A Travellerspoint blog

Autumn Leaves are Falling.

Sweet Gum Woods in Tai Tong.

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All Colours in One Shot.

All Colours in One Shot.

I love spring and autumn. In fact, I miss them, because here in Hong Kong, I would say, we only really have two seasons. I say, I would say, as local Hong Kongers think there are four seasons here, but believe me there really aren't. As I have been here a long time, I look diligently for any traces of spring or autumn and photograph them as much as I can. Last year, when I started exploring Hong Kong, I read about the Sweet Gum Woods in Tai Tong and how stunning they were in autumn, but I'd already missed them. Even if I hadn't missed them, I wouldn't have gone there before, because of tales of how crowded they are on weekends and on public holidays. However, now that I don't work, I thought I might as well visit during the week and, guess what? It was still pretty crowded, but nothing like it would have been at a weekend.

My Favourite Photo of the Day.

My Favourite Photo of the Day.

To get to the Sweet Gum Woods in Tai Tong, I took the MTR to Long Pin Station. Then I exited through exit B2, turned left, walked down the stairs to the busy Ma Wang Road and queued at the bus stop for the K66 bus. At least, that's what I should have done, but everything I had read said go through exit B2 and follow the signs for the K66 bus. There were no signs, so I initially went right and when that didn't work out eventually retraced my steps, went left and found the bus-stop. I was about eighth in line when I arrived and was shocked to turn round at one point and discover about forty people had joined the queue behind me. The bus, when it finally came, bypassed several stops, or only allowed people off at them, as it was so full. I was starting to think that getting back from the woods would be a bit of an ordeal and I had to get back to apply lots of drops to my husband's eyes. He could do it himself but, it's not all that easy to handle the amount of medicine he currently has.

Anyway I stayed on the bus, noting when we came out of the centre of Yuen Long and entered a more villagey environment that the K66 was the only bus plying this route. Not good! Eventually I alighted from the bus at Tai Tong Shan Road, the second last stop. Almost the entire population of the bus got off here. I thought: "This is good, I'll just follow them. No need to try and work out where I'm going." But actually everyone who exited the bus walked so slowly that I was soon in the lead and I was the one with the job of finding the Sweet Gum Woods for everyone else. Fortunately, it was quite straight forward: exit the bus, go left to Tai Tong Shan Road, walk up the hill for around ten minutes. When you reach a sign for hikes and country parks, climb up the stairs and go left again, then just keep on following the road.

The steps that I climbed brought me out at washrooms and a picnic area. There were good views over Yuen Long from here. Then I continued left along Tai Tong Shan Road. There was an interesting wall on one side, a bit like a mini great wall of China. There were also lots of flowering bushes. I discovered later these are Grantham's camellia. This is apparently a rare and endangered species of Camellia. It is called after Alexander Grantham, a former governor of Hong Kong, and was first discovered in Hong Kong in 1955. It can only be found in Hong Kong and Mainland China.

Picnic Area.

Picnic Area.

Picnic Site.

Picnic Site.

Picnic Site.

Picnic Site.

View of Yuen Long.

View of Yuen Long.

View of Yuen Long.

View of Yuen Long.

Grantham's Camellia.

Grantham's Camellia.

Trees and fancy wall.

Trees and fancy wall.

One of the many signs for the Sweet Gum Woods.

One of the many signs for the Sweet Gum Woods.

The road then led past a forestry museum. I didn't look inside and continued onwards to the Sweet Gum Woods. Sweet Gum trees are also called Liquidambar Formosana trees due to their orange coloured tree sap. They are found in Southeast and east Asia, the eastern Mediterranean and eastern North America. They are deciduous trees and their leaves turn wonderful shades of yellow, orange and red in autumn. Their leaves are star-like with three lobes and look similar to maple leaves. Their wood can be used to make furniture.

When I entered the woods at first I was surrounded by greenery. Later there were wonderful areas of yellow, orange and red. Wherever there was a lot of colour there were, of course, lots of people taking photos. It was possible to do some people watching as well as nature watching. There were signs up reminding people to take care when looking at nature as there were cars in some parts of the road and many bikes. I almost got hit by a bike at one point. They are just so silent, I had no idea it was there till the cyclist called to me to get out of her way.

Greenery at first.

Greenery at first.

Glimpses of colour are starting to appear.

Glimpses of colour are starting to appear.

Golden Yellows.

Golden Yellows.

Golden Yellows.

Golden Yellows.

Golden Yellows.

Golden Yellows.

Golden Yellows.

Golden Yellows.

I should have paid attention to the take care signs.

I should have paid attention to the take care signs.

Orange and Green Contrast.

Orange and Green Contrast.

Yellows mixed with Orange.

Yellows mixed with Orange.

Smouldering Orange in this area.

Smouldering Orange in this area.

Fiery Orange.

Fiery Orange.

Fiery Orange.

Fiery Orange.

