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  1. #1

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    Hong Kong 2011-2012 - Happy New Year!

    Hey guys,

    I've been in Hong Kong for the past few days, and I've visiting some new places like the Wetland Park, and revisiting old ones like Ocean Park, and will be in Disney after the New Year.

    However, I just had to churn this part one out quickly.

    At Harbour City, beside the Star Ferry terminal, they have an annual Christmas display that people flock to. Two years ago was this beautiful fairy thingy that I showed in my previous TR, and I forgot last year's since it didn't impress me enough to take pictures.

    This year's theme is Toy Story Land. Say what you want about the land itself, but one has to admit this is pretty awesome, especially when you see the crowds at night.




















    Well, that's it for now.

    If any of the locals have any tips on what to do tonight, do tell, since I'm at a loss for what exactly one does in Hong Kong for New Year's Eve.

    Apart from that, Happy New Year!

  2. #2

    • Cars Land Rocks!
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    Re: Hong Kong 2011-2012 - Happy New Year!

    Great pictures. Thanks for the report.





  3. #3

    • Sawasdee! สวัสดี! :)
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    Re: Hong Kong 2011-2012 - Happy New Year!

    Wow! Looks so cute! >_<
    Sorry for grammar mistakes! I'm not really good in English!

  4. #4

    • Minion
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    Re: Hong Kong 2011-2012 - Happy New Year!

    ORDDU: Thank you for the nice pictures, SirEdge, duckling. As always everyone here in Morva loves seeing what you have to show us. Happy New Year!!!

  5. #5

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    Re: Hong Kong 2011-2012 - Happy New Year!

    How cute! I'm surprised they've got Christmas covered there already. Good show!
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  6. #6

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    Re: Hong Kong 2011-2012 - Happy New Year!

    Here's the Trip Report proper. First part will focus on two nature themed parks, one is the not so touristy HK Wetland Park in the New Territories and the second is HKDL's rival, Ocean Park.

    First up is Wednesday, wherein all the museums are free. We always try to make sure that our trip allows us a full Wednesday so we could hit the museums.

    The HK Art Muesum is always a pleasure, although it was in-between featured exhibits.






    After a walk through the Avenue of the Stars, and through the parks on Chatham Rd., the Hong Museum of History is something I hadn't visited before.

    Inside is a look at Hong Kong's development from a fishing village to the world city that it is today.









    It's a great museum with some great details.


    HONG KONG WETLAND PARK

    The HK Wetland Park is a conservation area with a visitor's center and some trails around the wetlands. It's located in the New Territories in the north eastern park of Hong Kong. A ride via MTR to Tin Shui Wai will take you there and from there go to the Light Rail loop, which is a quaint little train to get off the the Wetland Park station.




    The Wetland Park Light Rail station. A quaint station.



    With few people reinforcing this certain small town feel...



    Except for those housing high rise buildings that loom over it.




    A handful of people walked with us to the ticketing office. Mostly locals.




    The touches of bamboo by the toilet is a nice touch.



    Traveler's Tree and some crimson vines.



    Bird statues near the entrance at the visitor's center.



    This way to enter.



    The indoor section has taxidermy animals, and aquariums.






    Clean and and well-themed aquariums.



    Smile.



    Uh Star Trek?



    Kinda reminds me of EPCOT, but with all the Future World pavilions smooshed into one building.


    The outdoor area is where the real stuff can be found. Birdwatching is the main thing to do, but the walk is pleasant couple of hours worth of physical activity.

    A man asked me to take his picture with his elderly father. After, he asked me where we were from. He was surprised why tourists like us were at the Wetlands Park. I explained that we loved going to HK and was our nth trip so we were always on the lookout for new things to do and that we love nature.



    Either they're snails or mudskippers.





    Can anyone tell me the name of this beauty?



    The floating walkways to the bird hides.



    Do a barrel roll! - Peppy



    One of the hides.



    I love this part of the walk.



    The outdoor butterfly garden actually has butterflies!



