Long Overdue Trip to New Zealand from 22 Sep to 1 Oct 2023

This is indeed a long overdue trip for me. Why is it so? This is because New Zealand was the country that I went for my honeymoon 27 years ago and also the first time in my life travelling on an aeroplane. Thus, it holds special meaning to me and certainly life-changing for me in shaping me to where I am today.

I was supposed to go back to New Zealand during my 10 year anniversary, but it didn’t happen and kept pushing back the thought every 5 years since then, but it still didn’t get to materialise. I told myself I had to make it happen for my silver anniversary, which I did spend time planning for it. Man proposes, heaven disposes (人算不如天算), who knows Covid-19 came and my plan was thwarted once again. 😆

Well, I am glad that the earlier regret can now be makeup. Yay! This trip will focus mainly on South Island and (who knows) I may plan another trip to North Island next year. 🙂

Having said that, all dreams can only come true after passing through the departure gate at the airport. 😀

My favourite part of every departure trip.

Enjoying a sumptuous meal at SiverKris Lounge prior to boarding.

Christchurch, here I come! See you in 10 hours’ time.

Cheers to good health!

Start of sky dining dinner…….

Singapore Chicken Satay
Hot Smoked Salmon Salad

New potato, pickled red onion, hard boiled egg, black olive and dijon herb dressing.

Nyonya Ikan Assam Pedas Dan Sambal Udang

Seabass in a tamarind-turmeric gravy, chilli prawns and prawn cracker served with coconut flavoured rice. Specially designed by acclaimed Singaporean chef- Shermay Lee

Ice Cream
Selection of Sliced Fresh Fruits

Time for breakfast prior to arrival.

Sliced fresh fruits with yoghurt and croissant.

Beach Road Prawn Mee Soup

A combination of yellow noodles and rice vermicelli, immersed in flavourful prawn and pork broth. Accompanied with fresh red leg prawns and bean sprouts. A crowd favourite among Singaporeans.

Safe arrival into Christchurch Airport.

Heading off to the waiting area for the courtesy shuttle pick up to Omega Car Rental for my car pick up.

The car rental company is about 10 mins drive away from the airport.

I got myself a Toyota Vitz for this 9 days road trip.

There was news on Queenstown Flood alert on 22 Sep 2023 and it triggers state of emergency in Queenstown to urge residents to evacuate, and it also leads to closure of state highway 6 between Haast and Lake Hawea resulting in me having to make last minute cancellation for my visit to Queenstown and Lake Tekapo.

This literally caught me with my pants down in having to scout for alternative places to stay from 25 Sep to 29 Sep 2023 (just to be on the safe side) where I was supposedly to be spending 3 nights over at Queenstown and 1 night in Lake Tekapo.

Well, this is what travels entail where the Act of God cannot be predicted. 人算不如天算. 🤣

Amidst all the anxiety, I am thankful that I am able to drive from Christchurch to Greymouth via Arthur’s Pass where the highway closure since yesterday until 11am this morning which means I do not have to detour via a longer route which will set me back easily by another 3 hours. 😱

Wow, I love the beautiful panoramic view of the Southern Alps drive from Christchurch to Greymouth. You will be greeted with scenes of dramatic mountains, gorges and river valleys across the Canterbury Plain.

You will get to see many sheeps and lambs along the scenic route.

Not forgetting the cows! They could be used for our Black Augus Steak. 😉

This journey will take you through Arthur’s Pass, the highest and most well-known of New Zealand’s mountain passes characterised by deep gorges, wide riverbeds and scree slopes.

Look at the instant change of climate from the green plain to the snowy sight.

Isn’t this view amazingly beautiful?

Cruising past Arthur’s Pass.

Taking a pit stop at Arthur’s Pass Store before continuing with my journey to Greymouth.

Long Black
Otira Gorge Rock Shelter Lookout
Otira River

Made my way to Greymouth at long last after driving distance of 236km.

Copthorne Hotel Greymouth

This will be my abode for tonight.

The room is big and spacious. I love it!

Picturesque view taken from my hotel room balcony.

Went over to Mawhera Quay which is right across the hotel that I am staying.

Grey River

Thereafter, went over to New World Supermarket for some grocery shopping.

Followed by dinner at Domino’s.

Mini BBQ Meatlovers Pizza with crispy chips and southern fried chicken bites. Oh mine, this is so good! 👍👍👍

With that, it brings Day 1 to an end.

Starting Day 2 with a quick breakfast bite at Subway.

Ham, Egg & Cheese

Followed by more grocery shopping at Countdown Supermarket.

