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About this blog

thisgirlabroad is an expat living, working, and eating her way through Hong Kong, and traveling throughout South East Asia without any plans to slow down. 

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thisgirlabroad
Old-Quebec-City-11-150x150.jpg

For me, it’s the quaint charm of a city’s historic area that always lures me in. Sure, I enjoy checking out modern buildings and big skyscrapers, but there’s something about the old part of a city that I prefer. The same held true when I spent a few days in Quebec City. While the outskirts were beautiful in their own right, it was Old Quebec City that I fell in love with. If you’ve never been before, I would say it’s like Montreal’s little sister: plenty to see, do, and eat, but on a much smaller scale.

Rue Saint-Jean: The start of Old Quebec City

Old-Quebec-City-1-1024x683.jpgPorte Saint-JeanOld-Quebec-City-2-1024x683.jpgRue Saint-Jean

There are many roads around Old Quebec City that have been sectioned off as pedestrian only. If you’re heading into Old Quebec City from the west end, then you’ll likely be passing through Porte Saint-Jean (the old city walls that you can actually walk on top of). Just beyond the city wall is where you’ll find one of the main walking streets on Rue Saint-Jean.

Old-Quebec-City-3-1024x683.jpgRue Saint-Jean (FYI, that ice cream shop on the right is amazing!)

Although this is technically Old Quebec City, you’ll find quite a few modern stores here, like Aldo, David’s Tea, and eventually a McDonald’s. You’re also likely to see buskers performing along this street and just outside of the city wall. Because this is a more popular area, prices at restaurants are also quite a bit higher. We had dinner on our first night at Pub St. Alexandre, and a burger and fries was around $25. I’d suggest to avoid eating a meal here and just opt for drinks with a side of people-watching.

Getting lost in Old Quebec City

My best advice for exploring Old Quebec City is to just spend the day wandering around and getting lost among the cobblestone streets.

Exploring the area close to Rue Dalhousie

Old-Quebec-City-4-1024x683.jpgRue du Sault-au-MatelotOld-Quebec-City-5-1024x683.jpgRue Saint-PierreOld-Quebec-City-6-1024x683.jpgRoyal Battery/Batterie RoyalOld-Quebec-City-7-1024x683.jpgRue Sous le FortOld-Quebec-City-8-1024x683.jpgContinuing up Rue Sous le Fort

Rue Dalhousie is a main street that runs along the water on the eastern part of Quebec City. A lot of the streets that come off Rue Dalhousie are pedestrian-only and are insanely cute. Although many are geared towards tourists, with various souvenir shops and the like, you’ll find many art galleries around Rue du Sault-au-Matelot if you’re interested in purchasing some local art.

The streets surrounding Chateau Frontenac

One of the most well-known landmarks of Quebec City is Chateau Frontenac. This historic hotel is a massive tourist attraction, so it’s no surprise that the streets surrounding Chateau Frontenac are filled with boutique shops, bistros with patio seating, and a whole lot of history.

Old-Quebec-City-9-1024x683.jpgEscalier Casse-Cou (Breakneck Steps)

These are the stairs you can take to get up to Chateau Frontenac. Or, just pop into one of the patios along the steps for a pint and some fantastic people-watching.

Old-Quebec-City-10-1024x683.jpgPlace RoyaleThis picture was taken at Place Royal. There are shops surrounding the open area and at the far end you’ll see two busts: one of King Louis XIV and another of an Aboriginal individual. The two heads are staring directly at each other, making for an interesting and political interpretation. Old-Quebec-City-12-1024x683.jpgFresque des Québécois art mural

This mural depicts the story of Quebec City, with its important historical figures and how the city was built. There’s one more mural at the bottom of Breakneck Steps that shows the progression of the waterfront neighbourhood of Cap-Blanc. Both are beautiful paintings and you can read about what is happening in each of them on a descriptive plaque.

Old-Quebec-City-14-1024x683.jpgArtist Alley on Rue du Tresor

The Artist Alley was a lot smaller than I had originally imagined, but the artwork is almost all original and the majority of it depicts different areas and important buildings in Quebec City. One thing I really liked was that, in most cases, the artist was selling his own work and was able to answer any questions you might have. Prices were around $10 for a small 4×7 original.

My favourite area in Old Quebec City: Lower Town

Old-Quebec-City-15-1024x683.jpgRue du Petit ChamplainOld-Quebec-City-16-683x1024.jpgRue du Cul de Sac

I really loved the Lower Town of Old Quebec City. I found the narrow cobblestone streets and colourful buildings to be beautiful, and felt the area had a unique personality. Make sure you head down Rue du Cul de Sac to see the fun umbrellas hung up in the street. If you have time, pop into Q-de-Sac for a drink (they’re one of the few bars in the city I came across to offer happy hour) which overlooks the umbrellas.


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thisgirlabroad
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If you’re traveling to Quebec City and aren’t quite sure what to do besides wander around the city center (don’t worry, I wasn’t either), then you could head over to the Old Port Market Quebec City to check out the quaint farmer’s market. I’ll be totally honest, this isn’t your typical big city farmer’s market. You’ll find a small variety of stalls selling local produce, various food and drink, and a few souvenir shops in the Marché du Vieux-Port de Québec, as known by the locals.

What to expect at the Old Port Market Quebec City

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Located next to the old port, the market is easy to get around with a fairly small selection of stalls. I saw a variety of local produce, cheese, a few baked goods, wine, maple syrup products, simple souvenirs, some desserts, and a marketplace restaurant with outdoor seating overlooking the water. I was hoping that this market would have a bit more, but the selection wasn’t overly impressive to me. That being said, I ordered a poutine at the marketplace restaurant and it was delicious, so I won’t complain.

Is it worth a visit?

If you’re really pressed for time and only have a day in Quebec City, I probably wouldn’t bother with the Old Port Market Quebec. However, if you’re in the city for a couple days and are looking for something to do to kill a few hours, then it’s worth a quick trip. I think we spent maybe 45 minutes wandering around the market and I did see some of the biggest tomatoes ever, so if you’re into produce, this market will likely be interesting. Afterwards, you should walk along the water before heading into Old Quebec to walk around.


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thisgirlabroad
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If you’re visiting Quebec City and are looking for something to do outside the city centre, I would recommend checking out Montmorency Falls. Although not quite as impressive as Niagara Falls, Montmorency Falls were beautiful and unique in their own way. You’ll be surrounded by nature, have the chance to walk over the falls on a walking bridge, and take the stairs leading right down to the bottom.. all for free. Whether you’re traveling with your family or a friend, Montmorency Falls Quebec are definitely worth a visit.

What to see & do at Montmorency Falls Quebec

Montmorency-Falls-Quebec-1-1024x683.jpgViews from the walking bridge above Montmorency FallsMontmorency-Falls-Quebec-2-1024x683.jpgViews from the walking bridge above Montmorency Falls

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Once you’ve parked (there is paid parking right beside the entrance, but you can also park for free along the road in one of the neighbourhoods if you don’t mind the walk over), head in and walk straight down the path. This will take you to the walking bridge over the falls. The bridge has a great vantage point – you can see all around the falls and watch as people zipline across. There’s a little viewing area just across the bridge where the people who zipline end up.

Then, head back to the entrance and take the other route. This will take you into a large grassy area with a food truck, the start of the zipline (if I remember correctly, it was between CAD$20 – $30), and the stairs that take you all the way to the bottom of the falls with a few viewing areas along the way.

Is it worth the drive?

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I’m happy we stopped by the falls on our way from Quebec City to New Brunswick. Montmorency Falls may not be massive, but they really were beautiful and are worth a visit if you’re nearby.


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thisgirlabroad
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Aside from Dragon’s Back, heading up to The Peak is one of the most popular hikes (or walks) in Hong Kong. The route to the top has various starting points, but is relatively quick and offers fantastic views of the city below. If you’ve walked up The Peak many times and are looking for a change of scenery, I’d recommend trying The Peak to Aberdeen hike. This hike covers the Hong Kong Trail Stage 1 and 2, and Peel Rise. The hike is relatively easy and the stunning views over Aberdeen are well worth your time.

Starting point of The Peak to Aberdeen hike

peak-to-aberdeen-hike-1-1024x768.jpgHead down this street – Harlech Road

This hike starts at The Peak – you can either walk up to The Peak yourself (we did this – it’s only a quick 20-30 minute walk) or catch a cab to the top. From The Peak Galleria, begin walking down Harlech Road.

Harlech Rd to Hong Kong Trail Section 1

peak-to-aberdeen-hike-2-1024x768.jpgThe garden area on your leftpeak-to-aberdeen-hike-3-1024x768.jpgGo straight – this takes you onto Hong Kong Trail Stage 1

Continue walking down Harlech Road until you come across the garden on your left. Harlech Road will then become Hatton Road – instead of going down Hatton, go straight down the unmarked path. This is the start of the Hong Kong Trail Stage 1.

peak-to-aberdeen-hike-4-1024x768.jpgViews along the waypeak-to-aberdeen-hike-5-1024x768.jpgTurn left and go up the stairs. There is a few benches in this area with a lookout point and a set of stairs leading down – go down those stairs.peak-to-aberdeen-hike-6-768x1024.jpgHeading down towards Pok Fu Lam Reservoir

Follow the path and at the point where you see the large circular pavement and benches (see photo above), there will be a sign pointing to the “Pok Fu Lam Reservoir Road” – head down.

