Singapore Top Travel, Beauty, Food, Lifestyle Blog

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Hong Kong Oct'13: Our first night in Mongkok!

It's travelogue timeeee!

One of my favourite kind of blog posts to write, though I'm not so sure how keen y'all are on reading them, because they almost always consist of a ten thousand word essay and a gazillion photos.

For my Hong Kong trip, I'll be splitting my entries up by day, and at the end of all the entries, I'll consolidate any details that I think could be potentially useful for anyone who's on the lookout for information about travelling in Hong Kong! :)

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The Plane Tickets

Actually, our trip to Hong Kong was super impromptu. I only booked our plane tickets on Oct 15, and we departed a short two weeks after, on the 28th! 

Thing is, Trish had been asking me for ages to go to Hong Kong together with her and Casey, because she'd already booked her tickets way in advance, when there was a promo going on. I wasn't sure yet if I could take the time off for the trip, and put the notion of a trip right to the back of my mind for months. 

So one fine day, I think Trish mentioned something about the Hong Kong trip again, and I thought, what the heck, I'll just go and check out the airfare, lah. To my pleasant surprise, there was a promo running on SQ (Super Deals 2 to go) and the tickets only cost SGD324.50 each, with all charges and taxes in! Even budget airline tickets cost about SGD280, so it was a really good deal, and I promptly called YZ to ask him if he was keen on the trip.. and it was an immediate YES! Bought those tickets straight away and was on cloud 9! :DDD

Best impulse decision I've ever made this year :D

Plane tickets, set!

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Accommodation

Next, I had to start looking for suitable accommodations, and after asking around some of my friends who travel frequently to Hong Kong on work trips, I decided on The Cityview, located near Yau Ma Tei MTR. I booked the Superior Room for four nights, which worked out to about SGD93 per pax, for one night. Not too bad a price, I think, for the comfort level and accessibility of the hotel.

After the extremely packed weekend (YZ's sister's wedding was just the day before we flew off), we hurriedly departed for the airport on Monday morning, to catch our 1PM flight!

Feels so good to fly on SQ. 
Clothed our passports in a set of Honeymooners Passport Covers (ya ya I know I'm not on my honeymoon YET... But too cute, can?) from MerryLove! I love them, made it so much easier to differentiate between our passports!

My very comfortable outfit: Lattice Back Top and Fashionista Striped Skirt from The Velvet Dolls, plus a big wool shrug to keep me warm on the plane! Not Ur No. 1 sunnies from ShoPunk, and my favourite Sam Edelman flats that are battered and worn now.

I also brought along TVD's new Janelle Box Clutch, which is available on backorder now, and it was perfect for the trip! Went with all my outfits, and fit my carry-around items perfectly. I always prefer to carry a sling bag overseas, because it leaves my arms/hands free to do other things (like eating on the streets, or snapping photos. Hahaha)

A hasty pre-departure meal at Popeyes at Changi Airport Terminal 3! The Popeyes there tastes the best, somehow.

YZ and I before boarding the plane, with our adorbs passport holders!

We had a pretty uneventful flight, and I watched Pacific Rim on the plane! My favourite things to do on flights are to sleep, and catch up on movies that I've missed, since I hardly visit the movie theatres. Pacific Rim was pretty entertaining, and we both liked it!

I have a little confession to make here: I LOVE PLANE FOOD!

Some people always complain about plane food, but actually I like it :X I'm always eagerly anticipating the arrival of the stewardesses with their food trolleys coming down the aisles!

SQ does serve up pretty awesome fare!

We even had ice cream too hohoho. No such perks on a budget airline, so I was really glad to be flying SQ!

Touched down at Hong Kong Airport in the evening, around 5ish, and it felt like the flight took no time at all!


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Data Plan for Internet Access in Hong Kong

If you're on M1 like I am, unlimited data roaming costs $15 a day. Not very cheap, and a much better option is to get the unlimited data card from Nobletime AV & Telecom at Hong Kong International Airport, Terminal 1.

For HKD288 (about SGD50), you get unlimited data, for seven days! That works out to be about SGD10 a day for me, since I was only in Hong Kong for 5 days, but still works out to a cheaper deal than data roaming (SGD15 x 5 = 75)

As YZ wanted to stay connected on his SG phone line, we bought just one card for me, and he was able to connect to the internet on his phone via personal hotspot when he needed to.

Our hotel (The Cityview) provided an airport to hotel shuttle bus, for HKD140 per pax, which we opted for.

However, we had to wait more than 30 minutes because due to some miscommunication, we were told that we only had transport booked for 1 pax, even though the email confirmation I received from The Cityview clearly stated that we were confirmed for 2 pax. Wasted quite abit of time waiting for the hotel/airport staff to sort that out, and we only managed to get on the 6.45PM bus (Was hoping to get on the 6.15PM one because the shuttle bus comes every 30 minutes)

Also, the shuttle bus service stops at a few different hotels along the way, so it took about 45 minutes or slightly longer to finally reach The Cityview. Wasn't too happy with that, meh.


