Amazing Views over Hong Kong!

Now that I’ve been absent on my blog in August quite a lot, I am now coming back almost every day with a new video :D

Staying at home has some positive effects after all!

This is one of my favourite videos until now, although it is only around 6 minutes. But I think that the music is quite on point this time! And, I just love Hong Kong! I love the landing at the airport because in my opinion, it is the most amazing landing I have ever seen in any city every!

Then, there is the peak! Again, breathtaking views! Hong Kong is just incredible!

Check it out for yourself if you don’t believe me!

 

As always, thanks for reading and watching!

P.S.: I have a huge announcement tomorrow evening! So stick around for that!

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Dubai Part 5: The White Bliss of a Mosque

Our last day has arrived, on Friday March 17th. We checked out and since this was our last full day, and we had to be at the airport early next morning (like 2am). So we basically had to kill time the whole day and evening until our flight early next morning. Here is what we did.

1. Sheikh Zayed Mosque Abu Dhabi

From our hotel, we walked to the metro and bus station which in walking distance to our hotel. There, we bought a metro/bus card and waited in line for the bus to arrive. The bus was a bit late already, and when it finally arrived, there was such a hustle with gettin on it. Some people were accusing an old man of cutting the line, so he had to go to the back of the line to wait for the next bus. It was a bit sad to watch since that man was quite old.

After we were on the bus, the ride took us about an hour. I was getting hungrier by the hour, and when we finally arrived at Abu Dhabi Bus Terminal, we saw that there was a mall in front of it and I immediately had to use the toilet and have a late lunch.

After waiting for the waiters to finally bring the bill, and then bring the change, we finally left the mall and looked for a taxi to take us to Sheikh Zayed Mosque. Here, I would probably recommend you not to take the taxis right in front of the bus terminal. Walk a bit further and get a different one because the ones at the bus terminal will probably start with a higher sum and there will also be those private car taxis where they will try to drive you around in luxury cars :’D Of course, if you are interested, you can do it, but if you get annoyed by this kind of stuff, you should head to a calmer place to pick up a taxi.

When we were finally approaching the mosque, we could already see the snow-white minarettes from afar and were already taking pictures like crazy.

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Before we could enter the mosque, we were given abayas to wear over our clothes. You can avoid wearing it if you come prepared with clothes covering your shoulders, arms, legs, belly and head. I came unprepared on purpose, because I really wanted to wear this abaya. I think it just adds to the atmosphere, and it is nice to be on the same level with the local tourists. I think you should try it, too. You can either purchase your own abaya (as many chinese tourists did, probably on taobao) or you can come with your every day clothes and get an abaya there for free. Of course you have to give it back after you exit the mosque.

I kind of liked the abayas that we got which were blue and made us look like wizards (I’m looking at you Ravenclaw) and were made of a very light fabric.

As soon as we went inside, we started taking pictures of course.

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We were allowed to enter the prayer rooms as well. For this, you have to take off your shoes of course, so we did it. It was so nice to walk around on bare feet.

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After this, we took a few more pictures of the outside of the mosque, and then slowly headed outside.

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As unlucky as we were, the call to prayer just started as we left the mosque :( It sounded so beautiful and calming, but luckily, we could still see the mosque from the outside and hear the prayer. It was still beautiful, but if you really wanna hear the call to prayer while inside the mosque, get yourself informed about the prayer times.

When we left the mosque, it was probably around 6pm. We took the taxi back to the bus terminal and took a bus back to Dubai. This would drop us off in the city centre, because we wanted to do something before heading back to the hotel to pick up our luggage.

After the tiresome day and the thought of the flight ahead of us, we got carried away and actually missed our stop. It actually wasn’t our fault, because there was no anouncement whatsoever on the bus and it was already dark and we couldn’t see anything. We were now driving through parts of Dubai we have never seen before, so we asked the other passengers where this bus was going, and they told us that the next and final stop was Al Ghubaiba and that we missed our stop. We were now starting to panic a little bit, but another guy on the bus told us that we could easily take the metro from there to the city centre. He even helped us get to the metro station which was so nice of him. The people in Dubai truly are very helpful and nice, no matter which part you go to.

