Results tagged “Trains” from Hong Kong and Taipei 2014

Another very slow start. Didn't get out the door til after 11:00 :/

Train approaching Zhongshan station
Train approaching Zhongshan station

Took a train down to go see Chiang Kai-Shek memorial hall and the buildings and gardens. Had a good long wander through the museum there which was interesting.

Freedom Square Memorial Arch
Freedom Square Memorial Arch

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall
Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

National Concert Hall
National Concert Hall

Zhongzheng Memorial Park
Zhongzheng Memorial Park

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall
Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

Tortoise in Zhongzheng Memorial Park
Tortoise in Zhongzheng Memorial Park

Pigeon in Zhongzheng Memorial Park
Pigeon in Zhongzheng Memorial Park

This could be a young Black-crowned Night Heron
This could be a young Black-crowned Night Heron

Zhongzheng Memorial Park
Zhongzheng Memorial Park

Probably a Eurasian Magpie
Probably a Eurasian Magpie

Model of Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall and surrounds
Model of Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall and surrounds

The Order of Brilliant Jade with Grand Cordon, the highest civil order of the Republic of China, awarded to Chiang on Septebmer 27, 1943
The Order of Brilliant Jade with Grand Cordon, the highest civil order of the Republic of China, awarded to Chiang on Septebmer 27, 1943

One of Chiang's official state cars.  Chiang only used the vehicle once.
One of Chiang's official state cars. Chiang only used the vehicle once.

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall
Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

Sedan chairs used to carry Chiang when he visited Jiaobanshan Guestouse, his residence in Taoyuan
Sedan chairs used to carry Chiang when he visited Jiaobanshan Guestouse, his residence in Taoyuan

Had some lunch in the cafe downstairs.

When we came out, the sky was yellow. In the space of an hour or two the sky had gone from clear and blue to a really strange colour. Don't know if it was pollution or dust or just clouds. Very odd.

Door knocker on Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall
Door knocker on Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall
Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

Guard in Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall
Guard in Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall
Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall
Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall
Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall area
Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall area

Freedom Square Memorial Arch from Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall
Freedom Square Memorial Arch from Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall
Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall
Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

The sweetie taking a selfie
The sweetie taking a selfie

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall
Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

The sweetie and Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall
The sweetie and Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall
Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

The sweetie headed back to the hotel, and I went to go see Longshan Temple.

Fountain at Longshan Temple
Fountain at Longshan Temple

Lots and lots of people just standing around
Lots and lots of people just standing around

Longshan Temple
Longshan Temple

Longshan Temple
Longshan Temple

Waterfall at Longshan Temple
Waterfall at Longshan Temple

Bird sculpture at Longshan Temple
Bird sculpture at Longshan Temple

Dragon sculpture at Longshan Temple
Dragon sculpture at Longshan Temple

Longshan Temple
Longshan Temple

Fountains at Longshan Temple
Fountains at Longshan Temple

Petrol stations in Taipei are in these drive-thru buildings
Petrol stations in Taipei are in these drive-thru buildings

When I got back to the hotel, the sweetie was feeling very blah - intestines playing up. So I went out by myself when it got dark to go climb Elephant Mountain at night. 914 steps. With 655 to the first lookout. Yikes. My bowels were a bit upset at this point too. So maybe something we ate in the past day.

Taipei 101 from Xiangshan by night
Taipei 101 from Xiangshan by night

Taipei from Xiangshan by night
Taipei from Xiangshan by night

Taipei from Xiangshan by night
Taipei from Xiangshan by night

Taipei 101 from Xiangshan by night
Taipei 101 from Xiangshan by night

Taipei 101 from Xiangshan by night
Taipei 101 from Xiangshan by night

This spider terrorised everyone both during the day a couple of days back and at night too
This spider terrorised everyone both during the day a couple of days back and at night too

Taipei 101 from Xiangshan by night
Taipei 101 from Xiangshan by night

Got some snackages from 7-Eleven on the way back to the hotel and watched the end of Paycheck.

Better day today. After breakfast and photo stuff we headed out on the train to the end of the red line - to Tamsui. From there a short bus ride to Fort San Domingo, a fort that's been run by like half a dozen countries, including Australia! Interesting stuff.

Elevated road near our hotel
Elevated road near our hotel

Fort San Domingo
Fort San Domingo

The nine flags of Fort San Domingo - Spain, The Netherlands, Koxinga Era, Qing Dynasty, Great Britain, Japan, Australia, USA, Taiwan
The nine flags of Fort San Domingo - Spain, The Netherlands, Koxinga Era, Qing Dynasty, Great Britain, Japan, Australia, USA, Taiwan

View of Tamsui River from the fort
View of Tamsui River from the fort

One of the cells in the fort
One of the cells in the fort

Cells in the fort, added in 1863 when used by the British Consulate
Cells in the fort, added in 1863 when used by the British Consulate

Yard in the fort
Yard in the fort

Chinese kitchen in the fort, added in 1863 to cook for the constable and prisoners
Chinese kitchen in the fort, added in 1863 to cook for the constable and prisoners

Stu and the nine flags of the fort
Stu and the nine flags of the fort

Fort San Domingo
Fort San Domingo

And next door is the former residence for the British Consul, until they left Taiwan in 1972.

