Sunday, July 3, 2016

Airline Review: Emirates Airlines and Delta airlines

I have tried various airlines throughout my years of travel, more than 20.
One of the reason think is fun to experience different airlines.  The other reason is definitely the price, if it is on promotion, we are getting it. However, there are some airlines I avoid but some I look forward to taking.

I heard rumors of American airlines not being up to par and how Emirates is one of the best airlines around.

I was hesitant about taking Delta airlines last year to Japan, but it was almost $200 cheaper than Japan Airlines. However, the flight turn out to be much pleasant than I expected. They provide cheap earplugs and eye mask so you can have a better sleep. They also provide bottles of mineral water so that if you can keep yourself hydrated throughout the flight without having to ask for it. and bottles are definitely easier to store than cups. The flight entertainment was good and so was the leg space.

This May/June, I took Emirates to Melbourne. I was looking so forward to it as I have heard of it good reputation. I did not have a chance to take it throughout my years of travel, usually due to pricing.

I posted a photo on my instagram when I boarded my flight, good leg space and good selection of movies.

It was an overnight flight which departs at 1040pm and will reach melbourne around 740am ( Melbourne timing). Around one plus after the plane took off, supper was served. Then the lights were dimmed, which is time for us to sleep. It is important to sleep on overnight flight so when we reached Melbourne, we can start on our trip. And I believe most people do not have the luxury to catch up on their sleep immediately when they reach Melbourne. The flight was around half full as a lot of people were taking up 2 to 3 seats so they can have a good sleep. Emirates decided they need around 3 hours to serve breakfast, they woke up around 440am ( Melbourne time) and 240am ( Singapore time).
It was frustrating to be woken up and it was so hard to go back to sleep. We have two hours left after breakfast. I wrote to Emirates inquiring about this but they say they have no rules or schedules for the staff to follow, they can serve anytime they want. What a cool airline, staff are allowed to do what they want.

For the return flight, we had this interesting air stewardess. When she was serving drinks, she just push it roughly to us. The drink almost spilled and startled  us and the air stewardess, she just move on with her job with no apology.

During dinner time, the person in front of one of us had her seat inclined all the way down. We thought just wait for the air stewardess because some people get agitated if you pinpoint their actions. The tray was those folded in two, but as the chair was inclined all the way down, there was no way we can put the tray down. The air stewardess came to serve dinner, she took no notice and shoved the tray at my friend. She was frustrated with my friend when her tray was not down. Then she finally realize that she need to ask the person to sit upright. My dinner has been a small corner open up, and my sauce was somewhat dried up. I only realized that mine was dry as my friends had their meal served 5-10 minutes later.

During the snack time before we reach Singapore around 2 hours which is around 10 pm Sg time, they started distributing food on small little plates. On the menu, it wrote beef or cheese/ vegetarian pie. Who will remember when you just woke up? They started passing it to any passengers who make eye contact with them. My pie was overturned, I thought they changed to serving pancakes as it does look like a pie. They were busy just passing pies on little plates, not serving.You put out your hand and you get a pie. This time round, they decide not to wake passengers up by switching on the light.  After passing the pies around, they decided to do it professionally with the trolley. They started to offer choices to passengers. We knew that as they were offering it to the passengers right in front of us. We were upset because we choose to take the pie first, we were not give a choice or told what was the food. As they did not switch on the light, you can hear the air stewardess shrieking that she cant see the marking on the pie. It was loud. I do not take beef, I took a small bit of the pie, I almost ate the beef. It was upsetting to me.

We decided not to make a scene as the air stewardess was busy. We were tired, so we will use very not nice words on the air stewardess.

We decide to just write an email asking Emirates how and why. Emirates' reply was great. They say they have no rules to when food was served, how it was served, seats having to be upright during meal times. In other words, the air stewardess are just trained to serve food and operate whatever things. They told me I was given beef pie due to pies running out and I did not indicate my choice. I told them in the email, there were cheese/vegetarian pies but I was not offered it. They do not read the email. I do not mind if there is no cheese/vegetarian pie. If I did not indicate, I don't mind not eating as it was my fault. They were ample cheese pies but they just choose not to offer it. Moreover, t hey encourage me to make a fuss on the plane or if not, it is too late. To them, the air stewardess and staff need nothing much wrong.

