Po from the movie Kung Fu Panda is adorable, but he comes nowhere near the charm of real-life giant pandas.

Meet Le Le and Ying Ying from Ocean Park in Hongkong! These 2 lovable giants are mainstays at the Amazing Asian Animals complex.

Pandas are proof that huge and cute are two words that go together. One look at them and you know you just can't resist that hug-inducing feeling. I could not stop gushing as I felt like a kid running towards these sleeping creatures. 
Le Le, the male panda
Ying Ying, the female panda
Is there any other animal out there that looks as sweet as these two when sleeping?


According to this site, pandas spend 54.86 % of the day looking for food, 43.06% for rest, and only 2.08% of time for play. All a panda ever does is eat, play, and sleep. When we got to Ocean Park, we saw the pandas doing what they do half of the time.. resting. Sometimes they would stir in their sleep and raise their heads. These mere movements from the two always elicit a collective "Aaaw! That's cute" reaction from the audience.

On the other side of the fence are the red pandas. They are smaller than the giant pandas and though they do not have that I-want-to-cuddle-you-now vibe, they work their charms on people. I think they look like an offspring of a fox and an ewok. But that's just me!

If pandas were not endangered species, I would keep a backyard full bamboos so I could take one home with me. Or maybe I could get a place huge enough to keep two. Polar bears and tigers work their magic on me too, but I don't think I would want them in my backyard. 😉
That's Ying Ying, the panda, and me channeling a penguin

What's the most adorable creature you've ever seen?

Armed with a heavy lunch from Yuen Kee and finally certain on the places that we wanted to see for the rest of the afternoon, we set-off and rode the Tsuen Wan Line MTR. 


From the TST station, we got off at the Central station. We lingered at every interesting detail along the way (including a group of factory workers holding a protest in front of a park) that it took us a bit longer than the usual 10-minute walk to get to the Peak Tram terminal.




The terminal was filled with tourists wanting to catch the sunset at The Peak and people nudged their way to get good seats on the tram. Good thing we were quick and were able to get the window seat, facing the harbor. 

The Peak Tram ride going on the way up to the Peak in Hongkong Island offered a pleasant view of the Victoria Harbor on the right and the streets of Kowloon and southern Hongkong Island on the left. 



After less than 10 minutes of the tram ride, we stopped at the end of the rail at The Peak Tower with just enough time to look for a good spot to view the sunset.  Instead of choosing to buy the tickets to get in the Sky Terrace, we opted, of course, to go the cheaper way. Right across the street was The Peak Galleria, offering the same panoramic view of Hongkong Island and Victoria Harbor minus the fee.
The Peak Tower

The Peak Galleria
View from the top 
Down the Peak Road was the elegant and expensive-looking Peak Lookout Café.  It was nice to look at, but we didn’t even dare to see their menu. There are a lot more decently priced choices downtown. Right beside the café, on the Harlech Road, was a marker for The Peak Trail.  

The Peak Lookout Cafe


We took the 3km Morning Trail and enjoyed the captivating views of the Lamma Island and Pok Fu Lam Reservoir.   The trail was lined with trees on both sides, which I considered masukal enough for my liking, and with occasional benches along the way for resting.



It was along this trail that I was mesmerized by Hongkong. It's an ideal mix of the busy city life with the calming greens and scenic trails less than 30mins away from the city, all easily reachable by public transportation.  


I would have said 'I love Hongkong' if it weren't for such a short 3-day visit. Plus, love is too strong of a word. Until I get to go for a second visit, mesmerized is the word. 





It took one double-decker bus ride from HKIA before we found ourselves right smack in the middle of   Kowloon, in the busy Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) district.






TST is too lively that resting is unthinkable, so as soon as we found a cheap place to stay for the next couple of days, we left our bags and explored the area.   Boutiques were lined up on the streets, shopping malls sprawled all over the place, wares sold on the street (I was transported back to Divisoria!), numerous cultural centers and museums, and the 13.5-hectare Kowloon Park right in the middle of it all.  

Nathan Road
Click the photos to enlarge
Kowloon area is packed with enough diversity to entertain anyone who loves walking around. I was of course happily distracted by everything and by the time we knew it, we were going around for 4 hours and it was already 2PM.

It was way past lunch time and as we were making our way back, we passed by a packed restaurant.  Everyone’s having late lunch huh? We did a quick check and voila! Yuen Kee, one of the must–eat places on that side of town.

I was very hungry so I asked for two dishes and a  naicha.  The first dish was good enough though easily forgettable but the wanton noodle was something else!  The meat was tender and the shrimp was the juiciest I’ve ever tasted.  



I closed my eyes a couple of times trying to commit to memory how delightful it tasted. Up until now I haven’t tasted anything as delectable as that wanton from Yuen Kee.

Best.wanton.ever.

Yuen Kee Noodles Restaurant is located in 12-14 Humphrey's Ave , Tsim Sha Tsui.


Map:

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