If you happen to take a scenic train ride from Christchurch, you will arrive at Greymouth Train Station.

While enroute to Franz Josef, make a detour to West Coast Treetop Walk & Café for a snack break.

A nice cozy café to chill amid the beautiful countryside landscape.

Whitebait Fish & Chips

While continuing on with the journey, happen to chance upon this huge herd of cows. Couldn’t help but pull over for a quick photo spot! 🤣

Feels great just by looking at them grazing happily with their given feeds.

Arriving into Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier for my check-in. I love this small quainty township. Life is carefree here (generally in New Zealand) and great for relaxation.

This hotel has a two-floor layout and my room is conveniently located on the first floor and I can access my room easily from the car park.

A nice big, beautiful and spacious room awaits.

Scenic view from Scenic Hotel. ☺️

After check-in, venturing off to Lake Matheson walking trail.

Lake Matheson is one of the most photographed lakes in New Zealand because of its mirror reflection of Mt Cook and Mt Tasman.

The walk will start with the crossing of the suspension bridge.

It is an easy 2.6 km on a very good track, which takes about 1.5 hours to go around the whole lake.

It’s a relatively great short walk if you can spare the time for it.

A Perfect Reflection

Lake Matheson has long lured the crowds, hopeful of witnessing a mirror reflection of the Southern Alps in its dark still waters. Isn’t this beautiful?

View of Views Lookout
Reflection Island Lookout

Can you spot a spooky face from the photo?

Fox Glacier Scenic Lookout

Wow, look what I see! Isn’t it awesome?

Since the sun will set later at 7.30pm, I decided to move off next to Franz Josef Glacier.

Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk

A short 30-minute return walk to a viewpoint of the glacier terminal point will get you to this stunning view.

You will also get to see this long waterfall right beside the glacier lookout, too.

Hope you enjoy the live stunning view!

Sentinel Rock Walk

Another short twenty-minute short return walk with a steady climb for views of the glacier.

With a good workout, it’s time to return to the hotel and prepare for dinner at Alice May Restaurant & Bar.

Complimentary Bread
Braised Lamb Shank

Slow cook until tender in red onion, house beer and raisins. Served with pumpkin and potato mash, rich gravy and seasonal vegetables.

Ribeye Steak

Medium rare Ribeye fillet served with French fries, seasonal vegetables and mushroom & bacon sauce.

This is my first decent proper meal since I arrived. Holy Cow and Holy Lamb, the meats are extremely tender! Die die also must eat since I am in the land of the cows and lambs.

It’s definitely a deserving and satisfying meal to end Day 2.

Powering up with a good brekkie at Full of Beans Café & Coffee Company.

Full of Beans Breakfast

Sunny side up eggs served with bacon, sausages, hash browns, mushrooms, grilled tomato and toast.

Downing it with a hot cup of flat white couldn’t be more than ideal on a cold morning at 4 degrees. 😋

After a satisfying breakfast, I made my way to Hokitika.

Stop over at Lake Lanthe Recreation Area for a nature call break and to freshen up at the same time after a long drive.

Loved the calm lake view. Continuing the journey to Lake Mahinapua next.

Lake Mahinapua is a scenic reserve that offers opportunities for camping, picnicking, walking, and water-based activities. Doesn’t the backdrop resemble that of Fuji-san?

Next up, made a visit to Dorothy Falls.

This beautiful and secluded waterfall is near Hokitika on the West Coast.

Listen to the rhythm of the falling fall

Went over to Hokitika Gorge Walk next. Hokitika Gorge and the surrounding Hokitika Gorge Scenic Reserve are a major tourist destinations.

You will be able to enjoy a walk through the native bush to the stunning Hokitika Gorge.

Stunning view of the Hokitika Gorge from the viewing platform.

Since August 2020, a second suspension bridge over the Hokitika River at the gorge provides the opportunity for a round track.

More amazingly beautiful views of the Hokitika Gorge. Don’t you think it resembles the Blue Pond in Hokkaido?

Check-in to Beachfront Hotel Hokitika for the night.

Another lovely hotel. So far, all the room experience has been great. 🙏

Grabbing a quick fix at Stone Oven Bakery & Café which is steps away from the hotel.

Seafood Chowder Pie
Caramel Slice Cake
Hokitika Clock Tower

Spending the rest of the afternoon exploring the township while waiting to catch a nice sunset at Hokitika Beach.

The beach access area is right beside the hotel.

You can find Hokitika’s famous driftwood sign at the beach area created by the owner, Don Neale who still keeps a close eye on one of the coast’s most famous photo spot.

