Where to go for Weekend Travel? [Weekend Traveller series: Part 2]

where to go for a weekend trip

Welcome to part 2 of the Weekend Traveller series, a fortnightly segment where I share tips and strategies for travelling during the weekend so you can travel more without using your work leave.

how to choose weekend trip destination
How to choose your weekend trip destination.

Last week, I talked about the pros and cons of weekend travelling. Today, we’ll be looking at how to choose a destination for your weekend travel so you save on travel time and cost.

Back when I still had a job during which I took quite a lot of weekend travel, the destinations that I chose were based on the challenges that I gave myself and the availability of cheap air tickets from AirAsia (Bangkok, Jakarta and Kuching are a few examples).

Unless you have similar self-imposed travel challenges, you’ll most likely choose the destination based on places you actually want to visit. (I’ll admit that there are some Malaysian states which I’d rather not go at all.)

Main factor for choosing a weekend travel destination

To choose a weekend travel destination, you must keep in mind the how much time you will be able to spend there which really means the time of arrival and departure. To enjoy a place, I’d say you need a minimum of 24 hours of visiting time.

So when you are making travel plans, you have to see that the transportation timing is right. It’s better to travel 13 hours on a night bus on Friday and reach on a Saturday morning than it is to take a 1-hour plane ride that reaches the destination at 4pm on a Saturday.

What you can do now is list down a few locations that you want to go for a weekend trip. Next you should do your research on what transportation there are for you to get there. (Coincidentally, transportation choices is our next discussion topic.)

Good weekend travel destinations from Singapore

Since I was based in Singapore when I started my travelling craze, I’ll list down a few places you can consider visiting for your weekend travel:

  • Bangkok, Thailand
  • Every capital city on the peninsula of Malaysia (That’s 11 of them!)
  • Kuching, Malaysia
  • Jakarta, Indonesia

Sadly, my hometown Kota Kinabalu does not make a good weekend travel destination from Singapore because of the bad AirAsia flight timing. Boo hoo.

Check out the rest of the series here:

Part 1: Pros & cons of weekend travel
Part 2: Where to go for Weekend Travel?
Part 3: Choosing transportation for weekend travel
Part 4: Travel planning for weekend trips
Part 5: Make your own travel guide for a weekend trip
Part 6: How to pack for a weekend trip
Part 7: How to use Foursquare to plan a day’s travel
Part 8: Why a weekend trip is the best time to start solo travelling
Part 9: I’m going to Melaka for a weekend trip

Can you think of places you can go for weekend trips? Share them in the comments below.

Final day in Hong Kong=Eat all the food! [YQrtw Day 130 Aug 18]

polo bun from hong kong

Location: Hong Kong

[I am now blogging at Hong Kong International Airport. I’ve managed to misplace my camera (as well as break my glasses). I dislike posts with no photos so I’ll be recycling some of my Twitter photos of the day. That also means there’s only photo of food. Boo.]

Like yesterday, I woke up at an ungodly hour. However, I’ve made improvements with my jetlag and today wake-up time was 4am instead of 2am.

After posting my posts and a bit of Facebook games, I packed my suitcase for the final time. Since I only bought 20kg with AirAsia this time, I had to strategize my packing.

I packed most of the liquids into my suitcase and other lighter things such as clothes into my backpack. If I discover that the suitcase is overweight, Ill transfer some of the things to my backpack. If the suitcase is underweight, I’ll toss my backpack into my check in quota.

After everything was ready, I head out for breakfast. There wasn’t much choice around before 8am so I went back to the porridge place and got their signature dish as well as a “spring roll”. That meal was actually for 1.5 persons but I didn’t have dinner last night so let’s all forgive me for being a glutton.

Ocean Empire signature porridge and spring roll

After breakfast, I walked around the area, thinking up places to visit. Sadly, the shops weren’t open so I did the next best thing: Eat more food.

Next on my list was the egg tart from the cafe in Excelsior hotel. I had them on the first day and the memories of the flaky pastry is still in my mind. Plus, they have a coffee and egg tarts set. I’ve not had coffee for three days.

Egg tart and coffee set

After coffee and desserts, I needed to pass time before check out time. As usual, I opt for the most comfortable way of sightseeing–public transportation! I took the tram from Causeway Bay to one of the terminals and back to the same place.

