Who in their right minds would decide to celebrate one's thirty-first birthday in Disneyland? Well, always the kids-at-heart, that would be me and my husband of course! And guess what, we had such a blast that we want to do it all over again.
His birthday perfectly coincided with Dubai's long weekend, so we grabbed our chance to get away. It was just the perfect excuse for him to have a break and enjoy acting like a kid again. We flew to Hong Kong via Thai Airways and after resting a bit, we spent our first night shopping in Mongkok, and dining in Jasmine Garden inside Langham Place for authentic Chinese cuisine where we ordered braised pork with cuttlefish in oyster sauce, and some kick-ass dimsums. We then boarded the train to Tsim Sha Tsui for Avenue of Stars to watch the city's Symphony of Lights at the Waterfront. The place was packed with tourists so taking a photo with Bruce Lee's star was a struggle, and it rained a little bit when we were there, but the moment couldn't be more perfect.
Our second day started super early by heading straight to Lantau Island for Ngong Ping Village where the famous Big Buddha is located. I must admit that public transportation in Hong Kong has got to be one of the best we have experienced so far. It's so fast, convenient, and makes everything so accessible. We also bought an Airport Express Travel Pass as soon as we landed in Hong Kong airport, which cost around HKD 350 and already valid for 3-days unlimited travel on buses, light rail and MTR including two rides on Airport Express. It was very handy and convenient.
Fortunately, the cable car going to Ngong Ping Village was no longer under maintenance when we went there so we managed to save our asses from a long and tiring bus ride to the top. My husband has a fear of heights, but he conquered it for us to enjoy the scenic view. It was one of the best ways to see the Tian Tan Buddha on different angles. :)
After cooling down for a quick lunch inside Lung Fai, a homey snack shop serving traditional deserts and food (we tried their famous bean curd and it was superb), we spent the remaining half of the day inside Hong Kong Disneyland, and I was grinning from ear to ear the whole time because as soon as we entered, the afternoon parade started. The exact same spot where I decided to stretch my legs to rest apparently was the best spot to watch the parade. Front row seat material! I think I cried a little bit when Cinderella and Belle waved hello at me. Never mind that we had to line up for almost one hour just to get a photo with Mickey and Minnie Mouse. It was worth it. Just being inside the "happiest place on earth" would really do that to you.
We gave in and just had to buy our matching Disneyland shirts, of course! :)
This beautiful father and daughter moment inside Disneyland which I captured on camera was just priceless.
After having dinner inside the Banquet Hall right across Cinderella's Carousel (that sounded like what you would read from a fairytale book. Haha!), we secured a great spot in front of the castle to watch the night parade of Disney characters and of course, to enjoy the fireworks display at nine in the evening until closing. I still mindlessly hum the upbeat and lively parade song in Chinese to this day!
I got to say that this long weekend trip to Hong Kong was probably one of the most meaningful vacations we've ever had. Yes, there were moments of frustrations since we didn't know our way around, but we learned so much and discovered a lot of firsts. We didn't have any friends there to show us around or take our photos to begin with, we opted not to hire a tour guide, and our itinerary was all over the place, but we managed to pull through and have a grand time. Thank God for handy maps, friendly strangers, trusty tripod, restless feet, and determined hearts.
A trip back to Hong Kong is in our immediate future plans. We're huge suckers for theme parks, and when it's coupled with great food, amazing shopping, and fun-filled unexpected moments, we are definitely in. Always. :)