Waiting patiently to await for the sun to set in order to capture a picturesque lovely panoramic view.

Oh my! Isn’t this magnificent? It’s definitely worth the wait!

Enjoy watching the works of nature.

Settle for dinner at Ocean View Restaurant & Bar at the hotel as all restaurants are closed for the day.

Seafood Chowder

Classic seafood chowder served with a warm roll & butter.

Lamb Two Ways

Lamb rump marinated in Middle Eastern spiced yoghurt, almond-crusted lamb rack with mash potatoes, baby vegetables, onion jam & rosemary jus.

Certainly yet another fulfilling meal to bring an end to Day 3.

Beginning Day 4 morning with a nice tummy warming at Clock Tower Café.

Fresh Homemade Bagel with Eggs, Bacon & Hollandaise

I will be leaving Hokitika for Ashburton this morning passing through Arthur’s Pass. It was a blessing in disguise afterall and I am sure everything happened for a reason. 3 days ago, I drove past Castle Hill and the entire area was covered with snow. Now, I am able to capture a beautiful clear view of it. 😊

Castle Hill

This iconic setting was used as the backdrop for a battle in the movie The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. This area is known as one of the world’s best bouldering locations, and climbers flock here to challenge their skills.

Made a brief stop at Darfield Bakery & Café for a quick recharge. Darfield is the main town between Christchurch and West Coast.

Baked Potato
Mini Donut

Did another round of grocery shopping at Four Square Supermarket. Simply just couldn’t resist stepping in. 🤣

Arriving into Hotel Ashburton (my abode for tonight) at long last.  🙏😅🙏

Loved the spacious room as well. 👍

After check-in, wandered off to Ashford Village.

This place is a collection of boutique retailers and café surrounding the historic Mill House at the home of Ashford Wheels & Looms.

Caught hold of Burger King and decided to jump in for a quick bite.

Trying out their new Bacon Mayo Burger super value meal that comes with small fries and small drink with added on nuggets.

Followed by spending the evening time at K Mart (similar to our Tampines Giant).

Finishing off the night with a nice meal at the hotel Clearwater Restaurant.

Herb Crusted Lamb Loin

Creamy parsley mash, confit carrots, charred onion, broccolini & morello cherry jus.

Beer Battered Fish & Chips

Accompanied with garden salad, chips & chunky tartare and lemon.

The amount of potatoes that I have had so far can easily exceed my whole year quota. Having said that, their potatoes, be it in the form of mash, fries, or chips, they are just so good. Needless to say, their lamb is really power!

Starting Day 5 morning with KFC.

Zinger Burger & Crispy Tenders

Their chicken meat is really super tenderly good unlike back home.

Thereafter, proceeded on to Timaru for a day trip.

While enroute to Timaru, came across Coupland’s Bakeries and decided to detour and make a brief stopover.

Here are the loots from the stopover.

Made the first visit to Scared Heart Basilica.

Sacred Heart Basilica

The Sacred Heart Basilica or Timaru Basilica, is a Catholic church in Timaru, New Zealand. Despite its name, it is not designated a basilica by the Catholic Church. It was designed by the New Zealand architect, Francis Petre and is one of his most celebrated works.

The Basilica’s twin towers and copper cupola are highly visible features of the Timaru skyline, especially from the south.

Loved the beautifully decorated interior of the church. Glad that I made this visit.

Followed by lunch at Saikou Timaru, a premium Asian fusion cuisine in a busy vibrant bar.

Also, you can overlook Caroline Bay from the restaurant.

Venison Tataki

Black pepper crust, chiffonade onion and ponzu.

Yaki Soba

Chicken with stir-fried egg noodles with Asian vegetables and umami Japanese sauce.

After a good meal, ventured off to the nearby Caroline Bay.

Passing by Rose Garden, the garden was established to preserve and honour the collection of old roses gathered over a lifetime by the celebrated rosarian Trevor Griffiths.

The Face of Peace right beside the Rose Garden.

A short walk from Rose Garden will lead you to the Caroline Bay.

Caroline Bay beach is a popular recreational area close to Timaru’s main centre and has been considered the jewel in Timaru’s crown since the early 1900s.

Time to head back to Geraldine for my accommodation stay at Black On Grey Motel.

This will be my place of stay for the next 2 nights before heading back to Christchurch.

The room is equally big, spacious, and clean. Finally I had the chance to experience living in the countryside.

Visited Geraldine Cheese Factory, which they have won countless awards and deserve their reputation as giants of the artisan cheese industry in Aotearoa. Their production techniques and their innovation are second to none.