Canons outside the Consulate building
Canons outside the Consulate building

Stu and a canon
Stu and a canon

Fort San Domingo from the consulate building
Fort San Domingo from the consulate building

View of the Tamsui River from the consulate front steps
View of the Tamsui River from the consulate front steps

Drawing room in the consulate
Drawing room in the consulate

Reading room in the consulate
Reading room in the consulate

Stu in a room in the consulate
Stu in a room in the consulate

Kitchen in the consulate
Kitchen in the consulate

Dining room in the consulate
Dining room in the consulate

Front entrance of the consulate
Front entrance of the consulate

Consulate building
Consulate building

Had a drink and a bit of a picnic lunch at the bottom of the hill and had a look along the foreshore of the river.

Us at the entrance of the fort
Us at the entrance of the fort

Tamsui River
Tamsui River

Looking up to the fort from the river
Looking up to the fort from the river

Building by the river
Building by the river

Tamsui River
Tamsui River

Then bus and train back into Taipei.

Grand Hotel from the train
Grand Hotel from the train

Inside a Taipei train
Inside a Taipei train

The sweetie hopped off to go back to the hotel, while I stayed on the train until the complete opposite end of the red line - Xiangshan - to go climb Xiangshan - Elephant Mountain. Hoooooboy, what a climb. Around 750 steps (give or take a hundred, I kept losing count at the 50 markers I was doing on my fingers) up and up and up. Some steps quite easy, others quite steep.

Entrance sign to Xiangshan
Entrance sign to Xiangshan

The view from half way up
The view from half way up

The steps just keep on going and going
The steps just keep on going and going

But the view was totally worth it. Even if you do need to negotiate the crowds of people up there.

View at the top
View at the top

Taipei 101
Taipei 101

Taipei from Xiangshan
Taipei from Xiangshan

Taipei from Xiangshan
Taipei from Xiangshan

I was still very hot when I had someone take my photo
I was still very hot when I had someone take my photo

Top of Taipei 101
Top of Taipei 101

A lot of tourists on the climb. As I was going down it was a case of pick the language or accent.

The walk was very crowded
The walk was very crowded

Then train back to the hotel to have a shower and chillax.

Sculpture in Xiangshan station
Sculpture in Xiangshan station

Taipei's stop/go men
Taipei's stop/go men

Taipei's stop/go men
Taipei's stop/go men

The Ambience Hotel by day
The Ambience Hotel by day

Then we headed out to go the Shilin Night Markets. We had meat in a box (beef I think - very yummy), meat in a bag (deep fried ribs - nice but fiddly with the bones), meat on a stick (chicken - ok, not great) and meat in a bowl (squid, quite nice). And strawberries on a stick. With toffee. Sooo good :) Other than that just walked up and down the maze of streets and stalls. I did get some earrings, but didn't see much else that I was interested in.

Shilin Night Markets
Shilin Night Markets

Cooking meat on a stick at Shilin Night Markets
Cooking meat on a stick at Shilin Night Markets

Toffee strawberries!
Toffee strawberries!

Then back to the hotel. The sweetie put on Die Another Day on tv, which kept me up til very late (23:45).

Slept like crap. The pillow was too squishy, my spine kept hurting, the bowels decided to get upset, and it was either too hot or too cold depending on if I had the doona on or not.

And it turns out the bathroom *does* have an interior blind that you can close to the bedroom. But there's almost nowhere to hang anything and no spare toilet paper. And the Tripadvisor website is blocked here. Go figure.

The view from our hotel room by day
The view from our hotel room by day

We had a very slow morning. We went downstairs for the hotel breakfast which was ok, but then the sweetie wanted to take it easy because he was feeling anxious and overwhelmed, and he wanted to do some uni reading. I, on the other hand, was feeling anxious like a caged animal might.

The breakfast room in the hotel
The breakfast room in the hotel

Taipei currency
Taipei currency

Left the hotel around 11:30. We walked up to Songjiang Nanjing station and caught two trains to Shilin. Turns out passport stamps are just as big a thing here as in Japan. Really kicking myself I didn't bring a nice Field Notes notepad to put them in!

Station sign in Songjiang Nanjing
Station sign in Songjiang Nanjing

From Shilin we were meant to catch a R30 (or I30 on all the timetables) bus to the museum, but according to the timetables they only went every 30-60 minutes on weekdays. So we decided to jump on a 855 which said it was going there anyway. It went straight there so glad we did that.

Entrance to the National Palace Museum
Entrance to the National Palace Museum

Stu at the National Palace Museum
Stu at the National Palace Museum

The National Palace Museum
The National Palace Museum

We had to put our bags in a locker (10NT deposit) and I think it was 250NT entry each ($10). Except we went in before we realised we didn't have any sort of guide book or map. And Stu didn't really even know what was in there either. So we were kinda flying blind. We ended up in the pottery/porcelin section and took a good long while to walk through and look at all the beautiful porcelin. We stopped then and looked up the internet for what else was at the museum and where things were. Had a bit of a look at the calligraphy then split up to do things at our own pace. I had a quick walk through the paintings and the bronze work, then found the snuff box exhibition which was super cool.

