Monday, October 19, 2015

Shenzen and Hong Kong!

I have to say that Hong Kong looked like what I had expected China to look like. It is a super busy city full of lights and packed with banners and people. 


We flew to Shenzen, which is still in China, where we took an hour bus ride to Hong Kong. It was interesting because we had to go through imigration. I have to say it was very convenient, quite simple and much better than airports.


Honk Kong has many areas and they definitely look very different. One of them is Kowloon, where you can find multiple markets like the night market, ladies market, and food market.




You can bargain all you want and get the prices you want... which I enjoyed doing.


Another area is the Avenue of Stars by Victoria Harbour where you can find all the new buildings and a cool skyline. 




In fact, there is a light show every night where all the buildings light up and are synchronized with a song. 



You can see it from the Hong Kong side or the Kowloon side, or from the water if you take a night cruise.



The newer side is very international and you can see many foreigners that work in the city. There are definitely people from all over the world!!








Hong Kong also happened to have some Pandas and since we didn't have the chance to see them in China, we went to Ocean Park in Hong Kong. 


They have 2 giant pandas



... and 2 red pandas which were really cute too!!


Koalas and birds,

Plus the park has an aquarium, zoo...




cable car, amazing views and rides! What else can you ask from a theme park  :)







We also visited the Temple of the 10,000 Buddhas 



and I believe it might have more than 10,000 as the whole way up the mountain you find any kind of Buddha, such as happy Buddha, fat Buddha, smiling Buddha, Buddha with hair, and any other style that you can think of.



And at the top a really cool temple.




We said good bye to Hong Kong as we wanted to visit India, however we needed to apply for a visa, so we had to quickly change plans at the airport as we looked at the departures screen and decided to go to Singapore instead! :)


This is one of the unforgettable anecdotes when traveling, the options and adventures are endless!
 

Zhangjiejie - The Incredible Avatar Mountains!

This small city in central China was our base to go visit 2 of the most impressive sites of our trip in China.


1- Tianmen Mountain. We took the cable car which is about a 30 minute ride to reach the top of the mountain (1500 meters).



There is a big natural park up there where you have 2 options to hike either East or West, but both circle back to each other.

The 2 options have a glass bottom walkway like this





The views from up there are impressive! Also, the whole walkway goes around the mountain, so if you are afraid of heights ...  Ummm... you probably want to avoid this trip altogether. 





Can't say "Wow" enough! So here are the pictures that describe the views way better than any words could.






Also on the way down, inside the mountain there are the longest escalators I've ever seen.  There are about 6 of them that ultimately take you to the Heaven's Gate


Which is a giant natural opening between 2 massive mountains

        



Also David is a tourist attraction in China, as a many people wanted to get pictures with him! Ha! I think they don't usually see many westerners around. 


And finally we took the bus on the way down, which is one of the scariest and most dangerous roads in the world, as it has about 99 really tight turns. 


I have been in many roads in South America and Southeast Asia however this one was particularly scary as the driver was going at least 70km/h (over 40 ml/h) in this tiny road!
 
2- Zhangjaijie National Forest, which is where the movie "Avatar" was filmed. This site is about a 45 minute bus ride from the local bus station. It was always fun to figure out how to get to places by local buses since everything was in Chinese and no one spoke English!

                    "Wulingyuan"

We were the only tourists on the bus, but it was all good as we researched how much it cost and where to get off :) 


If you are interested in traveling this way - look for this bus with the sign above and pay ¥12 yuan (less than $2 Usd) per person. 


Once in Wulingyuan, we walked to the park. Your tickets are valid for 3 days. That day happened to be extra foggy which made some of the mountains hard to see, however, it also made the whole place look really mysterious and interesting.



At the park, we took the elevator that takes you up to the entrance


And from there, there are tons of different paths to hike. It was amazing!!

Natural bridge in a foggy and a clear day



Wild monkeys, 


very wild monkeys...

We decided to visit the park the next day and the weather was amazing, sunny and with completely clear skies.






This place really changes scenery dramatically with the weather, so we were lucky to get to see it two different ways.

Here you can compare 2 pictures of the same place in a different day.

Down here, It is the same place, 2 completely different sceneries 


I would recommend anyone to visit this place. It really makes you realize the gorgeous and amazing planet that we live in!