Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Trip to Mong Kok Ladies’ Market in Hong Kong

24 July 2009 - On our first night in Hong Kong, the guys [Bebe and Lo] were super nice that they took me to Mong Kok Ladies’ Market just to make me even happier.  From the hotel, we went to the nearest MRT station [Mass Transit Railway] which was only a five-minute walk, took the train and ta-dah - 10 minutes later and we were in Mong Kok.

Walking to the Ladies Market from the MRT station was horrible.  The signs were in Chinese [of course] and the locals were too shy to communicate in English but we got there somehow.

First night in Hong Kong and I was in for a treat!  Awesome!
Just a few steps away!  I could already smell shopping!

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Signs oh signs.  Sighs oh sighs!
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The Ladies Market is located on Tung Choi Street, Mong Kok and is open daily from 12 noon to 11.30PM.
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Where to start?  Which ones to get?

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Stalls everywhere!  People everywhere!  Busy!  Busy!  Busy!LM3

Although I am a self-proclaimed shop-a-holic and it was my first time to visit the Ladies Market in Mong Kok, I did not panic buy.  Three dresses and a pair of flip flops were all it took to make me feel satisfied [Thank you Bebe for paying].  Oh, plus Lo purchased two bags for me!  Thanks Lo!

If you are in Hong Kong and checking out the Ladies Market is in your itinerary, make sure to wear comfortable clothes.  Do not forget to wear a pair of good walking shoes too if you do not want to end up in pain.  Do not be shy to ask for a great deal!  You know you want one!  Remember to NOT go shopping overload unless your luggage can accommodate your purchases.



Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Philippines: SM IMAX: North EDSA Vs. Mall of Asia

During our July 2009 Philippine vacation, we made sure that we’d be able to check out the IMAX theater at the SM Mall of Asia regardless of what was on. We just wanted to bring the experience with us back to Sweden and we were not disappointed at all. On the 13th of July, we watched Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen [pretty awesome!]. Although it was only shown on 2D, we enjoyed every moment of it. [Find out more about our IMAX Mall of Asia experience here.]

21 July 2009 – We were not really aware that the IMAX theater at SM North EDSA opened on the 16th which made us go “Uhhhhmmm.. Cool!” Not thinking twice, we headed to North EDSA and paid for seats for the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince movie that was sadly in 3D for only the first 12 minutes. But well, at least, we were able to check out both IMAX cinemas, one in 2D and for a borrowed time, one in 3D.

SM North EDSA IMAX vs. SM Mall of Asia [MoA] IMAX:

  • Bigger screen – definitely MoA’s is bigger. I’ve taken the liberty to ask the attendants about the size of the IMAX screen in North EDSA and all of them say that what North EDSA has is more or less 25% smaller compared to the IMAX screen in MoA.

  • Sound system – definitely MoA’s is better. I am not sure why but I find the audio quality of MoA’s surround sound system more captivating. The one they have in North EDSA is fine but not as good if I compare it to what they have in MoA.

  • More number of seats – MoA, with 600 seats.

  • More spacious in between aisles – North EDSA. The passageway separating seating areas is more spacious in North EDSA’s IMAX than in MoA.

  • More spacious lobby – Without a doubt, MoA’s.

IMAX SM MoA LobbySMMoA2

Question: What would you suggest? IMAX at the SM MoA or IMAX at the SM North EDSA?

Answer: When in the Philippines for a vacation, we usually stay for two weeks in Quezon City and two weeks in Bulacan so if I set aside the distance, travel time and the horrible traffic, SM MoA IMAX will always be my choice number one.

Question: How would you compare your IMAX experience at the SM MoA compared to your IMAX encounter at the SM North EDSA?

Answer: Despite the fact that the IMAX movie we’ve seen in MoA is only in 2D while in North EDSA, in 3D for well, 12 minutes, our IMAX experience has been way better in MoA. In my honest opinion, I really think that IMAX North EDSA’s tickets should be cheaper than MoA’s.

So there goes my comparison between the two IMAX theaters I’ve been to in the Philippines. So, how about you? Do you prefer the IMAX in North EDSA or in MoA?



Friday, March 23, 2012

The Gröna Lund Park And Entertainment Center, Sweden

The plan's not official yet but there's a huge possibility that we will be visiting Gröna Lund in the summer of 2013 and not this year *tsk tsk*.  Considered as Sweden's oldest park and entertainment center, Gröna Lund is the place to be when in search of fun rides and great attractions for family and friends!

Gröna Lund is located near Skansken in Stockholm. If you are interested to include Gröna Lund in your itinerary while on vacation in Sweden, you can visit their website here.

