Don’t Be Afraid

Don’t Be Afraid

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I remember being on a red eye flight to Perth once, when I was 7, back in 2004…

Long story short, I was so busy sobbing away. I didn’t want to leave Singapore, because back then all I thought about was being with my friends, not wanting to leave them. Perhaps I was too young to understand what a vacation was. I thought going to Perth was forever. The 1 week vacation felt like eternity. Nevertheless I was crying all the way from the check-in counter to in-flight.

My family didn’t know how else to pacify me, since they’ve probably have tried all kinds of methods. But, it was not until this flight attendant called ‘Vivian’, came around and spoke to me. She had on a cheerful countenance, as every other flight attendant. I remember her donning the SQ’s blue Kebaya (denoting the fact that she was a junior flight stewardess) and that her hair was bun up into a really pretty french twist. Her skin was fair, and now that I think about it, she probably was in her early twenties then.

“Hi! What’s your name?”

And that was all it took to stop my crying.

‘I’m… Vanessa”

“Hi Vanessa, I’m Vivian. I’ll be taking care of you during your flight okay? Would you like a colouring book?”

And.. as you probably would guess, the rest was history. In case you were wondering, yes the rest of flight was as peaceful and quiet as any other red-eye flight. I bet my parents thanked the Heavens for Vivian. Vivian came around very often to check up on me, gave me all kinds of food, whatever I wanted. And she would always joke and ask me what I was busy drawing. We laughed. She was like an elder sister figure. The end of the flight came soon, and a picture of Vivian and I was what I presented to her. A token of a 7 year old’s love and appreciation for a flight crew. That picture changed my life, or rather Vivian changed my life. I wanted to be just like her.

I think when you’re 7 and you say you want to be something, or someone, no one would take you seriously. But over the years things change, you get more level-headed and well, to put it bluntly, you grow up. And when you’re 20 and you say you want to do something, or be someone, people actually do start to take you seriously.

I’ve always wanted to fly, I’ve always wanted to be part of the team up in the skies. It’s amazing how 13 years later, my dream has never changed. And now that there are actually opportunities for me to pursue my dream, well, it’s exciting but scary all in one.

But let’s be honest, no parent would beam with pride and joy if their child tells them they want to fly the skies. And over the years, I have successfully kept mum about my flying dream, having gotten rather terrible comments and disapproval from many family members. I remembered the mocks and ridicule I got, the horrible things people can say towards something they know nothing much about. It haunted me over the years, my secret desire that I’ve been harbouring in my heart. Those nights I wondered if maybe this desire was going to disappear over the years, and sure enough I tried to out grow it but to no avail. Every time I get on a plane, the rush of excitement, the warm fuzzy feeling, it was always the same. Being in the airport, seeing familiar uniforms walking past, even that was enough to churn a longing in my heart.

And, it was not until recently that I truly asked myself: “Will I actually really go for it?”

These few months saw the serious deliberation and contemplation about my flying career. Can I do it? Should I do it? Is this the right thing to do? What will my relatives think of me? Is this what God wants me to do? All these questions consumed me, day in day out. I was so afraid of what people wanted of me, what people thought of me and what people expected of me. Ironically I was so busy caring about what others wanted for me, that I forgot what I wanted for myself. What truly makes me happy.

It was not until I chanced upon this article online which was something I truly needed to hear. Just to be clear, it wasn’t the answers to all my questions but instead, it felt as if God was guiding me into making the decision that’s going to change my life forever.

“Do you remember your childhood dreams? All 5-year-olds know how to dream. You know the typical fantasies. We dreamed of becoming a firefighter, astronaut, ship captain, artist or rock star. But then life happens. Some of us were told our dreams were unrealistic. You may have been one of those kids. Somewhere along the way, you were taught to be realistic, to stay inside the lines and recognise that growing up means you need to show up at eight o’clock, do your boring job and go home to a dreary existence at five o’clock.” ~ DAN MILLER, 2012

That’s when I felt God nudging me to think about what I truly wanted to be when I was a kid. And that was how I knew…

I think as teens, or rather 20-going-on-to-21, it’s so easy to get caught up with what people think of you. We are so susceptible to the chains of people’s expectations and ideas of you, to the point where sometimes I do see people living out careers and lives stemming from not what God wants, not what they want but what people wanted them to do. And that is such a perfect example of who I don’t want to become.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

~ 1 Colossians 10:31.