While I was on the tram, my sister helped research things I could eat nearby. One of her finds were a “bolo bun” place which I noted on Foursquare.

I got back to the hostel and checked out. Since the reception area was in another building, I had to drag all my things there. The landlady allowed me to leave my things before my bus to the airport.

Now that checkout is done, it’s time for more food. My stomach couldn’t handle a full meal so I head to the “bolo bun” place with the aid of Foursquare.

Despite the name “bolo”, meaning pineapple in Cantonese, the bun does not contain any pineapple. It’s supposedly in the shape of a pineapple, thus the name.

Bolo bun in Hong Kong

After the meal, I still have about 2.5 hours to waste. I decided to take the tram to Happy Valley where the horse race tracks are. Coincidentally, this is where a few foot massage shops are (according to Foursquare, again).

I found the recommended foot massage place and sat for 50 minute of good-painful massage. The masseuse kneaded my foot like it was dough. While slapping my lower leg, he even commented that it was very stiff. Four months of travelling does bring stiff legs.

After the massage, it was about time for me to head back to the hostel and to the airport. Before I went to get my luggage, I checked out a few skincare shops (Watson and Sasa) to find something my sister requested.

There wasn’t any of what she wanted but I managed to buy something I want. I was thinking that I was losing interest in skincare since I’ve been doing the very basic while travelling. Thankfully I still have the urge to buy things. Long live consumerism!

To the airport

Near the hostel, there’s a bus stop where the direct bus to the airport stops. After bidding the landlady farewell, I dragged all my things and waited.

The bus arrived and there weren’t a lot of people. However, more people boarded at subsequent stops and the luggage storage place was crammed full of luggage.

The bus passed the sides of central Hong Kong, went into the underground tunnel and then the bridge to Lantau Island where the airport is. From the bus, I saw shops, mountains, cable cars and the road sign to Disney Land.

Pretty soon, we reached the airport. I dragged my stuff with me to Terminal 1 for a bit of shopping. I did get one bag which will replace my current slingbag for my future travels (in September!). It was a lot pricier than I expected but I really need one as the current is breaking at the seams.

Next was to Terminal 2 where my check in counter was. There was a free-to-use weigh so I checked to see if my bags were under 20kg. The total weight wasn’t so I had to do a bit more shifting before I got the weight undercontrol.

I checked in and went to the bathroom. I managed to break my glasses. I also discovered that I couldn’t find my camera after I got into the boarding area. Thank goodness all these happened on the last day!

A break for now

After today’s post, I’m taking a 2-week break from blogging to recharge and to find a stable internet connection (my parents cancelled the home phone line so no broadband for us).

If you miss my posts (aww shucks), please do go back and read the old posts.

Museum day in Hong Kong and it was great! [YQrtw Day 129 Aug 17]

dragon at hk museum

Location: Hong Kong

As I went to bed the night before at 6pm, I woke up at 2am.

Since almost everything is closed at that time and I don’t want to walk around the streets in the middle of the night and meet those scary gangsters featured in 60% of Hong Kong movies, I did a bit of blog updating and Facebook game playing.

Slightly before 7am, I decided it was time to head out for breakfast. I found out that there’s a porridge place nearby that serves food at 7am. Yum yum.

It was quite easy finding the place with a combination of Foursquare and Google Maps. However, it was 5 minutes before 7am when I reached the doors so I didn’t dare enter.

Instead, I walked around for two blocks before deciding that I really need something to eat.

I had porridge with a cup of hot soy milk. The porridge was really good as it was silky smooth and not chunky.

[See this video http://instagram.com/p/dF92nQD5gN/]

After breakfast, I decided to see more of Hong Kong. What better time to sightsee that early in the morning where you don’t have crowds of people to deal with?

I took the tram to one of the Hong Kong MTR station exit and let Foursquare and Google Maps do my travel planning. According to the apps, I was near the famous Central Mid-Level Escalators.

The apps were right but it was before 10am so all the escalators were going down. One of the downward escalator was also being fixed so I decided not to head to the top to take them all the way down.

Riding one of the Central Mid-Level escalators
Riding one of the Central Mid-Level escalators

A trip to Tsim Sha Tsui

Once the escalator was off the To-Do List, I made my way to the land opposite Hong Kong Island–the New Territories. This is where the famous Avenue of Stars and most museums are.

