As announced on my Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Facebook page, I was in Hong Kong for the 1st ever #EsCapersHK scavenger hunt. And the best news is, we (myself and Joyce) are the winning team, bagging the first prize in the race with media representatives from 6 other countries – Singapore, Indonesia, Japan, China, Australia and Thailand! 🙂
It is a wondrous feeling to have won a race; but having won a race ‘representing’ your country makes winning all the much sweeter.
Being a digital strategist myself I certainly could relate to the element of social media in this race.
Once each team gets their clues, we are supposed to enlist the assistance of our followers/fans and friends to determine the location/answers for each check point. My sincere thanks goes to Mei from Time Out HK for her speedy responses and directions and Cammy, a newly met friend (from my Instagram contest) who was just in HK just a week before.
And of course, to everyone else who linked google maps and gave us the answers to the clues on facebook, twitter and Instagram, thank you so much! 🙂
But at the end of the day, it was the 2 Accor girls that was the catalyst in our success. Virginia and Connie of Novotel Citygate was patient, helpful and encouraging throughout the 2 days race. Love you girls! 😀
Fun as it was, it’s been a whirlwind trip.
In some ways I guess you could say that we have seen and experienced Hong Kong, though in bits and pieces. We landed at the airport and was immediately whisked off to Novotel Hong Kong Nathan Road Kowloon. A quick welcome and introduction later, we were set loose on the street of Hong Kong for Race Day 1.
Thankfully complimentary HK prepaid cards with data was given out to all participants. We were Instagramming, tweeting, Facebook-ing and whatsapp-ing the moment we got our clues in hand!
Below: All in attention to the screen during the briefing.
*Pictures courtesy of Novotel Hong Kong Nathan Road Kowloon FB Page.
The obligatory group picture before the send-off.
Clues for Day 1:
The winning team will be determined by a number of criteria namely the least time used, the least money used, the number of checkpoints visited, the number of check points completed, posts and the creative use of social media.
We were each given 100HKD per day for buying the required items on the clue sheet and for transportation.
We “kind of” strategise a little as we rushed out to the streets of Kowloon. Ok, where is the nearest check points to us? Where are the other check points and are they all within walking distance? How would we get there if otherwise?
But of course there’s always time for a selfie. 🙂
Based on Mei’s, Cammy and our 2 team marshalls Virginia and Connie’s advice the Australian Dairy Company is the nearest to Novotel Hong Kong Nathan Road Kowloon.
The task at Australian Dairy Company was to try a bowl of Double Boiled Egg White Milk Dessert and take a FUN photo.
I think we did pretty well for the ‘fun’ part. 😀
10 points for that! Next we rushed over to Temple Street Market as it is also located in Jordan area of Kowloon.
Task: Take a fun photo in front of the Temple Street Pagoda entrance. 10 points.
I don’t know how I ended up lying on the floor. But heck, I guess the adrenaline got into me. 🙂
The 3rd check point was further and we were advised to take the MTR. I did download the HK MTR app on my iPhone (thanks for the tip ML!) and it certainly helped.
But nothing beats having Virginia & Connie around. We got to the Jade Market pretty quick!
3rd check point – Fun photo at the Jade Market!
Joyce: how much?
Me: You can’t afford la!
There were definitely some stunts we did that could have got us scolded by the Hong Kong vendors. But luckily enough for this case, there was a stool nearby that was vacant and the vendor wasn’t around so we kind of just “borrowed” his stall as our prop! 😀
How else can you take a “fun” photo at this place? What pose would YOU do? Remember, you’re strapped for time and you have never been here before. Basically you have 30 seconds at every check point to think of a creative/fun pose!
We were really getting into the groove by then though we could start feeling the beads of perspiration down our collars. I had my newly dyed hair dripping pink dye with sweat all over my tee!
The next check point was a tad harder as the people here (Ladies Market) was outright rude. We needed to buy something cheap since there are points allocated to our HKD100/day budget. But the item must also be something CHEERFUL that represents Hong Kong.
We settled for a fridge magnet in the end, as nothing here was really cheap. I thought I’ll make up for the cheerful part by being the cheerful “item” in the picture. Besides, Joyce did looked like a cheerful shopper no? 🙂
Moving on we had to “discover the best street food in Mongkok“. We were specifically required to buy a stick of fish balls and take a fun photo.
What do you think of this picture? Fun enough yes?
