Covered or mentioned in this post:

Tai O, MTR train system, PDF train map, train stations, Tung Chung, Cable car, Big Buddha and local markets.


Day 2 in Hong Kong had Gina planning to take a ferry to a place called Tai O, which is optimistically also sometimes known as “The Venice of Hong Kong”. If there’s anyone from Tai O reading this I don’t mean to offend but it is actually supposed to be a bit of a dump and with the dried fish a smelly one too. The main point of going to Tai O, apart from the ferry ride over, is that from here you can get a boat to meet the pink dolphins – more information HERE. However we arrived at the terminal just after the last ferry had left. Timetable below if you ever find yourself replicating this trip:

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Plan B involved a trip into the city and then back out on the Tung Chung train line to Tung Chung itself and the cable car ride to the Big Buddha sitting in the hills behind Hong Kong.

Hong Kong has a wonderfully efficient train system much of it running underground beneath the city. You never have to wait more than three minutes for a train to come along. They are modern, spotless, fast, air conditioned and cheap – using your Octopus card of course. The MTR system is shown in this diagram and I have added a PDF file that you can download click here: MTR train system. If going to Hong Kong make sure you have one in your pocket. You will live by it.

The MTR train system map.

The MTR train system map.

To find a MTR station outside in the street the sign you are looking for is this one – the red cymbal at the top:

The MTR logo.

The MTR logo. See further down this post for more info on this station.

Mostly they aren’t as obvious as this one. See if you can spot them in this photo:

Two MTR signs here.

Three MTR signs here. A prize for the first correct reply!

You will note in the MTR diagram three photos back that each train line is shown in a different colour. The signage in the train stations, which are in Chinese and English, match these colours as do the signage inside the carriages.

This is

This is the sign for Tung Chung on line 3 – Orange.

Signs pointing to red and orange lines.

Signs pointing to red and orange lines.

Inside

Inside the train you will find an electronic display above all doors that show you which station is next. Note that the colour matches the line you are on. There is a voice announcement too in Chinese and English.

Hard to miss Tung Chung as the train stops there, as you can see from the display above.

Just a quick tip you might find helpful about a service available from Hong Kong Station – the sign I showed you earlier to show you the MTR logo or Kowloon Station. Don’t mix Hong Kong Station with Central station, which doesn’t provide this service. If you go to either of these stations and purchase an airport express train ticket you can book your bags in and leave them there and go shopping. Your bags are delivered to the airport and in theory will be on your flight without any further effort by you. It seems to work as you can read HERE.

Hong Kong stations are, like their trains, modern, super clean and seem to run extremely efficiently.  Evidently one time a train ran four minutes late and it was front page news the next day. The stations are also an opportunity to shop and some of them offer very upmarket and beautifully presented outlets to browse.

A shopping area just outside the train station.

A shopping area just outside the train station.

Oh dear. Tempting.

Oh dear. Tempting.

The walkways within the station are wide to cope with peak hour and you never feel like the bottom end of the travelling market:

Unusually empty.

Unusually empty.

Rush hour is a little different.

Rush hour is a little different.

You can usually get a seat outside of peak times.

You can usually get a seat outside of peak times.

A bit different at 5.00 pm!

A bit different at 5.00 pm!

Finally on the subject of trains you will find the access to the train to be different from Australia. Here there are glass barriers between platform and track/train.

A safety barrier.

A safety barrier.

You line up either side of the doors marked by the arrows you see here, leaving the centre exit free for passengers getting out. Once the train arrives the train doors align with the platform doors, both open and you get this:

Entry to the train.

Entry to the train.

OK, now you that you know everything you need to about Hong Kong trains we will finally continue with the topic as advertised.

Arriving at Tung Chung station head out the main entrance and you currently meet a heap of elephants.

You will find these pop up all over Hong Kong at this time.

You will find these guys pop up in unexpected places.

You will find these pop up all over Hong Kong at this time.

They are part of the Elephant Parade – let’s paint a brighter future.

They are individually decorated by artists and supported by corporations as part of an elephant conservation promotion. More information HERE.

Would look good in the garden?

Would look good in the garden? Hmmm, maybe not.

