My Extreme Birthday at Ocean Park Hong Kong

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Yeah, Kaye and I celebrated my 26th birthday at Ocean Park Hong Kong.

Turning 26!

Aboard Bus _

Aboard Citybus 629

How to go to Ocean Park from Golden Crown Hostel

From Golden Crown Hostel, we rode the MTR to Admiralty Station. Following the instructions, we made our way to the bus station and rode the Citybus Route 629 which is a direct bus going to Ocean Park. After a few short minutes, we were dropped off right in front of the park entrance. Note that we bought our tickets at Golden Crown for a discounted price, lower than the prevailing ticket price at Ocean Park.

Blogger’s Note: Date of visit to Ocean Park Hong Kong was last August 24, 2013.

Bus station near Admiralty MTR Station

Bus station near Admiralty MTR Station

Upon entering Ocean Park, we were immediately greeted by the Aqua City Lagoon and  The Grand Aquarium. However, our visit with the sea creatures will have to wait for just  a little bit since our careful planning to navigate the humongous theme park had some priorities to take care of. First stop: Cable Car Station.

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The Grand Aquarium

Cable Car to The Summit

The queue to the cable cars was a bit long as it took us about 15 minutes to have our turn. The cable cars were, uhmmm, small (fits about 6 people). In fact, it’s the smallest cable car  we’ve ridden, so far. If you have fear of heights AND cable cars, you’re gonna have a bad time. Haha. Fortunately, there is another mode of transport going from the Waterfront to The Summit (via Tram) which I’ll talk about later.

Cable car ride to The Summit

Cable car ride to The Summit

While the cable car trip may seem like a horror ride for some, I thoroughly enjoyed it thanks to the spectacular panoramic views. There were some “swaying” moments during the cable car ride but it’s nothing to be feared about.

With regard to cable cars, size does matter.

With regard to cable cars, size does matter.

A look from up above

A look from up above

Preview of The Summit

Preview of The Summit

Hair Raiser

Upon reaching The Summit, we found ourselves near some of the best ride attractions of the park since the cable car drop-off point was near Thrill Mountain. To kick things off with a bang, we decided to ride one of the most intimidating roller coasters the park has to offer. I present to you our first ride of the day: Hair Raiser.

It waits

It waits

Since it was still early, the queue for Hair Raiser was smaller than usual so I would definitely recommend checking out this ride first thing after the cable car ride to maximize time.

As for the ride itself? Wow. The ride certainly gives justice to its name. The ride was very, very fast (according to Ocean Park’s website, the ride’s speeds up to 4G). I really couldn’t remember much of the ride (save for its awesomeness) because I was literally screaming the entire time. Yep, that’s what newly turned 26-year old adults do. I couldn’t have asked for a better opening salvo for my birthday than riding a roller-coaster complete with sharp turns, a 360 vertical loop and a huge visual of a creepy clown. Fantastic stuff.

Truly Hair Raising!

Truly Hair Raising!

Hair Raiser
Crowd: Light to Moderate (we queued during the morning)
Entertainment Value: 4.5 out of 5
Verdict: Must ride
Remarks: Perfect ride to start your day!

The Rapids

After dizzying ourselves with the Hair Raiser, we walked a few steps to the next attraction on Thrill Mountain, The Rapids. Though this ride type is quite common, we still wanted to ride this because we weren’t able to ride Jurassic Park Rapids at Universal Studios Singapore due to technical problems (saddening really). See that poncho from USS? Now that’s what “saving for later” really means.

Blogger’s Note: If you don’t have raincoats or ponchos with you, you can buy one-time use ponchos (sadly, no Ocean Park branding) along the queue.

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Haha.

I think we’re in the wrong theme park. LOL

Make no mistake about this ride, you will get wet. If you’re not gonna get wet with the strong rapids, you will eventually get hit by water blasters randomly placed along the path of the ride. Our strategy was to cover our faces with the Park Map. Hahaha. No surprises for this ride really, no nerve-wrenching twists or sudden falls. Just wet fun.

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Wetness greatness

Wetness greatness

The Rapids
Crowd: Moderate to Heavy
Entertainment Value: 3.75 out of 5
Verdict: Ride if you’re not afraid of getting wet.
Remarks: Spectators have access to water blasters and WILL target unsuspecting riders. Beware!

Sea Dreams

After we got rid of our wet ponchos, we headed to the Ocean Theatre, located at the Marine World for the Sea Dreams musical show. We were a bit late so that meant we were unable to watch the start of the show (a rather lame excuse because we just didn’t pay attention to the show times). Still, we managed to watch most of it.

Sea Dreams at the Ocean Theatre

Sea Dreams at the Ocean Theatre

Go dolphins!

Go dolphins!

The show featured the in-house dolphins and sea lions of Ocean Park which included swimming, diving and jumping skills from the talented sea creatures. I can’t really elaborate on the show too much because I was busy enjoying myself with the performances (especially the dolphins). I’ll let my photos do the talking.