If you want to work with an airlines, choose Emirates. They are so easy going with their staff.
If you want to enjoy your flights, choose anything but Emirates.

This is upside down pie, how professional Emirates is.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Japan Free and EAsy: Yokohama Monterey Hotel

There is not a lot of option for airbnb at Yokohoma so we decided to stay in hotel.
The location was great.
Location: 5-10 minutes walk from Motomachi Chukagai train station.
Motomachi Train station is just beside Chinatown.
Then to walk to the Red Brick House is around 15 minutes. And to the cup noodle museum is around 20 minutes. It is also 5 minutes to the Yokohama Marine Tower and 10 minutes from Motomachi shopping trip.  There are convenient stores and cafes nearby.  I consider the location great. 
We took a bus and then the train from Tokyo airport. The train station is the last stop, so it is great as we manage to get good seats for the long train journey from Yokohama to Tokyo. 

We went during the end of December, it is a nice weather to stroll around, then take the train.

First impression. Clean and new although furnishing looked dated.

It comes with 3 proper beds. A small TV, a soft and a small chair and a big desk. 
The room is considered quite spacious as hotel room are quite small in Tokyo.

Comes with a kettle. and 3 cups. Triple sharing room usually have 2 sets of toiletries and cups. This is one of the good hotel that provide 3 sets of everything.

We booked a room with harbour view as the price difference is not high and we were celebrating Christmas. The view was really good. There is no obstruction and there is just a small park just in front. 

The view from the hotel room

 The park near the hotel. Nice a stroll and great scenery too.

I will recommend this hotel as I like that it is accessible to most places. Taking the train is sometimes a bit troublesome as we have to walk to the train station, walk down the flight of stairs. Wait for the train and go up the stairs again and is not free. 
If you want a funky hotel, then this not it. 
The wifi is free and fast. No limit to the number of devices that can connected.

The only negative point is that their customer service is a it weird. I left an empty bag at the hotel. I check out of the hotel around 11 am and left my luggage at the hotel till 3 pm. They did not notify me I left my bag. When I email them a few days later, they mention they have the bag in their procession and ask me to pay for postage if I want the bag back. They say it is not their policy to check with customers if they still want the bag. They will just wait patiently us to contact them.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Save on travel with ShopBack: Expedia promo codes and cashback

As a frequent traveller, saving money on trips is very important to me.

More savings in air tickets and accomodations means more money for shopping and good food.

And don't we all love the feeling of being smart and accomplished because you get a better deal then anyone else?

I have been using Shopback for around a year. When my friend told me about it, I rolled my eyes and have my doubts. It is too good to be true - are there any hidden terms and conditions like administrative fees and etc? However, the savings was too tempting for me to resist and I thought there was no harm giving it a try. That wass how I start using Shopback.

Using it was a breeze, it can use for a lot of online merchants and the list keep increasing. Some of the merchants that I tried using Shopback on are Zalora, Lazada. Zuji, Expedia,, Asos, Taobao and a lot more. I have unknowingly accumulated more than $200 of cashback credits!

Reasons why I recommend Shopback

It is very easy to use. Just click on the link to the online shop to make your purchases and you can start accumulating your savings.
There are no hidden administrative charges, and terms and conditions.
There is a summary of workable discount codes. (you know the hassle of googling for discount code but to realise most of them are fake or expired)
The Shopback credits can be transferred to your bank account with no hidden charges
Shopback can be used concurrently with discount codes.
They are really organised and nice, they will send you an email once your Shopback is credited to your account.

I will be making a trip to Melbourne in 1 Month.