2. Take the Dubai Metro

Yes, because it is a bit different than metros in other countries. Smoking and chewing gum is prohibited in most areas with high fines waving at you if you break them. And the biggest shock was of course the division of the train cars into male and female. There is literally a line on the floor that doesn’t allow males to step over. So, our brother had to stand at one end of the line and my sister and me at the other. I know that some people have difficulties accepting this, but I can actually understand the reason for such measurements. It is probably preventing women from getting harrassed. I know that this exists in Japan as well where the trains and metros get filled up with so many people and women often reported about sexual harrassments that could not be screened because of the amount of people. Now, some trains in Japan have female only carriages where women can choose to enter. It is not a must, so if you are travelling with male friends you can still choose to enter the normal mixed carriage as well. In Dubai, it is not a choice though. This was also the only time using the metro for us. If I were to be travelling alone in Dubai, I would have used the metro constantly because it is cheap, it gets everywhere, it’s clean, safe and apparently safe as well. So, I can encourage you to use it when you are travelling solo.

3. Have dinner in front of the Burj Khalifa

Since it was our last evening, we wanted to have a last glimpse at the Burj Khalifa. What better way than having dinner in front of it we thought. We were a bit late since the bus ride took us half an hour longer (2 hours in total because our bus driver on the way back was quite slow) and then we had to take the metro back again. Then, we had to walk like another 15-20 minutes until we got out of the metro and in front of the Burj Khalifa. So by the time we had dinner it was almost 10pm. We decided to have pizza at an italian-american fusion restaurant by the fountain. It was super delicious, the drink and food looked and tasted amazing of course.

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Cucumber green ice tea, water melon – strawberry juice, strawberry ice tea

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We were even lucky enough this time, to catch the last screening of the fountain show. This time, they used a beautiful arabic song. Last time when we were watching, they used a cheesy Whitney Houston song.

Before heading to the taxi pick up at midnight, my brother stopped at a coffeeshop and got himself a late night coffee to be ready for the upcoming red-eye flight.

When we arrived back at the hotel, we picked up our luggage, got changed and called a taxi to the airport. It was sad to say goodbye to the hotel and especially, to Dubai.

At the airport, we waited for about an hour until our check-in counter was open. We charged our phones and used the wifi for a bit. The time flew by very quickly, and we were soon in the middle of checking-in, security and then boarding.

Our layover in Istanbul was shorter this time. At first we were worried that we wouldn’t make it, because we still had to get our connecting flight tickets from the THY counter, and then we saw the security check-up lines and panicked a litte bit. But everything was done quickly and we even had time to use the toilet and have a smoking break (my brother is a smoker).

We then comfortably walked to our gate and boarded. By the time we landed back in Stuttgart, our feet were swelled up like mini-water boats :’D It was horrible! I don’t usually get swollen feet from sitting for too long on airplanes, but this time was extreme. I guess it was due to the time that we also spent at Abu Dhabi, and then spending the whole evening on our feet, waiting for flight, and flying for several hours.

This was our trip to Dubai. I hope you enjoyed the ride. I know, it is a little bit more text this time, but I hope you can use some of the information for your travel plans, whether it be Dubai or any other place. I am sure that some structures and experiences I had can be applied to different places.

What about your next travel plans? Tell me where you are heading to next.

Do you get swollen feet from flying for too long as well? What do you do to prevent it other than flying business or first class?

Do you also have some weird metro experiences? Share them with me below.

Thanks for reading and travelling with me!

Merveille

Taipei Travels Part 4: Departure

So my last day in Taipei has finally arrived. I was up early to get ready, put the last things in my suitcase and check off. I had some cheese sandwiches that yinwen gave me stored in the fridge at the lobby, so I asked for those and ordered a hot chocolate to have a relaxed breakfast before my flight. The receptionist also ordered an uber for me. While I was still drinking up my hot chocolate, my uber driver had already arrived to pick me up. I was told not to hurry because I still had plenty of time until my flight.

Anyway, my uber driver was relly nice and he gave me his business card, so I could call him when I would be back to Taipei one day again. At the airport, I checked in and then relaxed a bit, ate some of my dried veggies before proceeding to security.

After security check, I still had some time so I went to the duty-free bookstore and I saw “Crazy Rich Asian” again. I saw this book already around a year ago when I had to fly to Hong Kong, but didn’t buy it then, cause I still had to read GoT. This time, I really wanted to buy it, and I had some NTD left. I also saw a cute key chain with dumplings on it, so I had to buy these things anyway.

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My gate was perfect. We could watch the planes landing, taking off, getting in and out of parking position.

