Sunday, December 30, 2007

hong kong december 2007 - post travel thoughts

itinerary planning
the excellent shopping and eating joints weren't possible without Hardwarezone Forum's thread on Hong Kong. Although there was a lot of work reading through 2500 postings, the end result is worth it. Doing homework is always a must for any free-and-easy travel, i feel. And be prepared to cock-ups, such as places/eateries that doesn't exist anymore. Or getting lost and confused along the way. Just so normal.

the HK leg of trip was planned since June, more or less finalized in October after CS3214's first system release =x Macau and Shenzhen were briefly read through just before i flew.

Hong Kong - more places were covered this time; such as New Territories' Sha Tin, Tai Po, Yuen Long. Enjoyed the quieter yet rural atmosphere in these towns. Of course, the places where tourists go to normally were covered - TST, YMT, Mongkok, Central, Wan Chai and CWB. A great emphasis was put on shopping!

Macau - it is my first time going to the former Portuguese colony, so there were minor confusions, especially in navigation. The map obtained at the ferry terminal helped a lot, do get a piece when you're there. Macau by-and-large pales in comparison to HK, but there are a handful of attractions that can be covered by foot or taxi in a day or two. For gamblers, however, a collection of big and small casinos await them.

Shenzhen - it was my mistake to leave the travel guide at hostel, so we walked without aim after crossing the border. It was also not tourist-friendly - no presence of street guides. My friends were not comfortable with proceeding further than 1km with the presence of touts (and people spitting and shouting all over), so we went back without doing anything, not even a meal (need Renminbi). I believe Shenzhen has much to offer, but some guts are required to ignore people approaching you. Shanghai had left me a better impression of China, unfortunately.

staying in hotels for whole of 10 days would be a killer, so i opted for hostel. Except staying in Sintra Hotel for 3 days in Macau, the rest were spent at Ah Shan Hostel.

hostels are extremely basic in terms of facilities and room service - expect less since the cost is also very low (HKD2730 for 7 nights, triple share = SGD26/night for a person). However, the location is excellent, because the hostel is just beside Ladies Street, Sportswear Street. Due to the winter season, you can even do away with the aircon.

i flew by SIA, because of the lowest airfare. The first disappointment is the failure of the KrisWorld inflight entertainment system on the flight to HK, causing a 30 minute delay. I thought KrisWorld should be better than Cathay's StudioCX, but it was only marginally better. Maybe i didn't fully explore the (laggy) menus.

the food menu is however better, especially the seafood meal. On the return flight, Häagen-Dazs® ice-cream was offered as a dessert.

personal feelings
i liked the weather at this point in time, no matter how many people would say about the dirty air, pollution, etc. It was very cooling and very comfortable to walk around to shop, eat and sightsee!

XH had a poor impression of people in HK. It could be due to the Cantonese dialect - words are spoken more quickly and with 'force', which can be misinterpreted. I have no problems with many of them, except for the immigration officers at the airport.

if you need a comment on the immigration officers, the one who processed my passport and scanned my luggage were downright rude in their body language. They didn't say anything, but their eyes and mannerisms didn't reflect well of themselves. I thought the people are more professional in their work? Oh well...

梁靜茹 - 今天情人節 2007 (post event)

was late cos' of dinner at harbourfront. Then went holland when driving into Indoor Stadium. But not exactly late, everyone was still scurrying into the stadium at 8.30pm. Soon after she started belting out songs after songs.

Tickets sold out!

most songs were past hits, which i guess many of us like. She also brought out some songs from her latest j'Adore album as well, such as C'est La Vie, 101 and 原來你也唱過我的歌 (which i really like).

Sea of light sticks

the guest singer was Mayday's Ah Xin. Many girls above me were screaming their lungs out when he sung 温柔. Haha...

she appeared to finish her concert at 11pm after a teary
勇气, but everyone was asking for more - she reappeared and belted out many more short pieces and finally ended at 11.30pm.