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The Cityview Hotel
(located near Yau Ma Tei MTR)

23 Waterloo Rd,
Hong Kong

+852 2783 3888

http://www.thecityview.com.hk/

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Overall though, I thought The Cityview was a great hotel! It's quite a new hotel from what I know, so it doesn't look shabby or rundown, but is quite spacious and comfortable!

Straight away after checking into the hotel and putting our luggages down, we freshened up a little and headed out to meet Trish and Casey for dinner! :D

Casey is actually a Hongkonger, but he's been staying in Singapore for damn long, so he's pretty much considered Singaporean now, lol. But still, he can definitely speak and understand Cantonese the best out of all of us, so it was a huge advantage to have him with us.

Because our hotel is so near Mongkok, it only took us five or ten minutes (I find it hard to gauge walking distance overseas, for some reason) to actually reach the streets of Mongkok, which was ablaze with activity!

This is my first proper time being on the streets of Hong Kong, by the way, and I was fascinated!

As you can see, it was insanely crowded! Could hardly take a photo without getting photobombed. 

Travel partners Trish and Casey!

There was soooo much street food in Mongkok! Every few steps you take, there's a different food stall. And everything looked really good, too.

They had lots of skewered stuff that's grilled upon demand, which looked interesting!

Some street side stalls also sell dim sum like siewmai and all, but didn't look very tasty to me.

Glutinous rice and sausages! Sinful much.

We walked on and settled for dinner at a roast meat joint! If you don't already know, Hong Kong is famed for their roast meats, especially the more exotic meat like roast goose, and roast pigeon. So I was really excited for my first dinner in Hong Kong!

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源記餐廳小廚 

G/F, 12-13 Hung Wai Building, 3-5 Fa Yuen Street, Mong Kok 
旺角花園街3-5號鴻威大廈12-13號地下

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This place isn't very famous or popular, I'm sure there are more well-known places for roast meat in Hong Kong! But from what Casey said, quite a few locals go to Yuen Kee, and it's pretty decent.  In any case, I'm not super picky about our food, and we needed to fill our hungry tummies somehow!


I swear that smiling guy was posing for him.


So happy to sit down and have foooood! ^.^


Casey and Trish!


We kind of over-ordered (as we always do when the four of us eat together...) but my my doesn't the table of food look just too good to be true?


Roast chicken and charsiew~


Roast pigeon!


Roast pork belly, and roast goose!


油菜, which I have to say is my favourite dish in the whole of Hong Kong!!!

No, seriously. How come no one told me to order 油菜 when in Hong Kong?! The veggies there are SO sweet, so tender, and so delicious! So please, if you go to Hong Kong, don't just eat dim sum, wanton noodles, roast meat and all that, Please order the 油菜. REALLY you won't regret it!!! And it's super healthy, just blanched in water and served with oyster sauce at most places. DAMN GOOD!

I liked their vegetables SO much, I ordered 油菜 at every single restaurant/eatery we went to. #notkidding

Time to get started on our favourite activity.. Eating!

I really liked the charsiew, it's sliced thicker than usual and has got this fragrant smoked flavour! The roast chicken was very tender, and the pork belly was yummyyyy. I didn't really fancy the pigeon and goose here cos they tasted dryer, plus there's a more gamey taste that I'm not used to.

But that charsiew.... Would die for it in Singapore. How come Singapore charsiew not like that one??

Anyway, we managed to finish ALL the food. Quite a feat because we ordered so much! Good job everyone. After the huge feast, we went back out onto the streets to 逛街, and to just walk about randomly.



You definitely won't have to search for food in Mongkok. There's food everywhere!


We were pretty intrigued by these display of crabs all for sale! Apparently they're all kept alive in the refrigerated displays for customers to pick and buy.


This is the crazy amount of people on the streets, on a Monday night. I have no idea why it's sooooo crowded D:


A photo with my dear Trish! We didn't take enough photos this trip round :( More the next time! :D


And me :D Looking extremely happy on the streets of Mongkok!


Random shot of supaaaa cute an old man with three ugly-until-adorable pugs!


There are many signs in both english and chinese in Hong Kong, so it is just as easy to get around as in Singapore! :)


We took a walk down 女人街, which is one of the famed Hong Kong tourist attractions, but in my opinion, it's hardly more than a glorified night market/pasar malam, sort of like what we can find in Singapore, along Chinatown or even Bugis area. Nothing of interest, but we just completed our rounds there for the sake of it.