Boarding was on time, my seat was comfy, food was okay. Cathay Pacific is just such a great airline! Probably the best asian airline I have flown with. The movie selection was good, the flight attendants were extremely friendly and competent. Nothing to complain about.

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My layover in Hong Kong passed without problems. I had to take a bus to my gate though, and I was rushing because I thought I’d be late, but the boarding was a bit delayed, so was my flight to Shanghai a little bit.

Yet, another great flight and this time with a window seat. I could take photos of Shanghai by night from above. It came out a bit blurry though.

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When I finally landed, got a taxi at the airport in Shanghai, got to my crappy hotel, and checked in, it was already around 10 pm. I was trying, and after texting my parents, I just fell asleep, too tired to handle anything.

My next few posts will be only about Shanghai and how I spent the last two days in that mega metropole. There is a little surprise, so stay tuned.

Thanks for reading and travelling with me.

Final rating:

Sightseeing: 4/5
Food: 5/5
Shopping: 5/5
Nightlife: 4/5
Transportation: 5/5

Taipei Travels Part 1: Flight and Arrival

As you know from my previous post, I have been to China from the 7th – 19th of January. From the 13th to the 16th, I decided to take a short trip to Taipei, since I have never been there and really wanted to go.

My flight was on Friday afternoon from Shanghai Pudong Airport to Taipei International Airport with a stop in Hong Kong. Of course, there were direct flights as well, but the time wasn’t very comfortable for me. The only flight with a good price and time was with a layover in Hong Kong.

My flight from Shanghai to Hong Kong didn’t start really well. I was on time at the airport and also at the gate. However, my gate was changed, and it hasn’t been announced. I only realized it when I noticed the tickets of the queueing passengers were not from Cathay Pacific but some other airline. Then I just saw on the screen of my gate that it has been changed. It was written in the tiniest font ever, so of course I went to the wrong gate, asked there, was sent back, and on the way a ground steward saw my ticket and sent me to the right gate. While I was rushing to the new gate, I finally heard the announcement that it was the final call for my flight.
This has never happened to me before.
Pudong Airport is really big, but I don’t really like how the gates keep on being changed all the time.

Anyway, I was relieved when I finally made it to my flight and was sitting on my seat. The flight with Cathay Pacific was very pleasant, but we took off around half an hour later due to the long take-off queue.

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When we finally landed in Hong-Kong, I was picked up by a ground hostess from Cathay Pacific. Together with around 6 other passengers, we were told that we wouldn’t make it to our flight and we would have to take the next flight, which would take off at around 8pm. She took us to the counter to get us new tickets for the next flight. That took quite long actually but finally we made it to the gate and could sit down for a while before boarding again.

So Guys, this is the reason why it is so important to book your layovers from one airline company. If I had booked 2 seperate flights, I would have missed my connecting flight and would have to pay for the next flight.

I arrived in Taipei at almost 10 pm. Yet another pleasant flight.

First things First: 

  • If you are flying to Taipei over the weekend, then make sure to exchange all your money at the airport. The exchange rate is, unlike other airport exchange stations, very accurate. I made the mistake to only exchange a part of my money which was enough for a taxi and my hostel fee. The next morning, I was told that banks are closed on Saturdays in Taiwan, very unlike the opening times of banks in China. On Saturday morning I was then sent to a department store to exchange money, and their rate was a little bit lower than the one at the airport. Bummer!
  • Make sure to buy a sim-card at the airport as well. In my rush to make it to the hostel before it got too late, I totally forgot to get one at a stand right next to the money exchange. You won’t miss it, it’s right there. And it was really cheap too.

 

I paid around 1100 NTD (around 33€) from the airport to downtown (my hostel was very central), so I’d say that the price for the taxi was quite cheap actually.

I stayed at Oxygen Hostel which is a great hostel with interesting interior and useful amenities offering everything you might need. The only negative side to the hostel was the limited space. I was travelling with my huge suitcase, and there was barely any space for it in my dorm room. I guess most hostels in Taipei are like that because of the limited space there. So if you are travelling with a suitcase, just like me, make sure to check the size of the rooms in your hostel/hotel.

I took a shower and fell to bed, almost dead tired from flying too much.

I know that this post was rather uneventful (except for the airport anxieties), but I promise that the next two posts will be full of surprises.

Thanks for travelling with me!