Quick Batam Getaway 15-16 Dec 2013

We did a quick one night Batam Getaway with Aunty Linda and family when they were in Singapore this December. Though it was short, it was definitely a good and relaxing trip and a refreshing time with family.

I realised that this is actually probably my fifth trip to Batam! Through the years, have been to Batam for school trips, planning retreat, church camp etc. My last most recent trip was just 2 years ago. It was one of Daniel’s first overseas trip. One of the things I like best about Batam is that it is an hour behind Singapore. But somehow, though it is just an hour, the pace seems much slower and that fast paced Singapore. It is a good place to just chill and slow down. I remember the last time I was there 2 years back, my watch actually stopped working. And amazingly, the moment I got back to Singapore, it started ticking away again. And during that trip, I actually felt as if I stopped noticing the time and simply just relax. No rushing to beat the clock and to complete tasks!

Thus was looking forward to this trip after a hectic week – post renovation cleaning and preparation for Yuping’s wedding the week before. All in, it was a good trip. Love our hotel – Harris Batam Centre. It was contemporary with vibrant colours. And it was just 5 minutes walk from the shopping area too. We had some great food too. Love the Indonesian meals we had. We also had a seafood dinner. I have had seafood at Batam at the same place (Golden Prawn) numerous times but what was so special about this time was that we chose our ‘live seafood’ that we wanted for dinner. That was fun!

For activities, as it was only one day, we didn’t do much other than just R&R. Wanted to do a massage but somehow, the timing was not right. As always, bringing the boy on a holiday meant that it was difficult to get any kind of shopping done. So we didn’t shop much too. I just got the main thing I came to Batam to buy and that was it. Wacoal undergarments are really a good buy in Batam and it is a must buy whenever I come since I discovered that the last time I came 2 years back.

Another highlight was the one hour or so I spent with Daniel and Adora at the arcade while Daddy went for spa. The arcade in Batam costs so much less. Paid for about five sing dollars worth of credits and had about slightly more than an hour of entertainment. Can never get that in Singapore arcades! What I also like about the Batam arcades is that the games are much simpler and fun …… although some might say backward. But I actually prefer these than some of the complex machines back in Singapore. In Singapore, I don’t really like walking into arcades as it is super noisy and has a scary atmosphere (for lack of a better description!).

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Hong Kong 2013 Day 6

Final day at Hong Kong!

Our flight was in the afternoon at 330pm, so we still had the whole morning. We planned to go to The Peak. To save time, we cabbed up, although we didn’t save that much time in the end as the morning traffic was heavy.

There was not much opened at the Peak as it was still early, so we settled for McDonald’s breakfast again. I was feeling totally tired from the long day at Disneyland yesterday, so was kind of grumpy that day.

Our super tired faces …… coffee an absolute must this morning! Cheered up by the smiley sunshine face latte art 🙂

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Nevertheless, it was a worthwhile trip up. Had a good view from the Peak of the city. And the tram ride down was an interesting experience too.

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Went back to the hotel to get our luggage and took a cab to the airport.

Had our last meal in Hong Kong Airport at Tsui Wah Restaurant. My fried rice was quite tasteless, but the noodles that Ivan ordered was really good. The buns with condense milk – their speciality was good too. And finally, I got a taste of good Yuen Yang in Hong Kong 🙂 Satisfied! For once, the milk tea was not too fantastic and tasted quite ‘siap’.


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Goodbye Hong Kong!


Overall, I really enjoyed this trip and fell in love with Hong Kong. Although this is my third visit to Hong Kong, I think it is only on this trip that I truly began to appreciate the beauty of this city. My first trip was many years back when I was still a teenager. My second was a history fieldtrip where we spent most of the day climbing the hills and exploring the terrain and military defence remnants of the battle of Hong Kong. This time round, I felt like I really got to explore this city. Love the theme parks, the convenient public transport, the markets, street shopping and of course the food! The people are warm, friendly and helpful too. It is similar to Singapore in some ways. It is a nice, modern city that has retained its cultural heritage and history really well I feel. I would love to come back again soon …perhaps within the next 5 years. Hope to visit Macau during the next visit as it is also a place with rich history.

Hong Kong 2013 Day 5

Spent a magical day at Disneyland. Daniel was able to take most of the rides! He was so excited that he did not even take his afternoon nap! Even at Ocean Park, he fell asleep in his stoller for 45 minutes.

The MTR train to Disneyland!

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Welcome to Disneyland!!


