Covered or mentioned in this post:

Coffee, Flower Market Street, Bird Market, Sneaker Street, Brand Outlets, Harvey Nichols, Hong Kong Park, St John’s Cathedral, more malls, the harbour.


Day 4 was another test for our ability to navigate Hong Kong solo. This was to be another packed day exploring a real mixed bag of sights in Hong Kong city. Heaps of photos so settle in for a longer browse.

After a big day out at Disneyland a sleep-in would have been nice but we were to join Gina and Andy as they headed into work at a commuters’ time of 7.00 am. We caught the bus into town and then headed straight to Andy’s favourite cafe for a coffee and breakfast.

First priority of the day.

First priority of the day. Andy ordering breakfast.

Divide by 7 to get Aussie prices. Some serious coffee here with matching cost.

Divide by 7 to get Aussie prices. Some serious coffee here with a matching cost.

Gina dropped us off at the local MTR train station with her iPad loaded up with this excellent website HERE  as our guide to get us to some of the markets we wanted to explore. We had the train system down pat now so it was no problem to get to Prince Edward station and our first market of the day at Flower Market Road.

Where do we go next? Me with Gina's iPad looking for inspiration.

Where do we go next? Me with Gina’s iPad looking for inspiration.

Hong Kong flower markets are pretty tame when compared to say Bangkok or the garden nurseries of Chiang Mai HERE  but still worth a walk through if you are into flowers. This is basically one short street of shops with most of the offerings located inside.

Some plants spill out onto the street but it was a mostly "internal" affair.

Some plants spill out onto the street but it was a mostly “internal” affair.

Some chilli for Gaun.

Some chilli for Gaun.

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Looking inside is a colourful view.

Orchids of course.

Orchids of course. About A$15.00.

Gaun is about to buy the bamboo shoots to make one of these in Chiang Mai.

Gaun is about to buy the bamboo shoots to make one of these in Chiang Mai.

One of the main things I found interesting were the mini-gardens, which make sense considering the incredibly cramped living space most of Hong Kong experiences.

A mini-garden example.

A mini-garden example.

Another. Your whole garden on a bookshelf.

Another. Your whole garden on a bookshelf. Pet included – did you spot the dog? Around A$60.00 for this one.

Garden decoration. Maybe not everyone's taste!

Garden decoration. Maybe not to everyone’s taste!

A final orchid shot to remind you of Thailand.

A final orchid shot to remind you of Thailand.

Our next stop was the bird garden described as:

A popular haunt for songbird supporters, the visually engaging Yuen Po Street Bird Garden is designed in the style of a traditional Chinese garden. The park has dozens of stalls selling exotic birds, beautifully crafted bamboo cages, porcelain water dishes and other bird-care paraphernalia.

I wouldn’t have gone there especially, as birds in cages doesn’t rock my boat, but the park was a natural flow-on from the Flower Markets so we included it in this part of our day.

The entrance.

The entrance.

I think it is always sad to see wild things caged but maybe the bird doesn't mind.

I think it is always sad to see wild things caged but maybe the bird doesn’t mind.

A couple of old guys discussing bird options maybe.

A couple of old guys discussing bird options maybe.

Lost his pirate.

Wanted – One-legged pirate.

Live grasshoppers for your feathered friend.

Live grasshoppers for your feathered friend.

A nice worm for dessert.

A nice worm for dessert.

Walking back towards the train station I was taken again by the amount of greenery hidden away in Hong Kong. This park linked two roads.

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This part of Hong Kong was outside the CBD with its towering glass buildings. This was the sort of street scene we saw here.

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More low rise and it felt more Chinese.

I have used this photo before to illustrate the red MTR train station signs.

I have used this photo before to illustrate the red MTR train station signs in my post HERE.

A short walk from the flower/bird markets was an area that specialised in shoe shops, called Sneakers Street – link HERE, and a big street clothes market called Ladies market – link HERE. We weren’t in the “market” for buying but thought it was worth a visit being so close.

Hong Kong isn't much cheaper than Australia so don;t come here looking for bargains.

Hong Kong isn’t much cheaper than Australia so don’t come here looking for bargains.

Many of the stores were packed so there is money here to buy brand clothing.

Many of the stores were packed so there is money here to buy brand clothing.

We missed out on the clothes because they were setting up maybe for an afternoon/evening trade. By now it was getting close to lunchtime and we were to meet Andy and Gina to try a local Chinese restaurant close to their city office. Stomach catered for the afternoon was to be a mix of sights under the direction of Gina, who had resumed her tour guide duties.

The first planned destination was to be Hong Kong Park but to get there Gina took us through a couple of shopping malls and they were worth some photos which I share with you below:

Yet another classy mall with those painted elephants we first met on the Big Buddha day.

Yet another classy mall with those painted elephants we first met on the Big Buddha day.

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There is nothing in this mall that isn’t a foreign brand outlet.

What do you think this is all about?

What do you think this is all about?

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For the kid, big or small, that has it all.

Hong Kong has a department store called Harvey Nichols, which I knew I couldn’t afford just from the outside.

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One of their trademarks are the remarkable shop window displays, which show off the talents of whoever designs and builds them far more than the products themselves. The displays are built using massed objects in a very striking way. Some of my favourites were these:

Just brilliant.

Just brilliant.

The whole thing is made from these plastic galloping horses.

The car is made from these plastic galloping horses with rider. Can you imagine the time that went into this.

A piano musical theme.

A piano musical theme.

Which is built out of cassette tapes.

Which is built out of cassette tapes and boxes.

The ordinary pencil.

