Saturday, July 6, 2013

Our Fifth Day Exploit - Nan Lian Garden & Ten Thousand Buddha

We were supposed to fly back to Clark Airport on our fifth day in Hong Kong but due to flight cancellation of Tiger Airways we had no option but to extend one more night in this city. Flight cancellation or re-scheduling is one of the worst nightmares of a Dad since it would definitely cause a dent to his wallet albeit the joyful reaction of the family. Imagine spending extra night in Hong Kong, definitely kids would rejoice. Actually, I've seen sparks on their eyes upon learning this untoward event.

Since we booked our hotel months back we tried to extend for one more night to avoid the inconvenience of transferring to another hotel due to said flight cancellation. Unfortunately, Mini Hotel would charge us full price for the extension; the room rate was almost double the daily promo rate we got for 4 nights. More so, even if we would extend for another night, Mini Hotel can't guarantee that we wouldn't transfer to another family room.

Due to this, we decided to book 2 rooms at City Econo Guesthouse at Nathan Road for 1 night. We checked out from Mini Hotel at Causeway Bay and traveled to City Econo GH by taxi at downtown Kowloon. We settled in 2 rooms; triple and double.

Thereafter, we opted to visit cheaper and off-the-beaten-path touristy places in Hong Kong since it would be unwise to re-visit Disneyland or Ocean Park for few hours considering the cost of the entrance ticket.

At around 2 pm, we raced to Nanlian Garden and Chi Lin Nunnery. The place is near Diamond Hill MTR Station and opens to the public for free.


at the entrance

man-made pond at the middle of the Garden

man-made waterfall

The garden is well kept and manicured though you might need umbrella or hat since the sun was still hovering near its zenith.

The Nunnery beside the garden was unfortunately closed when we arrived; it closes at 4:30 pm. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the Buddhist inspired wooden structure and we had the entire place to ourselves. Great for some photo-ops, actually. Upon entering the area, I could smell the scent of matured timber used to construct these marvelous structures.


at the entrance of the Nunnery

it looks like a Shaolin Temple

We stayed for a couple of minutes before we decided to proceed to Ten Thousand Buddha temple at Sha Tin. Upon reaching Sha Tin MTR station, we took exit B and walked towards the Mini Bus station. From here we searched for Home Square Mall. Beside this mall is the Sha Tin Government Building. The road leading to Ten Thousand Buddha is in between these two buildings.

near the entrance

daughter still in good mood

On our way to the temple which is nestled near the top of the hill, life-size Buddha statues are lined-up at both sides of the road; we noticed that among those statues, no Buddha were identical. However, I must warn you that climbing the temple is not for the faint-hearted, you would know later.

Prior to our uphill climb, the family was excited due to the fact that it was their first time to see countless of Buddhas. I told them that if they would reach the temple then they have seen almost the Ten Thousand Buddha. In short, all of us hurriedly strolled the winding and sloping narrow road. I was impressed with my youngest kid since he never showed any sign of exhaustion and always ahead of us while my wife and 2 kids were taking rest from time to time. I stayed in between them to coordinate our movements and location.

the main temple

front of the main temple

We reached the temple at almost 5:30 pm and bought a bottle of water from the store as it was starting to close. We have consumed our bottled water on our way up to the temple. In few minutes the temple compound would be isolated from the outside world.

assisting my dead-tired daughter
Upon reaching the temple compound, my wife alerted me that our daughter was in terrible state. She was extremely exhausted and being a "fashionista," she wore her new leather boots bought from Hong Kong Industrial Center yesterday in climbing the temple thus her feet were sore as well. That was the first time I saw my energetic daughter in that situation, pale and almost in vegetative state.

The staffs were less helpful since they didn't speak English and even asked us to leave immediately. I panicked since the gate would be closed in a few minutes and we might be trapped inside the temple compound. More so, I was afraid that my daughter might need some medical help in case she wouldn't get enough rest before we go down.

Given that there was no other option for us but to leave the place immediately, it was incumbent for me to control the situation. I told my family to relax and calm down; I would assist our daughter on our way down. I asked her to remove her boots and walk barefoot. For our entire descend back to the entrance, she was leaning on me and we would stop to take rest every couple of minutes.

After that grueling trip back to the entrance, my wife lent her flats to our daughter while she wore our daughter's new boots. We all went inside the Home Square Mall to freshen up and cool down.

We returned back to our hotel and after some needed rest we went out for dinner.

After dinner, upon seeing those flashy and colorful boutiques and shops, my daughter strength returned back. It supported my observation that even dead-tired women would spring back into life with full of energy once they see an opportunity to shop for free, lol.

We surveyed Fa Yuen Street for cheap shoes. We bought 3 pairs of shoes while the wife got herself a leather bag from Ladies Market. The price of her bag went down from 350 HKD to 200 HKD after haggling. The daughter looked with envy on her Mom's new bag. I told her she got her leather boots recently from Hong Kong Industrial Center thus she wouldn't get anything new anytime soon, that was for sure. Surprisingly, she accepted my decision without any howl; later on I learned that my wife whispered to her that she could borrow her new bag. Mom will always be a Mom.

For us boys, these are our loots:

299 HKD Puma for me
240 HKD Vans for my eldest
320 HKD Converse for my youngest

I would like to add on this post our sixth and last day of our family trip. We left City Econo GH early the following day to catch our 9:40 am flight back to Clark Airport. We simply left our room keys at their reception table since we need to leave at 6:30 am.

We took a taxi and upon reaching the airport, I refunded our 5 Octopus cards for 50 HKD each. To my surprise, they are now deducting 9 HKD refund fee for each Octopus card. Anyhow, we got some HKD left on our cards plus 41 HKD refund for each card. We had our breakfast at Burger King at Terminal 2.

Just to add, McDonald's has replaced Burger King at the airport arrival area.

This ends our 6D/5N exploit in Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Macau. It was a truly memorable experience for all of us. Though it costs me an arm and leg I always think that this kind of experience would be treasured by all of us.

For me, money can be saved but it doesn't means that it won't be consumed while a pleasant memory that strengthen a family bond will last for a life time and can be told to our next generation.

You may check my Travel for our entire 6D/5N Family Exploit - Hong Kong / Shenzhen / Macau

Stay tuned for our next year family trip after my daughter's college graduation. It could be Japan or South Korea.

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