Fiery Orange.

Fiery Orange.

Fiery Orange.

Fiery Orange.

Fiery Orange.

Fiery Orange.

Fiery Orange.

Fiery Orange.

Wood Pile.

Wood Pile.

Red and Orange.

Red and Orange.

Oranges and Reds.

Oranges and Reds.

Everyone is taking Photos.

Everyone is taking Photos.

Burning Reds.

Burning Reds.

Burning Reds.

Burning Reds.

Burning Reds.

Burning Reds.

Burning Reds.

Burning Reds.

Burning Reds.

Burning Reds.

Lots of People Enjoying Nature.

Lots of People Enjoying Nature.

Close-up of the leaves.

Close-up of the leaves.

At one point there was a little pavilion. As there were lots of low colourful branches around this, this was a popular area for photography.

Busy Pavilion.

Busy Pavilion.

Nearby there is a viewpoint where it's possible to look towards the distant line of Sweet Gum trees. This is a lovely view of the colourful trees surrounded by greenery on all sides as most Hong Kong trees aren't deciduous.

Line of Sweet Gum Trees.

Line of Sweet Gum Trees.

Line of Sweet Gum Trees.

Line of Sweet Gum Trees.

Of course, I had to take one or two selfies, didn't I?

Leafy Selfie.

Leafy Selfie.

Leafy Selfie.

Leafy Selfie.

Eventually I made my way back to the bus-stop pausing to look at a couple of stalls on the way. Of course, as always at this time of year the bauhinias were out in force, too.

Market Stall.

Market Stall.

Market Stall.

Market Stall.

Not All Bauhinias are Purple.

Not All Bauhinias are Purple.

Though, of course, many are.

Though, of course, many are.

After all my worrying about long bus queues, I ended up number two in the queue and had no difficulty getting back at all.

Posted by irenevt 01:31 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (2)

Come Fly With Me, Let's Fly, Let's Fly Away.

A Day Trip to the Former Kai Tak Airport.

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I used to love Kai Tak Airport, but I've only been back once since it ceased to be an airport, and that was years ago and even then I only went back because a friend recommended the bar that still existed there. Kai Tak has gone through many incarnations in its lifetime

It all began in 1912 when two businessmen, Ho Kai and Au Tak, formed the Kai Tak Investment Company. This company began to reclaim land from the sea, just off the coast of Kowloon. They intended to build residential apartments on it, but their venture failed. The government of the day bought the land from them and used it as an airfield. This airfield housed both a flying school and a military airfield. The first recorded flight from Kai Tak took place on Lunar New Year's Day in 1925.

Later, during World War II, Hong Kong was taken over by the Japanese and they began to expand Kai Tak using many Allied prisoners of war as forced labourers. They acquired stones for this expansion by dismantling the historic walls of Kowloon Walled City and by dynamiting the forty-five metre tall Sung Wong Toi Memorial Stone, which commemorated the last Sung Dynasty emperor.

In more recent times Kai Tak needed to handle more traffic than it could cope with and its noise began to affect the residential areas around it. It was also regarded as one of the most dangerous airports in the world to land in or take off from. As a result of all these problems, the government sought out a new location for Hong Kong's airport and they eventually settled on Chek Lap Kok near Lantau Island which became Hong Kong's new airport in 1998.

After its closure as an airport, Kai Tak became home to government offices, automobile showrooms, a go-kart racecourse, a bowling alley, a snooker hall, a golf range and finally a cruise terminal.

While part of the Kai Tak area is currently a cruise terminal, the area around it has been converted into a Sky Garden and a Runway Park. These are great ideas and I really wanted to see them. However, the whole area around Kai Tak, which I think will mainly end up residential, is definitely still a work in progress and the places I visited were surrounded by many, many construction sites.

I got to Kai Tak Cruise Terminal by taking bus number 22 from the transport interchange at Festival Walk in Kowloon Tong. The 86 minibus from Telford Gardens, Kowloon Tong also comes to this area.

At the start of my journey I took photos of the Christmas display in Festival Walk. I'll also place here photos of other Christmas displays I have seen recently.

Christmas Display in Pacific Place near one of the two places Peter has to keep having his eyes checked.

Christmas Display in Pacific Place near one of the two places Peter has to keep having his eyes checked.

Christmas Display in Pacific Place near one of the two places Peter has to keep having his eyes checked.

Christmas Display in Pacific Place near one of the two places Peter has to keep having his eyes checked.

Christmas Display in Central MTR Station on way back from doctor's.

Christmas Display in Central MTR Station on way back from doctor's.

Christmas Display in Festival Walk.

Christmas Display in Festival Walk.

Christmas Display in Festival Walk.

Christmas Display in Festival Walk.

I began my explorations in the cruise terminal itself. This is the final stop of the 22 bus. From the bus terminus I took the lift to the roof gardens which occupy 23,000 square metres. These are pleasant enough and there are plenty of places to sit, but the main reason for visiting is for the views: both towards Hong Kong Island and towards Kowloon.