 

Another thing I struggled with when deciding if I should pursue flying, was whether or not my desire to fly was a self-centred and superficial desire. I didn’t know how God was going to use me if I were to fly and I struggled so hard, trying to grasp how He would do it. It was as if I was trying to take his job. But sometimes, sometimes you got to take a step back and see it from a bigger picture. God is always in control, and if He planted that desire in my heart since I was 7, when I was nowhere near a teen let alone someone who had the mental capacity to understand anything… it has got to signify something even greater. For a 7 year old to know in that instant that that was what she wanted to do when she grew up, that flying was going to be her part of her life… now that means something.

I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know if I will be able to make it in. But what I do know is that God will start what he has finished in me. And after all these years battling the fear and doubt, what I can say now is that I finally have the courage to pursue a dream that lights my heart on fire. So don’t be afraid, I know it can be scary. But a life worth living is one where passion meets purpose.

I hope you’ll find the courage, no matter how long it takes, to pursue the hidden and long-lost dreams of your heart.

Always ask yourself, what did 7 year old you wanted to become?

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Picture by: Henning Witzel, city of Los Angeles

Always so much Love to everyone,

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

 

 

Just A Thank You

Just A Thank You

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Hi everyone, I just wanted to take the time in the midst of typing out my last Hong Kong Trilogy blog post, to say a huge thank you because I’ve reached 370 hits on this site! And the crazy thing is that, it’s only been 1 week or so. AND… I see that people from Hong Kong read my blog the most – not a surprise since my blog is full of Hong Kong related content! Thank you guys!

It’s funny, because never in my wildest dreams have I ever envisioned myself running a travel blog. I mean I always wanted to like 5 years ago, but I never really got the chance to and neither did I dared to. It was not until I came back from my Hong Kong trip and thought to myself, what the heck, I’ll just do it!

I think this is also why my content is a little ‘messy’ and not too detailed (though I try my best to be). I didn’t think about starting this blog while I was in Hong Kong, so when I was there all I did was randomly snap pictures without giving it much thought. I felt like I should have taken more though, but that’s alright. I’ll be flying off to Bandung Indonesia in July (2 more months or less) and I’ll definitely be snapping A LOT of pictures. I can’t wait! I hope I get to do a detailed post on Bandung because I’m there for business rather than pleasure. I’ll be filming and producing a documentary film in Bandung for my school so… I might be pretty busy there, but I’ll try my best as well.

I love travelling, and always have. It’s something I enjoy you know? The feeling of getting into an airplane and getting prepared to embark on a new and exciting journey. God, it makes my heart so full.

I hope my blog continues to keep you entertained and give you some sort of information regarding the places I’ve travelled. It’s not a lot of content yet, but this blog is only 13 days old. I really can’t wait to see what life has in stored for this blog and I!

With love,

Vanessa

My (‘very amateurly-taken’) 2010 Hong Kong Pictures

My (‘very amateurly-taken’) 2010 Hong Kong Pictures

Hi, as I’m still busy collating my 3rd and last, Hong kong Trilogy post, here’s another photo diary – this time in Hong Kong 2010! I was 13 at that time, and travelled with 3/5 of my family (my parents and I).

I can’t remember much either, since it was like 7 years ago but we stayed in Holiday Inn – located in Tsim Sha Tsui. The hotel has an amazing location as well, because just right outside the hotel is already the shopping district where you have all the branded stuff like Miu Miu, Chanel etc, fashion clothing stuff like H&M, Zara, and beauty stores like Sasa. So convenient.

And I remembered going to see the Symphony of Lights at Victoria Habour, as well as the Peak which is accessible from the MTR station called “Central” (on the blue line). Ok if you are wondering…

Um… why does Vanessa seem to remember more about her 2010 Hong Kong trip than her 2009 Europe one?