Spoilt for choice
Free sample tasting 👍

Hopping over to Barker’s Foodstore & Eatery which is right across the cheese factory.

It is a casual café & retail outlet offering inventive daytime eats in modern digs with terrace tables.

Complimentary Condiments Tasting
Complimentary Fruit Syrup Tasting

You can get to experience the Barker’s way of hospitality here.

Spending time again at Freshchoice for grocery shopping.

Taking a quick snack bite at Jack’s Chinese Takeaways as I have been told by their locals that the food is pretty good here.

Fish Bites, Squid Rings & Chicken Cordon Bleu

Settled for dinner at Royal India, as recommended by the motel host.

Fish Tikka

Chunks of gurnard fish marinated in a yoghurt sauce with herbs and spices, cooked in the tandoor.

Lamb & Beef Dum Biriyani

It’s really damn deliciously good. Asian cuisines in New Zealand are definitely way much better and tastier than in Australia for sure. 👍

Greeted with this beautiful serene view the moment I draw up the curtain from my motel room.

Life is indeed carefree in the countryside. Away from the hustles and bustles from our city life.

Enjoying a relaxing breakfast at Barker’s Foodstore & Bakery.

They have a great variety of food selection that can leave you certainly spoilt for choice.

Complimentary Condiments Refill Station
Build Your Own 3 Items

Geraldine free-range poached eggs, roasted mushrooms & Geraldine butchery free-range streaky bacon.

Savoury Scones with Butter
Iced Latte

Moving up to Pleasant Point next, a nearby small township.

Paid a visit to the Pleasant Point Museum & Railway, yesterday’s history preserved for tomorrow.

Brief History of the Railway Station
Pleasant Point Railway Station

In 1970, a steam locomotive, Ab 699 was placed as a static exhibit on the only piece of track not lifted about 50 metres in front of the old Pleasant Point Railway Station.

You may view the various exhibits and learn about its history in the museum, which was set up in the railway station.

Purchasing the entrance ticket and waiting to board the steam locomotive.

Time to board the fully operational Ab 699 Locomotive. It will run on the 2km of relaid track.

The various carriage layouts from first class to second class.

A small shed at Keanes Crossing to house the worker in the old days to maintain the track.

Former Timaru Harbour Board Rock Wagons

Caught sight of the deers instead of the usual cows and sheeps at Keanes Crossing.

Vintage Movie Theatre

One of the attractions at Keanes Crossing.

Inside the movie theatre waiting eagerly for the showing of old-time films to start.

Hope you enjoy and have fun with the snippets of the old-time cartoon film for those who can resonate well. 😉

Oh! How I loved these Vintage Movie Posters. Just brings back old memories and a chance to walk down the memory lane. 👍

After spending a good time at Keanes Crossing, it’s time now to head back to the Pleasant Point Railway Station on The Model T Ford Railcar.

I had a great time with Stewart, who operates the railcar and at the same time doubles up as my commentary and guide for the entire walking down the memory experience.

Thereafter, continuing with a couple of sightseeing attractions within Pleasant Point before moving down to Timaru for more sightseeing.

Bike Sculpture

The 4m high bicycle features two cast iron wheels Hugh Evans spotted on the side of the road near Woodend in 2010.

Richard Pearse Plane

Richard Pearse was a New Zealand farmer and inventor who performed pioneering aviation experiments. Witnesses interviewed many years afterwards describe observing Pearse flying and landing a powered heavier-than-air machine on 31 March 1903, nine months before the Wright brothers flew.

Chilling out and grabbing a late lunch at Arthur’s Street Kitchen, Timaru’s hippest coffee house.

Retro Interior
Chicken Quiche
Bacon & Egg Pie

Went over to Patiti Point, an exposed reef and point break that draws surfers here due to the very consistent surf and works all around the year.

See what I see! A fur seal sunbathing on the coastal line!

More grocery shopping at PakńSave. Guess I should have covered all their supermarkets for this trip. 😀

While driving back, happen to catch sight of this nice herd of sheep. Couldn’t help but to stopover to snap a picture of it. ☺️

One for the road encore dinner at Royal India Restaurant. 👍👍👍

Lamb Rogan Josh

Lamb curry with a heady combination of intense spices in tomato curry sauce. The lamb is fall apart tender and packs a serious flavour punch.

Gobhi Masala

This Indian curry is about making flavourful semi dry vegetarian dish with potatoes, cauliflower and tangy tomatoes.

The timely arrival of the piping hot basmati rice goes extremely well with the curry dishes. What more can I ask for! With a satisfying dinner, it quickly brings Day 6 to an end.