Walking across the square and around the corner – signposted – you will find the entrance to the cable car to Big Buddha. The cost for a ticket is HK$150 return or about A$20.00. A glass floored version costs HK$180. It is about a 25 minute ride to the top and well worth doing, even if just for the trip and nothing else.

The area where people and cable car come together.

The area where people and cable car come together.

Running along side the road to the airport.

Running along-side the road to the airport. Already at a good height.

The climb out of Tung Chung.

The climb out of Tung Chung. That is quite a drop.

One of those cluster condo developments. Notice the amount of green space around the complex.

One of those cluster condo developments. Notice the amount of green space around the complex. An unexpected aspect of Hong Kong for me.

The airport in the background.

The airport in the background on the left. Capable of handling 45 million passengers a year.

A closer view of the airport.

A closer view of the airport. An A380 waiting to take off.

The bridge being built from Hong Kong to Macau

The bridge being built from Hong Kong to Macau across the ocean, which will reduce travel time from 3 hours to half an hour. The main section comprises 22 km of bridge work, which is quite an effort. Supposed to open in 2016.

The Big Buddha in the distance.

The Big Buddha in the distance.

At the top of the mountain you enter a rather tacky tourist village with over-priced merchandise for those people desperate to take a momento home. Starbuck for those requiring a coffee fix.

A bit barren and unappealing for me.

A bit barren and unappealing for me.

Gelato so not all bad.

Gelato so not all bad.

Get your photo taken on the red carpet. Why I'm not sure.

Get your photo taken on the red carpet. Why I’m not sure. I don’t think the glasses go with that dress Gaun.

Best to walk through the village and down this long walkway at the back.

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Looking down the walkway. Keep to the right where there is some shade from the trees.

He can see you.

Watching over you.

It’s a five minute walk to arrive at the base and getting to meet Buddha requires some effort as you can see below. I believe it’s the same in real life.

In the heat a couple of stops were required on the way up. I made it down in the one go!

In the heat a couple of stops were required on the way up. I made it down in the one go!

Halfway photo stop.

Halfway photo stop.

The man himself.

The man himself. The raised right hand is the Abhaya Mudra – Imparting Fearlessness (Reassurance) and is one you see often with Buddha images.

A photo showing the Buddha being built.

A photo showing the Buddha being built.

Gaun makes a respectful stop for the Buddha.

Gaun makes a respectful stop for the Buddha.

Plenty of these statues on the terrace. It is hard to get a photo without Gaun.

Plenty of these statues on the terrace. It is hard to get a photo without Gaun, here busy taking a selfie in true Thai fashion.

The view from on side of the terrace. You didn't expect Hong Kong to look like this. I certainly didn;t.

The view from one side of the terrace. You didn’t expect Hong Kong to look like this. I certainly didn’t.

The view from the other side of the terrace.

The view from the other side of the terrace. Not a highrise in sight.

Back at the base of the Buddha we came across a lost cow. Off for a Starbucks maybe.

Back at the base of the Buddha we came across a lost cow. Off for a Starbucks maybe.

Cabling over we headed back into the city for a very late lunch at a place Gina recommended. This was a small Chinese local eating place situated in a street market overlooked by towering buildings. Good price and simple but tasty Chinese food. Gaun was able to have rice, which she enjoyed. Small differences make a trip interesting. Here they serve free hot water. In Thailand most places will offer you water with ice either free or at extra cost. Funnily it is the small eating places where you pay $1.30 for a main course which most often have a jug of water on the table and an ice bucket in the corner at no extra cost.

Local markets well in action.

Busy local markets in action.

People shopping for the evening meal.

People shopping for the evening meal.

Not tempted at Hong Kong prices.

Not tempted at Hong Kong prices.

Not sure Dragon Ball is quite the right name for a Thai massage however it maybe a better choice than this place in the girlie street of Chiang Rai:

That can't be a random choice of name surely!

That can’t be a random choice of name surely!

Tourist activity over for the day we headed home for a well earned shower and cold drink or two.

This photo opportunity had to be taken on the bus.

This photo opportunity had to be taken on the bus.

The marina at night.

The marina at night.

Day 2 over with Disneyland planned for the next day. Bring it on.

Thanks for reading.