Don't speak Swedish? You can always have the website translated into English here which will open a PDF file for you. The only problem is, this PDF file doesn't work for me [maybe for you, too] so to give you some heads up on what to expect in Gröna Lund, here are a few facts in English that you might find helpful:

Entrance Fee [Ordinary days]:

Kids below 7 years old: Always FREE

Ages 7-64 [from 12 June to 15 August]: 90 SEK [Swedish crowns]

Ages 7-64 [other days]: 80 SEK

65 and above: Always FREE

Entrance Fee [Concert Nights]:

Kids below 7 years old: Always FREE

Ages 7-64 [from 6PM to 8.30PM]: 150 SEK

65 and above: Always FREE

Reminder: If you are up for those amazing rides and other attractions in Gröna Lund, I suggest you get the purchase the Åkband [pronouned as: ok-band --- or the ride band/bracelet] instead of buying one ticket per ride/attraction. Here are the prices of each Åkband:

Åkband: 289 SEK - gives you the ticket to unlimited ride/attraction passes the whole day through

Åkband Kväll: 210 SEK - unlimited ride/attraction passes from 7PM

Åkband Plus: 319 SEK - unlimited ride/attraction passes for the whole day. This includes a pass to the Ghost House

Attractions:

There are 31 rides, shows and displays that await you in Gröna Lund. Included in the 31 attractions are the Blue Train, Circus Carousel, The Flying Elephants, The Love Tunnel, The Rock Jet, The Ghost House, Tea Cups, The Flying Carpet, The Free Fall, The Insane, Jetline, The Pop Express, The Extreme and many more!

The Insane Ride
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The Extreme Ride
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The Flying Carpet
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The Free Fall
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Photo credits: gronalund.com

Other important info:

ATM: Automated Teller Machines are located near the Free Fall ride and another one can be found right outside the main entrance of Gröna Lund.

Food and Drinks: Kaskad is a family restaurant which is located inside the park. They serve pizza, meat and other fish dishes, sallad and pasta. Prices may range from 79 to 159 SEK. Children's meal is priced at 59 SEK.

....I just can't wait to experience a day at Gröna Lund!



Thursday, March 15, 2012

Summer Fishing in Sweden

Because summer does not stay long, people in Sweden make sure to enjoy every minute of those sizzling hot months.  Although quite a number of the population fly to other countries for vacation, those who can’t and won’t spend most of their free time outside to take pleasure in the long and warm summer days.  They go on a picnic in the park, go to the beach and get a tan, play football with family, friends and strangers or go out fishing!

I never really thought that I would one day go out fishing until my mother-in-law took me and my boyfriend’s nieces with her on a fishing escapade.  The drive from our flat was not that long.  Five minutes and we got to the fishing destination.  It was sunny but windy and I caught half a bucket of fish!

My nieces-in-law, my mom-in-law and their fishing rods
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Fishing rods - all lined up!
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The first catch - set of four!
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Mom Lena - about to unhook my catch.  Wee!!!  I was not brave enough to touch them.
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More rods on this side!
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Lovely view
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The old train parked in an old railway station a few feet away from our fishing spot:
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How about you?  Have you gone fishing?  If you had, how was the experience?  Did you catch loads, just a little or none at all?



Monday, March 12, 2012

Enter The Colorful M&M’s World In London

If you are an M&M enthusiast, then you definitely want to visit the M&M’s World in Leicester Square in the West End of London which opened its sweet doors to the public on 13 June 2011. It is considered as the world’s largest candy store with a floor area measuring of up to 35,000 square feet and filling four fascinating floors with fun and excitement.

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M&M's World London Information:
Location/Address:
1 Swiss Court, Leicester Square, London WC2H 7DG
Contact/Telephone number: 0207 025 7171
Opening hours:
Monday - Saturday: 10AM to 12 midnight
Sunday - 12 noon to 6PM

I had the chance to check out M&M’s World during our UK vacation last August. We arrived there at around 7PM. We weren’t really planning on visiting it because honestly, we were not aware that such a fabulous place exists. I wanted to see the famous Piccadilly Circus. Luckily, on our way there from the underground, the colorful store caught our attention.

M&M’s World London sells M&M’s candy in every color imaginable. All you have to do is to proceed to the “Create Your Own Mix” corner on the basement level. It’s easy to find. Trust me. You’ll never miss those giant glass cylinders stuffed with M&M’s in different colors. This corner is a sight for sore eyes!

Yes!  I am in shock!  It is sugar rush!m&m4

Reward yourself! Choose your favorite colors! Mix and enjoy!m&m5

Of course. The store does not end with selling just candies. You’ll find M&M’s merchandise all over the place. Clothes, watches, blings, towels, bedding, glassware, kitchenware and yes … more! M&M stuffed toys? They have small ones to big huggable M&M’s like these:

He’s not so into me, is he?m&m3

This soft blue M&M is driving a fire truck!

The best friends: M&M’s Blue and Yellow cruising in this cool car:m&m10

The store’s atmosphere is not that stressful despite the fact that it’s filled with people. Maybe the friendly staff helps lighten the mood. Happy staff --- is always a plus for me!

Oh yeah. M&M’s World is obviously Disney-ish which makes the place even more breathtaking and is perfect for kids and the kids-at-heart! From left to right, front to back --- you’ll always find huge M&M’s characters like these:

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Warning: The candies and souvenirs are slightly expensive but for M&M’s lovers like me, it does not matter. I love this place no matter what and I’ll definitely return one day!

