My 2017 Bandung School Trip

My 2017 Bandung School Trip

Hi everyone!

The past few months have been such a blur. I have been so busy trying to navigate my way through surviving school.. and just life in general. And… I got back from Bandung about 2 weeks ago and I am so excited to post these really candid, yet beautiful pictures of my trip!

Just to be clear, it was a school trip, so I didn’t get to explore Bandung as much as I would have loved to, but still I am grateful for Singapore Poly for sponsoring our course to film a documentary there! Any chance I get to travel… I’ll take it!

I can’t go in-depth into my travels because I barely had time to really explore the place but I hope you’ll enjoy my pictures!

1. The Hotel or rather Resort (Blackbird Hotel Bandung, Jl. Sersan Bajuri No.9, Cihideung, Parongpong, Kabupaten Bandung Barat, Jawa Barat 40559, Indonesia)

2. The Food (Some parts of it, we mostly ate whatever our school catered for us, it wasn’t anything too special hence why I didn’t snap that many pictures)

3. The Scenery & Friends

Ta…da!!! Took me 30 minutes to arrange all the pictures together. Bandung’s beautiful and I’m really sad that I was travelling there for work rather than pleasure. But, I’ve already made some plans to go back there in 2018 for about 3 days! I can’t wait.

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I was in my School-T, pardon the really ugly dress-code

Love,

Vanessa

My 2017 Hong Kong Trip Trilogy: In a Nutshell

My 2017 Hong Kong Trip Trilogy: In a Nutshell

Hi everyone, and welcome to my last post for the Hong Kong Trilogy series!

Finally right? To be so honest with you guys, I have procrastinated so much because I had so much to say and planning this post was insane. I don’t want to over-write, but I also don’t want to under-write. Man, I feel like I put way too much pressure on myself I need to calm down.

Anyway, I’ll be talking about the top 3 things that I love about Hong Kong, as well as my reasons for them. If you don’t already know, Hong Kong is probably my favourite asian city because honestly, I love to eat, shop and eat on repeat (and excessively too if I might add) and I love cities which have the ‘NYC-state-of-mind’ vibes, and Hong Kong is honestly the asian version of New York. It’s a city that really never sleeps. I can look down from my hotel bedroom at 11pm and still see tons of cars driving past. Ok enough of my rambling, let’s get to it!

  1. The Food

Food… *inserts dreamy eyes*.

Hong Kong is known for being a food paradise. Wait… what am I talking about? OBVIOUSLY. Isn’t that what we all already know? Jeez Vanessa I need to stop stating the obvious. Ok I can honestly go on and on about the food in Hong Kong… but I shall not. I promised myself that I’ll only select 3 types of food that I love and move on.

Kam Wah Cafe: 47 Bute St, Mong Kok, Hong Kong

I love this place so much, I can literally eat breakfast here everyday. Kam Wah Cafe is known in Hong Kong for its Polo buns, which are basically Pineapple buns. I initially thought it really had pineapple filling, but nope! These Polo buns (or Pineapple buns) are named ‘Pineapple buns’ because they resemble the shape of a pineapple.

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Pineapple Bun / Polo Bun 

I mean… yes I guess it does kind of look like a pineapple right? Anyway, you can eat this pineapple bun plain just like that, with just the butter sandwiched in between the bun, or you can eat it just like how I did, with the ham and yolk filling in it. It was the best thing ever. It tasted sweet (because of the crusted layer) yet savoury because of the ham and yolk. So if you’re someone who wants the best of both worlds, you got to try the pineapple bun!

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Polo Bun with Egg yolk and Ham filling, Egg tart and their peanut butter french toast

Besides the pineapple bun, I also ordered one egg tart (to try since it was highly raved about), and french toast with peanut butter filling. I loved the french toast too, it was so tasty and just great. It came with melted butter on the top, as seen from the picture above. It’s buttery, sweet, but then again the peanut butter wasn’t too sweet so it kind of evens out the sweetness making it just right. The egg tart wasn’t very good, was kind of disappointed because it was quite tasteless. It wasn’t buttery at all and neither was it sweet but that’s ok because it only costed me SGD $0.70 – $0.80 I reckon? The pineapple bun with just butter filling cost SGD $1.50 while the one with ham and yolk filling was around SGD $2.00+? I can’t remember. The peanut butter french toast was around SGD $2.70. Here’s the menu and some other random pictures I took of Kam Wah Cafe!