Enjoyed a good karaoke session there

all in all the concert was worth the money. She is really the queen of love ballets. No special stunts nor sexy outfits, but her sincerity in singing every song was 101%. I wished she included more songs from her new album though.

j'Adore - 会呼吸的痛

Friday, December 28, 2007

kayak course III (photos)

some photos that my instructor took during the course:


Trainees and instructors

more photos and the mass capsize video available at Zoe's website.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

sale of Maria Sharapova tournament tickets

anybody interested?

- 30 dec 2007, 8pm at SIS.
- Sistic URL here.

- 6 tickets available, S$180 original value. Can sell for S$100.

- please contact me for details. I'll refer you to my friend.

Maria Sharapova Live - will be one of the tennis, sports and entertainment highlights of the 2007 year in Asia - held during the festive year-end season.

Maria Sharapova - former Wimbledon & US Open Champion, one of the world's best female athletes and one of the world's biggest celebrities is-

Glamorous..Fashionable..Stylish and Stunning..

The former Wimbledon and US Open Champion faces the current world number 6 ranked player and fellow compatriot Anna Chakvetadze in a best of three tie-break sets match. This is expected to be a highly entertaining competition between two players who have just faced in other only a few weeks ago at the semi-finals of the prestigious WTA World Championships.

release of results

CS2250: B
CS3214: B+
CS3265: C
GEK1531: B

CAP? Undisclosed.

sigh yet relieved.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

hong kong december 2007 - day 9 and 10

editor's note: there were numerous pictures from day 1-7 that couldn't be displayed. It was an editing oversight and have been restored :)

day 9 (26th) - New Territories (Yuen Long)

had dimsum breakfast at Ho Choi today, cos' it's really good. Ordered 9 types including carrot cake, etc. All are good.

Tin Shui Wai (West Rail)

then took MTR to Mei Foo, transferred to West Rail to Tin Shui Wai. Walked the Ping Shan Trail consisting of 9-10 historical structures through the village.

Hung Shing Temple - last station along Ping Shan Trail

Town well, sealed up but still full of water

the LRT was experienced on real rail on ground level, with different route numbers. Finished the Ping Shan Trail and took LRT 761P at Hang Mei LRT to Tai Tong LRT.

There are NO barrier gates for LRT.
You're at your own liberty to tap-in-tap-out.
Of cos, HKD290+prosecution for not paying up.

Hang Mei LRT

LRT route 761P

tried the Kai Kee Desserts along Yau San Street, then bought 9 boxes of Hang Heung laopo biscuits. Darn heavy!

Hang Heung store - expiry date of biscuits: 5 Jan 2008


Fully satisfied with Yuen Long

my extra bag is full. Hard luggage bursting. Another hand carry bag with my 2 pairs of shoes. No more room!

Last dinner in HK 2007 - KFC mega meal HKD158

day 10 (27th) - Tsing Yi (Tsing Ma Bridge), Home Sweet Home
the visit to Tsing Ma Bridge was cancelled. It was replaced by Airport Express -.-"

note to all in-town check-in peeps, please ensure you've an AE ticket before planning to use the service.

ITCI = In Town Check-I

Still the darn Micro Genius remote

someone came to fetch me at the airport. Thank you, although you don't read my blog =)

hong kong december 2007 - day 8

day 8 (25th) - Kwun Tong (APM Mall, wholesale scouting), Kowloon Bay (megabox)
woke up damn late today. Around 10+.

then went down to Central wanting to try Lin Heung Tea House, but the state shocked us. The workers were super busy, incoming customers waiting at so many tables. Then a worker with a teapot split some tea on my pants. Argh... left the place since my friend didn't want to wait around.

Lin Heung

took the trolley bus to Wan Chai, wanting to try Q Restaurant for their dandan noodles. But it was no longer there! In the end, went to the cafe i tried in March 07. After brunch was off to Times Square, for Birkenstock frenzy. Got a nice pair of Riyadh at HKD390!

