Few days before Valentine’s Day and in the bid to beat the crowd on the romantic night of Feb 14, 2012 which falls on a Tuesday this year, hubs brought me out for a sumptuous buffet dinner at La Gomera which is located at Neo Damansara around the vicinity of Damansara Perdana – a place with lots of overlapping flyovers and confusing road signs. Sure enough, we got lost and to make things worse, it was raining quite heavily on that day, which made it harder for us to concentrate on road signs and crisscrossed roads. Took us almost 30-35 minutes before we found the place located just on your left as you enter Damansara Perdana from Bandar Utama. Thankfully I had something light before that or otherwise I would’ve starved to death searching for this place. Giving directions to the place would have been difficult for me if I were the owner of that restaurant. Sure enough, that place was rather dimmed and quiet with many “For Sale/To let” banners hanging everywhere by property agents which led to my conclusion that there is indeed an oversupply of properties for sale and for rent at that area.
Ok, back to the food at La Gomera. I would say it wasn’t really authentic Spanish food. The only thing Spanish about the dishes served was the “paella valenciana” – a famous Spanish rice cooked with rice, seafood and vegetables – very much like the Chinese “yong chow” fried rice. However, I must say that the food there was not too bad. It was pretty much a mixture of western (beef / lamb steaks), Mediterranean (kebabs), Chinese (fried fish fritters) and Italiano (lasagna & pizzas) cuisines. Maybe the stewed lamb, chicken and beef were of Spanish origin, but I can’t really tell the difference with the ones cooked in other western countries. Probably the addition of chilies to the stew made them more Spanish, but doesn’t that sound like Mexican cooking? I wonder… Hubs was especially delighted with the free flow of fresh and baked oysters which can be served directly to our tables whenever we put the pins given to us on every table to the dish that we want at the barbeque section of the restaurant. What disappointed me was the desserts served there. They weren’t Spanish, much more like local delicacies – normal cakes, ice-creams, puddings and stuff. Wish they could have researched more on the types of Spanish desserts that are served – that would’ve made the evening more interesting as diners can try on food that are not found in our country. Anyway, it was a good night out. Something different for a change. Thank you hubs for the lovely dinner and the wonderful thoughts of preparing the dinner ahead knowing that I have the tendency of feeling irritated with dining in crowded areas. You definitely know me too well!
My birthday celebration this year has simmered to just fine dining between me and hubs .. but it was still enjoyable. We went to an exclusive Thai restaurant within the vicinity of Wangsa Maju called Sri Ayutthaya. This restaurant serves authentic Thai food with Thai waiters and waitresses to serve you in their traditional Thai costumes. Food there was delicious, though pricey and spicy. I enjoyed the ambiance of the restaurant and most certainly the service rendered to us throughout our fine dining there. We had the Thai seafood tom yum soup (which literally burned our lips and tongues with the protruding chili paste and birds eye chili that filled the soup), fried kangkung belacan, green curry chicken and papaya salad.
You must be wondering, what happened to my birthday cake? Well, it only came the next morning as a surprise from hubs. And there it was, my birthday celebration. To me, it wasn’t just a birthday celebration, but a celebration of a wonderful marriage for me and hubs … 🙂
A day after the royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, me and hubs joined our group of bible study friends on a short getaway to Janda Baik – a less than an hour’s drive from our place. Janda Baik is situated in the lowland areas of the Titiwangsa Range (Banjaran Titiwangsa) in the Pahang state of Malaysia. Most of the resorts at Janda Baik were fully booked due to the long weekend holidays in Malaysia and we had to settle for a resort called “Teratak Malaya” which was totally vacant. This place is not publicly advertised or promoted in any websites and I think my blog will be the first blog that features this place (if at all there were no other blogs that wrote about this place). What I can comment about this resort is that it is fairly new and it was not so well maintained for a new property. Secondly, signboards leading to this resort were minimal … almost invisible. Thanks to the GPS, we managed to find our ways to this resort which was hidden behind a Klinik Desa in a small village of Janda Baik. This place was literally secluded with no proper access road or car parks to cater for guests. It was rather inconvenient for us for we had to climb the stairs down to our rooms from where we parked our cars. There were many types of accommodations at this resort namely chalets and dormitories (which are catered for company team-building activities). Oh by the way, we did not stay in any fancy chalet rooms, but a common room filled with double-decker beds (like a dormitory). Yes, we all slept together in one room – just like those good old days at school camps .. but it was good fun. At least it wasn’t so scary at night, though I had trouble sleeping throughout the night – wasn’t used to the place and was awakened by squeaking beds (whenever someone moves) and floors (whenever someone walks on it to the toilets) in the middle of the night. Plus, it was a totally foreign place to me and I often have trouble sleeping at foreign places on the first nights of all my trips to foreign places. We started our journey from my house at 11:30am and had lunch at a famous restaurant at Batu Caves called “Pan Heong” before heading to Janda Baik. A friend of ours recommended Pan Heong for its famous dishes such as the “Sang Har Wa Tan Hor” (fresh water prawns cantonese fried noodle), “Kau Yuk Mai Fuan” (vermicelli with stewed pork), “Pei Tan Zhuk” (Century Egg Porridge), mee goreng mamak and the fried chicken marinated in fermented taufu (drool with the photos below):
The journey to Janda Baik from KL takes less than an hour to travel. It was a gloomy day as rain clouds hovered over us most of the time during our first day at Janda Baik. Nevertheless, that did not deter our spirit and determination to enjoy our vacation and we headed down to the stream to play with the cool river water. The cooling effect on our feet as we step into the water coupled with the pebbles beneath the water has proven to be great reflexology sessions for us. After spending 30 minutes or so at the stream, it started to rain heavily again. We ran to the nearest shelter which was a hall for meetings, presentations and other activities. There, we played some games, did some sharing and laughed at each others sharing and jokes, which was great fun. We also had tea and snacks at the mini cafe area to pass the time. After tea, we headed to another stream with stronger currents and deeper waters and this time, my friends and hubs literally soaked themselves into the water and enjoyed the cool running streams in the water. Hubs was quite afraid to enter the water at first, but after much courage (and temptations), he caved in and have not regretted ever since. We spent almost close to an hour playing and enjoying ourselves at this stream and after that, we headed back to our dorm for showers and to prepare ourselves for dinner. Lo and behold, it started to rain again and this time it was pretty heavy. We ran back from the car park to our dorms soaking wet in rain and river water (some of us). The next challenge we had to face was to take our showers in cold water after getting soaked in rain water! But surprisingly, it was manageable .. in fact, it wasn’t as cold as we thought it would be and it was really refreshing bathing in those water (felt like they were taken from the water of a nearby mountain). I tell ya .. time passes really slowly without the TV or the internet … it was a total opposite of our hasty lifestyles back in the city. But nevertheless, this place has poised itself as a short getaway from the city (though, after a night spent there, we have already started to feel bored of the place).
