Ocean Park offers glimpse of old Hong Kong

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 27 2012 03:08 PM | Updated as of Mar 27 2012 11:09 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- A theme park in Hong Kong is looking back at the city's history as it launches its newest attraction: streets lined with rickshaw drivers, classic local delicacies and nostalgic merchandise.

Ocean Park Hong Kong, known for its four-story aquarium and animal exhibits, recently unveiled Old Hong Kong, which is based on architectural styles of the city from the 1950s to the 1970s.

The attraction spans nearly 40,000 square feet.

Dr. Allan Zeman, chairman of Ocean Park, said it took them nearly two years to finish the planning and construction stages of Old Hong Kong, which aims to be a "giant history classroom and a celebration of Hong Kong people's indefatigable gung-ho spirit."

"Hong Kong experienced a golden period between the 1950s and the 1970s, which saw the city establish itself as an economic miracle and bastion of creativity," Zeman noted.

Old Hong Kong attempts to recreate diverse aspects of life in the city's old days, such as food, clothing, shelter, transportation, culture and entertainment.

At the starting point of the attraction is a "Dai Tat Dei" style garlanded entrance, which is inspired by colorful bamboo scaffolds used in Cantonese opera performances.

Inside is a "dai pai dong" area which features interactive game booths housed inside rows of "tong lau" style apartment buildings, rickshaws, vintage cars and buses, and a grand cinema.

The attraction also sells more than 70 types of classic street snacks and pastries such as century egg and barbecue pork puffs, egg tarts, and chicken pies.

"Old Hong Kong offers everyone a chance to immerse themselves in the communal pride of that period and the many small joys that enriched the lives of a previous generation," Zeman said.