Met up with the sweetie for a late lunch of steamed pork buns and dumplings in the tea house upstairs.

Dumplings in the museum cafe
Dumplings in the museum cafe

Steamed pork buns in the museum cafe
Steamed pork buns in the museum cafe

Continued on, having a look at all the Jade (this was super popular with the tourists) and the orientation room, and finally the stunning collection of "precious crafts" in a special collection downstairs. I've decided "openwork" was my favourite thing. Just amazing.

There's no photography which was a bit of a bummer, but you can kind of understand why. The place was *crawling* with people. Soooo many people. Many of them in tour groups that would all rush to a window, pushing you out of the way so they could all see, then they'd be off again to the next thing. I found it all to be super stressful. The sweetie was worn out by it all too, so instead of seeing what else there was to see around the place, we just headed back to the hotel.

The National Palace Museum
The National Palace Museum

Entrance to the National Palace Museum
Entrance to the National Palace Museum

Traffic control at Songjiang Nanjing station
Traffic control at Songjiang Nanjing station

We picked up some snacks and a sandwich and a salad and some beer from a 7-Eleven on the way and then flopped in front of You've Got Mail before bed.

Dinner at the hotel (we didn't have all those beers at once!)
Dinner at the hotel (we didn't have all those beers at once!)

Grape flavoured beer
Grape flavoured beer

Woke up first at 5:30 but got a bit more sleep til 6:30. Up at 7:00.

Maccas got my order correct hurrah.

Final Hong Kong Maccas breakfast
Final Hong Kong Maccas breakfast

Still took us a while to get out the door. After 10:30 by the time we got away.

Saying goodbye to our hotel
Saying goodbye to our hotel

The Butterfly Hotel
The Butterfly Hotel

Took the train to Hong Kong station and did the in-town checkin thing. Then got the sweetie a coffee at Starbucks. Had a quick stop in Dymocks before catching a train to the airport at 11:50. Goodbye Hong Kong! We'll be back one day very probably.

Hong Kong station.  At busy times this whole corridor is full of moving people
Hong Kong station. At busy times this whole corridor is full of moving people

Hong Kong station
Hong Kong station

Red velvet cake (I think) at Starbucks
Red velvet cake (I think) at Starbucks

Hong Kong from the Airport train
Hong Kong from the Airport train

At the airport it was the usual get through security and immigration then we had to take a train along to the fork of the big Y and our gate was in the right hand arm waaaaay out the end.

Hong Kong Airport
Hong Kong Airport

World clocks in Hong Kong Airport
World clocks in Hong Kong Airport

Right at the very end - in the fork in the Y
Right at the very end - in the fork in the Y

We weren't rushing, but we weren't really dawdling either (other than stopping for coffee), so it was a bit of a shock that we arrived at the gate just as they started boarding. So it took nearly two and a half hours to get to the airport :(

When we booked our flights, we couldn't choose seats at the time, so I put a preference in for a window seat for me. On Tuesday morning I went online to see about selecting seats and saw that they'd put us at each end of a row of four. Above the wings. Almost the worst seats on the plane. So I chose some seats for us up the back. As it turned out, the flight was only half full, and most of the back of the plane was emtpy. So seating preference requests don't mean a thing, and they'll just pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey to allocate you a seat. Fail Cathay Pacific, fail. Anyway, Stu could have had his own window seat but chose not to.

Our plane to Taipei - Cathay Pacific A330-300 - B-HLW
Our plane to Taipei - Cathay Pacific A330-300 - B-HLW

Us on the plane to Taipei
Us on the plane to Taipei

There were plenty of seats free
There were plenty of seats free

We actually pushed back right on time at 13:30. The flight was pretty boring. We took off to the west so no views of Hong Kong. I played p0ker on the in-flight entertainment system and was doing well until they turned it off for landing. Lunch was a very small wrap and some oolong tea (no choice in drinks and we were quite thirsty :( ).

Saying goodbye to Hong Kong
Saying goodbye to Hong Kong

Food on the plane
Food on the plane

Mailiao Power Station
Mailiao Power Station

Air traffic control tower at Taipei airport
Air traffic control tower at Taipei airport

Once in Taipei it took *ages* to get through immigration. Don't know why it was so slow. Maybe it just felt slow because each agent had its own queue, rather than how they do it at other airports where it's one long line that's always moving. Finally got through and went and got our bags.

Arrivals hall, Taipei airport
Arrivals hall, Taipei airport

Arrivals hall, Taipei airport
Arrivals hall, Taipei airport

From there we went down the side of the arrivals hall to get our local sims. That was really quick and easy. Then we went downstairs to find the ticketing counters for the buses into town. We took an Evergreen bus because that went fairly close to our hotel. Only 140NT each too (~$6 each). The bus left at 16:45 and we were off it in town at 17:55. Then a five-ten minute walk to the hotel.

