Hong Kong, Day 2: Of pandas, dolphins and jellyfishes (Ocean Park Hong Kong)

Soooo… Are you guys ready for another loooong post? Well, I am, so fasten your seat belts, ’cause here we go!

Day two wasn’t really much of a “whole” day two since most of the tourist-y, sightseeing stuff we did, we did later in the day. Kite’s colleague, Weng, joined us by the way. She had been to HK thrice but hadn’t been to our planned destinations so she tagged along.

Of course we had to start with breakfast. Three plates to be exact. :-P

Breakfast of champions (read: gluttons) day 2. PG mode lang. Wahaha!

We headed directly to Canton Road to do some shopping. I didn’t have time left to do the deed (I was to go home the day after with Kite staying behind) so we decided to do it that morning. Most of the spending happened in H&M, Esprit and G2000. Pat on the back for exhibiting terrific self-control. Booyah!

H&M. Hirap magtimpi. Shopping temptation!

Me went even crazier here.

I think we spent a good three hours looking for perfect buys. We enjoyed the activity so much, we didn’t even notice it was time for lunch already. (It was half an hour past one in the afternoon.) Yes, believe it or not, even after that very heavy breakfast, we were still thinking about food. :-P We went to the nearest McDonald’s and had a quick calorie-laden meal of burgers, nuggets and fries.

Tama naman di ba? Here in Manila, strawberry sundaes don't have peanuts?

We witnessed a birthday party going on as we munched on our lunch. It was so amusing, I tell you. We saw this young lady wearing a Doraemon suit and thought she was the mascot. A few moments later, we realized she was the birthday celebrant! Coolness level: Asian. Haha! I wasn’t able to resist it and asked if I can take a photo of their group. Now I regret not having asked at least one person’s name!

I bet they were thinking this about me: "Funny tourist weirdo..." :-P

We headed back to the hotel to freshen up after that funny episode. That’s when I was finally able to take a few photos of our room as well. I think one of the contributing factors why I liked Hong Kong so much was because of our stay at Royal Pacific. Go figure. :)

Our hotel room with our morning loot. Reminded me of my Chennai room.

No frills toilet and bath area, all in marble.

I had a former manager who designed his master bedroom to have a feel of a luxurious hotel. Back then I didn’t get it, but after spending some time in good ones, now I do.

Anyway, we left just a few minutes after two and proceeded to our afternoon target: Ocean Park Hong Kong. The trip from Tsim Sha Tsui was a breeze and took less than forty minutes. It included a train ride to Admiralty Station, and a CityBus No. 629 ride that dropped us directly at the Waterfront aka Lowland area of the park. Double-decker bus? Check!

I wonder if people find use for this. Pwede ba pumara randomly sa HK?

Made it!

We didn’t have any itinerary particularly mapped out so we just went with the flow. My only requirements were to one, see a panda, and two, see a dolphin. Yun lang!

First stop: Giant Panda Habitat

Heto na, school girl mode. (Awkward…) Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! I love Po and all, but a live giant panda is waaaaaaaaaay better, and definitely exceeded expectations. We came in at a not so good time (two of the three were not available for viewing) but Jia Jia did not fail. Cuteness overload! Haaaaay. And to think she is not a baby ah. In fact, according to this article, she’s the world’s second-oldest panda under human care. Awesome indeed.

Giant panda? Giant panda!

I found it cute that there's a personality description. :-)

Jia Jia: Yaaaawn. Watching you watching me is boring.

Strike a pose. Vogue.

Jia Jia: Who you lookin' at?

This boy was soooo giddy and ecstatic. Cuuuute!

I have to say, the souvenir store was so strategically positioned. I was dying to get my own Jia Jia! Thanks to a hottie who surprised me, I was able to take home one. ;-)

It's so cuddly, I could diiiiiie... Haha! In other news, di ko pala natanggal yun tag.

From there we boarded the Ocean Express to get to the Summit. We didn’t even bother looking for the cable cars. Later, we learned of the congestion in that mode of transport. Good call. :-)

Faux submarine train.

Second stop: The Flash

This was the first thing that grabbed our attention upon landing. I don’t know what got into us but we eventually decided to do The Flash. I remember missing a ride similar to this one back in Seoul so I thought “What the heck, why not?“. After the ride, I was like: “Whyyyyyyyyyyyyy…“. Hahaha!

