Sunday, December 4, 2016

Hong Kong & Macau Trip (Day 2 at Causeway Bay & Tsim Sha Tsui)

On our second day in Hong Kong, we planned to explore more cities. On our itinerary was Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui. On my previous job, I used to type Hong Kong addresses all day long so I was secretly excited to see how they actually looked like. LOL


But first, brunch! We walked to DimDimSum Dim Sum Specialty Store (located at Tung Choi Street) in Mongkok. This restaurant is famous and it's always packed so make sure to go early. We arrived a few minutes before 11AM (which was their opening time), and by 11:15AM, the restaurant was already full.😲 Above is their menu - as recent as it gets. Upon getting seated, we were served tea. We weren't able to notice that there's an automatic tea charge of HKD 3 per person, which was indicated on top of the menu. So it's not house tea! Hehe

BBQ Pork Buns (HKD 17)

Piggy Custard Buns (HKD 21)

Because I wanted to stuff myself, I went ahead and ordered these buns but ended up sharing each order with Panda and Cindy. LOL. You have to try both! They're SO GOOD! The BBQ Pork Buns were tender on the inside. The Piggy Custard Buns had salted egg custard filling and despite their evil-looking eyes, they're heavenly.

Deep Fried Shrimp and Wasabi Dumplings (HKD 24)

My sister is a fan of wasabi and shrimp, and this was a unique take on a fried dim sum. You can taste the wasabi flavor, but the mild spice doesn't reach your nose. It's good, too!

Beef Meatballs with Sun-dried Tangerine Peel (HKD 19)

I never liked the beef balls served in dim sum restaurants here in the Philippines because they're too mushy for my liking, and I fondly call them "brains". However my friends like it. Panda ordered this one and we all tried it. The sun-dried tangerine peel almost resembles veggies, and this one's pure meat plus that, but without extenders. Not mushy brains at all! It had a good texture and it was tasty. (I'm still not ordering "brains" locally.)

Beef and Fried Egg on Steamed Rice (HKD 26)

As if the beef balls weren't enough, I have a carnivore Panda and this was his other order. The beef is similar to the Beef Meatballs above, but without the greens.

After eating, we took the MTR from Mongkok to Causeway Bay (HKD 13.5). I really love their MTRs! For first-timers, it's a bit complicated, but after a few days you'd get the hang of the interchanging lines and stations. You can go anywhere as everything's interconnected, they're super convenient, and they're tempting me to move to Hong Kong so I could just work there instead.

When we arrived Causeway Bay, there were so many exits we got confused again. Hoho. We saw the SOGO, which was a multi-level department store and took a peek. It was okay, full of high-end brands. The beauty section was on a "Thanksgiving Week" sale and the ladies were going crazy, but the stuff were still pricey. My sister was looking for Island Beverly Centre, which was a mall selling mostly clothes. (She loves clothes, I don't.) I got bored so Panda and I just went out to explore the city. We were able to reach Times Square because I was looking for a restroom and City'super (a supermarket said to have a wider selection of goods compared to Wellcome).

Hello, Times Square!

I didn't bother going around the shops. Nothing was on sale anyway and I just wanted to pee. After that, we found City'super and went around.


True enough, they had an impressive selection of food! I saw slices of salmon sashimi tempting me endlessly plus these juicy-looking prawns.

Me & Panda (laging magkatabi)

It's supposed to be cute, but I'm offended by this chocolate. LOL. Stop cutting trees!


After going around Times Square, we dropped by Capstone Boardgame because Panda wanted to bring in new board games for his cafe. There were so many to choose from and it was quite overwhelming, so the owner gave us suggestions on fun ones to try.


I particularly liked Tummple! since it's like a reverse Jenga stacking game. It's fun to play but I suck at explaining so better just go to Deantonni Hobby Cafe and try it out!

Banana Bandits, also by Capstone HK (Boys game ito, no?)