Hong Kong Trail Section 1 to Pok Fu Lam Reservoir

peak-to-aberdeen-hike-7-1024x768.jpgAlmost at the reservoirpeak-to-aberdeen-hike-8-1024x768.jpgFollow the paved path – the reservoir is just on your right

As you continue to descend down the stairs, you’ll come across a few forks in the path – continue to follow the signs to the Pok Fu Lam Reservoir. Eventually you’ll come out to a very large paved road with the Pok Fu Lam Reservoir on the opposite side. Turn left where the large sign says ‘To Peel Rise via Chi Fu’ and continue walking along the reservoir.

peak-to-aberdeen-hike-9-1024x768.jpgTurn right to get to Peel Risepeak-to-aberdeen-hike-10-1024x768.jpgHead to the left up the stairs following the signs for “Peel Rise” and “Hong Kong Trail”

Eventually you’ll come to a fork in the path. Turn right, following the signs that say, ‘Peel Rise’ and ‘Chi Fu’. Continue following the path until you see the stairs leading up to the left – go up these stairs, continuing to follow the signs for ‘Peel Rise’ and ‘Hong Kong Trail’.

Hong Kong Trail Section 2 to Peel Rise

peak-to-aberdeen-hike-11-1024x768.jpgGo straightpeak-to-aberdeen-hike-13-1024x768.jpgFollow the pathpeak-to-aberdeen-hike-14-1024x768.jpgContinue along the pathpeak-to-aberdeen-hike-15-1024x768.jpgViews over Aberdeenpeak-to-aberdeen-hike-17-1024x768.jpgThe beginning of the descent down to Aberdeenpeak-to-aberdeen-hike-18-1024x768.jpgViews as you make your way down

At this point, just follow the path leading you down to Aberdeen. You’ll eventually come out into a clearing where you’ll be privy to some Instagram-worthy views of Aberdeen. Again, continue to follow the path down.

Ending point: Aberdeen

peak-to-aberdeen-hike-19-1024x768.jpgTurn right down these stairspeak-to-aberdeen-hike-20-768x1024.jpgThe end of the hike is in this estate building. From here, it’s a short walk into Aberdeen where you can catch a bus or taxi back to wherever you need to go.

The final turn you need to make is in the photo above – if you stay on the path, you’ll continue along the Hong Kong Trail, so turn right and go down the stairs to get to Aberdeen. After you turn right, you’ll walk past a few benches and then come out to a large walkway going left and right – turn left and head down the road. In a few minutes you’ll end up at the bottom of an estate building. Aberdeen is only a short walk away (I’d suggest just following Google Maps at this point) where you can hop on a bus (I took one to Central) or grab a taxi back.

Journey Length: 11.5 km
Total Time: about 2 – 3 hours


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thisgirlabroad
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My love for local food developed shortly after I moved to Hong Kong six years ago. From dim sum to noodles to dumplings, I’m always up for a visit to a local cha chaan teng or dai pai dong to satisfy my cravings. I’ve had a long list of local shops I’ve wanted to visit for ages now, but I just haven’t had the time to go, so when given an opportunity to join Hello Hong Kong’s local Hong Kong food tour, I jumped on it. Whether you’re living in HK but have felt a bit anxious about heading to a local restaurant, or if you’re visiting and want to have a local food experience, I would highly recommend going on a local Hong Kong food tour with Hello Hong Kong.

Dim Sum breakfast and Dried Food Shops
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Our tour started at 9:30 am at a popular tea house in Sheung Wan called Lin Heung Kui Tea House for a dim sum breakfast. I’ve been to the branch in Central before and loved it, so I was excited to see they had a sister branch next door. I love love love dim sum, and our fantastic tour guide Mel chose a handful of classic dim sum dishes for us to try. I had tried almost everything before except for these pork buns with a sweet pineapple bun topping, which were absolutely delicious.

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We then walked down the streets of Sheung Wan where many local dry food shops took over the ground floors of buildings. Along the way, we went into a ginseng shop and a Chinese medicinal shop where Mel talked about the health benefits of these products as well as the history of the shops. Despite having lived in this area for four years, I learned quite a few interesting facts about these shops and the history behind them.

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Next, we went to a local candy and tea shop where we were able to try a variety of treats and dried fruits, and buy any that you fancied. After we were done browsing, we went to the back of the store where the tea selection was and sat down for a traditional tea pouring. We tried dragon pearl jasmine tea and it was honestly the best jasmine tea I have had. After we each had a small glass, we left and popped our heads into a local snake soup shop where live snakes are kept in wooden boxes at the back. We weren’t able to see any that day, but locals believe snake soup has many healing and health benefits.

Won Ton Soup and Milk TeaFood-Tour-Hong-Kong-9-1024x683.jpg Food-Tour-Hong-Kong-10-1024x683.jpg

For our next stop, we made our way to Central to Mak’s Chung Noodles for some wonton noodle soup. I had originally thought we were going to the ‘fancy’ new-ish Mak’s Noodles on Wellington Street, but I was surprised to find out that the shop we went to is actually owned by his son. The story goes, there was a family dispute between the two, which is why they now own two different Mak’s Noodle shops in Central, Hong Kong.

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To quench our thirst we paid a visit to Lan Fong Yuen, a popular local cha chaan teng in Central (one of the places I had been wanting to visit for awhile). We tried the milk tea – I ordered the half coffee, half milk tea drink called yuanyang. The drink was good, but it seemed as though I should have opted for the traditional milk tea, so I’ll have to go back to try it.

Egg Tarts and Roast Meat

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Our next stop was right around the corner at Tai Cheong Bakery to pick up some of their famous egg tarts. Every time I walk by this shop there’s always a queue, but we were able to grab these egg tarts fairly quickly since our tour was on a weekday. We then walked to an area where we could sit down and properly enjoy them before moving on to our final stop of the tour.

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Finally, we hopped on a tram and made our way to Wan Chai for our last stop at Joy Hing to try char siu (bbq pork). The restaurant was absolutely packed, so we were all squished at a tiny table which wasn’t the most comfortable experience, although it was certainly an authentic one. We tried a heaping plate of char siu, and another plate with rice and char siu – both fatty and lean pieces. After we quickly finished up, we ended our tour just across the street and all parted ways.

About Hello Hong Kong Tours

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Hello Hong Kong specializes in private and small group tours around Hong Kong. They offer a variety of tours based around the sightseeing, culture/history, and food of Hong Kong. Going on a tour with Hello Hong Kong is a great way to explore the city and learn a bit more about what makes Hong Kong so unique with their knowledgeable tour guides (my tour guide Mel was great!). As someone who has lived in Hong Kong for six years, I really did love their local food tour and would recommend it to anyone with an adventurous and/or curious palate. They have also recently launched in Singapore and I can’t wait to try their food tour on my next visit.

Visit Hello Hong Kong for more information about their tours and to book yours today!


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thisgirlabroad
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Whether you’re looking for a spot in Hong Kong for a weekend getaway or to stay during your work trip, Ovolo Southside hotel in Wong Chuk Hang is a great option. Once a warehouse, this boutique hotel exudes a fun, modern vibe and was the perfect spot for my mini staycation this summer. Plus, with plenty of freebies like breakfast, happy hour, self-laundry and much more when you book direct online, I really couldn’t go wrong!

First Impressions of Ovolo Southside Hong Kong

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The Ovolo Hotel group prides themselves on creating fun, modern, intuitive hotels that put the focus on you, the guest. From the moment I walked inside Ovolo Southside Hong Kong, there was a distinct liveliness sensed throughout. The interior decor in the lobby is vibrant and inviting, with neon signs and funky art all around the hotel. Upon checking in, the hotel staff efficiently went through the details of my stay – free happy hour (including free-flow drinks and snacks), free mini bar, free breakfast, and much more. All these amazing freebies are only available when you book your stay through their website!

The Room

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When I exited the elevator, the hallway was quite dark with bright purple artwork on the walls – clearly sticking to the ‘funky, hip’ theme as first seen in the lobby. The room was the perfect size (great for couples or if you’re enjoying a #treatyoself solo staycation), and had a great views of the surrounding area. The (free!) mini-bar was loaded with plenty of water, beer, pop, and juice, and there was also a free “loot bag” filled with various candies and chips. Personally, it’s these little added touches from a hotel that really make my stay – even though it wasn’t much to include in the room, the fact that the hotel provides these things left a good impression.

There were two TV’s in the room; one in the lounge area by the window and another in front of the bed. The bed was incredibly comfortable and upon opening a few more cupboards (what can I say, I’m nosey), there were some cute slippers and a funny tote bag/backpack with “I got 99 problems but a bed ain’t one” printed on it that you could take home if you wanted. The bathroom is quite small, but has everything you need – a range of complimentary quality toiletries (impressed that they had mouthwash as well) and a waterfall shower head.

Overall, I really loved the room. It wasn’t huge, but it didn’t need to be: it had everything I needed and more, and I loved that home-y vibe I felt every time I came back to the room.

Facilities
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Ovolo Southside has a great range of facilities for a boutique hotel. For those that don’t want to miss out on a workout, they have a gym that’s opened 24/7 and they even provide yoga mats if you’re looking to get your ‘om’ on in your room. The lounge is also open 24/7 with free coffee and candies. This is also where you can enjoy free flow happy hour and canapés from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm everyday when you book directly through ovolohotels.com. I was also surprised that the hotel offers free self-laundry, perfect for those who are there for more than just a few days. Aside from Komune, the hotel’s main restaurant, Ovolo Southside is also home to ABOVE, a rooftop bar with great drinks, views, and snacks.

Dinner & Breakfast

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Although there was initially a bit of a mix up with our reservation, we ended up enjoying a very filling meal at the hotel restaurant, Komune. The restaurant has both an indoor and outdoor space, but I particularly loved the spacious outdoor area. We ordered a tonne of food: from homemade guacamole with chips and pappardelle with garlic shrimps (my fav!), to clams, chorizo, and sake.. the food was well-priced and the portions were good.

