In search for the “exit” sign.

Hi.

I probably hadn’t been having the mood to continue writing about my solo trip to Hong Kong and Shenzhen and thus the incomplete post which I have yet to to hit the “publish” button.

I don’t know what is going on with my life right now. Whatever I do, I seem to lack the drive or the courage to accomplish something that I yearned to. It wasn’t like this before but I simply can’t find the reasons.

My life seemingly seems so peaceful, simple, plain and dull and yet underneath it, it’s simply in a turmoil. I don’t know what I am doing. All I see is just question marks everywhere, everyday.

I have been having bad nightmares lately too. I am always struggling in my nightmare or I would end up with those repetitive nightmares that I have been taunted with for years… and all I could do was to fumble for my bolster and hug it real tightly hoping I would wake up soon.

Waking up seems to be the only solution to be free from this nightmares although I’ll always end up with a splitting headache for the rest of the day.

I don’t know what is up with me as well, I hadn’t been wanting or willing to catch up with friends (except for Felicia who is probably the only person that I meet more frequently, due to our regular drinking session to de-stress, and escaping reality and problems with alcohol).

Honestly, Siru said that I was running away and escaping from the facts of reality which I guess she is true. Although I am constantly in denial. Forcing myself to accept everything and move on without any physical pillars of support, it’s tough and I am struggling.

In additions to people (colleagues and friends, those that are less close) constantly asking about my life and love life, I don’t know how to reply them…it’s like pressure!!!

(*emotional explosion*)

Ps. I’ll probably stop posting for a while, to regain my composure and to rediscover myself…then I’ll probably start and finish up things.

Advertisements

5D4N Hong Kong & Shenzhen Solo Trip

(FYI, this is going to be a long lengthy post about my Hong Kong travels, and you can totally skip it if you aren’t ready to read. The vlog are parts and pieces of the entire holiday that I had which probably a good summary of my Hong Kong memories. There will be a video at the end of this post on my shopping haul.)

Just right after the week where I turned 21st, I packed my bag and took a budget flight on Tigerair in the afternoon and flew straight to Hong Kong for my birthday holiday. It was an impulsive decision that I made, partly due to the reason where I could not find anyone to travel with me while I wanted to travel badly. I managed to get the 2 way flight tickets at $165/nett which included of a 15kg return luggage check in. Also, one of the trouble with travelling alone was that I had to bear the whole cost of accommodations since I wasn’t doing any twin sharing, thus searching for hotels became one of my major problems that I had to face, particularly in Hong Kong where hotel room prices are on the pricier end and the confined room size that you get. However, I managed to get my hotels booked in late April just in time for my travel and with the hotel cost all kept under $300 for 4 nights. I don’t know how I managed to do it but I managed to keep the cost of this solo travel low, all within a $1000 budget ( I still had quite an amount of HKD and RMB left actually…).

13

Upon landing in Hong Kong, it was already late night as the flight was badly delayed due to the heavily shrouded clouds in the sky causing the slow traffic flow in the airport. The expected arrival time was supposed to be 6.20pm and the actual time that we arrived in Hong Kong was around nearly 8pm. Everyone in the plane was extremely displeased and angry but there was nothing the pilots could do in such uncontrollable conditions like weather problems. Oh well, I shouldn’t complain much, since I safely landed in the Land of Dimsum! After clearly my immigration, I quickly turned on my wifi to connect with my Hong Kong uncle to inform him about my arrival and he might be worried since the flight is delayed for hours. I met up with him and then we proceeded to take the airport bus to Causeway Bay area to check in and then headed out for dinner at Ichiran (the ramen that everyone was raving about) which ended with a brief tour of Hong Kong.

13 14 20.6 22P1070739 Photo 27-5-15 1 23 40 am Photo 27-5-15 9 18 01 amPhoto 27-5-15 1 44 03 am

(Ended the long day with a nice bubble bath, using Sephora’s Stawberry fizzing cube…Goodnight!)