    And they're pretty hungry.



    A cocoon? A plant?



    Crispy leaves.



    And back to Tin Shui Wai.

    The following day was spent at Ocean Park. Now a lot of people love to hate on OP, but it occupies a big place in the HK people's hearts. After all, it's been around for about 35 years and it's hard to replace that pride that HKers have for the theme park they grew up with.

    My first theme park was WDW back in 1986, but since that's half a world away, I looked forward as a kid to trips to Ocean Park and back then it was like Sea World and Disney in my eyes. There was the shark reef and the killer whales. Now my opinions on the ethics of marine mammals in captivity may have changed a bit, but I lapped it up as a kid.

    Even as recent as ten years ago, I loved OP and Atoll Reef at that point was my favorite. I remember it not being too crowded, and I loved descending down with the animals. Now my trip back to OP in 2009 wasn't so nice because it was crowded as heck, so we opted out in 2010. However with two new lands and a Frank Ghery aquarium, I couldn't pass up another visit to a childhood favorite.




    It's my first time I passed through the main entrance, since it was renovated, since I usually through the other entrance, which was closed at this point. The colors are vibrant, and the scupltures a little surreal.



    The new AquaCity Grand Aquarium. It's their weenie, and it's rather beautiful.



    But up close the finish is a little disappointing.

    There was a long wait since it's the first major attraction by the entrance and hordes of people lined up for it, so we skipped it and headed to the Giant Panda Habitat.



    But the lines there were incredibly long as well, so went for the one we already saw before, Amazing Asian Animals to see the every so adorable Red Pandas.



    And Giant Pandas as well.



    And some sleepy otters.



    And led to the beautiful varieties of goldfish. Always the charmers.









    We then decided to brave it out at the promising Giant Panda enclosure.




    The pandas beckoned us.

    And we spent about fifteen minutes in line to get in, only to see one panda asleep as we immediately entered and had to trudge along in line for another ten minutes to get out.



    If you can see at the far right that is the entrance, where you can see the panda, go down the hall to where I took this picture, make a U-turn and back.



    To see nothing.



    And then near the exit, to see the same panda you saw when you entered.

    It was by far an incredible waste of time. Skip this if the line is long. The Amazing Asian Animals section is much better themed, with more animals to see, and you can waltz right in even on a busy day.

    We went back to take our chance at the Grand Aquarium. The line snaked and coiled around until you reach the elevator. There was a fifteen minute wait at that point, which was fine, if it weren't for this pushy old lady who did not understand the concept of queuing. She insisted on going ahead of us, and the young Asian-American family in front of us noticed her as well. We tried to block her because she assumed that if there's a gap in line, she could just place herself wherever she wants. The cordoned off area is rather wide, so she tried to use this to her advantage. I don't think she meant any harm, but it still infuriated me.



    Inside, it's a mess. It looks like they transplanted Atoll Reef into this new aquarium. And it was like we were being herded through it like cattle.

    And this brings my first problem with OP, different from what I remembered as a kid. Back then, I think that there was more educational value to their exhibits.



    More hallways like this. And with flash...



    Reveals that they don't even wait until we exit through the gift shop to peddle their wares.



    A school of milkfish swim around in a tube.



    Lucky fish, since I love me some milkfish.

    From this point onwards, the aquarium takes a more pleasant turn.



    Instead of the usual tunnels, there are holes that allow you to peek through the main aquarium.



    And things are good.



    Hammerhead sharks swim calmly with the rest of the fishes.



    And I spotted a manta ray, somewhere.





    All in all the grand aquarium was pretty grand, but I didn't feel like it was a huge upgrade compared to the old one. Although in the main viewing area, the smell of buttered seafood wafted through the room that made me feel a little guilty.

    After that we took the funicular tunnel to the highlands area. And onto the Jellyfish Spectacular.



    Um are they dead?



    Like a carnival fun house of stress.






    Christmas trees? Tacky much?



    Like a mad scientist's lab.