If you book the hotel online through their website, a continental breakfast is also included in your stay. The breakfast ran from 6:30 am – 10:30 am (10:00 am on weekdays) and offered delicious coffee from their Nespresso machine, a variety of fruit and pastries, charcuterie, and some Asian breakfast staples like noodles and congee.

Overall Thoughts on Ovolo Southside

I thoroughly enjoyed my staycation at Ovolo Southside. It’s the perfect way to get out of the city centre and enjoy some R&R in a fun, fuss-free environment. One of my favourite things about this hotel was their “we love the F word” motto – basically, as a guest you get a tonne of freebies here when you book direct. The only thing I wish the hotel had that would be perfect during the summer months is an outdoor pool. Aside from that, Ovolo Southside is a fantastic hotel for a cheeky staycation or a great place to stay if you’re in the city on a work trip.

Ovolo Southside
18 Ocean Park Road
Wong Chuk Hang
Hong Kong

Tel: +852 3460 8100

I partnered with Ovolo Southside for this post. As always, all views and opinions are sincerely my own.


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thisgirlabroad
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In my last post, I focused on all of the street art in George Town that was completed by Ernest Zacharevic in 2012. Since then, many artists have added their own work to the streets of George Town. While I don’t know the artists names or when they were painted, I enjoyed stumbling upon all of this impressive artwork. This post is basically to serve as a memory for me: an image dump of some of the  more interesting Penang street art I found, most of which was discovered by complete accident.

George Town Penang Street Art: Where to find the artwork

My best advice for how to go about discovering the various pieces of art in George Town is to first plot out a map of the things you really want to see. For me, that was Ernest’s murals for the ‘Mirrors George Town’ project and a selection of local restaurants (you have to try Line Clear, Moh Teng Pheow, and basically all the other delicious Malaysian dishes you come across) I had read about. While I was out wandering around the city, I stumbled upon a tonne of fascinating street art. You’ll pretty much find some form of art on every single street you walk down. Below is a collection of street art that I found the most compelling. If I were to include all the photos I took, there would be well over 50.

A selection of the street art I found in George Town

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thisgirlabroad
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At this point, it’s not a surprise to many that George Town, Penang is home to  a variety of street art. In fact, a lot of people specifically plan to visit for exactly that reason: to discover the hidden streets and alleyways that this artwork is found on. The street art in George Town comes in many varieties and has been completed by multiple artists, however the original project came to life in 2012 when the municipal council hired Ernest Zacharevic to brighten up the town. He was commissioned to create a handful of murals to showcase everyday life in Penang. The unique, sometimes larger-than-life artwork found throughout the city has put Penang in the global spotlight: George Town street art is a must-see for all visitors.

George Town Street Art: Mirrors George Town

Ernest Zacharevic is a Lithuanian artist who lives in George Town. He was asked by the city council to create a handful of murals throughout George Town for a project called Mirrors George Town for the upcoming Penang George Town Festival. This project’s aim was to attract more tourists to the area, but also to shine light on the city’s unique heritage (it is a UNESCO heritage sight, after all). Although this was the first stage of street art, many other artists followed after and you’ll now see plenty of different forms of street art throughout the city.

Where to find the street art

When I was in George Town many years ago, I aimlessly wandered around and saw whatever street art I happened to stumble upon – such a shame considering he had just completed the project when I went. This time around, I did some research ahead of time and found this blog that put together a map of where to find Ernest Zacharevic’s murals (though I did end up missing two and one has since been removed).

Make your way around George Town by foot – it will likely take at least half a day, if not more, to visit all of the street art if you’re going at a leisurely pace. I was there in April and it was incredibly hot, but we did manage by foot (and by random stops inside 7-11 to cool down!). An alternative method is to rent bicycles for the day and go around if you’re pressed for time and are interested in exploring other parts of the city in the same day.

“The Awaiting Trishaw Paddler”

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“Little Girl in Blue”

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“Reaching Up”

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“Little Boy with Pet Dinosaur”

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“Boy on a Bike”

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“Little Children on a Bicycle”

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Stay tuned for my next piece on all of the other artwork we stumbled upon while exploring George Town!


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thisgirlabroad
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Koh Samui has become one of the must-visit destinations in South East Asia over the past few years thanks to its beautiful beaches, chilled out vibe, and relatively easy access. Although the island isn’t particularly large, the different sections offer visitors a different experience. The two most popular areas of Koh Samui are Chaweng Beach and Bophut. While you can find many hotels in each area, if you’re traveling in a larger group – with family or friends – your best bet is to rent a private villa with Villa Finder.

Chaweng Beach

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Arguably the most popular area in Koh Samui, Chaweng Beach has something for everyone. The main strip is quite lively and has plenty of restaurants, bars, and shops making it popular with a younger crowd. I spent three nights in Chaweng and I loved that the beach was minutes away, there were many dining options, and the area came to life at night. That being said, it was a bit crowded at times and felt a bit too touristy for my liking.

If, like me, you want all the conveniences of Chaweng, but are looking to stay in a more secluded area, I would highly recommend renting a villa through Villa Finder. Although most of these villas aren’t right on the beach, the facilities, views, and services they offer are incomparable to what you’ll find at many of the more generic beachfront hotels. Although you’ll feel like you’re a million miles away from everyone, the villas are all a quick 10~ minute drive to a variety of restaurants. If you’re wanting to optimize your time in the villa, you can always ask the staff to prepare and cook up an incredible meal for you and your guests.

Bophut Beach

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Head to the northern part of the island and you’ll discover the tranquility of Bophut Beach. This area isn’t as built-up and touristy as Chaweng, and still retains much of its former Thai-Chinese influence and charm. Bophut’s chilled out vibe makes it a great area for families or those that are more interested in relaxing than partying. Although I didn’t stay in Bophut, I went to the night market by the Fisherman’s Village (held every Friday night) and loved the wide range of street food offered.

Most of the villas from Villa Finder around Bophut Beach are privy to a prime beachfront location and are absolutely stunning. These villas can fit anywhere from four to eighteen people in them and are equipped with everything you could possibly need. Need something a little extra? Villa Finder can make just about anything happen to ensure your vacation goes exactly how you want it.

About Villa Finder

Villa Finder began in 2012 and sets themselves apart from the competition by offering guests the complete experience: all villas are personally inspected by the team and from the moment you make an inquiry on the website, the Travel Consultants work to ensure they understand your needs and what you’re looking for during your holiday. Afterwards, they source out the villas that best fit the client’s needs. Once the villa is chosen, the Guest Relation team can take care of any other requests – from something as simple as an airport pick up to a romantic dinner or in-villa massage. One thing I really love about Villa Finder is that for every booking made, a tree is planted in Sumatra, Indonesia. Currently, Villa Finder has over 1,000 villas in Bali, Phuket, Koh Samui, Sri Lanka, and Mauritius.

 

This post was written in collaboration with Villa Finder.


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If you’re an adventurous foodie who often finds yourself planning a travel itinerary based around all the food you want to try, then Penang is the perfect travel destination for you. The food found in Penang is insanely good, oh-so cheap, and most of it is difficult to find outside the country. Although I had made a stopover for a few days in George Town about five years ago, I never really explored all the local food this area had to offer. With that in mind, I made sure to do research on the regional food I could find in Penang. I ended up planning my days around pit-stops at local food stalls and night markets, and managed to put together this list of all the local food in Penang that I loved and that you must try.

1. Asam Laksa

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Asam laksa is arguably the most well known dish from Penang. While many people have tried the creamy version of laksa that is relatively easy to find around the world, asama laksa is unique to Penang and is difficult to come across outside Malaysia. Asam laksa has a sweet, slightly sour taste from the pineapple and mild fish base. You can find asam laksa just about anywhere – this bowl was from a night market in the beach area of Batu Ferringhi and only cost RM4. While the laksa at night markets was fantastic, a highlight for me was heading to Moh Teng Pheow Nyonya Koay in George Town (recommended to me by the staff at Hotel Penaga) for a bowl of these insanely delicious noodles.

2. Cendol

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One of the most famous desserts in Penang is Cendol – an iced dessert made with coconut milk, green rice flour ‘noodles’, red beans, shaved ice, and palm sugar. So famous in fact, that above one of the food stalls (Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul )selling this dessert on Lebuh Keng Kwee is a massive mural of a man taking a big spoon full of cendol. There is also a stall directly across from it called Penang Road Famous Chendol where I bought a bowl for RM2.90. We were actually told by a local to go to the latter one because the ‘famous’ one’s quality has declined since many tourists visit it anyway. Regardless of which one you go to, this is the perfect roadside treat to cool you off.

3. Local jelly desserts

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Sticking with the theme of dessert, Malaysia has a variety of local jellied desserts that are popular. I actually didn’t know about this until we went to Moh Teng Pheow Nyonya Koay, where they have a large selection of these homemade desserts for sale. The flavors we tried were: Kuih Bengka – Ubi, Kuih Talam, Pulut Tai Tai (Kaya Kuih), and one Abuk. These desserts weren’t overly sweet, which was certainly appreciated after a heavy meal, and ranged between RM0.60 – RM1.50, and RM3 for the Abuk (the one wrapped in the lotus leaf).

4. Curry Mee

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I discovered curry mee rather accidentally when I was trying to eat as much local food as I could possibly consume before my flight. I found this delicious curry mee at Pisa Cafe food market in Bayan Baru. This massive bowl of the most delicious, creamy noodles was only RM4.50 and came loaded with thicker yellow noodles and thin vermicelli noodles, tofu, and cuttlefish balls in a spicy coconut sauce.

5. Nasi Kandar

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When I was doing research on the must-try dishes in Penang, nasi kandar came up numerous times with reference to a popular restaurant called Nasi Kandar Line Clear Restaurant. We popped in on one of our first nights in George Town and were welcomed with a mountain (no, literally, there was enough food to feed at least two people) of rice, chicken (you could choose your meat, but one of the staff recommended the roast chicken), fried bitter gourd, okra, green beans, cucumber, and a few other ingredients that I had no clue about. This was one of my favorite dishes I had in Penang and it only cost RM14.30.