An hour or so later, we headed out to Bkt Tinggi where a row of Chinese restaurants are located for dinner. The restaurants were located at the foot of Bukit Tinggie and we picked “Restoran 126” based on high recommendations from a blogger. We placed orders for (1) nonya steamed fish, (2) ginger steamed fish, (3) fried kangkung (without the belacan – Malay prawn paste), (4) fried long beans, (5) marmite fried chicken, (6) fried sotong (squid), (7) claypot taufu and (8) kau yuk (stewed pork) …. all for just RM191.00 for 15 pax! Now isn’t that worth the monies spent?? Drool again with the pictures of our orders taken below:
After dinner, we headed back to our dormitory, rested, chatted and joked the entire night and we finally retired to bed at 11:30am. Did we sleep well? Well, most of us didn’t .. haha .. especially me. I was wide awake the entire night and I could literally see who went in and out of the toilets in the middle of the night 😛 All in all, I only managed to sleep at 5am for less than an hour! But surprisingly, I was wide awake the next morning. We had our fellowship, worship and bible study the next morning before heading out for breakfast. We left the resort at around 11+ and was hoping to visit an organic farm nearby but turned out to be a great big disappointment for us. So without even stepping out of our cars, we made a u-turn and headed straight back to KL for lunch. Hubs made an appointment for us at New Heong Kee Beggar’s Chicken restaurant which is famous for their Beggar’s Chicken, Fried Fish fritters, Pei Pa Taufu and Winter Melon soup (see photos and start drooling again):
Overall, the trip was truly enjoyable and the fellowship with our bible study group members was great! Looking forward to another trip of eating and “fellowshiping” again 🙂
In conjunction with our 2nd wedding anniversary, hubs decided to surprise me with a trip to Krabi, Thailand by inserting a piece of our flight reservation details into an envelope and placing it under our Christmas tree as my Christmas present last year. Three months later, we were off to our trip (how time flies) and we had a fantastic and relaxing time of our lives there. This is what I call a holiday! Compared to our trip to HK, I would definitely opt for more of this kind of relaxation anytime! Our flight to Krabi was pleasant despite the minor delay in the take off. It took us 2 hours to reach Krabi international airport and there, hubs booked us cab which took us to our hotel which was a 25 minutes road trip from the airport. It was raining when we arrived at Krabi .. somewhat spoiled the excitement a little, but fortunately it stopped when we reached our hotel – White Sand Krabi Resort which hubs booked for RM220 per night with breakfast. We checked in to the hotel and minutes later, we headed out to Krabi’s small serene town. We took a stroll along the beach and I just found out that the rows of shops at Krabi town are all lined up in a “U” shape. The distance from one end of the town to the other is walkable, but going on a bike would be more convenient. We made our way to the hawkers area in front of the Krabi Resort Hotel, where local street food and delicacies can be found. Thai food has always been my favourite and I was very excited to see so many tempting food before my eyes. We sat down at one of the stalls that sell yummy grilled chicken drumsticks and fish and order ourselves 2 plates of each of those. They were just yummy beyond words – juicy, tender, hot… even the word delicious is an understatement … oooo how I crave for them now. I bought myself a packet of pineapples which I thought were very sweet and juicy – so it is true what they say about Thai pineapples. Half way through our meals it started to pour again and we had to devour our food as quickly as we can for I was already getting wet and cold. We headed towards a nearby tourist information center for shelter and sat there for a few minutes while waiting for the rain to simmer down. Oh, before that I managed to grab a packet of Krabi’s famous banana pancake (with chocolate topping as my preference). Hubs said it was just like any ordinary roti pisang we can find at mamak places, but I found it very unique – the crust was crispy and the bananas were sweet – goes very well with the chocolate topping I picked. The rain simmered down 5 minutes later and in the rain, we headed to a nearby massage parlour for a nice session of body massage. We bumped into “Sunset Massage” just 2 minutes walk from the tourist information center which we took shelter from. The prices were reasonable. We opted for the full aromatherapy body massage which costs only RM35 per hour. The session was heavenly .. I fell asleep right away during the massage.
After the massage, we headed back to our hotel for a shower and to wash away the aromatherapy oil used on our bodies during the massage. After shower we headed to the restaurants opposite our hotel in search for a nice restaurant to have our anniversary dinner. Hubs thought we splurge on food on our first night there and subsequently devour on street food the next day. Sounds good to me. We went through a few menus before deciding on Dean’s Restaurant – International and Thai Food. Without any clue on whether the food’s good, we placed our orders on the popular dishes they serve and we ordered ourselves a plate of grilled fish with sweet and sour hot Thai sauce, a pot of hot steamy Thai soup (also known as Tom Yum) and a plate of fried Malay spinach (a.k.a “kang kung”). As starters, hubs treated himself to a plate of fresh oysters which he claimed was very yummy and juicy. I ain’t a big fan of oysters, so I skipped that and waited for our main course meals instead. As for drinks, hubs had the local Thai fragrant coconut water and I had a glass of fresh orange juice. There was indeed no denying that Thai coconuts were the best we ever had – its water is naturally sweet and fragrant. As for my orange juice, I found that they had added some lime zest into the juice which gave it a sweet and sour taste – lovely!