#ShowOff

#ShowOff

 

Seal of Approval

Seal of Approval

There was also a segment in the show wherein there’s a bit of audience participation required. Don’t worry as this was most probably staged by the Sea Dreams crew. You don’t want to be kissed by a huge sea lion on the mouth without being trained or anything, right?

Just a kiss on your lips in the moonlight

He kissed a seal and he liked it

Sea Dreams
Crowd: Heavy
Entertainment Value: 4 out of 5
Verdict: Must watch.
Remarks: Get out of the Ocean Theatre as soon as the show ends. You wouldn’t want to leave alongside the huge crowd.

Once the show was officially wrapped, we hurriedly went for the exits because with the large audience crowd, you wouldn’t want to be stuck in a sea of people. Besides, we were already starving that time so might as well look for lunch.

Blogger’s Note: There are plenty of food stalls and restaurants inside Ocean Park. While food in restaurants are still priced theme-park-style, it’s good to note that meals by food kiosks are WAY cheaper compared to what can be found at Disneyland. For the full list of food kiosks at Ocean Park, click here.

Since our breakfast consisted only of coffee and sandwich (courtesy of 7-eleven), we opted to eat some chicken and rice at Golden Chicken. Sadly, no photos were taken during the duration of the meal (did I mention we were starving after the Sea of Dreams?)

In the immortal words of Spongebob: Let's go jelly fishing!

In the immortal words of Spongebob: Let’s go jelly fishing!

After filling ourselves with some chicken, rice and french fries, we figured we had to let the food settle down before riding the other coasters at the park. We then found ourselves inside Sea Jelly Spectacular where different species of live jelly fishes are being showcased.

Unfortunately, I could not figure out the correct settings for my RX100 to shoot inside the dark room filled with glowing creatures. After being frustrated with tweaking the camera settings, I just moved on and used my Samsung Galaxy Note 2 for the photos instead. Not the best, I agree.

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After killing some precious time with the glowing and colorful jelly fishes, we decided to resume with the rides. Enter The Dragon.

The Dragon

The Dragon is one of the vintage rides inside Ocean Park. Why vintage, you ask? Well, for one, the seats of the ride show some aging and second, the structure of the coaster itself would not qualify to be one of those modern roller coasters. But what the heck, I think this coaster is still worth trying out.

No, this is not owned by Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida

No, this is not owned by Lyoto Machida

While the coaster has a 360-degree loop, it wasn’t as scary as the Hair Raiser due to the speed not going up to par with some of the coasters we’ve experienced in the past. Still, you can get great views from the ocean just to the right.

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The Dragon
Crowd: Light to Moderate
Entertainment Value: 3.75 out of 5
Verdict: Ride if you have spare time.
Remarks: Coaster is a bit old and slow (compared to Hair Raiser)

Mine Train

After being quite underwhelmed with the The Dragon, we headed to the next roller coaster on the agenda: Mine Train. But first things first, I will tell you that this ride provides some of the best views on the POV of a rider. Islets, mountains and the ocean? Perfect combination for a roller coaster view.

mine

Mine Train

Mine Train

While this coaster does not have the feared loop, what makes the ride interesting are the sudden drops and of course, the stunning view that comes along with riding it. There’s a moment during the ride with a sudden steep fall though so be on the lookout for that. 😉

Best view ever from a roller coaster!

Best view ever from a roller coaster!

Mine Train
Crowd: Light to Moderate
Entertainment Value: 4 out of 5
Verdict: Must ride (mainly because of the view)
Remarks: Beware of the sudden drop. *wink*

A short walk after Mine Train is The Abyss. But we figured we weren’t ready for the big daddy yet so we passed on the ride. Maybe next time. Maybe.

What do we say to The Abyss? Not today!

What do we say to The Abyss? Not today!

Ocean Park Tower

Ocean Park Tower. Good for kids or the elderly who don’t want to mess around with the scary park rides.

A few steps after The Abyss was the escalator going back to Thrill Mountain where other good stuff were still in store for us.

Longest escalator I've seen

Longest escalator I’ve seen

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Polar Adventure

You can find all sorts of polar animals at the Polar Adventure. Do note that it can be freezing cold inside. 🙂

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Penguins in their solidarity pose

For together we stand. Divided we fall.

The polar animals were such cuties, especially the group of penguins. The way they walk is hilarious. The big walrus can be quite shy as he doesn’t come up shore often. He just likes to swim around the icy waters.

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What does the fox say?

We didn’t stay too long at the Polar Adventure because it was getting really, really cold inside.

The Flash

Just outside the Polar Adventure is one the most thrilling rides Ocean Park can offer, The Flash. Originally, we weren’t supposed to ride this because the Youtube videos made the ride look very scary. And it is scary-looking, much more if you watch other tourists scream in terror while being suspended upside down in mid-air. But, what the heck, the temptation to ride The Flash was stronger than our fears so we just went swinging for the fences and went inside the queue.