The airtickets cost:

Flight Booking Price including Taxes, Charges, Payment and Service fees (SGD)$1,950.60
Emirates Airline Airfare from Singapore to Melbourne (Tullamarine)
3 Adult Airfare(s)$1,548.00
Taxes & Surcharges$402.60
 Booking Fee$90.00
Discount: By Applying Coupon LUNCHTIME20$(20.00)
Booking Price including Taxes, Charges, Payment and Credit Card Fees (SGD)$2,020.60

Rebate $16.33. And I am still allow to use the discount code. Double savings!!!

Rebate of $29.36 and still allow to use discount code!!!

So for my trip $45.69 not including discount code. Cant help feeling so smart. Not just feeling. I am really smart.

How to join Shopback

1. Click this

2. Create an account. $10 bonus for signing up. :D

3. Search for the online shop, click on it. Scroll down for promotion code.

4. Click on shop now and you can start shopping and saving.

5. There will be an email sent to inform you of your savings after you make payment.

6. Just wait for the money to be credit to your account and you can transferred it to your own bank account.

If you find my instructions unclear, take a look at Shopback Tutorialvideo for a step by step instructions

Therefore for the best deals, do your online shopping at ShopBack.

And for those travellers like me here is the link to find the list of travel merchants!

Here is the link to more offers on travel bookings from online travel merchants such as Expedia and Agoda.

And for those who are not into travelling but just love food and cooking, you can try getting the ingredients with cashback at Honestbee!

I was invited to do this review by ShopBack

However, the information is personal and true. Extracted from my own accounts. Do not copy and use them without permission.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

10 Delicious Food You must try in Hong Kong

Here are some of the recommendations

1. Dim Sum

Dim sum are traditional chinese snacks or refreshment.
I consider this a must eat whenever I am in Hong kong. This is suited for the whole family as there are steamed and fried items, savory and sweet items. There is something for everybody. And the Dim Sum is better quality than most Singapore resturants

There are available at all sort of price to suit different budget and preferences

Tim Ho Wan. The cheapest Michelin restaurant, most people will visit it as it is also wallet friendly.
Lin Heung Tea House, which is in a more traditional settings. You may have to share tables, and you see Hongkongers reading the papers and enjoying their breakfast or tea. The dim sum are serve in trolleys and it gets a bit challenging to order as the staff speaks cantonese and are really fast in showing or explaining to you about the items
For more on Lin Heung Tea house,

Luk Yu Teahouse 陸羽茶室, the oldest tea house in Hongkong. It is also a traditional dim sum place with pushcarts. Compare to Lin Heung Tea House, the food are more expensive but you can a quieter and organised environment. There is no sharing of table. 

2. Mango Desserts

There are  a lot of shops selling mango desserts in Hongkong and several of them opened branches in Singapore. For example, Lucky Dessert and Honeymoon Desserts. I feel that they just taste better in Hong Kong.
The reason of its popularity is its generous servings of mango and also the mango are sweet and not sour.  The Durian desserts are also quite popular.

Lucky Desserts
Great place to eat after shopping at Mongkok.

許留山Hui Lau Shan
Lots of branches especially at Mongkok .
One of the most famous branch.
Best for summer, a refreshing mango drink on the go

Cong Sao Dessert 聰嫂私房甜品
My latest finding. This place is quite small and cramped. Expect to queue and share tables.
To me, the desserts are on par or better than the Xu Liu Xiang. The mango ice has a strong mango flavour, must try for mango lover. The durian pancakes was creamy and delicious.
I will definitely visit this place again. 
11 Yiu Wa St Causeway Bay
Walking distance from Times Square at Causeway Bay MTR
Hours: 1230pm to 12am.

3. Wanton Noodles

The differences between Singapore and Hongkong WAnton Noodles.
 Wanton is Hongkong wanton are big and filled with prawns and meat, Singapore one is small and compact with pork only.
Hongkong Noodles are not more chewy and tougher.
More efforts are put into the soup base for Hongkong Wanton Noodles as it is usually eaten with soup.
Singapore Wanton Noodles have Char Siew (pork slices) and vegetables, Hongkong ones only have Wanton and spring onions.

My vote definitely goes to Hongkong WAnton Noodles, even though is pricey than Singapore Hawker Version. I like the fat juicy Wanton with the springy and chewy noodles. 

