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Saturday, March 24, 2018

我與香港的故事





去香港之前,從來沒想過要去香港旅行。

對香港也似乎只有很刻板的印象:步伐快,除了很多人之外也只有高樓大廈的石屎森林
聽說過不少對香港服務差的惡評,一次又一次的打消去香港的念頭。

也許是緣分吧,亞航剛好有機票優惠,而我就抱著不去白不去的心態,就這樣陰差陽錯的去了香港一趟。

也從此以後,對香港徹底的改觀,甚至喜歡上這個石屎森林。


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【壹】

有看港劇的你,對香港的樓價應該略有所聞。

“其實我已經放棄咗買樓嘅夢想,打算租一世房” 25歲的大學生阿健淡淡的說了這麼一句。

可見在這地少人多的地方,香港人對不斷攀升的樓價是多麼的無奈。多少人為生活打拼,又有多少人成功存到買房子的首期?


怪獸大廈@太古


仰望上方,蔚藍的天空也似乎被高樓埋沒了。香港人的快樂隨著也被埋沒在磚瓦中嗎?




“筑得起 人应该接受 都有日倒下 其实没有一种安稳快乐 永远也不差”



如今的喜帖街




黑夜拉開序幕,犧牲了燦爛的星空,換來絢麗的萬家燈火,還有許多人的夢想。

太平山

“不如我地聯手賣榴蓮啦,你負責出口榴蓮,我地負責做分銷”
吃火鍋當兒William提出了這個建議,原因是在香港要買一粒榴蓮可能最貴要整1000港幣。

而肥秋則說:“我負責吃”


半夜時分正是果欄的開始

也許聽起來根本是妄想,不過沒去努力過,怎麼知道不會成功?



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【贰】


其實只要換上彩色濾鏡,生活的每個角落都充滿了色彩。
黑白或彩色,取決於自己。


@彩虹邨

雨後遇見彩虹。很多事情,並沒什麼大不了。


拍了N張照片之後,便到對面的牛池灣吃早餐。感謝肥秋盡了全力來當我的一日攝影師 (笑)。

只能說,在街市裡的小店很有人情味。除了服務周到之外,老闆還細心的介紹了在他店裡的必點美食。街坊之間的互動,好窩心。


@牛池灣


來香港的話,不妨在市場裡走走吧~除了可以看見香港的另一面,也許還有不一樣的驚喜。



@黃大仙


在黃大仙求了一支下簽後,讓我耿耿於懷了一段時間。

解簽人說:“只要你要求冇太高,就會有姻緣啦”
而我心裡嘀咕:明明就沒要求高,難道隨便挑個阿貓阿狗嗎?

@添好運(深水埗)
為了安撫心情而怒吃(哈哈)



@南山邨


路經美荷樓生活館,南山邨,爬上了嘉頓山。靠自己的力氣爬到山頂,美麗的街景映入眼簾,喘著氣,再辛苦也是值得的。

@嘉頓山

下山後,趁日落之前來到海港城。吹著海風,看著夕陽徐徐消失於地平線。
“好耐唔睇過甘靚嘅日落啦”,香港警察巫巫很感慨的說。


@海港城


沒錯。除了被污染的天空之外,生活繁忙的我們,又有多少個人偶爾停下腳步,欣賞這美景?


晚餐@九記牛腩

@維多利亞港



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【叁】


這一天一早在冰室星巴克喝了一杯美式咖啡和咖啡蛋撻後,便獨自上大嶼山去了。

昂坪纜車

天壇大佛

“人總需要勇敢生存,我還是重新許願,例如學會承受失戀”
大佛前許下了心願,希望前一天求的簽不會成真。


@大澳漁村



“香港有咩好?好在有你啊~” 



這是在數年前的一個香港綜藝節目《我愛香港》裡常聽到的一句話,主要是要讚揚一些熱與助人的香港市民。在這趟香港之旅,我深深體會了香港人的熱心。

無論是那個在我迷失方向是給我指引的服飾店老闆娘,或是一起等巴士跟我分享行山心得的夫婦。

很多時候讓人留念一個地方,不是因為那個地方,而是因為那裡的人。

一個人走上虎山,突然覺得一點也不孤獨。

@虎山,大澳




入夜,跟大學生阿健逛了一下廟街,在大排檔吃了晚餐。


“唔該嚟一個沙拉骨,金銀蛋炒菠菜同埋兩個靓仔
我心想: 難到我看起來這麼dry需要兩個靚仔嗎?




