Monday, October 29, 2012

The Singapore Tourist Pass : Is It For You ?

We have been on short trips to Singapore before but never thought of getting one of those refillable cards (like the Octopus cards for Hong Kong). But this time hubby found out that there was a day pass for tourist that enable us to get on unlimited rides on Singapore public transport system. It's called The Singapore Tourist Pass. They came in three different price $10 (day pass); $16 (2 day pass) and $20 (3 day pass).

We thought of giving the tourist pass a try. Even if it turned out to break even at least we gained the experience. So we bought two cards at the Changi station terminal and boarded our train to the hotel. It cost an extra SGD10 per card for deposit fee which could be refunded. That afternoon we went to a few places, one station to another, one trip after another. And we even had the conversation of how convenience it was not having to purchase fares each time.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Mid Autumn Festival in Hong Kong

Growing up in Indonesia, Mid Autumn Festival was almost unheard off. Having been in US the last few years, the festival was more noticeable here. The Asian groceries would display a wide varieties of moon cake and some area would actually have an event in the park with booths and activities. But nothing can beat Hong Kong. This was the first time I have been in a very 'alive' Mid Autumn Festival. I was talking about like half a million people all in place.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sunshine Suites Hotel - Hanoi, Vietnam

We found this hotel and got the reservation through Agoda. But when we arrived there we realized that there were at least another two different hotels that had names similar to our hotel. Not too sure if they were affiliated.

We found out from Tripadvisor people were saying that it's best to reserve airport transfer from hotel. It's around $15 but saves a lot of hassle. Learning from experience when we went to Ho Chi Minh we kinda agreed on that. So we requested a pick up. From airport Noi Bai to Old Quarter took about 45 minutes. It wasn't that far but it's the traffic.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Vietnam Visa

Two years ago when we first applied for our Vietnam visa we had to leave our passports with the travel agent. It took about a week and then we went and collected them. The visa was sticked to the passport. But this year we used a different travel agent so we were surprised when we were told that they didn't need to keep our passports. Really ??
Regular Vietnam visa - sticked to passport page

I was afraid that they charged us $80 for visa on arrival which basically was a piece of paper that we can exchange for visa when we arrive in Vietnam. I personally think this type of visa is a bit risky. We already paid for air tickets and hotel reservation and we didn't want anything to go wrong. But hubby assured me that the lady over at the travel agent showed him a bunch of other visas that looked pretty legit. Hmm..okay.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Big Bang Concert in Indonesia

We were in the mall on our second day in Jakarta, Indonesia when I caught a poster that announce free tickets to Big Bang concert on October 12-13, 2012 for purchase of Samsung Galaxy. I was like ...WHAT ??!! Big Bang is having concert here in Jakarta ?? What's the date ? What's today's date ? Wait, we still have time go to the concert.

So that night we researched more information and decided to purchase tickets the next day. We got tickets for seating on Tribune 1 for October 12. The tickets were not cheaper compare to US. I was surprised to know that the demand was actually overwhelming that the promotor decided to add an extra concert day.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

五代同糖 - Hong Kong

I know I look at the title and went WHAT !!?? There's no English name on this establishment. And knowing my Chinese I wouldn't want to translate it just in case it went totally wrong. It would be butchering people's business. But if I'm not mistaken, it literally means five dynasties with sugar.

We were lead here by our guide, Mr. Wong. He is quite a frequent visitor here. So he knew what he wanted but it took us a while before we settled with the mango shaved ice. The store wasn't very big. It's two smaller place with different entrance divided by an opening in the middle which was an entrance to a shopping small strip.
Mango shaved ice

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Hui Lau San - Hong Kong

Hui Lau San is a franchise dessert place in Hong Kong. During this trip alone, I saw at least 4-5 stores. They call themselves Hui Lau San Healthy Dessert on their website. Supposedly it started as a herbal tea shop specializing in herbal jellies.

Our local guide took us to one in Causeway Bay. Couldn't quite tell you where exactly in Causeway Bay. But you won't miss it if you run into one. It has a distinctive red color signboard with Chinese character and English name below it.

Econ Inn @ Beach Road - Singapore

Due to the change of our itinerary we had to spend a night in Singapore. It wasn't bad at all but it was kinda last minute so we needed to find accomodation for that one night. I liked the hotel we stayed in last time - Mayo Inn. But hubby didn't like it because it was noisy to its location next to Jalan Besar.

Then we found Econ Inn in Bugis which used to operate under different name. We got a deluxe room to guarantee a room with window. From the airport take MRT and get off Bugis station. Take exit C towards Bugis Junction. But instead of going in the mall, take the other exit that will bring you to the street level. Look at the map above. Cross North Bridge Rd towards Liang Seah St. Walk Liang Seah St towards Beach Rd, just before you reach Beach Rd, there's a small road that leads to the parking lot. Turn into that small road, and you'll see the sign for the inn and also a small entrance. So the entrance to the inn is not on Beach Rd but rather on the small street paralel to Beach Rd just behind the inn.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Hong Kong Style Breakfast

During one of my visits to Hong Kong years ago I have learned about this type of breakfast. A lot of stuff from my younger years wouldn't have made it to my palette including this HK style breakfast. But I have evolved since and broaden my horizon. This time around I gladly take the offer to try anything the locals eat.

The HK style breakfast is usually served at cha chaan teng (茶餐厅) - literally means tea hall. Most of the cha chaan teng are mom and pop style of shops. Menus were all written in Chinese. Good thing we had our local guide, Mr. Wong to do the ordering for us.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ibis Sheung Wan and Central - Hong Kong

This hotel was just opened back in September 2012. Everything in the room feels new. Who knows, we could be even the first guests to use that room !! We got a standard room on 30th floor with view to mountain and neighboring buildings. Room was bigger than expected. There was a custom built-in desk/clothes hanging area. Enough room to put our two medium size suitcases.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Singapore Airlines Meals (SFO - HK)

Having chosen a kosher meal last time attracted a lot of curious look from the flight attendants. This time flying with Singapore Airlines I decided not to choose any special meal and to accept whatever is offered. One suggestion though if you need to specify your special meal and the is a bit buggy (as it happened to me) just go ahead and call their customer service number. The agent there was very helpful.
sliced pork with fried rice

The supper meals offered for our flight this time was potato with braised chicken and sliced pork with fried rice. The appetizer was smoked salmon with green beans and the dessert was brownie. Both the chicken and pork were decent for airlines food. Though the chicken was a bit challenging to 'navigate' since it was a whole big piece. I couldn't say much about the appetizer nor dessert. Just didn't have appetite for them.
braised chicken with potato
The second meal which was served as breakfast prior to landing in Hong Kong was omelette with potato or Chinese style stir fried noodle. We were ready to each pick one to see which one was better. But than we were told that they ran out of noodle. What ??! But they still had Indian meals available. I jumped at that option since I was always curious to try.

Breakfast omellete

Compare to the supper, the breakfast option was actually better. Or was it because we were hungry ? The omelette was creamy and moist. I could not wait to try the Indian meal. It had pancakes, chunk of rice cakes and  some sort of chutney. The pancakes were savory with hint of spices and so were the 'rice cakes'. I ate them together with the chutney. Later on I found out the Indian names for them. Masala uttapam, kanjeevaram idli, sambhar and coconut chutney. And the rice cakes were actually steam rice and lentil cakes. Not bad at all.
Indian breakfast meal