESTRIAN STREET, SHENZHEN

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Street food at Dongmen Pedestrian Street, Shenzhen

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The night scene outside Coco Park mall in Shenzhen city

Posted by kidd27 23:52 Archived in China

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