Starting Day 7 morning breakfast at Verde Geraldine.

Loved the cozy, country-style interior café setting.

Chicken, Leek & Bacon Pie
Rhubarb & Custard Sweet Scone
Turmeric Latte

After a good charge up, it’s time to head back up to Christchurch for my final 2 nights stay before homecoming.

Did my first stop to the Sign of the Kiwi. The Sign of the Kiwi was built as one of the four rest houses on the Port Hills. These were part of the plans by conservationist and recreationist Harry Ell, the Sign of the Kiwi was first called Toll Cottage and opened in 1916.

You can get a great view of the crater rim from here and there are quite a number of walking & hiking trails that you can spend time here as well.

There is also a mountain bike track where the narrow track runs down the steep mountain slopes.

This is definitely for the dare devils and not the faint-hearted. Just a slightest mistake, and the biker will fall to their deaths literally. 😱

Taking a late morning break at Sign of the Kiwi Café.

Orange Rum Cake
Chai Latte
Innovatively Thoughtful 👍

You can also catch a glimpse of the scenic view overlooking the Cashmere Hills while sipping your coffee at the café. This is what life should be all about! I am a strong advocate on living life to its fullest!

Afterwhich, I took a scenic route drive round the crater rim. Stopping by Governors Bay.

Taking in the bay views from Governors Bay.

Followed by Cass Bay………

……… and finally, ending up at the beach access area at Corsair Bay.

Had a late quick fix lunch at Magic Wok at New Brighton.

Steak with Black Bean Sauce on Rice
Beef & Chicken Kebab

Third stop of the day at New Brighton Pier and Beach.

The New Brighton Pier was designed to be a place where people could feel close to the ocean. Much of the pier’s length is out over the water, even at low tide.

Managed to catch hold of some beautiful seagulls while strolling to the end of the pier.

At the end of the pier, you will see groups of people coming here for fishing activities.

Big Catch!

Taking in panoramic views of the New Brighton Beach.

I will be staying over at Colombo in the City Motel in Christchurch for my final 2 nights.

The room is clean, spacious, and big too. So far, all the accommodations that I have had in New Zealand have been great. Feeling blessed and fortunate. 🙏

War Memorial

From the hotel, I took a leisure stroll to Christchurch City Centre to take in some sightseeing. The city is so quiet and “dead”. The vibes here are so different from the small town which I enjoy more than here. 🤣

Christchurch Cathedral is still undergoing restoration works after the earthquake back in 2010 that destroyed it.

Christchurch Graffiti

Celebrating street art in the city. Christchurch’s vibrant and growing arts scene comes alive on the City’s walls. You can get to see walls of graffiti within the city centre.

Had my dinner at The Great India Restaurant before calling it a night.

Mixed Vegetables

Multiple flavoured vegetables cooked together in a traditional Indian onion-tomato gravy.

Chicken Vindaloo

Chicken cooked in an authentic traditional vindaloo in a thick dry curry which is hot tasting with bursting flavours of garlic and spices.

Plain Basmati Rice
Garlic Naan

Finally, I am into Day 8 of my trip, which is also the final night in New Zealand. Time really flies whenever we are having good time. This morning, I will be making a day trip to Akaroa, about 80km from Christchurch.

Akaroa is a town on the Banks Peninsula, southeast of Christchurch, New Zealand and nestled in the crater of an extinct volcano in Canterbury’s Banks Peninsula.

It is unique in being the only attempted French settlement in New Zealand, and it still retains an authentic French atmosphere. Many streets have French names, and descendants of the original settlers still live there.

Akaroa Beach

Akaroa Beach is on the eastern shore of Akaroa Harbour, where rare Hector’s dolphins swim.

Enjoying a late breakfast at The Common, a relaxed garden bar & café in Akaroa.

Butcher’s Breakfast

Sausages, streaky bacon, hash brown, fried tomato, black pudding, mushrooms and poached eggs on ciabatta.

Long Black
Akaroa Lighthouse

The Akaroa Lighthouse is one of the few remaining examples of early wooden lighthouses in New Zealand. It is a six-sided Victorian lighthouse with four levels. Unfortunately, it was undergoing restoration work when I visited.

Beautiful view of the Akaroa Harbour taken from the Akaroa Lighthouse.

Fret not. You can still catch hold of the Akaroa Lighthouse model at the town centre. 😅

You may also visit The Giant House in Akaroa if you can spare the time other than catching up on some sightseeing activities.

The Giant’s House has terraced gardens and features colourful sculptures and mosaics.

