Snoopy’s World, Sha Tin

Snoopy’s World is one of those Hong Kong attractions that isn’t that high on most people’s lists of things to visit, but since we’ve done all the big things now we thought we’d give it a try! My mum was visiting us at the time, and she is a big Peanuts fan so it was a good time to go.

To sum it up, Snoopy’s World isn’t very big. It is basically a small playground with a range of Peanuts-related displays. But it is free, and that also includes a free boat ride! If you have small children and are looking to kill an hour or so, you could do far worse. (This website also has a very thorough review of Snoopy’s World, but it does liken it to Disneyland and Ocean Park, which I think is going a bit far!)

The easiest way to get to Snoopy’s World is to take the MTR to Sha Tin. Leave the MTR station through the mall, and keep walking straight until you get to the end of the mall. There are signs to guide you, but in case you miss them, you just need to exit the mall on the left hand end and it’s right there. This sight will greet you so you know you’re in the right place!

Entrance to Snoopy World Hong Kong

The park opens at 11.00am. We thought it was earlier so we had to hang around for a while to wait until it opened (always fun with small children). However, the boat ride doesn’t open until 12pm, so I’d recommend you get there shortly before 12, or just wait until the afternoon to go!

Once inside, our children headed straight for the big yellow bus.

Yellow bus Snoopys World Hong Kong

It was fun to climb inside, turn the steering wheel and run around inside it, although there’s nothing else to do once you are inside.

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The whole area is dotted with life size Peanuts figures. I’m not sure if you’re meant to climb on them (probably not, knowing Hong Kong) but the twins both enjoyed interacting with them.

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Charlie Brown, Snoopy and Lucy

Charlie Brown Snoopy World Sha Tin

The whole Peanuts gang (plus two small extras)

Peanuts gang statues Hong Kong

Something to do with a school(?)

Peanuts school Snoopy World Shatin

There was also a pretty impressive climbing frame but because the ground was slightly damp from some rainfall the night before, the park attendants kept this area shut *sigh*

Playground at Snoopy World

The boat ride is the real highlight, and I’ve heard it can get pretty busy at weekends and public holidays. Even on a random weekday, we had to queue for about 10 minutes for it. It’s very short, but I’m very impressed that it was free! You just get in a little boat (2 people max. per boat, and that includes small people) and go round a loop, passing by different Peanuts scenes. It only lasts about 5 minutes but it’s quite fun. The twins loved it!

Boat ride at Snoopy World

These are a couple of the things you see on your way round:

Boat ride scene Snoopy World Sha Tin

Boat ride scene Snoopy World Shatin

So there you are, if you have young children and Sha Tin isn’t too difficult for you to get to, Snoopy’s World is a nice little trip out. We’ll definitely go back, the twins really enjoyed the bus and the boat ride. You probably won’t need to spend more than an hour or so there though.

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

 

Jordan Valley Park – finally, some open grassland in Hong Kong!

I realise that I’ve written a few posts recently about parks, such as the Hong Kong Wetland Park, and Tai Po Waterfront Park, but today’s post is about another park – Jordan Valley Park. I guess you can tell what we do most now that we have two small children!

Jordan Valley Park Hong Kong

First of all, I should point out that Jordan Valley Park is nowhere near Jordan (the area of Kowloon just north of Tsim Sha Tsui)! It’s actually much further east in the Cha Liu Au area (no, I’ve never actually heard of Cha Liu Au either) – just east of Kowloon Bay. One of the easiest ways to get there would probably be to go to Kowloon Bay MTR and take a taxi. We actually took a taxi there from where we live but we got the number 26 KMB bus back, which goes all the way to Tsim Sha Tsui and was pretty convenient. There is a full list of buses and minibuses that go near the park on the Jordan Valley Park website, although it’s just a list of numbers so you’ll need to work out where the buses actually go!

The main draw of this park is that is has that rarest of things (in Hong Kong) – large open areas of grass! This is because it was built on a former landfill site, so I guess that it was unsuitable ground for the large residential towers that permeate Hong Kong. But I for one am very glad – it’s so nice to have some grass to sit on (in my case) or run around on (in Jack and Isobel’s case)!

Jordan Valley Park grass

The picture above is only about half the area of the park, it narrows behind where I was standing but still goes back a fair way.  Some of the grass had been fenced off in an attempt to help the grass to re-grow. I guess that might be one of the reasons why many parks in Hong Kong don’t have grass – it isn’t the best climate for it.

The park itself has been well thought out, with some lovely landscaped areas and jogging tracks running between different areas of grass.