View of Victoria Harbor from Avenue of Stars
View of Victoria Harbor from Avenue of Stars

It was really cloudy and I could see heavy clouds sitting on top of Hong Kong Island, waiting to let out a flood of rain. I imagine that it’ll be a lot prettier if it was sunny or even at night when all the lights are on. (I love city lights.)

Visiting the Hong Kong Museum of Art

Looking across the narrow block of water and smelling ocean air got a bit boring so I turned my back and headed to the Hong Kong Museum of Art. The museum wasn’t open yet at that time so I waited a long while before I could get in.

I’m usually less of a fan of art museums because I find that having just paintings is kind of boring. I’ve seen enough painting during this trip and I didn’t think I would like those at the HK Museum of Art that much.

But I was surprised by how much I liked the collection there. Maybe it’s because it has a lot of Chinese art which I didn’t get to see while travelling.

Chickens at the Hong Kong Museum of Art
Chickens at the Hong Kong Museum of Art

After 2 hours at the museum, it was time to feed my tummy. Luckily there was one of the branches of a famous ramen place nearby. I heard that there is usually a long queue at the Butao stores but there was only 5 other people in front of me.

Since I was eating alone, they found me a seat really fast. I accidentally ordered an extra serving of charsiew. The soup was very good but I ordered the wrong type of noodles and it felt like I was eating wanton noodles instead of ramen noodles.

Butao ramen in Hong Kong
Butao ramen in Hong Kong

Visit to the Hong Kong History Museum

After lunch, I was feeling the effects of waking up at 2am. I was tempted to go back to my hostel but I ploughed on. Next on the To-Do List was the Hong Kong History Museum.

The Hong Kong History Museum was great. The timeline starts waaaay back when there doesn’t seem to be any living organisms on earth to the time when Hong Kong is reunited with China.

Touch this rock
Touch this rock

The prehistoric parts were a bit dull but I love the second floor that talks about the different cultures in Hong Kong. They actually built houses inside the museum!

Dragons!
Dragons!

There were also audio visual halls where they show videos. I like that part because I can sit down and rest.

After visiting the permanent exhibition, I was very drained and wished to sleep. But I still have tickets to the temporary exhibition featuring clothes from the Qing royal family.

Emperor's new clothes
Emperor’s new clothes

While looking at the oversized clothes, I can’t help thinking how amazing it is that we’re able to see the clothes so near. Back in ancient China, a commoner might not even be able to see it from 1km away.

After a quick stroll through the exhibition, I decided to go back to the hostel. I took a bus that went through the undersea tunnel and saw lots of concrete walls.

Back in my hostel, I set my alarm for 8pm, thinking that I should check out Hong Kong at night. Unfortunately, when the alarm rang, I was still very sleepy and went back to bed.

Caturday: Cat in the museum

museum cat

[This post isn’t exactly up on a Caturday but my brain is still jetlagged in a Caturday time zone. Let’s all pretend it’s still Caturday. Meow!]

Cat from Hong Kong Museum of Art

One of the exhibitions at the Hong Kong Museum of Art was about sunken treasures from ancient Chinese ships.

Among the collection was this marble cat. It’s very catlike but the color’s a bit off. It looks like it has skin disease.

I didn’t realize that we couldn’t take photos so that’s why we see it on Caturday. It might also be the oldest cat in the Caturday series.

Early morning movie and jetlag in Hong Kong [YQrtw Day 128 Aug 16]

kick ass 2

Location: Hong Kong

I learned that there are cheap, early morning movie tickets in Hong Kong. For 9am shows, the tickets are about HK$50 (S$9).

The one show that I really really want to watch here is Kick Ass 2 because I’m sure they’ll never bring it to Malaysia and even if they do, they will be a lot of censoring going on.

Even though I had to check out at 12 noon, I decided that I could still watch the movie and be back in time for check out.

The cinema is just around the corner for my hostel so I reached there about 20 minutes before the show started. I got my tickets and had to wait a while before my movie hall was open.

Kick Ass 2 ticket
Kick Ass 2 ticket

There were about 12 people watching the show. I guess it’s because it’s too early and it’s a weekday so everyone’s at work. I wonder if the cinemas make enough money from early screenings.

