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    Saturday 12 September 2009

    Day Eleven – Ocean Park

    There are a few theme parks located in and around Hong Kong, from Disneyland, a Buddhist “land” to a full-scale replica of Noah’s Ark. Today we visited Ocean Park, located on an island divided into two zones by a large mountain. Passage between both lands is via mountain cable car or underground train. The park claims to be the most visited in the entire region, shadowing Disney with his attendance figures last year. If Pandas, roller coasters combined with ocean attractions such as aquariums and dolphin shows are for you, this is the park to visit.

    Local city bus 629 takes you directly to park. Tickets (around €22) can be purchased before boarding the city bus. It takes around 20mins to get there.

    Thankfully it was a little overcast today, nevertheless the sun did break through, rising the temperatures back into the 30’s. Whilst I can’t stand heights I can’t resist the urge to try out every roller coaster. The first, a water based one, with a free fall certainly set us up. Vinnie even rode it. It started with a gentle cruise before entering a tunnel that suddenly ended, dropping us some 50 meters or so. We both got drenched.

    The second, and by all means the worst roller coaster I’ve ever been on in my life followed. The total length of the track was just shy of 1km, with sudden drops taking me out over the mountainside, with the South China Sea some 200 – 300 meters directly below. It was terrifying.

    As the rides and attractions in this zone of the park are located on and around a mountain, there are elevators of 100 – 200 meters taking between the levels. The park is very well organized and in fact not run for profit. There is a moral message behind here with green eco issues being promoted where possible. For example, they operate a no straw day once a week to save on plastic waste.

    Other highlights included the giant reef aquarium, which we entered at sea level and slowly walked down two levels underground to see the fish at different levels in their artificial habitat. The Jellyfish Spectacular shed light on the weird and mysterious world they live in.

    Taking a 1.5km cable car over the top of the mountain we connected to the second zone that is home two giant pandas. One a shy female who set with her back to the public, the second a male who appeared to love the attention as he set at the front of his enclosure letting everything hang out, chomping his way through a ton of bamboo. It was something else being this close to a panda. They are truly beautiful creatures.

    We left the park late and made it home for a quick change and a few drinks over on Hong Kong Island, this time taking in some different bars starting with an Irish one!

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