The Kai Tak Cruise Terminal.

The Kai Tak Cruise Terminal.

The Cruise Terminal viewed across Runway Park. It's designed to look like an aeroplane.

The Cruise Terminal viewed across Runway Park. It's designed to look like an aeroplane.

View of Cruise Terminal from Sky Garden.

View of Cruise Terminal from Sky Garden.

The Roof Garden.

The Roof Garden.

The Roof Garden.

The Roof Garden.

The Roof Garden.

The Roof Garden.

Looking Across the Cruise Terminal Roof Garden.

Looking Across the Cruise Terminal Roof Garden.

Looking towards Hong Kong Island from the Cruise Terminal.

Looking towards Hong Kong Island from the Cruise Terminal.

Looking towards Hong Kong Island from the Cruise Terminal.

Looking towards Hong Kong Island from the Cruise Terminal.

Looking Towards Kowloon from Cruise Terminal.

Looking Towards Kowloon from Cruise Terminal.

Looking Towards Kowloon from Cruise Terminal.

Looking Towards Kowloon from Cruise Terminal.

Looking Towards Kowloon from Cruise Terminal.

Looking Towards Kowloon from Cruise Terminal.

Looking Towards Kowloon from Cruise Terminal.

Looking Towards Kowloon from Cruise Terminal.

Looking Towards Kowloon from Cruise Terminal.

Looking Towards Kowloon from Cruise Terminal.

Looking towards Lei Yue Mun from Cruise Terminal.

Looking towards Lei Yue Mun from Cruise Terminal.

Looking over the Harbour from the Cruise Terminal.

Looking over the Harbour from the Cruise Terminal.

The End of the Terminal Building.

The End of the Terminal Building.

Kai Tak Cruise Terminal is a three storey building with the capacity to berth two 360 metre long vessels. It began operation in 2013. During my visit a huge cruise ship called Genting Dream was moored there. There are several restaurants inside the terminal.

The Genting Dream from the Sky Garden.

The Genting Dream from the Sky Garden.

The Genting Dream.

The Genting Dream.

The Genting Dream.

The Genting Dream.

Another thing I enjoyed was wandering around the second floor of the Cruise Terminal and taking photos framed by its windows. The cruise terminal is long and thin like an aeroplane and these windows are like looking out of an aeroplane window.

Wandering the Second Floor of the Cruise Terminal.

Wandering the Second Floor of the Cruise Terminal.

Wandering the Second Floor of the Cruise Terminal.

Wandering the Second Floor of the Cruise Terminal.

Wandering the Second Floor of the Cruise Terminal.

Wandering the Second Floor of the Cruise Terminal.

View from Cruise Terminal Window.

View from Cruise Terminal Window.

After wandering around the cruise terminal, I headed outside to the nearby Sky Garden. This 1.4km long elevated garden covers parts of Shing Fung Road. Shing Fung Road runs along the former notorious 13/31 Runway. This runway got its name because it had a magnetic orientation of 135/315 degrees. It was considered to be one of the most challenging runways in the world as landing here involved avoiding mountains, the sea and the city buildings which surrounded Kai Tak Airport.

Looking towards the Sky Garden from the Cruise Terminal.

Looking towards the Sky Garden from the Cruise Terminal.

Looking towards the Sky Garden from the Cruise Terminal.

Looking towards the Sky Garden from the Cruise Terminal.

Looking towards the Sky Garden from the Cruise Terminal.

Looking towards the Sky Garden from the Cruise Terminal.

The Sky Garden has noise barriers to deaden sound from the road below. It has solar panels and wind turbines to generate energy. It also has four seasonal gardens which have plants which flower in spring, summer, autumn and winter respectively. It also has several fountains. Its architectural design makes it look a bit like an aeroplane. Its ends are marked 13 and 31 like the former runway it stands on.

The Sky Garden with Noise Barriers.

The Sky Garden with Noise Barriers.

Sky Garden and Noise Barriers.

Sky Garden and Noise Barriers.

Sky Garden.

Sky Garden.

The Sky Garden Fountains.

The Sky Garden Fountains.

The Sky Garden Fountains.

The Sky Garden Fountains.

Selfie at the Sky Garden.

Selfie at the Sky Garden.

Sky Garden.

Sky Garden.

The Sky Garden.

The Sky Garden.

Sky Garden.

Sky Garden.

Sky Garden.

Sky Garden.

Sky Garden.

Sky Garden.

Sky Garden.

Sky Garden.

Sky Garden.

Sky Garden.

Sky Garden.

Sky Garden.

Sky Garden Noise Barriers.

Sky Garden Noise Barriers.

Runway 13/31.

Runway 13/31.

Runway 13/31.

Runway 13/31.

Sky Garden was popular with joggers.

Sky Garden was popular with joggers.

