Sunday, September 14, 2008

Ocean Park, Hong Kong

If I were given a choice, I would scrap the entire Ocean Park tour and spend the rest of the day in our room sleeping. But I don't. I have already bought two discounted Ocean Park tickets from Miss Jenny of the City Econo Guest House and Francis was already looking forward to going to Ocean Park, even if he has no idea what he would see there.

So, back at the MTR, we took the train to get to the Admiralty Station. We went straight to Exit B and looked for Bus No. 629 that will go directly to Ocean Park. Using our Octopus cards to pay the fare, we boarded this double-decker bus and chose seats on the upper deck.

The moment we got off the bus right in front of the main entrance, I knew this tour would be such a waste. Sana, nag-Ngong Ping 360 na lang kami. Better, we stayed at the guesthouse and slept.

But we're here now, so we'll just have to make the most of our time while we're here.

As soon as we passed the huge main entrance of Ocean Park, the pathway leading to the rest of the park became surprisingly narrow. Hmmm...

We tried to queue up first to ride the Sky Star but when we got in line, we were told by the park attendant that from the point where we were standing up to the Sky Star ride will take out 90 minutes. Ha? 90 minutes? That's an hour and a half! Ang tagal naman. We queued in line pa rin thinking that it might be an exaggeration. But 15 minutes under the sun and we're still moving slowly, we decided to scrap the idea and move on to the next attraction.

We went straight to take the Cable Car so we can transfer to the Headland area of the park. This isn't Francis' first time to take the cable car, but surprisingly, he's more afraid now. He has difficulty transferring from one seat to the next so I can take a photo of him in all directions. I don't know exactly why, but maybe, this is higher than the cable cars in Singapore? Or he's more aware of his fears now? Or is it simply because the windows of our cable car are wide open? Whatever the reason may be, fact is, he now fears high places.

But then, when he saw the Ocean Park Tower, he practically begged me to queue in line so we can ride in it. I really didn't want to since we've already taken this same ride in Singapore and there's really nothing spectacular to see on top. But due to insistent Francis' demand, we took the ride.

Right after this, we ate a bit and rested somewhere near the Boardwalk area. We were killing time since the show at the Ocean Theatre is still an hour away.

"Sea Dreams," the show's title at the Ocean Theatre, is a parade of exhibitions that the park's marine mammals can do. If you have been to other similar parks before, then there's nothing new to see in this show. We waited for almost an hour for the show to start. We were already sitting on the bleachers and it was like a hundred degrees out there. When the show ended, Francis enjoyed it a lot, of course. I did a lot of shooting so I guess I benefitted from it also. But really, we could have done something else.

That's one of the disappointing aspects of being at the Ocean Park. They're not on schedule! Before we took the cable car, we were waiting for Whiskers to have a photo with him near the Lowland Cable Car Plaza. The schedule said 10am to 5pm. We were waiting for 30 minutes and even inquired from the park attendants near the area about the schedule. We were told to just wait. Eh, 10:30am na kaya! We left without seeing Whiskers at all.

And then there's this "Sea Dreams" show. The show should have started at 11:30am, but it started way past 12noon already! Hayyyy! Mali ba ang relo ko?

After eating hotdogs at the Ocean Theatre, Francis wanted to see the Talking Tree he saw in the map. It was kinda far so I told him that it would be the last place that we will go to before heading back to the guesthouse. He's okay with it.

Unfortunately, we got lost and ended up at the Pacific Pier. Since we're there, we went inside to check out what the place has to offer. Well, the pier houses some marine mammals where guests are allowed to feed them. They even have an underground viewing area of the pool. But other than the bottom parts of the sea lions swimming, there's nothing much to see.

Finally, we saw the escalators that wiill bring us down near the Tai Shue Wan entrance area. Francis kept on asking me to hurry up as he was so excited to see what the Talking Tree was all about.

When we finally got there, nyek! Eto lang 'yun? For all the trouble of getting here and walking way past our route, eto lang pala yung talking tree? It's a tree alright, with eyes, ear, nose and lips. It has a cockatoo bird above which did most of the talking. Francis said, "hindi naman 'yung tree ang nagto-talk, 'yung bird eh!" Hehehe!

After resting a bit at the entrance of the Aviary, we headed out to the Flamingo Pond. A few pictures after, we were inside the fully-airconditioned Treasure Place to buy souvenirs... Pero wala namang nabili. Nagpalamig lang.

Finally, we were out. We went straight to the bus stop to take Bus Number 629 that will bring us back to Admiralty Station. Hayyyy... Sayang ang araw.

So, will I recommend this to kids and other travellers? Hmmm... Depends.

Francis and I have gone to Subic's Ocean Adventure, Manila's Ocean Park, Kuala Lumpur's Aquaria and Singapore's Underwater World. Let's just say, I enjoyed them more than I enjoyed Hong Kong's Ocean Park. Here, there are so many pathways where you can see nothing except for galvanized sheets covering the sides. Not much activity to think we were there on a Sunday.

But, if it's your first time out of the country and first time in a marine park, then do check this out.

BUT!!!! Again... If you have a kid, and have already visited Disneyland, try other tourist spots then. For sure, there's a lot more enjoyable things to do even for kids.