Tag: traveling

Discover Desserts @ Hong Kong

Okay, so the real reason we came back to Hong Kong was because of the Hello Kitty popup grocery that would be closing by the end of May. It wasn’t even a question of whether I’d go back. As my daughter puts it, “You simply have to go there.” So there. I am an obedient mother.

 

But as it was already our second return to Hong Kong for the year, I was determined that we would not just shop the way we usually do, but also try to experience more of what the city had to offer in terms of food. I was glad to find some dessert gems that we would definitely go back to.

Dim Dimsum – The one that we tried was in Mongkok. Thank goodness there was only a short line outside the restaurant. It is just a tiny place with simple furnishings, but my friends (who were big dumpling fans) really enjoyed eating a lot of different food! I personally liked the presentation of their milk tea, and enjoyed my piggy salted egg custard and pineapple buns!

Filled with hot salted egg custard, these pig buns are cute AND yummeh!

The ice outside the milk tea keeps the drink cold, but doesn’t dilute the taste!
Oddies Foodies- Located at the Soho district, this dessert place serves egg waffles with gelato. The one we ordered had brownies pressed into it. They also had packed Nutella meringue which you could buy to give away to friends.

Egg waffles are a very popular dessert in HK
Taste Cafe in Macau – Ok, so technically, it’s not in Hong Kong, but if you have time, Macau also has very interesting places to eat in. Sadly, I don’t know the exact location of this place, but it is along Senado, when you attempt to walk to the ruins. They had a purple yam sandwich, that was really a dessert because apart from purple yam, it had condensed milk as a topping!

Taste served cold brew coffee in this beautiful container
I’m glad we explored a lot of eats in this trip! Happy travels =)

 

Airline Review: Turkish Airline

We were planning a trip to London and scouting for good, but reasonably priced airlines via Sky Scanner. Turkish Air came up as an option and when my husband researched on it, he found out that the airline provided an optional city tour to Turkey. I was psyched! I’ve wanted to visit Istanbul for a while now (Hagia Sophia!) so I really wanted to see how we could make it happen. We only had an 8-day leave from work so we had to squeeze our schedules to fit everything in. Alan found a connecting flight to London that had an 11- hour gap, which was perfect for the half-day free city tour.

Once we had boarded the plane, I immediately checked out its entertainment facility. It was a 12-hour trip from Manila to Istanbul so having a good selection of films is a must. Thank goodness Turkish Air delivered with individual touch screens per seat and a remote/game controller. The movies and Tv content were current, making it possible for me to watch many new releases that I had missed in the cinema (Incidentally, check out Fresh Off the Boat–funee!). Each economy class passenger was given a care pouch with slippers, toothpaste, toothbrush, socks, eye masks and lip balm. Kids have their own activity magazine and their very own care kit as well. At the start of the trip, they give each passenger a sweet treat (Turkish Delight), which is pretty addicting (bought a couple of boxes)!
We arrived in Istanbul at 5 am, but the counter for the city tour signup opened at 8 am so we had to find somewhere to sit in. Luckily, the shops in their airport opened early. We ate some bread and had coffee in a local bread shop. Then, we walked around to see the products of Istanbul. 
When the counter opened, they informed us that we would be having a boat tour of the Bosporus River, Golden Horn and Black Sea. But before that, we were treated to a free (yes, Free!) Mediterranean breakfast, which consisted of bread, three kinds of cheeses, a cold cut and Turkish tea. Then, the bus took us to the dock. The guide explained to us that Turkey has an Asian side and a European side divided by the seas. He also pointed to us the many beautiful structures in Istanbul, such as the Blue Mosque and the Sultanahmet. It was a beautiful sampler of the country. After the mini cruise, we got back to the restaurant for free (yes, it’s free again) lunch consisting of grilled chicken (a little reminiscent of our own inasal) served with rice and very tasty chicken soup. The guide told us that since our flight was at 6 pm, we couldn’t join the group for their walking trip to the different mosques. Not wanting to miss out, Alan asked how to get back to the airport via commute. Since it was easy and convenient, Alan said we could visit the Hagia Sophia on our own. While walking to the mosque, we passed by the Arasta Bazaar which is a definite must-visit place for anyone who wants to get authentic Turkish products. How I wish I could bring home the woven rugs and beautiful covers that I saw, but I didn’t want to burden Alan so I contented myself with a box of Turkish Delight, Turkish coffee and small souvenirs.
Finally, we made it to the Hagia Sophia, and what luck! We spotted the tour group so we got spared paying for the entrance fee. Going there was really an experience because you could see there the merging of Islam and Christian art– fascinating! 
All in all, our only expenses consisted of getting a Turkish visa online, the bread we bought and shopping. 
So for the free trip alone, I give Turkish airline high marks for promoting its country to first timers such as myself. Points for improvement: Food during the flight could still be better (on the bland side) and toilets could be cleaner. But overall, thumbs up to Turkish Air!

5 Travel Hacks for the Pinoy Traveler

My well-worn boots will attest to the fact that I love to travel. It’s one of the few things that can clear my mind and relieve me of the anxieties of everyday living. And so, in my travel experiences, I’ve picked up some tips that have made it more convenient for me (as if I needed more motivation) to get out my travel gear and go.

  1. Check the exchange rate in your country vis-à-vis the country you are traveling to.

I normally bring US dollars when I travel because it is the most widely accepted currency. But recently, I discovered that some currencies actually have a better exchange rate here in the Philippines. Take for example the Japanese Yen and recently, the Canadian dollar. People would actually convert money in the Philippines to get more bang for their buck. It will involve a little research, but if you could stretch your money, it could be well worth it!

  1. Bring foldable umbrellas. And while you’re at it, check the weather.

I used to leave things, like weather, to chance. But, after amassing a ton of umbrellas that I already have too much of to begin with, I realized that I would fare better if I just brought my own all the time. Of course, you have to be aware that these need to be checked in. Otherwise, it will be thrown away together with all the bagoong jars and whatnot in customs trashcans.

  1. Use shower caps to wrap your shoes.

This was the advice that my niece gave me. Every day, the cleaning lady would stock my bathroom pantry with new goodies and I always wondered what I would do with the shower caps so I normally left those behind. But, as my niece pointed out, shower caps make perfect bags for my shoes. It’s not big and messy like plastic, and the elastic secures the shoes.

  1. Hook your luggage keys.

Because of the advent of the tanim-bala, I have started locking my luggage. I never did before because I always lost the keys either during the trip, or after, when I’m storing my luggage. Now, once I lock my bag, I hook the keys (with the help of a key ring) to the zipper of my purse. Then, after the trip, I put the lock and the keys on the zipper of the luggage. Now, I never have to look for them!

  1. Bring your own tabo.

Yes, as I’ve said, this is for the Pinoy traveler. Not all countries have bidets. And like most Filipinos, I really need to use a tabo. Tired of using the tiny plastic cups the hotels normally provide, I went in search of my own travel tabo. I found this foldable beauty in the kitchen section of the local Daiso and knew that it would come in handy. It flattens, so there is no hassle at all in packing it up.

 

Well, I hope you learned something for your next travel adventure! Happy travels!