So all up it took eight and a half hours to travel 1000km :(

First view of Taipei 101
First view of Taipei 101

The hotel is nice. It's got a pretty funky bathroom with a Japanese style toilet and a huge bath/shower area. But there's a see-through curtain between the shower and the bedroom - weird!

Our room at the Ambience Hotel
Our room at the Ambience Hotel

Our room at the Ambience Hotel
Our room at the Ambience Hotel

The bathroom had a window for a wall between it and the bedroom
The bathroom had a window for a wall between it and the bedroom

View from our hotel room
View from our hotel room

After we'd settled in briefly we went out to find some dinner. Wandered up and down and eventually stopped in a fairly popular restaurant because they stopped us and said they had an English menu heh. Stu chose some.. interesting.. dishes... There was one of vegetables and these little fish. I wasn't a fan of the fish, but it did have some interesting little fruits that we thought might have been pickled unripened plums. Then there was a stirfry squid dish that didn't have much squid but had a big black chunk of *something* that reminded me a bit of black pudding. Then some "stinky tofu" which was ok but again a bit too spicy (*everything* was spicy which was challenging for me). And finally a "little fish" dish which was actually two whole small fish. This was actually quite nice, but super fiddly to get the meat off without taking bones.

The first 'little fish' dish
The first 'little fish' dish

Stir fry squid dish
Stir fry squid dish

Stinky tofu
Stinky tofu

The second 'little fish' dish - this was actually my favourite dish of the night
The second 'little fish' dish - this was actually my favourite dish of the night

Stopped in a 7-Eleven for some supplies then back to the hotel. I watched the last two thirds of the Corpse Bride before going to bed.

6:00 wakeup, 6:30 get up. I slept reasonably well, sadly the sweetie didn't get to sleep for hours :(

Battled with the laptop in the morning - the poor thing only has a gig of memory, which is barely enough to run windows, let alone half a dozen chrome windows. So it spent the morning swapping and going slowly :(

9:30 - went for maccas. This time they gave me sausage mcmuffins instead of sausage and egg mcmuffins. It's like McDonald's Fantasia - every time you go you get a different version.

Maccas breakfast
Maccas breakfast

So another very late start. It was after 10:30 when we got out the door. Wandered down to the Central ferries, but arrived at 11:10 - just after a ferry had left. So had to catch the 12:00 ferry to Lamma Island.

ICC from Hong Kong ferry terminals
ICC from Hong Kong ferry terminals

Hong Kong from the ferry terminals
Hong Kong from the ferry terminals

International Finance Centre from the ferry
International Finance Centre from the ferry

Hong Kong from the ferry
Hong Kong from the ferry

South-west Hong Kong Island
South-west Hong Kong Island

Pagoda on Lamma Island
Pagoda on Lamma Island

We took the ferry to the north end - Yung Shue Wan - and wandered south east. We missed the main track turn off at the beginning and had to detour in between houses in the village. But the track is actually relatively well signposted (except for the fact they don't give you any distances).  And if you're not sure where to go, just follow the constant stream of people doing the same walk.

The only vehicles on Lamma Island are emergency vehicles
The only vehicles on Lamma Island are emergency vehicles

Yung Shue Wan, Lamma Island
Yung Shue Wan, Lamma Island

Egg puffs (Kai Dan Zai)
Egg puffs (Kai Dan Zai)

Hanging flower
Hanging flower

We took a detour up to "Lamma Winds" - a wind turbine imported from Germany. It would have been nice if there was a sign at the bottom that said it was about 800m, as it was a very long hot climb and we really had no idea how long it would go for. But the views of Hong Kong at the top were pretty cool.

The signs could use some distance markers!
The signs could use some distance markers!

Lamma Winds
Lamma Winds

View of Hong Kong from the top of Lamma Island
View of Hong Kong from the top of Lamma Island

Us on Lamma Island
Us on Lamma Island

View of Hong Kong from the top of Lamma Island
View of Hong Kong from the top of Lamma Island

Pagoda on Lamma Island
Pagoda on Lamma Island

Lamma Island Family Walk
Lamma Island Family Walk

Kept on walking. Came across quite a nice little beach. With a rather "interesting" view of the power station.

Hung Shing Ye beach
Hung Shing Ye beach

Hung Shing Ye beach - looks lovely doesn't it?
Hung Shing Ye beach - looks lovely doesn't it?

Hung Shing Ye beach - with a lovely view of the power station
Hung Shing Ye beach - with a lovely view of the power station

Then up and over the middle of the island to the other side.

Lamma Power Station
Lamma Power Station

Lamma Power Station
Lamma Power Station

Pagoda and Sok Kwu Wan
Pagoda and Sok Kwu Wan

Sok Kwu Wan
Sok Kwu Wan

Pagoda
Pagoda

Sok Kwu Wan
Sok Kwu Wan

Kamikaze Cave - used by Japanese during the war
Kamikaze Cave - used by Japanese during the war

Tin Hau temple, Sok Kwu Wan
Tin Hau temple, Sok Kwu Wan

When we got to Sok Kwu Wan and were walking up through the restaurant strip, we saw a fridge full of beer and the lady there said the next ferry wasn't til 16:05 (a little over an hour away) so we decided to stop for a couple. They went down a treat after the long hot walk. They even had free wifi, so I could check the beers in.

Relaxing with a beer
Relaxing with a beer

What a lovely place to enjoy a beer
What a lovely place to enjoy a beer

Harbour at Sok Kwu Wan
Harbour at Sok Kwu Wan

These beers went down really well
These beers went down really well

We shared five different beers
We shared five different beers

Then took the 16:05 ferry back to Central.

Got back to the hotel and chillaxed for a bit, then headed out to find some dinner. We went to Sister Wah for their highly recommended beef brisket. It was indeed very nice.

Beef brisket at Sister Wah
Beef brisket at Sister Wah

Sister Wah
Sister Wah

Dumplings at Sister Wah
Dumplings at Sister Wah

And finally we met up with Chris and Anne and went for a walk down to the water to see the lights (we dawdled long enough to see the start of the Symphony of Lights, but the view wasn't the best from Causeway Bay with all the freeway dredging works going on). Ended up at King Ludwig at Causeway Bay where had a drink and chatted before walking back to the hotel through the park.

Kowloon from Causeway Bay
Kowloon from Causeway Bay

Wan Chai buildings
Wan Chai buildings

Dredging works in Causeway Bay
Dredging works in Causeway Bay

Symphony of Lights from Causeway Bay
Symphony of Lights from Causeway Bay

Symphony of Lights from Causeway Bay
Symphony of Lights from Causeway Bay

Symphony of Lights from Causeway Bay
Symphony of Lights from Causeway Bay

Beer at King Ludwig's
Beer at King Ludwig's

Collapsed into bed around 22:00.

Woke up at 5:45 but got a bit more sleep.  Spine was annoying me. Up at 7:00. Had a very slow start. They got my order right at Maccas though which was useful (it helped that they were a lot less rushed). Didn't get out the door til 10:00.

Maccas brekky
Maccas brekky

First up, we dropped all our laundry off at the local laundry. $120HKD for the both of us - a bit pricey, but saved us having to do it ourselves in the hotel sink.

Then we went on a bit of a train adventure - three different trains to get to Kowloon Bay.

Stopped at a Starbucks so the sweetie could have a coffee.

Then we jumped on a #86 green bus down to Kai Tak. They've converted the old runway into a passenger terminal for cruise ships. But there's also a little park at the end of the runway, the approach checkerboard is still there, and there's a "remnant" of runway 13 - a stylised mosaic of the 13 that used to be there.

Model paper plane with history of Kai Tak airport
Model paper plane with history of Kai Tak airport

Buildings in Kwun Tong
Buildings in Kwun Tong

Stu reading about the airport history
Stu reading about the airport history

Oriental Dragon
Oriental Dragon

Kai Tak Cruise Terminal
Kai Tak Cruise Terminal

Checkerboard for the approach for runway 31
Checkerboard for the approach for runway 31

Looking north-west along the path of the old runway
Looking north-west along the path of the old runway

The 13 (which was actually located at the other end of the runway)
The 13 (which was actually located at the other end of the runway)

Pearl of Oriental dinner cruise ship
Pearl of Oriental dinner cruise ship

We stopped so Stu could do a drawing of the view
We stopped so Stu could do a drawing of the view

You can also go up on top of the passenger terminal where they have a rooftop garden. Sadly they don't let you get anywhere near the edge, so not great for unobstructed views of Hong Kong.

Control tower of the cruise terminal
Control tower of the cruise terminal

Looking down the length of the cruise terminal
Looking down the length of the cruise terminal

The garden prevents you getting close to the edge to take photos
The garden prevents you getting close to the edge to take photos

The garden and view
The garden and view

Looking towards the ICC
Looking towards the ICC

Hong Kong from the cruise terminal
Hong Kong from the cruise terminal

Back on a #86 minibus back to the station.

Took another train up to Lok Fu where we stopped and had some lunch at a Japanese place.

Then into Lok Fu Park to try and get to the top of Checkerboard Hill. This was where they had a checkerboard painted onto the side of a water reservoir which was part of the approach to the old Kai Tak airport. Pilots had to head for this hill and make a visual sighting of it before making the sharp right turn down to the runway. I'd hoped to be able to get on top of it and see down to the old runway, but there were too many fences and trees in the way for a good view. So that was a bit of a waste of a very steep climb up a lot of steps (sorry sweetie!).

Tin Hau Temple, Lok Fu Park
Tin Hau Temple, Lok Fu Park

Looking up towards Lion Rock
Looking up towards Lion Rock

The edge of the water reservoir - the checkboard is right below this
The edge of the water reservoir - the checkboard is right below this

This is the best view I could get looking towards the old airport, and you can't really see it
This is the best view I could get looking towards the old airport, and you can't really see it

We went down then to get some photos of the front of it. There's a lot of trees in the way and it hasn't been maintained in sixteen years so it's not as pretty as it used to be.

Checkerboard hill from below
Checkerboard hill from below

Checkerboard hill from below
Checkerboard hill from below

Checkerboard hill with Lion Rock in the background
Checkerboard hill with Lion Rock in the background

Then we walked down to Kowloon Walled City Park to have a wander around. There's some interesting photos and information boards about the place, and one of the original fortress buildings - the Yamen - is still there. Quite interesting.