The Grandaddy of 'em all!

The Grandaddy of ’em all!

Not gonna lie, the whole ride was one of the best feelings in the world. From the gradual start of the pendulum, to the increasing speed, to being upside down mid-air? Natural HIGH. I was screaming the entire time that by the end of the ride, I could feel that my throat was as dry as a desert. I wouldn’t have a problem riding The Flash again if ever I come back here in Ocean Park.

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Not gonna lie, I squealed like a little girl.

If you’re on the fence on riding The Flash, I wouldn’t really blame you. It is very intimidating at first sight. Though if you ask me for advice, I’d like to quote the slogan of one of my favorite shoe brands: JUST DO IT!

When you feel the world is turning upside down

When you feel the world is turning upside down

The Flash
Crowd: Heavy
Entertainment Value: 5 out of 5
Verdict: Must ride! Personal favorite!
Remarks: Don’t be intimated. Just think of having the ultimate bragging rights!

After the thrilling ride that was The Flash, we went back to the Aqua City Lagoon. However, we didn’t take the cable car ride back. Instead, we went for the less-stressful tram ride.

tram

tram inside

Inside the tram

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Train station near Aqua City Lagoon

Feeling very thirsty (because of the screams, obviously), we went to Panda Cafe to have a quick rest and some refreshments.

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Forgot the names of our semi-alcoholic drinks

Giant Panda Adventure

Up next was one of the highlights of my birthday celebration, our close encounter with the Giant Panda.

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The Giant Panda Adventure is a big enclosure, air-conditioned to cater to the needs of the pandas in captivity. We were really excited to meet the cute pandas for the first time. They were as every bit as cute as you’d imagine them to be.

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Despite their physique, giant pandas move pretty fast. It’s also good that their man-made habitat closely resembles their home back in the wild.

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Overly Photogenic Panda

Cuteness Level: Over 9000!

Cuteness Level: Over 9000!

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Long lost brother?

Aside from the giant pandas, also present is their cousin, the smaller but more cunning red panda. With it’s visibly smaller size, it would seem like a bear, a raccoon and a wild cat had a threesome.

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A bit snobbish compared to it’s larger brethren, this red panda.

He's not really into humans. Haha.

He’s not really into humans. Haha.

The Grand Aquarium

After finally seeing the pandas in the flesh, we proceeded to The Grand Aquarium. Since it was late in the afternoon, the crowd was getting very heavy, so we had to wait in the queue for almost 20 minutes. Hassle, I know but we did what we had to do to have a full experience at Ocean Park.

With Whiskers!

With Whiskers!

 The number of marine animals housed inside The Grand Aquarium can be a bit overwhelming, added the fact that there were hundreds of tourists together with you. We didn’t stay too long at each station (mainly due to the large crowds), though I still got some pretty decent shots of the beautiful sea creatures inside.

Shark in a tank

Shark in a tank

You came to the wrong neighborhood (expletive)!

You came to the wrong neighborhood mdfka!

The Ray Family

The Ray Family

We had our dinner at the Aqua City Bakery just near the fountains. We stayed quite a while there since we were feeling really, really tired with the day’s activities plus we were also biding time as we await for the lights show at the Aqua City Lagoon, Symbio.

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Pretty standard eclairs and shakes. Starbucks has better food for a cheaper price. Harsh realities of theme park food. 🙂

Symbio

By 7:30pm, Symbio, Ocean Park’s homegrown laser lights, pyro and fountain show started. While it doesn’t belong to the same league as Disney In The Stars, it certainly has its moments during the show. Do note that watching near the lagoon may get you wet or expose you to some very high temperatures due to the pyro.

Symbio!

Symbio!

While the laser lights were not the clearest, the story of the two dragons combined with the loud pyrotechnics and synchronized fountain sprouts made for an entertaining show.

The fiery depths of Ocean Park

Yep, that’s a real wall of fire. No special effects, just pure flame goodness.

The Dragon has awaken

Dragons, Dragons everywhere.

Symbio
Crowd: Moderate to Heavy
Entertainment Value: 3.75 out of 5
Verdict: Watch if you have time to spare. The flaming river spot is worth it though!
Remarks: Be careful not to watch very near the lagoon.

Well, that was a long day of celebrating my birthday. Haha. This is perhaps my most memorable birthday celebration, not to mention the most extreme. Will I go to more extreme lengths and celebrate my future birthdays bungee jumping or skydiving maybe? With this precedent, consider that a possibility. -rod-

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5 comments

  1. /What do we say to The Abyss? Not today!/
    /Long lost brother?/

    Haha! Loved reading your blog post. And it was very informative~ Thanks for taking the time to rate the rides! Definitely helped me decide which ones to actually try.

    Like

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