A Must try.

4. Milk Tea/ Yuen Yang/Toast ( Food at Cha Chan Ting)

Cha Chan Ting is the Hongkong Traditional cafe. For cafe hoppers, you can try Cha Chan Ting hopping. There are some Cha Chan Ting with very nice interiors.
Different Cha Chan Ting are famous for different food items.  
The famous food at Cha Chan Ting includes their milk tea, Yuen Yang (coffee+ milk tea), egg tarts, polo buns. Not one Cha Chan Ting serves everything so you do have to make a few visits to different places to enjoy all the delicious foods.

For example, Lan Fong Yuen for their milk tea but their food taste great too which is one of my favourite. 
KAh Wah Cafe for their polo baos which is my sister's favourite.
NOte: you may have to share tables at Cha Chan Ting and their menu seems a bit confusing at times.
Ding Ding mian means instant noodles. 
Yuen Yang (coffee+ milk tea)

The Famous Lan Fong Yuen

5. Desserts (High tea)

Hongkong has a wonderful selection of Hotels providing high tea. After the Cha Chan Ting hopping, go for some small and delectable desserts.
I have not been to a lot of high tea in HongKong due to time constraints, but if you try googling. There are so recommendations of interesting and delicious hight tea in Hongkong. Sometimes they work together with brands like cath kidson or laudrees to create an more interesting concept and yummy food.

6. Porridge

Hongkong is famous for their porridge too. Their porridge are thicker, full of flavour and lots of ingredients. It taste more like the Sin Heng Kee porridge and Hugange.

The photo does not do justice to the porridge and the ingredients (pork) is really a lot.

7. Street Food

  Hongkong has its own unique version of street food.
The most famous or infamous will the stinky tofu. You can smell the distinctive smell even when you are steps away. Try it if you dare. I tried but it is not something to my liking
The one that kids will love will be the egg waffle or ji dan zan, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. It is sweet and fragrant.
The other famous street food includes the curry fishball and the fried intestine. There are stalls selling them around Hongkong. You can find most of them at Mongkok..
The grilled squid is something I don't see around Hongkong but the one at Mongkok taste real good.Worth trying.

8. Roast Duck, Roast Pigeon, Roast Goose, Roast Pork and Soup

 Hongkong is also famous for their roast delicacies. Definitely must try unless you are very health conscious, then just have the soup. I love the roast delicacies, I usually don't take too fatty roast pork as it has a weird taste but the roast pork here just taste too good to resist.
There are many shops selling the roast food items. The most famous is the Yung Kee at Lan kwai Fong, which is slightly pricier. I havebeen there, did not leave an impression.
There are a lot of shops in Hongkong selling at a reasonable price.

My favourite is Keung  Kee as they also serve delicious soups. The photo below is the hk$64 set meal, ordered 3 sets but is enough for 4 person.

9. Claypot Rice

Hongkong is famous for their claypot. The most famous one I know about is Hing Kee the temple street, it is moe like eating on the street.. The trick to eating claypot rice is to wait for no one, just add the sauce and stir. Don't add too much as the taste is irreversible  and if you wait too long to stir, the sides will be very burnt.

10. Pastries/bread/cakes

Hongkong great bakeries too. The most famous will be for their Lao Po Bin and Po lo Bao.
However, that is not the only thing that is nice.
I like Maxim chiffon cake, a soft but not heavy texture.
Their cakes are pretty and delicious too, bought one random and not very expensive cake for a birthday celebration. Everyone enjoy the cake. 
Some random bakery at Sham shui Po
A cool and modern cafe which sells breads and cakes. 
Traditional pastries.

Other than Lao Po Bin, they do have other pastries at the local bakeries.

If you are in Hongkong for a stopover and you can only eat at one place, I will recommend Sweet Dynasty.
There serve Dim sum, porridge, Wanton Noodles, desserts.
The standard may not be as good as places specializing in each of the food but is above average and you get to try almost everything. 

