Friday, December 28, 2012

Overseas 2012: Hong Kong

I forgot to put this on my previous post so for those who are interested, my itinerary went like this:

24th of Dec: Left Australia to Taiwan (via Hong Kong)
24th-4th: Taiwan
4th of Dec: Left Taiwan to Hong Kong
4th - 9th: Hong Kong
9th of Dec: Left Hong Kong to China (Shanghai)
9th - 16th: Shanghai
16th - 20st: Shenzhen
20th - 23rd: Shanghai
23rd: Left China to Australia (via Hong Kong, I had to stay at the Hong Kong airport for six hours by myself, yay)

Yep, so as you can see, I fit a lot within a month of travelling! So after Taiwan, we flew over to Hong Kong where we stayed at for five days. Our hotel was conveniently in Mongkok, and was less than five minutes away from the Ladies Market and close to the metro station, Langham Place and basically all the shops around Ladies Market. The Metro is so convenient, we travelled everywhere by metro with our Octopus card which is similar to the Go-cards we have here. We had yum cha for breakfast almost every morning but at different restaurants so we could compare the food.

Our first day was spent as Harbour City where all the luxury brand shops were. There were also department stores around with stores like H&M (four levels) and Zara. We spent more than an hour in H&M, I wish Brisbane had at least one of those stores...

That night, Ronnie (both our family friend) took us to a buffet at Langham Place! But before that, on our way there, we were getting out from the metro station and just as I was saying to Melisa how out of place I felt in being taller and paler than most people there and in my mint jumper, we heard someone shout out my name. I turned around and saw Caleb, Jason and Jacky outside the metro in Mongkok waiting for Billy and Rigel! It was the biggest coincidence haahaha.

Anyway, the buffet had so much delicious food but the most exciting part for Melisa and I were the desserts! They so many to choose from including the the ones shown in the photos below, Movenpick ice cream, cakes, slices, waffles, mochi, fruit and other things which I can't remember. We tried every single one of the desserts which were in the cabinet but we only had half each since we were already full from the actual buffet.

That was the night I lost my tastebuds and got really sick...

After the buffet, Melisa and I decided to meet up with the guys and we just shopped around the LAdies Market. We got back to the hotel at around 11:30pm every night during our time in Hong Kong. The streets were still packed during then.

On the second day there, we met up with Jasmine, Billy and Rigel and visited Central. Jasmine is the cutest thing haahah awww. There were department stores everywhere and a huge four level Forever 21 which we spent hours in. I want to go back, someone take me back okay. 

There was a lego display with lego houses in and out of the department store

Later that night, all of us, minus Jasmine (she had to go home :( ) went to The Peak. We caught this train up the mountain which felt like it was going to roll backwards at any second...

But once we got up there, the view of Hong Kong was absolutely breath taking! You could see the lights all over the island, it was that bright. I just stood there marvelling over the view while the others went and did their own thing for a while. Rigel and I tried to name all the iconic buildings from the map that was on the ledge. We pointed out most of them and guessed a few since some where hidden behind other buildings.

There was also a Madame Tussauds Wax Museum on the Peak which we visited. There were a lot of wax figures ranging from Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt to President Obama and Yao Ming. They even had Astro Boy! It was interesting to see the actual height of some of the people, Yao Ming is actually ridiculously tall. Some of the wax figures looked so realistic it was crazy how human like they appeared.

On the third day, Melisa, Billy, Rigel and I went to Disneyland! It was one the cutest places I've been but I think it was probably more suited to couples and families with little children since there weren't many thrilling rides. There were cute shows and performances though! Rigel and I were pretty much team third wheeling with Melisa and Billy again, lol. Oh and Billy got shat on by a bird, lol.

How adorable are these Mickey Mouse waffles?!?!

One theme park to next. A group us including Melisa, Billy, Jason, Caleb, Jasmine, Jacky and myself went to Ocean Park. Jackson was supposed to come to but he woke up really late and didn't make it so we met up with him later that day at Mongkok. 