Wind Turbines.

Wind Turbines.

Zoomed View Over Harbour from end of Sky Garden.

Zoomed View Over Harbour from end of Sky Garden.

Zoomed View Over Harbour from end of Sky Garden.

Zoomed View Over Harbour from end of Sky Garden.

View of Kowloon from the Sky Garden.

View of Kowloon from the Sky Garden.

View of Kowloon from the Sky Garden.

View of Kowloon from the Sky Garden.

View of Kowloon from the Sky Garden.

View of Kowloon from the Sky Garden.

When the redevelopment of Kai Tak is finished the Sky Garden will link the Cruise Terminal and a park. That park has not been created yet and many of the buildings that will be part of this development are in the process of being built at the moment, so the Sky Garden is currently in the centre of an enormous construction site. I actually found the construction site fascinating because it just seemed to stretch everywhere.

One of the many Construction Sites.

One of the many Construction Sites.

Still a Colourful View Despite all the Construction.

Still a Colourful View Despite all the Construction.

Construction Site.

Construction Site.

Construction Site.

Construction Site.

Construction Site.

Construction Site.

Construction Site.

Construction Site.

Construction Site.

Construction Site.

Lastly, I walked all the way back to the other end of the Cruise Terminal to see the Runway Park. If I'd had any sense I'd have started there to save me having to retrace my steps, but I guess it enabled me to walk along the other side of the Cruise Terminal Roof. Runway Park is at the very tip of the former runway. There's an aeroplane on display here. There's also a large grassy lawn which is popular at weekends. Also at weekends, it's possible to come here by ferry and the little ferry terminal is here in Runway Park.

Looking over Runway Park from the Cruise Terminal.

Looking over Runway Park from the Cruise Terminal.

Looking over Runway Park from the Cruise Terminal.

Looking over Runway Park from the Cruise Terminal.

Looking over Runway Park from the Cruise Terminal.

Looking over Runway Park from the Cruise Terminal.

Looking over Runway Park from the Cruise Terminal.

Looking over Runway Park from the Cruise Terminal.

Runway Park.

Runway Park.

Aeroplane at Runway Park.

Aeroplane at Runway Park.

More Reminders of Runway 13.

More Reminders of Runway 13.

Looking across the lawn at Runway Park.

Looking across the lawn at Runway Park.

It was time to rush home and administer the next rounds of hubbie's medicines. I jumped on a number 86 minibus and headed towards Telford Gardens in Kowloon Bay from where I could get onto the MTR.

Posted by irenevt 09:57 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (2)

The Kai Tak Heart Attack

Turn Right at that Big Mountain.

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Photo taken from internet of good old days of Kai Tak.

Photo taken from internet of good old days of Kai Tak.

Today I decided to do another short trip out. I headed to Lok Fu in search of Checkerboard Hill. This hill with its bright red and white pattern was a visual indicator to pilots flying into Hong Kong that they needed to make a sharp right turn in order to land safely at Kai Tak Airport. Apparently, Kai Tak was one of the most difficult airports in the world. Kai Tak Airport closed down in 1998 and for years Checkerboard Hill was left to decay, but recently it has been repainted and will be preserved as a monument.

We came to Hong Kong in 1996 so Kai Tak was the airport we landed at. Also we made several trips out of Hong Kong between 1996 and the closure of Kai Tak. I would have to say neither of us are what anyone could call sensation seekers. We don't like roller coasters. We don't like excessive speed and yet somehow we both loved landing at Kai Tak. The airport was in the middle of a built up area and the plane descended right past people's houses. You could practically look in their front rooms as you passed, then when you hit the runway there was nothing but sea on both sides and you were going so fast you felt sure you would shoot off the runway and disappear into the waves. If you were out in the street in this area as a plane came in to land, it was pretty much right above your head. I taught in a school in Kowloon Tong when I came to Hong Kong at first and I got used to stopping teaching every few minutes as a plane roared in overhead. The kids got used to this, too. We all just worked around it. I was sad when Kai Tak closed down.

Kai Tak Airport was built in 1925 on reclaimed land in Kowloon Bay. It was surrounded by tall mountains and lots of water. At first it was used as a military airport, but after World War II, it became the base for Cathay Pacific Airways. The most notorious runway at Kai Tak was Runway 13/31 which jutted right out into the midst of Victoria Harbour. Pilots who had to land here nicknamed the landing 'The Kai Tak Heart Attack' as it was so nerve wracking. In fact when we arrived here at first, we stayed in the Regal Riverside Hotel in Sha Tin which was a popular hotel for pilots to stay in. I remember taking the free shuttle bus from the hotel to the airport and all the pilots were having great fun comparing near miss stories about landing at Kai Tak. Terrifying!!!