We met with Cindy and Rosy afterwards! (I MISSED YOU, ROSY!) 💓 She's my sister's classmate who became my teammate at work. (Small world!) Since she lives in Hong Kong, we asked her to recommend us a good place to eat, and so she led us to a building we never would have entered. The restaurant called Satay King was a few floors up, and when the elevator door opened, restaurant agad. Walang door door. 😃


Since it was late afternoon and not exactly dinner time yet, the dishes were at promo rates. (Some dishes I believe were portioned smaller at this time.) I then realized after a few minutes that we had a Satay King located just next to the building we were staying in at Mongkok. OOH.

Lemongrass Pork in White Curry (with rice, not shown)

The crispy shrimps above and the Lemongrass Pork were separate orders, which Cindy and Rosy shared. The white curry sauce is a winner! 💛

Vietnamese Sausage and Shrimp Rice Vermicelli in Tom Yum Kung Soup (HKD 57)

When I saw this, I already knew Panda was going to get this.

Chicken Leg with Fries (HKD 49)

My order took the longest to arrive, but when it finally came after 2 follow ups, I was so happy because the chicken is HUGE. However, when I started cutting it, there was blood inside. I set aside the fries first because I was really hungry, and sent the chicken back to the kitchen to have it recooked. When the waitress came back to our table, she served us a new order, complete with fries.😲 I totally wasn't expect that. The chicken was well done the second time around. No blood sightings. In fact, I think it's the juiciest chicken I've ever had. YUM!

After our early dinner, we were planning to head to Tsim Sha Tsui to visit the Avenue of the Stars and watch A Symphony of Lights. We got sidetracked though by the HUGE Forever 21 store with 5 floors! Cindy wanted to troll my sister Anna by taking selfies in front of Forever 21 and Park Lane Hotel (where she went a few years back). We never made it to Park Lane. Hehe!

Granny sweater

Siya talaga yung nag shopping.

Stop it. So handsome! 😁

Train ride with Cindy and Rosy!


We made it to Tsim Sha Tsui via MTR (HKD 13.50), but Avenue of the Stars was closed pala. Hindi kami updated. Hehe! It was transferred temporarily to Tsim Sha Tsui East Waterfront Podium Garden which we had a hard time locating. When we finally made it, my feet were so tired I just sat at the nearest bench I saw with this view. #TitaMode

Rosy & Cindy 😊

I see a Panda.

Cindy shooting Rosy shooting us.

Season's Greetings

Weather for the day: COLD. It was mildy rainy the entire day. We weren't drenched but the temperature was consistently cold. I was wearing a thermal top inside my long sleeved top, and I used my parka on and off. (I just took it off for this photo.)


And so, we waited for A Symphony of Lights, which was supposed to show at exactly 8PM. Everyone was waiting, but at 8:20PM we gave up. Walang show that day. Oh well. 😣 It was okay. We just went to check out the nearest Wellcome store, but it was small and there was more unique find in their Mongkok branch. (Do visit my blog sale/sari sari store if you're interested!) 😉 After that, we took the MTR back to Mongkok (HKD 5.50) and it was finally time to rest.

That ends my second day in Hong Kong. Day 3 is Disneyland Day! Stay tuned. 😍

Love,
Helen

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Saturday, December 3, 2016

Hong Kong & Macau Trip (Day 1 at Mongkok)

I'm doing another series of Travel Diary posts in the coming days, and this one will be my week-long trip to Hong Kong and Macau! I went with Panda and my sister. We booked the trip via Cebu Pacific a year ago (!) to take advantage of cheap rates (P4,174 for round trip Manila to Hong Kong and Macau to Manila flights). 


Our flight was scheduled around 7AM so we had to wake up early, leave home around 4AM, and be at the airport before 5AM. PUSH!

 Bye bye, Quezon City. My house is somewhere there!

See the stark contrast between the city and province?
 
Horizontal rain. I'm so amazed! Swa kaw lang. Haha

Hello, Motherland! CHOS.
 