Jordan Valley Park landscaping

Lots of people (and by that I mean almost everyone) bought little pop-up tents to sit in. As the morning went on, the park got busier and the tents increased in number! Many people sat in them to stay out the sun and eat the food they had brought. Jack and Isobel enjoyed investigating several of the tents nearby and were quite often rewarded with the offer of some food!

Jordan Valley Park tents

But the park isn’t just grass. There was a lovely large playground with equipment for a wide age range, as well as the usual fitness equipment for the elderly. I already mentioned the jogging tracks, and there are toilets and a water fountain. There’s also a little maze garden and a horticultural centre.

Jordan Valley Park playground

One unusual feature of the park, which you come to as you enter it, is a large model car race track! The people who were using it obviously take their model cars very seriously and spend a lot of time here!

Jordan Valley Park model car race track

Some of the cars were incredibly fast, and it was fun to watch some of them overtake each other and in some cases knock each other over. Sometimes the car that caused the accident would stop and go back to try and right the car on its side – I think all the cars would have to stop so the owner could right it otherwise, but it was quite nice to see this piece of good sportsmanship! I defy you to walk past it without stopping to watch for a little while :)

Jordan Valley Park Radio-Controlled Model Car Racing Circuit

There was also a smaller track next door, which might be for those who are beginners or whose cars aren’t quite as flashy!

Anyway, if you’re looking for some grass to have a picnic on, or to allow your children to run around on, this is the best stretch of grass I’ve seen in Hong Kong. I realise that it might be a bit difficult to get to from some parts of Hong Kong but we were pleasantly surprised at how quick it was from our home in Hung Hom. Do let me know what you think if you manage to go yourself!

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

Tai Po Waterfront Park

Tai Po Waterfront Park is a lovely large park in, unsurprisingly, Tai Po in the New Territories area of Hong Kong. As the name suggests, it’s on the waterfront and looks out over the Tolo Harbour to Ma On Shan on the other side.

Getting to the park isn’t quite as easy as I had hoped, mainly because it’s not that close to Tai Po Market MTR station. We decided to take a taxi from the station to the park, but other alternatives include the 20C or 20K minibus which go pretty close by. On the way back we actually walked back to the MTR station, which was a really nice walk alongside cycle tracks and took 20-25 minutes. Alternatively, you could catch the 75X bus from Kowloon City (get off at the terminus, Fu Shin Estate, which is adjacent to the park) or the 72A from Tai Wai (get off at the Yue Kok bus stop and walk down Yuen Shin Road to get to the park).

Once you are in the park, there is lots to explore. Our taxi dropped us off at the entrance by the bowling green on Dai Fat Street. We walked past the bowling greens (via a pit stop at the toilets) and came to a playground. It was a pretty nice, big playground so we let the twins run around there for a while.

Tai Po Waterfront Park playground

Isobel liked this shiny ball in the random minimalist area of the playground intended for older kids.

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This playground was situated in the vicinity of several themed gardens. You can see where the Palm Garden got its name from!

Tai Po Waterfront Park palm garden

Beyond the Palm Garden we found the waterfront. Surprisingly, we couldn’t get right up to the waterfront in the park because the cycle track running from Sha Tin to Tai Mei Tuk goes along the waterfront below. But that doesn’t really matter, as you still get the great views over the Tolo Harbour from the park. We followed this path along the edge of the park, past a lovely open grassy area which was signposted as a kite flying area and came across this lookout tower.

Tai Po Waterfront Park lookout tower

One of the nicest things for us was that the spiral path meant we could push the stroller up to the top! (although Tom might not agree that it was a great thing to do as he was the one pushing the heavy double stroller…)

The view from the top was lovely, even on a grey day like we had. This was the view over the harbour…

Tolo Harbour view from Tai Po Waterfront Park

…and looking back, over the park…

Tai Po Waterfront Park view from lookout tower

You also got a great view of the kites flying above the kite flying area (and indeed, the whole park) from part way up the tower.

Tai Po Waterfront Park kite flying

Moving on from the tower we came across another playground where we stopped to allow the twins to run around (I think we saw 3 or 4 playgrounds in total), and then beyond that some more beautifully manicured gardens (called the Western Garden). Next to this garden was an area filled with Chinese lanterns. Very picturesque!

Tai Po Waterfront Park Chinese lanterns

Finally, we walked back through the centre of the park, past an outdoor theatre and some random elephants made of (fake) flowers.

Tai Po Waterfront Park elephants

We really enjoyed visiting this park and spent a good couple of hours there, although you could spend much longer if you brought a picnic and wanted to chill out on the grass or try all the play areas with kids. The views were beautiful as well, and would be amazing on a clear day.

