Hong Kong, a city of seven million

Here are some tips about Hong Kong. If you never been there prepare yourself otherwise you gonna end up like Musa, amazed and in love.

From Vietnam to Hong Kong (go and back) we paid around … with a limit of a cabin bag with 7kg. Musa’s bag had at least 10kg and passed anyway, so I guess it depends of the person from the check-in.

Fast Tips:
Drive side: on the left
Internet: .hk
Calling code: +852
Time zone: (UTC+8)
Official language: Chinese (Cantonese is the de facto standard of Chinese used)

Currency – Hong Kong Dollars, try not to exchange in the Airport. There are a lot of places in the city where you can do it.

Transports – Octopus Card, check the website to see whats the best option for you. I end up putting 100HK dollars (10€) every 4days. The truth is that you can use this card to pay for more things. A lot of shops had this system where you could pay with the Octopus Card – for example:

  • All MTR stations
  • Star Ferry
  • 7-Eleven
  • Mc Donald’s
  • For complete list click here

Remember: it requires you to pay a $50HK refundable deposit that covers the card cost. Octopus cards can be purchased at all MTR stations (airport also).

Food – A lot of things are in Cantonese, but if you ask they usually have a menu in English too, just don’t be surprised if the prices are different. Tourists are a good way to make more money.

Free Attractions – Free art is everywhere in Hong Kong, during the week, every Wednesday you can enter for free in the following museums: the Museum of Art, Museum of History, Heritage Museum, Science Museum, Space Museum, Museum of Coastal Defense and the Dr Sun Yat-sen Museum. Check this article at the Lonely Planet website, it’s really good and tells you all about the free stuff you can do: Tips.

Accommodations: Hong Kong is a but expensive, the cheapest rooms you might find is in the Chungking Mansions at Tsim Tsa Tsui, it looks a bit unorganized and there are a lot of people trying to sell you a bit of everything. You can also try couschsurfing, it’s really easy and safe in this city (at least from personal experience).

Walking around: It’s actually pretty save to walk around Hong Kong. It’s on the top 15 safest country’s according to World Economic Forum (WEF). –  telegraph.co.uk article

We’ll post some more articles about it in the next few days. Now here are some amazing views from Hong Kong.

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Once in Ha Long, Vietnam

Here are some things you can do or see in Ha Long Bay city. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and popular travel destination in Quảng Ninh Province, Vietnam. We had some time to travel around and see this beautiful city here are a few places and things we liked.

You have the night market, a good place if you what to bargain. They live for the tourists so you can always, and you should always, bargain.
You have Vincom – a shopping center. You have some shops, restaurants, and a supermarket. You also have some entertainment like games and an ice skating ring.
Ha Long Night Market – you can find this market in Marine Plaza. It has a lot of signs and indications, it won’t be hard to find. It’s quite big and its most about tourists so the prices can be higher Remember to bargain, it’s easy because all they want its to sell.

HALONG night market

Relax Places
You have a beach right next to Ha Long Park (which is an amusement park that is not yet opened it will be finish totally in 2019, but will be open in parts before).
You also have a million spas and massage centers that yo can enjoy.
Spa – there’s a lot of Spas here and foot massages shops.

Ha Long Park Sun Wheel, this was one of the coolest things we did here. You should definitely do it if you come here. You should try to go around the sunset time, once you are up there you can see most of the bay and the amassing view with that orange sunlight that makes everything especial. And once you get to the sun wheel you could go first play some games in the arcade game room and maybe drink some coffee and take a walk in the Buda Garden and when the lights of the wheel turn on take a look how cool they are and how cool the city is by night up there in the wheel. The lights from the bridge turn on at 18:00 p.m.

You can do some ice skating in Vincom Shopping Center.They have an ice ring in the top floor. And once you there go to the bookshop, they have a café inside and the terrace of that café has an amassing and spectacular view of the bay.

You can also climb the mountain near Vincom Shopping center. It’s called Bai Tho mountain– poem mountain. The entrance is pretty shady and perhaps hard to find but just ask the people by saying the name. It’s all stairs, and at the top you have a huge stone with a poem written on it. For more details click here!

Karaoke – Now this is something you can do everywhere here. There is probably one in every street corner You have a room just for you where you can drink and eat normally. The most famous one here (and some say the best in the north) it’s call “The Phantom”.

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In Ha Long you should definitely visit Marine Plaza. A tidy and modern place where you can go to the cinema. You have a museum and the famous night market. You also have CGV cinemas at Vincom Shopping.
The cinema is good and the movies are in English with Vietnamese subtitles of course.

