How to spend less than 24 hours in Hong Kong Part 4

If you might have missed my previous posts to the Hong Kong series I have written, you can check them here:

Part 1  |  Part 2  |  Part 3

The first two times I had less than 24 hours in this cosmopolitan city. The last time I had slightly over 24 hours. This time I had less than 24 hours again.

I stayed at Hop Inn Mody Hostel again which is located in Tsim Sha Tsui. It’s very central, spacious and affordable. I would recommend this hostel, and I would definitely stay here again.

As the posts before, I will list all the things you could do in one day in Hong Kong.

So here we go:

1. Breakfast in a cafe near your hostel:

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Most chinese cities, especially Hong Kong, have plenty of different cafes at every corner that serve delicious pastry, sandwiches, and coffee, all fitting the taste buds of any westerner. Coming from Germany, the country known for its variety of bread, I approve of the cafes in Hong Kong.

 2. Visit the museums:

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Walking to the museum as you can see it in the background

Hong Kong has some interesting and unique museums to offer, especially close to Tsim Sha Tsui in the harbour area. I visited two museums which are in the same building. The Hong Kong Museum of History, and the Science Museum.

Here are some small reviews of the two museums I visited.

  • Science Museum:

I had the feeling that this museum was directed more towards kids. There was a lot of information about the human body, for example, that should be known to adults. Still, I liked how interactive the museum was. There were different activites involved with obtaining the information. It’s definitely worth a visit, even for adults.

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This was pretty impressive. lightning bolts would apear when you touched the glass. I guess it was some magnetic lightning ball.
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There was a hall of mirrors that had special effects, like this one making us small and wide :’D Not flattering at all.
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This one’s already way better. The kid’s face is too hilarious :’D
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This was a triangle-shaped mirror tube. This is what it looked like from the other side. I asked the girl if I could snap a photo of her. Yes, this time I asked to take a photo of a stranger, not the other way around :’D
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And this is how it looked like when I tried to take a selfie in that triangle-tube. It didn’t have the same effect of course. SCIENCE!

So if you have seen everything you wanted to see in Hong Kong, go ahead and have a look inside the science museum. It doesn’t take too much time to walk through it, especially as an adult.

There was also a nail bed where visitors were allowed to lie down on it, and a professional advised what to do. I did it as well, and it didn’t hurt at all. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of that. But it was an interesting experience.

  • Hong Kong Museum of History:

This is in the same building, but you need a different ticket for this. I heard of my friend Josie that it was a highly interesting museum about the dramatic history of today’s Hong Kong. With that I mean the outcome of Hong Kong as a city it is now. It has so many influences from different cultures that make the city so unique like no other in the world. The museum explains how Hong Kong has developped to the city it is today. It shows the ecological development, the unique appearance of ecosystems and animals in this city, and then, finally shows the influence of its chinese origin, the british opium war and the effects of the japanese occupation. All of these incidents are reflected in the city’s unique culture, and have shaped Hong Kong into today’s modern, cosmopolitan city.  Hong Kong might be the most unique city I have visited. You can neither compare it to other chinese cities, nor western countries. 

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This is something like a small wish shrine

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Traditional masks for street performances
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These fishing boats still exist today.
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Its really impressive that traditional restaurants in Hong Kong and China still have the same architecture today.
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The Japanese occupation
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How cute the shops looked like <3

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There were so much more beautiful photo opportunities. These are the most beautiful snaps I took though.

I am usually not a big fan of museums, but this one was pretty cool. It reminded me of the Story of Berlin museum a little bit.

3. Visit Mammy Pancake – Again:

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I had to get some of these delicious treats again, before leaving China for good. This time I got sweet potato (the purple one) and Sesame. The sesame one was a bit disappointing. I thought they’d fill it with black sesame paste, but it was just sprinkled with light sesame. Sweet potato was the bomb though. Nothing compared to green tea chocolate though :)

4. Stroll along the promenade:

When I walked towards the promenade at Tsim Sha Tsui, I couldn’t believe my eyes. There was heavy fog hanging above the skyline making it look like some sick special effect of a science fiction movie. It looked so beautiful, with the boats sailing in the harbour, and the sun slowly setting into the white curtains of the sky. 

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The weather was really nice. It wasn’t too hot, so you could comfortably walk around in short clothes. Unfortunately, I just had a sweatshirt, so I was sweating like crazy.