There were also a few senior citizens around. I know that morning shows are HK$20 (S$3.30) for them but I wasn’t sure this movie is for them. [Kick-Ass 2: Extended NSFW Trailer]

The show was great! Lots of action scenes and weepy scenes but too little topless scenes of Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Oh, Jim Carrey is in it as well so that’s an extra 50 points!

Moving to a new hostel

After the movie, I went to find where my new hostel was at. I found the check in counter but no one was there so I head back to the old hostel to pack up my things.

There still wasn’t anyone at the hostel when I got there so I called the phone number listed on the counter. A lady answered with, “Wai. Wai. Wai.” I tried shouting but she couldn’t hear me.

Another girl came in. As my room wasn’t ready, she told me to hang around outside until 12 noon for check in.

I headed to a Japanese restaurant for lunch. It’s been such a long time since I’ve had good Japanese food so I savoured every bite. The sashimi slices felt a bit too thick, though.

I love Japanese food
I love Japanese food

After lunch, I strolled in Eslite Bookstore, a Taiwanese chain of bookstores with the most gorgeous layout and very good collection of books. The books there are not wrapped in plastic but are free for everyone to read.

Then it was back to the hostel for me. There were three people waiting for check in so I waited a bit longer. The lady at the reception had a quick lunch of soup and rice before continuing with my reservation.

She told me that things have been really busy these days with guests coming from Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. I found it fascinating that these foreign guests were able to find the room here because it’s rather hidden on the internet.

After paying my rent of HK$320 (S$54) a night, she brought me to a building opposite where my room was. It seems to me that guesthouses in Hong Kong have rooms all over the place and I find that pretty strange.

Single room with bathroom at Sun Kong Hostel
Single room with bathroom at Sun Kong Hostel

My new room is very nice (at least better than the hell hole ex-hostel I was at which smelled like backpackers who do not shower enough). My shower and toilet is at the end of my room. I found it rather strange showering right in front of the toilet bowl but it’s a small price to pay.

I napped a little and head out to do more sight seeing.

Awesome Hong Kong dessert

Based on a Foursquare recommendation, I went to Yee Shun Milk Company which specializes in milk-related desserts.

Steamed milk pudding from Yee Shun Milk Company
Steamed milk pudding from Yee Shun Milk Company

There was a small milk “skin” on top of my pudding. The pudding was so rich and smooth I immediately decided that I will have one of these each day before I leave.

Since the eatery was rather small, service was curt. As soon as I cleared my bowl–and taken out my phone to take a photo of the spoon–a waiter took my bowl away. So I paid my bill and left.

Defeated by jet lag

Even though it was summer, the air was warm and humid because of the typhoon. I was planning to go on the Central-Mid-Level Escalators but the tram to the west never came.

By that time, I was sweaty, hot and sleepy so I zombie-walked back to the hostel. After a shower, I hit the sack at about 5:30pm.

See Hong Kong on a tram [YQrtw Day 127 Aug 15]

tramming in hong kong

Location: Hong Kong

[I was sleepy with jetlag on both the nights of August 15 and 16 so I wasn’t able to update the day’s blog post before midnight. Maybe nobody noticed… Anyway, here it is!]

I wanna hold your haaaaand
I wanna hold your haaaaand

I was fully awake at 7am even though I drifted to sleep well past midnight. It seems like it will take a lot more days before my jetlag goes away and for me to be familiar with GMT+8.

I took the chance to go to the common room to surf the internet. Wi-Fi on the fourth floor was non-existent, despite the sign outside giving the password for Wi-Fi.

The hostel that I was staying is a rather strange place. For one thing, they advertised themselves as at least 5 different hostels on booking sites. When the tourists get there, they are directed to the reception area on the third floor and then given a room or bed on another floor or at an entirely different building.

I was supposed to move out today because the bed in the 3-person room was booked. I asked the guy at the reception (who I think is the boss) about check out time and when I could move in. He was rather rude and replied me as if I’m trying to cheat him of a room even though I’ve made the booking online.

When he gave me back my change, I noticed that he gave me HK$100 less so I thought that he kept the HK$100 as the key deposit. Then I asked if I could have yesterday’s deposit back, he replied, “Of course not.”