Akaroa War Memorial

Late lunch at Ma Maison Restaurant Akaroa, one of Akaroa’s hidden gems. The dining area is decked out with an open fire and bi-fold doors, so the breathtaking waterfront views overlooking Daly’s wharf and the Akaroa Harbour remain uninterrupted.

Daly’s Wharf, a historic jetty overlooking Akaroa Harbour.

How warming it is to be in a cosy environment with the fireplace inside the restaurant.

Seared Tuna

Smoked ponzu, pickled cucumber, shiitake mushroom and pickled ginger gel.

Seafood Chowder

Creamy rue base, tempura prawns, mussels, fish, salmon, calamari and garlic bread.

With a great time in Akaroa, it’s time to make my way back to Christchurch.

Visited Copenhagen Bakery next, an Award Winning Danish-European Style Bakery, Copenhagen serves a delicious selection of breads and treats at the café.

Award Winning Fruit Pie

One for the road dinner at The Hoi Polloi before homecoming.

Prime Canterbury Beef Fillet

Grilled to your liking (medium rare for me ☺️), served with potato fritters, caramelised shallots, mushroom and beef jus.

Free-Range Chicken Breast

Stuffed with aged brie & prune, wrapped in crispy bacon, mustard potato mash, chorizo and salsa verde.

Hazelnut & Chocolate Torte

Served with mascarpone cheese & berry coulis.

Day 9, time to depart Christchurch for home. It has been a good holiday break as always, and I will now be looking forward to my next trip.

Stopping by Cocoa Black for a morning wake-up coffee while en route to the car rental company for my car return.


Taking the complimentary shuttle to the airport after dropping off the rental car.

Bye New Zealand…….

Relaxing at Air New Zealand Louge prior to boarding.

Light refreshment for brekkie.

Cheers to homecoming!

Commencement on sky lunch.

Singapore Chicken Satay

With onion, cucumber and spicy peanut sauce.

Grilled Prawns with Pineapple & Mint Salsa

With cucumber, fresh mint and citrus creme fraiche.

Wok Fried Beef in Black Bean Sauce

With Chinese greens and egg noodles.

Fresh Fruit of the Season
Fig & Manuka Honey Ice Cream

Midway delectable, Kway Teow Soup.

Light dinners before landing.

Prosciutto with Feta Cheese & Mizuna

With olives, cherry tomato and lemon wedge.

Roasted Lamb Loins with Leeks, Crushed Peas, Potato Puree, Baby Carrot & Lamb Jus
Ricotta Cheesecake with Butter Cookie

Overall, it has been a good trip despite the last-minute changes due to unforeseen circumstances. Having said that, I am glad that all turns out well and importantly kept safe throughout the trip. 🙏

Short Getaway National Day Trip to Hong Kong from 9 Aug to 13 Aug 2023

This is a last-minute trip slot in for the month of August to get away during National Day, which I used to do. Why Hong Kong? Well, it has been a long while since I last visited. So this would be a good reason for me to make this a short staycay trip. 😀

Most people love to visit Hong Kong for food and shopping. Interestingly (for me), Hong Kong has never been a place in my mind when it comes to travelling. The key reason being, things are expensive in Hong Kong, and especially accommodation where the hotel room size is small too.

I feel fortunate and blessed to be able to go past the departure gate yet again where the travelling excitement builds. 

Enjoying breakfast at SilverKris Lounge prior to boarding.

Always looking forward to their sumptuous food spread.

Freshening up before boarding.

Time for boarding. Bye Singapore and here I come Hong Kong.

All set for now. Happy Birthday Singapore and cheers to good health!

Selection of Sliced Fresh Fruits & Bread Roll
Kok Kee Wonton Mee

Springy egg noodles tossed in Kok Kee special secret recipe sauce, with pork char siew and handmade pork dumplings (wonton). Authentic Singapore wonton noodles acclaimed by various local food critics and mainstream news and media outlets as One of the Best Wonton Noodles in Singapore.

Safe arrival to Hong Kong International Airport.

After baggage claim and exiting the immigration hall, head over to the airport express ticket counter (centrally located between Arrival Hall A & B) to buy the one-way promotional Airport Express ticket (2 pax for HKD170 vs using Octopus card which will cost HKD110 per pax) and also to top up my Octopus Card at the same time. Do note that only cash is accepted over at the ticket counter.

It takes approximately 42 mins from the airport to the hotel where I will be staying.

Jen Hong Kong by Shangri-La

This will be my humble abode for the next 4 nights.

The hotel is conveniently located right across exit B2 of HKU MTR Station.

I love the spacious room size and the harbour view.

