Places to Study and Get Work Done: Ping Shan Tin Shui Wai Public Library

Studying can get boring, especially when you study at the same location repeatedly. It can be massively helpful to break out of your studying routine by finding new places to study at. It turns out that there are places in Hong Kong that can offer you just that. Ping Shan Tin Shui Wai Public Library (屏山天水圍公共圖書館), for instance, is a place perfect place to get your mind flowing.

Ping Shan Tin Shui Wai Public Library first opened its doors back in 28 February 2013. Upon arrival, you will be greeted by the magnificence of its award-winning minimalistic design making it look foreign in comparison to its surrounding (which can also be a cool photo spot). Being the second largest public library in Hong Kong, it offers the first and only outdoor reading area where you can soak in the sunlight and fresh air.

The library offers a wide range of facilities and services.  The most interesting thing about this library is that there are separate dedicated libraries for children, young adults, and adults, giving you the freedom to choose which library suits you the most instead of putting everything together. If you prefer to study or work indoors, there is also a study room that can host 228 people. There is also a coffee corner where you can buy beverages or simply take a break. Other facilities include book borrowing, renewal service, internet express terminals and Wi-Fi.

The library has a collection of about 270,000 Chinese and English books and over 15,000 audio materials and CD-ROMs for home borrowing, as well as about 30,000 reference materials including Hong Kong and district collections, general reference books, dictionaries, and directories. There are also more than 400 local and international newspaper databases for you to choose from.

Overall, it is a terrific place to camp at when the deadlines are approaching. Tell your friends to relocate with you, because exams are right behind the corner!

Where is it? High Block, Ping Shan Tin Shui Wai Leisure and Cultural Building, 1 Tsui Sing Road, Tin Shui Wai

Website: https://www.hkpl.gov.hk/en/locations/yuen-long/library/ping-shan-tin-shui-wai.html

Culture: Madame Tussauds Hong Kong

As a part of the museum’s chain founded by Marie Tussaud of France, Madame Tussauds Hong Kong is the first ever wax museum in Asia. Established in early 2000, The Hong Kong branch houses more than 100 wax figures of well-known celebrities, with a third of the total number of figures being Asian personas, sixteen of which are Hong Kongers. All statues are presented in a variety of themed settings, such as Hong Kong Glamour, Music Icons, Historical and National Heroes, The Champions, and World Premiere. The popular attraction has caught the eyes of many tourists because of its complex and detailed making process.

Wax Figures Making Process

The whole wax figure creating process could take up to six months by a team consisting of 20 highly skilled sculptors from the Madame Tussauds Studio. In one sitting, those people are given access to the celebrity to record over 500 precise body measurements. The most important task is to capture and reflect the uniqueness of each individual. After that, the sculptor will create a mold for a clay model of the head and body. The most painstaking process might be painting a perfect match of original eyes and inserting real human hairs, strand by strand, into the wax figures. For the skin, it is colored using a mixture of water, oil, and acrylic coloring. Further, the body is cast from fiberglass and dressed in clothes that are donated by the celebrity. The whole process will cost about HK$1 million per each.

Featured Figures based on themes

  • Hong Kong Glamour:

Jackie Chan, Jay Chou, Bruce Lee, Brad Pitt, Cher, Hugh Grant, Meryl Streep, Jet Li, Eddie Murphy, etc.

  • The Champions:

David Beckham, Muhammad Ali, Yao Ming, Tiger Woods, etc.

  • Historical and National Heroes:

Bill Clinton, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Diana, Leslie Cheung, Albert Einstein, Joko Widodo, Sukarno, etc.

  • Music Icons:

Anita Mui, Elvis Presley, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Mick Jagger, Michael Jackson, Westlife, etc.

  • World Premiere:

Andy Lau, Pierce Brosnan, Harrison Ford, Marilyn Monroe, Benny Hill, etc.

Address

Madame Tussauds Hong Kong
Location: Shop P101, Level P1,
Tel no : (852) 2849 6966
Opening Hours : 10:00am – 10:00pm (Mon-Sun & Public Holidays)

Best beaches in Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s weather is somewhat polarizing, either making the entire city melt with blazing heat or covering the streets with cold and unpleasant rain. However, somewhere in between these two states, there’s a few days of blissful warmth, when the temperature will be too nice to even have small talk with your university classmates about. When these days come, get your nicest trunks and try to remember how to tense your abs without forgetting to breathe, because you are going to the beach!

Here are some of your nicest options:

  1. Big Wave Bay. Located near Shek O, Big Wave Bay is a perfect place for a calm, relaxing day at the beach. The beach itself is well-known for, you guessed it, its waves, making it a popular spot in the local surfer community; you can also rent a surfboard yourself in one of the stands nearby. The bay can also boast an abundance of nice local and Thai restaurants, which offer a wide range of great seafood.
  2. Cheung Sha Beach is one of the most beautiful places on Lantau island. Divided into two neighbouring beaches (Upper and Lower Cheung Sha beaches), this stretch of land is a gorgeous and peaceful spot. One of the best things about this beach is its size, which is huge, ensuring that you will always find a place further away from that depressing young couple with a crying child. My personal advice is to go to Cheung Sha somewhere around 3 p.m. on a really hot day and watch the sunset, because the unobstructed panoramic view there is stunning.
  3. Turtle Cove is most certainly a hidden gem of Hong Kong. Surrounded by tropical flora, this small beach is perfect for getting away from the crowded and noisy city. The only reasonable complaint about that bay would be regarding the lack of turtles, which is quite confusing.

Weekend in Guangzhou on a Budget

Travelling, more than any other activity, might be a priority for some exchange students. Whether you prefer the calmness of nature or the joy of a loud party, Guangzhou should be on your Asia bucket list.