Pilots who received clearance to land at Runway 13/31 in Kai Tak veered right in a 47 degree turn as soon as they saw Checkerboard Hill. At this point they would be travelling at very low altitude, but at 200 miles per hour and they were just 2 nautical miles away from the runway. Landings had to be conducted manually, not on autopilot and accuracy was vital. Of course, there were several accidents at Kai Tak, some fatal. I for one still remember an aeroplane overshooting the runway and landing partly in the sea. Amazingly no-one was killed in this incident.

I felt a bit confused trying to find instructions to get to Checkerboard Hill as I kept finding so many different descriptions of how to get there. In the end I did this. I took the MTR to Lok Fu Station, then exited through exit B. I walked straight out across the car park and into Lok Fu Recreation Ground Park. At the far side I went right and walked to Junction Road. I crossed this road and went left. I continued walking until I could see Bishop Walsh Primary School on the opposite side of the road. At this point I turned right and walked up a flight of stairs. The stairs continued for a long way and there were various paths off them, but I kept going up and up. This area is known as Reservoir Hill and has several buildings connected to the Water Works Department. At the very top of the hill there's a flat area used for recreation. People were running, jogging, walking and practising their golf swings here. There are some views over Kowloon from here, but through a fence.

Wing Kwong Pentecostal Holiness Church in Lok Fu.

Wing Kwong Pentecostal Holiness Church in Lok Fu.

Lok Fu Palace Shopping Mall.

Lok Fu Palace Shopping Mall.

Pointy Apartment Block in Lok Fu.

Pointy Apartment Block in Lok Fu.

Lok Fu Recreation Ground Park.

Lok Fu Recreation Ground Park.

Stairs up Reservoir Hill.

Stairs up Reservoir Hill.

Buildings of the Waterworks Department.

Buildings of the Waterworks Department.

Buildings of the Waterworks Department.

Buildings of the Waterworks Department.

Hong Kong Waterworks Department.

Hong Kong Waterworks Department.

Flat area on top of reservoir with Lion Rock behind it.

Flat area on top of reservoir with Lion Rock behind it.

Lion Rock Mountain from covered reservoir.

Lion Rock Mountain from covered reservoir.

I came back out of this area then turned right and walked down a dirt path onto a narrow staircase. This is a bit tricky to walk on so be careful, but it leads you right out on to Checkerboard Hill. I took some photos of the hill from a very close distance. Later I discovered that most people don't go this way. They exit the flat covered reservoir area then go left. After walking a short way, they go up a short stairway on their left and walk around the outside of the hill to the checkerboard cliffs.

Narrow Stairs Down.

Narrow Stairs Down.

Checkerboard Hill.

Checkerboard Hill.

Checkerboard Hill.

Checkerboard Hill.

Checkerboard Hill.

Checkerboard Hill.

A Little Bit of Kowloon and Checkerboard Hill.

A Little Bit of Kowloon and Checkerboard Hill.

Edge of Checkerboard Hill and a bit of view.

Edge of Checkerboard Hill and a bit of view.

Me in front of Checkerboard Hill.

Me in front of Checkerboard Hill.

In addition to looking at the hill, I also enjoyed great views over Kowloon. At the foot of Checkerboard Hill is Kowloon Tsai Park Tennis Courts. Supposedly you can descend the hill and go through a hole in the fence into this park. I could not see the opening from where I was so decided to go back the way I came. That was fine but it meant I missed the view of the hill from a distance - yet another thing left to do.

View over Kowloon.

View over Kowloon.

View over Kowloon.

View over Kowloon.

Tennis Courts and Kowloon.

Tennis Courts and Kowloon.

Autumn Leaves and Kowloon.

Autumn Leaves and Kowloon.

Autumn Leaves and Kowloon.

Autumn Leaves and Kowloon.

Autumn Leaves and Kowloon.

Autumn Leaves and Kowloon.

View over Kowloon.

View over Kowloon.

View over Kowloon.

View over Kowloon.

View over Kowloon.

View over Kowloon.

When I retraced my steps back up to the flat, covered reservoir area instead of returning the way I had come I went straight to get good views towards Lion Rock. There were some public toilets here. At the toilets I took the path down, passing many beautiful Bauhinias on the way, and came out at Junction Road.

Lion Rock.

Lion Rock.

Lion Rock.

Lion Rock.

Lion Rock.

Lion Rock.

Lion Rock and Bauhinias.

Lion Rock and Bauhinias.

View on the way down.

View on the way down.

View on the way down.

View on the way down.

Beautiful Bauhinias.

Beautiful Bauhinias.

Beautiful Bauhinias.

Beautiful Bauhinias.

As I arrived at Junction Road right next to Junction Road Park, I decided to have a quick wander through here. It was a pleasant park with a running track, seating and lots of colourful plants.

Junction Road Park.

Junction Road Park.

Junction Road Park.

Junction Road Park.

Bauhinias in Junction Road Park.

Bauhinias in Junction Road Park.

