A splash in the ocean: At Hong Kong's coolest water park
Planning a getaway to beat the sweltering heat? With its commitment to offering experiences that combine entertainment with education and conservation, Hong Kong’s Ocean Park should top your bucket list of travel destinations.
Since its inception in 1977, the organisation has been making fond memories for visitors - over a million just last year. Here are five things you can look forward to at one of the most popular theme parks of the region.
First things first. The seven restaurants at the park, which offer unique signature dishes, make for any foodie’s paradise. The gastronomically adventurous can choose from traditional Chinese and fusion cuisine, and if you’d much rather stick to conventionally popular fare that’s sure to sit well on your palette, the theme park offers a range of preparation styles that are sure to get a thumb-up from chefs the world over. Want Indian food? That’s available too.
Neptune’s Restaurant has an ambience which, not at variance with its name, is out of the world. If you had to choose from all seven of Ocean Park’s restaurants, this is the place to go. It not only offers a mind-blogging undersea view, but also serves an East meets West dining experience. When you’re here, do yourself a favour and order a Grilled Australian Tomahawk Steak – crispy, succulent and char-grilled to perfection, this dish is a mini-party in the mouth.
Raft and tumble
Thrill Mountain, with its colourful lights and rhythmic music, is themed on carnivals. The rides and booth games make for an exhilarating experience that you wouldn’t want to miss. The hair-raiser of a roller coaster offers a stunning view of the South China Sea while hurling you through multiple inversions at a top speed of 88 km/h. If milder rides are more your thing, don’t worry, the Whirly Bird and Rev Booster are spectacular too. Several food kiosks that dot the Thrill Mountain offer yummy treats to munch on, but please make sure that you get on the rides before you grab a bite, because, you know, common sense...
The park is the first in Southeast Asia to integrate a water ride and a walk-through rainforest exhibit, allowing guests to see exotic birds, animals and fish up close. The Rapid, a raft rushing along a riptide, gives visitors the unique experience of encountering species from the Amazon.
The meet-and-greet programmes allow visitors to get up close and personal (and get a hug too) with penguins, dolphins, seals and other animals.
Each programme cost upwards of HK$1,000 (over the entry fee) and it’s worth every penny. You’ll
be provided appropriate outfits and safety gear for the events, which make for a pretty cool way of
learning about animals. The underwater aquarium has a viewing panel that gets you closer to a whopping 400 fish species. By the end of the session, you’d be taking away an unforgettable experience.
Shops of things to come
Ocean Park has several outlets putting on sale merchandise that is pocket-friendly. From hair accessories to food to clothing, there’s everything you’d want to take back home. If it’s local snacks that you prefer to give your friends and relatives, go for the traditional eggroll biscuits. They’re sure to be a hit. And the origami puzzle boxes are pretty cool too.
Turning the cables
The iconic facility of Ocean Park is exactly what you’ll need to let the splendour of the theme park and, well, a huge chunk of the city sink in. The park has a total of 252 cable cars that carry passengers across its length and breadth at a steady speed of 3.2 m/h, 205 metres above the South China Sea. Once you’ve had the perfect day at Ocean Park, this is perhaps the best way to call it a day: a soothing 8-minute ride that offers unhindered views of the sky, the sea and the hills.