We arrived on time at around 9+ AM, but the check-in time at our Airbnb was at 2PM. No problem, since we had to take a long bus ride from the airport to the city. The last time I've been to Hong Kong was when I was 7 years old, so everything was a blur. It's like experiencing the city for the first time. So exciting! Our experienced friend Tope of #TopeTravelandTours wasn't able to join us, but we were armed with his itinerary. (Thank you!) Sa airport palang, lost na kami. HAHA. We didn't know that we had to take the train inside the airport to get to Immigration and Baggage Reclaim. Okay, I'm so amazed.

After getting our luggage back, we took the Airport Bus A21 going to Bank Centre in Mongkok (HKD 33). We chose the bus, because it's more convenient with all our luggage. However, hindi ka puedeng babagal bagal sa bus, or else you will miss your stop (like we did). One stop lang naman. We just walked to our Airbnb which was directly beside Mongkok MTR Station. (So convenient!) We left our luggage at around 11ish and went to Langham Place, which was a big mall directly beside our Airbnb.


Hello, Monki! My sisters know about this store, but I don't. Hehe. Same owners daw sa H&M. Interesting! Ang mahal nga lang ng LAHAT na clothes na nakita namin sa Hong Kong for the entire trip. Wala masyadong nakasale. Huhu 😢 If you really want to shop for clothes, go to Bangkok instead.


I was able to spot cute accessories though! 😁


Also spotted this nicely embroidered jacket, but mas maganda pa yung nabili ng sister ko from Penshoppe. Blue and pink with sakura flowers! 😍


Time to have lunch! We went to the food court of Langham Place. Not exactly affordable, but we didn't think of going any further because we were running out of energy. 😮

Nice name! 😛


We chose CoCo Ichibanya since we rarely eat in that restaurant way back home. That hamburger steak looks simple, but it's a winner because it has gooey cheese inside!


We spotted Log-On, a store that sells cutesy stuff. To enter the store, you have to go up a rainbow staircase. Weee!

I love you, rainbow stairs!
(This one's my second favorite stairs next to the piano stairs in Mind Museum.)

HAPPY!

Cute game! We have Pie Face at Deantonni Hobby Cafe! 💖
 
The fiercest dog ever, hindi lang halata.
 
Christmassy figurines you have to build on your own. COOL!
 
Langham Place x Lego White Christmas Tree


We went around the mall and they have the longest escalators ever. Walang sinabi yung sa Shangri-La Mall. As in super haba ng ride, and you'd skip multiple floors with some of their escalators. Hindi nakakatuwa kung pagod ka, because this mall as 13 floors.

Disturbing basket of babies 😱

Fluffy cat 😻

Desi & Panda!

Nice name! LOL

Nice restaurant concept

While Cindy was looking for clothes, Panda and I went inside an arcade. Look what I saw!


Neko Atsume! SO CUTE! However, I don't believe in these doll-catching machines. The claws are too soft to even hold anything, as I've witnessed a lady try to catch these cuties but failed. 😒

Panda trying to catch his babies 🐼

SO PRETTY

I stopped taking photos afterwards, because the lady said I couldn't. Time to go to our Airbnb!

The Airbnb we booked was Hotel O, located at the Far East Consortium Building just beside Mongkok MTR Station (Bank Centre Exit). We booked this room for P3,450/person for 3 nights around 6 months ago. (Note that we were supposed to be 4 in this room, so  it's around P13,800 for 4 pax for 3 nights). Puedeng puede na! For an apartment in Hong Kong, this place was so spacious! Our host Elaine was so pretty and kind. 😍 The place was safe, because there's a guard at the building lobby, plus separate lock codes for the front door and room door + your own keycard.


The room was also clean and tidy, and there was more than enough space to move around. To save even more space, you can store your luggage under the bed. (There were no bedbugs, too!) The Wifi was fast and reliable. The speed of the internet was even better than that of the five star hotel we stayed in Macau - more on that soon. (What I loved about Hong Kong is I can connect to Wifi almost everywhere.) There were more than enough outlets to charge your gadgets with, too.

