Tsz Shan Monastery in Tai Po

Whilst riding our bikes along Tai Mei Tuk reservoir, we saw this huge white statue at the foot of the hills in the distance. I knew I had to visit.

The statue belongs to Tsz Shan Monastery, a Buddhist temple funded by Li Ka Shing the second richest man in Asia – and the richest in Hong Kong.

After putting it off for months I finally managed to visit the monastery with one of my good friends.

 

The temple is in a remote location in the countryside and getting there is a tad difficult, but nothing terrible.

The location is very peaceful with views of the Tolo Harbour to one side, and big green rolling hills to the other.

The temple has 3 halls and the big statue of Guanyin so doesn’t take long to visit.  There is a zen calligraphy workshop which is quite long – as long as the visit itself!

I think it is a nice place to visit but not a must see in Hong Kong.

 

A few points to note:

  • Advance bookings required
  • The easiest way to go is to take the MTR to Tai Po Market and then Minibus 20B. Alight at Universal gate road and walk to the monastery.
  • Make sure to wear long trousers and sleeved tops

 

 

 

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Down Under – Port Stephens

On our second day in Australia we joined a bus tour to Port Stephens, 200km north of Sydney.
The first thing we did was hop into a 4×4 mini bus, bobbed up and down for 5 minutes until we reached the sand dune surfing spot.
I was incredibly fun and I kinda felt like Calvin and Hobbs going down the dune at top speed.

 

We next went on a 2 hour dolphin watching cruise. I’m not good with boats, but since we were staying in the harbour I thought I would be fine.
We managed to see a handful of dolphins swimming along next to the boat, but I didn’t snap any pictures. The boat was stable most of the time and I felt okay, except for the 5 minutes were we sailed past the mouth of the harbour – I was not feeling good at all!

Once the cruise was over (much to my relief) we drove to a vineyard for a small tasting session. We found plenty of locals enjoying a glass in the sun with the live band strumming away. What a nice Saturday they spent!

Down Under – Sydney

Visiting Australia has always been on my bucket list, but I never thought I’d make it.

It’s so far from Europe and quite expensive too. Obviously, it’s much closer to Hong Kong but it’s still far – 9 hours flight!

Since we are returning to England at the end of July we wanted to go on a last holiday and decided to go all out and chose Australia.

It was the perfect pick: it was on my bucket list and I’d get to see where Jeff studied in Melbourne.

 

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Sydney from the plane

Jeff is not one for wasting time and as soon as we had dropped off our suitcases, he started showing us Sydney – even though we’d just stepped off a red eye flight!

 

We first walked around the Queen Victoria Building, a 19th century marketplace now used as a shopping centre. It has two big clocks with moving figures and scenes, as well as beautiful stained glass windows.

Apparently there’s even a sealed letter written by Elizabeth II in 1986 that nobody has read and is due to be opened by the Mayor of Sydney in 2085!

 

We then walked around The Rocks, a touristy area full of restaurants from which one can see both the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera house. We saw the sun set behind the bridge, got up close with the Opera House and even witnessed a big P&O cruise ship set off from the harbour.

 

We headed to Darling Harbour for dinner and had some yummy grilled meat – though nobody tried the kangaroo steak on offer.

By that point our feet were starting to ache so we went back the hotel for a well-deserved shower and good night’s sleep.

 

 

 

AngloInfo Interview

A while back I was contacted by AngloInfo, an English speaking website with information about living abroad, to see if I’d be interested in doing an interview with them.

The answer was YES! I really like doing interviews (I’ve only done one before) because I can express my views about living in Hong Kong and I hope it means my blog is somewhat interesting…

The interview is here.

 

AngloInfo itself is a really comprehensive website, with information about different countries, blogs, interviews, classifieds… so don’t hesitate to check it out at https://www.angloinfo.com

The sun is finally out!

We’ve had pretty grim weather in the past few weeks in Hong Kong but finally the sun is back, the smog is (mostly) gone and the weather is just beautiful!

I’m not complaining about the heat and blazing sun because I know very well I won’t have them in the uk… that’s kinda sad.

 

I’ve been looking at Hong Kong skyline and I think I am really, really, REALLY going to miss this city…

 

Wan Chai Expo Promenade & moody Hong Kong

The weather has been quite gloomy (until very recently) and I was tired of waiting for blue sky to take pictures.

First, Hong Kong’s skies are often cloudy, so I thought I should capture this side of this city if I want to give an accurate depiction of it.

Secondly, fellow Olympus photographers have taught me that clear blue skies are boring and I should enjoy days where I can play around with the settings on my camera to capture the moody side of Hong Kong.

 

Since I have been to many of the accessible (= do not require a hike) sunset spots in the city, I browsed Google maps (as you do) until I stumbled across Wan Chai Promenade, just behind the Convention Center.

Once I got there, I was surprised at the number of Mainland Chinese tourists- who were all unloading from the nearby tour buses, but I was even more surprised at the lack of photographers… only  two other people were there.

 

I messed around for approx 1 hour and am quite happy with the results and the fact that I managed to get both sides of the harbour in the pictures!