Wall of Kowloon Walled City
Wall of Kowloon Walled City

Entrance gates to Kowloon Walled City
Entrance gates to Kowloon Walled City

Kowloon Walled City Park
Kowloon Walled City Park

Kowloon Walled City Park
Kowloon Walled City Park

Kowloon Walled City Park
Kowloon Walled City Park

Kowloon Walled City Park
Kowloon Walled City Park

Bonsai in Kowloon Walled City Park
Bonsai in Kowloon Walled City Park

Kowloon Walled City Park
Kowloon Walled City Park

Model of Kowloon Walled City Park
Model of Kowloon Walled City Park

Yamen (Almshouse) in the model
Yamen (Almshouse) in the model

Yamen (Almshouse)
Yamen (Almshouse)

Yamen (Almshouse)
Yamen (Almshouse)

Yamen (Almshouse)
Yamen (Almshouse)

Yamen (Almshouse)
Yamen (Almshouse)

Kowloon Walled City Park
Kowloon Walled City Park

Remants of the South Gate
Remants of the South Gate

South Gate plaque and Kowloon Walled City plaque
South Gate plaque and Kowloon Walled City plaque

Then another three trains back to the hotel (after we picked up our laundry).

We got back to the hotel a bit after 18:00 completely exhausted. Sat down for a while before going to get some supplies and meat on a stick for dinner.

Meat on a stick!
Meat on a stick!

Charging station - three phones and a battery
Charging station - three phones and a battery

In bed just after 20:00.

My best sleep in so far - 6:30! Got up at 7 and did photo/blogging stuff.

Breakfast was McDonalds again. They're a bit hopeless though. Saturday I asked for three hash browns and got four. Sunday I asked for four and got three. They were trying to be helpful and save me money by combining things into a meal, but the people reading off the receipts and even computer boards couldn't get it right. Sigh.

Maccas breakfast
Maccas breakfast

After breakfast we got ready and headed back to Kowloon to go up Sky 100 again (we got a Sun and Stars ticket which gives two admissions). It was pretty hazy, so looking towards Hong Kong island wasn't the best, but it was still pretty cool.

Sky 100
Sky 100

Hong Kong from Sky 100
Hong Kong from Sky 100

Hong Kong from Sky 100
Hong Kong from Sky 100

Hong Kong from Sky 100
Hong Kong from Sky 100

Hong Kong from Sky 100
Hong Kong from Sky 100

Our hotel from last time is on the left
Our hotel from last time is on the left

Hong Kong from Sky 100
Hong Kong from Sky 100

The old Kai Tak airport is now a passenger terminal
The old Kai Tak airport is now a passenger terminal

The passenger terminal
The passenger terminal

Right in the middle is the checkerboard pilots had to visually line up with
Right in the middle is the checkerboard pilots had to visually line up with

The checkerboard is being lost amongst the buildings
The checkerboard is being lost amongst the buildings

New Yau Ma Tei typhoon shelter and view north-west
New Yau Ma Tei typhoon shelter and view north-west

Stonecutters Bridge
Stonecutters Bridge

Looking north
Looking north

Looking north
Looking north

Crazy Hong Kong apartment buildings
Crazy Hong Kong apartment buildings

Then we met up with Chris and Anne at the Central Ferry Piers where we took a fast ferry out to Cheung Chau. We were almost last on the boat, so didn't get a window seat, although the windows were pretty grimy anyway so wouldn't have been great for photos.

ICC from Central
ICC from Central

The Hong Kong Observation Wheel - not quite open yet
The Hong Kong Observation Wheel - not quite open yet

Central Ferry Piers
Central Ferry Piers

The ferry we took to Cheung Chau
The ferry we took to Cheung Chau

Cheung Chau
Cheung Chau

Once we got there, we wandered down the main drag until we found somewhere to have some lunch.

We went to "Delicious Seafood Restaurant" and had quite a nice lunch of squid, prawns with cashews, fried rice and vegetables (after travelling for several days and eating generally bad food, I was having vegetable cravings).

Our view while we ate lunch
Our view while we ate lunch

Squid
Squid

Prawns with cashews
Prawns with cashews

After lunch we had a good long wander around the island, visiting a temple, walking along the beach, walking up to a pagoda, then back through the middle of the island.

Temple in Cheung Chau
Temple in Cheung Chau

Insence
Incense

Temple in Cheung Chau
Temple in Cheung Chau

Anne and Stu in Cheung Chau
Anne and Stu in Cheung Chau

Beach in Cheung Chau
Beach in Cheung Chau

Headland north-east of Cheung Chau
Headland north-east of Cheung Chau

Cheung Chau
Cheung Chau

Fa Peng Rock
Fa Peng Rock

Pagoda on the Mini Great Wall walk
Pagoda on the Mini Great Wall walk

Chris, Stu and Anne in the pagoda
Chris, Stu and Anne in the pagoda

Pagoda on Cheung Chau
Pagoda on Cheung Chau

Timed our arrival back at the ferry pier perfectly to get on a slow ferry back to Hong Kong. It was a bit crowded in the departure hall, but we made it on. And got some fairly nice sunset type photos over the water.