We started off at Tomorrowland. Our first ride – Autopia. Probably Daniel’s favourite and the ride we had to queue the longest – about 20 minutes. Later in the evening, we came back for a second ride for this. It was a great day to be at Disneyland. We were blessed with good weather. Also, because it was a weekday – Tuesday, it was not very crowded and we hardly had to queue for most of the rides. Managed to covered almost all the rides except a few that Daniel could not ride.

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Orbitron flying saucer ride

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Picture with Buzz Lightyear! We took the Blast Lightyear Astro Blasters ride too – quite a fun shooting ride. This ride, we came back later for a second time.

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We proceeded on to Fantasyland. Photos with the Disney Princesses 🙂 Some rides at Fantasyland we took – Cinderella Carousel, Mad Hatter Tea Cups, It’s a small world. Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Dumbo.

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Sleeping Beauty Castle!


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Lunch at the Royal Banquet Hall in Fantasyland

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Mickey’s PhiharMagic – 3D show




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Photos with Disney characters

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Mystic Manor ride at Mystic Point. I regretted taking this. Unforgettable because I was scared to tears 😦  Actually, it’s not scary for most. Daniel didn’t seemed scared and neither were the rest of the people taking the ride! I am just lousy at taking scary rides!


Toy Story Land

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Managed to catch a glimpse of the parade just as it was ending.

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The Golden Mickeys show – entertaining and good music/singing


Ivan and Daniel went for the cartoon drawing workshop while I did shopped at the gift shop.


The grand finale – Lovely display of fireworks


Hong Kong 2013 Day 4

Started the day with breakfast at McDonald’s


We planned to go Disneyland today but changed our plans at the last minute. We were running out of cash and had to go change money first. Had to wait for the banks to open at 930am. We decided to change at the bank as the rates were much better than that offered at the money changer. By the time we were done, it was almost 10am – the time Disneyland opens! And we still needed about 45 minutes to get the by MTR. We didn’t want to waste a minute in Disneyland and decided to go there tomorrow instead after checking the weather forecast that tomorrow would likely be a sunny day too.

So we swopped some of our plans around. Decided to go Toy Street at Sheung Wan, Mid levels escalator near Central and look for the famous egg tart and century eggs which are in the vicinity. And we plan to lunch at Tim Ho Wan at IFC Mall. I also hoped to have time to pop by Jardine’s Market at Causeway Bay. However, we did not manage to squeeze that in. Was an interesting morning exploring more places and yummy food in Hong Kong.

Toy Street was cool! We bought another cute lantern for Daniel and one to give to Sarah too. Also bought him a set of car tracks by Takara Tomy. The price seems slightly cheaper than in the departmental stores. There were many other stalls there besides those selling toys and we spent about an hour exploring the market.

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We took a tram down to the the Central Mid level escalators.

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Along the way, we exited the escalator and went in search of Tai Cheong Bakery to try the egg tarts. Ivan thought they were fantastic but I thought they were just so-so.


Next to find the century eggs highly recommended by Lee Lee from Yung Kee. We had to walk through a really tricky street which had a lot of traffic, slopes and difficult to navigate with a baby stroller. But we managed to find it 🙂 The eggs are pricey – about HK$70 for a box 6.

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Next, to get to IFC for Tim Ho Wan – something I have been looking forward too. Heard so much about it and the long queues since they opened an outlet in Singapore. Hopefully the queue is not as bad as One Dim Sum yesterday.

Walked a long way and finally go to our destination. Tim Ho Wan was crowded, but thankfully, the wait was just 15 minutes. Must say that it lives up to it’s reputation. Yummy dim sum! Ivan realised that he forgot to order the char siew pineapple but which was highly recommended. I am so glad he remembered. It is absolutely delicious – I think it’s one of the best things I have ever eaten.

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Went back to the hotel in the afternoon for Daniel’s nap and headed out in the evening to check out the City Gate outlets. Did not have much time to shop as we had to head back for an early night to prepare for long day at Disneyland tomorrow!!! Bought a lot of t-shirts from Espirit for gifts for our family.


Hong Kong 2013 Day 3

It is our third day in Hong Kong. A little bit on where we are staying at. We are staying at Cityview Hotel which is very near Yau Ma Tei MTR. We chose it as it is near where all the markets are. The hotel is pretty basic but pleasant. It is under YMCA. The rooms are not big but the size is decent. The staff are friendly and helpful. Overall, we enjoyed our stay at the hotel.

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For breakfast, we headed to Sham Shui Po to look for liver noodles breakfast at Wai Kee Noodle House. This was on our list of food to try. I must say that personally, this was the best meal I had in Hong Kong. When I last came to Hong Kong in 2002 for a history fieldtrip, I had this wonderful liver. It was unforgettable. I do not remember where I had it, so Ivan did some research to look for a good place to have liver. We ordered french toast for Daniel. It was good too. Highly recommend it! I tried the Yuan Yang – coffee with tea which is popular in Hong Kong. It was pretty average.

