Hong Kong Summer Spectacular with HKTB – Day 2 of 6

This greeted me in the morning - priceless view of Kowloon Park from my hotel room
This greeted me in the morning – priceless view of Kowloon Park from my hotel room

On my second day, I woke up early to have breakfast together with the bloggers at the hotel in-house restaurant.

It was not easy to drag myself out of bed and out of my hotel room. I had only stayed at Mira Hotel for one night, but the beauty of the interior decor and the attention to details really wowed me over. I particularly enjoyed the little piece of gourmet chocolate left in a little dimsum box everyday on my room table in the morning. Each piece is of a different flavour and comes with a small introductory note.

Black Truffles Chocolate
Black Truffles Chocolate
My hotel breakfast
My hotel breakfast
Hotel breakfast buffet selection
Hotel breakfast buffet selection
Nice right? The entrance to The Mira Hotel.
Nice right? The entrance to The Mira Hotel.
A quirky vintage car belonging to The Mira Hotel, constantly parked out front
A quirky vintage car belonging to The Mira Hotel, constantly parked out front
Rachel applying lipstick while waiting for train
Rachel applying lipstick while waiting for train

Nonetheless, Rachel and I planned to visit three markets in the morning, hence we need to force ourselves to set off early as I need to get back before noon to assemble with the bloggers.

After consulting the travel material provided by the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB), we took the train from Tsim Sha Tsui to Prince Edward station. Rachel and I love the Hong Kong trains which arrive in interval of less than 2 minutes each. The two Singapore public transports operators have no excuse for their tardiness if this is achievable in Hong Kong, a country much like Singapore.

Our aim was to cover the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden, the Flower Market and the Goldfish Market by noon. We only had around two hours to do so and amazingly, we achieved it although we do wish we have more time to cover each market leisurely.

We first visited the Flower Market which was a short walk from the train station and was along the way to the Bird Garden. The Flower Market is an urban jungle of exotic blossoms mixed with good-luck; good-fortune; fengshui-type plants. It is open from 7am to 7pm daily. The crowd was still thin when we visited in the morning and we were pleasantly woken from our sleepy state by the aroma of fresh blossoms.

Stalks and leaves
Stalks and leaves
Rachel inside a flower shop
Rachel inside a flower shop
Potted plants
Potted plants
Fresh orchids
Fresh orchids
Nice flower shop
Nice flower shop
Ready flower bouquets
Ready flower bouquets
Patches of greens
Patches of greens
Potted orchids
Potted orchids
Florist laying out her stocks
Florist laying out her stocks
Rooted plants
Rooted plants
Rachel was tempted to buy a plant back
Rachel was tempted to buy a plant back
Hanging plants
Hanging plants
"Buddha Hand Lotus"
“Buddha Hand Lotus”
There are stalls selling vegetable and fruits too
There are stalls selling vegetable and fruits too
Rachel looking a little lost as we navigated our way around
Rachel looking a little lost as we navigated our way around
Chanced upon a school uniform shop
Chanced upon a school uniform shop

Next, we arrived at the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden. A lot of elderly folks are gathered here, playing with their birds to pass time. It’s open from 7am to 8pm. Rachel and I felt sorry for the birds in captivity, even though we did enjoy walking through the garden, listening to the deafening chirping of a thousand birds.

Rachel at the entrance of the garden
Rachel at the entrance of the garden
The arch marking the garden's entrance
The arch marking the garden’s entrance
Me at Yuen Po Street
Me at Yuen Po Street
Uncles with their birds
Uncles with their birds
A chirpy song bird
A chirpy song bird
Most stalls are manned by sleepy looking old men
Most stalls are manned by sleepy looking old men
Another sleepy old man
Another sleepy old man
Stall selling crickets to feed the birds
Stall selling crickets to feed the birds
Close-up of the crickets
Close-up of the crickets
Rachel checking out the bird cages
Rachel checking out the bird cages
Rachel in Yuen Po Street Garden
Rachel in Yuen Po Street Garden
An old man with his song bird
An old man with his song bird
Caged birds for sale
Caged birds for sale
More caged birds
More caged birds
Uncle deliberating on which bird to buy
Uncle deliberating on which bird to buy
Bunch of sleep lories
Bunch of sleep lories
Chinese arch
Chinese arch
Vendor grabbing a bird out for her customer to inspect
Vendor grabbing a bird out for her customer to inspect
Uncle inspecting a bird he is about to buy
Uncle inspecting a bird he is about to buy
The bird is sold and placed into a new cage
The bird is sold and placed into a new cage

After appreciating flowers and birds, it was time to check out the fishes. At the Goldfish Market, fishes are packed into clear pastic bags and hung on the wall like assorted candies. The reflection on the bags and the wide range of colours of the various fishes were a beautiful sight to watch. It is open from 10:30am to 10pm. Other than fishes, other pets like puppies, reptiles and hamsters are available too.