    We walked around and saw some of their backstage buildings that they haven't quite cleaned up after Halloween.



    Thrill Mountain is their newest land.



    Peeking through the white fences to the California seals.



    Instead we saw the backstage area.



    The older rides.



    Arf! Arf!



    The boardwalk fast food area with Christmas trimmings. You can try some Cantonese roastings. How appropriate?


    The Tropical rainforest is where some of the birds in the old aviary were moved along with some new amphibians and reptiles.




    Outside is one of their newer rides, the Rapids.





    Now, I love me some rapids, and this one promised to be fun. With all the people screaming and squealing, I was worried and excited about getting wet.

    Instead, I barely got wet. The ride was frustratingly short with no real drops or big splashes. The only time you'll get wet is if someone's manning the water cannons.

    I recommend a skip. Not worth it if you're in for the wetness.




    The newest coaster is the Hair Raiser, a floorless coaster from Bolliger and Mallibard. It looked like a lot of fun, and I went in line, but opted out midway through when I realized we'd be late for the cable car down to catch the Symbio show.

    But there was time for one more ride, so we tried the Whirly Bird, a relatively tall spinner with it's nice fairground charm.









    The cable car down at night was gorgeous, but it was difficult to capture the beauty of the view in a dim gondola.



    Back on the lowlands, the Christmas tree was lit up.





    Symbio is the nighttime fireworks, fountain, and light show at OP.



    It's technically impressive, with all the bells and whistles expected from a nighttime spectacular.



    An environmental story with gods, marine life, and whatnot, frames the show. It feels shoehorned, but serviceable.



    It's nice, however, it's no Fantasmic. But that's precisely the problem, there is no Fantasmic at HKDL.

    In closing, Ocean Park is clearly a favorite, but it's not consistently themed. It's part theme park with sparsely themed rides, and an oceanarium with very little educational value due to the hordes that shuffle through its halls.



    This picture best summarizes the impression that the experience left me. And it's a head-scratching, why? There's the effort, but there's no logic as to how and why certain things are done the way there are in OP.

    The ride back on the Star Ferry was as wonderful as ever, with this gorgeous view of Hong Kong island.



    On New Year's Eve, the main roads that lead to the harbour were closed and the pedestrians took over.



    And converge by the harbour, where it was wall to wall people.



    We waited more than two hours for midnight, and the fireworks were beautiful. But with the lack of loud sounds or music, it was underwhelming. The missing oomph left me disappointed, but at least the experience, particularly the wait, was fun.






    The next day was spent shopping for food and clothes at Uniqlo, and by the time we got to the Harbour City, I discovered more Toy Story Land displays.



    This one sold HKDL tickets and gave way TSL bags for those who bought two or more tickets.



    And my favorite, a LGM Christmas tree.

    And underneath, were Toy Story wrapped gifts.





    They weren't made of paper though. I know. I touched the gift boxes.



    Ooooooh.


    Back outside, the stairway leading down to the main TSL exhibit, was decked with more Christmas ornaments.



    The ceiling was trimmed with gold and silver Christmas balls, and Toy Story cards and medallions.

























    Eventually we had to bid Hong Kong and Kowloon goodbye. And it was time to prepare for our next three days at the HKDL resort.
    Last edited by SirEdge; 01-13-2012 at 09:49 AM.

  7. #7

    • Minion
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    Re: Hong Kong 2011-2012 - Happy New Year!

    ORDDU: Such a nice trip report, SirEdge, duckling! Thanks to your pictures, we get to see what life is like outside of Morva. The castles in those Hong Kong cities are so much different looking from what we have in the Land of Prydain. We look forward to seeing even more! Hugs!!

  8. #8

    • "The Musical Quil"
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    Re: Hong Kong 2011-2012 - Happy New Year!

    Perfect! Thanks for sharing. Love seeing Ocean Park!
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  9. #9

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    Re: Hong Kong 2011-2012 - Happy New Year!

    Great pics man! But eh... that Ocean Park still looks like a mess haha
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