10 points for us! 😀
After that it was the MTR again to Tsim Sha Shui for the Star Ferry – 10 points. The task was to take a fun photo when you see the ferry. The GREEN one specifically.
Me: I wanna jump ;(
Joyce: *applies lipstick* Go ahead.
The Star Ferry is an iconic landmark of Hong Kong. It has been carrying passengers since 1888 and still popular today although the two sides of Victoria Harbour are now connected by a world-class infrastructure system of road and rail tunnels. I guess it’s a nostalgic icon, just like our Penang ferry here in Malaysia.
We walked along the pier to find the statue of Bruce Lee, our next check point at Avenue of Stars. This gave us the opportunity to take some landscape shots. I’ll share more in another post about Avenue of Stars and the Promenade at Tsim Sha Sui (which is where we are now) but here’s a panorama one as a preview.
The pier is popular for both the locals and tourists as it is a safe, clean public area suitable for walks/jogs, especially with the gentle breeze which is really relaxing. We power-walked a good 1 km before we found Bruce Lee.
Task (Check point 6): Take a fun photo with Bruce Lee. 10 points.
Don’t mess with the kinkyfairy @joycethefairy or the wackybecky! 😀
Finally it was the last check point for the day! We had to head back to the hotel to take a fun photo with the GM of Novotel Nathan Road – Mr Olivier Moies-Delval.
And guess what? We were the FIRST team to complete all challenges and return to the hotel! Hip hip hurray! 🙂
But of course, that was for DAY 1. There are 2 days to this #EsCapersHK challenge.
But it’s good to know we are in the lead. Thank you everyone for the encouraging words and support online (Instagram, Twitter, FB, FB Page). It certainly kept my spirits up though I received bad news which was work related that evening.
*Not sure why it was updated twice on FB when I only posted once on my Instagram..
We had a nice dinner and a good night rest at Novotel Hong Kong Nathan Road in Kowloon before checking out early the next day for Hong Kong Island. After a scrumptious lunch we are rearing to go for Day 2!
Day 2 of the Hong Kong es-capers Scavenger Hunt is longer and the clues trickier. While we had 8 clues for day 1, we were given 12 check points for day 2.
I also realized that all the other teams are more serious this round too. Oh, I smell competitiveness today! 🙂
And thus the race begun.
Check point 1: 20 points.
Ibis Central HK GM Mr Warren needs a hug to cheer up his day! 🙂
After leaving Ibis Central HK our strategy was to find a big abalone at the Dried Seafood Street. This street was just a lane away from Ibis. But the challenge was to be able to hold on a abalone and take a photo with it – 10 points.
Naturally for such an expensive item (this one here cost almost HKD1500/RM600) no shopkeeper in their right mind would allow just anyone to handle one.
Thankfully Joyce acted the part of a ‘tai-tai’ beautifully, and after being shooed away from a few shops, we managed to stumbled upon one where the nice shopkeeper bought the act that we are potential buyers and allowed us to “take a better look” at one of the dried abalones.
Connie quickly took a picture before we had to return it into its jar!
Relieved to had that done, we moved swiftly to the Western Market a few kilometres away. The Western Market is a grand Edwardian building selling art, crafts and bales and bales of beautiful fabrics.
The challenge was to “match a red fabric with a piece of blue fabric and take a fun photo” – 10 points.
It sounds straightforward, but I can assure you that it isn’t. In Hong Kong, most vendors do not like having anyone handling/touching their wares unless you really buy their products. The argument of “if I don’t feel or see it better, how could I decide to buy” doesn’t seem to apply here.
Long story short, both of us acted like we are serious about making a cheongsam out of these fabrics, and managed a quick shot while holding it against our body to “see if the colour” suit us or otherwise. 😀
That done, we headed to Mam Mo Temple (10 points) next. Again we are supposed to take a fun picture here, and I really had to wonder how are we supposed to do so.
It doesn’t seem right to act silly in or outside a temple!
Anyhow, meditating (me) and reflection (Joyce) seems to suit the theme. 😀
The way to Mam Mo was quite a walk plus hike. Some teams actually skipped this one as it was a bit out of the way from the other checkpoints. But we figured that we needed all the points possible to stay in the lead, and thankfully we did finish all checkpoints!
From Mam Mo Temple we moved to North Point area. All the previous check points was within Sheung Wan area so we walked/ran. To get to North Point we took the MTR.
The next check point was to get hold of the GM of ibis North Point (10 points). Java Road is Exit A1 from the MTR station. Mei told me to turn right and walk straight til I see the hotel. It was really easy to spot and at the hotel Mr Adam Hipp was already waiting for us.