Day 2: Island hopping @ Krabi
On Day 2 of our trip to Krabi, hubs booked us a boat trip to 5 amazing islands at Krabi for a reasonable price of RM150 which was inclusive of pick up transfers from our hotel to the jetty and lunch at Koh Phi Phi. Here is the itinerary given to us by the tour agency:
Maya Bay – Location of Hollywood famous film – “The Beach” which starred Leonardo Decarprio
Monkey Bay exploring deserted beach and fascinating coral reefs
Lohsamah Bay colourful corals and fishes in shallow water (snorkeling)
Pileh Bay awesome and fantastic lagoon
Viking cave photography and sightseeing
Phi Phi Don for lunch at a beach restaurant
Hin Klarng – experience the fantastic open sea (snorkeling)
Bamboo island fabulous and gorgeous beach with coral reefs
Our first stop was a Bamboo island with wider open beaches for everyone to enjoy. However, most of the coral reefs disappeared / damaged during the Sumatra earthquake that caused a huge wave of tsunami that swept through the island in 2004. The sea water was amazingly clear at most of the designated places we visited on our boat trip – it just proves to us how magnificent and amazing God’s creations are. It was really something and the beautiful sights of the sea water, lagoons, limestone mountains, were exactly like were seen in postcards – only to experience it live before our very eyes. Here are some photos we took on our boat trip and the photos just made you feel like diving into those crystal clear waters again to swim with the sea creatures beneath the waters 😉
The Viking Cave which used to be one of the tourists attraction at Krabi has closed its access to the public by a bird’s nest conservatory company for fear that tourists may disturb the peace of the swallow birds that build their nests in these caves. Bird’s nests are Asian’s popular delicacies with ingredients that help preserve youth and vitality, which comes with an exorbitant price to purchase them. In this cave, you will find bamboos that were set up for climbers to climb right up to the top of the cave at great heights to retrieve the nests that are left abandoned by the birds after their young have spread their own wings.
Maya Bay is made popular by DeCarprio’s fim, “The Beach”, which is famous for its white fine sands and beautiful crystal blue waters surrounded by limestone mountains. However, the limited space at the beach is often overcrowded with speed boats that took up half the beach and packed with tourists who swamped the beach for a nice time of fun and sun-bathing. After Maya Bay, we headed to Phi Phi Don for lunch and toured Koh Phi Phi for an hour before heading out to the open sea Hin Klarng, for another time of snorkeling. The seawater at Hin Klarng were deeper compared to Lohsamah Bay which was a small enclosed lagoon. Swimming was hard as the waves kept sweeping us off further from the boat and we had to use a lot of energy to swim back and forth in order to stay afloat. However, here in the deeper open sea, many tourists get to experience the sight of small baby sharks and other colourful fishes that swam by. I had the chance of feeding the fishes but they scared me at some point when they started fighting with each other for food right and their slimy bodies started tickling my hands in front of me. But it was an awesome experience. Which I had gone down to the water at Lohsamah Bay where it wasn’t so deep and swimming was easier without the waves.
Day 2: During the night
On Day 2, we have decided to try out street food that were found a few meters away from our hotel. It wasn’t very difficult to find them as the food stalls are usually set up in one spot. It rained that evening and thankfully after our boat trip. We quickly made our way to the food stalls to pack some food back to the hotel instead to beat the rain. We ordered ourselves a packet of Phad Thai, a bowl of sweet, spicy and sour Mango Salad, a nice yummy bowl of Tom Yam and a piece of grilled chicken and fish (they were not as good as the one we tried on our first day though).
Day 3: Last day at Krabi
The next morning after breakfast, we rented a scooter to tour around the town for RM20 per day (but we only used it for 2 hours). We rode all the way to the beach where the tour boats were parked. It was a gloomy morning that day and the tide was low. We passed a wedding couple (probably a Malaysian couple) who were getting ready for a day of wedding photo shoot. The low tide has made a lot of crab holes visible and we managed to catch glimpses of crabs traveling towards the sea in groups. We also managed to snap one or two who did not escape to their holes, but instead, preferred to pose for our photo shoots 🙂 It was a lovely and fresh morning and there were many tourists who got up early to jog along the beach.
Before we know it, it was already noon. We packed ourselves a packet of economy rice sold at one of the street food stalls. There weren’t much variety of dishes to choose from, but every dished picked were yummy especially the beef and fish curry sauce. Oh, not to mention the fried fish (ikan kembung) was so crispy you could literally eat the whole fish up including the bones (minus the head of course). Our coach picked us up to the airport at approx. 11:30am (Thai) and the journey to the airport took us 25 minutes. We boarded the plane at 1:45pm (Thai) and arrived at KL LCCT at 4:00pm (MY time). The whole trip was a relaxing one and for once, I did not feel the stress of not being able to cover most famous tourist spots. I would love to go back there again when I have the chance just to relax and enjoy the magnificent views of Krabi beaches and islands.