Locals carry dogs, not babies, around in strollers
Locals carry dogs, not babies, around in strollers

Departing Cheung Chau
Departing Cheung Chau

Departing Cheung Chau
Departing Cheung Chau

Sunset
Sunset

Sunset
Sunset

Lighthouse on Green Island
Lighthouse on Green Island

Sunset
Sunset

Hong Kong from Victoria Harbour
Hong Kong from Victoria Harbour

Hong Kong from Victoria Harbour
Hong Kong from Victoria Harbour

Ferry and ICC
Ferry and ICC

Central Apple Store
Central Apple Store

Walked back to Central station from the ferry and trained it back to Tin Hau. We picked up some beer from 7-Eleven and had that while cooling off from the walking. Then we went out to find some food, but disaster! Meat on a stick place was closed! So we got some fried chicken from "Hot-Star - Large Fried Chicken" which was ok, but not the same as meat on a stick. Then went to bed.

Fried chicken
Fried chicken

5am wakeup. 6:20 up. Slept fairly well I think.

Went and got takeaway maccas for breakfast.

Maccas breakfast
Maccas breakfast

At 10:00 we were out the door. We stopped in at 7-Eleven for some sandwiches and chocolate, then headed out on the train to Chai Wan.

In the corridors at Tin Hau station
In the corridors at Tin Hau station

From the train you walk up the hill and then through a cemetery on the side of a hill. A very steep hill. With a lot of stairs. A *lot* of stairs. A couple of hundred metres straight up. But the view was pretty good :)

The start of the big climb - in the cemetery up from Chai Wan station
The start of the big climb - in the cemetery up from Chai Wan station

We have to climb all the way to the top of this mountain!
We have to climb all the way to the top of this mountain!

Part way up, and already a great view
Part way up, and already a great view

Ossarium at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery
Ossarium at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery

Radio transmitters at the top of Mt Parker
Radio transmitters at the top of Mt Parker

Going up!
Going up!

Nearly there!
Nearly there!

At the top we stopped for a water break then we walked along the road for a while which was very flat and easy.

View along the road at the top of the hill
View along the road at the top of the hill

Zoomed in a bit
Zoomed in a bit

Then it was onto a track, which again was mostly flat and easy going. Except for the constant *stream* of people coming the other way. Busiest walk I've ever been on. I suppose it would have been quieter on a week day.

Marker indicating the way to the Dragon Back hike starting point
Marker indicating the way to the Dragon Back hike starting point

View south towards Red Hill
View south towards Red Hill

Then finally the start of the Dragon Back hike proper. You go up. And up :) But then you get to the ridge line, and that's where it gets really pretty. Spectacular views and a bit of up and downs as you go along the top. Just lovely and worth the effort. And we had an amazing day for it too which was great. And it was very windy on the ridge but we found a sheltered spot to eat our sandwiches.

Us at the start of the Dragon's Back hike
Us at the start of the Dragon's Back hike

Looking along the Dragon's Back
Looking along the Dragon's Back

View from the top of the Dragon's Back
View from the top of the Dragon's Back

Remote control glider
Remote control glider

Local dude with his remote control glider
Local dude with his remote control glider

Stu holding the remote control glider
Stu holding the remote control glider

Looking back along the Dragon's Back
Looking back along the Dragon's Back

Tai Tam Tuk Reservoir
Tai Tam Tuk Reservoir

Looking across to Stanley
Looking across to Stanley

Shek O Country Club
Shek O Country Club

Stu at the top of the Dragon's Back
Stu at the top of the Dragon's Back

Dragon's Back peak marker
Dragon's Back peak marker

Us at the top of the Dragon's Back
Us at the top of the Dragon's Back

Starting to head back down.  We're on our way down there to Shek O
Starting to head back down. We're on our way down there to Shek O

Shek O village
Shek O village

Made it to the end of the Dragon's Back
Made it to the end of the Dragon's Back

Then we headed all the way back down. When we hit the road we caught a number 9 bus down into Shek O. We got changed and had a swim at the beach. I was a little (a lot) paranoid about all my stuff on the beach so didn't go out very far. But it was super refreshing.

Beach at Shek O
Beach at Shek O

Stu body surfing at Shek O beach
Stu body surfing at Shek O beach

After a swim we went had some very expensive beer at Copacabana and a fancy hot dog before catching a bus back to the train line.

Relaxing after our swim
Relaxing after our swim

Expensive hot dog
Expensive hot dog

Shek O beach
Shek O beach

Catching the bus back
Catching the bus back

Shek O from the bus
Shek O from the bus

Sunset over Stanley
Sunset over Stanley

On the train back we messaged @Chrispycon to see what they were up to. We met up with Chris and then later Anne and Bronte for a drink at Oaky bar.

