Travel Bug: Hong Kong Day 16

It’s my final full day in Hong Kong!! I leave tomorrow and boy do I wish this vacation will not end. It’s too much fun not having to work and spending time with family I don’t see as often as I should. But alas, I must return to the other side of the Pacific Ocean and resume my normal non-vacationing side of life.

Today was my last sushi meal lunch day. We went back to TST to a building complex called The One. On one of the very high floors (19F) there is a Japanese restaurant called Kaika. Not only was the view overlooking Victoria Harbour stunning, the food was exquisite as well. I was treated with the sashimi set which came with two pieces of eight different kinds of fish. Doesn’t sound like a lot but when you start digging through your meal, it becomes quite filling! I will never forget this place, it’s a bit on the pricier side but it is worth every penny I tell you!

Afterwards we went to one of the busiest districts in Hong Kong called Mong Kok. Again there are a bunch of shopping to do in this area and a couple of really neat places (like manga stores), if you know where to look (I certainly didn’t but my mom did so I trailed after her trying not to get run over by the thousands of people that were there.) Lady Street is also located in this area and is a street filled with vendors selling an assortment of goods from clothing to knock-offs to souvenirs and even small household appliances. If you want to try your hand at bargaining, this is the place to practice being a master haggler!

Prior to Mong Kok, we were at Sham Shui Po, where there are other assortment of goods. This area is more local and carries a lot of fun things. There is an entire complex dedicated to selling electronics, so if you’re a techie or gamer, this is the place to be. A little further from the exit of the station are a bunch of shops that sell craft materials like beads, strings, ribbons, etc. I had a hard time leaving some of the shops because of all the cute and pretty things. Materials here are also super affordable and so for $10 I took home an assortment of ribbons, cords and hair clips.

Overall, today was a fantastic day and I’ll be sad to leave tomorrow but this adventure is almost at the close.

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Travel Bug: Hong Kong Day 15 Highlight — Afternoon Tea at The Peninsula

Apparently, my great-grandfather in his latter years would be driven to The Peninsula every afternoon to enjoy a relaxing bout of afternoon tea. The Peninsula was one of the few prestigious places that would allow a Chinaman to step foot inside.

Today, The Peninsula remains one of the top hotels catering to guests that come to Hong Kong including dignitaries from all over the world. Of course I had to stop by for high tea.

While the food was fairly traditional and typical of high tea, the atmosphere surpasses all other places I have had the pleasure of enjoying high tea. The colonial setting of the sitting area is opulent and open creating for a pleasant atmosphere. Adding in a live quintet (which played a collection of Disney pieces (that I could name all of) for one of the hours we were there), our afternoon was perfect. Even with the hustle and bustle of people around us there was no rush to quickly fly through tea time.

Overall the food was adequate, but the dessert, I have to say, was quite exquisite. There were a lot of dessert pieces from macarons to tiny cakes and tarts. As an additional treat, we were served with a serving of chocolate mousse and a piece of truffle. YUM! I highly encourage an experience at The Peninsula, the atmosphere is unparalleled.

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Travel Bug: Hong Kong Day 14

The last time I was at the magical kingdom was when I was six. Today, I had my second Disney adventure, this time at Hong Kong Disneyland! It was truly a magical day as I was brought back to my childhood memories. All those amazing songs and stories that even up until university, my roommates and I would refer to and reenact scenes from the Lion King.

Hong Kong Disney is one of the smaller of the Disney theme parks so makes for a wonderful day trip adventure with just enough magic (let’s be honest, there is never too much Disney magic).

There was so much to do I don’t even know where to begin! So let’s just say I sang to most the classic Disney tunes that were playing throughout the theme park and maybe even bouncing down the road. It was great to meet and take photos with iconic characters like Pooh and Donald Duck! It was amazing to see models of protagonists and how animators brought them to life. There were a couple of fun rides and shows. Our day ended at the Festival of Lion King show where they retold the story of Simba and even sang the Lion King songs. (There were also a lot of dancing and fire.)

It was a magical day filled with memories. Though looking at all the young children that were there, it saddens me that most of them do not know any of the stories of the Disney classics. They may know who the characters are, but not necessary the songs and stories. As a 90′s child raised in North America, my childhood was surrounded by Disney, all the other toys and games were based off those characters. I wish as the years go by, Disney will continue to re-re-re-release those great stories that taught us all to dream.