Sai Kung is one of Hong Kong’s fishing village apart from Cheung Chau Island and Lamma Island and it is a paradise for seafood lovers, both locals and foreign tourists alike. To get to Sai Kung, you need to take a bus from the Kowloon Bay MTR station or Choi Hung MTR station. We have planned to visit Sai Kung on the 5th day of our trip at Hong Kong and by that 5th day, the joints in my body started to twitch that caused a wave of heat throughout my entire body. I could not wake up that morning for I was feeling tired beyond tired and I felt soooo sickly that I just wanted to lie down on my bead and not move and inch. But it would be a terrible waste if I did not go out as it was already our 5th day there (final 2 days at HK) and hubs was already ready to visit go out. Although I have visited Sai Kung in my previous trip with my good friend, I would have felt even more terrible if I did not bring hubs to this place. As reluctant as I was, I dragged myself up from my bed, headed for a quick shower, shook off the chill after shower and put on some thick warm clothing before heading out to the cold weather again. Weather on that day was even more hazy than what we had experienced the day before. Apparently news broke out that there was a sandstorm (more like dust storm) that hit northern China and the dusts traveled down south to most parts of HK, that caused the API index (measurement for haze in the air) to surge up to a critical level. Yesterday night’s API was the highest and it was no wonder that I fell sick after watching the Symphony of Lights at the Promenade. My eyes and skin were so dry that the amount of lotion I applied did not really help either. As we were traveling on the MTR to Choi Hung MTR station to take the bus towards Sai Kung, we caught glimpses of passengers putting on face masks to protect themselves from the polluted air and any possible influenza that might potentially crop up again following the SARS pandemic in 2004. HK authorities were taking up as many measures as they could to prevent this from happening for the SARS pandemic that hit HK in 2004, has caused the country’s economy to plummet to the grounds which rendered many people jobless. I felt bad for not wearing a mask as I was sneezing really badly on that day as well. Instead of using a face mask, I used tissues to cover myself as I sneezed and wheezed throughout my journey. We reached the Choi Hung MTR station and my memories brought me back to the small little cafe by the bus stand which I had breakfast at the previous time I visited HK. I went ahead and check if the cafe was still in business and it was! The cafe serves economical breakfast at a minimal price (though it is still considered costly compared with the real economical breakfast we have back home in Malaysia). The breakfast menu came in sets and we ordered Nisin and macaroni noodle soup with ham which comes with a plate of toasts, fried ham and eggs (no sunny side up though) and two cups of Nai Cha (HK tea) to go with our breakfast sets.
We left for Sai Kung at 9:30am by KMB Bus No.92 and arrived at the designated place 30 – 35 minutes later. Sai Kung was exceptionally quiet on that day for it was a Monday and everyone was already at work. Fishing boats were seen parked at the jetty and it looked rather obvious that fishermen in HK take their day off on Mondays. It was a quiet hazy sight at Sai Kung and I was feeling really woozy from the medication taken last night after a cold breezy trip to the promenade. I felt sicker than before on that day and my favorite seafood cuisine did not look appetizing to me at all. Nevertheless, I accompanied hubs through our trip at Sai Kung. We intended to have our lunch there, but because of my sickly condition, we passed on a sumptuous seafood lunch by the pier- such a waste isn’t it? We passed by several seafood restaurants with aquariums containing fresh seafood nicely placed outside the restaurants to attract passers-by to their delicious servings. Too bad for them, I was not the least attracted to their seafood with at that point of time, though I can’t deny they look rather tempting 😛 Also, we wanted to visit a famous dessert stall by the name of Honeymoon at Sai Kung, but unfortunately for us, it was closed on that day of our visit. No biggie. We already had a taste of HK’s sweet tooth delights at Hui Lau San. I am not entirely a big fan of desserts but to miss out on something so famous in HK will be another total waste. We hung around Sai Kung town for the first half of the day, snapping whatever photos we could snap, before making our way back to the city.
We also visited a temple at Sai Kung. Temples are everywhere in HK just like mosques are everywhere in Malaysia. It’s a small little dingy temple at the heart of the town. Nothing spectacular. A walk in the we market at the heart of Sai Kung opens up our views of how HK’s fresh market is like – everything sold on the table are FRESH and appetizing, especially the live seafood that are seen displayed all over the market. This is probably the type of market where you would love to shop for fresh seafood. I know I would, but too bad it’s just so far away from home 😛
Although our trip to Sai Kung was not entirely enjoyable as we did not get to enjoy local food at this place, we managed to salvage our satisfaction by shopping .. an all time Malaysian favorite trip agenda .. not so much for me though. I just thought since we have gone all the way to this remote part of the country, thought we could spend some time hanging around the small little town of Sai Kung and see what we could grab on our way back to the city. Hubs got himself a nice cheap winter clothing for RM50 – now isn’t that worth the trip? I got myself a pair of over-sized shoes which I thought fit perfectly when I tried it on there. Now the shoe’s just sitting comfortably in my shoe rack not being worn so much for like I said, it’s darn over-sized! Think I will just give it away to whoever needs a pair of shoes. We also noticed several rooms or apartments for rent and sale posted on all the windows of shops around the corner. A closer look at the prices really sent a shocking “WOW” in our eyes. It is so darn expensive in HK to own a less than 600 sq ft apartment (it’s a whopping RM4000 – RM6000 per month!) Maybe the apartment has a spectacular seaside view that’s why. It pays to appreciate mother nature. How sad! I think rental in this area is equivalent to that of Bangsar and Mont Kiara in Kuala Lumpur, but we have much more space compared to HK. Gees … this tells me that it is not worth living in HK as living expenses here are so darn high.
Instead of having lunch at Sai Kung (such a pity for us), we headed downtown towards the city to have our lunch. I can tell ya, we did not have any clue where we were heading to for lunch. So we bumped around a shopping complex at Diamond Hill, where the bus stopped and alight its passengers . While walking around the shopping complex, we discovered a big food court area that sells all kinds of HK delicacies which you might or might not find in Malaysian food courts. Without thinking much, we headed for the food court in search for a meal at almost 2pm! We settled for hot wok plates and so, we ordered sweet and sour pork (which was urgh, so fattening …), claypot aubergine fried with mince pork, and a plate of yong chow fried rice (yes again! hehe). For desserts (surprising with my sickly condition, I still have some space left in my tummy for desserts. I tell ya desserts in HK are fab! simply fab and not to mention attractive too with so many varieties to choose from!