Isn’t this view amazing? I’m glad that I can wake up to this stunning view for the next 4 mornings. Yay!

Did my usual ritual recce around the hotel after check-in for familiarisation.

A typical street right outside of the hotel.

Spotted Come Buy Tea and the shopfront look “atas” similar to our Chicha San Chen.

Ordered one of their signature drink, Grapefruit Oolong Tea + Aloe Vera. Wow, this is certainly refreshing.

Checking out at Yata Supermarket (Japanese Supermarket) inside Hong Kong Plaza thereafter.

My loot from Yata Supermarket. 😀

Followed by their local Park & Shop supermarket.

Taking a quick snack break at McDonald’s.

In Hong Kong McDonald’s, you can find the cheapest ever Filet-O-Fish at HKD13 (approximately SGD$2.20) and at the same time trying out their limited edition Salted & Pepper Crispy Thigh.

Head off to Avenue of Stars next.

Enjoying a leisure walk at Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade and taking in the evening views of the Victoria Harbour.

Mesmerising night views of the Hong Kong Island skyline.

Hong Kong Film Awards Statue

The Hong Kong Film Awards statue is a 6-metre (20 ft) bronze sculpture depicting the Hong Kong Film Award statuette presented to recipients, installed along Hong Kong’s Avenue of Stars, in Tsim Sha Tsui’s waterfront in Kowloon.

You may also get to soak into The Symphony of Lights show that is staged every night at 8pm.

Hong Kong Clock Tower

The Clock Tower is a landmark in Hong Kong. It is located on the southern shore of Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. It is the only remnant of the original site of the former Kowloon station on the Kowloon–Canton Railway.

1881 Heritage

One of beautiful landmarks in Tsim Sha Tsui area is 1881 Heritage. It is called 1881 as the site was constructed that year. Located opposite to Hong Kong Museum of Art, and just a few steps from the Star Ferry Pier, the former Police Marine Headquarter is now a cultural and shopping landmark.

Proceeded to Mak’s Noodle at Parkes Street (Exit C2 of Jordan MTR Station) for dinner after an evening of fun.

Signature Wonton Noodle
Beef Brisket Noodle

The noodles are springyly good without a doubt.

This is followed by dessert at Australia Dairy Company, which is just 2 shops away from Mak’s Noodle.

Peanut Butter Toast
Signature Boiled Milk (燉奶)

Chanced upon Azuki Bakery that sells various types of mochi.

Look at the selections! Spoilt for choice (at least for me). There is no prize in guessing what’s next. 😉

Cheung Chau Mango Mochi

A huge slice of mango wrapped in mochi.

Custard Mochi

This brings me to the end of Day 1.

Day 2 morning, went for breakfast at Mui Kee Congee at Fa Yuen Street.

From Mongkok MTR Station, take exit B3 and go straight along Mongkok Road until you see the municipal building on your right.

At the wet market, take the elevator up to level 3 and you will see Mui Kee Congee prominently.

Mui Kee Congee Menu

You will be spoilt for choice with the wide range of menu options offered.

Century Egg with Pickled Ginger

Their century egg yolk is so jelly-like. So different from our century egg.

Pork Innards Congee with add-on Pork Liver & Pork Heart

The congee is smoothly flavoured coupled with the added wok hei.

Simply loved this beautiful shot of a busy street in Mongkok.

Thereafter, I continued with my schedule visit to the Ten Thousand Buddha Monastery, which is a short walk from Exit B of MTR Sha Tin Station.

Unfortunately, I was greeted with a heavy downpour that I had to make a slight change of plan.

Thankfully, there is a large shopping mall, New Town Plaza, right next to Exit A of MTR Sha Tin Station where I can spend some time shopping while waiting for the rain to stop.

Immediately after the rain had stopped, I continued with my scheduled visit.

After leaving Exit B, follow the street till you see HomeSquare (the mall with IKEA), and turn left in front of the mall. Take the left onto Pai Tau Street, and turn right onto Sheung Wo Che Road.

You will see ICAC Building and continue walking ahead.

Then you will come to a dead end, fret not, continue with the foot path as this is the entrance to the Ten Thousand Buddha Monastery.

Walk for about 100m and you will reach the starting point.

The climb is definitely a good exercise with all the steep slopes. 😱

You will be amply rewarded once you reach the top.

There are various deity statutes where you can admire and worship at the same time.

As the weather took another turn, I had to take shelter midway at HomeSquare.

This is a mall where one can shop for all home furnishing items similar to our IMM.

Hence, I have decided to take a late lunch at Dondonya on Level 5 of HomeSquare.