So I pointed out that there as HK$100 less in the change, he said, “Oh.” and gave me a HK$100 note. No apology! He then asked one of the girls working there to bring me to my room.

The both of us had an awkward conversation about my travels as she spoke Mandarin with a Cantonese accent. I don’t know if in cases like these, I should step in and speak with my bad Cantonese or let her continue in a dialect she’s not very familiar with. In the end, I stuck with Mandarin.

My new room was any much better. It had a bed, a small table and enough space for my luggage to stand up straight. If I need anything from the luggage, I have to toss it up onto the bed.

Gundam character in front of Time Square
Gundam character in front of Time Square

Sightseeing in Hong Kong

After changing my accommodation, it was time to see Hong Kong. Thankfully typhoon day was over so the shops are open and the public buses are running.

I was excited to se e a lot of people on the streets. First stop on my to-see list was actually one of the Apple Stores. Using Google Maps in offline mode, I finally saw the place. It wasn’t as exciting as I thought it would be.

Apple Store in Causeway Bay
Apple Store in Causeway Bay

Views of Hong Kong from the tram

Since the sky was still pretty gray, I decided to take the tram to see Hong Kong. Unlike the trams in San Francisco, the trams in Hong Kong are double decker trams. The second level has open windows so it’s very breezy and is a great place to sightsee.

At HK$2.30 per ride, this is probably the cheapest way to get around, apart from walking.

Upper level of a double decker tram in Hong Kong
Upper level of a double decker tram in Hong Kong
Looking at Hong Kong from above
Looking at Hong Kong from above
Entering dried seafood street. This guy must be hungry.
Entering dried seafood street. This guy must be hungry.
End of the line for this tram in Hong Kong
End of the line for this tram in Hong Kong

I have 3G, finally!!!

After the tram ended at Kennedy Town, I gathered my courage and went into a convenience store to buy a local SIM card. I am never sure if I should speak Cantonese or Mandarin and my Cantonese is so bad that I am embarrased to say it out loud.

It turns out, they did have the SIM card for tourist that I was looking for. For HK$69 (SG$11.50), I get 5 days of 3G internet and HK$25 credit for calls and SMS.

I plugged the SIM card into my phone and was delirious with joy when the 3G sign came on. For the past 2 months, I was in South and Central America where the 3G spectrum does not fit my phone. I’ve forgotten how useful it is to have constant internet.

I felt like I have grown a third eye that allowed me to see where I am, plan my journey and constantly report my every move to everyone on the internet. [Find me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.]

With 3G, I figured out where exactly I was and where the nearest cinema was. I made my way to IFC Mall but discovered that the movie ticket was HK$90. The miserly part of me refused to pay that much money for a movie so I looked for lunch.

Foursquare told me that there is a Tim Ho Wan branch at Hong Kong station so I went off to find the famous dimsum place. The directions were a bit confusing but I made it.

It was slightly before lunch time but there was already an unorderly queue. You pick up an order form where the lady scribbles a number. You order your food and wait for your number.

I ordered enough food for 1.5 people because I was too embarrassed to order only two dishes.

A feast for 1? Dimsum at Tim Ho Wan Hong Kong station branch.
A feast for 1? Dimsum at Tim Ho Wan Hong Kong station branch.

After the feast, I decided to check out a second hand bookstore, Book Attic. I walked from IFC Mall to the bookstore and passed by lanes that I didn’t know existed in Hong Kong (aka I’ve not seen in Hong Kong shows).

These were medium-sized stone paths on a sloppy hill. The sides of the slopes are little stalls selling odd things. One stall was selling electrical plus, another selling colorful Chinese threads and one selling tacky for-tourist souvenirs.

At the bookstore, I browsed for a long time and finally bought one book. For a used book, HK$60 (SG$10) is kind of expensive.

While at the bookstore, I found a note left by a high school friend who’s now working in Hong Kong on my Instagram account. We arranged to meet for dinner so I had about 4-5 hours before the meet up.

I decided to take the tram again. This time to the eastern end of the tram tracks. The journey was long but it was very comfortable sitting on the upper level.

The end of the line of Shau Kei Wan is the residential area. I walked around taking a few photos before I got on another tram to the hostel.