Cafe de Delicious - Chicken rice set, Yangzhou fried rice and sandwiches

Xmas display at Times Square

after a short visit to Windsor House to look at laptops, we took the MTR to Kwun Tong station for wholesale outlets. On my itinerary was Yip Fatt Building, which didn't take long to look for (its along Hoi Yuen Road). However, all shops in Phase II were closed! Based on the advertisements along the road, we continued to Camelpaint Building, where i finally managed to find Nike polo tees for myself and brother.

Looks old. Cos' it's an industrial building

Vertical marathon up 11 storeys of Yip Fatt Phase II.
Lift was dead. Or rather, we didn't know how to operate the industrial lift.

Nike @ Camelpaint Phase III

walked back, browsed APM Mall. It's darn big, however our purchasing power were limited. Browsed briefly, took a train to Kowloon Bay's megabox.


megabox is farrrr away from the MTR though, a minimum 15 minutes walk. It's 19 storeys high, with an ice rink and B&Q, somewhat like Ikea. Not much fun there too.

Nice LED screen behind megabox's facade

dropped our shopping bags in the hostel, went to Itamae Sushi to dine. The wait was 2 hours long, and the queue system is unique at least:

- approach the receptionist telling the number of pax, then he'll give you a white paper slip with a number
- when the number is called via the LED screen, go to the receptionist
- you will be given a blue slip with another number and then wait again to be called

so, the idea is to queue for another queue. Waited darn long, went in straight for the kill. Tried the normal sushi, handroll, roasted sushi etc plus sashimi. The handroll is excellent, sashimi is generously cut and fresh. The chawanmushi is the best of all; with slices of crab meat and a prawn in it. The soybean soup is terrific as well.

Finger licking good

Egg, eel and soft-shell crab handrolls

damage? HKD 364 for 2, since XH didn't really eat. Enjoyed this japanese meal. No wonder many peeps endured the waiting time.


hong kong december 2007 - day 7

day 7 (24th) - Victoria Peak, Mongkok (Ladies and Sportswear Street), Sham Shui Po (Apliu and GCC), Olympic, Kowloon
today's breakfast, we decided KFC. So we went to the nearest branch just 2 blocks away, at the Argyle Center. The verdict? Cheapest breakfast so far, and the meal's decent.

Sincere House

KFC, each set for HKD23.50

after the heavy rain over the night, the clouds really cleared up, so it was an excellent day to go up the Peak. Went to Central and took a walk through their CBD to the Peak Tram Terminal. Got there at 10.30am, the queue at the ticketing counter was surprisingly short. The view at the Sky Terrace was clear and cool. Natural aircon rushed towards us, couldn't really bear to go down.

Funicular tram

Clearest skies since many days

did today's (only) shopping at the Peak Tower mall; a Hard Rock cafe and Gumps t-shirt. After i overspent at Citygate Outlets, my wallet is locking itself up.

lunch was at Mak's Noodles, finally. The crowd proved the shop's popularity - the only mee shop with a queue outside, and we witnessed a guy calling 3 bowls of noodles (for himself), another lady calling 2 bowls of noodles (for herself), both with oyster-veggie. Each bowl was rather ex though, above HKD28. Due to budget constraint, we skipped the Ocean Park and went to Mongkok's Ladies and Sportswear Street for shopping.

Mak's Noodles

Ladies Street

Lucky Dessert - an alternative to HLS

i'm interested in a Birkenstock, but there don't seem to be any discounts for it anywhere. The standard price is HKD689 so far. Shall continue looking... hmm.

evening was spent walking around Sham Shui Po's Apliu Street (recently there was a HK drama on it) and Golden Computer Arcade. The GCA is damn huge, just took a short walk around. It seemed to be the locals' favourite as i saw 4-5 PS3 transactions in just 5 minutes!