Well, I feel that I know my way around Hong Kong way more because I literally visited Hong Kong like 2 months ago. (I went Hong Kong in 2010 which is this photo diary, and in 2017) And since I’m 20 now, the roads and directory in general seem to make more sense to me. When I was 13, I didn’t really pay much attention to my surroundings and blindly followed my parents wherever they went. I visited the same places in Hong Kong, (from when I went previously in 2010) and realised where it was located, how to actually get there etc. I guess when you’re almost nearing adulthood versus a newly-turned teenager… things are different. Everything starts to make sense. Anyway, I should stop talking now since this is supposed to be a ‘photo-diary’ post. Enjoy the pictures and stay tuned for my last post of the Hong Kong Trilogy series!

Holiday Inn (Hotel) Pictures

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Hong Kong Pictures

(I didn’t use slideshow, because it loaded too slowly)

Hong Kong is really such a dream, I miss it and will want to go back there again hopefully this september, or next year!

With love,

Vanessa

(ps, all pictures shot using a Canon Digital IXUS 110 15, how ancient!)

My 2017 Hong Kong Trip Trilogy: Cordis Hotel at Langham Place

My 2017 Hong Kong Trip Trilogy: Cordis Hotel at Langham Place

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Entrance of Cordis Hotel at Langham Place (Film Effect)

Hello, and welcome to the second part of my Hong Kong trip trilogy. If you made it this far, congrats! I hope my content will continue to keep you entertained and hopefully it makes you smile too.

In today’s post, I’m going to walk you through my thoughts about the hotel. As reflected on my post’s title, my family and I stayed in Cordis Hotel at Langham Place for 4 nights. Let’s get to it!

Location of Cordis & Nearby Food

The hotel used to be named “Langham Place Hotel” but it revamped in 2015 and it changed its name to Cordis. It is operated by Langham Hotels International.

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Lift Lobby
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The 2nd floor view, from the main lobby
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The main lobby

It is located at 555 Shanghai Street in Mong Kok. This really was a win for me because I always wanted to stay in Mong Kok. For those of you who don’t know, Mong Kok is like a very happening place in Hong Kong, it’s considered the ‘central’ area, since it’s situated on the red line of the Hong Kong’s MTR (MTR is their public train system). It is also 3 stops away from Tsium Sha Tsui! And it lies between Prince Edward station and Tsium Sha Tsui – all these locations are very ‘happening’ and are popular shopping districts. I won’t go so much about the other mtr stations, but the hotel itself is connected to Langham Mall (take the lift to the level 4 of Cordis hotel, if I remember correctly, walk past the concierge and there is a link bridge thing which connects the hotel to the mall, it literally is just a few metres away from your hotel room) which is a huge shopping mall with 50 over stores – H&M, Coach, Timberland, Hush Puppies, Pandora, Cath Kidson etc. For my Singaporean readers out there, Langham Mall is basically the “Raffles City” of Singapore. Food wise, there are so many options too but my family and I didn’t really go to Langham Mall to dine because we wanted to eat the street food and restaurants – which is what Hong Kong is famous for. But if you are curious, here is the mall’s directory which I managed to snap a picture of!

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Langham Mall’s directory

Additionally, opposite Langham Mall (like seriously across the street, the street is next to Coach) there is a huge SASA and Bourjois stall (Bourjois is like the Watsons plus Venus of Singapore all in one). These stalls sell mainly beauty things. You can find brands like Maybelline, Revlon, Loreal etc. The prices are about 10% cheaper than in Singapore but their sales are insane. I bought a Revlon lipstick for $12SGD! Singapore is selling at $19SGD. Insanity!

You’ll never grow hungry if you stay in Cordis, because not only is it connected to Langham Mall (which I already mentioned earlier) but, it’s also a 1 minute walk away from Chan Kee Roasted Goose restaurant! Chan Kee is one of the most popular place in Hong Kong for roasted Goose. Literally it is the best thing on earth. Chan Kee is located directly behind Cordis – the back alley of the hotel. The address: 427 Reclamation St, Mong Kok, Hong Kong. 

My family and I ordered the same thing during both of the times we ate there. Service was good too, but partly because it wasn’t crowded, so perhaps the staff were still able to manage. And yes, they provide english menus too, you just have to request for one from the waitress. So western travellers, don’t worry Chan Kee and I got you covered! For other details, I won’t go too much in-depth since this isn’t a food review.