Shau Kei Wan residential area
Shau Kei Wan residential area

Back at the hostel, I napped. I wasn’t ready to get up when my alarm rang 30 minutes before the meeting time. Thankfully, my classmate sent a message saying that he would be delayed for one hour. That means more napping for me!

After the quick nap, it was finally time to get out and face the world. My classmate, Lane* (not his real name), brought me to an “OK Hong Kong restaurant” as there were any spectacular ones around. The food was still good. I ate wanton noodles and beef horfun then some desserts at another place.

Lane gave many food recommendations which I saved into my Foursquare app so I wouldn’t be hungry for good food.

After dinner, I was sleepy again and went back to the hostel where I fell asleep.

#FoodFriday Make Argentinian hot chocolate ‘Submarino’ in 4 easy steps

how to make a submarino

Welcome to YQtravelling’s FoodFriday. The day of the week when I show off some of the lovely eats I had while travelling.

Today we’re making our own hot chocolate, Argentinian style.

I was introduced to the submarino–a winter Argentinian drink–in my Spanish class in Buenos Aires. Out teacher asked our class of 3 if we knew what a submarino was.

Being the smart ass (although truthfully more ass than smart) that I am, I said that it was a sandwich, thinking that it was a quirky nickname for Subway.

Then the teacher explained that it was a drink. In a tall glass of hot milk, a bar of chocolate is submerged, giving it its name “submarino” (submarine).

One day, I tried the drink at a Buenos Aires cafe. The waitress came with a glass of milk and TWO bars of chocolate. The chocolate’s label indicated that it was for submarinos. However, I took a nibble and discovered that it tasted the same as regular dark chocolate.

submarino

Instead of flying to Buenos Aires during winter to try the submarino, I will share my recipe for making a submarino in 4 simple steps.

Step 1: Prepare the ingredients

Ingredients for submarino

For this recipe, you will need:

  • Milk
  • A bar of chocolate, preferably dark
  • Microwave-friendly heat-resistant mug
  • A spoon

Step 2: Heat the milk

Prepare one cup of milk

Pour out your milk into your mug. Put the mug of milk into the microwave and heat it up in 20-30 seconds intervals, test the temperature of the milk and you are ready when the the milk is steaming hot.

Microwave the milk so it's hot

Step 3: Submerge your chocolate and stir

Drop a row of chocolate

Break off a row of chocolate and drown it in milk. Stir vigorously with your spoon.

Once most of the chocolate has turned to liquid, you are ready to…

Step 4: Serve

A mildly successful submarino

Drink the whole mug in a go.

Oh, you might need to bathroom afterwards because even people who are not usually lactose intolerant will have some of its symptoms when finishing a large glass of milk. (Or maybe it’s just me.)

Have you tried the recipe? How do you like it?

A storm is coming to Hong Kong [YQrtw Day 126 Aug 14]

Dreadful typhoon day in Hong Kong

Location: Hong Kong

According to the directions by the hostel, I could take a bus from the airport to the hostel for HK$40. Unfortunately, due to the typhoon, no buses on my route was going.

Dude, where's my bus?
Dude, where’s my bus?

I didn’t know about the no-bus thing and was waiting at the bus stop. Then a taxi man told me about the situation and proposed driving me to Hong Kong Island for about HK$200. I told him that I was on a budget and would prefer taking the train instead.

The Airport Express into Hong Kong island was HK$100. I paid and extra HK$5 to get to Causeway Bay where my hostel is.

There was eerily few people out in the streets when I got there at about 8:30am.

Only people out were tourists
Only people out were tourists

Checking in a rather dodgy hostel

At check-in, I was told to wait a while for the room to be prepared. I waited a long while and had to ask again for my bed before I was shown to my room.

My hostel is fortunately not in the Chungking Mansion area. Still, it wasn’t a proper hostel area. Several units in the residential building were turned into tiny rooms/storage space packed to the brim with beds.

When the hostel person and I got into my room, one of the girls on the top bunk woke up and screamed. She only saw the man and didn’t see me. I would scream too when a strange Chinese man comes into my room while I was sleeping.

After a shower, I head out into the streets for some food and to see what happens on Typhoon Day.

Typhoon day in Hong Kong

What is a hoisted typhoon?
What is a hoisted typhoon?