We ordered just too much and had to waste some of it for the sake of some food adventure. So after lunch, we decided to hang around the shopping complex for a little while longer to digest our stuffed tummies, before heading to our next destination – The Golden Bauhinia Square (another popular site for HK TVB drama shooting). The Golden Bauhinia Square is located outside the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on the Wan Chai waterfront, which marks the most significant occasion in Hong Kong history – the return of the former British colony to the People’s Republic of China and the establishment of Hong Kong SAR (Special Administrative Region) in 1997. One of the major tourist attraction at this place is the flag raising ceremony that takes place between 7:50 am to 8:30 am (too bad, we missed this one as well as we spent the morning at Sai Kung earlier). To get the Golden Bauhinia Square, take the MTR to Wan Chai Station and exit at Exit A5. Walk across the footbridge, head right and through the lobby of Central Plaza, continue on walking across the connecting overheard walkway, then descend to ground level. Head towards the waterfront ahead and the statue and monument is on the left. Looks easy? NOT! It’s a bloody 15-minutes walk and on top of that, the weather was getting really bad on that day. I could hardly breathe as I took this 15 minutes walk towards the square and I nearly fainted halfway. Thank God hubby was there to help me through the journey. I have nowhere to go at that point of time, but to just continue on towards our destination – that my friend, requires some determination – heck!
During the night …
A visit to the Golden Bauhinia square ended our trip for the day. When I reached the hotel after that, I just dropped dead on the hotel bed and just could not move an inch. My body was aching all over and panadol did not help much to reduce the pain. I was sneezing and wheezing like a sick goat and all the tissues supplied for the day was nearly finished! I popped another two more pills and lied down to sleep. Hubs couldn’t sleep as he was still very energetic even after 5 days of non-stop walking with his heavy camera strapped around his neck! He decided to visit Apliu Street and he had to go without me. I just couldn’t wake up anymore. Apliu Street is located at Sham Sui Po, Kowloon and it can be reached directly by MTR to the Sham Sui Po MTR station (Exit A2 or C2). It is a huge flea market with cheap electronic products and electrical components sold at this place. According to wikipedia, Apliu Street is well known for geek shopping (hehe). Does this mean my hubby is a geek too? Looks like it .. hehe. He bought some batteries for his camera flash that is cheaper than what he could find back here in Malaysia. Oh well, that made his trip to this place worthwhile.
It was a short trip for hubby. He got back to the hotel 45 minutes later only to find me sleeping like an unmovable log. It was already 5:30pm and almost time for dinner – but I didn’t feel like getting up for dinner! So I continued on sleeping until 7:30pm and hub’s tummy was already growling for food. I didn’t feel a thing! 10 minutes later, he woke me up and I think at that time, he was really hungry and desperate for food. I forced myself off the bed, washed my face and got dressed for dinner. And boy did I look like a zombie in the mirror. I put on some make up before I left so I wouldn’t freak anyone out there. We headed back to Jordan Street as planned to try out the seafood “mamak” stalls at that area. There were just too many shops to choose from and we just went into one without thinking much also. There we ordered a plate of HK choy sum (mustard leaves), fried clams with sweet sauce and deep fried mantis prawn. Were they good? I would rate it as 7 out of 10. Nothing to shout about, but it was worth a try:
The weather was the worst that night and I was practically sneezing every 3-5 seconds. I could not take it anymore and so we headed back to the hotel right after dinner. There was no mood left in me to hang around the city further- darn! So this ended the second last day of our trip as we head back to KL the following day – I could not wait to get out of the polluted environment in HK!
We started out journey in a search for some HK dim sum breakfast around Mong Kok area and by following the trails left behind by a blogger (gee, never knew blogs can be useful promotional tools for the tourism industry) who had also visited HK, we managed to find the restaurant, which is on the 2nd floor of a shabby looking building that is located right next to the Prince Edward station entrance. In fact, the search for a dim sum restaurant within the vicinity of Mong Kok was a last minute one. We managed to locate the place through hub’s blackberry on the way to Disneyland! And we were fortunate enough to find one … phew! The dim sum restaurant we visited was called (see below – don’t know what is it called in Chinese *blek* can someone enlighten me please):
This is the exterior designs of the restaurant which happens to be one of a Chinese wedding restaurants in HK. Check out the big aquarium with those large fishes swimming around looking rather glum and lost!
And this is the interior design of the restaurant which to me, looks like a typical Chinese restaurant – packed and noisy:
As we set down to take our orders, we couldn’t help but stared blankly at the menu which was all in Chinese and therefore, we had no choice but to depend on some pictures to guide us through the menus. We did a couple of guessing games and it wasn’t too bad as the food served were all edible, mainly steamed ones. My favourite were the char siew paos. The dough of the pao’s so tender that it melted right through every bite. The char siew was delicious, not too fat and not too salty, just nice. The Chinese tea has an exquisite taste with strong tea leaves aroma that sips right through my nose, telling me that it was definitely brewed to perfection. It was invigorating and I felt alert and rejuvenated after a few cups of the Chinese tea, although I was dead tired the night before after walking around the city and two hills!
With our tummies filled with a satisfying and sumptuous dim sum breakfast, we headed straight down the MTR station, board the next train (Fanling MTR) to our next stop – the Fung Ying Seen Koon temple at Fanling. The Fung Ying Seen Koon temple is quite a distance by MTR ride from Mong Kok , which at the outskirts of the main city area, about 20 minutes from Hong Kong’s top university (also Asia’s top university) – the University of Hong Kong. I wanted to alight from at the MTR station that leads to the university, but on second thought, I passed the idea. Never knew Fung Ying Seen Koon is one of the many famous temples in HK for it was used as a shooting scene for many of HK TVB dramas. What makes it so famous is the memorial garden (known as “Wo Hap Shek”) that was built right next to it. We happened to visit HK during the “cheng beng” month, which is a month to pray and give offerings to loved ones who have departed into the other “world”. The memorial garden was packed with people offering food and delicacies to both the gods and their loved ones. Part of the temple was under construction and therefore, we had only the other part of it to visit. The temple, well, is like any other temples we see back here in Malaysia, but the architecture of the entrance doors with emblems of the yin and yang symbols, and the many flights of steps leading to the altars and temple gods, offer a unique sight of the temple which you may never find back here in Malaysia.