6. Iced Kacang

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This was another surprise dish found in Pisa Cafe on my last night in Penang. Although I had read plenty about Cendol and tried it in George Town, I didn’t hear about this dessert until I was wandering around the food stalls and came upon one selling iced kacang. I asked the lady behind the counter about it and, despite being incredibly full from two big dishes already, I couldn’t leave Penang without trying it. This refreshing dessert was comprised of red beans, grass jelly, nata de coco, and agar hidden under a mound of colorful shaved ice, sweet corn, condensed milk, and a scoop of taro ice cream.

7. Char Kway Teow

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Char kway teow is another popular dish in Malaysia and can be found at almost any local restaurant or market. I didn’t find this dish as exciting as the others, since I can find it quite easily where I live, but it’s a great dish to order if you’re looking for some simple comfort food. This (rather small) plate of char kway teow was from the night market in Batu Ferringhi for RM5.

8. Street-side Indian Snacks

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In the heart of George Town you’ll find an eclectic area called Little India. This section of small shops, eateries, and plenty of colorful characters is where you can get your hands on some delicious Indian food. There were a number of food stalls along the road selling a variety of snacks and desserts – I went for the vegetarian samosa (RM0.60) and instantly regretted only buying one. I then went on a mission to find gulab jamun (my favorite Indian dessert) and finally came across a little shop called Mr. Sweets where I filled a bag with 4 pieces of gulab jamun and 5 other mystery sweets that looked delicious for only RM11.90.


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When people think of Hong Kong, they often piece together an image of tall skyscrapers, hoards of people taking over sidewalks, and little greenery. While some of this may be true in certain parts of the city (no one wants to be walking around in Central during lunchtime!), there is a whole other side to Hong Kong that many people don’t know about. If you’re a fan of spending the day conquering a hiking trail, discovering the local geology of a place, or hoping on a boat to explore lesser-known parts of an area, then Hong Kong should definitely be at the top of your list. 

Discover Hong Kong is offering three outdoor package tours that will guide you on a fantastic eco-journey filled with picture-perfect views, rich history, and unique experiences. Each of these hassle-free guided hiking tours by locals include a professionally qualified geo-tour guide that will teach you about the history and tell you plenty of stories about everything you’ll see along the way.

Lai Chi Wo Hiking Tour

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Over 400 years ago Lai Chi Wo was one of the most prosperous villages in the New Territories. Located within Plover Cove Country Park, this Hakka village is located along the coastline and is mainly populated by its older original inhabitants. You’ll begin the hike at Tai Po Market MTR Station where a bus will take you to Wu Kau Tang. Follow the guide as they tell you interesting Feng Sui stories and take you to Sam A Tsuen where you’ll get to stop and have lunch. From there, you’ll make your way to Lai Chi Wo to explore that area. To wrap up this tour, a scenic boat ride will take you to Ma Liu Shui Ferry Pier, which is right beside University MTR Station.

Start time: 10:00 am
Length of tour: Around 8 hours
Starting/Ending point: Tai Po Market MTR Station/University MTR Station
Price: HK$1000 including lunch

Book your tour here.

Geopark Hiking Tour

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Another great option is the Geopark Hiking tour that will take you along the beautiful coastline in Sai Kung. This area has plenty of natural geological landforms and rock formations caused by volcanic activity, waves, and weathering from 140 million years ago. This guided tour will take you through the impressive hexagonal columnar joints, a boat ride to see the natural tombolo on Sharp Island, and an inland water dam at High Island Reservoir. Amidst all of these sightseeing locations, you’ll stop for lunch at Sha Kiu/Pak Lap for lunch.

Start time: 8:30 am
Length of tour: Around 8 hours 

Starting/Ending point: Central
Price: HK$1000 including lunch

Book your tour here.

Geopark Boat Tour: Sai Kung Islands

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With the longest coastline and most outlying islands in Hong Kong, Sai Kung is best explored by boat. This tour will take you through the areas unique biodiversity including sea stacks, tubular rock columns, sea caves, the volcanic rock columns of High Island, and rhyolite on Sharp Island. While you’ll see most of the sights on the boat, you’ll have a chance to get off and explore Sharp Island at the end of the tour.

Start time: 9:00 am or 2:00 pm
Length of tour: Around 3 hours 

Starting/Ending point: Sai Kung Pier
Price: HK$975

Book your tour here.

 

This post was written in collaboration with the Hong Kong Tourism Board.


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I have always been a huge fan of laksa – it’s probably my favorite soup noodle dish. Although I’ve had the popular creamy-based laksa many times, I had never tried asam laksa as it’s really only popular in Malaysia, specifically Penang. At our hotel in Georgetown, I asked one of the staff where to find the best asam laksa and she immediately told us to go to Moh Teng Pheow Nyonya Koay (莫定標娘惹粿廠). Just like that, we were off on what turned out to be a fairly big and long mission to source out the city’s best asam laksa.

The experience

moh-teng-pheow-asam-laksa-penang-2-1024xThe cutest entrancemoh-teng-pheow-asam-laksa-penang-3-1024xDining area

Finding Moh Teng Pheow was no easy task. It wasn’t until we gave up all hope and popped into a nearby hotel to ask whether the restaurant was close by that we finally sorted our directions out. Finally, after about 30 minutes of walking in the brutal heat, we came upon Moh Teng Pheow down a little alleyway off Lebuh Chulia. I’m not exactly sure if we went in through the main entrance way, but we walked through the kitchen first and then went into the dining area. The restaurant was relatively empty, so we had our pick of tables (unfortunately no air conditioning, so a table by a fan would have to do), and the staff were friendly and could speak English well enough for us to get by.

The food

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We wanted to try a range of items on the menu, but we knew we had to order the asam laksa so we each got one (for only RM6 – HK$12!). Honestly, this laksa was phenomenal – just look at the huge smile on my face! Asam laksa is very different from curry laksa in that it’s slightly tangy from the pineapple and has a fishy undertone, but don’t let that put you off.. I swear, this bowl of noodles was life changing. Moh Teng Pheow served a decent-sized bowl of laksa, though it was more on the snack side, which is perfect if you’re doing a bit of a food tour in Georgetown like we were. Had we not ordered dessert as well, I definitely would have ordered another bowl to devour.

moh-teng-pheow-asam-laksa-penang-7-1024xVariety of Malaysian dessertsmoh-teng-pheow-asam-laksa-penang-6-760x1Our dessert picks

I was less familiar with which types of dessert to order, despite the English names on the menu. Thankfully, one of the staff members told us to come to the counter where we could actually see all of the dessert on display. After a few questions about what the flavors actually were, we settled on the: Kuih Bengka – Ubi, Kuih Talam, Pulut Tai Tai (Kaya Kuih), and one Abuk. I’m not typically a fan of jellied desserts, but I honestly loved all of these.

Moh Teng Cheow is open Tuesday – Sunday from 10:30 am to 5:00 pm, so plan to go during the day

Moh Teng Cheow Nyonya Koay
Jalan Mesjid Off Lebuh Chulia, 10200
Georgetown

 


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Nasi Kandar is a popular local Malaysian dish that originated in Penang. When I was searching for local dishes and restaurants to check out, I came across Nasi Kandar Line Clear Restaurant Penang. I read about how this local canteen-style shop apparently served the best nasi kandar in Penang, so I obviously had to try it out. Let me jump to the point: I loved everything about my experience at Line Clear Restaurant. From the insanely delicious (and messy!) nasi kandar to the friendly and helpful service, this is one local food shop you need to visit when in Georgetown.

Location of Line Clear Restaurant Penang

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If Line Clear Restaurant Penang didn’t have a few signs on the sidewalk pointing out exactly where you need to turn to get your nasi kandar fix, we likely would have walked right by. Tucked away off Penang Road, it’s located right in the heart of Georgetown, beside 161 & 177 Penang Road, and is an easy walk from just about anywhere in that area. Plus, it’s open 24 hours so you don’t need to worry too much about when to go (I’d avoid lunch hours during the weekday, as it becomes incredibly busy with locals).

The experience

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As soon as we began walking down the short alleyway to the restaurant, we were eagerly welcomed by the staff. We told them that we had read about Line Clear online and wanted to try their famous nasi kandar. Since we had no clue how to actually go about ordering, one of the staff members simply asked us to choose a type of meat (I went with the tender roast chicken based off of his recommendation) and then told us to sit down while he prepared the dish.

The food

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After only a few minutes, a whopping plate of food arrived in front of us. For those that don’t know, nasi kandar is essentially a variety of curried meat and vegetables. Aside from the rice and chicken, I wasn’t entirely sure what was on my plate, though I did recognize fried bitter gourd, okra, green beans, and cucumber. I’m less clear about the rest, but it didn’t even matter because this was hands down one of the best dishes I had while in Penang. To top it off, all this food (literally enough to feed two) was only RM14.30 – less than HK$30.


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While spending a few days in Georgetown is well worth it for the delicious food, artsy vibes, and unique architecture, you’ll likely feel like you need a few days’ rest and relaxation afterwards. Most people head to Batu Ferringhi to spend some time at one of the resorts along the beach. My choice was the Golden Sands Resort Penang by Shangri-La because of its overall good value when looking at the price and facilities offered. Although the sea isn’t exactly swimmable at this beach thanks to the copious amounts of jellyfish in the water, there was still plenty of space to lounge around by the pool or on the grass close to the beach to get that much needed R&R.