哦,原來香港人所謂的靚仔是白飯的意思😂 (長知識了)


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【肆】


榕樹灣村@南丫島

3月14日 白色情人節這天一個人來到南丫島
下了一整天的綿綿細雨,灰濛濛的天空,溼答答的路令人突然從中悲來。




一些假設性的問題不停在腦海裡翻轉,一時之間還幾乎打翻了一直以來堅持的信念。

聽著海浪聲,一時分不清當時的心情。



走進一間不起眼的咖啡館,坐在最靠近窗的位置,喝著熱卡不奇諾,把當下的心情寫在明信片告訴他。



一個人的時光,其實不太差~



坐船回到中環四號碼頭,雨還一直下。為了買珍妮曲奇而幾乎在中環迷路。回到銅鑼灣吃了人生中最好吃的燒臘飯,只能到附近的時代廣場逛逛。



真的討厭雨天。



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【伍】


每次隨著旅程接近尾聲而變得茫然。霎時間不知要去哪,要怎麼善用僅剩的時間。

@石板街,中環
隨著年紀增長,難免有一時三刻懷疑自己所做的一切,不確定接下來的動向。
你也不是一樣嗎?
我總會說:follow your heart as it knows the way。




為了找蘭芳園,幾乎走完整個中環(事實再次證明中環真的很像迷宮)。因為遲了10分鐘,老闆說早餐時間過了,就這樣與菠蘿包擦肩而過。(恨)

I'll be back!


現實中也是那樣不是嗎?
是你的就是你的,不是你的,強求也於事無補。
就算是你的,時間一旦不對,最後依然不是你的。



@PMQ 元創坊

PMQ (Police Married Quarters) 元創坊是香港一個新的打卡地方。前身是已婚警員的宿舍,而現在已被改成很多間賣有藝術作品的小店。很適合走走看看和拍拍照,就這麼多(因為很多東西買不下手)。

“唔通用幾舊水買個碗咩”
老友,你講得冇錯!

扮下文青也不錯

中午時分,來到中環巴士總站準備出發至赤柱。嘗試跟一位看似很冷酷的伯伯確認巴士編號,很出乎意料的,他很熱心的跟我解釋了不同巴士的區別。

小小的幫助,大大的感動,就是這種感覺吧?


@天后廟,赤柱

來到赤柱彷彿來到不一樣的的國家。下車後從赤柱廣場慢慢沿著海岸走向赤柱市集,看著反映在海面上波蕩的陽光,心裡很平靜。




看著海上的日落,吃個晚餐,這種生活不是我一直很嚮往的嗎?






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【陸】




來到最後一天,在翠華吃過菠蘿油和奶茶後,草草的收拾了行李,便向機場出發。路經青馬大橋,心情突然很沉重。短短的幾天,徹底地改變了我對香港的想法。


重新認識這個國家,認識為夢想拼搏的香港人。

開始喜歡這個國家,喜歡這裡的人。



下次見喇,我的香港朋友~






- The End -


Saturday, January 13, 2018

Essential Tips to Travel in Hanoi & Ha Long Bay

Can't believe we are now in year 2018.  Time flies.  Everything happened in 2017  was still clearly appearing in my mind.  It had been a great year for me, I shall name it as 'Year of Revive'?  There were many changes had been made to life compared to the previous year.  I'm truly grateful to own what I have and for whom I'm being now.

'Job fills your pocket, adventure fills your soul'




This is my favorite quote at the moment and I am doing currently - earn money and travel.  Ageing is a scary life process and it is scarier if at the end of your life, you realize that you haven't done much in your life.  Different individuals might have different goals in life - family, prosperity, social class and etc.  And well, I choose to wander around the world. 