Have you ever been to the colorful M&M’s World in London? If you visited the place, did you like it there? Would you come back? If you still haven’t dropped by the M&M’s World in London, are you looking forward to going there anytime soon?



Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The London Underground: My First Ride

The one week I spent with Bebe in the United Kingdom was not enough especially to first time visitors like me.  It felt like everything needed to be rushed to accomplish what were on our daily itinerary.  Everything went out as planned with a few awesome unexpected stops making my first UK visit magnificent.

It was on our our fifth day when we the guys [Bebe and Lo] decided to take the Tube instead of driving to the City of London.  The drive plus the heavy traffic and the hunt for a parking spot would take so much of our time so yes… the Tube was the perfect solution to save us precious travel hours.

Because it was my first time to experience the London Underground or the Tube, I was so excited to hop in it.

Waiting for our train.  Our starting point: The High Barnet Station
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Our ride’s here!  Got my ticket, yes!
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Getting cozy
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Ads everywhere.  This one says, “Get into bed with 1” --- rent a bed for £1 it means --- an ad for students.
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It’s clean with comfy soft chairs.  It is not as long as the trains in Hong Kong which is something I like.
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Don’t get lost!  Read the map!
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The London Underground ride took us to our destination, the City of London within 15 to 20 minutes which could have been an hour and a half drive, if lucky.

Yup.  We also took the Underground on our way home.  It was a beautiful day filled with great memories, magnificent photos and good food which, I will be blogging more about later.  Ciao for now!

P.S.  Thanks to Bebe and Lo - my tour guides and my photographers.  Thanks for the patience, too!



Monday, March 5, 2012

London: Empire, Leicester Square

I had the opportunity to check out Empire, a cinema that is located in Leicester Square in the City of Westminster, London two days before flying back to Sweden. The building was only a few steps away from London’s M&M’s World which we [Bebe, Lo and I] visited that same night. Because the streets were too crowded with people rushing from both directions, I wasn’t able to capture a photo of the movie house from the outside but well, Wikipedia, as always, came to the rescue!

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Empire, Leicester Square, London at daytime
Photo credit: Wikipedia.org

Unplanned, we were lucky to learn that it was the premiere night for the movie Rise of the Planet of the Apes. We paid for our tickets [tickets cost £9.95 per head] --- expensive, it was but my oh my… the experience was sure worth it!

A snapshot with my mate, Caesar:movie1

The cinema’s starry-starry ceiling.  movie2

The color transition definitely takes away the boredom of waiting for the film to begin.movie3

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Yes, that’s me! The screen’s really huge! I’ve read somewhere that it’s a 20-meter screen and is considered as one of the largest screens in the UK.movie5movie6

This Empire 1 Screen has a seating capacity of 1,330. The seats are cozy with spacious aisles. There are no cup holders built into the chairs though.movie7

And here’s a happy couple at the Empire, trying their empire seats! Life is good, no doubt!movie8

Empire is a magical place for movie lovers like me, Bebe and Lo. I say, I’ll certainly add to my wish list: “Visit the Empire again!”, next year, perhaps?

How about you? Have you been to Empire? If yes, how many times? What’s your favorite movie house?



Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Ngong Ping Cable Car Experience in Hong Kong

25 July 2009 - It was our second day in Hong Kong.  The weather was in a very good mood which gave us many hours of fun and excitement --- malling in the morning and visiting parts of Lantau Island after lunch.

There are several ways of transportation of reaching Lantau Island.

1.] One can take the MTR from Tung Chung Line to Tung Chung Station then ride the bus [No.23] to Ngong Ping.  Train plus the bus - you will need more or less 90 minutes to get to your destination.

2.] A ferry from Central Pier No.6 will take you to Mui Wo in Lantau Island.  From Mui Wo, the New Lantau Bus No.2 will take you to Ngong Ping.  Total travel time [ferry + bus) is approximately 2 [two] hours.

3.] If you do not have all the time in the world, then it is advisable to take the Ngong Ping Cable Car.  It will only take you 25 minutes to arrive to Lantau.  Way quicker than options 1 and 2.

We of course opted for the cable car ride which was my second cable car experience after the one I took from the Harbour Front Tower to Sentosa Island in 1993.

Going up to purchase our tickets

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The Ngong Ping Cable Car
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My turn!
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Enjoying the 360-degree picturesque view of the Ngong Ping Plateau from the cable car

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The spectacular panoramic views:
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And of course, there is also another option of getting there --- HIKE!  Better yet, take your four-legged friends with you.  Cute, ‘eh?

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The three musketeers  [Bebe, me and Lo] invading Ngong Ping Village on Lantau Island in Hong Kong

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Arrived safely in Ngong Ping

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Lantau’s Ngong Ping Village was fantastic.  We spent five hours there and enjoyed every minute of it.  Will definitely return one day!



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