Thursday, September 27, 2007

Hong Kong

Hong Kong, population approx 6.9 million people in 1,104 sq km. The region was first incorporated into Imperial China in the Qin Dynasty, and served as a trading post and naval base during the Tang Dynasty and the Song Dynasty. Contact with the United Kingdom was established after the British East India Company founded a trading post in the nearby city of Canton.

First occupied by British forces in 1841, and then formally ceded from China under the Treaty of Nanjing at the end of the war. The British established a Crown Colony with the founding of Victoria City the following year. In 1860, after China's defeat in the Second Opium War, the Kowloon Peninsula south of Boundary Street and Stonecutter's Island were ceded to Britain in perpetuity under the Convention of Peking. In 1898, Britain obtained a 99-year lease of the adjacent northern lands and Lantau Island, which became known as the New Territories.

Hong Kong was a crown colony of the United Kingdom from 1842 until the transfer of its sovereignty to the People's Republic of China in 1997. The Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law of Hong Kong stipulate that Hong Kong operates with a high degree of autonomy until at least 2047, fifty years after the transfer. Under the policy of "one country, two systems", the Central People's Government is responsible for the territory's defence and foreign affairs, while Hong Kong maintains its own legal system, police force, monetary system, customs policy, immigration policy, and delegates to international organisations and events.

Now on to the scenes:

View from Victoria Peak. A bit hazy so can't see very far into Kowloon across the harbour.

Currently 3rd tallest building in the world, the Two-IFC (International Finance Centre) building is 88 Storeys standing at 420 meters.
One-IFC (39 storeys at 210m) is towards the left, the one with the identical roof design.

Hong Kong - Structures

The Two-IFC building from worm's eye view.

Tsing Ma Bridge - World Longest Road and Rail suspension bridge - 6 lanes of roadway (upper) 2 MTR rail lines, 2 lanes of roadway (lower). It has a main span of 1,377 metres (4,518 ft) (more than the famous Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco) and a height of 206 metres (676 ft).

New & Old Guardians - CTVs monitors the entrance to this bank while the Stone Lions wait to pounce on would-be-robbers (heh, I'm just kidding about the stone lions).

Bank of China on the left, not sure about the one on the right and in the foreground is the Legislative Council of Hong Kong that was built during the early British colonial days.

The buildings look impressive and very nice at night. The lights are actually part of Symphony of Lights, a spectacular light and laser show synchronized to music and staged every night at 8:00pm. Recognized by the Guinness World Records as the world's "Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show".

A number of old buildings survived and are preserved.

The former police headquarters. Still undecided what to do with it. News is that it will be turned into a museum.

Pier to the iconic Star-ferry that plies between Hong Kong and Kowloon.

Hong Kong - Tsim Sha Tsui

Hong Kong's version of Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Avenue of the Stars celebrates the icons of Hong Kong cinemas past century. The seaside promenade offers fantastic day and night views of the Hong Kong harbour and skyline.

Avenue of Stars against the Hong Kong skyline.

My foot posing with Jackie Chan's Star.

Statue of Bruce Lee.

Hong Kong - Streets

Kowloon - Mong Kok

Streets are narrow and crowded. Here you have various shops and should be prepared for lots of walking. Shoppers paradise.

Hong Kong Island - Central

Near the financial & commercial towers, roads are wider and not so crowded. Besides the usual buses, another option is the electric tram for transport.

Other places are the familiar narrow roads. These are the lower part of the slopes at the foot of Victoria Peak.

Overhead pedestrian walkways connect a large number of buildings.

A breeze to walk over the vehicle traffic and convenient in the event of wet weather.

Lan Kwai Fong, entertainment and "happening" night life place.

Hong Kong - Spaces

Despite limited land, there are parks built for the people...

...with beautiful landscaped gardens.

Lek Yuen Bridge in Sha Tin leading to more residential buildings opposite the wide river. Pedestrians only bridge.

The other end of the bridge.

This was at Central, Hong Kong. There are many of these ficus trees growing from wherever that could and well maintained. There are benches for those who wish to sit under the tress and just chill out.

