Few days back at work and I am still very 'dreamy'...!!!
Haha.. Don't know why I always feel as if I am dreaming whenever I go on long leave or whenever I am on holidays. Maybe I am too used to the busy stressful real life that I feel I can only relax in my dreams...
Not sure if anyone knows that, we actually booked our hotel and air ticket on 9 June, though we were traveling on 13 June to 17 June.
This is the second time we booked a last minute trip via Expedia and once again it didn't disappoint us! We actually love Expedia lots! Looking forward to booking more flight+hotel packages with Expedia!
But I will think it's still good if you get some hotel recommendations before you book via Expedia. I was not so lucky when I booked my Taiwan trip last year without asking for friends' recommendation. I chose the hotel based on reviews on tripadvisor and Expedia's reviews.
It turned out that the hotel was further from the train station than it was stated in the tripadvisor reviews. I guess reviews by westerners will say a 15 minute walk to the nearest train station is near but seriously walking under the hot sun everyday for a few 15 minutes was no joke!
What was disappointing was also the room was not as pretty as shown in the trip advisor and Expedia photos! I was expecting it to look like vintage classic design since the hotel was called Charming Castle. But it not only looked normal, it has mosquitoes and flies :(
Okay, it was not totally bad lah! I liked the jacuzzi that comes with the room! You can't get such a jacuzzi for such a price in Singapore for sure. And I liked the Hotel staff's service and the breakfast spread! I really think most reviews by tripadvisor was written by westerners Or tourists who don't speak mandarin. Because it was true that it's not common to have Taiwanese service staff whom are able to speak good English. And usually westerners like very simple homely breakfast spread.
Anyway not all reviews by tripadvisor is not accurate. At least I think we made a good choice to stay in Courtyard at 7 in Beijing. It was ranked the top 20 and it definitely had good hotel service staff and it was a great experience staying in a 400 year old building. Will share more about my previous free and easy trips...
Haha! Laogong had been challenging my free&easy tour planning abilities these two years. Last year, we only booked our Taiwan trip ten days before the trip too. But without this 'challenge', I won't know that I actually enjoy such impromptu planning! And this time we didn't really 'plan'. We simply listed down what we want to do and the rest we simply play by ear! We didn't even find out how to get to the place until the night before! It was so fun! I no longer feel stressed and obliged to ensure that Laogong enjoyed a value for money holiday. I feel so loved that he feels it's already a privilege being able to travel with me amongst my always busy schedule!!!
By playing by ear, we not only get to do what both of us wish to do, we also get to do what we did not initially planned to do.
Lovely Bird-Eye View and Beautiful Sunset
Airport Express Train and Airport Shuttle Bus
It was worth it to buy the airport express train in a group of two, coz single ticket costs HK98 but two tickets cost HK140. It also comes with the free airport shuttle bus.
Novotel @ Nathan Road
We took the airport express train to Kowloon and boarded the shuttle bus, which dropped us closed to our hotel. Next time we will try Eaton Hotel instead coz it looked bigger and better from the outside for just S$30 more. But our hotel, Novotel @ Nathan Road has a very good tour service counter, where we bought both our Ocean Park Tickets and Disneyland Tickets there. It saved us a lot of time as we need not queue up and buy the tickets on the spot. Our hotel is also about 5 min walk from Jordon MTR Station and is located just opposite Temple Street Night Market.
Hong Kong Street Food
We tried HK street food at Temple Street on our first night in HK. By the time, we reached hotel and unpacked it's already 10pm. We had a 7-11 opposite our hotel but we thought we should be able to find some proper food at Temple Street instead.
Laogong was never a big fan of street food coz he had hygiene concerns. Temple street was filled with mainly seafood stalls and restaurants too, which he didn't fancy either. We were lucky to find this place which served very nice local food and had air-conditioning seating. We initially intended to order only a few dishes but they tasted so nice that we kept adding our order :P
But it's a pity that Laogong and I still dare not try 臭豆腐 in HK and TW. We usually would walk in the opposite direction once we smell 臭臭味! Haha! But if you have any good recommendation for me to try, let me know k! I will really want to try once of these days!
Must try this stall the next time you come to HK oh!
很有料的 HK Dim Sum
We had always heard that Dim Sum served in Singapore can never be compared to Dim Sum served in HK. So first morning in HK, I wanted to try local dim sum!
We walked for about 5 minutes before reaching this building, where there were a few Dim Sum and Korean restaurants. We did not know which to choose so stood at the signage in front of the building for a while. We were later attracted to the flyer given out by a restaurant staff.
