Fly a kite, and see the sunset

Ever thought of doing something special in Hong Kong? How about kite flying in its countryside?

In Hong Kong, there is a place most famous for kite flying: Tai Au Mun (大坳門), or Clear Water Bay Country Park.

How to get there:

Take minibus 103M at the bus terminal of Tseung Kwun O MTR station, or minibus No. 16 at the bus terminal of Po Lin MTR station. Ask the driver to drop you off at the roundabout leading up to Clear Water Bay Country Park entrance. Or just tell the driver you want to go to Tai Au Mun, and he will know where to drop you off.

Once you get off the mini bus, you will walk for about 10 minutes before you arrive at the Country Park. There, you will find a shop that sells kites (HK$70 for a big kite made of cloth) and a signpost pointing to the kite-flying venue.

This is the venue for kite flying:

It is half surrounded by sea.

Clear Water Bay Country Park is also good for BBQ. So expect to find yourself walking past BBQ people and stoves before arriving at the site for kite flying.

Tips for visiting Ocean Park

Ocean Park has become the No.1 theme park in Hong Kong, surpassing Disneyland, in terms of visitor number and popularity. But it also means that the Park may be too packed, spoiling the fun.

Here are some tips if you plan on visiting Ocean Park:

1. Avoid visiting the Park on weekends. You can be assured of a packed place with long queues everywhere with both locals and mainland visitors flocking to the Park during the weekend.

2. Everything is expensive in the Park – that particularly means the food and beverage sold inside the Park. Expect to pay a bottle of soft drink/water for HK$20, more than double the price outside the Park. So bring along some food and drink to save some money. There is a McDonald’s in the park, which sells no set meals, and at a higher price for each item of its food and drinks. Still it attracts the longest queue in the park because its food still comes at a lower price than other food stalls.

3. The “raging river” is fun and you shouldn’t miss out. But expect at least one-hour wait in the queue to ride on the water and get wet during the weekend.

4. The Park provides automatic digital shooting opportunities for many of the activities (such as taking cable car, and visiting the Reef Atoll) you participate and you get to preview them on exit and pay over HK$100 for a photo you like. I found it annoying that the staff alert you to the camera everywhere you go, but obviously some people like the service.

5. I observe that people enter the Ocean Theatre for daily shows of dolphins and sea lions well before the scheduled time to have a good seat (that means a seat in the shade in the summer). So get there early if you want a good seat too.

Experience the charisma of greatest singer of mandarin songs

Want to experience a diva’s soothing mandarin songs while sipping coffee? Here’s the opportunity. The Teresa New Life Coffee Shop just opened in Hong Kong, which was timed to memorize the 56th anniversary of the birth of Teresa Teng. Teresa Teng’s songs had been extremely popular among Chinese-speaking population, which was captivated by her unique gentle beautiful singing voice.

Even before the opening up of mainland China, Diva Teng, from Taiwan, was a phenomenon there.  She is arguably the greatest singer of mandarin songs ever. I myself was once a fan of Diva Teng.

She died of a severe asthma attack in 1995.

Here’s Diva Teng’s one of the most famous songs – the moon represents my heart

The Coffee Shop, located at the MTR East Tsim Sha Tsui station, is decorated with memorabilia, and plays videos of Teng’s performance. It serves premium coffee and organic soy cakes from Taiwan. Teng’s CDs and souvenirs are also on sale in the shop.

Cyberport, a place to chill out

Cyberport was intended to be the Sicilon Valley in Hong Kong, or a new IT international centre. What has it become today? Just a luxury residential project commanding ocean view, four office blocks, a five star hotel Le Meridien and a retail and entertaiment complex hardly visited by the locals. Over the years since the launch of its first and second phrase development in 2003, few IT companies have moved in. To fill up the office space, non IT or creative industry related businesses are now allowed to move in.

When I was there two weeks ago, I noticed that Hong Kong Univeristy’s continued education school SPACE has rented space in Cyberport as its classrooms.

On the other hand, flats in the luxury residential project Residence Bel-Air have been quickly snapped up. No wonder Cyberport project was criticized as more of a real estate project rather than what is intended for, granted by the Hong Kong government to the second son of Hong Kong’s richest man Li Ka Shing, Richard Li, without an open bid – a typical example of government-business collusion.

The above introduction is meant to say that Cyberport, with its failing mission, and open space largely empty, is good for the visit of tourists looking for a calm place in Hong Kong to chill out.

Cyberport is incoveniently located at the Southern part of Hong Kong island, on a 24-hectare site at the Telegraph Bay. Locals rarely go there because of lack of MTR train connection. The place only becomes a bit alive on weekends. This is probably the best time of the week to come to Cyberport.

The place has extensive green space with a campus atmosphere. You can find Starbucks Coffe shop and another coffee shop here, as well as some high-end restaurants which serve the weathly tenents in the Residence Bel-Air.  It also has a food court and a supermarket. So if you look for food choice other than those expensive restaurants, it won’t be a problem.

There is a cinema in the retail and recreation complex, if you look for some entertainment.

To energize the place, the management company organizes outdoor events on Sundays – not every Sunday though. In summer, bands are invited to play in the open space.

you see, not many people there for the band performance

These days (from September 21, 2008) there is a Sunday Market, where some exotic stuff are sold, from organic produce, arts and crafts, clothing to exotic plants and flowers, collectables, and handmade jewelry. Entry fee for adults is HK$20.

Check out here for how to go to Cyberport.

Hong Kong East: Harbour View and Soho Feel

Visitors to Hong Kong are usually advised to take the Star Ferry from Central or Tsim Sha Tsui to see the Hong Kong harbor, especially at night when the skyline is lit. They are also told that the Soho area, the hot spot of trendy bars and restaurants, is in Central.

These are all true, except that Hong Kong has another spot where you can see the famous Hong Kong harbor as well as experience “Soho”. It is in Lai King Wan (鯉景灣) of Sai Wan Ho (西灣河), in the Eastern part of Hong Kong Island.

Take the MTR to Sai Wan Ho Station. Go out at Exit A, and turn right, to walk toward the waterfront (there are also signs indicating the direction). It is about 5-minute walk before you come to the waterfront and a long promenade. From here you can take in Hong Kong’s harbor and the Kowloon East across it. The promenade allows you to take a relaxing stroll while witnessing the daily life of locals.  You rarely see tourists here.

The area is also called “Soho East” where you will find a host of restaurants and bars adjacent to the waterfront. This Soho East is not as busy as the Soho area in Central because of its slightly remote location, but over the weekend, it attracts many locals to drive to this area for dining and relaxation.