Apliu St

Cheap DVI/HDMI cables

after dining at Ajisen, we took a walk to Nam Cheong and went to Olympic City 2. Not much of stuff, but there's a bowling alley. The pricing wasn't attractive though; a minimum of 4 games required (1 game = HKD36). Left Olympic for Kowloon's Elements. Elements is a rather high-end shopping mall with 5 major zones (the 5 fengshui elements). It was naturally out-of-reach to us, since we already overspent.

Saw this outside OC2's toilet

Olympic City 2

Elements - very posh shopping

the countdown was spent at Langham Place again, with my friends clocking in major purchases (Levi's jeans and Laosmiddle bags). I just sat by and relaxed =x

Langham Place

i'm still the highest spender at $1.7k. Although both of them are trailing by SGD20-30 only... =(

hong kong december 2007 - day 6

day 6 (23rd) - New Territories (Sha Tin and Tai Po), Shenzhen
had dimsum breakfast at Ho Choi Restaurant at Yau Ma Tei MTR (Exit A2). The dimsum was better than London Restaurant, plus the absence of aunties with their pushcarts (and equally pushy as well) made us feel better.

Ho Choi


the itinerary was originally Lamma Island, but felt it might be too dry. So i changed it to a tour of the New Territories instead. XH further suggested going Shenzhen, which is along the way, but furthest.

Formerly KCR - Mongkok East Station (East Rail)

some might be aware that KCR has merged with MTR recently. As a result, almost all KCR signages had been replaced with the MTR signs. Be careful in differentiating them; especially for stations that sound identical yet different.

- "Tsim Sha Tsui East" (KCR East Rail Line) and "Tsim Sha Tsui" (MTR Tsuen Wan Line)
- "Mongkok" (KCR East Rail Line) and "Mongkok" (MTR Tsuen Wan/Kwun Tong Line). The KCR station has been renamed to Mongkok East.

the experience on the East Rail is excellent. The East Rail is similar to MTR lines, except that it goes all the way to Lo Wu, which is the border with Shenzhen.

- Sha Tin
the walking tour started at Tai Wai station, where we transferred to Che Kung Temple station on the (KCR) Ma On Shan Line. Then we took a walk from Che Kung Temple, passing the Tsang Tai Uk (Big House of the Tsangs), Sha Tin Park and finally Sha Tin Central. Shopped at New Town Plaza, which is a super mega mall with Phase I and III buildings.

found some special sights, but don't have the pic right now:
- mademoiselle (sounds Vickish)
- ivana's poster in a record shop




Tai Wai Station on Ma On Shan Line

Che Kung Temple

Tsang Tai Uk (Big House of the Tsangs)

One of the bridges connecting to Sha Tin Central

Man Ji Desserts - durian yums

Snoopy World in New Town Plaza

- Shenzhen
from Sha Tin, we continued along the East Rail to Lo Wu, which is like Woodlands Checkpoint. But the Lo Wu-Shenzhen border does not have a huge water channel in between, so we simply crossed the border by stepping across 2 buildings.

the trip to SZ was disappointing - didn't bring a map down, and practically aimless without any guides. I remembered the route to Dongmen, but got harassed by touts along the way. Didn't mind if these were pretty girls, but not =x

Luo Hu Border

in the end, we entered HK in less than 1 hour of departure. Nice China chop on our passports though.

- Tai Wo
since we had some extra time, we stopped at Tai Wo for a short walking tour along the local market scene. Have to say it's as what the DiscoverHongkong guide described - "you'll see butcher shops that sell EVERY part of the pig!"

What you see is what you get

we stopped at the Tai Po Hui Market Complex, hopping to try the Ping Kee noodles. But it was closed, and we tried the local 'zi char'. The stall had the most number of diners, so we bravely sat down and ordered a couple of dishes, including a roasted pigeon.

the verdict? THUMBS UP! 2 meat, 2 veggie for HKD222!!!


Nice food from my clan (Wu)

the night was spent on travelling back to TST, watching the Symphony of Lights. Then walked up to Mongkok, stopping frequently to watch my friends spend. Finally it's their turn. Lolz...