These glass walls… are crumbling down.
Another video, this time from our Coron Trip last December.
Another video, this time from our Coron Trip last December.
26 - 29 November 2010
Hong Kong / Macau Part 3: Yay, Ocean Park!
Ocean Park is about 30 minutes or less from Central in Hong Kong Island. Don’t be fooled by the not so majestic entrance, this place is actually huge!
It’s situated on two sides of a mountain and the two parts of the park (The Waterfront and The Summit) are accessible either via train or cable car. Being the excited people that we are, we tried the latter first.
IT WAS SPECTACULAR! We were noisy and excited and acted like little children on Christmas day. The ride was a good 10 minutes or so and the views were amazing! That cable car ride was probably the first for most of us so you can just imagine the chaos it ensued.
Upon arriving at The Summit, three of us immediately wanted to try the extreme rides and went there first. There were a lot of people with us on that day (two huge groups were having their outing) so we wanted to avoid the lines. Luckily, there weren’t any lines yet on the rides we wanted to try.
We went on The Abyss first which was crazy! It’s a ride that lifts you up to about 20 stories high, then pauses (so your fear and anticipation heightens), and drops you in a vertical free fall for an exhilarating 3 or so seconds. Then repeats the process 3 more times. That first drop was nerve-wracking! You start to feel scared and excited as you go up then as it pauses, you’ll go crazy in anticipation of the drop. IT WAS AMAZING! Definitely a must try.
Next was the roller coaster, The Dragon, which wasn’t as extreme as it looked like (Space Shuttle in Enchanted Kingdom provided more thrills). Then Crazy Galleon which was more fun than we expected since we were kept entertained by the people on the opposite side of the ship. They were such a delight to watch. They were screaming the whole time but to us it seemed like it was just one long scream.
By the time we went to the aquarium (Atoll Reef), the lines were starting to build up and a lot of people were inside the aquarium already. It was still quite enjoyable though as the marine creatures featured were so wonderful. Though we were a bit concerned with overcrowding in some of the exhibits.
One thing about amusement parks is that they totally overcharge you for food and water. The guy we asked at the entrance said that water was actually allowed inside the park but a sign at the other entrance told us otherwise. We suspect the crowds were just really too big in number that day so they didn’t bother with checking each bag for water bottles.
Just be prepared to shell out extra money for a decent lunch inside the park. Water costs a fortune as well (HKD 16.00 or almost PHP 100 for a 750 mL bottle). You’ll likely spend about PHP 300.00 per meal. There’s a McDonald’s inside the park, several food stalls, and casual restuarants. We suggest sneaking in light snacks such as Sky Flakes so you have something to munch on in between.
After lunch we decided to move on to the other part of the park via the Ocean Express to catch the exhibit opening for the Giant Panda Habitat and the Panda Village. We were a bit disappointed since the Pandas were sleeping when we got to the habitat (we even thought they were dead) and so we didn’t quite get to see them in action. Even then, seeing these creatures was still quite majestic.
We had better luck at Panda Village as they were semi-awake and we got to see one of the Pandas turn on its side a bit. We also got to see a fox/raccoon like creature called a Red Panda which was adorable as well. There were also sea otters here and it was amazing watching them swim skillfully in search of the food pellet their handler throws into the water.
Near Panda Village is an exhibit called Goldfish Treasures which boasts a collection of different types of goldfish (before that moment, we only knew of one) with bulging eyes and strange heads.
We also went to Sea Jelly Spectacular which had aquariums utilizing different lighting and the ethereal beauty of jelly fishes.
A ride worth the 15 minute wait in line was the Ocean Park Tower which gives you a stunning 360 degree view of the Park and the surrounding areas. The ride takes you 72 meters high and the view deck rotates slowly giving you a wonderful view of the sea, the park, and Aberdeen. You should definitely bring your camera along for this one.
See it for yourself or watch this video for a sneak peak.
There was really much much more to explore in Ocean Park (plus several new attractions were being built when we were there). I doubt we even saw half of them. We were quite tired from just walking around the park and navigating the throng of people in every direction so we didn’t get to see the rest of the park. Aside from that, we still had a visit to the Peak scheduled for that night. Time wasn’t on our side either as it was close to 5:30 pm before we headed out to the bus stop for the bus back to central (the park actually closes at 6 pm).
We were, however, greeted with a big orange sunset as we reached the bus stop which momentarily took our tiredness away.
We rode the bus back to Central and got off at MTR Admiralty station entrance to take another bus (bus 12S) to the Peak Tram Station which would take us to The Peak.
And that concludes our day at Ocean Park Hong Kong!
- PAL and Cebu Pacific both have regular flights to Hong Kong from Manila. For this trip, we flew Cebu Pacific on promo fares of about PHP 5100.00 round trip (for our friend, it was around PHP 2500.00). Check their sites regularly for seat sale announcements. Like them on facebook as well (Cebu Pac should be paying us for this…).
- International flights from NAIA are charged an airport tax (PHP 1620.00) and a terminal fee (PHP 750.00) so prepare some cash. Return flights from HKIA do not have extra charges.
- For the photographers, tripods are usually asked to be checked in.
- You have the option to buy a local sim card in Hong Kong but if you’re only staying for a few days, we suggest turning on international roaming. If you’re only planning to contact your parents, for example, and inform them you’ve arrived safely and that you’re at the hotel each night then that’s just one SMS per day (~ PHP 20.00 per text). If you’d like to save up, there’s usually internet access available at the hotel and you can just email them!
- Bus transfers from HKIA to the city are listed here.
- Exchange rates at the Airport are usually bad so if you’re staying at the Tsim Sha Tsui area, there’s a forex located at the entrance to Star House near the Star Ferry Pier. There’s also a Western Union Forex located along Haiphong Road cor. Hankow road. Haiphong road is near the entrance to the MTR (Tsim Sha Tsui Exit A1)
- Every trip to HK should start with the purchase of their smart card payment system, the Octopus Card. You can use it to pay for almost all transportation in HK (buses included), vending machines, 7-eleven and grocery transactions, and they even use it to record attendance in schools! This eliminates the hassle of counting foreign coins when paying for buses and small things. We suggest buying the standard (or adult) type for HKD 150.00 (100 HKD consumable, 50 HKD deposit). You can get back any stored value left minus about HKD 8.00 for handling fee when you return the card after less than 3 months from date of issue. Official site here.
- The place we stayed in, Yiufai Guesthouse, got mostly good reviews at Trip Advisor.com and was within our budget range of about less than PHP 1000.00 per night.
- Refill your water bottle from the hotel as much as possible because in Ocean Park (and I suspect, Disneyland) a 750 mL bottle costs HKD 16.00 (almost a PHP 100.00)!!