First impressions of Golden Sands Resort Penang by Shangri-La

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After spending two scorching days in Georgetown, I couldn’t wait to throw my bags down and just zen out. Golden Sands Resort Penang is a massive 387-room hotel with great facilities. The hotel lobby is open concept and the hotel staff are quick to assist you with whatever you need. Check-in was relatively seamless, but I had paid extra for a “balcony sea view” room and the original room they put me in was on the first floor with a building directly in front of the room which obstructed any view. After a call to reception to ask for a new room, they managed to switch us to a higher floor with a much better view.

*Note – I would definitely recommend asking for a room that faces the pool/sea, as you’ll likely be able to hear the call to prayer if you’re on the east side of the hotel and are facing the street.

The room

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The room was a good size for two and came with a comfy big bed, which was hard to part with at the end of my stay. The spacious bathroom had two sinks, a bathtub/shower, and a range of amenities that came in handy. My favorite part of the room was definitely the balcony. Perfect for early in the morning and later on at night; I enjoyed a morning coffee outside before breakfast and a nighttime tea before bed. Overall, I really did like the room. The only thing I will say is that quite a lot of it does seem to be outdated – as an example, built into the desk is what appeared to be some sort of radio tuner with electric outlets. I do think the resort could use a bit of an uplift, but for the price, I won’t complain (too much).

Breakfast

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Breakfast was included and I found it funny that the hotel actually had these traffic light signs up showing the busiest and least busy times to go for breakfast. The Garden Cafe accommodates well over 100 people and was always busy in the morning when we went down for breakfast. The buffet spread had a large international selection of hot and cold dishes, so even the fussiest eaters will likely find something they enjoy. For my breakfasts, I mainly stuck with fresh fruit, eggs, and toast with kaya spread.

Facilities

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Golden Sands Resort is a great place for families, with slides and water activities, an indoor play area, and supervised kids’ activities throughout the day. For those without kids (myself included), I still enjoyed the facilities here, though for me personally, it was a bit too family friendly at times. There are a number of pools, mainly swarming with children, but there was one pool that was for adults only. If you’re looking for a bit of an escape from the screams of excited children, find a lounge chair on the grass away from the pool area.

I liked that you could order drinks and food that were brought to your lounge chair and the poolside bar also had a good happy hour of buy one get one free drinks (hello pina coladas!). The resort was within walking distance to the night market and a fantastic cooked food center with deliciously cheap eats that you should go to instead of eating all meals at the hotel.

Overall thoughts on Golden Sands Resort

I really enjoyed my stay at Golden Sands Resort. Although the majority of the hotel could use a modern update, the price point for the facilities and quality of service more than made up for it. While I think this hotel is great for families, I also enjoyed my time there though did find the constant running around and screaming of children to be a bit taxing at times. Ultimately, if you’re looking for a quick beach getaway in Penang that’s good value, I would recommend Golden Sands Resort.

Golden Sands Resort Penang by Shangri-La
Batu Ferringhi Beach


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When looking for a hotel in Georgetown, I came across the lovely heritage boutique hotel: Hotel Penaga. I knew I wanted something with a good dose of traditional charm, but still have a variety of modern necessities. Built in the 1920’s, the building was originally comprised of homes and ground floor shops until 2008 when a couple purchased the property, and carefully renovated and transformed it into Hotel Penaga Penang. The hotel is full of history and fascinating artwork throughout, and the staff are very helpful and welcoming. I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better hotel to spend a few days in while exploring the lovely area of Georgetown.

First impressions of Hotel Penaga

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The concierge was all smiles as he opened the main doors of Hotel Penaga upon our arrival. Everything – from check in and out, to getting information about Georgetown and arranging transportation to another part of Penang – was so incredibly easy thanks to the helpful staff. I really did feel at home here thanks to the staff who were always going out of their way to ensure we had a great stay. Aside from the staff, I immediately fell in love with the design of the hotel. It honestly felt like I was taking a luxurious step back in time while walking around this heritage boutique hotel.

The room

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I had the most beautiful room – from the minute I walked in, I fell in love with all of the polished wooden furniture, the subtle Asian touches, and the paintings that adorned the walls. My favorite features of the room itself were the large canopy bed that took center stage and the wooden dresser decorated with red Chinese designs. Hotel Penaga also supplied a good range of fairtrade coffee and teas in the room with a life-saving espresso machine that made a killer cup of joe.

Although it may sound a bit silly, I relished time spent in the bathroom when I was showering and getting ready in the morning. The bathroom was huge (almost the size of my bedroom in Hong Kong!) and I loved the contrast between the light blue tiling and the dark wood paneled floors. I always look out for a big bathtub when I’m choosing a hotel and Hotel Penaga’s massive jacuzzi did not disappoint.

We were also lucky enough to get a room with a balcony that overlooked the pool and other parts of the hotel. Perfect for enjoying a cup of coffee in the early morning before breakfast (and before it became too hot outside!), I loved being able to have a bit of outdoor space. Also, if you didn’t notice from the photos, many of the room’s light switches were actually bells – a really neat added touch.

Breakfast

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Breakfast at Hotel Penaga Penang was a casual affair. They offered a variety of hot items (some changed daily), breads and spreads, and fresh fruit and juice. The service is prompt and friendly and there was a good selection to choose from, whether you liked more of a western-style breakfast or an Asian one. They also offered any style of eggs you’d like (poached eggs on toast, please!) and had a selection of their own Penang homemade bread with kaya spread (a delicious coconut jam) and other unique locally sourced jams.

Facilities

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Hotel Penaga Penang has just about everything you could ask for. The location is perfect in that it’s within walking distance of everything you’d want to see in Georgetown (just be sure to bring comfortable shoes!). There is a lap pool with a handful of covered tables around it and a few loungers if you can bear hanging out in the blistering heat. The hotel also has a spa, library, meeting rooms, and a restaurant/bar. One thing I found quite interesting was the artwork throughout the hotel. Hotel Penaga actually runs an artist residency program where contemporary artists can apply to have their work put on display throughout the hotel, so be sure to take your time while wandering around to read about the artists and their work.

Overall thoughts on Hotel Penaga Penang

Hotel Penaga Penang is a boutique hotel with a whole lot of charm and personality. The service is honestly exceptional here – they even used their own personal phone to call us a Grab (the company that recently bought out Uber in Malaysia) when we couldn’t use the app in order to get to our next destination in Penang. During the two nights we spent at Hotel Penaga everything was fantastic and I would definitely recommend booking your stay here when you visit Georgetown!

Hotel Penaga
Corner of Jalan Hutton & Lebuh Clarke
10050 George Town
Penang
Malaysia

Tel: 04-261 1891

I partnered with Hotel Penaga for this post. As always, all views and opinions are sincerely my own. 


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Sushi Man’s latest location in Whampoa (original location was in Tseun Long) has made it much easier to get your omakase fix now. Situated just across from the MTR station, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to Japan once you step through the front doors. The seating is intimate without being stuffy, so it’s perfect for any occassion. During lunch, you can order from Sushi Man Hong Kong’s a la carte menu, but I would recommend going for their omakase dinner menu in order to get the full experience.

Omakase – HK$1750

sushi-man-hong-kong-1-1024x683.jpgDinner Menu

Steamed Egg

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We began with the steamed egg dish. Although it wasn’t what I expected, it was still really good. The eel on top made for an interesting contrast to the smooth, tofu-like egg underneath. The overall flavors were quite subtle, helping to ease us into our next courses.

6 Kinds of Sashimi

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I was actually quite surprised with the sashimi dishes, as they weren’t your typical cuts of fish. I tried a few interesting dishes like the baby sea eel (not everyone’s cup of tea!), and liked how Sushi Man Hong Kong really tried to separate themselves from other omakase menus by including such a variety of sashimi. My favorite sashimi dish was the octopus tail – the octopus is slow-cooked for 24 hours and has an incredible smokey flavor to it.

8 Kinds of Sushi

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I really loved all 8 pieces of sushi. I’m not a fan of abalone at all, but was pleasantly surprised with the taste of it here. Moving on, the salmon roe balls were so sweet in comparison to other sushi restaurants I’ve been to – I could have literally ate them by the spoonful. My favorite piece of sushi had to be the tuna cheek. It was so incredibly tender and full of flavor – absolute heaven in a bite.

Cup of Uni

sushi-man-hong-kong-17-1024x683.jpgRice, Uni, Ebi

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We were all patiently waiting for this massive bowl of uni to come out. Although I do like uni when it’s fresh and of high quality, I still don’t quite get the obsession with it throughout Asia. Regardless, this dish was immaculate: layer upon layer of sea urchin covered a small mound of rice.. Sushi Man certainly does not skimp out on portions!

Temaki

sushi-man-hong-kong-19-683x1024.jpgHandroll

We literally had no idea what we were eating when the sushi chef handed us this handroll, but the chef said it was some type of root plant. Not my favorite handroll, but I did appreciate a more subtle dish after the rich uni bowl.

Soup & Kudamono

We finished with a bowl of miso soup and a large pre-sliced wedge of fresh cantaloupe for dessert.

Verdict on Sushi Man Hong Kong

If you’re looking for a new omakase menu to check out, I would definitely recommend Sushi Man Hong Kong. The restaurant is cozy (especially if you’re able to book out the private dining room/counter), service is prompt (although there is a language barrier, which made it difficult to understand all of the ingredients in each dish), and the food is incredibly satisfying.

Sushi Man Hong Kong 
6 Tak Hong Street (Across from Whampoa MTR Exit A)
Whampoa 

Tel: 2794 3995


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Hoi An is most famous for its Ancient Town – filled with the most delicious food, bright yellow shop walls, and a whole lot of lanterns. Although spending a few days wandering around the Ancient Town is a must, if you’re there in the summer you should rent a bike and head to the beach. There are two main beaches in Hoi An: Cua Dai Beach and An Bang Beach. I honestly wouldn’t recommend either beach. Instead, I discovered a “Hidden Beach” that was a perfect little oasis between the two main beaches. If you’re wondering which beach to check out, you should head to Hidden Beach Hoi An.