Still, I had to say goodbye to beautiful Hong Kong for good. Of course, it has always been a bit stressful to just visit this amazing city more of less for 24 hours, but the more often I visited, the more I appreciated it. I had a last view on Hong Kong, and then headed to the airport already.

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My flight was in the evening, and I would be back in Yuyao in the evening, early enough to take a shower and find some good night’s rest. The next day, I had one more trip left which was to Shanghai with the laowais (Ana, Josie and Alessandro).

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you have ever been to Hong Kong, feel free to recommend me some more places to visit for next time :)

Thanks for reading and travelling with me!

Merveille.

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Beijing Part 1: Getting lost and overwhelmed

As promised, I am writing about my final trip I did around China in March, before I headed back home last year April. I still had Beijing and Xi’An on my list to tick off, so I decided to do the typical trip to those two cities. I heard many tourists and travellers take that route between the two cities via train, and I decided to do that as well.

That was not all, though. Last minute, before I left for Beijing, my boss told me that I had to go to Hong Kong one last time, because I had to extend my visa once more, for only a few days. That did piss me off, because I have already booked all the planes and trains already, and I could have taken the plane from Shanghai airport. This way, after arriving in Shanghai from Xi’An, I’d have to take the train to Yuyao, my boss would pick me up, take my suitcase, and take me to the hotel for me to catch the bus to Ningbo airport. Such a hustle can only happen in China :’D

During that one week, I took 4 trains, 4 planes, and 2 busses in total :’D If it wasn’t enough, we even planned one last Shanghai trip after I came back from Hong Kong :’D That was insane! Never travelled to so many cities in such little time :’D Almost felt like funforlouis :’DD

Anyway, my flight to Beijing was early in the morning from Shanghai Hongqiao Airport. I took one of the earliest trains to Shanghai, and upon arriving at the check-in, I was happy to see a great seat which turned out to be an emergency exit seat. The views from the plane were great. The sun was blasting and the sky was clear blue. A pity I didn’t use my camera to take a photo.

I flew with China Eastern Airlines, and I really liked it. Everything was on time, the stewardesses were friendly and the flight was smooth.

I think everything was just too good.

After landing, I took the metro to find my hostel. I had the directions and I also had the address in chinese. I was doing fine, but then, I completely lost my way. It was ridiculous. I was already on the way for almost 3 HOURS!!! Walking around in circles, asking for the way, trying to stop taxis to take me there. Nothin worked.

Because I was so stressed, I didn’t take so many pictures. I was despairing. Finally, a taxi stopped and took me to my hostel. But he was driving in the opposite direction that I came from. I was starting to get really confused. Then, he just let me out in front of a construction and told me I had to walkd behind it to get to the entrance of the hostel since cars couldn’t drive there. It was ridiculous. Ive had enough. I walked and walked through bumpy streets with my huge suitcase and finally, FINALLY found the entrance. It was very hidden, the taxi driver was right.

I entered, relieved and they were looking for my room on the computer. And the bad luck didn’t stop. They said there was no room unter my name. I was panicking. I showed them the e-mail and the girl understood. I was at the wrong hostel. It had basically the same name.

Happy Dragon is a hostel name that is used for three different hostels in three totally different locations in Beijing. They called the hostel and asked if there was a room booked and they confirmed. The receptionst was so kind to organize a driver for me to take me there. And again, they took me back to where I came from.

As it had turned out, I had the directions to the right hostel, but wrote down the wrong chinese address. So guys, please, if you decide to book a room at Happy Dragon, double check which one it is you are staying at and make sure you have both the right directions and the right address.

I paid for the drive at the reception and was told that I got a room upgrade. I actually booked a dorm, but I got a private room. And I didnt have to pay anything extra. I was so happy, and even happier when I saw how clean and beautiful it was. The bed was soft as well. I was so tired and exhausted that I could just lie down and sleep. Even my hunger couldn’t keep me from sleeping for around 2 hours.

When I woke up, I was still tired, but I had to get something to eat and I wanted to explore the city a little bit. It was slowly getting dark, so I got out of bed, got dressed and left. First, I also signed up for the Great Wall trip the next day.

I walked to the metro, and since it was already around 7pm, the streets were full with people. The metro as well. I thought Shanghai metro was full, but the one in Beijing was even worse. I couldn’t believe when I saw how many people were still getting in.

I somehow got off at my station which was the entrance to the Forbidden City.

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Of course, I wasn’t planning to get inside, since it was already closed, but I just wanted to explore the area. I guess I would have done a better choice if I went to get some street food somewhere.