Can't. Believe. I. Rode. This.

Death defying thrill ride, you say? That. Was. It. I swear, I could count the times my eyes were open! That, no doubt, was the freaking scariest theme park ride I’ve ever experienced. Ever.

Third stop: Sea Dreams!

After a mind-blowing extreme ride, we searched for the Ocean Theater to catch  the dolphin show. We got lost! Haha! Was it just us or is the map really difficult to read? That, and the theme park had soooo many levels.

Eek! I'm as wide as a seal.

We eventually got to the right place, but the show had a set schedule. We grabbed snack in a viewing deck near the Pacific Pier to kill time. That’s where we saw all the other rides we knew we will be missing out on that afternoon.

Wala lang. I just found this cool. Drinks and nomnom in one hand!

At around quarter past five. we were summoned by a band playing very festive music. We had an inkling the group was Pinoy. (Can anyone confirm please?) After they played, the show started. The open-air theater was packed! Fortunately, and because of Kite’s tactics, we were still able to get good seats. Center aisle baby! Haha!

Squeeeeeeeal! Heto na! Dolphins!

Entitled Sea Dreams!, the show was accompanied by a story of a man (grandpa? father?) telling a young girl (grandchild? daughter?) the importance of marine life and the efforts to protect and conserve it. For obvious reasons, I didn’t really get, get the entirety of story. Sorry na! But seriously, I doubt anyone in the audience did. I mean, hello, not with the stars of the show grabbing every bit of your attention.

Up, up and away!

Washing machine? Challenge accepted.

My favorite shot of the dolphins. Antaas!

This bigger seal was so pasaway, but did really cool tricks...

...while this smaller one was, well, cute. :-D

A-MAZ-ING. All I can hear from the audience were “oooh“s and “aaah“s with the occasional “gasp!“. Weng did all three with matching clapping hands. Haha! Good times!

The show ended around six in the evening and seemed to signal the sun to set as well. The Halloween vibe of the place started to pick up. The darker it got, the creepier it became. Just look at this cool street light:

This is what you call effective Halloween lighting.

Fourth stop: Chinese Sturgeon Aquarium

This one we just passed by and thought we’d go in. :-P I didn’t expect to see such huge fishies.

Ocean Packed!

So this is how you look like you caviar-producing fishie you.

Under the moving walkway this time around.

Fifth stop: Spectacular Sea Jelly

Similar to the sturgeon aquarium, this was one “Let’s go in since we’re already here anyway.” kind of place. Spoiler: it was another good call.

Must see.

Our jaws dropped when we saw this tank that held these beautiful, majestic jellyfishes:

I was like: "Woah."

Here they are in motion:

Very tranquil, right?. We were transfixed when we saw these. I remember Kite calling me and me answering with a yes, but my feet didn’t move. I was so enthralled. Captivated. Beyond this, there were more tanks filled with smaller ones. The use of and play on  colors were very effective here. Eye candy.

Mini ones. Cool, yes?

Final stop: Atoll Reef

We boarded the Ocean Express to return to the Waterfront. We were already planning to go to our next destination at that time when we passed by the Grand Aquarium. The three of us didn’t go in earlier because of the long queue, but as our luck would have it, there was none that night. So what do we do? Of course we get in!

This one here suddenly sneak in and fit in one of the viewing spaces along the main aquarium.

It was massive! No wonder it holds the honor of being Southeast Asia’s largest  aquarium and of having the world’s biggest aquarium viewing dome. I wasn’t able to take good photos of the dome itself, and the other features of the aquarium, but below are my best captures for the final viewing wall. You be the judge. :-D

Under the sea... Under the sea... (Admit it. You just sang that :-P)

With this beauty, it's too easy to forget the thickness of the glass between them and us.

We got out of the aquarium just as the fountain show was ending. What is it with Hong Kong attractions and mixing water and fire? More importantly, how do they do that? O.0

Kaboom!

It was seven in the evening and we were exhausted – the happy kind. Thing is, we weren’t done yet. The Peak was waiting.

Postscript:

Cost of entry to Ocean Park Hong Kong is 280.00 HKD (~1,550.00 PHP, ~36.10 USD). Memories generated? Priceless. :-D

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