I definitely recommend this place because food is generally great, and service is fast. The staff is quite friendly and patient especially to us because we were tourists and the menu was in Chinese. So western travellers, beware! If you ever go there, perhaps google a picture of the food item you want and show it to the waiter/waitress, because that was what I did and they didn’t mind one bit. Also in Hong Kong, sharing seats is very common and it tends to get a little crowded if you don’t come earlier. Crowd starts to come in around 8am too. I’m going to rate this place for you guys as a reference point, and I give it an 8/10. I didn’t give 9 or 10 because I literally only tried 3 of their food items and the egg tart wasn’t great. But as of now, it would be an 8 for me. Perhaps when I go back there again, I’ll be able to try more of their food and give you a more accurate rating. Do take note the 8 mainly for the 3 food items I ordered, the staff and service.

Tim Ho Wan: IFC Mall MTR Shop 12A,, Central, Hong Kong

I am so sorry that I didn’t take much pictures for this, but the food was way too good I gobbled everything down before I could even snap proper photos. Tim Ho Wan is a 1-star michelin restaurant is one of the world’s cheapest michelin-star restaurant.

We ordered like crazy as you can see from the photo. I think my favourite dish was the BBQ pork buns. I love love love them. Sadly as I’ve mentioned above, I forgot to snap a picture of the pork buns up-close but here’s a picture of them in the Tim Ho Wan restaurant that I ate in, in Singapore.

The BBQ pork buns tasted really similar. But the ones in Hong Kong was bigger, and was way more ‘flat’ in shape. I think the crust was also a little sweeter in Hong Kong compared to the ones in Singapore. But filling-wise it tasted and was presented the same way. Serving wise was also the same.

The queue though, was insane. My family and I literally spent 40 minute queuing. But service and staff were good, and the food really made it up for the time spent waiting. We were given menus and were able to write down our order while waiting in line, so that was clever and wise of the staff. While waiting in line, my family and I even made friends with this Thai couple from Chiang Mai, who were around the late 40s to early 50s. The man studied in Singapore in the 1990s for College and has never been back to Singapore ever since which rang a huge bell for us because we were literally shouting ‘You must go back to Singapore one day because it has changed so much!’ I honestly love meeting fellow tourists in a foreign country. It kind of makes you feel like you’re not alone, and you’re all in this together – travellers got to stick together am I right?

Anyway, the other dim sum dishes like the sui mai and fried carrot cake were obviously delicious and they really tasted genuinely so fresh. I guess it’s also because Hong Kong is the king of dim sum so… of course it would taste just like Hong Kong *laughs*.

I would give Tim Ho Wan a 9/10. I love the food, ambience, staff and service. We only waited 10 minutes for our food. I guess it’s also because we were busy talking to the Thai couple, so it made the ‘wait’ for food much more bearable. (Yes, they were seated next to us too, what a coincidence!) Price point, it’s roughly about the same as Singapore’s pricing, but it tasted just a little better over in Hong Kong. (Maybe I am biased *giggles*)

I would definitely recommend you trying out Tim Ho Wan, especially if you’re flying to Hong Kong and don’t have Tim Ho Wan in your country. There are several Tim Ho Wan outlets all over Hong Kong too, so don’t worry and go to the nearest possible outlet if you can.

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Some of the more ‘well-known’ and easily accessible THW outlets in Hong Kong

Kee Hwa Bakery: Level B2, Langham Place, 8 Argyle Street, Mong Kok

Ok this last food item is a snack. It’s called “Dark Brown Sugar Chinese Sweet Crispies”.

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Dark Brown Sugar Chinese Sweet Crispies HKD $26 / SGD $4.70 per pack

This is like, the best thing ever. I kid you not. It is apparently a traditional Manchu delicacy. Manchu is basically an ethnic minority in China. Anyway, the crispies are sweet and crispy (duh as evident from ‘crispies’) and is made with flour, eggs, honey and syrup. There is a classic version with no dark sugar added, but I forgot to take a picture of it. It is HKD $25 which is SG $4.50, 20 cents cheaper. That’s less sweet of course BUT it still tastes good. Just in case you were wondering, I have a sweet tooth so I ended up buying the dark sugar version.