Hanoi is one of my bucket list which I had ticked off end of 2017.  It wasn't the best trip though, I have a feeling that I will visit this place again one day in the future.  Crossing through the busy streets in old quarters, getting lost in the midst of the crowd, I'm falling in love with this city.

Things to know about Hanoi, Vietnam:

  • Vietnam was conquered by French from 1873 to 1945, it is easy to find some French-style buildings in Vietnam nowadays.
  • Hanoi was declared as the capital of North Vietnam in 1946 and it became the capital of reunified Vietnam in 1976.
  • Weather: Unlike Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi experiences four seasons (spring, summer, autumn and winter) in a year because of sitting at the northern part of Vietnam.  The best time to visit is during dry seasons (October to April).
  • Currency: Most trades are carried out in Vietnamese Dong (VND) and some places e.g. hotels or travel agencies do accept USD.  1 USD = approx 20,000VND
  • Visa and passport: No visa needed for Malaysian passport holder.
  • Language: Vietnamese and simple English are commonly use in Hanoi

FLIGHT
The only airport in Hanoi is Noi Bai International Airport, situated in Soc Son District, about 15km from Old quarters.  There are many flights available from KL to Hanoi and I bought my return flight tickets from Airasia during free seat promotion (not free though) at around RM450 without check-in baggage.  It took us about 3 hours from KL to Hanoi.

TRANSPORT
There are buses and taxi available in Hanoi but I found Uber/ Grab are more convenient because you can reach your destination safely even if you can't speak Vietnamese and more standard rate is charged.  Thus, throughout the 5 days in Hanoi, we used mostly Uber and walking with the help of google map.  

ACCOMODATION
We stayed at Hanoi 3B hotel, located at the Old quarters of Hanoi.  It is good to stay in old quarters because most of the tourist spots are there.  We stayed in a triplet room, which cost us around RM50 per person per night.



What we like: strategy location, cleanliness well maintained, awesome breakfast with many choices of food
What we dislike: electric tripped several times in a day, we were charged overprice by the front desk for a day tour (read further to find out)


10 THINGS TO DO IN HANOI

1. Wander around the busy streets in old quarters
Trust me, crossing roads in Hanoi can be so difficult.  You will end up with standing by roadside for hours if you're afraid to step out.  Countless motorcycles passing by and hearing car horns from different direction, it is just another beautiful image of Hanoi city.  But don't worry, you will get used to it very soon.



Another interesting fact about the streets in old quarters is, the streets are named for the products.  Therefore, you will be able to find out all the shops are selling the same product in the same street!




2. Sign up a free walking tour with the local university students
There are a few non-profit organizations are offering free walking tour in Hanoi.  These organizations are established by a group of enthusiastic university students (major in tourism), who are eager to introduce the Vietnamese history and culture to foreigners.  The tours may take a few hours up to one full day, depends on the type of tour you're taking.

The pretty guide and us





3. Watch a water puppet show
Traditionally water puppet show was just an entertainment for the locals.  It became famous probably because of unique ways of performing accompanied by traditional music.  The show is conducted in Vietnamese language, so it is advisable to read up the story line before entering the theater to have a better understanding!


Location: Thang Long Water Puppet Theater
Price: 100,000VND (~RM18)





4. Walking around the Hoan Kiem Lake during weekend

For your information, the main streets around Hoan Kiem lake are closed to traffic during weekend.  Therefore, you can enjoy walking easily without being harassed by the aggressive drivers in Hanoi.  Other than tourists, you will be able to see many locals are jogging or sitting by the lakeside at their leisure time too.
Recommendation: spend time here from evening to night so you will be able to see the view of the lake at day and night time!





5. Take a sip of the Vietnamese coffee (especially egg coffee)
Vietnamese coffee is characterized by its sweet and rich taste which is made of coarse ground dark roast coffee with a drip filter.  It might be too sweet for certain people because of the sweet condensed milk.  Comparatively, I would prefer egg coffee (cà phê trứng) in Hanoi.  It has a thick layer of egg foam on the coffee, taste smoothly as the coffee and egg foam flow down your throat slowly.