Day 2 was pretty much simple, waking up and packing my bagpack to head to Shenzhen while waiting for Uncle Ken to pick me up to head for dimsum breakfast at some local restaurant. After breakfast, we headed to his place to drop off my trolley luggage before heading off to Lowu. Clearing the immigration at Shenzhen and Lowu Checkpoint was pretty easy, which is very similar to crossing the borders between Malaysia and Singapore. Foreigners are required to fill up that China arrival slips and Hong Kong departure slips. Pretty fuss-free and quick, we managed to reach Shenzhen in no time. After arriving, we headed to the ZTL Hotel in Dongmen area to proceed with the check in and unloading our bagpacks, took a quick rest before heading out on a shopping trip! The area of Dongmen was huge with various malls selling different items. Like a building of 4 storeys selling plainly shoes, another building selling accessories and several buildings selling ladies apparels. It was insane shopping but we managed to cover all the malls in two days. I bought a big bag of clothes which ranged around SGD5-9 bucks each and some other miscellaneous items like nail polish and fake perfumes. The food in Shenzhen weren’t as pleasant nor up to my likings as local Shenzhen people have a high salt and oil diet and the only thing that was awesome in Shenzhen was the beers. They were light and refreshing and yet CHEAP!!! I’m not a fan of beers especially if they had a very bitter or heavy taste but China beers, I simply fell in love with them!

Photo 27-5-15 10 32 47 am Photo 27-5-15 10 36 04 am Photo 27-5-15 10 39 23 am Photo 27-5-15 10 41 40 am Photo 27-5-15 10 48 39 am(Overwhelming order of dimsums that Uncle Ken ordered for breakfast…)

11288533_833704593345512_2002120514_o11347828_833703223345649_1871082104_o11292899_833704533345518_2116025789_n11351868_833789343337037_479727104_n

 

(Like a typical tourist putting the bag in front, in case of getting robbed and my mandatory shot for conquering Dongmen!)

Photo 27-5-15 9 28 57 pm Photo 27-5-15 9 36 49 pm Photo 27-5-15 9 36 55 pm(Shenzhen’s local “xiao-chao” dishes…)

Photo 27-5-15 9 24 02 pm

(This is still the BEST…haha)

Photo 27-5-15 11 31 12 pm

(Ended my Shenzhen night with a beer and some refreshing chips from China’s 7-eleven!)

Photo 28-5-15 8 46 55 amPhoto 28-5-15 8 48 13 am(Shenzhen’s Mcdonalds breakfast, Soya Milk, Chinese onion pancake with bacon and egg omelette and odd-tasting hashbrown)

On the 3rd day afternoon, Uncle Ken and I headed back to Hong Kong and he brought me to a local char chan teng for a simple meal. Uncle Ken always brought his son to the char chan teng after his school and this time he brought me. The simple sandwich and milk tea tasted awesome as compared to Shenzhen’s heavy food. I gobbled the food in no time. Haha! After the plain and yet tasty meal, we headed to Sai Ying Pun area to check in to my hotel. It was quite a distance from Uncle Ken’s living area, Tin Hau. Sai Ying Pun is a beautiful area as compared to Causeway, as the area was an old neighboring estate with its old Hong Kong vintage charms and also a mixed of modernity, with newly built condominiums for foreign expats which were staying there. There are several cafes in that area and plenty of food options to choose from. However, there are many shops that sell dried goods which might be a little stinky and unfavorable for those urban people. I love the place anyway…except for that wooden hard bed… That night, Uncle Ken and I went to Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong’s clubbing street and popular nightlife spot and we went into a random bar for a drink. I ordered for him a mojito and for myself a passion punch. The mojito came in a tall big glass and was strong in taste while my passion punch was serve in a martini glass, it taste sweet with fragrant aroma from the passion fruit and strong kick of alcohol which were to my standards. The cocktails costs only SGD9 per glass during happy hour and it was really CHEAP and affordable as compared to Singapore’s happy hour drinks…

Photo 28-5-15 3 53 28 pm(Durian soya pudding in Tin Hau, a treat from Uncle Ken that cost around SGD6 for a meagre bowl, but each spoon of it taste heavenly!)

Photo 28-5-15 4 19 39 pm Photo 28-5-15 4 21 42 pm

(My meal cost around SGD 1.8o and the beef noodles meal cost around SGD2.50, in this local neighbouring char chan teng in Tin Hau)

Photo 28-5-15 7 59 52 pm Photo 28-5-15 8 00 12 pm Photo 28-5-15 8 17 25 pm Photo 28-5-15 8 17 31 pm Photo 28-5-15 8 19 26 pm(Lan Kwai Fong! I wasn’t dress to visit the place as it was a total impromptu trip, so pardon for absolute shitty dressing ever!)

Photo 28-5-15 9 00 07 pm(This is my UNCLE! 🙂 )
Photo 28-5-15 9 01 27 pm Photo 28-5-15 9 08 40 pm Photo 28-5-15 9 15 47 pm(Ended the night with supper at Tsui Wah)

Oh! I forgot to mention that we went to Central area to catch a ferries wheel ride during the evening and I witnessed the most beautiful sunset in Hong Kong with its gorgeous cityscape! ANDDD… I saw LEE KWANG SOO! I was ecstatic and surprise to have the luck to actually bump into him in a foreign land! He was there for some drama filming with the tall model-like actress, Lin Dai Yu. He was so much more handsome in real life than he is on the screen! I was THRILLED~

11119234_834297849952853_863148191_n 11301316_834297973286174_1539190153_n 11350287_834298106619494_1881468663_n

(I was literally the happiest little girl on earth at that moment! Pure plain happiness!)

Day 4 was just pretty much a day for myself as I visited several places and did some Sasa shopping, grocery shopping, buying souvenirs for friends and stuffs for myself. Nothing much interesting happened and I end that night with ciders that I bought in the 7-eleven on the opposite of the hotel and they cost me like SGD1.50 for a big 500ml bottle. I WISH I HAD A BIG TUMMY TO FILL UP THE CIDERS… but I couldn’t, sadly.

P1070799

(Attempted a timer shot trying to do my ootd but turns out a sudden gush of wind made my dress flew, making me look like a preggy! #failmax)

Photo 29-5-15 1 02 00 pm Photo 29-5-15 2 03 00 pm Photo 29-5-15 2 03 08 pm Photo 29-5-15 2 45 41 pm

(Shopping alone in Causeway Bay, Wanchai and Kwai Fong without anyone taking photos for me)

Photo 29-5-15 5 02 08 pm Photo 29-5-15 5 17 15 pm Photo 29-5-15 5 17 53 pm Photo 29-5-15 5 27 51 pm

(I had a random sushi craving during shopping so I stopped at Sushi Express and apparently, their sushi express were way cheaper than SG’s at SGD 1.48 a plate after GST & S.C while SG’s version was at $1.78 per plate similarly.)

Photo 29-5-15 5 51 01 pm(A random cute little blonde boy in the train back to Sai Ying Pun.)

Photo 29-5-15 6 37 44 pm

(This was a quick snack that I picked up from a random neighbouring bakery near the hotel, it cost me around SGD0.20! The egg tart was crispy, fragrant and filling was delicious!)

Photo 29-5-15 9 50 14 pm Photo 29-5-15 9 50 25 pm

(My mega huge prawn XO sauce tossed noodles with a cup of ice milk tea, which cost me around SGD12, burnt a big hole in my pocket…)

Photo 29-5-15 1 28 38 am Photo 30-5-15 12 01 19 am

(I ended the night with cider and tidbits while shaking leg and watching some random show.)

