Today was another public holiday which meant that many attractions were probably going to be very crowded. Based on that, I suggested we visit the Hong Kong Heritage Museum, which Hong Kong for Kids describes as “the best-kept secret in the territory”, and then visiting the 10,000 Buddhas Monastery, which is in the same general area.
However, getting there from our hotel was a little more complicated than our prior trips. Jaeger suggested we walk to a nearby ferry to take us across the harbor. From there, we caught a MTR train. By the time we arrived at that station, it was nearing lunch time. 10,000 Buddhas had a vegetarian restaurant on site but we were planning on visiting that second. So we stopped at a local “bakery” to pick up some snacks. We got a raisin bread, which was pretty standard, and then glutinous rice balls in two favors, poppy seed and sweet red bean.
After buying the snacks we walked along a walking and bike path looking for somewhere to sit and eat. Cheung Chau had bicycles everywhere but that was to be expected as there were no cars. However, we hadn’t seen many bikes in Hong Kong itself. However, this area seemed to have a lot of leisurely recreational biking (this would be the kind of biking that Boulder wouldn’t have the foggiest idea what to do with because it was so haphazard and non-serious).
We eventually found a bench and sat down to eat the snacks. Calvin would barely take a small nibble from the rice balls but found the raisin bread, minus the raisins, fine. The rice cakes were interesting. I liked the sweet red bean ones better than I expected but the poppy seed ones seemed a bit more savory than I expected.
After we finished eating we continued on to the museum. It was practically empty which seemed kind of odd. I didn’t have much opportunity to look a the regular exhibits because Calvin really wanted to see there Discovery Gallery which was created specifically for kids. It reminded me a little of OMSI on a very small scale. There were lessons about local sea life and what life was like in a small village, complete with costumes to dress up in. Over all, Calvin seemed amused but not totally enthralled with it.
After the museum we walked a bit to get to the bottom of the hill for the monastery. The trail to the monastery starts at the bottom of a hill and includes about 400 steps to get to the top. Lining the trail were many gold painted figures, about one for every 2-3 steps, that I didn’t have the right background to understand their significance. I carried Calvin up the hill in my carrier, to what I perceived as the amusement of others, and was grateful to get to the top. At the top, we ate in a little restaurant that exclusively served vegetarian food. It was pretty good and I think I’m slowly getting the hang of chopsticks.
After lunch, we went into the temple which apparently has over 12,000 Buddhas in it. The sign requested we be quiet in respect for those praying. However, the din outside from all the tourists made me feel sorry for anyone who was actually trying to do any sort of worshiping. It reminded me a bit of all those cathedrals we visited in Rome where the tourists vastly out-numbered the religious people.
We finished with the monastery by the middle of the afternoon so had time for one more destination. We went to Hong Kong’s small Railway Museum. This was obviously off the beaten tourist trail and after the chaos at the monastery it was very relaxing. The museum itself is quite small. There’s a couple rooms with text and then some engines to look at as well as several train cars put together that the children can go through. There is also, in the “sitting-out” area, a model train that would run around a track when the button is pushed.
Calvin seemed to enjoy this museum even though it was fairly small. There were also a lot of other small kids though it was difficult to tell how many locals vs tourists there were. It felt like more of a local hang-out but I could be wrong.
Getting back to the hotel was also a production though this time we opted to use MTR the whole way instead of taking the ferry for part of it. The MTR station we started at was in a mall so I took the opportunity to try to find some Ibuprofen. The carrier is working fairly well but it is a strain my back isn’t use to so I’ve been going through the Ibuprofen I brought from home a little faster than expected. I found the pain relief section but only found acetaminophen. I asked a local sales girl for ibuprofen and more than 4 sales people later, we concluded they had no idea what I was asking for. (Upon returning to the hotel we discovered that ibuprofen appears to be only available behind the counter at a real pharmacy, though maybe without a prescription??)
We arrived back at the hotel and, for once, Calvin was still awake. However, he promptly asked to be put in bed. He’s certainly sleeping much better on vacation than he does at home, at least for now.
Our Hong Kong/Taiwan Trip: