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Oversea, Travel

Hanoi Day 1: AirAsia, Emerald Waters Hotel Trendy & Vinmart

In recent years, there were lots of Vietnamese restaurants mushrooming up in Klang Valley as well as travel programs featuring Vietnam on the TV, so much so that I can’t help but be tempted by this country. The icing on the cake was when I tried my very first Vietnamese food in a restaurant in PJ about 2 years back. I was hooked immediately and knew I gotta visit Vietnam one day and sample their beautiful cuisine. And so, Vietnam became my 2019 holiday destination!

I choose to visit Hanoi simply because it’s the capital of Vietnam and from what I’d read, it’s busy and yet more laidback and traditional compared to Ho Chi Minh. This trip was a take-it-easy + food trip. With only 4 days and 3 nights (22nd October to 25th October 2019), we concentrated on the Old Quarter and French Quarter surrounding Hoร n Kiแบฟm Lake. This trip also marked our 5th overseas siblings-only vacation.

Since it’s a take-it-easy + food trip, I took the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D lens with me. It did make the trip lighter. All photos taken are either from Nikon D80, Nokia 6 or Samsung Note 9.

Fellow Malaysians, if you’re staying for 30 days or less in Vietnam you do not need a visa. Please note that Hanoi time zone is GMT+7.

Although AirAsia is no longer cheap, I flew with it again this time because it’s still cheaper (you know what I mean?). When my kiamsiap-ness (frugalness; which is very often) kicks in, that’s what I choose. I’ve more or less embraced the looooong walk to the boarding gate at KLIA2 (which I’ve complained a lot previously). It’s good having lots of movement before flying as we’ll be sitting most of the time in the plane. See, there is always 2 sides or more of a coin when one changes one’s perception. ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, I found a secret or should I say workaround about something at the airport. I cannot even share what it is. Hehe

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Oversea, Travel

Hong Kong Day 4 & 5: Crossing Victoria Harbor, Happy Valley Racecourse & Goodbye

Hong Kong Day 1: HKIA, First Airbnb & Duk Ling
Hong Kong Day 2: Victoria Peak Garden, Shopping & Sai Ying Pun
Hong Kong Day 3: Prizemart, Liu Ma Kee, Shanghai Street & Best Mart 360

Beware: a very long post!

Woke up at 7am+ on day 4. After dilly-dally, we went out at 10am+ for brunch at a dai pai dong in Tai Hang, Hong Kong Island.

To get to Tai Hang, we need to cross Victoria Harbor either by MTR or ferry (of course you can cross by car, bus or taxi too). Taking the MTR will save time. However we prefer taking the Star Ferry because it’s always an exceptional experience. I’ve rode the ferry before in 2011 that was going to Central. This time, we’re going to Wan Chai area via the Wan Chai ferry route.

At Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry Pier To Wan Chai @ Hong Kong
At Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry Pier to Wan Chai. We paid the fare with Octopus card.

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Oversea, Travel

Taipei Day 1: AirAsia, Star Hostel & Ningxia Road Night Market

Don’t think I’ll be able to keep this Taiwan travelogue short. So go on and read it if you have spare time. ๐Ÿ™‚

I have never seriously considered visiting Taiwan before this trip. Whenever my friends ask me to go Taiwan, I always say no. In my thoughts, Taiwan is boring and besides I don’t fancy their food (e.g. sausages, fried food). But because moderately affordable is my 2015 travel motto… after thinking long and hard, yes… I decided on Taiwan. That was a year ago. My other option was Hong Kong but I thought wouldn’t it be better to visit a new country? Although I wanted to visit Hong Kong again pretty badly!

I booked my flight with AirAsia X (yes I know I sworn them off) because what they offered were the cheapest even after including meal, seat and luggage cost). Four months before flying off, I received an email from AirAsia. The title of the email? Your return flight from Taipei to KL has been cancelled and moved to next flight. Oh how lucky am I? 3 years back AirAsia X cancelled my London flight and now this. Thankfully this time it was quite smooth sailing. A week later, I received my new flight itinerary. So apparently they cancelled the early afternoon flight and bumped us into the late afternoon flight.

When I booked my Taiwan flight a year back, I have this sense of uneasiness (like something bad is going to happen before the trip) but I decided it was just my over-thinking-over-worrying mind. I purposely booked the trip about a month after Chester’s birthday so that I get to celebrate his birthday first before going holiday. Fast forward to present day, I knew now what that uneasiness feeling was. ๐Ÿ™ ๐Ÿ™ ๐Ÿ™ Talk about a woman’s intuition! Sometimes it really scares me that my premonition does come true (always the bad things, perhaps I attract it?). I will never know when exactly Chester took his last breath. Was it 4th October or 5th October? And guess what? I flew off to Taipei on 5th November (a month later). Talk about coincidence!!! Yes, this trip did healed me quite a bit… emotionally.

As with all my independent travels, I’m the master planner. As I plan and dig deeper on what to see and eat, unknowingly to me, I fell in love with Taiwan. Before long, I was super excited and can’t wait for this trip to happen. This Taiwan holiday was a 6 days 5 nights trip (5th-10th Nov 2015) where my family and me mainly stay in Taipei except for a day trip to Jiufen. Expect to see lots of food photos as this trip is mainly for that.