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Roasted Goose, Chicken and Pork with sausages > HKD$198 / SGD$36 

Another amazing restaurant that is nearby Cordis, which roughly is about 5 minutes away (and yes it is just behind the hotel AGAIN), is Tsui Wah Restaurant. The address: 244 Portland St, Mong Kok, Hong Kong

Tsui Wah is very popular for tourists, because the staff are very friendly and will take the time to explain to tourists what is highly raved in the restaurant. They also have an english menu too which is great for westerners and Singaporeans who have 0 knowledge of the cantonese language… even chinese how embarrassing. Anyway, it is extremely common to find the restaurant (sometimes) packed with tourists.

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My mom with her shrimp and spinach dumplings w/ noodles in fish soup > HKD$34 / SGD$6.13
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Close up picture of what my mom ordered
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My fish balls and fish cake w/flat rice noodles in fish soup > HKD$35 / SGD$6.31
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Special Breakast Menu > HKD$36 / SGD$6.49
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I ordered the speciality breakfast in the end

Looks yummy yeah?

The best part is that it tastes as yummy as it looks, perhaps even better. You’ll definitely NEVER go hungry in Hong Kong, but Cordis just happens to be located right smack in these food places which is a huge plus point for tourists! For more food reviews, stay tuned for the next post where I talk about Hong Kong as a whole where there’s a mini food part!

Oh and just in case you need a reference as to where Cordis is, as mentioned earlier it’s nearest MTR is Mong Kok station. Mong Kok is linked underground, to Langham Mall’s basement, and Langham Mall is also linked to Cordis so its a win-win situation for all!

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Hong Kong’s MTR map, Mong Kok is the nearest station from Cordis 

Room

Ok… I have to admit, I was too excited and totally forgot to take a picture of my room. I only have a video of it! But since I’m not a premium wordpress subscriber, I don’t get the luxury of uploading videos. What I did was I uploaded the room tour on my youtube channel. I created this youtube channel just for this, so don’t worry I’m not like an active youtuber or anything like that.

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The view from my hotel room, on the 29th floor

I booked the “Family Trio Room” which is on the 29th floor. It was amazing I love the room so much. It’s 37m² which is considered a large room for Hong Kong’s standard. (Hong Kong rooms in general, or rather housing, is/are very small in case you didn’t know). Some of the key things about the room is their 40-inch television, marble-themed bathroom (which you can see in the video) and their complimentary smartphone (with 4G, fully paid by Cordis of course) which you can bring around with you wherever you go! How cool is that?

For the family trio, it’s HKD$2450 per night, which is SGD$441. I have to admit, because it is a 5-star luxury hotel, the prices are definitely on the higher end. One has to also take into consideration the location – Langham mall and Mong Kok MTR just minutes away, and popular food,shopping and beauty stalls nearby, again just minutes away, it is no wonder that the price will be slightly higher. Here is the Cordis hotel’s website, specifically the room that we booked for reference!

Amenities

Cordis has a total of 41 floors.

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In the lift, my room is on the 29th floor 

Cordis is known for this famous Michelin-starred Cantonese Restaurant called  “Ming Court”  that is on the 5th floor but unfortunately, we didn’t know we had to book a table several days in advance!!! So for people who want to try out Ming Court, remember to make a reservation first before even coming to Hong Kong.

The hotel’s gym, spa and swimming pool are on the 41st floor. Yes it is the highest floor!

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The pool on the 41st floor
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The women’s gym
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The general gym
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Walking through the spa rooms

I can’t really say much for the amenities, because my family and I didn’t use it at all. But from a “superficial” point of view, it is pretty cool and impressive. The pool was extremely beautiful, and the spa and gym were super overwhelming. Based on the appearance of them, they do live up to the standard of a luxury hotel.

Service

The service and staff in Cordis are amazing. When we checked into the hotel, the counter staff (Nicole Tang) was so polite, and was very initiative when it came to starting conversations. She asked us things like – was it our first time in Hong Kong, was it our first time in Cordis etc. And we weren’t first time travellers to Hong Kong, but it was the first time we stayed in Cordis, and Mong Kok in general so we were quite unfamiliar with the Mong Kok area. She then took out a map and wrote down all the places to eat and where to shop etc. How awesome is that? And she even pointed out that if we needed extra help, we could always call her or any of her staff to help us out! Thanks Nicole Tang!