Well, nothing much happens on Typhoon Day. Only about 2 percent of shops were open. I ended up eating egg tarts for breakfast at a posh hotel. The Portugese/Macanese egg tarts were so good.

Awesome egg tarts with good Italian coffee
Awesome egg tarts with good Italian coffee

Lunch was a very expensive takeaway from the supermarket. HK$290 for rice, a bit of chicken, roasted meat and one half of a salted egg.

I explored the empty streets with an umbrella before I got the takeaway and went back to the hostel.

The wind was pretty strong and the rain was heavy. Almost everyone on the streets were tourists, specifically Mainland Chinese tourists. I think we’re the only fools going out into the typhoon.

Typhoon day in Hong Kong
Typhoon day in Hong Kong
It's raining water, sadly not men
It’s raining water, sadly not men

After I had my lunch, it was about 1pm. My head was aching from jet lag and I decided to take a nap. My nap turned out into a 5-hour sleepathon. I’m awake now and typing but I think I might go back to bed after I send this off to you.

Until tomorrow! Let’s hope the typhoon goes away and I can have some real food. Oh, I also need to figure out where I’ll be sleeping tomorrow because my bed has been booked up.

Literally the shortest day of my life [YQrtw Day 125 Aug 13]

safe landing

Location: Pacific Ocean

My flight from Los Angeles to Hong Kong left around August 13 midnight and reached on August 14 at about 6am. The flight was about 14 hours long.

so if we do a bit of subtraction, we can deduce that August 13 lasted about 6 hours for me. That’s the shortest day of my life!

Of course this does not take into consideration that one other time I flew from San Francisco to SIngapore. But then I’ve forgotten how long that flight was so we’ll just take it that August 13 was the shortest day of my live.

Happy to blend in

Being on the Cathay Pacific flight from LAX to HKG was the first time in many months that I was around so many East Asian people. It was a weird feeling being one of the faces that blended into the crow,

I was expecting people to holler, “Chino!” as they did in South and Central America and the crowd to riot but Latin American stranger said that so all was calm and peaceful.

The 14-hour flight didn’t feel that long. I’ve been travelling so much on this trip that the process of getting from one place to another doesn’t seem very significant now. As long as I get there without vomiting, I’m happy.

Watching ‘Library Wars’

I did watch quite a lot of shows on the plane.

My very favorite movie among all that I’ve watched was Library Wars. It’s a Japanese movie adapted from a manga (Japanese comic) series. I have a friend who’s a fan of the comic so I thought I should give it a try. Plus, the male lead actors are all damn hot. Seriously.

Within the first 10 minutes of the movie, tears streamed down my face. I’ve forgotten how much Japanese films and manga make me cry happy/sad tears. There was quite a lot of book burning going on in the movie. Those scene make me cry silently. I think there would be less of an effect if they burnt Kindles. (Coincidentally, sales of e-readers have dropped so low in the period of the movie that they were mentioned once in a news program.)

The premise of the movie is that the Japanese government have set up a Media Betterment Unit (aka Bastards Who Burn Books) which censors unhealthy media in the public by deleting files off the internet and burning books. There is another much less funded unit against this censorship. It’s the “Library Protection Unit”” (or something like that) which helps preserve these so-called “unhealthy media” by gathering the materials in their library.

The public is free to use resources from The Library. The Library will also protect the privacy of the readers and not reveal what they have been reading.

Back to the plot, our gutsy Heroine signed up to be one of the Protection Team (PT) in the Library Unit because a member of the PT saved her from a jerk from the Media Betterment Unit. She even nicknamed this mysterious unknown person as her Prince (they do a lot of that in Japanese comics).

By 20 minutes of the movie, we–the audience–guessed that the hero (or her “prince) is actually our heroine’s rather nasty Higher-Up. He is supposed to be a lot shorter than her but the guy who played the role did a lot of Dreamy Prince roles that we cannot help associate him with Dreaminess.

There’s also the Sidekick to Higher-Up played by the guy who usually plays the leading man when he’s in his own movie. Sidekick and Higher-Up have a very strong bromance going on. But we know that they are straight because they do a lot of action-related training.

There’s also the Handsome-Smart-Well-Pedigreed-but-Snobbish-Boy and the Beautiful-Smart-Friend-of-Heroine. Even though Snobbish Boy confessed his confused love to Heroine, by the end of the movie, we all hope that the two Beautiful non-leading characters end up together because they are so smart and good looking.