Multi-coloured bags of fishes
Multi-coloured bags of fishes
Large fishes are packed the same way too
Large fishes are packed the same way too
More fishes
More fishes
One of the many fish shops around
One of the many fish shops around
Packing the fishes
Packing the fishes
Terrapins and fishes
Terrapins and fishes
Uncle buying goldfish early in the morning
Uncle buying goldfish early in the morning
Saw these two cute little dogs while we were crossing the road
Saw these two cute little dogs while we were crossing the road
Cats never fail to attract Rachel's attention
Cats never fail to attract Rachel’s attention
Kittens for sale
Kittens for sale
Rachel's breakfast on-the-go - egg tart and soya bean milk
Rachel’s breakfast on-the-go – egg tart and soya bean milk
Mongkok Station, on our way back to Tsim Sha Tsui
Mongkok Station, on our way back to Tsim Sha Tsui
Back at Tsim Sha Tsui
Back at Tsim Sha Tsui

How To Get There:

Yuen Po Street Bird Garden
1. MTR Prince Edward Station Exit B1 and walk east along Prince Edward Road West.
2. MTR Mong Kok East Station Exit C. Walk to Sai Yee Street via footbridge and follow the signs.

Flower Market
1. MTR Prince Edward Station Exit B1 and walk east along Prince Edward Road West.
2. MTR Mong Kok East Station Exit C. Walk to Sai Yee Street via footbridge and follow the signs.

Sai Yee Street (literally translated as "washing cloth street")
Sai Yee Street (literally translated as “washing cloth street”)

GoldFish Market
1. MTR Prince Edward Station Exit B2 and walk east along Prince Edward Road West.
2. MTR Mong Kok East Station Exit C. Walk to Sai Yee Street via footbridge and follow the signs.

Next up, I met the bloggers back at the hotel lobby and we traveled by coach to Gingko House where we had lunch. Rachel dined at the same place too, but with her two Hong Kong friends at a separate table.

Located on 44 Gough Street (tel: +852 2545 1200), Gingko House is a little social enterprise restaurant, ran with lots of heart.

Gough Street
Gough Street
There are lots of cool designer shops like this one here at Gough Street
There are lots of cool designer shops like this one here at Gough Street
There are also many famous food stalls along the street which attract long queues
There are also many famous food stalls along the street which attract long queues
Gingko House shopfront
Gingko House shopfront
The bubbly old man who served us
The bubbly old man who served us
Group picture before we all tuck in
Group picture before we all tuck in

Via Social Entrepreneurship Forum:

Gingko House’s Specialty:

Fine French and Italian fare with elaborate dishes such as Roasted Beef Rib in Strawberry & Papaya Sauce served with baked sweet potato and grilled white eggplant, zucchini and cherry tomato, and La vie en Rose, a warm chocolate lava cake with dragonfruit and strawberry served on the side.

Innovation:

Gingko House is a restaurant that exists with the mission to offer employment opportunities for the elderly, whom with their rich life experience and patience, have the potential to offer an unique dining experience – one that encourages slow dining and relationships between the server and the customers.

Many senior citizens, especially upon retirement, face the issue of boredom and a sudden lack of a sense of purpose in their lives. A significant number of them are professionals who have held mid-level management jobs and who are uncomfortable with living off welfare or simply being idle, especially in their golden years. Others may be financially strapped and in need of a less physically burdensome job. Hence, Gingko House – a win-win solution – is set up specifically to address these issues by employing the senior citizens and at the same time, provide an unique dining experience for the diners.

You can read the review on Gingko House via Catherine’s blog entry, the expert food blogger who traveled with us. I had a steak which was a tad too raw, but the polite and attentive elderly service staff was quick to rectify that by sending it back to the kitchen for reheating. The elderly staff were a delight to chat to and they make the restaurant all the more interesting and cosy.

My mushroom soup
My mushroom soup
My steak main course
My steak main course
Someone else's fish main course
Someone else’s fish main course
Jelly desert
Jelly desert
Rachel and her friends, seated on the second floor
Rachel and her friends, seated on the second floor

After our filling lunch, some of the bloggers headed off to do exploring of their own while I followed four of the female bloggers, Geck Geck, Violet, Elaine and Gin to meet famous stylist Celia Wong who has worked with the like of celebrities like Kelly Chan and S.H.E.. Celia will be guiding the four ladies through a make-over session. You can click on their respective names to read more about their individual make-over experience.

