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Motormouth From Ipoh

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Hong Kong/Macau 2008 - Tian Tan Buddha @ Lantau Island

Drowned by the seas of people in Mong Kok the day before (click HERE for previous post), we finally experienced a good night's sleep and woke up rejuvenated. We've agreed to take things slowly, travelling at a comfortable pace, rather than covering an endless onslaught of destinations, as this WAS after all, a holiday for us.

Noticed the Hongkies are quite patient, and no unruly behaviour was seen at bus stops, MTR stations, and taxi stands. Suffice to say, we kinda felt ashamed.

Sharing a communal bathroom was not a problem for us, and we managed to get prepared for breakfast by 8.30am. Not bad huh? =P

Throngs of people paying Kam Wah Cafe a visit for a taste of their famous Polo Buns, and various other delights

Situated at G/F, 47, Bute Street in Mongkok, the cafe is merely a few roads away from our hostel. And we did not regret going all out in search of Kam Wah, for a taste of their famed Polo Buns (aptly named Pineapple Buns, due to its physical resemblance to the fruit).

A comforting breakfast @ Kam Wah, 'entertained' by the antics of the locales, as well as the staff at the cafe, churning out trays after trays of buns while shouting/informing the crowd of what's fresh from the oven

If you're coming in a group of 4, it's easier to find seats, as the tables & benches at the side cater to a group of 4 and above only. Meaning to say, those eating alone will be "politely" ushered to share another table with the others, once the place is packed. Muahaha ... The Gruesome Foursome? ;)

Giant Polo Buns? - Crisp & sweet upper layer, soft and warm inside, with a melting slab of butter = HEAVEN.

We went in with doubts, wondering what's the fuss all about. But the impeccable service (they greeted us cheerfully, smiled warmly, waited patiently for our orders, and never rushed any patron even though some are reading papers after their meal), the incomparable Polo Buns (have it with a slab of butter for the BEST taste, or pork/chicken chop albeit only available after 11am), French toast, flaky egg tarts and milk tea are prove of their fame and customer loyalty.

You can experience the true Hong Kong lifestyle in the rush hours of the morning, when the people waltz in and had a cuppa milk tea/coffee and a toast or a bowl of piping hot noodles. And the periodically shouts of "Polo Buns Fresh From The Oven!" "Pork Meat Bun Fresh From The Oven!" proudly proclaimed by the staff carrying trays after trays of freshly baked goodies somehow enhanced the whole experience.

Egg tarts @ HKD3.50/RM1.60 per piece, Polo Buns @ HKD5.50/RM2.50 plain, or HKD6.50/RM2.93 with butter. There are sets, as usual, and well worth the money. A breakfast for four came to HKD58.50/RM26.33. Remember, in Hong Kong cafe, or more affectionately known as "Char Chaan Teng", you pay at the counter before leaving, instead of calling for bills.

Ngong Ping 360 - Cable car to Tian Tan Buddha at Lantau Island

Where to go for the day? Lantau Island (Dai Yu Shan in Chinese), a popular tourist spot situated to the west of Kowloon. We took the MTR from Prince Edward station (near to Kam Wah Cafe) to Tung Chung on Lantau Island for HKD13.50/RM6 per pax. Remember, if you're NOT using the Octopus card, the fare's slightly more expensive. At Tung Chung station, you can change MTR to Disneyland line, in order to reach, erm, Disneyland (obviously!).

Scenes from the 25 minutes ride to the top. Passing by 7 stations, Tung Chung bay, and HK International Airport before reaching our terminal. Notice the hazy surroundings? Yup, the weather was kinda bad.

From Tung Chung MTR station, we walked a short distance to Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car Station. You can either choose to take the cable car up & down, OR bus up & down, OR cable car up & bus down. The last option is mainly for those who wish to visit Tai-O (A fishing village on Lantau Island) and some other towns on the island. But from Min's experience, she told us that Tai-O is nothing but a fishing village. And travelling by bus from the mountains to the towns may take >1 hour. So we decided to ride on the cable cars for both ways. HKD88/RM39.60 for two ways, per person. A 25 minutes ride later, we reached our destination. Btw, the cable car has NO air-conditioning. Plus the warmer than ideal weather, the ride was not really a pleasant one, until we reached higher grounds, when a welcoming breeze thankfully, started stroking our sweaty faces. :)

The scenery at the top was well-worth the excursion to Lantau Island

Ngong Ping Village & the pilgrimage to the top, where the 85-foot Tian Tan Buddha statue, and Po Lin Monastery can be found

The scorching weather was very unforgiving, therefore bring yourself an umbrella or wear a cap if the weather's sunny. Shady areas is scarce, rendering us vulnerable to the damaging UV. Hence, we escaped from the sun periodically and found solace in air-conditioned outlets. There are a few eateries and souvenir shops at Ngong Ping Village, no worries. Just be thick-skinned and smile through the ordeal. That's all. :)

The Tian Tan Buddha Statue at the peak of Ngong Ping Plateau, overlooking the hills below

Though the weather's sinister, the ascend up the flight of stairs was surprisingly a walk in the park. Some devotees even walk 3 steps then kneel & bow, deep in prayers. Of course, lazybum me was running up like there's no tomorrow. LOL.

The Temple at Po Lin Monastery, situated within the vicinity of the Buddha statue

A sense of tranquility brushed against us, as devotees from all over the world, including tourists from foreign countries, perform their prayers

The place was picture-perfect. I can imagine the sense of relish and contentment had it been cooler and not so humid. Walking around the grand structure of Tian Tan Buddha left me with a feeling of awe, and dwarfed. We did not enter the inner sanctum of the statue, as payment was required. Roughly HKD60/RM27 including a vegetarian meal.