I’m glad I watched the movie because reading the comic or else I might get the The Book is Much Better than The Movie syndrome.

Other shows I’ve watched were many of The Big Bang Theory episodes from Season 6. It’s funny how I started following this series in South America and not back in Singapore.

Bing Bang Theory on the plane
Bing Bang Theory on the plane

Bumpy landing

There’s a typhoon coming to Hong Kong about the same time as my arrival. Luckily, the typhoon was still in Guangdong when the place was landing.

It wasn’t a smooth landing as the pilot had to pull up the plane back into the air once.

Safe landing
Safe landing

There were a few crying kids. I’m not sure why they are dry crying with lots of crying noises but no tears. Is it because their ears hurt or that they are afraid to die? I wasn’t sitting near a kid so I couldn’t ask him.

I would tell the kid, “Hey, you should be crying when the adults are crying. Not now. Nothing bad is happening now.” Then I’ll point to a random corner of the screen and say that I think I saw a UFO.

Still, we manage to land safely and the kids stopped making loud noises.

It’s time to formally meet Hong Kong.

Welcome to Weekend Traveller series: Pros & cons of weekend travel

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  • Do you complain about the lack of annual leave at your work place?
  • Do you want something more from your weekend than sleeping in till noon?
  • Do you ask yourself, “What did I do during the weekend?” as the days were too unmemorable?

If you’ve answered “YES” to all three questions, perhaps it is time you try travelling during the weekend.

Travel more by travelling during the weekend.
Travel more by travelling during the weekend.

[Photo credit: Duane Mendoza]

Before I quit my job for this round-the-world trip, I was travelling quite a lot despite only having 20 days of annual leave. I wanted to get away from the busy life in Singapore so I was plotting at least one trip each month.

Many of these trips did not require me to take days off my annual leave because I chose to travel during the weekend.

Welcome to the start of the “Weekend Traveller” series where I share my tips on why you should travel more during the weekends, how to choose a weekend destination, how to prepare for a weekend trip and other related information.

The Weekend Traveller will appear every 2nd and 4th Tuesday. Here are some of the topics I have in mind:

  • Should you be a weekend traveller? Pros and cons of weekend travel
  • How to choose a destination (time, cost)
  • How to pack for a weekend
  • Research to make every second count
  • Making your personal guidebook
  • What to do when travelling
  • What to do when you are back
  • Useful sites for booking and useful smartphone apps

If you think there are more that I can touch on, feel free to leave it in the comments.

Let’s start this week’s discussion with the pros and cons of weekend travel.

Pros of travelling during the weekend

  • Travel more: There are 52 weekends in a year so you get to travel beyond the days you have in your annual leave.
  • Use less annual leave: Annual leaves are best used in chunks so you can travel to further destinations and spend more time there.
  • Weekends will be more interesting: No more weekends filled with sleeping in until noon and Youtube watching. You get to go out and smell different air.
  • Less luggage: A backpack of clothes is sufficient for a weekend trip which cuts down on luggage cost on budget airlines.

Cons of travelling during the weekend

  • Short time: Even if you travel during Friday night and reach your home early Monday morning, weekend trips are really short.
  • More expensive: When you consider that your air ticket is split into only 2 days of expenses, it can be more expensive than a week’s trip.
  • Tiring: Trying to pack loads of sights and things-to-do into 2 days can drain your energy.

Are you convinced that being a Weekend Traveller is for you? If so, join me in 2 weeks when I discuss how to choose a location for a weekend trip.

If you are not yet convinced, read on and see if you change your mind.

Are you a Weekend Traveller? Which places have you visited during the weekends? What related topics do you want me to cover?

Check out the rest of the series:

Part 1: Pros & cons of weekend travel
Part 2: Where to go for Weekend Travel?
Part 3: Choosing transportation for weekend travel
Part 4: Travel planning for weekend trips
Part 5: Make your own travel guide for a weekend trip
Part 6: How to pack for a weekend trip
Part 7: How to use Foursquare to plan a day’s travel
Part 8: Why a weekend trip is the best time to start solo travelling
Part 9: I’m going to Melaka for a weekend trip