We decided to give it a try. There was a good variety of dim sum to choose from and I am a adventurous foodie so i ordered some which I don't even know what the name meant :P
I heard a lot about 流沙包 before, so I told myself must try the local ones if I come to HK! True enough it's really OMG!!!
HK Dim Sum is really 馅料多，皮少！ OMG! In Singapore the Dim Sum is really 皮厚厚，馅料少！Per dish is 30-50% cheaper than in Singapore too! Total we spent about HK200 on our dim sum bruch. Not super cheap but for the 料, was really worth it! Pity I only ate once during my trip :( I must eat more the next time I visit HK!!!
Since I am at the topic of food, I shall go on to talk about my food therapy in HK then :P I will share about the places I visited in Part Two then ^^
Super Nice and Affordable Korean BBQ Buffet
Laogong knew I was bio-ing the Korean BBQ Buffet signage after day one breakfast, so took me back to the same building on day two to have Korean Brunch! Yippie!
There was not only a wide variety of meat and vegetables BBQ spread, but also a good spread of Japanese sushi, Korean 小菜, different types of soups, Korean cooked food and desserts!!! Most importantly, the buffet costs only HK128! Yummy!!! Charged!
I actually am a big fan of Korean and Japanese food. So got any good and affordable recommendation must tell me k!
Food Adventure in Macau
We didn't do much research before we went to Macau so I only knew the food culture there should be similar to Malacca ba? Hmmm... coz afterall both were Portugese colony before. Anyway, not knowing the history actually made the Macau trip more mysterious :P
Hehehe... Knowing Macau had a similar history as Malacca, means definitely got sell Portugese Egg Tarts! Yippie!
Bingo! Checked! Mission accomplished :P
I didn't get to see any 许留山 restaurant in HK but I saw one franchisee in Macau. However, it was quite a disappointing experience. It wasn't as good as I expected it to be. But I was still glad we had a rest at the restaurant and enjoyed the air-conditioning before we headed for our Casinos 'tour'. I will definitely try a HK branch 许留山 the next time I visited HK!
There was this local food ee tried and I really liked! It looked liked TW 关东煮 or Malacca lok lok. A good variety of balls and vegetables, mushrooms and 关东煮 alike ingredients were sold in sticks. We can eat it in sweet or spicy sauces. The spicy sauce tasted a bit like curry without coconuts and was really spicy. It was really yummy and I will eat it again when I visit Macau again!
There was a whole street selling the same food but we used our Singaporean's instincts and headed for the stall with the longest queue :P
Yummy! Checked again!
Local HK Cafe Brunch
On the 3rd day before we headed for Disneyland, we decided to have our brunch at a local cafe opposite our hotel.
Laogong ordered a fried kway teow and I ordered dry wanton mee. OMG! The shrimp wantons were so huge! What I find interesting is that the wanton mee doesn't come with black sauce like the Singapore version. We had to add in our own chilli sauce provided on the table. The two dishes were not cheap (HK40-50 per dish) but they were considered tasty!
Disappointing Service at HK Airport Crystal Jade
I was expecting the customer service at HK airport should be much better than at normal retail stores or eateries.
I was very disappointed with the service quality at the Crystal Jade branch at HK cafe.
We checked in at 7.15am because our flight was at 9plus. Laogong got craving got 小笼包 so we headed to Crystal Jade. We were not informed at the entrance that they will only start serving 小笼包 at 7.30am. Anyhow the usher made us change seats because we wanted to order dim sum.
When we found out that they only served 小笼包 at 7.30am, they refused to let us order though we only wanted it to be served after 7.30am.
Nevermind, when we were ordering it after 7.30am, we were not informed that it would take more than 30 min to serve it. It was only after 15 min we asked about the dish the service staff suan us and said they made it fresh so we had to wait. So even after we finished our main course, we were still required to wait for our 小笼包. By the time we finished the 小笼包, we needed to run for the plane. Usually in Singapore, the staff would inform us that certain dishes required more time to cook so that we could decide to order the dishes that take lesser time to prepare if we were in a rush. We could even cancel a dish as long as they had not started cooking it. Hence it was quite a disappointing experience we had.
Anyhow lucky the 小笼包 was worth the wait and the risk to be late for our flight :P
Super Supper in 7-11
Last but not least, we had lots of very yummy supper from 7-11! Haha even the cup noodles tasted so good!!! :P
Stay Tune for Part 2!!!