We saw pandas, monkies and fish for the first part while we waited for others. The rides were a lot better at Ocean Park. There was this rollercoaster called the Hair Raiser which was probably one of the best rides there. One mistake we made was leaving at closing time. To get to the thrill mountain (mountain with all the fun rides) you have to go up either the cable car (we waited around 20 minutes in line to get on) or by the shuttle bus which means that you have to go on one of the two to get back down. Well, since we left at closing time, heaps and heaps of other people also decided to leave at closing time and the amount of people waiting for both types of transport was ridiculous. There were people everywhere I felt like I was in a constantly moving moshpit. It only took about 45 minutes for us to finally get back down -_-

As I mentioned before, we met up with Jackson who came down from Shenzhen once we returned back to Mongkok minus Melisa and Billy who went off a few stops before hand and Jasmine who had to go home. So I was left with the guys lol. 

Our last day in Hong Kong was spent shopping around and getting last minute buys before having to leave that afternoon. 

Take me back, I miss Hong Kong already :(

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Overseas 2012: Taiwan

I'm sorry it's been so long since I last posted, but if you didn't already know, Melisa and I went overseas to Taiwan, Hong Kong and China for a month and it was honestly one of if not the most amazing month I've had so far. We departed Australia on the 24th of November and I returned back to Australia on the 24th of December. The reason I didn't post throughout my trip was because I didn't bring my laptop and I didn't bring my camera cord either so yep, my bad.

We had a stop-off at Hong Kong before arriving at Taiwan. Our itinerary for Taiwan was three days of free activity and then a seven-day tour around the island of Taiwan. The first place we went to was a place filled called 西门町 (Xi Men Ding). It was streets filled with shops and food stalls populated mostly with young people (our age and over...). It had Sasa, Etude House, The Face Shop, Skinfood and so many more *u* We spent an entire afternoon and night there.

 I swear we had bubble tea every day in Taiwan. A large pearl milk was about $1 AUD. Food and drinks were very very cheap, omg I miss cheap and yummy food. 

The best waffle of the trip - Green tea with red bean and let me tell you, we ate a lot of waffles throughout the trip and we both thought this was the best tasting.

Our visit to the Modern Toilet Restaurant was interesting. We ordered this shaved ice dessert and a drink which was in a urinal cup. We were already so full from eating other random food we bought along the way so we only got through half of it. We didn't finish the drink either so we had to take it around with us shopping and people looked at us weirdly, secretly judging. 

Taiwan for us mainly consisted of eating and shopping. We ate non-stop we could practically feel our double chins with every bite we took. The Taiwan Metro Station was also a really good place to shop. It had an underground mall with stalls, a level with the metro stuff and food and upstairs had restaurants. Most of our days were probably spent there, especially since we had to change lines anyway. We visited night markets at nights and so instead of having proper meals we ate the food at these night markets (so much cheap and delicious food ahhh). Night markets were the best.

Fruit parfait at Melange Cafe (near Taipei 101) on one of the nights after a night market.

After the three days f our own free activity, we went on a tour around Taiwan which started off in Taipei, went down to Kaohsiung and back up to Taipei, stopping off at touristy, worthy destinations including scenery sights, night markets, department stores and sightseeing places.

Melisa and I were trying to get Melisa's mum to help us take a photo but the photos were so slanted because she wasn't holding the camera right... Then one the guys from the group asked us to help them take a photo so I took it while Melisa photobombed behind them. After that we asked one of them to help us take a photo and they all joined HAAHHAHA

One of the hotels we stayed at *u* 

We had the best tour guide. Xiao Zhou was the typical Taiwanese guy, the way he spoke and everything was so cuteeee.

On the night we were at Kaohsiung, Billy met up with us and we walked around one of the night markets there (well technically it was more like Melisa and Billy walking together and I was 5 metres behind them fml). Actually, don't even get me started on that night lol. The end was pretty alright though. After that night in Kaohsiung, we headed back up to Taipei stopping off every so often to sight see. 

Okay I feel like this is turning into an extremely long post filled mainly with photos so to sum the rest up, we spent the last day of tour at Taipei 101. We got a photo at the big LOVE sign at the end since we couldn't find it on our own lol. We had to ask so many people to help us take the photo because no one knew how to use the DSLR properly and the photos were all blurry and some had the top part of the LOVE cut off, it was quite frustrating.

I can't quite remember what we spent the last night doing but after that, we headed back to the airport for our flight to Hong Kong!