Hong Kong - Curio

Just off Hollywood Road, there's this place where you can find lots of neat trinkets, antiques and other cool old stuff.

Take your time to rummage through....

... and you might come up with this!

Anyone for door-knockers? The knives/swords looked pretty authentic but I lack knowledge in antiques so I don't know.

For the more upmarket antique collectors.

Hong Kong - Other Sights

Star Ferry services between Hong Kong island and Kowloon. Its a great and cheap way to move to and fro the island if you are in no hurry. Personally its a better option as you get to see more. There is an underground tunnel serving both road and rail should you desire to move about faster.

You can also see a Star-Cruise ship, the Star Aquarius docked at the left of the picture.

Chinese Junk now used for tourist harbour cruises.

Car/Bus parking area near the Poh Lin Monestary at Lantau island.

Tian Tan Buddha on Lantau island. Tallest outdoor buddha statue in the world.

View of surroundings is so beautiful and the weather then made me feel like I was in China... Hey wait! Technically speaking, I am in China...

Monday, September 24, 2007

Teaser Pics

A bit of a teaser from my recent travel. There's lots of pictures to go though so it might take a while to pick out the worthwhile ones to showcase.

Here's one just to hint where I was.

** Note added 28/Sept'07
Hong Kong night skyline with the Symphony of Lights show in progress.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Kuala Selangor for Dinner & Fireflies

Dinning at one of the older seafood eatery (Kuala Selangor Seafood Restaurant) at Kuala Selangor town. Part of the restaurant is on stilts over the river. Here I am stretched out to take an outside-in shot without falling over the side.

While dining, you can see fishing boats going out to sea. These boats are fast!

Not part of the restaurant menu. This is a Toman (Snakehead), freshwater predator fish that can grow up to a meter and a half. Although it was in a glass tank, it proved to be quite aggressive, charging up to me when I was trying to shoot its picture. I am truly glad that there was a piece of thick glass separating us.

Fishing vessels returning during sun set.

Sorry there are no shots of fireflies. Photography was not attempted due to challenging light conditions with no flash-photography allowed at the firefly park.

On our way back, a detour up to the lighthouse.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Golden Temple - Amritsar

One in my must-go-to places list:
Note: These photos were not taken by me. Credit goes to H and KNN Divers whom I thank for I posted these pictures without getting prior permission :P

The Golden Temple (informal name), is the most sacred and holiest shrine of Sikhism. The official name of the Temple is Harmandir Sahib or Darbar Sahib. It is located in the centre of the old part of Amritsar, in the state of Punjab, India. The Golden Temple sits on a rectangular platform, surrounded by a pool of water called the Amrit Sarovar from which the City is named.

* Photo credit: KNN Divers

* Photo credit: H

** Google Earth Image

For more information:
Or just Google it.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Finding Form in the Formless

There's a saying:

Bila kecil jadi kawan,
Bila besar jadi lawan.

A Friend when its small,
An Opponent when its big.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Whole Lotta Monkeys!

The Silvery Lutung (Trachypithecus cristatus), also known as the Silvered Leaf Monkey or the Silvery Langur, is an Old World monkey with grey tips on dark brown or black fur, although the groin and ventral side of the tail are yellowish in color.

Females range from 46-51cm with an average weight of 5.7kg and a tail length of 67-75cm. Males are 50-58cm with an average weight of 6.6kg and a tail length of 67-75cm. When born this monkey is orange, developing its adult coats around three months. It has a highly complex, large stomach to digest the cellulose found in its herbivorous diet. This species is the type of its species group.

The Silvered Leaf Monkey is arboreal, living in coastal, mangrove, and riverine forests from Burma to Indochina and Borneo. Groups range from 9-30 individuals with one adult male and many adult females communally caring for infants. The adult male protects his group and territory from competing males, communicating his dominance to other males via vocalizations and fighting.

Now prepare yourself for a Whole Lotta Monkey photos....

"Open up... I know you've got more peanuts hidden in there!"

"Uh... there goes my diet"

Minkee: "I hold him and you guys grab his camera!!!"

Someone we know got pee'd on ... (*hint* it was not Moggie)