Recently, I have been to Guangzhou myself to see the city during the Mid-Autumn festival. My impromptu trip to the city was an unforgettable experience: Guangzhou offers a great mixture of ancient and contemporary China and, importantly, is very affordable.

The trip to Guangzhou will only take two hours by train, so you can surely explore the city over the weekend. To prepare for your journey, you will need to get a Chinese visa (I suggest applying for multiple entry, if you will explore other parts of the country), priced at 300HKD, and a train ticket that will cost about 400HKD. You will be able to purchase the ticket on the MTR website.

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One of the most enjoyable aspects of Guangzhou is the abundance of delicious and affordable food. For instance, a steamed fish straight from the aquarium costs around 40RMB (60HKD), and you can share it with 2-3 people. Want some barbecue? Great, because you will find the best Shao Kao griller (skewers) in Guangzhou. These little street-food delicacies can be made from almost anything: pork belly, beef, mushrooms, seafood, bread, etc.

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Of course, Guangzhou offers a lot more than just food. Other things I would suggest you check out include:

  • Canton Tower
  • Baomo scenery
  • Famous streets such as Beijing Lu (Beijing road)

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Transportation in Guangzhou is a lot cheaper than it is in Hong Kong – taxis will charge about half of what they charge here – so you will be able to move around the city faster. Don’t miss out!

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Tim Ho Wan

One thing I love about Hong Kong is that you can eat in restaurants that are awarded with a Michelin star for a fraction of what Michelin star restaurants usually cost. Tim Ho Wan is the perfect place to enjoy the famous Hong Kong Dim Sums, which are assorted dishes, such as dumplings, buns, or sticky rice, served in small servings and usually enjoyed in the company of family or friends.

My favourite dish in Tim Ho Wan is called The Heavenly Kings. A combo of four dishes that includes a baked bun with BBQ pork, vermicelli rice with fatty duck liver, pan-fried radish cake, and steamed egg cake, this set is an absolute must-try.

The signature dish of the restaurant, the BBQ pork bun, is what sets Tim Ho Wan apart from other notable Dim Sum restaurants. The tender BBQ pork filling paired with the soft bun, glazed with sugar on top, creates a tasty combination that no other pork buns can match. Of course, other dishes in the menu are also worth trying. Due to its popularity, the queue tends to be quite long, so be sure to avoid lunch or dinner hour. Tim Ho Wan is the perfect place to explore the traditions of Cantonese cuisine.

Details:

Price: HKD 50 – 100

Locations:

List of locations: http://www.timhowan.hk/store.php

Opening hours:

Mon-Fri: 10:00-22:00

Sat-Sun: 09:00-22:00

Drinks and Desserts: Flamingo Bloom

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Hong Kong has a lot to offer when it comes to desserts and beverages. I wanted to talk about my recent visit to a beverage shop that has been making a lot of buzz in the internet, Flamingo Bloom. It is a beverage shop specializing in tea drinks. For those of you who loves tea, this is a must-visit place. The shop offers a large variety of teas to choose from, including Chinese teas that can be commonly found in Hong Kong. The main types of tea are Oolong, Pu’er, Jasmine, and Black tea.

I went to the Tsim Tsa Shui branch, and it was cosy with enough space to fit 4-5 people in 1 booth, very suitable for a nice chat while enjoying refreshing tea.  I ordered jasmine tips green with boba pearls, and the tea was wonderfully fragrant with just the right amount of sweetness. You can step it up by ordering your tea with a salted milk cap, which is one of the specialties here. A salted milk cap is basically milk foam that tastes sweet with a slight saltiness to it, which tasted amazingly with the tea. A tip for those who plan to order the salted milk cap: don’t use the straw, since the proper way to drink it is to sip through the drinking hole that is included on the cap of the cup. That way, you will drink the tea and the foam at the same time.

P.S.: A little bonus tip: what makes this place famous across the internet is its Flamingo floatie. You can get your own one by liking and sharing a post on their Facebook page.

Details:

Price: Below HKD50 (jasmine green tea with bubble costs HKD26)

Location:

G/F, Mangan Building, 18 Cameron Road, Tsim Sha Tsui (TST Branch)

Shop B, G/F, World Trust Tower, 50 Stanley Street, Central (Central Branch)

Opening hours: Mon-Sun: 11:30-23:00

Wing Kee Noodle Shop

One popular local dish you must try in Hong Kong is the Cantonese-style noodles. There is a large amount of noodle restaurants all around Hong Kong, but there is one restaurant that stands out for me, Wing Kee noodles. This place is in Causeway Bay and is hard to miss due to its long lines around lunchtime. One unique feature of Cantonese-style noodles is the fact that you can choose the type of noodles and pick up to 3 toppings, ranging from a variety of meats, vegetables, and organs (which include intestines, skin, or tendons), to include in your bowl of soup.

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The place itself is not the fanciest spot in Hong Kong, but it is a good representation of how local restaurants feel and a perfect place to experience eating like Hong Kongers do. The dish itself is absolutely delicious: the savoury umami broth complements the noodles really well. I recommend that you try out the beef brisket, it was the best topping I chose out of the three; it was tender and well-marinated with flavours oozing out with every bite.

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Another good thing about Wing Kee is the price, it is affordable by the standard of Causeway Bay, meaning that you can get a bowl of noodles for about HKD30-50 (depending on the toppings you choose). All in all, this is a restaurant you do not want to miss out on during your stay in Hong Kong.

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Details:

Price: below HKD 50 (cash only)

Location: G/F, 27A Sugar Street, Causeway Bay

Opening hours:

Mon-Sun 11:30-22:00