The most interesting things I saw were these laser cut paper cuttings!

We strolled past a huge local confectionary store and was told that THIS IS THE PLACE TO GO TO, if you intend to buy "Wife Cakes', or 老婆饼!

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恆香老餅家
Hang Heung Cake Shop

http://www.hangheung.com.hk

Hang Heung - Yuen Long
66 Castle Peak Road
Yuen Long

Hang Heung - Mong Kok
579 Nathan Rd

Hang Heung - Causeway Bay
555 Hennessy Rd

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There are a few different branches, and I went to the one at Mong Kok of course, within walking distance of my hotel! 


I've had this brought back for me from other friends and relatives, so I already knew how good it was. We bought one on the spot just to nibble on, and eating it fresh was sooo shiok! The pastry was flaky and crumbly, and the warm winter melon filling was melt-in-the-mouth kind of soft! Not too sweet too, really addictive.


If you're buying Hang Heung back for family and friends, don't buy them too early because they won't be as tasty if they're not so fresh, and also they are very delicate due to the super crumbly nature! Try to buy them on the second last day to last day if possible. And remember to hand carry it! :D It's the best lo po peng you can find in Hong Kong!


The quintessential Mongkok street. Neon lights and signboards all over! It's super bright even at night!

Oooh minion balloons! Lol so cute.



A trip to Mongkok isn't complete without heading to one of the most famous shopping centres: Argyle Centre!

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旺角中心
Argyle Centre 

Mall and Building
688 Nathan Rd, Mong Kok

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I was so caught up with shopping that I didn't take any photos inside the shopping mall. But, it kind of resembles Bugis Street or Far East Plaza, with many tiny shops that sell bags, shoes, clothes.. All kinds!!!

And most importantly, they are really cheap! :D

Well I didn't shop for clothes, but I managed to score two pairs of booties (One mid-thigh and one ankle-high) for pretty cheap, about HKD400? :) That worked out to be roughly SGD30 plus per pair, for decent, good quality boots!

The sales assistants can be very pushy, so you should do your best to bargain lower if you're buying a lot, and also don't get psycho-ed into buying things you don't really like.

Also at Argyle Centre I hear there's a very famous "冷面" on the ground floor, which I didn't know about beforehand so I didn't try! It's madly popular though, so I think it should be good. Please go try it for me and let me know how good it is, so that I can go there for a return visit soon! :)


And for all the beauty fanatics... Cosmetic shops are ABOUND in Hong Kong. Nearly every other street has got a huge Sasa or Bonjour (the two largest drugstore brands in Hong Kong) and the prices are comparatively cheaper than Singapore too! Up to 20-30% cheaper for certain brands and products!

Some brands that are good to pick up in Hong Kong cosmetic stores include Heroine Make (the eyeliner is only about SGD12 there!) and Bioderma, a highly-raved makeup remover. And there are many other Japanese and international brands that are not as readily available in Singapore, that can be found in Hong Kong! A beauty lover's paradise, really.


After a bit more wandering, we passed by a curry fish ball street store and bought a bowl to try. It's apparently very popular, but I prefer our local Singaporean fish balls that are more springy and don't taste so starchy!


There's also all these little street side photo booths along Mongkok with many young people posing for crazy photos, basically you can get an instant photo printed on the spot, and can even choose lenticular or "3D" photos that move!

Quite a profitable street business, I must say. We almost wanted to try it too, but it was really crowded. Maybe next time!


Familiar sight thanks to TVB!!! Lol. I nearly glanced about to see if there was any camera crew nearby. Hong Kong police officer, no idea what was going on but he was holding some knife parang thing o_0


And that was the end of our first night in Hong Kong!

We walked back to our hotel around 12PM, and it was still crowded on the streets, much to my amazement! Went to bed a happy girl, all excited for the days to follow! :)

This trip has a special spot in my heart, because it's my first "official" trip together with YZ by ourselves, "chopped" with the parents' stamp of approval! In all our six years together, I've actually never went overseas together with YZ on our own.

Previously when we went overseas, it was either for sponsored trips or family trips, and I didn't even dare to let my parents know that YZ and I were overseas together, because I was fearful of their disapproval and unhappiness. Especially from my dad, who's as old-fashioned as old-fashioned can be. 

I'm glad that he's come to accept that I'm already "grown up" enough to not be under his iron rule, as well as accepting YZ as my life partner, and respecting us as adults. It has taken years for our relationship and status to reach this stage, and that's something that I'm extremely
 thankful for. Nonetheless, I have to constantly remind myself not to take these hard-earned liberties for granted, and appreciate every little piece of life the way it is now.

:)

Well, stay tuned for the rest of my Hong Kong travelogues! TGIF, and I'm hoping everyone has a merry weekend ahead!

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© Yina Goes

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