Chris and Stu enjoying beers at Oaky Bar
Chris and Stu enjoying beers at Oaky Bar

Then we wandered down to find some dinner. We went to Saigon, a Vietnamese place. We ordered a bunch of dishes to share which were all delicious. A great evening, probably better than just going back to the hotel and going to bed ;)

Monday night I slept like crap. Only about four hours sleep. Every time I closed my eyes all I could see was Ingress portals in Hong Kong or Candy Crush. Very frustrating. So fortunately I slept really well on Tuesday night. For Wednesday we departed.

We were up at 6am to get ready, and our taxi arrived right on time at 7am for an uneventful trip to the airport.

Fountain at Canberra Airport
Fountain at Canberra Airport

I grabbed a couple of pancakes and a banana from the Qantas club for breakfast and then we were off.

Our first plane - a Boeing 717-200 - VH-YQT
Our first plane - a Boeing 717-200 - VH-YQT

We had a 717, and I'd chosen the same row as my last 717 flight (I couldn't choose anything further forward of the wings - I tried), so got the same view of the engine and wings, just on the other side this time. Canberra was cloudy, so the view got boring slightly after takeoff. But then the clouds cleared and was able to see a bit of snow around on the snowy mountains.

A grey morning in Canberra
A grey morning in Canberra

Lake Eucumbene
Lake Eucumbene

I watched some of Frozen on the iPad minis (although it kept crashing on the same spot near the beginning, so the third time I skipped past that bit and then it was fine).

iPad Minis!
iPad Minis!

Snackages on the plane
Snackages on the plane

In Melbourne we were off the plane, through security and immigration, and to the next gate as they were boarding. So no time to grab any more food in the Qantas club or do any duty free shopping.

Our next flight was on an A330-300. Up the back on the left.

Our second plane - an Airbus A330-500 - VH-QPE
Our second plane - an Airbus A330-500 - VH-QPE

Us getting ready to head out of the country again!
Us getting ready to head out of the country again!

The interior of the A330
The interior of the A330

Departure from Melbourne would have had us a nice view of Melbourne CBD, but it was too hazy and polluted for a decent view.

Looking towards Bacchus Marsh
Looking towards Bacchus Marsh

Manangatang, rural Victoria
Manangatang, rural Victoria

I watched the rest of Frozen, but missed the iPad which had a much bigger and clearer screen than the screens in the back of the seats.

Lunch was more like a proper dinner, which included the option of wine so I took it. Quite enjoyed have some wine and cheese and crackers actually.

Lunch on the plane
Lunch on the plane

Wine and cheese and crackers
Wine and cheese and crackers

Next I watched How to Train Your Dragon 2, which was ok but it probably a lost a little in not having seen the first one.

At the end of that movie, four hours after departure from the gate and we were *still* over Australia. Stoopid big country :)

The red heart of Australia - the Simpson Desert
The red heart of Australia - the Simpson Desert

That's Darwin down there in the haze
That's Darwin down there in the haze

Next I put on A Most Wanted Man, but I struggled - planes are not good for that sort of movie because it's just hard to follow on such a small screen with such bad sound quality. And I felt a little dozey after the wine, so gave up on that and dozed for a while. Then watched a couple of episodes of Sherlock (The Empty Hearse and The Sign of Three). And finally a documentary on Stories of Survival.

I loved these clouds over Indonesia
I loved these clouds over Indonesia

Pulled beef sliders
Pulled beef sliders

Pretty clouds near Hong Kong
Pretty clouds near Hong Kong

Landed in Hong Kong and drove *all the way around* the terminals - a much longer taxi than last time.

Air traffic control tower at Hong Kong
Air traffic control tower at Hong Kong

As we were getting off (we're always nearly last), I noticed the cockpit door open and asked if I could go say hi. So I did :) The Qantas guys are always so lovely, and they insisted I go sit in the pilots seat, and even put a captain's hat on me and photographed me (I shoulda given them my real camera heh). So that was all super exciting. I still think it's weird that planes don't have the old flight yokes anymore, just little joysticks on the left. The poor sweetie was waiting outside for me :)

Cockpit of the A330
Cockpit of the A330

Me in the pilot's seat :)
Me in the pilot's seat :)

At the airport we got out some money then went to find sim cards. Except we got given the wrong thing, so don't know if they'll work as nicely as the sim we got last time. We haven't opened them yet, might make an attempt to swap them over.

Then hopped on the airport express into Hong Kong, and an Island Line train to Tin Hau to our hotel, which we found pretty easily.

The hotel room is nice enough, although not much of a view. We were soooo spoilt by our last hotel! The left side of the bed is a bit of a dead zone though - there's no space, no bed side table, no power point. But they do have a power adapter built into the power board on the desk, so we have plenty of options for power.

Our room at the Butterfly Hotel, Tin Hau
Our room at the Butterfly Hotel, Tin Hau

These cute little butterflies labelled the pillows as soft or firm
These cute little butterflies labelled the pillows as soft or firm

Went out to grab something for dinner (dinner on the plane wasn't very much at all). It was like 8pm here, but 11pm our time, so we were super super tired, so we just ended up getting Maccas because it would have taken too much energy to find anything else.

And then back to the hotel to crash. I plugged in a bunch of devices to charge, but didn't blog or do any photo downloading.