We spent quite some time at this place before heading to the next place – Fong Ma Po Village in Lam Tsuen to visit the Lam Tsuen Wishing Tree, a popular shrine in Hong Kong. Unfortunately for us, we had to take a cab to the wishing tree for there is no MTR station within the vicinity, which is located along Lam Kam Road. The map says that we had to take alight at Taipo MTR station and hop on the KMB bus 64k or 65k to that place. So we alighted at Taipo MTR tation as instructed but somehow, we got lost along the way and ended up at the Tai Wo housing estate. Using the maps that were sprawled all over our arms, we went around looking for the two buses that could take us there. We even looked at the Tai Wo estate map to see if there are any indication of bus stands around the corner – but too bad, there were none. As we were walking around the housing estate of Tai Wo, we heard singing voices ahead of us and we decided to check them out. As we approached the singing voices, we saw into a group of senior citizens happily dancing to the beat of drums and hums. The ladies were chanting, humming and dancing according to the beat of the drums while rowing on a piece of stick decorated with ribbons. They also wore traditional costumes with traditional hairdo and makeup during the dance. It was really a unique sight for us. Sometimes getting lost on a tour can be advantageous 🙂 If it wasn’t for our lost journey, we wouldn’t had the chance to watch this cultural performance by the local folks.
After the short cultural show experience, we continued on our journey on a lookout for transportation. We can across a row of taxis parked by the side waiting for passengers and without thinking much (we were exhausted from our hunt for buses), we hopped onto a taxi and off we went to the wishing tree. The taxi fare came up to about HKD40.00++ (which is about the same cost as the ride we took to the Wong Tai Sin temple). The wishing tree is located near the Tin Hou temple in Lam Tsuen which is one of Hong Kong’s famous tourist attraction (that’s why we were there too :p). Some history and facts lessons here. The temple was built around 1768 or 1771, during the Qing Dynasty (wow, more than two centuries old). The wishing tree is usually frequented by both local worshipers and tourists during the Lunar New Year. They worshipers burn joss sticks, write their wishes onto the joss papers for good health, wealth, love and luck, tied the joss papers onto an orange and throw them onto the tree branches to hang them there. It is believed that if the paper is successfully hung onto one of the tree branches when they throw them up there, they wishes will come true. However, the practice was discouraged by the local authorities after a mishap occurred where one of the ailing tree branches gave way, fell onto two worshipers injuring them badly. So, instead of throwing their wishes up on the tree, wooden racks are not installed near the tree for worshipers to hang their joss papers up during the period of conservation to restore the tree into shape again. This explains the racks that were put in place when we visited the tree. The restoration process was still in place as well and we could only get a glimpse of the tree outside the gate that encircled the tree. Being a curious “cat”, I took a peep at one of the wishes, but sad to say, I couldn’t understand it as it was written in Chinese – geh!
There was really nothing interesting to visit (at least for me) at the village but this wishing tree and being tired of walking and hunting around for transportation earlier, I just sat down at one of the benches while hubs went around snapping photos of the tree, the wishing racks and the temple. The air was cooling which was not too bad, but my legs were already killing me from all the walking in the city the past few days! After our sight-seeing, we could not afford to take another cab ride back, so we hunted down a bus stand for the KMB bus 64K and 65K and thank God we found one along Lam Kam Road, and thankfully this time not too far from the tree. But the wait was exhausting. We managed to hop onto KMB bus 64K to Taipo Market where the MTR East Rail Station is located.It was nearly lunch time and my tummy started to growl. But I insisted on going back to Mong Kok for lunch instead, which is another 30 minutes of train ride back to Mong Kong, plus, another 30 minutes of walking along the busy streets of Mong Kok in search for the restaurant that was recommended on a blog I visited in my research for famous food in HK. Why did I say 30 minutes? Because we practically walked the entire town in search for this restaurant (wish I could remember its name in English) and it took us almost 30 minutes before reaching this place. I nearly fainted halfway for my tired body could no longer carry me on for another minute! Thank God hubs found the place. The restaurant’s located on the 3rd floor of a building and it was like any other ordinary dim sum restaurant. We reached this place at around 1pm (just in time for lunch) and it was full. We had to share a table with a family. Because I was so hungry .. I couldn’t care less about the sharing part. Same goes for hubs. We just sat down, make our orders and woah lah! We ordered what we need to order as everything was in Chinese, we couldn’t try anything else. Hubs were trying to remember the Chinese words he learned before and by making sense of some words he could recognize, we managed to order ourselves a plate of roast goose, roast pork, siew long pao, Chinese fried rice and fried choy sum .. DELICIOUS! Though I find the fried rice and choy sum were a little too oily. We couldn’t finish the plate of fried rice either for the portion was huge! However, we just felt so darn satisfied with our meals – burp (excuse me!).
Not far from the restaurant where we had our sumptuous lunch, a troupe of Taoist monks, lion, dragon and tiger dancers (as it was the year of the Tiger when we visited HK) were getting ready for a grand procession that covered the long stretch of streets at Mong Kok. Police motorcycles and cars were visible as the local authorities of HK marked the official opening of the procession. It was a marvelous sight and we were fortunate to witness this special local celebration. I reckoned this special occasion is held once a year during Cheng Meng festival (you can look this up for more details on google). The event drew a large crowd but we managed to squeeze our way to the front. Hubs managed to snap few photos pretty up close as well. He literally braved himself by approaching the official photography session for they thought he was one of the photographers as well – ngiek ngiek ngiek:
The crowd dispersed when the procession was far from sight, and so did we. As we made our way back to the hotel, we thought it would be nice to have a bowl or a cup of HK dessert (though our tummies were filled to the brim). We came across one of HK’s chained dessert stores called Hui Lau Shan several times the past few days and thought we leave this to last 2 days of our trip to try them out. There were many types of desserts to choose from their menu, hot, cold and icey cold. We picked the ice-blended drinks as we were so thirsty and my throat was beginning to hurt from the lack of sleep and tiredness. Not to mention we have been drinking several bowls of Ya Sei Mei at HK to keep ourselves healthy throughout the trip. We both ordered a cup of Pamelo with Mango drink and a Aloe Vera with Watermelon drink – sounds refreshing huh? It sure was.