Don’t ask me what was I trying to do. I just made do with whatever that’s around me and this pose just popped into my mind! 🙂
Mr Adam offered coffee and tea but we had to turn down his kind offer as we still have many check points more to go!
We rushed off to find the famous mini egg puff place which is popular with a lot of celebrities. It was barely visible with nary a proper signage – very much a plain hole in the wall kind of shop.
Anyhow the only thing I like about the waffle was my pose, since tastewise it was rather plain.
Eggs-pack = six-pack abs. GET IT?? 😀
Just a turn away is the Sunbeam Theatre (10 points). This theatre is another HK landmark as it is the only theatre in Hong Kong that has regular scheduled Cantonese Opera performances. If you haven’t realized by now, all of our check -points are either properties of Accor Hotels (they are the sponsors of this scavenger hunt) or popular/iconic Hong Kong food/places, keeping to the theme of exploring and getting to know Hong Kong in a fun & exciting way.
We hopped into a bus next for Times Square, which is in Causeway Bay, leaving the area of North Point, Hong Kong.
Frankly this area is a maze of malls and shops. Thank god again for Virginia and Connie!
Task: Take a fun photo anywhere outside Times Square – 10 points.
Pretty apt yeah? 🙂 The pose is related to ‘time‘ since we are at Times Square and we are trying to show that we have ‘time’ in our hands.
Just a short walk away is the intriguing ‘Da Siu Yan’ – an old chinese ritual involving hitting a slipper to put a curse on a ‘villian’ (basically anyone you don’t like). These grannies claim they can curse their customers’ foes and reverse their bad luck.
Task: Test your cantonese skills and find out how much she charges and also take a fun photo with the grannies.
We are lucky this time as the granny that we spoke to was such a friendly soul that I seriously doubted that she’s a Hongkie.
Too bad we had to rush. I do have a few people in mind that ought to be taught a lesson. And for HKD20 per person, I can definitely afford to ‘torment’ quite a few! 😀
We continued our journey to Wan Chai White House. The task here was another ‘fun’ photo. Frankly at this juncture I was dripping wet with sweat and running dry on ideas. Fortunately there was a bucket, a yellow sign and a cloth nearby which I conveniently “borrowed” for our pose.
Our last check point; the Novotel Century Hong Kong is also in Wan Chai area.
Our task (20 points) was to take another fun photo with the GM, Mr Jerome Stubert. And our second last check point was to buy HKD20 worth of the famous char siew at Joy Hing Chiu Chow Roasted Meat Shop (10 points) which happened to be just round the corner.
Oh, you can be assured that Virginia’s expression here is genuine! Hahah!! :DD
And the last photo!
We completed both tasks easily enough and was relieved to finally be able to sit down and rest!
We were the 3rd team to clock in at the hotel this time. The 1st team was Japan followed by the Indonesia team. However I was still pretty confident that we are in the lead for the first place since the Japan team skipped one of the check-points and the 2nd and 3rd team from yesterday was Australia and China.
So Malaysia is within the top 3 placing for both days. As the Accor Hotels team tallied our remaining HKD, timing and check points, I busied myself gorging on char siew and pork belly. *burp*
The winning team was announced that evening on the Aqua Luna Cruise. And guess what?
The Malaysia team took 1st prize! And of course, I had to make sure my pose is the most memorable one! :DD
On the same night FIVE lucky in-house guests, from FIVE Accor hotels (Novotel & ibis) in Hong Kong was rewarded 20,000 points to their Le Club Membership and they were invited to join us on the cruise too! This was to celebrate the 5th birthday of Accor’s guest loyalty programme, Le Club AccorHotels.
Say hi to te 5 smoking hot GMs of the 5 Accor Hotels in Hong Kong! :DD
Not a member yet? Click here to join Le Club AccorHotels for free!
Stay tuned for more updates on the hotels, delicious HK food and of course my business class return flight as well as the incredibly impressive Cathay Pacific lounges at the HKIA.
I must thank the wonderful sponsors for this trip again – Cathay Pacific, Accor Hotels and Hong Kong Tourism Board for the experience and hospitality. :DD
I can’t wait to return to HK for a leisure FOOD + SHOPPING trip!
**Check out Instagram hashtag #EsCapersHK if you’ve missed out on mine (instagram.com/wackybecky) & Joyce’s super creative photos around Hong Kong! 😀