On the very last day of Hong Kong was a day I was dreading the most to arrive, departing and heading back to Singapore was something hard for me, all the good memories that I had with Hong Kong, Shenzhen and with my uncle, experiencing family love for the first time and my uncle was like a fatherly figure, humorous, yet caring and doted me well like his daughter. I felt really loved and was treated like a princess throughout my entire stay in Hong Kong and Shenzhen. That very morning, he brought me to this high-class dimsum restaurant near Central and met with my auntie and his little son, Billy for yum-cha (tea, in Cantonese). The food was like the best meal ever in Hong Kong, everything taste just DELICIOUS.

Photo 30-5-15 12 12 17 pm Photo 30-5-15 12 12 49 pm Photo 30-5-15 12 18 32 pm Photo 30-5-15 12 38 11 pm Photo 30-5-15 12 38 14 pm Photo 30-5-15 12 38 40 pm

(Zou-San! (Cantonese~Morning) Yumcha with cute Billy and my Uncle and Aunt!)

11354736_835117363204235_387754790_n

(My virgin ride on a ding ding!)

Photo 30-5-15 5 54 21 pm

(My very last meal before boarding, the MOST HEAVENLY AND SINFUL FRENCH TOAST!!! I have MEGA CRAVINGS FOR THIS! ❤ )

Photo 30-5-15 6 38 43 pm

I totally lost track of time on my flight when I was at the airport and reached my boarding gate, exactly 3 mins before my flight taking off time. YES 3 mins! I thought I was going to be stranded in Hong Kong…until I realize the crew were calling for the flight passengers, as they had changed their boarding gate last minute, they delayed their departure and were having their FINAL CALL. It was an absolutely huge relief for me. I was literally the last passenger to board the plane before the door shuts. There was also problems with Hong Kong over cloudy skies which delayed my flight departing time from Hong Kong.

Photo 30-5-15 11 26 09 pm Photo 30-5-15 11 33 38 pm

(Landed safely in SIN, but with a broken and wet luggage from Tigerair, thanks for giving me an excuse to get a new luggage and luggage tag!)

To sum it up, this so-called “solo” trip to Hong Kong was just a very fulfilling birthday trip that I had for myself, probably the best birthday present that I gave myself. Learning to travel to a foreign land, learning to take care of myself in a foreign land, learning to be more friendly towards strangers and tourists, it was a good learning experience for me. Having the courage to travel is not easy with people who constantly discourage you because they fear that the outside world is just simply dangerous, but if you don’t step out of your shell, you will never discover something new or learn some useful life skills. I know I’m bold but I think I was ready to travel alone. Even if I’m a girl which might be considered the weaker sex, but this won’t be a barrier to satisfy my wanderlust desires. I can’t wait for the next solo adventure again.

I wonder where shall I go next…HMMMM

*****

Here’s my haul!

Photo 2-6-15 6 25 00 pm

My combined, HKG and SZX loots.
Photo 31-5-15 10 49 49 pmSouvenirs that Uncle Ken got for me! ❤

Where I stayed in: Shenzhen, China

After my first night stay in Hong Kong to catch up some rest from the long tiring budget flight from Singapore, I’m finally in Shenzhen! For Shenzhen, I have booked a hotel near the metro station because it would be more convenient for me to travel via metro than to take their taxi. Since I was going to be mainly shopping in the area of Dongmen, I decided to book a hotel in that area so that I could have easy access to the hotel to unload my shopping bags and then continue on. (I’m such a shopaholic!) Anyway, the hotel that I booked was called:

ZTL Hotel Shenzhen (Previously Days Inn Shenzhen)

Address: 57 Yongxin Street, Jiefang Road, Luohu District, Dongmen, Shenzhen, China

Nearest MTR: Lao Jie Station (Exit D)

My Rate: $65.25 incl. of taxes and gst (Wed)

ZTL Hotel wasn’t the cheapest hotel around in Shenzhen nor in the Dongmen area. There were actually plenty of hotels in Shenzhen with prices less than $100 a night for you to choose from. However, one of the difficulties of booking hotels in Shenzhen is that the Google Maps are not updated and therefore it makes it difficult to actually check where your hotels are located and if they are near any metro stations. (I don’t know why Shenzhen map is not updated…)

Anyway, the hotel location is excellent, once you step out of the station exit, you could easily spot the huge sign which is facing the road, away from the Dongmen Shopping area. The ground floor of the hotel is a huge row of shops and nearby is just H&M flagship store! There is a GongCha store right opposite the hotel with KFC and Macdonalds nearby as well.