Why I wouldn’t recommend Cua Dai or An Bang Beach

Unfortunately, Cua Dai has been severely affected by erosion and the beach is now covered in sand bags with barely any sand to lay out on. An Bang Beach remains a popular choice for many tourists, but, because of that, it’s also a bit of a tourist trap. As soon as you begin biking along the main strip heading to the beach, you’ll have people trying to get you to park your bike in their spot. For a fee, of course (though some places just want you to buy a bottle of water). Once on the beach, you will need to rent a lounge chair – either for a fixed fee or you’ll have to agree to having lunch at their restaurant later in the day. You’ll also likely be pestered numerous times with vendors roaming the beach to buy various souvenirs. I completely understand that everyone needs to make a living, but I’m sure we’re all just wanting to put our feet up, relax, and listen to the waves.

Hidden Beach Hoi An

hidden-beach-hoi-an-3-1024x683.jpgWalking up to Hidden Beach; restaurant on the lefthidden-beach-hoi-an-2-1024x683.jpgHidden Beachhidden-beach-hoi-an-1-683x1024.jpgParadise

After experiencing An Bang Beach the last time I was in Hoi An, I was on the hunt for something more quiet and less intrusive this time around. A few Google searches later and I had come across a number of articles written about Hidden Beach. Located practically in the middle of An Bang and Cua Dai, Hidden Beach Hoi An was just what I was looking for.

Unlike An Bang Beach, you can park your bike AND use the lounge chairs for free. Hidden Beach is a small family-run beach area with a little restaurant (they did mention that they would appreciate you eating lunch at their restaurant if you chose to eat while there) and clothing shop. I went there two times when I was in Hoi An (actually, the first time I went it was because a lovely older couple I met while getting banh mi’s told me about it!) and had a very relaxing and enjoyable time.

How to get to Hidden Beach

I’m a bit apprehensive about giving detailed instructions on how to get to Hidden Beach because I wouldn’t want this quiet oasis to become overcrowded. So, I’ll just say that if you’re coming from Cua Dai and biking up towards An Bang along Lac Long Quan, keep your eyes peeled for a sign on the side of the road that says “Hidden Beach”. Once you spot the sign, turn right down a little road and head all the way to the end.  


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Night markets are one of my favorite parts of traveling throughout South East Asia. I love the food, the knick-knacks, the mix of locals and tourists, and the general buzz that surrounds you. The night market in Hoi An has certainly come a long way since I was there over three years ago. Although the selection isn’t quite as vast as some other night markets, you can still find a good selection of sweet and savory delights, along with numerous stalls selling souvenirs and other trinkets at the Hoi An Night Market.

hoi-an-night-market-1-1024x683.jpgPicture taken from the end of the night markethoi-an-night-market-3-1024x683.jpgThe beginning of the night market – less than an hour later and these walkways were packed

What to buy at the Hoi An Night Market

I would recommend heading into the night market when the sun begins to set, as it gets very busy later in the evening. The little trinket shops sell everything from tableware to purses, though I found it a bit more difficult to negotiate here. I wanted a woven bag and the lady originally wanted to charge US$20 and would not go any lower than US$15, which I found to be expensive when compared to shopping in other markets. Regardless, most of the items you’ll find here you’ll have likely come across on your travels elsewhere.

What to eat 

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There are mainly sweet snacks with a few savory items. Start with a sausage on a stick or a fried shrimp pancake, though I would recommend having something more substantial beforehand. Personally, I went straight for the stalls selling sweets. You’ll find the ever-popular banana nutella pancakes and rolled ice cream, along with some lesser known treats that I hadn’t tried before. This thin crispy waffle with ‘dragon candy’, condensed milk, and chocolate sauce inside was an absolute highlight. I also ordered a thicker version made with shaved coconut and peanuts (both picture above). Most food items on offer will run you between 20,000 VND – 30, 000 VND, but you can sometimes negotiate if there aren’t many people around (I was able to purchase deep fried banana pancakes for 10,000 VND during the day). While I did enjoy the food at the night market, I much prefer these places to eat in Hoi An.

How to get to the Hoi An Night Market

The night market is located on the busy little island of An Hội. To get there, simply head into Hoi An Ancient Town towards the iconic Japanese wooden bridge. You’ll see a small and busy bridge right in front that leads you over the river. Cross over the water and turn right. Walk straight and take your first left – the street will be filled with vendors on both sides.


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Hotels often put on a fantastic buffet brunch spread and the Kerry Hotel brunch buffet is no exception. Although it’s a bit out of the way in Hung Hom, the copious amounts of food along with stellar views overlooking the harbor make it worth the effort. I honestly think this was probably one of the largest buffets I’ve ever been to. There was an incredibly wide range of cuisine and it’s quite good value too if you can make the most of it (ie. stuff your face).

Vibe at Kerry Hotel Brunch

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Big Bay Cafe is huge. There is seating for around 300 people and there is SO MUCH FOOD it’s borderline ridiculous. The brunch buffet is very family friendly – they have a magician and clown walking around stopping at tables to show you a magic trick and make a balloon animal or flower. It was quite cold when I went so we sat inside, but there is ample outdoor seating that is perfect for a nicer day (with great views, too!).

Buffet Spread

kerry-hotel-brunch-1-1024x683.jpgDIY noodle soup stationkerry-hotel-brunch-2-1024x683.jpgIndian food selectionkerry-hotel-brunch-3-1024x683.jpgThe grillkerry-hotel-brunch-8-1024x683.jpgRound 1kerry-hotel-brunch-9-1024x683.jpgMy DIY noodleskerry-hotel-brunch-10-1024x683.jpgFrom the grill

There was so much food that I had to make a strategic plan (no joke!) before I began filling up my plate. I’ve been to my fair share of buffets before, but I can’t recall ever being so blown away by how big the buffet was. Whether you’re a meat-lover or a vegetarian, wanting to eat healthy or go all-out, you’re guaranteed to find something at the Kerry Hotel brunch. I tried to have a nibble of everything and my favorites were the DIY noodle soup (anyone else love fish balls?!) and grill station (the lobster is a must try). If you’re a pasta lover, you’ll be pleased to know my friend loved the make your own pasta station so much she went there twice.

Dessert

kerry-hotel-brunch-6-1024x683.jpgAll the mini cakeskerry-hotel-brunch-13-1024x683.jpgI swear this plate wasn’t just for me!kerry-hotel-brunch-14-1024x683.jpgIce cream with a view

Before you reach the point of no return, don’t forget to save some room for dessert. There is a massive variety of mini cakes, crepes and waffles, ice cream, the most delicious salted caramel macarons, a chocolate fountain, fruit, and a table dedicated to other desserts like donuts.

Verdict

If you love a good buffet brunch that has a wide selection of cuisines on offer, you should check out the Kerry Hotel brunch. I think it’s especially worth the trip over there if you go on a nice day and can sit outside while enjoying the views along the harbor. The Kerry Hotel is also a good brunch for families given the magician and clown that walk around to entertain the young (and old!). The only thing I didn’t love was just how busy it was – the whole restaurant was packed and it felt a bit crowded.

Details

The buffet is available every Sunday from 12:00 pm – 3:30 pm.
Adults – HK$428
Kids between 7 and 11 – HK$214
Free-flow soft drinks and juice – additional HK$40
Above plus wine – additional HK$200
Plus Veuve Clicquot Champagne – additional HK$300

Kerry Hotel – Big Bay Cafe
38 Hung Leun Road
Hung Hom Bay
Kowloon

Tel: 2252 5888


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Aside from roaming around the ancient town, one of the more popular things to do in Hoi An is to rent a bicycle for a day and head outside of the main town to explore. You’ll come across rice paddy fields, a few water buffalo, and, if you fancy, you can end your ride with a few hours at the beach to cool off. While there are numerous companies that charge for bicycle tours, I’d recommend renting bicycles on your own and mapping out a route based on what you want to see. 

Renting Bicycles in Hoi An

Most accommodation in Hoi An should have complimentary bicycles for their guests to use for the day. If yours doesn’t, they will likely work with a shop a few meters away who rent bicycles to tourists. You shouldn’t have to pay more than US$1 or VND20,000 for a day’s rental. I would suggest you take the bike on a quick test run up and down the street to ensure the breaks and gears are all working (I actually ended up having an issue with the left pedal of my bike that didn’t begin until I was 3/4 of the way to the beach).

Hoi An Bicycle Tour – Route

Starting point and village

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Begin by heading down Cua Dai towards Cua Dai Beach. The road is fairly wide and not particularly “scary” to bike down. Head through an entrance-way with flags on your left before you cross the bridge over the river (see first photo above). You’ll bike through a small street with a handful of homes on either side. There are quite a few dead-ends, so if you find yourself on one, just turn around and go a different way. Eventually you’ll get to the paths along the rice paddy fields.

Rice paddy fields & water buffalo

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After 5-10 minutes of biking through the little village, you’ll come out into the rice paddy fields. There are about a dozen different paths you can take around the paddy fields. We ended up biking around for a bit in hopes of finding water buffalo. When we finally did find one, I felt a bit bad that the water buffalo were being ridden, so we just stayed and watched for a bit, took a few photos, and continued on our way.

We spent some time wandering through the fields – it’s really not that big, so you shouldn’t get lost. Because I was here over Tet, the fields were pretty much empty. There was a tiny bridge over the river we crossed (one of the larger paths you’ll see on Google Maps before Hai Ba Trung Street), which then connects to Hai Ba Trung Street – cross this little bridge and stick to the left. Then, you’ll have to make a right down Hai Ba Trung Street. Follow this busy street to the beach.