I lugged my Nikon DSLR with a lighter 50mm lens with me to this trip but I ended up only using it for 2.5 days… even though I carried a backpack this time to distribute the weight between my shoulders. The rest of the trip, I kept it in my luggage. Even with lighter lens it was still heavy! I no longer have the strength like in my youthful years. LOL. For the rest of the trip, I relied on my sis’ P&S Lumix and our camera phones. So yes, most photos won’t be as good as I would like. No choice.

Btw, make sure you stick to the end of this Taiwan travelogue. Something happened!

Malaysians are exempted from visa if you stay less than 30 days in Taiwan. Yeah!

It was my first time at KLIA2. TBH, I dislike the planning of this airport. Why are the departure/arrival gates so far far far away? Allow ample time of 30 minutes or more of unplanned trekking. They do provide buggy transport but expect to walk more and go down some stairs after that.

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Oversea, Travel

Hong Kong Day 5 & 6: YMCA of HK, Symphony of Lights, Dessert Attack, Goodbye Hong Kong

Check these out (if you haven’t) before reading this last post of my Hong Kong 2011 trip:
Hong Kong Day 1: Airport Express, Thematic Lantern Exhibition & Heritage 1881
Hong Kong Day 2: Star Ferry, Man Mo Temple & Gage Street Market
Hong Kong Day 3: Ocean Park
Hong Kong Day 4: Big Buddha, Po Lin Monastery, Citigate Outlets at Lantau Island & Esprit Outlet

If you noticed, I’ve yet to review our lodging of 5 nights at YMCA of Hong Kong. Read on then.

I wanted to stay at YMCA of Hong Kong (also dubbed The Salisbury) for the longest time. Tried to book ‘the cheapest dormitory room’ before my first trip here but it was fully booked. Tried to book it for my 2nd visit… still no luck. Finally I decided to book the ‘most expensive room’ in YMCA. The Salisbury is not the usual kind of YMCA accommodation (read: shabby). This is one of the very best lodging you can find in Hong Kong.

Let me give you a tour of our room before I tell you what I think of this place and their services.

Upon entering Harbour View Suite,

A sofa bed (not comfortable at all!), arm chair and desk.

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Oversea, Travel

Hong Kong Day 1: Airport Express, Thematic Lantern Exhibition & Heritage 1881

Warning: Overloaded with pictures. ๐Ÿ™‚


I went to Hong Kong during the last few days of Chinese New Year this year. This was my 2nd visit to Hong Kong. What can I say? This place still rocks! Though I have to say there’s 1 big difference I experienced now from 3 years plus ago. Especially in Tsim Sha Tsui area, I was mistaken as a tourist from China because every time I want to order or pay my food/stuff, they would speak to me in Mandarin first. WTH??? Thank God every thing was good elsewhere. If not I would scream man! I no longer feel like I belong there (which I said I once was)

This 6 days 5 nights vacation is sort of a flashpacking trip in terms of accommodation and mode of transportation. Though it’s a 6 days 5 nights trip, we actually only have 4 full days. Our arrival was late evening while our departure from Hong Kong was early morning. Food wise I found some new and good ones and also got a little disappointed from the ones I re-visited. My main aim in Hong Kong this time is to visit one of my childhood dream place and sample more Hong Kong food! So come now, follow me on the joy ride. ๐Ÿ™‚

Our AirAsia flight to Hong Kong was 30 minutes late (biasa la ya). The flight duration from Malaysia to Hong Kong is 3 hours 50 minutes. I got my ticket for RM400 return/pax (inclusive of everything; flight, airport tax, 2 meals, pick a seat & the stupid convenience fee).

This was my first time stepping into Hong Kong International Airport. In my previous HK trip, I flew to Macau first and then later took a ferry to HK.

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Oversea, Travel

Melbourne Day 1: Federation Square, Hosier Lane & Flinders Street Station

As usual I’m the ‘cheong hei’ (long-winded) type when it comes to writing travelogue. Read at your own risk! Hehe

This is my first ever backpacking trip down under to Victoria, Australia for 8 days & 8 nights (8th to 16th September) with my sister. And this is our 2nd trip together (minus parents/friends). Our 1st trip together was 7 years ago to South Korea. This is also my first time going to “negara orang putih”. LOL

We didn’t plan to visit Melbourne until 2 months plus ago. Sure there were small talks before this. Mostly I shoot down the idea because of the exchange rate (AUD1 = RM2.9). But in the end I agreed because I’m going to visit and fulfill another one of my childhood dreams. Wohooo! If you want to know more, be sure to follow my Australia travelogue.

Our AirAsia flight didn’t come cheap even though it was booked during the sales period. We made up our mind pretty late and by then all the cheap fares were gone. Anyhow it’s still cheap compared to flying the regular airline. Hehe

Many memories were etched in this journey. Many first and one or two unpleasant ones. And some misses. Funnily when we came back both of us have the same feeling. We couldn’t feel Australia. LOL. Usually I would feel very excited, happy and over the moon for few days after coming back from a trip. But not this time. Really had no idea why. Anyway don’t let this small thing get to you (and myself). I really did had a great time there. ๐Ÿ™‚ And I wish I have the moolah to go visit again soon. Haha

To visit Australia, you need a visa. You can choose either to get a visa or an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority). We get the latter one as it’s fairly simple to apply. All you need to do is apply ETA online and pay AUD20 (per person) for service charge. That’s it. You don’t need to bring any paperwork with you.

Seeing that our flight to Melbourne is 8 hours long, we purchased the ‘extra legroom’ seat (only RM50/seat/trip) and meals on board.

Legroom on board AirAsia D7 flight to Melbourne, Australia.
Taken with TZ-7.

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