Another impressive staff is this bellboy whom I forgot to get his name. During the morning of our second day, we were about to walk out of the hotel and he helped open the door for us and casually asked us how is our stay in Hong Kong going. We told him that we really wanted to eat beef noodles now – like right now (then) because my family and I had a sudden craving. And guess what! He immediately turned to his staff and said “I’ll be back in a while” and offered to bring us to this beef place right behind the hotel (yet again) that sell really delicious beef noodles. Can you believe it? He brought us all the way to the stall’s doorstep!

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What we had: beef noodles

And it was only HDK$25… and to highlight, this is BEEF BRISKET! How worth it right? Gosh, but seriously that bellboy’s service was A*. He really went the extra mile for us and we were insanely impressed.

And to top it off, the hotel staff always pressed the lift buttons for us. We can be in the lift lobby and when a hotel staff comes, they would ask which floor we were going to and pressed the button and the button inside the lift to the floor we want to go to. Like seriously?! THAT is the kind of service we get to enjoy!

Overall Thoughts

Ok, I will start with the price first. I think that $441 per night for a family trio room is expensive. Probably $300-$350 is alright but $441 is way too much. BUT I feel like the location, service and amenities make up for it. What a pity that I didn’t get to use the amenities but since I’m not really the gym-goer/spa-goer… then well I don’t regret it so much but the $441 does include the gym and pool usage so… maybe I do regret it. (HAHAHAHAH) Anyway as I was saying, the location is really the main deciding factor and it was what really won me over. My family and I saved a lot on transportation (MTR) (ps, we took a cab from the Hong Kong International Airport because we were lazy to drag out luggage through public transport) because Cordis had so much food and shopping, so we rarely needed to use the MTR to go anywhere. (other than Tsim Sha Tsui and Causeway Bay) I mean, MTR is quite affordable, but if you can save, even if its $1, how can you say no to that right? So in terms of location, we did save a lot on transportation and that kind of evens it out. Because you see, if I stayed in another hotel that doesn’t have that great a location then I would have spent more on transportation right? So… it depends, what your wants/needs/preferences when it comes to choosing a hotel.

Ultimately, this hotel isn’t for everyone. I’m honestly not a hotel snob, so staying in a 3 or 4 star hotel is fine for me. But if you’re someone who wants really a luxury experience, hotel staff who literally would do almost anything for you, and an AMAZING location… then sure go ahead! I would also advice you to make your money more worth it by using the gym and pool too. If you are someone who doesn’t mind staying in a less luxurious hotel, and do not mind the fact or possibility that you might not get the best hotel service in town then, Cordis might not be the hotel for you. If you don’t mind saving on accommodation, and spending the money on food and shopping, I recommend staying at Holiday Inn (which is located literally right smack within the shopping district of Tsim Sha Tsui) because it’s generally a good hotel (4 star hotel, and I’ve stayed there back in 2010) and the location is equally as BOMB as this one! Service, room and amenities might not be THAT luxurious and perfect but it is stay-able!

Hopefully I am not deviating too much, but anyway…

Cordis gets a 9/10 for me because this is honestly one of the best hotels I have ever stayed in my entire life. The missing 1 point is for the price. It could be slightly less expensive…*frowns*.

Anyway, my hands are getting tired so this is it! Hope this review was entertaining enough and stay tuned for the last post of the Hong Kong Trilogy!

With love,

Vanessa

My 2017 Hong Kong Trip Trilogy: Cathay Pacific Flight Experience

My 2017 Hong Kong Trip Trilogy: Cathay Pacific Flight Experience

As promised, I’m finally getting down to documenting and blogging my entire Hong Kong trip. I cannot wait for this post to get out, because I love Hong Kong and would really want to share my travel with you!

This is the first part of my Hong Kong trilogy series. There are 3 parts (duh trilogy): Flight, Hotel and Hong Kong in general.