The ordinary pencil.

Until designed into this.

Until transformed magically into this.

Camera film cases and lens caps.

Camera film cases and lens caps.

Become this.

Become this.

Foam cups and ping pong balls.

Foam cups and ping pong balls.

Are used to create this display.

Are used to create this display.

This

A paper serviette teapot.

Teacup detail.

Teacup detail.

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Spilt coffee.

A few more photos just to emphasise the brand name centric shopping in the malls here:

Heading back into the real world we made our way to Hong Kong Park.

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This is a wonderful oasis situated right in the middle of the city. A clean and tranquil place to get away from the bustle and concrete.

A map of the park, which gives you an idea of the various sections within the gardens.

A map of the park, which gives you an idea of the various sections within the gardens.

Nature overlooked by progress.

Nature overlooked by progress.

Can cool off too.

Can cool off too.

A welcome break.

A welcome break.

The Chinese lantern festival was coming up, which is reflected colourfully here.

The Chinese lantern festival was coming up, which is reflected colourfully here.

The mix of trees and the surrounding high rise resulted in some great photos:

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This building was commissioned by Alan Bond and the design is supposed to reflect koalas hugging the building. We don't make characters like that any more.

This building was commissioned by Alan Bond and the design is supposed to reflect koalas climbing and hugging the building. We don’t make characters like that any more. Our business and political landscape is full of gray men and women.

The park incorporates a conservatory with different components, which is worth a quick look. I especially loved this little reflection of Australia:

These are special desert koalas. You don't see them often.

These are special desert koalas. You don’t see them often.

They thoughtfully included a desert section, which was hotter than outside so we passed through that very quickly:

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We came across this memorial to the medical staff who died as a result of the SARS outbreak in one corner of the park. I found it quite moving, How quickly we forget.

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We completed our park tour by visiting the aviary, which is supposed to have over 600 birds in it.

The aviary.

The aviary. It is huge and a good environment for the birds. Very natural, as far as it can be.

This is a bird.

This is a bird.

The walkway takes you through the canopy.

The walkway takes you through the canopy.

Ancient tree roots on display.

Tree roots on display.

Our next stop was to be St. John’s Cathedral, which is situated close to Hong Kong Park and accessed via this lovely little pathway

More city greenery. Not the Hong Kong you imagined.

More city greenery. Not the Hong Kong you imagined.

St. John’s Cathedral is the oldest surviving Western ecclesiastical building in Hong Kong, and the oldest Anglican church in the Far East, with its first Sunday service on Sunday, 11 March 1849.

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Old and new.

Inside.

Inside.

Next to the church is the old Court of Final Appeal, which I believe has now been closed and moved elsewhere.

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Leaving gardens and churches behind we rejoined mainstream Hong Kong life, which was gearing up for the end of day rush.

Leaving gardens and churches behind Gina

Although there are lots of cars there are also a heap of taxis and several buses.

This is called the transformer building. Evidently it is designed so that t can be taken apart easily once it reaches its use by date I guess.

This is nicknamed the transformer building. Evidently it is designed so that it can be taken apart easily once it reaches its use by date I guess.

Yet more architecture to capture for a low rise Chiang Mai resident.

Yet more architecture to capture for a low rise Chiang Mai resident. The middle building is nicknamed the building of 1,000 arseholes!

Last one for now.

Last one for now.

I have said a few times how unexpected I was in the openness of much of Hong Kong business district. As you can see from my photos that although there are many huge towering office buildings there is never a feeling that you get in downtown Sydney of being in a shadowed canyon hemmed in by buildings.

Plazas often surround or lead up to building here.

Plazas often surround or lead up to building here.

A break in the cityscape.

A break in the cityscape.

Can you guess what our walk back into the centre of the city took us past?

MORE brand outlets.

MORE brand outlets.

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A small Honda car or these shoes?

A small Honda car or these shoes? For the public servant who needs to stand out.

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This is a fish restaurant. Fish and chips will cost you I suspect.

This is a fish restaurant. Fish and chips will cost you I suspect.

Our final objective of the day was to take the ferry across the harbour from Central Pier and then the train home. Gina had one last mall to show us as we hadn’t seen a large Apple store in action. A cuppa was looking pretty attractive too.

This Apple store was on two levels and was absolutely PACKED.

This Apple store was on two levels and was absolutely PACKED.

The view from the store over the buildings lining the harbour.

The view from the store over the buildings lining the harbour.

For those chocolate lovers out there.

For those chocolate lovers out there.

Hair clips.

Hair clips.

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Only one more photo of a store catering to the status hungry in this post to come – I promise.

The ferry terminal was very close to this mall and getting there involved a walk alongside the harbour. Circular Quay in Sydney is better but this had some good scenic moments.

Looking from one side of the harbour to the other.

Looking from one side of the harbour to the other.

Our boat.

Our boat.

Looking back.

Looking back. The wavey roofed building is the convention centre I think.

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We passed this building on the other side after our ferry ride. It used to be the Marine Police HQ and is now called 1881 Heritage and is one of the four oldest surviving government buildings in Hong Kong. Now redeveloped as a hotel and shopping area.

Passed this building on the other side. Maybe someone can tell me what it is.

1881 Heritage.

Including……………………………………

As I promised ONE MORE.

As I promised ONE MORE.

A train and a bus and we were safely back at our luxury floating accommodation after a huge day out. A day of rest was looking pretty attractive by this stage but Gina was determined that we got the most from our visit. A gruelling hike across Dragon’s Back was planned for the next day. I will tell you about it in the next post.

Thanks for reading.