After walking around the area, I quickly got bored and felt my hunger. I took the metro again, this time to find a restaurant somewhere. I didn’t have to walk too far from the metro station. It was a modern american-korean-mexican fusion restaurant in a Hutong. The area was very quiet and old but it looked very authentic.

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Nachos and a salad, Although I was pretty hungry, I didn’t want to eat anything too heavy at that hour.

When I was soon finished with dinner, the only thing I wanted to do was go sleeping in my warm, comfy bed. I took a taxi and enjoyed the late night views I got from Beijing. A beautiful, big city with a huge history, but very overwhelming for me. I saw the beauty of Beijing, but it was still very confusing to me.

What about you guys? What were your first expressions of Beijing?

Dubai Part 1: Arrival, Pools and Burgers

Our trip started with an afternoon flight from Stuttgart to Istanbul at 1.05 pm. We flew with Turkish Airlines but  had 4 hours time to kill in Istanbul before our connecting flight to Dubai. In the meantime, my sister and me had some cake and drinks at Starbucks.

Our flight from Istanbul was at around 10pm local time, so we’d have a red-eye flight this time. But luckily, we had screens to watch movies now, and there were less people on this plane. It was quiet most of the time. I watched Doctor Strange and Insurgent on the flight, and they were both such amazing movies <3

We finally arrived in Dubai on Monday morning at 5 am. We got our luggage, exchanged some money and got a taxi to our hotel. Here, you need to be carefull not to be scammed if you’re planning to visit Dubai! There will be drivers of some nice cars (like Lexus or BMW) who will try to get you in the car and offer a certain amount of money. Don’t get in that car unless you wanna pay 3 times more than the usual price. Just ignore them and head towards the usual yellow taxi cars. My sister almost fell for it and I had to pull her away from that black Lexus.

The ride to our hotel was so pleasant. Our driver was listening to some western radio station and they started playing Starboy by the Weeknd, so that was the perfect arrival for me :’D

Finally, after around 30 minutes, driving through the city and having the first glimpse on the Burj Khalifa, we arrived at our hotel. It looked pretty nice, the Mövenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta Gate. We checked in and luckily, our room was ready, so we didn’t have to wait for hours to finally get proper sleep.

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The lobby area at our hotel
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The pool on the rooftop of our hotel. Never swam here though :/

We slept for around 3-4 hours, until 10 am. After that we just wanted to go to the beach and eat something, because we were starving.

There was a free shuttle bus to the Oceana beach club which was located on the Palm. There was also a Steakhouse by the pool, so the first thing we did was having a burger-brunch.

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The burgers were really yummy, but also quite expensive: 85 AED for this plate 

After that it was all about tanning, swimming and drinks.

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Got myself a Strawberry Daiquiri for 55 AED which is actually okay for cocktails at a beach club. I seriously expected alcoholic drinks to be more expensive. 

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That’s me !
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The infinity pool was pretty decent :)

While we were taking photos by the pool, one of the security guys told us off that we can’t take photos with a camera. A phone is okay though. Very strange. So we stopped and I put my camera back in my bag. My sister and me also tried to swim in the sea, but we saw a sign which said to be careful of jellyfish. We were a bit scared, so we only dipped in our feet and took some photos.

At around 3pm, we slowly started to walk back to the pick up location to drive back to the hotel. We took a shower and dressed up to go to the JBR and the Marina Walk. We took a taxi there and he left us right in front of JBR (Jumeirah Beach Residence) although we actually said Marina Walk. But in the end, that was okay, because we found Shake Shack and immediately went inside for dinner.

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I never had Shake Shack before, neither did my brother, but my sister had it in London, and I gotta say, the fries are the best ones I have ever had. Crispy on the outside and smooth on the inside <3 Well done!

We strolled along the JBR promenade a little bit, looked at some stands selling souvenirs and handmade gifts, and even found a LaDuree where we got some single macarons.

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Now, we really wanted to look for the Marina Walk, so we looked for it. After asking some people and occasionally checking Google Maps, we finally found it, and were amazed by the breath-taking views:

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After walking along the Marina and snapping millions of photos from every angle, we were pretty exhausted and took the next taxi to the hotel.

Our first day in Dubai was already filled with many activities and we saw quite some things on our first day.

On our second day, there is gonna be a surprise: the activity I have been waiting for sooooo long. Can you guess what it is? Stay tuned if you wanna find out :)

What about you guys? How do you like long flights with layovers?
Have you ever been to Dubai? What were your first impressions?

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!