Cát Bà, the Vietnam Pearl

First of all, we’re sorry for being too absent. It’s been a while since we last wrote something. But now we’re back!

Let’s talk about this amazing place we found here in Ha Long – Cát Bà.

Cát Bà it’s one of the 1,960–2,000 islets islands of Ha Long Bay. To go there you need to catch a ferry or a boat. We catch the ferry in Tuân Châu and paid 70.000 Dongs (2,90€) each ticket. The journey there takes around one hour, but the time goes so fast because you get amazed by the beautiful landscape. There is also a little shop in the ferry where you can buy food. It was actually what we did the next day when we get back, we bought two shrimp instant noodles and water bottles for 1€ each.

We get there and catch the bus that took us to the center – it’s a 30 minute journey for 25,000 dongs. After we got to the center, we rent a motorbike for 150,000 for one day and a half we also refill the fuel deposit for 75,000 (but we realize later that half was more than enough).

We stayed in the LePont Bungalow Hostel, in a suite (360,000 dongs) with a view of the bay. Let me tell you…it was amazing and super worth it.

You can visit the whole island in two/three days. We only had one day and a half, but we visit the Hospital Cave, the Beach, the market, Monkey Island and we did some kayaking too.

Here are some pictures 🙂

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Here are some other cool links for you if you decide to visit this beautiful pearl
Woodstock HostelNational ParkCannon Fort, and if you have money to spend you should definitely do the boat tours. You have tons of offers, and you can do the boat trip with lunch, kayaking and snorkeling.

Also, if you need
Bus from Hanoi to Cát Bà: More information
Hotline: +84 914607571
Email: info@goodmorningcatba.com

Vietnam here we go!

Yap, you read it right Vietnam is our next stop and we couldn’t be more exited. It all started when I decided to tell Musa, back when we were in Latvia, that I wanted to go to Vietnam. She asked why and I just simply show her some photos, and let’s say that her dad probably hates me right now for doing it because she fell in love for it and apparently she’s coming with me 😀

But first let me quickly tell you about the program that we are going to do. It’s part of the AIESEC program. Check it out and see what the organization does and maybe you will find it so interesting that you might join.

aiesec-new-logo1 “AIESEC is a global platform for young people to explore and develop their leadership potential. We are a non-political, independent, not-for-profit organization run by students and recent graduates of institutions of higher education. Its members are interested in world issues, leadership and management.”

And what are we going to do? We are going to teach English to kids and some grown-ups in an English school. And also during the week we are going to do some volunteering work in public schools also teaching.  The work we are going to do is paid, we want to leave that clear. Otherwise, we couldn’t afford this trip and stay there. Not all the programs are paid, but you can check all that on their website.

Luckily we both manage to stay in the same place, which we can’t even believe it yet because it’s really not that common for one school to ask for two persons from the same country and starting almost at the same time. So we are incredibly thankful to the organization and the school for this. And what’s that amazing place? Just here (enter jealous feelings now)… It’s Ha Long, a city 3h from the capital and it’s known for this bay which is considered to be one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature (2007–2011).


Ha Long Bay

So if you ever want to go to Vietnam let me prepare you for the cost. We spend a lot of money in the preparation of our journey. Check it out the list of things we had to do before going:

  • Passport – 65€ (1 week wait)
  • Pre-Traveler Appointment – 50€ (it’s recommended to go 1 month before travel)
  • Vaccines – Yellow fever: 20€ + Japanese Encephalitis: 87€ (we needed 2 doses so 174€ – be aware that you have to wait approx. 1 month between doses) + 3€ to pay the nurse to give us the shots.
  • The Prescription pills for the Malaria Prevention (Malarone)- 35€ a box with 12 pills (if you want to stay just in the city canter’s you don’t need it that much, but we are going to visit more parts of Vietnam and also some country’s around it so we need this). We ask for 3. Check this website to help you know what you need to worry about
  • More prescription pills and stuff– the doctor prescript us a few more pills and things that end up being around 30/40€
  • Health insurance– 180€, it covers 1 year and we purchase this together with the flight tickets in a travel agency
  • Flight Tickets– 995€, go and back, with Emirates
  • AIESEC contract– 220€, this is the amount you pay when you join AIESEC. You have to make a contract with them and this is the cost. You pay half when you join and the other half when you are accepted in a project.
  • Visa: The organization will help you with this, but in case they don’t be aware it takes about a week to get the Visa. And there is also the stamp fee you have to pay on arrival, which is about 45$ dollars. Also, don’t forget to take photos with you.