There are still a  lot of interesting food to try in Hong Kong, their milk desserts or their Bi Feng Tang crabs. The 10 items are just some of the delicious food that I will try to have every time I visit Hongkong. I may not go to the same shop for the food every time as I do want to try something new and explore new food. Even the Macdonalds, yoshinoya and KFC serve different food items that is worth trying.
Hong Kong is a food heaven, it is very difficult not to bring back extra weight.
Hope this help in planning a faboulous food trip in Hong King.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Hongkong free and easy : Lamma Island

How to get there:
Took a train to Central and walk to the ferry terminal.
Take the ferry from Central Pier 4
The frequency of the ferry is between 20 minutes to 40 minutes
The fare is hk$17.10  for adults and hk$8.60 for children and senior citizens from Monday to Saturday.

The fare is hk$23.70  for adults and hk$11.90 for children and senior citizens on Sunday.
Better to go on weekdays as it is less crowded and cheaper. 

The map at the merry terminal. The ferry will bring you to Yung Shue Wan

Reach Lamma Isalnd. Weather was a bit dull that day, but the good thing is that the weather is very cooling and not sunny. 

We turn right as there is the direction where everyone is going.
That is the side with more attractions and eateries.

 You can grabsome local produces and maybe some fruits to eat along the way

We went into a Cha Chan Ting that was quite crowded. I think it is a safer bet. The restaurant is famous for red bean dessert drink and the rice with fried fish and bean curd skin. This is the first time I seen this kind of rice set on a menu, the food was quite delicious. My mum ordered fried noodles, Singapore style, which means with fried noodles with curry powder. The red bean dessert drink is a must for anyone who love red beans, look at the amount of red bean. 

If you are into cafe hopping, there are also a few cafes for you to choose from.

There is a lot of eateries at Lamma Island, not just seafood restaurants. If you are worried about being overcharged at seafood restaurants or you are allegeric to seafood. There are a few cha chan ting and cafes, even shops selling pastry. Don't have to bring much food but do bring water. However, do control your water intake as toilets are not all over the place

Good Place for the ootd or for instagram

We walked from from Yung Shue Wan ferry Terminal to Sok Kwu Wan Ferry TERminal. and took the ferry back from Sok Kwu Wan Ferry termainal.
We skipped the Lamma Power station because it seems too far and the slope looks steep. 
The walk or trek has ups and downs (slopes). Wear good walking shoes as it takes around 4-5 hours from Yung Shue Wan ferry Terminal to Sok Kwu Wan Ferry TERminal.

Time table for ferry from Sok Kwu Wan to Central

Some one decide to set up a stall at a junction selling batik shirts. Hope his business is good. 

There are starfruit trees, banana trees around the island. Great place for city kids who does not have a chance to get close to nature.

There pit stops along the way. That was toilet and sell some light refreshment. This was somewhere before Hung Shing Yeh Beach. I think they are famous for their soya bean curd.  I only tried the grilled sweet corn. They used pearl corns,  the corns are a mixture of white and yellow. This type of corns is sweeter and more expensive.

View from the pavilion

 The rafts

Some tips:
Try to go early if possible and finish the walk around early afternoon before it gets hot and sunny.
Apply sunblock and also bring a cap and sunglasses if possible.
Check the weather before you travel if there is forecast of heavy rains, will need to postpone the trip.
If you someone who may get seasick and will vomit out your breakfast, you can grab a heavy brunch here before setting off for the walk. Then eat some snacks along the way. I don't see as much eateries at Sok Kwu Wan. And after the trek, can head back to Central for a early dinner.
Bring water but do not overdrink. I only know toilets are available at the beach and near the ferry terminal.
Good walking shoes are a must.
If you intend to hang around the beach till evening, then bring extra attires
There are quite a number of slopes, not for elderly who can walk long distances. There is no turning back so once you set them on the track, they have to keep walking. That is the case for my dad. He have to force himself to continue walking because we are somewhere along the middle when he felt like giving up. It is around 7km. We do not mean to torture him, we did not know there was so much slopes. He did receive a lot of support and love.