We went to this chic boutique store to get cloths for the bloggers' make over
We went to this chic boutique store to get cloths for the bloggers’ make over
Store interior
Shop interior
The bloggers enter the shop
The bloggers enter the shop
The bloggers meet Celia Wong
The bloggers meet Celia Wong
Filming begins as the omy.sg crew get busy
Filming begins as the omy.sg crew get busy
Celia picking something violet in colour for Violet
Celia picking something violet in colour for Violet
Celia picking out a loud, shiny dress for Tomboy Elaine
Celia picking out a loud, shiny dress for Tomboy Elaine
Celia picking out a cowboy outfit for Geck Geck
Celia picking out a cowboy outfit for Geck Geck
Celia chatting with Gin to find out her dressing preference
Celia chatting with Gin to find out her dressing preference
Geck Geck looking happy
Geck Geck looking happy
The final chosen outfit for the bloggers
The final chosen outfit for the bloggers
Heading for the make up studio in their new outfits
Heading for the make up studio in their new outfits
Arrived at the Make Up For Ever Academy make up studio
Arrived at the Make Up For Ever Academy make up studio
Applying foundation
Applying foundation
The make up artists from Make Up For Ever at work
The make up artists from Make Up For Ever at work
My colleague, Siew Kian, interviewing Celia Wong while waiting
My colleague, Siew Kian, interviewing Celia Wong while waiting
Inside the make up studio
Inside the make up studio
The four bloggers before their make over
The four bloggers before their make over
The four bloggers after their make over
The four bloggers after their make over
Bloggers interviewed on how they feel after the make-over
Bloggers interviewed on how they feel after the make-over
The four bloggers with the makeup artists from Make Up For Ever Academy
The four bloggers with the makeup artists from Make Up For Ever Academy
The bloggers with the make up artists and Celia Wong
The bloggers with the make up artists and Celia Wong
Celia Wong with the four bloggers
Celia Wong with the four bloggers
Another picture
Another picture
Farewell hugs
Farewell hugs
Our videographer, Ming Choy taking his smoke break
Our videographer, Ming Choy taking his smoke break
Me chatting with Ming Choy
Me chatting with Ming Choy
On our way to board the Bounty - can you see a familiar Singapore brand, Bee Cheng Hiang?
On our way to board the Bounty – can you see a familiar Singapore brand, Bee Cheng Hiang?
Random Hong Kong street view
Random Hong Kong street view
Hong Kong's unique "Ding Ding" tram - I love this, each ride cost like around 20 cents in Singapore currency
Hong Kong’s unique “Ding Ding” tram – I love this, each ride cost like around 20 cents in Singapore currency
Happy Geck Geck on the street of Hong Kong
Happy Geck Geck on the street of Hong Kong

Following the make-over, we made our way to assemble with the rest of the bloggers to board the Bounty 《济民号》 (a 42m long replica tall ship) for dinner as well as to catch Hong Kong’s famous “A Symphony of Lights”.

Rejoining the other bloggers
Rejoining the other bloggers
Funny photo 1 before we board the Bounty
Funny photo 1 before we board the Bounty
Funny photo 2
Funny photo 2
Funny photo 3
Funny photo 3
Funny photo 4
Funny photo 4
Funny photo 5
Funny photo 5
Funny photo 6
Funny photo 6
Waiting for the tall ship to dock for boarding
Waiting for the tall ship to dock for boarding
Me at the pier
Me at the pier
The Bounty
The Bounty
The ship from different angles
The ship from different angles
Spotted a Chinese junk ship
Spotted a Chinese junk ship
Me with Vivien from HKTB
Me with Vivien from HKTB
Me, before boarding the ship
Me, before boarding the ship
The tall ship
The tall ship
Catherine boarding the ship
Catherine boarding the ship

This spectacular multimedia display was named the “World’s Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show” by Guinness World Records. More information is available on the HKTB website.

To find out more about our experience on board The Bounty, you can check out fellow bloggers, Jerome Lim (English) and Sze Ping (Chinese)‘s posts.