As for the service, the front desk staff was bad and rude. When I wanted to check in to the hotel, they claimed that they did not block any room for me because they did not receive any booking information, until later when one of the staff admitted that she did receive but misunderstood the word “confirmation” as “cancellation”. (OMG SERIOUSLY?!) Then they randomly gave me a low floor room on the 3rd floor when I requested for a high floor. I was totally pissed. (If I were to be staying in that hotel for a few nights, I’ll probably ask for a room change but since it was a night, I decided to forgo about it. Damn…)

The superior room was definitely bigger than the size of a standard room in Hong Kong and it felt really awesome. The bed was a queen and it was super soft and comfortable. I LOVE THE BED! However, the aircon was super cold and no matter how much I tried to adjust the temperature, it just doesn’t seemed to work beside turning off the aircon completely, which made me gasping for air because of the stuffiness. The mini fridge in the room was totally spoilt as well and it was super smelly when I open it, NEARLY PUKED, I swear!

Overall, I guess the hotel is good for a one night stay if you are planning to do some one day crazy shopping  in Dongmen area, else there are plenty of good hotels in Shenzhen with similar pricing for you to choose from and better service and facilities available.

Where I stayed in: Hong Kong

Ever since I was introduced to housekeeping, I became very particular about hotel room cleanliness and the facilities that they offer and obsessed with the different hotel brands in the world and the other individually managed hostels and accommodations. In my recent trip to Hong Kong and Shenzhen, I stayed in a total of 3 different hotels and I will be sharing with you the 2 hotels that I stayed in Hong Kong and the other hotel that I stayed in Shenzhen shall be reviewed in a separate post. So let’s get started! Hong Kong, in general, the hotel rooms are smaller than the standard hotel room size of around 25sq.m (on average). Thus you should be prepared and be mentally ready to expect a room size that is smaller than what you have in your home country. For the first hotel that I stayed in Hong Kong, it was a hotel located in Causeway Bay:

Best Western Causeway Bay Hotel

Address: Cheung Woo Lane, Canal Road West, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Nearest MTR: Causeway Bay Station

My Rate: S$61.93 incl. of taxes and gst. ( Tues)

I got this best low rate from Agoda after comparing countless of website including their home website since 2 months ago before my arrival date and managed to get this rate when I saw the room rate was lowered about a month before my arrival date. I guess in Hong Kong, you shouldn’t book your room too early in advance as the rates for better hotels will drop about a month before the check-in dates.

(Note: Keep referring to the websites to check if there is a change in room rate every week. Compare from various websites like Hotelclub or Hotels.com, etc and make use of the promo code available to help you save up from the additional gst and taxes charges, so you can save more!)

The room that I booked was a superior city view room and I got a non-smoking room at the 21st storey which were of what I requested. The front desk was on the 3rd storey and you have to take a life from the ground floor to the 3rd storey. The staff in general speaks fluent English except for some. One downside of the hotel is that it is not located in the main street but in a small dark alley so you have to be careful when you are alone but generally, Hong Kong is still safe for solo female travellers like me! But still, it may be a little hard to find at first if it is your first time in Hong Kong so you might have to get your map ready and research done in advance before travelling. (Note: You can spot the building easily with its signature color scheme and the bright cream gold colored ground floor.)