The pack can be broken up into 4 pieces of crispies, so it’s great for families to share within themselves. It’s very easy to bite and chew even though it is considered ‘crispy. I would highly recommend this if you have a sweet-tooth (like me) and if you just want something to munch on in between your meals. It is a great snack for travellers especially, and can be eaten on-the-go. The packaging makes it easy to open so that’s convenient for us travellers (I should use the word tourists instead but its alright) so we don’t need to carry a pair of scissors in our bag-pack. Also, there isn’t much fall out so you can just eat it without getting worried over whether or not the pieces will drop on your clothes or dirty the seat or floor. A huge yes and a big yay for me! I give it a 10/10!

Also Kee Hwa, the bakery that carries this food item can be found in many MTR stations and malls (like Langham Mall) so don’t worry, it can be easily ‘hunted down’ in Hong Kong! Make sure to buy 10 packs to bring home with you too! *winks*

2. The weather

Can I just start off by saying that Hong Kong has the best weather? Ok but for me, though Hong Kong has summer and it’s like 28-30 degrees during that season (oh hey, it’s summer now in Hong Kong by the way), I still don’t mind it because it’s cooler than Singapore. Singapore’s like averagely 32-35 degrees almost all year round so, no complaints Hong Kong… no complaints. And spring time is the best because it’s between 14 (when it rains) to 22 degrees! I went to Hong Kong in end March so it was about to turn into the summer season but the temperature was like 18 to 22 degrees. While I was in Hong Kong on the 26th of March, a Sunday (wow my memory skills are amazing), I can remember that it was colder than usual (15 degrees), because apparently there was some storm, causing the temperature to drop. But hey, 15 degrees is amazing. You can still wear a t-shirt and jeans out with sneakers on and not ‘freeze-to-death’! The weather in general is just right. Almost all year round, I can wear a leather jacket and not sweat BUT I can also wear a t-shirt and not freeze-to-death. It’s really a win-win situation, sign me up Hong Kong!

3. The Ambience

Ah… the city view.

I am a true-blue lover of Hong Kong. There I said it. It’s not so much of the food, the people or the weather. I think it’s really more of the ambience, the vibes I get when I’m in Hong Kong. It’s the second city that never sleeps, and it’s full of passion and beauty.

Though it’s an urban city, some of the buildings are really old and I guess that’s what I love about Hong Kong – the contrast, the concept of ‘old meets new’. It has a bit of everything and it makes the place so beautiful and I’ll forever be in awe.

I get a lot of questions, whether I’ll migrate to Hong Kong next time. I can’t give you guys an answer yet. I would however, probably want to work in Hong Kong for a year or two but to stay in Hong Kong… I can’t answer that just yet because I don’t know Hong Kong 100% yet. So far… I’ve only seen 50% of it and truth be told I do love it. So, to answer everyone’s question, I don’t know. But we shall see, because who knows?

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If you’re someone looking to get away from the stress and harsh realities of life in your home-country (like I was, after a tiring school semester), go to Hong Kong. Sure the streets are crowded, yeah the country is all about the hustle and bustle of city life, but there’s something about Hong Kong that turns the craziness of city life into something beautiful, something peaceful. You see the millions of people who walk past you, the way they talk, they way they rush from place to place…you get fascinated by how different yet similar we are. It also makes you realise how small you actually are. And just by standing at my hotel room’s window on the 29th floor, watching the world go by… makes me realise how the world has so much possibilities. It reminded me that my problems that I have in school, in life or whatever, are so small compared to this world. There’s really an entire world out there, just waiting for me to explore. Any second spent complaining or whining or being upset, is time wasted because look how much there is in the world. And to think of it, this is merely a tiny fraction of the world. So, stop wasting time and get out there into the world! Travel as much as you want, eat as much as you want and laugh as much as you want. Time spent not doing all these things, is time wasted.

If you’ve made it to the end of this post, congratulations! I’ve officially come to the end of my Hong Kong Trilogy series. Writing this was an honour for me. It’s funny, because before visiting Hong Kong (for the second time in my life), I didn’t think I would find it peaceful, I mean Hong Kong is NO Bali, or Switzerland. It doesn’t have mountains for me to see or lakes for me to walk past. But somehow, somehow, I was still able to connect the dots and find my serenity in the streets of Hong Kong. And I hope that you will too.

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My mom and I at Mak’s Noodles at Ocean Terminal, Hong Kong

With love,

Vanessa