Tag Archives: stairs

Heading out to the bookstore? Know this…

The two largest bookstores in Wan Chai are JP books (right by exit A3 on Johnston road) and Cosmos books which is on Lun Fat and Johnston, more or less opposite Fook Lam Moon restaurant.

The JP bookshop has only one entrance and is a multilevel shop with 3 floors. The ground floor is where the entrance is and you’re required to head up to the first floor and upwards (ie if you want to get to the kids section be prepared to walk up 4 flights of stairs).Cosmos books has a similar layout, it’s a massive sprawl of books set out on two floors, in the basement and on the first floor. The ground floor serves as the main entrance.

So going to the bookstore, you’re faced with these two entrances.

If you’re heading out to the bookshop to pick up a few travel or summer reading books for yourself or the kids, remember to leave the stroller at home. These bookshops have comprehensive collections but are definitely not stroller nor disabled friendly.

Without resorting to couch purchasing on Amazon, what would your stroller options be then?

Kelly and Walsh opened recently in Pacific Place. It’s tucked into a corner sort of opposite and one level up from the cinema. That bookstore has aisles that would make mothers smile…. and an excellent selection of English books.

Alternatively if you’re in Wan Chai this weekend, you can brave the crowds and head to the book fair at the Exhibition center.

A stair master downhill trail from Parkview (Wan Chai) to Happy Valley

We had two appointments on a sunny Saturday. First, a brunch at a friend’s house in Parkview at 11am then a 3pm play date at the Hong Kong Jockey Club club house in Happy Valley. 

We left Parkview at 2pm and our Parkview host suggested that we could get to Happy Valley via a trail. As we had an hour, bright sunny weather and it was largely downhill, I agreed to give it a try.

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Start of trail, Parkview in the background
First we did a short steep uphill from just outside Parkview’s entrance. Two stone cubes mark the start of the trail. 

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Then you’ll see some steps with a trail signboard. 

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This one indicates you’re on a hiking trail.

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Immediately, we entered a nicely shaded path that had railings on one side and a water pipe on stilts beside a ravine.

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Continuing along the trail, there were trail markers and distance posts which told us we weren’t lost. I saw several caves leftover from the war that were not in good repair, partly collapsed and covered in shrubs. It was interesting to see, photos didn’t come out well though.

 There were some beautiful views along the way when the path twisted along exposed mountainside.

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Then we came to a proper map and information board. We then got a better idea of exactly where we were.

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“Are we here mama?”
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More shaded walking after that along leaf strewn narrow pathways that only fit us in single file.

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Subsequent to the sign post above, it was gradual downhill stairs pretty much all the way.

  

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no problem for a toddler to enjoy these stairs
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Descending to Happy Valley
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Heading back into the shade

The gradual stairway led to a covered reservoir with a lookout point. This was Jardine’s lookout. It was very exposed and the grass looked rather burnt so we didn’t linger long.

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The next part of the trail was part shaded but with very steep uneven stairs and low hanging branches.

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Toddler needed some help down the steep stairway

 The descent then got rather exposed toward Happy Valley, with bigger and more numerous pipes visible.

  
The trail ends by a small Towngas supply station. 

  
The trail ends at Tai Hang Road. 

  
We crossed over to Green Lane and walked down the sidewalks to the Hong Kong Jockey Clubhouse.
It was a good downhill walk, good to check that your thighs and knees are in good shape. I would recommend doing this walk only when it’s dry… There is no shade from rain and the paths could get slippery.

 

A walk with a stroller from Central to Wan Chai

It was a balmy Sunday afternoon. During lunch, small person decided she was tired. So she requested to sit in her pram and fell asleep soon after. 

What a treat. What could we do with this precious hour or two? We decided to walk to IFC to check out the sales. 

After an unsuccessful shopping experience (only 20% off tags at American Vintage), we browsed the new iPads in the swanky and perpetually crowded Apple Store. 

Then out onto the overhead walkway by CitySuper to cross over to the Star Ferry. There is a lift which will take you down to the ferry concourse level where it’s a 3 minute walk to the big Ferris wheel.

Note: if you exit out to the overhead bridge near the Apple Store, be prepared to carry your stroller down the stairs. (This has to be one of the most unfriendly and thoughtless designs in the entire IFC complex, a ramp would be easy to insert).

We decided to walk back to Wan Chai via the waterfront.

  
It was smooth going all the way from Central through to Admiralty’s Tamar Park. Then the walk from Tamar to Wan Chai was less pleasant. The construction of the east-west bypass and the new MTR line had created chaos with roads and pavements. To be fair, part of the road was sectioned off for pedestrians and since traffic was light on a Sunday, it was tolerable. 

Well, it was until we hit the intersection where we cross from Admiralty into Wan Chai. To get to either the convention Center or HK Arts Center, we were forced into using an overpass to get across (large plastic road barriers prevented us from simply crossing the road).

  
This wide, old, circular overpass that went up two stories had steps… Very wide steps… The type that you practically have to skip down if you’re running. Not funny. So husband had to hoist the stroller with sleeping baby in it up two floors.

barrier to wheeled access

On the other side of this overpass, the only way down to street level without stairs is via the elevator in the HK Arts Center. Up a few steps which is still a hindrance. It would be equally easy to have included a ramp.

From here, it was again a smooth stroll past the fire station and Grand Hyatt to the lifts at the Center, which lead to the overpass back to Wan Chai MTR.

I suppose once the bypass is complete, the boardwalk above it should be the route to take. It is very important that city planners note the current flaws and aim to fix them.

For now, a temporary traffic light for a street crossing would be easy to do and provide barrier free access from this side of Wan Chai to Tamar Park.