During the night ….
We finally got to rest in our hotel without anymore agenda planned for the day. We slept like a log in the late afternoon and before we knew it, it was time for us to wake up and head on for the next agenda of our trip at night. We have planned to visit the Avenue of Stars at the Tsim Tsa Chui Promenade during the night and the Symphony of Lights at the same place as well. To get to this place, take the MTR towards Central and hop off at Tsim Tsa Chui MTR station. Follow directions towards East Tsim Sha Tsui MTR East Rail and take the exit J4 about 15 minutes walk. Then, here you go, the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade and Avenue of Stars.
The wind was super chilly and the weather was really bad during the night on this day of our trip. It was really unfortunate for us for it would have been a beautiful sight at the promenade if it wasn’t ruined by the thick blanket of haze the covered most parts of HK. The haze has also disrupted most of our photo shoots, but nevertheless, we still managed to snap some that turned out alright. That was the 2nd time I’ve encountered bad weathers in HK. First time on my trip to HK I too encountered lousy weather and it was the same weather that caused the severity of the SARS pandemic in HK back in the year 2004 (I think). Anyhow, we continued on with our journey as planned. The Avenue of Stars is a place that pays tribute to HK’s outstanding professionals of HK’s film industry for their devoted contribution to both local and international films and theaters, such as Bruce Lee, Stephen Chow, Jackie Chan, James Wong, Leon Lai to name a few. Along the promenade, you will find plaques of hand prints and autographs of the stars set in cement, but most of the plaques only contained the celebrities’ names as most of them are now deceased.
The strolled along the promenade (about a stretch of 440 meters) till we reached Salisbury Garden where we greeted by a replica of the statuette given to winners at the Hong Kong film awards. There, we waited for the Symphony of Lights performance which takes place at 8:00pm daily. I started sneezing as I was freezing from inside out with the thin jacket that I wore that night and I could feel that I was about to fall sick within split seconds. Hubs gave me warm hugs on and off so I could stay warm in his fat body (hehe). At 8:00pm (HK time) sharp, lights began sprouting from behind the buildings, dancing gaily in the night. It was just too bad that the haze has ruined the show, but heck, that was the only chance (probably the last chance) we were going to watch this show. We stayed on until the show completed 15 minutes later.What do I think of the show? To me, it was nothing spectacular, to the extent I thought it was a waste of my time watching it in the first place 😛
Ok, that was it for the show. Our tummies began to growl, time for dinner! After the show, we quickly made our way down to Miu Kai (Temple Street) for dinner and shopping after that. Heard women fashion wear at this area is dirt cheap and I could not wait to check them out. Temple Street is located in the areas of Jordan and Yau Ma Tei in the Kowloon district. To get to Miu Kai, take the MTR and hop off at the Jordan MTR station. After alighting at the Jordan MTR station, we walked down the streets of Jordan before we came to Tsui Wah restaurant that serves a variety of food to choose from. Without thinking much (more of like we were thinking with our tummies then), we made our way to the corner of the restaurant with a really small table (just nice for 2 persons). HK’s cafes and restaurants are really small and tight squeeze. Customers will have to share the table with strangers in packed cafes/restaurants. Fortunately for us, the table we had was small enough for the both of us and we needn’t share it with others 😛 Fortunately for us as well, the menu had English translation of the types of food served and we had no problems ordering our food right away. I had a bowl of koay teow fishball soup and hubs had a plate of fried yee mee. My bowl of koay teow soup tasted quite alright, though I still prefer the ones back in KL. Hub’s fried yee mee was tasty though and the portion was pretty huge. Just nice to fill up our empty tummies. We didn’t want to eat too much though as we had planned to snack on some of HK’s delicacies at Miu Kai later. For drinks, I ordered a cup of hot honey lemon tea and hubs with a cup of HK’s ice lemon tea. The joints in my body were beginning to ache and my throat started to itch and hurt as well. The hot honey lemon tea would be just nice for me.
Miu Kai is a very busy street and one of HK’s tourist attractions as well. You could see the night market almost immediately with the sights of stalls and lights set up along the street. Things sold at this night market were inexpensive and they all looked really attractive as well. Along the market you will find seafood restaurants with many foreign tourists patronizing them at all corners of the street. Hubs and I thought we could try them out tomorrow instead. There were so many things to see, so many things to buy. Looks like one night alone is not enough to walk the entire street and shop till you drop. We took a slow brisk walk in the market to see what we can buy the next day, because before dinner, I came across a designer’s shop selling women fashion wear that were really really dirt cheap and I could not wait to get my hands on them after taking a brisk walk at Miu Kai. So we made our way to In Fashion house. Shopping has never been so relaxed without needing to think about the $$ part as I went around picking up dressed, blouse, scarf, etc. Fitting was however not allowed for blouses and dresses unless you wish to try on their collection of ladies pants. It was so cheap that I decided to grab some for my sisters and sisters in laws as well. Altogether, I spent about RM200 for 7 pieces of nice, inexpensive, affordable clothing. Isn’t that GREAT! My headache and body pain immediately wore off after shopping at this place. I could prove that shopping is a good remedy for women who are in sickly condition – Excellent!