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We spent the rest of the morning exploring the markets at  Apliu Street at Sham Shui Po, Goldfish market, Ladies Street, Sneaker Street and Flower market.

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Headed to another place on our list which Ivan wanted to try – One Dim Sum. When we reached, there was a long queue. The estimated time – at least 45 minutes. Gasp! We took a number and went to walk around the markets nearby. We finally got a place at 2pm! The place is quite small and pretty cramped. Overall, I found the dim sum pretty average.

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Went back to the hotel for Daniel’s afternoon nap. We were all exhausted and napped with him too!

In the evening, we took the MTR to Central station and walked to take the Peak tram to the Peak. From a distance, we saw a large crowd and long queue and decided to change our plans. We decided to check out the shopping malls at Causeway Bay and come back for the Peak on a weekday when it is not so crowded. Checked out Sogo and WTC at Causeway Bay. Pretty disappointing. There were no sales and the prices of stuff were pretty much the same as back home in Singapore. Decided to give up on shopping at the malls in Hong Kong. Had a yummy dinner at UCC at Sogo. First time I had good coffee since coming to Hong Kong. Think the milk tea in Hong Kong is much better than the coffee here. For a coffee lover, it’s pretty disappointing. But Ivan has been raving about almost every milk tea he has had, even the ones at Mcdonald’s!

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Hong Kong 2013 Day 2

Today, our main programme is Ocean Park.

We started off our day with breakfast at a restaurant opposite our hotel as we were too lazy too walk around looking for places to eat. We ordered pumpkin pork congee, custard buns, shrimp chee cheongsam fun, fried shrimp dumpling and siew mai. Food was good. The pumpkin pork congee was an interesting blend of flavours that worked. The custard bun was good too. The siew mai had a smooth texture to it and I like it cos it did not have the porky smell. Pork is not my favorite meat cos sometimes, there is this porky smell which I find distasteful. Am impressed that so far, all the restaurants we walked in serve pretty decent food, and these are not even in the recommended list.


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Took the MTR and bus to Ocean Park.

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Weather was good! There was no rain and a good day for outdoor activities. Ocean Park is quite big. It is divided into two parts – The Waterfront and The Summit and you have to take either the Ocean Express Train or cable car to get from once part to the other.

Some places we visited/rides we took:

  • Asian animals – the panda there was called Jia Jia too! Must be a popular panda name. There were also golden monkeys
  • Ocean Express train to connect from the Waterfront to the Summit
  • Polar adventures. Enjoyed this place the most. It was in a cold enclosure – a refreshing respite from the hot sun. Highlight for me was the snow owl! The penguins are cute too.
  • Dolphin show
  • Took a cable car back to The Waterfront

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Daniel’s favourite section is definitely Whiskers Harbour – this is the section for younger kids so he could take most of the rides here.

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Last stop was the Grand Aquarium. This is similar to S.E.A Aquarium at Resorts World we visited a few months back.

All in, Ocean Park was quite enjoyable. We went on Saturday which is not the best day as it was very crowded with lots of tourists.

Ended off the day with dinner at one of the food stalls at Temple Street. The food was just so-so but quite cheap.

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Explored the Temple Street market and walked back to our hotel.

Super long and tiring day!

Hong Kong 2013 Day 1

Woke up early to catch our 8am Cathay Pacific flight. The good thing about an early flight is that we have a good part of the day ahead. Saw some familiar faces at the Singapore airport – a colleague and her husband also going to Hong Kong on the same flight. Also, bumped into an ex- student who is now a fine young man and he wished me Happy Teachers’ Day 🙂

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We touched down at HK International airport at noon. Had lunch at the airport at Maxim’s food – a food court. Food was surprisingly good for food court.

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Took a cab down to our hotel at Yau Ma Tei and we napped together with Daniel.

In the evening, we headed down to Tsim Tsa Tsui …. Wanted to look for Star Cafe …couldn’t find it and ended up having dinner in a little shop. It had many pics of HK stars who had been there and we decided to give it a try. Good choice! Enjoyed my cheesy noodles with hot dog. I tried Ivan’s sweet chilli chicken rice and it was not bad too.

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Spent the rest of the evening walking along Avenue of Stars and enjoying the harbour view. The symphony of lights laser show was an interesting display of laser and lights at the harbour area. The lights on the buildings along the skyline of the harbour danced in tandem with the rhythm of the music – best I could describe!!

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Happy to find Cream Soda in HK!

Happy to find Cream Soda in HK!

Lovely start to our holiday 🙂