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Travel Bug: Seoul Day 11

Today was a fun, relaxing and chill Sunday. The sun was shining, it was warm, and I reunited with my roommate! The day started late as we found our way to Lotte Department Store. There were a lot of high fashion clothing with almost every brand of skin care you could imagine.

Lunch was an awesome affair as I got to reunite with my 4th year roomie! She took us to an awesome Korean BBQ place in Myeong Dong and it was absolutely delicious! Afterwards, we headed over to Dongdaemun area where there was a design exhibition place that recently opened. There were a lot of cool things, pretty much a mishmash of design gadgets, toys and furniture. Definitely quite cool.

There is a stream that runs through the middle of Seoul City. It starts at Gwanghwamun and leads all the way to HangKwong River. It’s a peaceful area of the city and a quiet reprieve from the hustle bustle of Seoul. At last we arrived at Deuksugung a smaller palace filled with lots of beautiful blossoms and trees.

Finally the night finished with a night tour around Seoul. A tour bus drove all around Seoul, across bridges and even up NamSan. Quite the adventure.

Tomorrow’s the last day in Seoul. What a week it has been!

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Travel Bug: Seoul Day 9

Our adventure in Seoul continues! Today we went to Gyeongbokgong Palace built by emperors of the Joseon Dynasty. The vast palace located in downtown Seoul and has Mount Bugaksan as the backdrop. Most of the palace is rebuilt as the majority of it was destroyed during the Japanese in 1592 and again in the early 20th century when Japan occupied the palace. Gyeongbokgong itself is a beautiful monumental architecture with beautiful gardens containing many plum and cherry blossom trees. Everyday, there is a reenactment of the changing of the guards at the main gate Gwanghwamun. For those who have seen the changing of the guards elsewhere such as Ottawa, the demonstration is similar. It is so interesting to see some rituals have no cultural or time barriers. It’s quite the treat to see. Located in the palace is also a museum with many original and replica artifacts from Gyeongbokgung. Among my favourites are the clothing and accessories that adorned the women. However, I do not envy their multiple hair pieces, it cannot be comfortable for their neck or head.

After wandering around Gyeongbokgung, we went nearby to a quarter where there are a lit of restaurants. The most popular of which is ToSokChon which serves samgyetang, a ginseng chicken stew. It is a tourist hot spot but is also a favourite of locals. Even though the line extends outside the restaurant, it is spacious enough inside to fit everyone. It also helps that management is also super efficient. They also have other types of chicken to try, which all have ginseng in it. What’s even better was even though we ordered way too much food, they also let us doggy bag the food. Always a win when you can get two meals out of one!

Towards the evening, we went to Insadong, an area with lots of pretty things for sale. If you are looking for more traditional souvenirs to bring home, this is the place to visit. There are endless amounts of stores that sell fans, cute bookmarks, clothing and other things. This is also a good place to buy tea though I found it to be a little too pricey for my tastes. But the tea is super unique as it comes from Jeju Island where Korean tea is grown, for consumption and for use in all beauty products.

Tomorrow is the weekend! We’ll be heading to NamSan and elsewhere.

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Travel Bug: Seoul Day 8

What a day of traveling! I felt all I did today was sit on a vehicle being transported place to place. But after 12 hours ( 3 hours on a plane, the rest was waiting, car rides, bus rides….) we finally arrived in Seoul! It’s a lot chillier here than in Hong Kong for sure, but no big deal, there’s no snow.

We arrived in the Myeong Dong area of Seoul. It’s a touristy area with lots to buy and lots to see! The area is bustling with shops, stands and food stalls and is super crowded at night. These seemingly goes on and on forever. There is a never-ending amount of stuff in this block.

We had dinner at a popular chain Yoogane and it was absolutely delicious. We had the chicken bulgogi, but there are so much more to choose from on the menu. Essentially the food is raw and cooked in front of us on our table in a giant metal dish. Fresh food is always a good thing and it was piping hot, perfect for a long day of travelling.

Tourist attractions tomorrow and more shopping and food.

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