On our way back to the hotel, we bought some really nice looking cakes back to the hotel. Look out for a chain of cake shop called MAXIM which is located practically at most of the MTR stations in HK. I cannot deny that they sell the best cakes I have ever tasted (though I am not a cake fan) and not to mention, they were really really cheap – RM2 per piece. You can never get that kind of price back here in Malaysia in cake shops like RT Pastry, Secret Recipe and Cake Sense. Worth a try when you are in HK. I can guarantee you will love it – unless of course you are not a cake lover.
That was it for Day 4 of our trip at Hong Kong – looks pretty packed isn’t it? It was and I practically dropped dead on my hotel bed immediately upon reaching the hotel. Overall, it was a tiring, but satisfying trip for the day, though I still find it was a waste of my time watching the Symphony of Lights – Hrmp! They could have done much better than that …. Stay tuned for my Day 5 reviews of Sai Kung fishing village … Au Revoir folks.
Christmas eve this year falls on a Friday which is a working day. I thought I would be relieved for half a day’s work to celebrate Christmas eve but to my dismay, the company did not declare such thing. In the end, I caved in to my temptations to sneak out in the afternoon, which is the 2nd half of the day to a day of fun and joy at the Pavillion with hubs! Though I felt guilty to have committed such indiscipline action, but I could not care less (and still praying for forgiveness from God). I just needed a break! A break from all the trials I have gone through at the workplace! Besides, there was nothing much left to do at the office. Everyone’s practically away from their desks and enjoying the holiday season. So at 2:30pm, we happily made our way to the Pavillion for lunch and a time of fun. I have heard many great things about the Christmas decorations at the Pavillion and I was curious to have a look at them. Unfortunately, the Christmas decors at the Pavillion was beyond what I have imagined them to be – boring! I was expecting a huge tall Christmas tree that towers every floors at the Pavillion at the concourse. But no .. there was no huge tall Christmas tree. There were however, many slightly shorter Christmas trees, a makeshift Santa’s sleigh and his fierce-looking reindeers. There was man dressed in Santa Clause and to have photo taken with him costs a whopping RM10.00! Not worth the monies paid for just less than 5 minutes spent with that fella. I could use the money to pay for the parking fees at the Pavillion. There were also many stalls set up selling expensive hand creams, body lotions, perfumes from Loccitane, The Body Shop, Marks and Spencers all beautifully and attractively wrapped up in colorful papers and ribbons. There were many attractive (and expensive) types of imported chocolates sold as well. We walked around the Pavillion for a while before we decided to move towards Fahrenheit – a new shopping mall in town and the talk of the community as well, simply because a Japanese fashion house (Uniqlo) has opened its new Malaysian branch at this shopping mall. But it seems to me that, only the external portion of the mall was renovated and refurbished, if my memory serves me well. From what I can remember of the old KL plaza, the interiors were pretty much the same as before. What caught my attention was the crowd that swamped one particular shopping boutique in the mall and out for curiosity, I went and had a peak at what drew the crowd to to this store. Apparently, it wasn’t a cheap sale, but cheap items being sold! All accessories, fashion wears were sold for prices below RM30! Now that’s what I called “cheap sale”. I grabbed a handful of fashion wears – probably about 5 items for a total of RM100.00 (with sponsorship from hubs). The purchase was satisfying. I bought mainly coats and overalls which I lack at the moment and they all fit me perfectly. As we made our way out of Fahrenheit, a group of carolers performed at the concourse of the mall. Their voices were heavenly and their movements were graceful, which reminded me so much of the days of my carols experience. Boy do I missed caroling so much. Ever since I moved to KL, I hardly joined Christmas choirs or carols and I longed for an opportunity to carol once again. We headed back to the Pavillion when we realized that dark clouds began to cover Bintang Walk. Funny to know that there isn’t any covered pedestrian walkway across the road for the convenience of shoppers who would like to visit both sides of the Walk. Anyway, I began to feel tired after just 1 hour shopping spree! Boy am I getting old. We “lepak” at the Coffee Bean which was just beside the Pavillion’s concourse and sip on a nice cuppa ice blended coffee mocha and feast on a piece of delicious moist cheese cake. We sat and chat for an hour before we were asked to leave politely for the next customer. They ran out of space to cater for the next customers that walked-in. We were about to continue on shopping, so we didn’t mind letting go of our seats for the next customers. After a fulfilling tea break, we headed upstairs. As we made our way upstairs, we noticed that the crowd were concentrated on the top two floors where middle-ranged affordable fashion boutiques were located, leaving the bottom 3 floors of designer brands boutiques practically empty. I hopped into a few stores hoping to find something that I could wear for the Chinese New Year, but to my dismay, I couldn’t find what I wanted. My tummy began to growl and before I knew it, it was dinner time! Hubs promised to bring me to a place to have lobster and I couldn’t wait for that moment. So we headed downstairs all the way to the 3rd floor where the eateries were located. We went to a restaurant called “Carlos” which serves authentic Mexican cuisine. It was full but fortunately, we managed to get a place by the corner of the restaurant. For starters, we ordered a plate of stuffed potato skin with salsa sauce dipping. The potato skin was not as crunchy as I expected them to be (comparing it with the ones we had at Jake’s Place, Damansara Heights), but overall, the taste was good. For our meals, I ordered the lobster (as recommended) and a fruit punch, while hubs ordered himself grilled lamb and coke with lemon. The lobster was delicious – just a little too salty. According to hubs, they need to store fresh live lobsters in a tank of salt water to keep it alive and that explains the saltiness of the flavor in my dish. But overall, it was satisfying. I have not had lobster before in my life and it was the first ever time I had one to myself – does that sound pathetic! Oh well – we have our first trials in our lives no matter what they are. Hub’s lamp chop wasn’t so tasty as the meat were not as tender as we expected them to be. He practically had to chew on each piece for more than 5 minutes before he could swallow them. In the end, he had problems digesting those pieces and had to rely on his Enzim drink to help him with it. Overall, our Christmas eve celebration was absolutely great, thanks to hubs who planned all these out for us.