Ending at the beach

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If you keep following Hai Ba Trung Street, it will take you directly to An Bang Beach. This is Hoi An’s most well-known beach and while it is nice, I decided not to stay here this time because it’s crowded, you have to pay to rent loungers, umbrellas, and to park your bicycle (or they make you buy a water in order to park your bike “for free”), and you’ll likely get hassled while trying to relax on the beach. If you’re not too fussed about that, just keep it simple and stay there. If you’re looking for something a bit more secluded where you don’t need to pay to use the loungers/umbrellas or park your bicycle, head down the beach a bit to Hidden Beach.


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Okra has been in Hong Kong for two years now and, despite living only a few minutes away, I only just dined there for a much-anticipated feast. Over the past years, I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about Okra Hong Kong, so my expectations were admittedly quite high. I won’t beat around the bush: every dish that I tried was incredibly unique and delicious, and the atmosphere was cozy yet upbeat; something that most restaurants struggle to provide. If you’re looking for a different dining experience in Hong Kong, I would highly recommend heading to Okra.

Vibe at Okra Hong Kong

The dining space at Okra is small so it’s best to go with only one or two other people. There is seating around the bar/kitchen, which I would recommend trying to snag, and a few tables for two if you’re looking for something a bit more intimate. The music, which is curated by Okra’s chef-owner Max Levy, is a fitting mix of Dead Kennedies, The Misfits, and the like. I also loved the massive risque mural adorned on the wall inside. As the night continued, conversations grew louder, the sake continued flowing, and the vibe kept getting better.

Sake

okra-hong-kong-7-683x1024.jpg“THE COCK” Junmai Ginjo (Fukuoka) HK$108 per glass or HK$798 per bottle

Okra Hong Kong has a great sake list that is broken down into a few different tasting notes. We opted for the hilariously named (although appropriate given that 2017 was the year of the rooster) “The Cock” Junmai Ginjo (HK$108). Aside from the slightly acidic and refreshing tasting points of this sake, I liked that it was made in collaboration with Tsui Hark specifically for Okra.

Starters

okra-hong-kong-1-683x1024.jpgNigari Sai Farmhouse Tofu (HK$98)okra-hong-kong-2-1024x683.jpgGoose Blood Toastokra-hong-kong-3-1024x683.jpgGoose Blood Toastokra-hong-kong-4-1024x683.jpgSalt Tomato (HK$88)

We began with the popular Nigari Sai Farmhouse Tofu (HK$98) with Okra’s handmade Pigeon Sauce. The handmade tofu was silky smooth and paired beautifully with the fresh cherry tomatoes. Although this is not a dish I would typically order, the Goose Blood Toast was on the specials board (sorry, can’t remember how much it was!) and I was curious to try it. The goose blood was somewhat similar to a pate and was full of flavor. We also tried the Salt Tomato (HK$88), which was on the specials board. Despite the simplicity of the dish, this was one of the best tomatoes I’ve had in ages (in case you weren’t aware, Hong Kong is not known for its produce).

Mains

okra-hong-kong-5-1024x683.jpgDry Aged Beef Tongue (HK$168)okra-hong-kong-11-1024x683.jpgDry Aged Baby Tuna (HK$118)okra-hong-kong-8-683x1024.jpgUnabi Fun (HK$188)

Moving onto the mains, we began with the Dry Aged Beef Tongue (HK$168) from the specials board. I wasn’t entirely sold, given that I’ve never tried tongue before, but I have to admit it was really tasty. The thick pieces of cured meat were absolute perfection and I had to stop myself from devouring the entire plate. Another really interesting dish was the Dry Aged Baby Tuna (HK$118), also from the specials board. Dry aging fish heightens the taste, giving it that umami flavor everyone raves about. Despite living in Asia for 6.5 years, I had yet to try eel (I know, it’s shameful), so we decided to order the Unabi Fun (HK$188) – eel on crispy sushi rice. The eel had a delicious smokey flavor and the rice around the clay pot was perfectly crispy.

Dessert

okra-hong-kong-9-683x1024.jpgUji Matcha Cookie Boy (HK$76)

We finished our meal with the Uji Matcha Cookie Boy (HK$76) – a roasted green tea and red bean cookie with smoked cream and lemon salt. Although I liked the overall flavor of the cookie, I wish the outside was crispier.

Verdict

From the cozy yet lively atmosphere to the delicious pours of sake, and incredibly unique and refreshing dishes on the menu, I loved everything about Okra Hong Kong. If you’re tired of the same restaurants in the city and are looking for something different, you need to try Okra. Perfect for a date night or an intimate catch up with a friend, the setting compliments the food flawlessly and I can’t wait to go back and slowly work my way through the rest of the menu.

Okra Hong Kong
110 Queen’s Road West
Sai Ying Pun

Tel: 2806 1038


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For years I’ve heard people rave about Megan’s Kitchen, the well-known hot pot restaurant in Wan Chai that attracts locals and expats alike. Megan’s Kitchen is best known for its interesting and unique hot pot soup bases – they have everything from tom yum cappuccino to Japanese miso tofu. Although I can’t say I particularly enjoyed my last few hot pot experiences, I decided to give Megan’s Kitchen a shot when a group of my girl friends were organizing a night out. All in all, I ended up having a really fun night (most of which was thanks to the company and the free flow wine we ordered), but like everyone else had already told me, it was expensive considering you basically cook your own food.

Vibe at Megan’s Kitchen Hong Kong

megans-kitchen-1-1024x683.jpgRestaurant Interior

Megan’s Kitchen is pretty plain. There’s not much decor, the orange chairs are less than appealing, and there’s large flat screen TVs playing some type of Chinese soap opera around the room. Thankfully, we didn’t come here for the ambiance. The staff were friendly and nice, and were quick to refill our empty wine glasses (much to my later demise).

What we ordered

megans-kitchen-2-1024x683.jpgMake your own dipping saucemegans-kitchen-5-1024x683.jpgKimchi Dumplings, Pork Dumplings, Vegetable Dumplingsmegans-kitchen-3-683x1024.jpgBeefmegans-kitchen-6-1024x683.jpgRainbow Cuttlefish Ballsmegans-kitchen-4-1024x683.jpgOur feast

We began by making our own dipping sauces (they charge a rather ridiculous price of HK$25 per person for this), though I’m not entirely sure why since the soup bases are already flavored. For drinks, they had a free-flow package available, which included white and red wine and sake for only HK$138 per person, which we all obviously opted for.

The menu is massive, so we ordered a little bit of everything. The kimchi (HK$88), pork (HK$88), and vegetable (HK$88) dumplings were all surprisingly delicious, though I’d say the kimchi ones were my favorite. Since we had a few vegetarians with us, we only ordered two meat dishes: Australia grass-fed rib eye (HK$298) and another beef dish, but I honestly can’t even remember what it was (oops – I’ll blame it on the wine!). We also ordered a range of vegetables, noodles, and the popular rainbow cuttlefish balls (HK$98). As for our soup bases, we went with the tom yum cappuccino (HK$188) and sichuan (HK$168). The sichuan one was a bit too spicy for all of us, so we pretty much put everything into the tom yum soup, which was still a bit spicy for some but I really enjoyed it.

As a heads up, if you don’t want the century eggs or other “welcome starters” they automatically place on your table when you arrive, you need to tell the staff right away. Otherwise, you will be charged.

Verdict

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed my time at Megan’s Kitchen. Though, I’m sure that was mainly due to the company and the obscene amount of wine I consumed throughout dinner. The food was good, although nothing really had that wow-factor, except for the kimchi dumplings. For HK$600 per person for a table of 5, we left absolutely stuffed with both food and wine. If you haven’t been yet, I would recommend getting a fun group of people together for dinner at Megan’s Kitchen. That being said, I’m not exactly racing back to spend that kind of money to essentially cook my own food.

Megan’s Kitchen
5/F Lucky Centre
165-171 Wan Chai Road
Wan Chai 

Tel: 2866 8305


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There’s  no shortage of places to get together with a group of friends on the weekend for a little (or big) boozy brunch. Just like most expats here, I’ve been to my fair share of them: from a la carte menus to buffets, and cappuccinos to champagne. Although I love all brunches, I was in the mood for something a bit more refined, so I decided to check out the ON Dining brunch – Le Grande Brunch, and boy do they know how to put out a great spread. We went through a whopping 6-course brunch (accompanied by champagne, of course) filled with a wide range of exceptional dishes.

Vibe at On Dining brunch

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I’ve only been to the bar area of ON Dining (absolutely love their outdoor patio space), so when we went down the stairs to the restaurant portion, I fell in love with the clean, simple, and modern decor. The floor to ceiling windows are also perfect, day or night, to take in the view of Hong Kong.

To start

on-dining-brunch-2-683x1024.jpgBread Basketon-dining-brunch-3-1024x683.jpgOyster, King Crab, Beef Tataki, Cauliflower & Salmon Roe, Caviar Tartlet

We began with the most delicious bread basket that came with croissants, pain au chocolat, panatone, and baguettes. On the side, we had a three-tiered tray with a variety of preserves (passion fruit, chocolate, and strawberry), fruit, and yogurt. Next, we had a beautifully presented plate with a variety of bite-sized snacks including oyster, king crab, beef tataki, cauliflower & salmon roe, and caviar tartlet. I liked that we were able to try a range of nibbles without having to commit to just one.