Four slippers
 
Flat screen TV and mini ref, which we didn't use. (I spy more outlets for charging!) Two bottles of water are replenished daily.

On the left, directly in front of the door, is the bathroom.
 

It's so tiny! When you shower, almost the entire bathroom will get wet. But we have no complaints, because everything was functioning well. The hot/cold shower was working, the flush was working, the faucet was working. The drain was never clogged. Even the bathroom is clean, no sightings of creepy crawlers ever.


Toiletries were supplied daily. There was shampoo, body wash, soap bar, toothbrushes, toothpastes, and an extra (soft) roll of tissue.

Hair dryer (I wish I had one attached on our wall at home, too.)
 
There were spare hangers too, located at the door and above the shoe rack.

After checking in, we had to rest first because our eyes were already red from lack of sleep. (We woke up 3AM!) But I wasn't able to sleep because I wanted to tire myself out so I could sleep earlier than 2AM (my normal sleeping time now). So while Panda and Cindy slept, I was just busy chatting with my friends online. (I sent Ness and Carizza my "pagod ako" selfie which I'm too shy to post here. HAHA)

I loved this cozy and clean Airbnb. It was so nice to have a neat place to crash our tired bodies into at the end of the day. I highly recommend Hotel O!

After resting, we dropped by Wellcome (MY FAVORITE). This was the moment I've waited for because I LOVE going to supermarkets, even here in the Philippines. When I went to Bangkok and Siem Reap, I charged towards the supermarkets with delight and hope. (Hope talaga? Haha) I was excited to see the unique things they had, which you can see in my blog sale/sari sari store. It wasn't the best idea to go grocery shopping while hungry, but when I got back to Manila, I realized that I should have bought more. (Always that regret.)


For dinner, we went to Cafe de Coral. I wasn't expecting this place to be packed on a Tuesday night, but it was. (And upon reading reviews and going here several times during our stay, I realized that it was ALWAYS packed. Good business!) It was so hard to find a seat, but God is always faithful. We prayed for a table, and we got 2 bigla. Hehe! (Thank you, Lord!)

I love Cafe de Coral because they're so efficient in all aspects. Their menu was on the wall. You order, pay, and get your order in just around 5 minutes or less. I don't know how they do it.


I ordered N4, because I read in Aisa's blog that this was good.

Tomato Minced Beef & Egg w/Rice + Tea/Coffee/Soft Drink/Iced Green Tea (Low Sugar) (HKD39)

The dish looks far from the photo. Parang ni-splat lang lahat. Haha. I hate saucy rice, but I finished this because it was so delicious! You had the option to change to cold drink by adding HKD 3, but since it was rainy and cold, I chose tea. Their milk tea was so bitter on its own. It's literally steeped black tea plus milk, so I needed an extra packet of sugar to make it better.


I wasn't able to note down what Cindy and Panda ordered, but I had pictures. The price range in this restaurant was very reasonable, and the food was good, so it's worth coming back to.


After that, we went to some Sasa and Bonjour stores. In Hong Kong, you don't really have to look for these beauty stores - they're everywhere! (Even those Korean brands we have here in the malls, they have stand alone stores in the streets of Hong Kong which was really cute.) Every Sasa and Bonjour store have piles of tiny perfume bottles like this. They're marked as "not for sale", but they sell it anyway. They're cute, but I wasn't able to buy one I really fancied. I think this is why most beauty stores here are not generous with samples. I tried repurchasing my all-time favorite Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation in the malls in Hong Kong, but the only freebie they'll give is a sachet/packet of moisturizer. Meh, sa Rustan's nalang ako bibili.

Mongkok, you're so lovely!

We planned to go to Hong Kong Disneyland on Day 2 of our trip, but weather forecast was rainy all day so we moved it to Day 3. The next day was a trip to Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui! Stay tuned!

Love,
Helen

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