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

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Hong Kong Wetland Park

The Hong Kong Wetland Park was recommended to us a long time ago but we only finally got round to going over Chinese New Year. And I’m glad that we did – it was lovely and best of all, totally stroller friendly!

The easiest way to get to the Wetland Park is to take the MTR to Tin Shui Wai, and then take the light rail no. 705 to Tin Sau (which is surprisingly a bit closer to the entrance of the Wetland Park than the Wetland Park station!). From there it’s just a short well-signposted walk through a tunnel to the Wetland Park.

At the entrance of the Wetland Park are some lovely bird-inspired sculptures and an artificial hill over the visitor centre, which I’m told has great views over the park, but we didn’t go up. It’s pretty cheap to go in the park, HK$30 for adults and HK$15 for children over 3 (under 3’s are free). For more information, go to the Wetland Park website.

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Once inside, you can go round the visitor centre (but we didn’t so I can’t tell you what it’s like!) or just head straight out. The first thing you come to is a crocodile! He’s called Pui Pui and was thought to have been released into a nearby river by someone who had him as a pet until he got too big. Apparently it took a long time to capture him, but a team from the Wetland Park finally managed it and decided to give him a home.

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The park itself is really nicely arranged with paths and boardwalks all over to explore the different areas of the wetlands. And there are also lots and lots of information boards if you want to learn all about what you are looking at! Some areas are more open with clear water, while others are more boggy with plants.

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There are some landscaped parts which illustrate the different types of wetland.

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And some lovely flora, such as these pretty water lilies.

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Isobel and Jack enjoyed running around on the boardwalks! Some of them are nicely enclosed so they are pretty safe.

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The twins also spent a LONG time running in and out of an exhibition on mudsinkers, so we ended up knowing quite a bit about them, and were quite surprised later on when we saw loads of them squirming around in the mud! They look very primitive, and were very active – especially in fighting each other off their little bit of mud.

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We also spent a good hour relaxing in a grassy area with benches. Our picnic lunch had been eaten long before (there are benches throughout the park), but we had a snack and played for a while – it was really nice. You don’t find many stretches of grass in Hong Kong!

We didn’t see a huge number of birds, although there were a few flying around most of the time. We didn’t go in any of the hides though, we thought the twins would be too noisy and scare any birds off! This was the view from the visitor centre on the way out – it was definitely the most birds we’d seen all day! (you might have to look closely – they’re in the distance!)

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We ended up spending something like 4 hours in the Wetland Park and really enjoyed it. There is lots of space for kids to run around and lots of things to see and do. As I already mentioned, it’s really flat and very stroller friendly. The only bit we couldn’t go on with the stroller was one boardwalk that was too narrow.

It’s also pretty easy to get to, and is lovely and open. I couldn’t help but smile though because if you look one way, you just see sky and countryside but if you turn around, you see the residential towers of Tin Shui Wai! You can’t easily escape them in Hong Kong!

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Thanks for reading!

Rachel

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The park on top of the Kai Tak cruise terminal

I don’t think we’d have even known that there is a park on top of the new Kai Tak cruise terminal but for the fact that my lovely husband is a structural engineer and he worked on this building. He’s wanted to go ever since it opened and see his work up close so last October we headed on over.

The cruise terminal is built on the end of the runway of the old Kai Tak airport, which was notoriously one of the world’s most difficult runways to land on! So I suppose in a way it’s quite apt that the cruise terminal is also quite difficult to get to ;) Access to it is on a small road from Kowloon Bay and you can get the number 86 green minibus from Kowloon Bay MTR to the cruise terminal. Other ways to get there are listed here. I have to admit, we just took a taxi (although it’s hard to get a taxi home again as there are so few that visit the cruise terminal). The park is on top of the building (I think it’s listed as roof garden or RG in the lift) and there are also shops and restaurants on the roof and on lower floors, although I don’t think any of the ones on the roof were open when we went.

I have to admit that the park is really nice. It’s beautifully landscaped and immaculately kept, with winding paths and pretty flowerbeds, and even the odd patch of grass (a rare thing in Hong Kong).

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I don’t think that many people know about it so when we went it wasn’t that busy at all, even though it was a lovely Sunday afternoon.

And it has great views out over the harbour.

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There is another park on the end of the runway at ground level called Runway Park, which you can see in the picture below. We didn’t go, but it looks like a nice wide piece of grass (although I’ve heard it’s not the greatest grass ever).

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Our main reason for visiting was really to see the two arches, which are the bits my husband worked on. They’re pretty cool.

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Jack and Isobel certainly enjoyed themselves (weren’t they so much smaller then?!) and so did we. I’d really recommend it if you’re looking for a quiet spot to enjoy Hong Kong sometime.

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Thanks for reading!

Rachel

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