As for the room cleaniness, I would probably rate it an average. The bed was clean but the coffee and tea making set that were placed on the window porch housed some ants and they were crawling all over. I had a hard time trying to kill them because the cups and tray were black and I happen to placed my bags near. (ants-killing time!) Also, there were several hairs found in the bathtub and I presume that the room attendant only used a towel to wipe dry the bathtub without a thorough cleaning. The plastic bath curtains were pretty worn out as well.

Photo 27-5-15 9 52 27 am

Nonetheless, the room was well-designed and I really love that chandelier that was hanging on the ceiling and it look so Victorian and the wallpaper greyish-black with gold hues. It was beautiful. The blackout curtains were awesome in effectively blocking out the sunlight and I had a pretty good sleep despite all the excitement in me about heading to Shenzhen the next day. The bed was comfortable, just nice, not too soft nor too hard.

Photo 27-5-15 9 51 58 am

In general, I would probably rate it a 4 star hotel although their room cleanliness can be greatly improved.

After I came back from a one night stay in Shenzhen, I returned to Hong Kong and stayed in another hotel in Sai Ying Pun area instead of Causeway Bay. Sai Ying Pun is an old district by itself with plenty of  HK’s older generation with foreign expatriates staying there thus there is a mixed of old and new with the old tall houses and brand new condos amidst the old buildings.  Generally Sai Ying Pun area is like a downhill slope where you could see beautiful mountain on the tallest part of the slope while on the other side, it’s the Sun Yat Sen Memorial facing the beautiful Victoria Harbour with another side of Hong Kong skyline. This second hotel was also another part of Best Western property:

Best Western Harbour View Hotel

Address: 239 Queen’s Road West, Hong Kong Island West, Hong Kong.

Nearest MTR: Sai Ying Pun Station (Exit A1)

My Rate: S$68.78 incl. GST & taxes. (Thurs) / S$76.56 incl. GST & taxes. (Fri)

Room rates are slightly higher during the weekends like friday and saturday night. As many mainland china people would cross over the borders to Hong Kong for holidays or a short getaways, therefore with the high room demand, price becomes slightly steeper. Thus, I would recommend you to travel to Hong Kong during the weekdays to avoid the crowd and higher weekends hotel room rates.

The room that I booked was a superior mountain view and the room had a twin bed instead of a double which was not what I have booked. I called down to the front desk and requested for a double and that they told me the superior room all came in twin and the only double bed available room was deluxe and I had to pay extra for the upgrade. This is very disappointing as I’ve booked the room from Hotels.com and yet they clearly state the option to pick from twin or double bed when the hotel does not even have a double bed for that room type. I felt I was cheated as I could have booked other hotels instead.

Anyway, the bed in the room was as hard as a rock and mattress are of cheap quality for it is so light and when you are sleeping on the bed, you could feel the springs against your body. It hurts…! Other than that, the room is kept very clean by the lovely room attendants who are super friendly as well.

In general, I wouldn’t really recommend anyone to stay in this Best Western property because of it’s low comfort rating and the small room size (the room is smaller than the one in Causeway Bay) unless you are someone seeking for hotels nearest to MTR stations exit.

For your information, there is going to be a new Best Western Hotel opening soon in the same area as the Harbour View one, (if you look carefully in my last part of the video, you’ll see a new Best Western Hotel over where I filmed my Hong Kong sunset) so maybe you should try and book a room there instead of this.

Also, I know you might be wondering why did I pick both my hotels under Best Western property over the countless hotels and guesthouse in Hong Kong? Put it simply, I studied about hotels brands and chains over a few years ago during my tourism course module and Best Western is one of the popular and well-known four star hotel brand as the price was pretty acceptable and within my budget of S$75/night. I think I would consider myself to be budget traveler and although I know that the infamous Chungking Mansion in Hong Kong is popular to tourists for its cheap accommodations,  I was tempted to reserve a room in Chungking Mansion however, because of its bad reviews about the surrounding and room quality, I gave up on the thought and chose to stay in a hotel instead so as to reward myself since it’s was a birthday holiday! Haha 😀