Starters & mains

on-dining-brunch-4-1024x683.jpgStarter: L’Oeuf d’Okinawa – Chanterelle parmesan cheese & shaved black truffle

There were four options for starters on the menu, but my heart was set on the L’Oeuf d’Okinawa, comprised of Chanterelle Parmesan cheese and shaved black truffle. Simply put, this dish was amazing: the ingredients harmoniously came together and I savored every single bite.

on-dining-brunch-6-683x1024.jpgLes Cavatellis – Homemade cavatelli, seafood ragout, carabinero prawnon-dining-brunch-7-1024x683.jpgLe Boeuf – Prime beef ribs teriyaki, creamy mushrooms, romaine saladon-dining-brunch-5-1024x683.jpgLe Bar de Ligne – Wild sea bass, artichoke puree, spinach, sea urchin emulsion, pearl barley, black truffle julienne

Although all four mains on the menu sounded delicious, I opted for the Le Boeuf – Prime beef ribs teriyaki, creamy mushrooms, romaine salad. Honestly, the picture does not do this dish justice. I could have used a butter knife to cut the beef, it was so tender and the creamy mushrooms were an absolute treat. The other two dishes my food-loving friends ordered were the Les Cavatellis – Homemade cavatelli, seafood ragout, carabinero prawn and the Le Bar de Ligne – Wild sea bass, artichoke puree, spinach, sea urchin emulsion, pearl barley, black truffle julienne. Both dishes were greedily lapped up within a mere minute, so it’s safe to say they really, really liked it.

Cheese & dessert

on-dining-brunch-8-683x1024.jpgCheese selectionon-dining-brunch-10-683x1024.jpgDessert platter: Homemade pastries with fruit and sorbet

After we were done with the mains, a good selection of cheese was brought to our table. Each cheese was explained to us and we were directed to try the cheeses from left to right. I usually prefer more mild flavored cheese (though the stinky ones are beginning to grow on me!), but I actually loved every single cheese here.

To wrap up, it was time for a beautiful dessert platter with a variety of homemade pastries, fruit, and sorbet. My favorite dessert was surprisingly the mini lemon meringue pie (quick background story: my parents used to always buy lemon meringue pie when I was growing up and I absolutely hated it – in hindsight, I think they totally did this because they knew I wouldn’t eat any! – but recently lemon desserts have grown on me and I actually really enjoy them).

Verdict on ON Dining brunch

The ON Dining brunch – Le Grande Brunch – is a fantastic option if you’re looking for an elegant brunch experience. I thoroughly enjoyed the six-course meal and would highly recommend it. Although it is a bit pricier than other brunches, the quality of the food more than makes up for it.

Price

Le Grande Brunch – HK$688 per person + HK$228 for additional 2 hours of free flow champagne, wine, beer, and soft drinks

ON Dining 
29/F, 18 On Lan Street
Central 

Tel: 2174 8100


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I’ve been contemplating laser hair removal for awhile now, but have always put it off (mainly because I wasn’t ready to commit to the pain and price!). I finally decided to take the plunge and tried laser hair removal in Hong Kong. After speaking with a few friends, I settled on two different places to try (I’m a terrible decision maker in case you didn’t know): The Skin Gym for my underarms and Strip for my bikini.  Is it worth the money? Definitely! Is it worth the pain? Didn’t feel any!

Laser Hair Removal VS IPL

Okay, so apparently there are two different types of permanent hair removal (who knew?!): Laser and IPL. If you’re like me and really have no clue about either, you’re probably asking yourself why laser hair removal is more expensive than IPL. After a bit of research and speaking with the lovely team at The Skin Gym, I discovered that IPL is less effective in permanently getting rid of your hair because they emit a range of wavelengths (akin to a light bulb), and therefore aren’t focused and don’t always penetrate deep into the skin. Alternately, lasers emit a single concentrated wavelength, which specifically targets individual hair follicles. Thus, you end up achieving better and faster results with laser.

Laser Hair Removal Hong Kong: Underarms at The Skin Gym

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Try not to judge, but I always found that I get a “five o’clock” shadow on my underarms hours after shaving and I was just tired of having to shave every single day. So, I made an appointment at The Skin Gym to have my first laser hair removal session on my underarms.

Session 1

I walked in without any idea about what would happen next. Thankfully, the staff were friendly and informative, and the whole process was honestly painless. They started off at a lower voltage (I think I’m using correct terminology here..) and the device used almost looked and felt like a warm suction cup. I was in and out of The Skin Gym within five minutes.

After about a week without seeing any results (perhaps in part because I continued with my normal shaving routine out of sheer habit), I began to notice that my hair was much more fine and wasn’t even growing back. I was really surprised, as I didn’t think this would happen after only the first session. I didn’t need to shave for about 2 – 2.5 weeks, at which point random thin hairs began to pop up randomly.

Session 2

You’re meant to go back every 4 – 6 weeks, so I did just that and experienced almost the same results, except I don’t think I shaved for about 2.5 – 3 weeks after the hair began falling out (which happens about a week after the treatment). The second time around, the voltage was turned up a fair bit higher on the machine, and while it didn’t hurt per say, it wasn’t particularly comfortable.

Overall, I’m super satisfied with the results (and I’ve only had two sessions!) and would 100% recommend laser hair removal at The Skin Gym if you’re looking to permanently get rid of unwanted hair.

Laser hair removal for underarm: HK$1690 per session

The Skin Gym 
The Centrium
21/F, Room 6
60 Wyndham Street
Central

Tel: 2810 8088

IPL: Bikini at Strip

strip-1024x379.jpgImage from Strip

Since I was so happy with my results from The Skin Gym, I opted to also get my bikini hair removed as well. Given the relatively sensitive nature of that area and my general curiosity of the difference between the two forms of permanent hair removal, I went with IPL.

For this  treatment, a cooling gel was put on first and then the laser went on top. It was completely painless and quicker than I had thought. My results were surprisingly similar to my underarms: after about a week or so, the hair fell out and didn’t start to grow back for about 1.5 weeks. Afterwards, a few random, thin hairs began to pop up. It’s been almost a month and there’s still very little there. I’m really happy with my results and will definitely go back for more sessions.

IPL hair removal for bikini: HK$1680 

Strip
9/F, 8 Lyndhurst Terrace
Central

Tel: 3950 3950

Featured image from mtlblog.com


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thisgirlabroad
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Thailand is well-known for its delicious, inexpensive food just about everywhere you go, so it should come as no surprise that you’ll find plenty of delicious food on the island of Koh Samui as well. Admittedly, I’ve been to areas of Thailand that had a wider selection of food, Samui has a solid amount of options if you’re looking to devour all the Thai food in sight. These are my top 10 picks of what to eat in Koh Samui.

1. Pad Thai

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This is a no-brainer. You basically have to have pad thai while in Thailand (and definitely more than once). Although you can get this noodle dish at just about any restaurant, local and western alike, I would recommend heading to one of the night markets that pop up during the week. Here, you can snag a big portion of pad thai (just like the one above) for THB50 or a smaller portion where they’ll wrap it up in takeaway paper for THB10.

2. Thai Milk Tea

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I love all types of milk tea, but Thai milk tea is next-level delicious. I tried some in more western restaurants on the island, but they were around THB80 and not very good. Instead, try to find a tiny drink/smoothie stand and order one there. Better yet, try to find a spot where you can actually see them making the tea (I saw this when I went to the night market in Chaweng where the milk tea was only THB30). If you don’t have much of a sweet tooth (or just don’t want the extra calories), be sure to tell them you want “less sweet”.

3. Mango Sticky Rice

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Ah, the beloved Thai dessert – how can you not love mango sticky rice? Although this is one of my favorite desserts, it wasn’t as present in Koh Samui. They did have it at both night markets I went to, however the thin sugary topping that they have wrapped up in a bag isn’t quite the same as when thick condensed milk is drizzled (read: poured) on top.

4. Grilled Coconut Rice Wrapped in Banana Leaf

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This was a new Thai sweet that I haven’t had before, despite having been to Thailand multiple times. Inside each banana leaf is a sweet mixture of sticky rice and coconut. Although it looked quite plain, this turned out to be one of my favorite foods I had on the island.

5. Papaya Salad

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Yet another Thai staple is papaya salad. I had it multiple times in Koh Samui and each time I ordered it, the dish tasted very different than the last. Healthy, refreshing, and oh-so spicy, it’s a great snack to have midday or a starter to share with friends before a big meal at night.

6. Coconut Ice Cream

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Confession: I’m a complete sucker for Instagrammable food. I found these coconut ice cream stands at the night markets I went to and absolutely loved them. For THB50 you get four scoops of homemade coconut ice cream, fresh coconut shavings, and your choice of a variety of toppings including peanuts, mochi, and dried fruit.

7. Silk Worms

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I’ve seen my fair share of edible insects during my South East Asian travels, but I had never really felt inclined to give them a try (can you really blame me?!). I’m still not entirely sure what compelled me to try silk worms in Koh Samui, but I did. And I gotta say, they weren’t that bad. Oddly enough, the texture reminded me of chickpeas and there was a savory powder that was put on top of them that added a surprisingly nice flavor to the otherwise tasteless bugs. For THB30, you may as well go for it!

8. Thai Noodle Soup

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I found it rather difficult to find local food stalls around the more tourist areas of Koh Samui, so when I found a tiny soup noodle stand I was ecstatic. A bowl of Thai noodles only cost THB30 and I was able to choose which fresh noodles I wanted and how much spice I could handle.. I just wish that I discovered this place sooner!

9. Skewers of All Kinds

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You’ll likely walk past a few street-side vendors in the markets that have an array of skewers on display. Although most look like chicken, you should definitely get a bit adventurous with your choice. I suggest picking a random skewer or two and just take a bite – what’s the worst that could happen?!

10. Grilled Sticky Rice

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I was actually quite surprised when I came across these thick grilled circles of rice at one of the night markets, as this was something that felt much more Japanese than Thai to me. They put a coating of egg wash over the rice before grilling it, which creates that deliciously crunchy exterior while keeping the rest of the rice soft. The grilled rice was so simple, yet so delicious – an easy snack option.


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