Flight Details

Ok, so this trip was very impromptu. We literally booked our flight and hotel 1 week 3 days before departure… *faints* (I KNOW RIGHT) My dad is very indecisive, so to him booking even 3 days before departure is the norm. But anyway, our family has always flown with SQ (Singapore Airlines) because it’s an amazing airline and seriously, it’s so safe and the cabin crew are amazing. However, SQ was almost fully booked. On top of that the air tickets were twice the usual range. And yes, I am speaking for all classes – economy, premium economy business, first and I’m pretty sure suites as well. A normal economy ticket to Hong Kong (that is if you book months in advance which is the norm anyway) is around $303-$350SGD. Premium Economy is around $700-$800SGD. Business class tickets range from $1500-$2000SGD tops. First Class and Suites are classes that I have 0 knowledge about, but you can always check the prices out here on SQ’s website. So this time for every class, the prices were x2 of the amount. Insane right? And excuse me, but $700SGD for an economy class ticket to HONG KONG? No way.

So, (very) bumped us (especially me since I’m such an airline snob which is so terrible) went to check our second airline option: Cathay Pacific. I have never flown Cathay Pacific before so I was a little skeptical. I actually sound like an airplane snob, but I think it’s just because my family always flew SQ so to me it was like, SQ set the standards for me. And… I kind of have like airplane anxiety (but it got better for me over the years) so for me the airline really does matter. Plus I watch way too much Air Crash Investigation documentaries when I was younger, as young as 13. So… *sighs at myself* But if I wasn’t this anxious every time before I fly, I would have just picked a budget airline. But then again, it depends. I’ll do another post comparing flying budget and international airlines in the months to come. But anyway, their prices were way cheaper, and for some reason more stable. It didn’t fluctuate as much even if you booked 1 month before, 1 week before or heck, even 1 day before! I guess this is really a great thing about Cathay. I’m not so sure if it differs for countries, but it just so happens that for Hong Kong, there wasn’t much difference. Anyway, it was about $400SGD for economy, so we decided what the heck let’s just go for economy!

My parents didn’t want any other airline so we just went for Cathay Pacific. My parents flew with them before when they went to Vancouver, Canada in June 2015 and they said it was not bad. I mean, last time I checked Cathay was one of the top 10 best airlines in the world, so why not? Our flight was scheduled on the 24th of March, Friday, 6.50am, Flight CX 650. Our departure date was the 28th of March, Tuesday, 1.50pm, CX 735.

Flight Experience

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On board an A350 plane, flight CX 650

Anyway, the flights were…decent. I have mixed reviews to be super honest with you.

Ok the crew were generally friendly and food was GREAT TO BE VERY HONEST. But, during my going-there flight (pardon my english) the crew were quite rude. They had really “upset-looking” faces. I mean, I don’t expect them to smile 24/7 but they really looked angry, pissed, as if they didn’t want to be on this flight. That didn’t bug me as much as the fact that we had to ASK for our travel declaration forms. I am going to compare this with SQ. SQ crew automatically issue out the forms during the beginning of the flight – around 1 to 2 hours into the flight. We thought this service would be the same for Cathay but nope… We waited till about 1 hour before landing (arrival) and decided something was up, and asked the crew for 3 forms. And guess what… the lady was so pissed off… or rather irritated. Ok I don’t want to seem like I am bashing the crew or airline but…that is questionable and I open up this post for judgement.

Next is the hot towel service. On SQ flights, hot towels are served to ALL classes before the plane takes off. But for Cathay, they only serve hot towels to premium economy, business and first class. Ok this sounds so petty but for someone who has flown SQ all her life, this is a rather ‘culture shock’ in that sense. I am too used to hot towels because it really moisturises and cleans my face. I love that warm feeling on my hands and face before take-off. Makes me feel cosy, and just warmed up. They didn’t have pillows too, you had to request for a pillow from the crew. And once again, SQ already has the pillow placed on your seat. And also, the crew didnt even serve us any drinks. Again, SQ crew would always walk around serving us either apple juice or orange juice. But on the flight… nope. Ok but those aren’t big issues so it’s fine.