From here I was heading back to the MTR but I noticed a sort of gateway and lots of flags, so I went to investigate and discovered Lok Fu Tin Hau Temple. Of course this is dedicated to the goddess of the sea. Apparently it was built in the early nineteenth century. It has been restored many times and is beautifully looked after.

This alerted me to the temple's existence.

This alerted me to the temple's existence.

The Way up to the Temple.

The Way up to the Temple.

The Tin Hau Temple in Lok Fu, Hong Kong

The Tin Hau Temple in Lok Fu, Hong Kong

Lone Worshipper at Tin Hau Temple, Lok Fu.

Lone Worshipper at Tin Hau Temple, Lok Fu.

Incense Burner with Dragon Heads.

Incense Burner with Dragon Heads.

Temple Doorway.

Temple Doorway.

Dragon.

Dragon.

Phoenix.

Phoenix.

Lion Guard.

Lion Guard.

Tin Hau.

Tin Hau.

Shrine.

Shrine.

Shrine.

Shrine.

Shrine.

Shrine.

Shrine and offerings.

Shrine and offerings.

Looking out from inside the temple.

Looking out from inside the temple.

Lion.

Lion.

Contrasts.

Contrasts.

Bouganvillia.

Bouganvillia.

After looking at the temple, I went home and resumed nursing duties.

Posted by irenevt 09:34 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (6)

Short Trips Out.

Back to Tsing Yi.

sunny

I can't really do ambitious hikes at the moment as I am looking after Peter and administering his medicine at frequent intervals. However, I do need to get out sometimes or I'd go stir crazy, so the solution seems to be taking short trips out. Today I decided to go to Tsing Yi. I wanted to do some shopping there and I could combine this with a trip to the park. I especially wanted to go to this park again as it's apparently famous for its autumn colours. However, it turned out I was a bit premature as autumn here seems to be late December or even January.

I stopped on route at Sunny Bay Station to photograph some autumnal looking trees there.

Autumn Colours at Sunny Bay.

Autumn Colours at Sunny Bay.

Autumn Colours at Sunny Bay.

Autumn Colours at Sunny Bay.

I first visited Tsing Yi Park last summer and thought it was beautiful, but I got caught up in a thunderstorm during the visit and the skies were black the whole time I was there. Today was sunny and the skies were a beautiful shade of light blue.

Apparently there's a line of trees next to the pond that change colour for autumn. I saw these but they were only just beginning to change. I'll have to go back in a few weeks time.

These are the trees which will change colour.

These are the trees which will change colour.

These are the trees which will change colour.

These are the trees which will change colour.

The thing that impressed me most in this park were the enormous banyan trees near the main gate. There is something very majestic and powerful about banyan trees with their heavy load of aerial roots.

Banyan trees.

Banyan trees.

Banyan trees.

Banyan trees.

Banyan trees.

Banyan trees.

Banyan trees.

Banyan trees.

Another lovely place to see was the view up towards the lookout tower as there is a stunningly beautiful, brightly coloured bouganvillia bush on the hillside below the lookout point.

One of the ways up to the Lookout Point.

One of the ways up to the Lookout Point.

Bouganvillia and Lookout Point.

Bouganvillia and Lookout Point.

Bouganvillia and Lookout Point.

Bouganvillia and Lookout Point.

Bouganvillia and Lookout Point.

Bouganvillia and Lookout Point.

Bouganvillia and Lookout Point.

Bouganvillia and Lookout Point.

View from the lookout.

View from the lookout.

Tsing Yi Park is designed in parts to look like a European park and has follies, statues, streams and ponds. Some parts of it though are more typically Chinese than European, so it's an interesting mixture of styles.

Bridge crossing a stream.

Bridge crossing a stream.

This part is quite typically Chinese, I think.

This part is quite typically Chinese, I think.

European style folly.

European style folly.

European touches.

European touches.

European touches.

European touches.

European touches.

European touches.

Waterfall.

Waterfall.

Even though the line of trees that are famous for changing colour, had not changed colour, there were still many splashes of autumn around the park.

Looking through the autumn leaves.

Looking through the autumn leaves.

Autumnal branches near the stream.

Autumnal branches near the stream.

Little patches of autumn.

Little patches of autumn.

Little patches of autumn.

Little patches of autumn.

Little patches of autumn.

Little patches of autumn.

Little patches of autumn.

Little patches of autumn.

Little patches of autumn.

Little patches of autumn.

Little patches of autumn.

Little patches of autumn.

Little patches of autumn.

Little patches of autumn.

Little patches of autumn.

Little patches of autumn.

Little patches of autumn.

Little patches of autumn.

Swiss Cheese   Plant.

Swiss Cheese Plant.

Swiss Cheese Plant.

Swiss Cheese Plant.

Not to be outdone by any of the other colourful plants, bauhinias are everywhere at the moment and looking very beautiful, too.

Bauhinias are everywhere at the moment.

Bauhinias are everywhere at the moment.