Dinner was served, buffet style on board the tall ship. There was also free flow alcohol which got some of the bloggers really high. 🙂

Me on board the Bounty, prior to sailing off
Me on board the Bounty, prior to sailing off
More pictures on board the Bounty
More pictures on board the Bounty
On board the Bounty
On board the Bounty
Happy Alvin
Happy Alvin

On board the Bounty:

[youtube url=”http://www.youtube.com/v/ctAP1fweW9E?fs=1&hl=en_US”]
Happy bloggers on board the Bounty
Happy bloggers on board the Bounty
Another fun picture
Another fun picture
Sailing off
Sailing off
Another picture
Another picture
The bar counter
The bar counter
The salad bar
The salad bar
Getting our food
Getting our food
The buffet serving
The buffet serving
Dinner with a bunch of happy fellow bloggers
Dinner with a bunch of happy fellow bloggers
My dinner on board the Bounty
My dinner on board the Bounty
Me with my colleague, Ming Choy
Me with my colleague, Ming Choy
The working crew - (L to R), Vivien, Siew Kian, Ming Choy and me
The working crew – (L to R), Vivien, Siew Kian, Ming Choy and me
The steering wheel
The steering wheel
The Symphony of Lights show - pictures don't do justice as it's hard to capture them on photo
The Symphony of Lights show – pictures don’t do justice as it’s hard to capture them on photo
Ming Choy and his new girlfriend
Ming Choy and his new girlfriend
It was a full moon night
It was a full moon night
Hong Kong night view
Hong Kong night view
Me looking happy
Me looking happy
Geck Geck looking even happier
Geck Geck looking even happier

View from on board the Bounty Part 1:

[youtube url=”http://www.youtube.com/v/s4kNXyj9TeQ?fs=1&hl=en_US”]

View from on board the Bounty Part 2:

[youtube url=”http://www.youtube.com/v/yVlEQs000g4?fs=1&hl=en_US”]

The Bounty opens its sails:

[youtube url=”http://www.youtube.com/v/c-wQAWpGhM4?fs=1&hl=en_US”]
The Bounty crew opening the sails at the request of some Indian journalists on board
The Bounty crew opening the sails at the request of some Indian journalists on board
The ship crew at work
The ship crew at work
Heave Ho!
Heave Ho!
The opened sails
The opened sails
A few more tucks and pulls
A few more tucks and pulls
Me looking emo
Me looking emo
Nearing shore, preparing to dock
Nearing shore, preparing to dock
The magnificent Hong Kong Cultural Centre, the counterpart of the Esplanade in Singapore
The magnificent Hong Kong Cultural Centre, the counterpart of the Esplanade in Singapore

Although my figure today tells a different story, I was a competitive swimmer in my youth and had always loved water sports and the sea. I also served in the Navy during my two and a half years of national service. The slow flapping waves of seawater against the ship’s stern calms me.

After getting off the Bounty, we headed back to the hotel.

When we got back, Ming Choy and Peter were still hungry. We decided to head out for supper together. Rachel joined us too, having just parted with her Hong Kong friends.

Prowling the Tsim Sha Tsui street for a supper place
Prowling the Tsim Sha Tsui street for a supper place
Funny signboard - No One Foot Massage
Funny signboard – No One Foot Massage
We chanced upon a Charlie Brown Cafe
We chanced upon a Charlie Brown Cafe
Cakes in the shape of Charlie Brown cartoon characters
Cakes in the shape of Charlie Brown cartoon characters

The four of us shared some skewer stick food by the roadside. Rachel and I were pretty impressed with Pete’s gamed spirit to try all kind of Chinese food, including organ parts. We then had some fantastic congee, beef brisket noodle and Chinese desserts at a restaurant called Chee Kei (池记). The food was really good and at a reasonable price too. Definitely worth a visit.

Rachel and I bought fruit juice
Rachel and I bought fruit juice
Stall selling skewer sticks
Stall selling skewer stick food
Ming Choy, Peter and I sharing skewer sticks on the street
Ming Choy, Peter and I sharing our skewer stick food on the street
Rachel's desert soup made of longan and other sweet stuff - delicious
Rachel’s desert soup made of longan and other sweet stuff – delicious
My desert has an egg in it - equally yummy
My desert has an egg in it – equally yummy
Beef brisket noodle - I love this
Beef brisket noodle – I love this
Enjoying my noodle :)
Enjoying my noodle 🙂

That ended day two. Stay tuned for day three whereby we attended the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival.

Read my previous Hong Kong trip blog entries:

Hong Kong Summer Spectacular with HKTB – Day 1: Dragon Boat Carnival Opening, Robatayaki at Busy Suzie

Hong Kong Summer Spectacular with HKTB – A Prelude

Flying Off to Hong Kong in a Few Hours

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3 comments
  1. So this is what you have been doing with your girlfriend at night when you were supposed to spend time with your loving wife.

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