Monday, June 28, 2010

Trip to The Peak and Hong Kong Skyline

Woke up early today for a quick breakfast at the Executive Lounge of JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong. True to the online testimonies of a lot of guests, access to this lounge is really worth it as they offer a quite a range of items even on breakfast unlike the usual fare of 2 or 3 meat options only in lounges of the usual Marriott hotels. The selection in fact can rival the spread of some decent hotel where you pay for the breakfast buffet, not to mention the good service the lounge staff is giving to its patrons.
 

Then we proceed to go to The Peak Tram Lower Terminus by riding the MTR to Central station, exiting J2 and following our map, since we were informed it is only a few minutes by foot. On the way, we happen to pass by St. John's Cathedral (Anglican Church) and was amazed by its architecture so we took a short peek inside.
 
I was amazed at this sign outside however. LOL
 
 inside the church
 
 
Didn't notice the time but the walk from MTR Central station to The Peak Tram Lower Terminus (located in Garden Road) should have been around 10 minutes of leisure walk.
 
We took the Madame Tussauds and Peak Tram Combo Package (HKD180 each). I've rode the tram 3 years ago but didn't have time for Madame Tussauds then because we were in a group tour. Minutes later, we found ourselves lining up for the ride to the peak.

Mr. Truffles sitting on the tram on the way up

The tram moved slowly uphill over a 1.3km track. Just a few minutes later were already at the peak and our seats are just starting to get heated.

an old tram on display at the peak

Up above at The Peak, the view of Hong Kong below is marvelous, despite having tall buildings in the city, it seems we are still up above most of them.

Mr. Truffles looking at the city below

Then we proceeded to Madame Tussauds Hong Kong. I've been to Madame Tussauds in New York and Shanghai before, so this is my third Madame Tussauds visit. The wax museum, located at level P1, houses its own set of celebrities aside from the usual ones found in most of its branches. Here are some of the pictures taken inside:

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt

Nicole Kidman

Madame Tussauds herself

Kelly Chen

Princess Diana 

Royalties, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip, The Duke of Edinburgh

United States of America Presidential Podium

President Barrack Obama

Pablo Picasso

The Syndics of the Drapers' Guild, a painting of Rembrandt van Rijn where one can be part of

Astroboy

Barbie Hsu

Pierce Brosnan as James Bond

David Beckham

Ronaldinho Gaucho

Tiger Woods

Madonna

Michael Jackson
 
There are a whole lot more of celebrities and icons inside the wax museum but I didn't bother to post it here as it would render this blog post too much. Better visit the place yourself. It's a must, specially if you haven't been to one or looking for figures (specially from Asia).
 
After the visit to the Peak, we headed back to our hotel and check out (said goodbye to the remarkable JW Marriott), towed our stuffs to MTR en route to Wan Chai station, where Renaissance Hong Kong Harbour View Hotel is situated (via exit A5).
 

I booked for 1 King Bed Garden View room in this hotel for two nights using points (25000/night, Category 5) but when they came to know it is for our honeymoon, they offered us a 1-bedroom suite instead, facing the harbor and convention center! I couldn't be thankful enough as it didn't just made our stay here more enjoyable but also comfortable. In fact it was so roomy that we barely use the living room today as the bedroom itself is so spacious! Perhaps tomorrow we can hangout at the sofa.

inside the bedroom
 
 

the living room
  


view from the room, facing the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre and skyline view
 
After checking in and resting a couple of hours, we went up the Executive Lounge (given as a Gold Elite member) to checkout the afternoon tea offerings of the lounge. The place was empty and we almost had it to ourselves. It has large windows with a good view of the harbor, but we had the same already in the room they gave us so didn't mind it much.
 

We munched on a lot of items like cocktail sandwiches and sweets. I know I have been backpacking for quite a few years already and this experience is definitely extravagant, but always welcomed! Careful as I may get used to this so much! :)
  

If we thought that was it, I was even surprised when we came back to the room later, there was a congratulatory note, a bottle of chilled wine and chocolate-covered strawberries waiting for us. I truly appreciate the gesture from the hotel staff and the experience so far made things better for us newly-weds.
 
 
We really were exhausted during the trip (specially when we transferred hotels via MTR only lugging things around), that we decided to doze off a couple more hours before heading out again. Just as evening strikes in, we went up the Executive Lounge again this time for hors d'oeuvres, which is a bit heavy and we treated it as dinner instead. We had a few meats and pastries, and a salad before heading outside the hotel again to explore the city.
 

We headed to Wan Chai Ferry Pier and boarded a Star Ferry to cross to the other side (Tsim Sha Tsui). There we saw the Kowloon-Canton Railway Clock Tower, the only remnant of the former Kowloon station.

Tsim Sha Tsui is also a good vantage point to see the skyline of Hong Kong island (its business districts and buildings) at night, as well as the show A Symphony of Lights where these buildings take part on the orchestrated display of lights and sound display.
  

me and Roshie

From Tsim Sha Tsui, walked towards the MTR station and took the train to Mong Kok station for the Ladies' Market. The place is very famous among tourist as a flea market every night on the streets.
 
We just checked a few stuff in some stalls and didn't actually buy a lot, since we were already tired at that time. After less than an hour of browsing, we went back to the MTR station and headed back to the hotel.

As we arrive in our room and prepare to doze off tonight, we cannot help but still be mesmerized with the view of the skyline across the body of water. Tomorrow would be another day of exploration of the city and we need all the energy we can get to get ready for it as we bade each other good night.

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