The Expat Photographer is an expatriate's photo blog. Covering travel and photography from America to Beijing, Hong Kong and beyond. General topics, articles and lots of photo galleries.
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Sunrise over Angkor Wat
The holidays (CNY, Spring Festival) are over, back from my recent round of travels, and all moved into my new base of operations as it were. Lots of back-logged content being worked on, including locations in Vietnam and Cambodia, so be sure to stay tuned!
In the meantime, sunrise over the one and only, Angkor Wat…
Monkey portrait, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam
A friend I made recently while visiting Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam. Apparently there’s a troop of semi-tame monkeys living in the trees at the zoo. He was interested in me and my gear generally, but particularly interested in what I was having for lunch. We decided to eat together.
Chinese New Year's Feast
Finishing up the last of some errands before my trip (off for Cambodia tomorrow), it was hard not to notice the local main street of the neighboring village was setting up for a feast. Got a few quick shots of the celebrations being prepared.
The Jade Void Palace, Hong Kong
The Pak Tai Temple in the Wan Chai district of Hong Kong is officially known as Yuk Hui Kung, the Jade Void Palace.
During the collapse of the Shang dynasty, about 1,000 BC, the Jade Pure One tapped young prince Pak Tai to do battle with, and defeat, the great scourge of the land, the Demon King. Placed in charge of the 12 heavenly legions, whose duty was to fight evil, Pak Tai was to destroy the Demon King and bring peace to the land. Meeting the Demon King in combat, who summoned a giant tortoise and serpent to help him win, Pak Tai was proven triumphant, vanquishing the Demon King. As a reward Pak Tai was granted the title of Supreme Emperor of Dark Heaven, and elevated to the level of immortal. Pretty sweet ‘job well done’ bonus you have to admit.
The temple itself is quite a sight to see. It sits at the end of a dead-end street, at the foot of a jungle mountain surrounded with trees. There are little gargoyles as fence toppers on the surrounding iron fence, with vines running from the trees to the ground. The courtyard is old stone with lots of green plants, with the occasional whiff of smoke blowing out from the incense inside. Ornate, detailed, and set within the jungle, the temple seems somewhat surreal, like a set piece for an epic movie.
Inside, the ornate details of the temple were ubiquitous. In every corner and on every rafter there’s a lantern, or statue or symbol of some sort. This is on top of the main, or central, altars and incense pots used to offer up prayers to one of the variety of specific deities enshrined. I couldn’t begin to keep track of who’s who, who did what, why this one’s holding fruit, or that one’s has flowers, or why this one little statue in the middle of many has a red ribbon on its head. I looked about for a 200 year old Yoda-like Chinese monk who could point to stuff with a cane explaining what was what. Unfortuantely, there wasn’t one.
There are adherents though, as this is an attended temple. Candles and incense are both plentiful as prayers are offered up by worshippers. Attendents stock and clean and resupply and greet, and generally attend to the temple is the most devoted manner.
It’s a great place to grab a bite also, the small park literally on the other side of the tiny road from the temple. If you’re ever in the Wan Chai section of Hong Kong, you really should swing by the Jade Void Palace and have a look.
Hong Kong Street Markets
The street markets in Hong Kong are a long time attraction. Bustling and numerous, they’re really legendary aspects of Hong Kong. They’re outside ‘stores’ sometimes consisting of kiosks of various types, and sometimes nothing more than a seemingly endless series of interlocking, framed tents. Some catering to morning crowds, others famous for being night markets, no trip (at least first trip) to Hong Kong is complete with visiting at least one of the street markets.
The Kowloon side of Hong Kong, the mainland side as opposed to Hong Kong Island, is where most of the markets are located. It’s also where the best deals and biggest selections can be found. In fact, I often stay not only in Kowloon, but on Fa Yuen Street (sometimes called ‘Sneaker Street’ due to all the sneaker/shoe shopping) in part because I can walk out onto Fa Yuen Street from my hotel and be in the Fa Yuen Street Market in, literally, a minute or two.
The largest and most well known of Hong Kong’s street markets is the Temple Street Market or ‘The Night Market’. While most street markets generally focus on some niche, like goods for women, the Temple Street Market focuses upon being a well known market. It’s not only one of the most famous markets in Hong Kong, but it’s also one of the most fun. The Night Market, even more so than most of the others, is a destination unto itself with numerous restaurants and shops surrounding the market.
Some of the other larger and more interesting markets include: Ladies Market, Toy Market, Jade Market, Cat Street Market, and Fa Yuen Street Market (Sneaker Street). All are worth visiting and really shouldn’t be missed on a visit to Hong Kong.
Some useful links regarding the markets:
‘It’s easy, just follow the signs’ they say…
‘It’s easy, just follow the signs’ they say…
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