Oh but there is an issue that really bugs me but it isn’t Cathay’s fault. Their entertainment service wasn’t as good as SQ’s in my opinion because Cathay had a lot Chinese/Cantonese shows and music which is normal because this is the Hong Kong national carrier. But because I don’t really speak Chinese neither do I have any knowledge of the cantonese language, I really was struggling to past my time on board. And this is Economy we are talking about not business, to sleep on board can be a hassle to many including myself. BUT luckily, I found this super amazing singer called “Roosevelt music”, he is like a german singer and makes like synth-pop/indie/electronic chill-wave music which I LOVE. Some of the other western artists I found were Bruno Mars, Fetty Wap and Jason Derulo. They didn’t even have Adele or Beyonce! But that’s okay, because Roosevelt saved my life. You can check out his music here! So for my western travellers out there, there might not be a whole bunch of entertainment choices for you to choose from.

On a more positive note, I have to compliment the crew who were on my return flight. They were SO MUCH BETTER. The steward was handsome (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA just had to point that out) and the crew for my cabin were generally really attentive to our needs. The stewardess serving our cabin, she had like short hair and was really pretty. I wished I got her name because she was really so kind, polite, and just great. Maybe I should email Cathay and compliment her. She was a junior crew, actually all of them were. It’s quite common for junior crew to be serving in economy anyway. The steward served us haagen dazs ice cream too (the mini ones) too, after our meals. And the crew ACTUALLY walked around and served us drinks, which was a stark difference from my previous Cathay flight. And they didn’t just do it once, but three times! I was really so full on board and would say that I am well taken care off by the cabin crew so two thumbs up for the crew onboard that flight. Yay, if ever this posts gets out internationally, thank you to the cabin crew of that flight! I felt as if the steward and stewardess serving my cabin were Singaporeans. They didn’t look like they were from Hong Kong and the english they spoke were super Singaporean. Ok maybe the steward is from Hong Kong but I am 100% sure the stewardess is a Singaporean. But doesn’t matter, they were great!

Overall thoughts?

Coming from an airline snob like me, because I really am one… I think personally I wouldn’t mind flying Cathay again. Truth be told, after the first flight to Hong Kong, I was like telling my parents I would never fly Cathay ever in my life because it was really such a ‘culture shock’ from SQ. But after the second flight back to Singapore, I really didn’t mind. The hot towels, travel declaration forms were small issues and petty ones. And I think my opinion of Cathay initially was very biased too, because this comes from a frequent SQ-flyer and SQ is really the top airline (other than Emirates). But of course the flight experience during my return flight really helped change my impression of Cathay, I love the crew on that flight (I said that 10 times already)!

Whether it is the “best airline of the world”, that is really subjective to the needs and wants of every individual passenger.

For things like entertainment, if you are someone who has difficulty sleeping on board (like me) or someone who needs to do something to not feel bored, and particularly if you are not Chinese/Cantonese then I think Cathay wouldn’t be the airline for you because their entertainment services aren’t the best out there. My parents were Cantonese, so they were able to appreciate and enjoy the Cantonese movies on board but for people like me, I am way too ‘westernised’ for those movies and I didn’t feel like I would like it. Music too, because I only listen to Hollywood songs. BUT, if you’re someone who can sleep anywhere and everywhere, and entertainment isn’t a priority for you on board then Cathay can be a possible airline for you.

Cathay ultimately provided the basics of what a passanger would NEED in a flight: a reasonable seat, food, drinks, some form of in-flight entertainment, toilets etc. But does it go the extra mile for passengers? To me, not at all.

Regarding the cabin crew service… ok how do I put this? Ok, It depends on your luck I guess. If you get a good crew, your flight is pretty much set. But if you get a bad crew, as bad as mine during the going-there flight then of course it wouldn’t be a pleasant flight experience. But I would really like to think that I’m just unlucky that I had a ‘bad crew’ on board serving me for that flight, because my parents took Cathay last time to Vancouver and mentioned the crew were actually great. A crew can really make or break your flight experience, so pray hard you get a decent crew!

Other than that, I think Cathay isn’t that bad, but neither is it that good. It can improve its services, especially its in-flight entertainment. Its a decent airline. For someone who has never flown before, or has never taken an international full fledged airline, you would probably find Cathay a great airline. But if you’ve already flown with big and famous airlines like SQ, Emirates, Ethiad then Cathay would probably miss the mark for you.

I would give Cathay a 7/10 for my reasons above. I do not mind flying with Cathay again for sure, if SQ is fully booked.

Hope this review was insightful and interesting, and thank you Cathay for quite a pleasant flight experience!

With love,

Vanessa