Sunday, September 30, 2012

Weekend Trip to Hong Kong

So it was a long weekend again. Three days to be exact. I wanted to go somewhere. It wasn't planned. I booked the flight and hotel like 3 days before departure. At first, I wanted to go to Bangkok on my own but my mom said she will go with me if it's Hong Kong. She didn't think it was worth the money to go Bangkok. She was right.

It was a great trip but I came back with tired and aching feet.

Day 1 - Arrival, Tai-O Fishing Village, Citygate Outlets, Temple Street
We arrived Hong Kong around noon. We didn't go straight to the hotel to check-in but instead, we left our baggage at the airport's baggage storage service and headed to Tai O which is in Lantau Island. The airport is adjacent to Lantau Island so, it won't be so smart if we went all the way to our hotel in Kowloon and back to Lantau Island.

The baggage storage counter is at Level 3 in Terminal 2. If you're not in Terminal 2, you just have to follow the signboard to Terminal 2 and then you will see a signboard stating "Left Baggage" (LOL!). There are 2 types of baggage storage rate. You either pay HK$10/hour/piece (approx. MYR4) or HK$120/day/piece (approx. MYR48).

Before leaving the airport, one important thing that we had to do was to buy Octopus Card at the Airport Express Customer Service Centre. It's also in Terminal 2. It's better to buy the card if you are going to travel around by public bus or the MTR. When first purchasing the Octopus Card, HK$50 is included as refundable deposit, and the remaining value will be stored in the card for normal payments.

To get to Tai O fishing village, we took the bus (either S1 or S64) from the airport to Citygate Outlets and then we took the Bus 11 from Citygate Outlets to Tai O. Total journey took us about an hour plus.

The first thing we did in Tai O was to look for this restaurant called Tai-O Crossing Boat Restaurant (橫水渡小廚) for lunch because it was highly recommended on the internet when I browsed for places to eat in Tai O.

Steamed bean curd with preserved vegetable - HK$68 (MYR27)

Pan-fried cuttlefish ball - HK$88 (MYR36)

Steamed rice with dried prawns in lotus leaves on a bamboo steamer - HK$88 (MYR36)

A kind of melon in fish soup - HK$68 (MYR27)

This restaurant is located at Kat Hing Street

The food was just average and I think the steamed rice was over-rated. I liked the cuttlefish ball though.

After lunch, we walked along Market Street and Wing On Street where you will see people selling dried seafood and some really interesting street food.

Street food at Tai-O

Street food at Tai-O

Dried seafood stalls at Wing On Street

We also went on a boat ride that took us around the village for HK$20 (MYR8).

View from the boat ride

Around evening, we headed back to Citygate Outlets to shop. It is the first outlet mall in Hong Kong offering discount of at least 30% to 70% of designer fashion, etc.

Eaton Hotel

After much walking around the mall, we headed back to the airport by bus to claim our baggage. Then, we took a taxi to our hotel. The taxi fare from the airport to Eaton Hotel was HK$280 (MYR113). If you are traveling alone and staying in Eaton Hotel, I would recommend you to take the airport express and that will only cost you HK$90 (MYR36) to Kowloon Station and then an additional HK$30 (MYR12) for the taxi to the hotel. I quite like this hotel because it's nice and clean and the nearest MTR station (which is Jordan Station) is just a 5 minutes walk away.

Temple Street

Opposite of our hotel across the street, is Temple Street which is something like our Petaling Street. It was past dinner time and we were hungry, so we went around to look for food and went to this noodle shop on Woosung Street.

Beef Noodle Soup - HK$24 (MYR10)

Beef Ball and Wonton Noodle Soup

We saw a lot of seafood restaurants on Temple Street

Jordan part of Nathan Road

Day 2 - Victoria Peak, Central, Tsim Sha Tsui, Mongkok
We went to Victoria Peak. Paid HK$30 (MYR12) per person to get to the observation deck. It was worth it. There's a shopping mall there as well and mom bought a pair of shoes.

Victoria Peak - That's the observation deck behind me

View from Victoria Peak

We chilled at Starbucks for a bit before we head on to Central for some shopping. I like the Starbucks in Hong Kong because the decaf cappuccino didn't make me nauseous whereas the decaf cappuccino at the Starbucks here make me nauseous.

Somewhere in Central

I bought some designer dresses for cheap but labels off at this shop in Central which was previously in Pedder Building. Ooh, me likey! I don't care that they cut off the labels, I love the fashion.

After that, we went to Tsim Sha Tsui to explore further and for dinner.

Buildings at Tsim Sha Tsui

After Tsim Sha Tsui, we went to Mong Kok.

Somewhere in Mong Kok

We didn't find anything interesting in Mong Kok so we went back to the hotel and called it a night. Our feet was super tired anyway.