Bauhinias are everywhere at the moment.

Bauhinias are everywhere at the moment.

Bauhinias.

Bauhinias.

After looking around the park, I went past Tsing Yi Swimming Pool and Sports Ground then onto the waterfront promenade for a quick stroll by the sea.

Tsing Yi Public Swimming Pool.

Tsing Yi Public Swimming Pool.

On the waterfront looking toward Tsuen Wan and Lai King.

On the waterfront looking toward Tsuen Wan and Lai King.

On the waterfront looking toward Tsuen Wan and Lai King.

On the waterfront looking toward Tsuen Wan and Lai King.

On the waterfront looking toward Tsuen Wan.

On the waterfront looking toward Tsuen Wan.

On the waterfront looking toward Tsuen Wan.

On the waterfront looking toward Tsuen Wan.

On the waterfront looking toward Tsuen Wan.

On the waterfront looking toward Tsuen Wan.

After enjoying the waterfront I went into Maritime Square Shopping Mall to do some shopping, but paused to look at their Christmas displays.

Christmas display outside a residential block in Tsing Yi.

Christmas display outside a residential block in Tsing Yi.

Restaurants in the mall were busy at lunch time.

Restaurants in the mall were busy at lunch time.

Christmas Tree Maritime Square.

Christmas Tree Maritime Square.

Christmas Tree Maritime Square Close-Up.

Christmas Tree Maritime Square Close-Up.

Christmas Market Maritime Square.

Christmas Market Maritime Square.

Christmas Market Maritime Square.

Christmas Market Maritime Square.

Back home the pink Christmas tree in our lobby looks better now it's decorated.

Christmas Tree in Our Lobby.

Christmas Tree in Our Lobby.

Christmas Tree in Our Lobby Close-up.

Christmas Tree in Our Lobby Close-up.

Posted by irenevt 09:47 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (6)

Keeping my fingers and everything else crossed.

Peter's operation.

sunny

My husband's eyesight has been in decline for a long time. His main problem is he has glaucoma and this has severely damaged both of his eyes. Unfortunately, glaucoma damage is irreversible. He also has cataracts which, of course, can be operated on, but there's a much higher risk of things going wrong if you have other eye diseases, such as glaucoma. For this reason we have been reluctant to have the cataract surgery, but Peter's eyesight got so bad, we have now decided to have it. So far, we've only had it done on one eye.

We live far from the hospital where the surgery was being carried out, so we decided to stay in a hotel for a couple of nights for ease of going back and forward to the hospital. We stayed in the Novotel Century Wan Chai for three nights and went repeatedly back and forward between here and the Hong Kong Sanatorium Hospital in Happy Valley. Of course, this hasn't been a fun or enjoyable time, but we still tried to make the most of it.

We are Accor Hotel members and use their hotels a lot, so they often give us free stuff. This time they gave us a free upgrade to a suite, so we had our own living room, bedroom and bathroom.

We passed some beautiful bauhinia trees on our way through Discovery Bay Plaza.

We passed some beautiful bauhinia trees on our way through Discovery Bay Plaza.

We passed some beautiful bauhinia trees on our way through Discovery Bay Plaza.

We passed some beautiful bauhinia trees on our way through Discovery Bay Plaza.

Our Living room.

Our Living room.

Our bedroom.

Our bedroom.

Coffee making facilities in the room.

Coffee making facilities in the room.

View from our room window.

View from our room window.

View from our room.

View from our room.

There seemed to be a yachting event on one of the days.

There seemed to be a yachting event on one of the days.

Night View from our Room.

Night View from our Room.

Cloudy skies viewed from our floor.

Cloudy skies viewed from our floor.

The Novotel Century has an unheated outdoor pool which stays open most of the year. We went in, as Peter won't be able to swim for a month after his operation. It was freezing, and I really do mean freezing, like swimming through ice. Peter was only able to use it on our first day. I used it twice. Both times required nerves of steel. The lifeguard didn't even bother to step outside the gym until he saw the potential swimmer could do a length. I think most people stick a toe in and run back to their room screaming. I lasted fifteen minutes on my first go and twenty minutes on my second go. The life guard sat huddled up in a chair wearing multiple layers of clothes and shivering just watching me. Fortunately, I didn't run into any trouble. I don't think the chance of the lifeguard jumping in to rescue me was very high!!! I reckon he'd have waited till spring.

Swimming pool.

Swimming pool.

The swimming pool.

The swimming pool.

Peter going in.

Peter going in.

And he made it.

And he made it.

Me in, pretending to be warm.

Me in, pretending to be warm.

Trying to warm up afterwards.

Trying to warm up afterwards.

We weren't really there to enjoy ourselves, but our package included breakfast, afternoon tea and evening cocktails and snacks in the executive lounge. Due to the circumstances of our stay, we could not always enjoy these benefits, but we tried our best and did pretty well out of them.