Location: Giang cafe (39 Nguyễn Hữu Huân, Hàng Bạc, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam)
► Please note this cafe is a hidden cafe in a small lane, try your best to find it out!
Price: 25,000VND (~RM5)




6. Try the Vietnamese cuisines

Say frankly, trying the local food is the best way to understand their cultures. There are few must-try foods in Hanoi: Bun cha, pho, Banh Mi and Nem ran. Generally, the Vietnamese foods are prepared in healthy ways, i.e. less oily and with a lot fresh vegetables. I think that is the main reason to keep almost all Vietnamese slim!


Banh Mi 

Bun Cha

Pho @ PHO 10, Hanoi (35,000VND)





7. Visit Temple of Literature
Founded in 1070, was the site of Vietnam's first university and now it becomes the place to pray for good grades! (I should have came when I was a student LOL) Coincidentally, it was the period of university graduation, so there were many university students came for graduation photography with robes and traditional clothes.
Entrance fee: 30,000VND (~RM6)








8. Listen to the church bell sound at St Joseph Cathedral
The church was built by the French colonial government in late 19th-century. It is the oldest church in Hanoi. Entrance via main gate is only permitted during Mass. We just spent our time outside and get amazed by the Neo-gothic style architectures.






9. Visit Ha Long Bay 
Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO world heritage site, known for the picturesque scenery formed by numerous limestone island and the emerald water. The best way to explore this site is by taking a 2 days 1 night cruise. This region is famous for sea kayaking, cave exploring and hiking.


There are so many cruises available and varies in price, facilities, food, activities etc. We had chosen Rosa Cruise after reading so many good reviews about it. There were 16 of us in the trip to Ha Long Bay.


Our room

What we like: smooth bus transfer from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay (4 hours bus ride), the ship is in good condition, interesting activities were carried out with enough rest time in between.
What we dislike: food served were below expectation
Price per person: about 100USD booked via booking.com + 10USD for bus transfer

Dropped by a handicraft workshop by the handicapped 

Visit to pearl farm at Ha Long Bay

The amazing cave

This is the breathtaking view I had been waiting for

DIY Vietnamese spring roll before checking out


MUST READ!!!
☢ All beverages on the cruise (except mineral water provided in the room and on the transfer bus, 2x500ml) are charged separately! Kindly ask before allowing anyone to pour any drinks into your glass, otherwise you might get a heart attack when you look at the bill upon checking out 😓





10. Sign up a day trip to Ninh Binh province - Trang An and Bai Dinh trip

Since we had one day extra to spend with, we decided to sign up a day trip to Ninh Binh province which is around 2 hours drive from Hanoi Old Quarters. Ninh Binh is known for the Bai Dinh pagodas and beautiful scenery in Trang An. The trip was signed up with our hotel front desk.

Tentatively, the trip should include a visit to Bai Dinh pagoda, buffet lunch, bamboo boat ride at Trang An river and cycling. Unfortunately, luck was not on our side. It started to drizzle upon picking up at hotel and the rain was getting heavier as we were getting nearer. We ended up walking in pagoda with bare feet because of heavy rain. The trip was terminated half way after the so called buffet lunch (poor food quality with a lot of flies) because the road to Trang An was flooded!


Fortunately, we could get back some refund but meanwhile we got to know that we were charged so much higher than the other guests who signed up for the same trip from different travel agencies!
Now, story time....
The front desk lady and the representative from the travel company were trying to explain that the trip we had was a premium trip. The other guests originally were signing up for a standard trip with their agents but then the standard trip were fully booked. Thus, their agents have to book premium trip for those guests and paid on behalf of them. Still, we felt cheated and luckily after so much arguing, the representative from travel company agreed to return us back the money. 😠

Lesson learned: MUST compare the price from different agencies before signing up any trip and negotiate as much as you can!

Inside Bai Dinh pagoda

Best travel ootd LOL

Anyway, despite of the bad weather, it was still a good trip for me.  If I were given another chance to visit Hanoi, I will visit the railway street in Hanoi and take a short trip Sapa! 

“In fiction: we find the predictable boring. In real life: we find the unpredictable terrifying.”
It is unavoidable to have something unpredictable in journey, what we can do is just accept and learn to dance in the rain!

Here I end this post with a short clip I did, enjoy!





Till then, see you next time!