Deli Vegetarian Cafe - Snacking al fresco?

There's a vegetarian restaurant near the temple. But still reeling from the weather, the climb, and the breakfast, we opted for something lighter. Deli vegetarian cafe was doing brisk business selling sweet and savoury snacks (kuih-muih, in Malay, or char guo, in Chinese). They do serve filling dishes such as fried noodles but the larger than usual portion was deterring.

An assortment of simple snacks and tau fu fah - All suitable for vegans

The array of snacks they serve was mind-boggling. But snapping photo of the items on display was a big no-no. So I could only came up with whatever we had. HKD10/RM4.50 for 3 pcs. Quite cheap, as some of the snacks were rather special. The mango mochi, red dates with longan jelly, and deep-fried yam (wu kok) were memorable. And the Tau Fu Fah was rather good, according to TallGal.

Let's pray for world peace ... and political stability?

We descended the mountains in the cable car, and somehow the journey was shorter. Or we could be fatigued, all energy sapped. Of course, at Tung Chung MTR station, there's a shopping complex named Citygate Complex where MBoy mentioned there's 'supposedly' a warehouse sale for branded items. But we did not know at that moment, thus we rushed back home and refreshed our tired selves. So back we went, from Tung Chung MTR to Mong Kok station (HKD13.50/RM6)

Saint's Alp Teahouse, with branches everywhere

Of course, snacking alone simply won't cut it for lunch, right? So as soon as we were in Mong Kok, I was automatically warped to Saint's Alp Teahouse for some extra grubs. OK, so I was attracted to the chic-looking cafe, and my stomach was grumbling. But can't blame Motormouth for eating more than he should, no? :)

The Spiced Beef Shin Noodles was a God-sent. Really. Or maybe my prayers came true at Lantau island. =P

For HKD19/RM8.55 per bowl, the ultra thin noodles (they named it "ramen") served in a sweet yet light broth with half an egg, perfectly-sliced & tender spiced beef shins, and garnished with some greens that I forgot the species. Delicious, and I drank most of the soup. In fact, Saint's Alp is well-known for their beverages, thus selecting one was rather tough. The Double Chocolate Blueberry (HKD24/RM10.80) came in a tall glass, with shaved/blended ice, and was just what I needed to counter the heat.

Location : SAINT's ALP TEAHOUSE @ G/F, 134, Sai Yeung Choi Street, Mong Kok.

Remember that song, Tsim Sha Tsui SUZY? =)

Then we went back for some well-deserved rest, and a short nap. Yeah, we STILL have time for naps, believe that? :) Then later in the evening, we proceeded to our next destination, the Avenue of Stars @ Tsim Sha Tsui.

To be continued ....


mycroft said...

lookign forward for the next updates...

backStreetGluttons said...

your detailed pictorial post here should be good as a guide to HK first timers .

One of us in fact stayed nearby for a few weeks. Over cuupa tea you can talk to him for hrs...n da food !

ling239 said...

the egg tart looks so delicious...^_^

J2Kfm said...

mycroft : sure, coming up! :)

BSG : a few WEEKS?! wow. must talk. musst talk. over a LOTSA cuppa also nvm one.

ling239 : indeed it was. flaky when hot.

Ciki said...

fantastic shots.. how much weight did you put on after this trip?! lol

sc said...

am going to lantau for this visit too..oh, lucky me coz i've heard of the warehouse fact, i've got a list of shopping stuff from my frens to get frm there :(

cariso said...

I am following up on this Macau-HK trip of yours closely.I like it the way you listed down the price for each & everything, a good info for us who are thinking of flying 'air-asia' there too. :)

Min said...

Actually the Tai-O village is worth visiting also, if you've the time and energy. As for Tung Chung MTR station, you can find some branded outlets i.e.Nike, Adidas stuff over there. Worth visiting also...Hehe

HairyBerry said...

wow, you've been to Po Lin Monastery! awesome. i din have time to visit last time...i heard the vegetarian food there is great! ;D

Allie said...

Your polo bun picture is really nice. Make me drool!

Raynebow said...

Very nice n comprehensive report :-) makes me wanna book the next flight to HK, haha!

Shell (貝殼) said...

polo bun looks nice~~ hope can get 1 now^^

J2Kfm said...

cumi & ciki : LOL. I din dare weigh myself. But all the walking somewhat neutralized the effect.

sc : ha! you're so lucky. hope you succeed in purchasing at least something frmo there!

cariso :thanks. it serves as my own reference in the future in case I forgot as well.

min : hmm, u ah. say so ma, next time we most definitely wont go anymore. HKD88 for transport alone woh.

nic : nice ah? we din try the meal as well. hmm, maybe another day?

allie : thanks, once you see and taste the real deal, you'll salivate even more! :)

raynebow : haha, go on! fly away! may we bump into each other in HK next time then.

shell : erm, I'm sure most of the kopitiam in Msia have them. just that the taste is a whole world of difference altogether.

Anonymous said...

It's reli reli hot at Lantau, till forced me to buy that pink cap..Haha! Polo bun is nice, boss and workers oso vy friendly.Should pay a visit!!

J2Kfm said...

haha, me survived without umbrella or cap. but came back darker a few shades. :(

Anonymous said...

i want the egg tart and polo buns!!! oh, i loved them so much.

J2Kfm said...

allenooi, me too. and I missed them like no either. the Polo Bun at Old Town Kopitiam is a pale shadow in comparison

JeromeFo 令狐冲 said...

You went to so many places in HK!
im waiting my chance to go there.
Tian Tan Buddha is a must!

J2Kfm said...

jeromefo : hahaha ... I sort of agree with you, that Lantau Island is a must. but not more than once, I think.