Day 3 - Citygate Outlets, Departure
Flight was at 11:45am. We went back to Citygate Outlets before our flight because I wanted to get this Stuart Weitzman heels from Pedder. I didn't get it the first time because I was undecided. Mom thought that I should get it for my wedding and it was half the normal price. To my disappointment, the other side of the shoe for my size was MISSING! ~!@#$%^&*() :( We then headed back to the airport and said goodbye to Hong Kong.

The Stuart Weitzman heels that I didn't get to buy :(

Monday, September 24, 2012

Ho Chi Minh City and Mekong Delta Trip (My Tho & Ben Tre)

It was a public holiday on Friday, so the four of us (Ryan, Jess, Sean and myself) planned for a short weekend getaway trip to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. It was also a good timing for me as I wanted to travel before I start my new job.

View of HCMC from the plane

Sean's friend, Peng, who'd been working in HCMC for many years was such a good host to us and brought us around HCMC. He really made our trip more interesting. Maybe because it was nice for once that I didn't have to plan everything.

Peng arranged for our accommodation at Gia Huy Hotel for USD35 per night. It's not some 5 star hotel but it's okay because the room condition is pretty much up to standard and I quite like the location of the hotel.

Peng brought us to this shop called Pho Le for beef noodle soup. It's called Pho Bo in Vietnamese. Pho Bo is a nourishing soup made with beef and flat rice noodles. It's delicious and the beef is so tender and easy to chew. Price: VND 60K per bowl (approx. MYR8.60).

The beef noodle soup restaurant
Beef Noodle Soup
Price: VND60K (approx. MYR 8.60)

We walked along fashion street in District 1. I saw many boutiques and also road side stalls selling clothes, accessories and shoes.

Fashion street

We went to this restaurant and bar called Beer Tươi Tiệp 107 Pasteur for some light food and beer.


The food and drinks we ordered

We wanted to chill somewhere on our first night but we ended up in New World Slot Casino. I won a little. That casino is only open for foreigners. If you gamble, all the food and drinks you order is free of charge. Vietnamese are not allowed to enter the casino though.

At about midnight, we had Wanton Noodle for supper at Tan Hai Van or CNSG Restaurant. Noodle was good! Price: VND54K for a bowl of charsiew+wanton noodle (approx. MYR7.80) and VND48K for a bowl of only wanton noodle (approx. MYR6.90).

Charsiew + Wanton Noodle
Price: VND54K (aprox. MYR7.80)

Tan Hai Van - 158-164 Nguyen Trai Str.,
Ward Ben Thanh, Dist. 1, HCMC
Tel: 38399617

We had to wake up early the next day because we booked ourselves a Mekong Delta day trip to My Tho and Ben Tre. The bus departed at 8:30am and came back to Saigon at 5:30pm. Price: VND400K per person (approx. MYR57.50) inclusive of bus, tour guide, boat trip and Vietnamese lunch.

We crossed the Mekong River by motorized boat

This is where we had our lunch (left); How they make rice paper (right)

You wrap the fish with the rice paper and it'll look like the picture on the bottom right

Handicrafts made from coconut trees

Mekong floating house

Bee farm

Vietnamese traditional music performance while we savour our honey tea and fruits from the orchard

Pony ride

Row-boat ride along small creeks to Mekong River Estuary

We got back to the city and Peng brought us to this place to have seafood. It's a refreshing experience to eat sitting on small chairs on the sidewalk by the road. I tried "balut" for the first time too and I can tell you it wasn't as nasty as seen on TV.

Seafood restaurant

It wasn't as nasty as seen on TV

The food we ordered

Fried corns from the street hawker
Total bill came up to VND900K (approx. MYR129.30). So cheap!

After dinner, we went to Chill Skybar for some drinks and dance. It's a sleek bar on the rooftop of Ho Chi Minh City's AB Tower. It was raining, so the outdoor section of the bar which was supposed to be really nice was closed. There wasn't any good view due to bad weather so we did not take any pictures.

After that, we went to New World Casino again but this time I wasn't so lucky. I lost my winnings from the day before and more. :P

The next day, we shopped a little at Ben Thanh Market. Jess wanted to get coffee beans and I wanted to get some Cambodian garlic but I only found Hanoi garlic. We headed somewhere for breakfast before our flight back to KL.

Some colourful drinks from a stall in the market

Special crispy broken rice was yummy

We had tea and coffee at a shop before we left

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Shirt Blouse by Massimo Dutti

I like this mulberry silk shirt blouse by Massimo Dutti.

I bought the shirt from Massimo Dutti store in KLCC for MYR299. For some reason I don't know why, all their items priced at MYR299.

Massimo Dutti was founded in 1985 and was acquired by Inditex in 1991. Inditex is one of the world's largest fashion retailers with eight commercial formats such as Zara, Pull & Bear, Bershka, Stradivarius, Oysho, Zara Home and Uterqüe.


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