Breakfast time in the hotel.

Breakfast time in the hotel.

Executive Lounge.

Executive Lounge.

Peter at afternoon tea.

Peter at afternoon tea.

Me at cocktail hour.

Me at cocktail hour.

Peter at cocktail hour.

Peter at cocktail hour.

Christmas decorations in Executive Lounge.

Christmas decorations in Executive Lounge.

Sports bar at the hotel.

Sports bar at the hotel.

Streets around the hotel at night.

Streets around the hotel at night.

The hospital where Peter had his operation done is in Happy Valley and the eye centre where we had to keep going for check ups has great views over Happy Valley Race Course. It's a relatively old hospital by Hong Kong standards, as it dates from 1922, and it had some historical photos on display.

Views over Happy Valley Race Course.

Views over Happy Valley Race Course.

Views over Happy Valley Race Course.

Views over Happy Valley Race Course.

Old photo of the Hong Kong Sanatorium Hospital.

Old photo of the Hong Kong Sanatorium Hospital.

We were originally only going to stay in the hotel for two nights but Peter extended it to three so he could rest on the third day and I could do a little bit of exploring. I only did a brief runaround as I had to be available very frequently to administer medicine.

I decided to go and look for the Happy Valley Race Course Fire Memorial. I had never heard of this until recently when a friend gave me a book on heritage hikes in Hong Kong and it mentioned this site in one of the chapters.

The 26th of February 1918 was Derby Day in Happy Valley. Crowds flocked to the race course and one of the bamboo spectators' stands got so swamped with people that it collapsed and knocked over a cooked foods stall. Fire from this stall spread rapidly around the race course venue. Many people were trapped and could not escape the inferno. In the end more than six hundred people died either in the flames or in the ensuing panic. After this disaster Tong Yat-chuen, the Chairman of the Tung Wah Hospital Group, asked the Government to allocate some land on which to bury the victims of this calamity.

Later the Tung Wah Hospital held a competition for a permanent monument for the burial site and eventually Ho Sheung, a Chinese architect, won and was hired to make one. Funded by the Hong Kong Jockey Club and the Tung Wah Group of hospitals, the Race Course Fire Memorial was completed in 1922. The monument is very Chinese in style with two octagonal pagodas, a central plaque and two pavilions.

To get to the monument, go to Hong Kong Stadium, home to Hong Kong's famous Rugby Sevens. Walk past it and into the stadium car park. On the far side of the car park a sign shows the way to the monument. To reach it it is necessary to climb lots of stairs. Apparently, historically the hillsides around here were covered with shanty towns. There are supposed to be some remains of these, but I did not see any, perhaps they are covered over by the thick undergrowth. The monument is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. everyday of the week.

I have lost count of how many supposedly rare pawn shop signs I've seen recently. I passed this on the way.

I have lost count of how many supposedly rare pawn shop signs I've seen recently. I passed this on the way.

The Path to the Monument.

The Path to the Monument.

The Happy Valley Fire Memorial Monument.

The Happy Valley Fire Memorial Monument.

The Happy Valley Fire Memorial Monument.

The Happy Valley Fire Memorial Monument.

Plaque on the monument.

Plaque on the monument.

View from the monument.

View from the monument.

Near the monument there are many sporting facilities such as the Hong Kong Stadium. There has been a stadium here since 1952. The original stadium could accommodate 28,000 people and hosted soccer matches, athletic events and inter-school competitions. The current stadium can seat 40,000 people and dates from 1994. Also nearby are the South China Athletics Association, which I used to be a member of, and the Indian Recreation Club.

Hong Kong Stadium.

Hong Kong Stadium.

Hong Kong Stadium.

Hong Kong Stadium.

Hong Kong Stadium.

Hong Kong Stadium.

Hong Kong Stadium.

Hong Kong Stadium.

Hong Kong Stadium.

Hong Kong Stadium.

Hong Kong Stadium.

Hong Kong Stadium.

Bowling at the Indian Recreation Club.

Bowling at the Indian Recreation Club.

After looking swiftly around this area, I made my way back through Causewaybay. I noticed an interesting shop sign in passing and an advert for the new Spiderman movie.

I rather liked this House of Men sign.

I rather liked this House of Men sign.

Not entirely sure what it is.

Not entirely sure what it is.

May be British themed collectibles.

May be British themed collectibles.

Spiderman No Way Home.

Spiderman No Way Home.

I took the MTR back to Wan Chai and spent a bit of time photographing the ballet themed Art in the MTR there.

Art in the MTR.

Art in the MTR.

Art in the MTR.

Art in the MTR.

Art in the MTR.

Art in the MTR.

Art in the MTR.

Art in the MTR.

Art in the MTR.

Art in the MTR.

Art in the MTR.

Art in the MTR.

Art in the MTR.

Art in the MTR.

Art in the MTR.

Art in the MTR.

Posted by irenevt 13:51 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (6)

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