Hong Kong – Ferris wheel, Star ferry, Avenue of stars

We landed in the city of Hong kong on the 26th of December 2016 at about 9.30 AM from Chennai in India. After a very smooth immigration process, we got into the Airport express train that took us right into the Hong kong central station in about 20 minutes. At Hong kong central station there are free shuttle buses to the city hotels and we waited for about 10 minutes at the gate of the shuttle bus that has our hotel as one of the drop point in its route. The shuttle bus stopped at our hotel in Wanchai and we got off to find out that we could check in only by 3 PM. This was a bit inconvenient, but we went to a restaurant nearby called Hay Hay kitchen to have lunch, withdraw cash from the ATM at the MRT station nearby, went to the 7/11 opposite to the hotel to buy a local SIM and thereby managed to somehow pass the time. We were able to check in finally at 3PM and after a brief rest, headed out late evening for a night of sight seeing. Our hotel was conveniently located at 5 mins walk to the MRT and we took a train to the Hong kong central station. From the station it is a longish walk to our first attraction in our plan, the Hongkong Ferris wheel near the Victoria harbour. As this was Christmas season the area around the Ferris wheel were lighted up with plenty of Christmas decors. The wheel is like an observatory which moves very slowly unlike the thrilling giant wheels. Each cabin can seat up to 6 people and as we were already 6 people we got a full cabin all to ourselves. However due to the peak season, we had to wait for more than 1.5 hours to get the ride. For a while we were looking around and admiring the decors from our queue but the wait was bit painstaking towards the end and we wondered if we should have taken the express ticket to reduce the wait time, as we could see that those with express tickets could just literally walk into the ride.

Hongkong Ferris wheel

Hongkong Ferris wheel from a distance. Look at all the Christmas tree lights at the base. There is also a lighted playground beside it that we did not visit as we were eager to get to Tsim Tsha Tsui to watch the symphony of lights show.
Hong kong Ferris wheel at closeup. Taken from the queue to the ride. Each cabin can comfortably seat 6 people.
Another shot of the Hong Kong Ferris wheel with one of the Christmas tree at its base. 

Star Ferry: 

After we managed to finish the Ferris wheel ride at about 7.45 PM, Our next stop was to cross over to the Tsim Tsha Tsui promenade to catch the symphony of lights show. However we found it was too late to make it for the lights show due to the thronging crowds we had to deal with to get to the other side. We fumbled on the ticket machines to print our ferry tickets and then later recalled we could have used our Octopus card to get on the ferry and it was not necessary to get the ferry ticket. The ferry tickets were very cheap and costed I think just about 3 HKD per adult. The ferry arrived and everyone scrambled inside to get good seating especially the window seats. The lighted up buildings all around the harbour was a vibrant sight to watch from the ferry as it crossed over to the other side of the harbour.

The view from our Star ferry boat

Avenue of Stars, T.S.T:

We got off the star ferry as it reached the other side and we thought the jetty we got of at was the T.S.T promenade. But we were wrong as when we checked google maps we found it showed another location and not where we were at. We tried asking the people around us, but no one whom we asked, knew where the Tsim sha Tsui promenade was. I guess they were all tourists and not locals. But to us all South east asians look similar and we could not differentiate between locals and tourists. After literally going in circles around the majestic Peninsular hotel and the intercontinental hotel we finally saw a bridge that was labelled the garden of stars. We reckoned that this could be the avenue of stars that we were looking for.

Crowds of people thronging at the Tsim sha Tsui side of the Victoria harbour. Most of them I assume are tourists as Christmas and New year are the highest peak season in Hongkong besides the Chinese New year.
We went in circles around this majestic Peninsular hotel, on our attempt to find the way to Avenue of stars and the T.S.T Promenade. This Hotel is too huge that it was not possible to get a shot of the complete hotel in a single frame. 
We finally reach avenue of stars through the bridge called Garden of stars. This statue is one of the first prominent statues in the Avenue of stars, and at first glance it looked like Marilyn Monroe with the popular pose of her dress getting swept up. But on reading the introduction beside the statue we learnt this statue is not of Marilyn Monroe but a South east asian actress called Anita Mui. 
The statue of Bruce lee that is used in many of the articles and blogs that mentions the avenue of stars
There are many palm prints of south east asian stars, all of whom I have not heard of except….
Jackie Chan… Got very excited on seeing that finally I know at least one celebrity here and he happens to be one of my favourite actors as well
As we walked around the area, we came across this place which we understood as the Tsim sha Tsui promenade, from where we were supposed to view the symphony of lights show. We were tad late for the show but the view of the night skyline from the promenade was still admirable.

After this we decided to call it a day and head for dinner at any of the restaurant we would see on the way to the T.S.T MRT. On the way, the See Fah restaurant caught our attention and we decided to have our dinner here.

At See Fah – Don’t recall what this is called. I think this is a Korean dish that has mix of seafood and veggies thrown in. It was served on a lighted stove to maintain the hot temperature of the food
At See Fah restaurant – Soupy noodles

And with this we come to the end of Day 1 sightseeing. It was a bit tiring as we weren’t able to check in to the hotel till evening and all did not go as planned, for instance we missed the symphony of lights and we did not anticipate the extra long anaconda like line for the Ferris wheel, the throng of crowds at Star ferry and the bursty crowds at Tsim sha Tsui was bit unnerving. However the view of the red sail Sampans and the colourfully lighted buildings from the Ferris wheel and the TST Promenade, their reflections in the water made the night sky and the sea colourfully delightful and these made our first day in Hongkong worth to cherish.






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