Compact, Personality-packed Madame Tussauds Hong Kong at The Peak
13 April, 2009
At the top of The Peak, we wanted to visit Madame Tussauds, and not just because the combo ticket for both Tussauds and the Peak Tram meant bypassing the long queue. Visiting Madame Tussauds is kind of like ticking a box. I haven't even been to the London Madame Tussauds since I was really young, so I can't even remember the experience.
Also, it's the closest we'll probably come to seeing some Hong Kong celebrities. However in 2007, I did spot Simon Yam somewhere near Central, nicking some food from delighted diners outside a cha chan teng.
At the lower Peak Tram station we bought a combo ticket. The price was HK$150 entrance fee + HK$33 for a Tram return ticket. The total came to HK$183, but there was also a discounted offer reducing it to HK$160 (£14.50). Bargain? We could also have paid an extra HK$20 to be able to get to the Sky Terrace which is the roof above the upper Peak Tram station. I think the views might be worth it since the building lifts you away from any obscuring buildings and hills, but I guess I won't know unless we go again.
At HK$150 (£13.6), Madame Tussauds is not cheap and we'd heard that the place is pretty small so not worth visiting. However, it does contain nearly one hundred wax figures of internationally-known personalities and so that's gonna be alot of great photo taking opportunities (for Linh to be in, as usual).
Madame Tussauds Hong Kong opened in 2000 and was the first and one of the only two permanent Madame Tussauds museums in Asia. The other is the Shanghai branch, which opened in 2006. Of all the wax figures, East-Asian figures take up more than a third of the total, sixteen of which are Hong Kongers. This gives us an eastern flavour making Madame Tussauds a Hong Kong destination worth visiting.
The personalities included consist of well known international East-Asian people such as Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan, as well as basketball star Yao Ming, historic Chinese leader Chairman Mao and one of Hong Kong's most commercially successful film actors and Cantopop singer, Andy Lau.
International stars include Kylie Minogue, Freddie Mercury, David Beckham and the late Princess Diana. There's a full list of people on Wikipedia.
The wax figures are featured in a range of themed settings such as Hong Kong Glamour, Music Icons, Historical and National Heroes, The Champions and World Premiere. As we move through them, the figures become public photo props as everybody (us included) touches them up and snuggle up to them to pose for the camera.
Alot of the figures are pretty life-like actually, most usually because they've been dressed and posed in iconic positions (e.g. Freddie Mercury).
I found that taking photos without a flash gave a realistic softness that adds to the realism. Using flash at close range produced some "scary" results, where the light reveals textures in the wax (or silicon) that resemble bad skin.
There's also an interactive exhibit called the "Scream Experience", which visitors walk through. I love these experiences. I do get a little anxious (in a good way), but its more entertaining to scare those around me (especially Linh) for instance, by grabbing them in the darkness!
The Scream Experience is set in a zombified laboratory full of cages and walkways. It's lit with broken up strobe lighting and flashes that impair your visual judgement - designed to get you scared! There are exhibits of bodies and a zombie dog (which is a bit cheesy actually) but most of the action comes from made-up actors in rags, that pounce on us only to withdraw with hideous motions. The steward at the front of the experience tells us beforehand to expect these actors but ensures us that they won't touch.
For loads more photos, check out the Madame Tussauds Hong Kong Flickr set
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Attractions. Hong Kong. Tourism.
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