Set Appetiser
Obihiro Butadon
Sashimi Platter

After lunch, went in search of the Monster Building in Hong Kong.

Yik Cheong Building also known as Monster Building for its conglomeration of five incredibly dense and stacked residential complexes, Yik Cheong Building and Montane Mansion are possibly the most well-known locations in Quarry Bay and definitely one of the most instagrammable spots in Hong Kong.

It is also a famous location for photography and is often used as an inspiration for several filming locations too.

Now, many tourists from around the world came over here to photograph the incredibly dense apartment block and post the images to social media.

Isn’t this worth a visit?

Caught hold of Gentle Bakery at Yik Cheong Building selling traditional pastries.

Look at the wide range of pastries offered. 😋

Egg Tart
Pan-Fried Red Bean Mochi

Oh my, heavenly is all I can say. ☺️

Next up, having a nice dessert break at Meet Fresh.

Taro Balls with Jelly Noodles & Black Pearls
QQ Mochi
Winter Melon Tea with Winter Melon Jelly

Ending the night with dinner at Tai-O Café Kitchen.

Ham & Egg with Toast
Instant Noodles with Satay Beef
Curry Beef Brisket with Rice

Day 3 morning, went for breakfast at a traditional old school dim sum restaurant, Lin Heung Kui (莲香居) at Sheung Wan.

You will get to enjoy classic dim sum at Lin Heung Kui where items are served in bamboo baskets in trolleys.

Upon reaching the tea house, you are supposed to find your own seats and get seated. Alternatively, you may seek help from the staff to help you locate seats.

After you are seated down, you may then choose your dim sum from the trolleys that they go around.

Bon Appetit

This is definitely a great experience and something unique for those who have not come across.

How to go to Lin Heung Kui?

Take MTR to Sai Ying Pun Station and use Exit A2.

After a hearty breakfast, decided to do some sightseeing in Central.

Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal

Finally, I get to see the actual place as I get to see it only when watching Hong Kong drama. ☺️

The Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal is the final appellate court of Hong Kong.

It was established on 1 July 1997, upon the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, replacing the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as the highest judicial institution under Hong Kong law.

Lady Justice is based on the Greek goddess Themis − honoured as clear-sighted − and the Roman goddess Justicia − honoured as representing the virtue of justice. She is blindfolded because justice is unbiased and should not be based on a person’s appearance or other outside influences.

Bank of China Tower & Cheung Kong Centre

These 2 buildings are one of the most recognisable landmarks in Hong Kong and are typically seen in Hong Kong drama, too.

After which, make my way over to Central Pier to board the Star Ferry from Central to Tsim Sha Tsui.

Hong Kong Observation Wheel

The Star Ferry (green and white ferries) is a passenger ferry service operator and tourist attraction in Hong Kong. It provides a scenic yet inexpensive mode of harbour crossing to carry passengers across Victoria Harbour between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon.

It is a recommended must-do activity while in Hong Kong.

So here I am travelling to Tsim Sha Tsui.

It’s time to board the ferry, and it takes about 8 mins to cross the harbour.

Pit stop coffee break at Flash Coffee at Tsim Sha Tsui ferry terminal.

Espresso Tonic

Refreshingly good on a hot afternoon. Didn’t know that espresso and tonic make a good concoction. 👍

Day view of the Clock Tower.

Spending time at the Avenue of Stars at the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade on a bright sunny afternoon.

Commemorative Sculpture of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Torch

Enjoying breathtaking day views of the Hong Kong Island skyline.

You may also find the handprints of famous Hong Kong celebrities along Victoria Harbour waterfront too.

I found my favourite actor’s (Jackie Chan) handprint. So make sure you come and look for your favourite celebrity handprint the next time you are in Hong Kong.

Other than celebrities handprints, there are also 4 bronze statues that you can look for at the same time.

Bruce Lee
Anita Mui
Hong Kong Film Awards

A popular local animated piglet character.

After a fun afternoon at the Avenue of Stars, I went indoors to K11 Musea to cool myself off.

K11 Musea is an ornately designed shopping centre with artwork, high-end stores, eateries, a cinema & live events.

Went over to Kam Wah Café for an afternoon treat. They are known for their pineapple polo buns and egg tarts.

Pineapple Polo Bun
Egg Tart
Instant Noodles with Luncheon Meat & Egg
Hong Kong Milk Tea

After a satisfying tea break, stroll past Tung Choi Street and was surprised to see the street filled with shops selling all kinds of pets, including dogs, cats, rabbits, fishes, etc.

Pet lovers will bound to love this street for sure.

Heading back to Central again after Tsim Sha Tsui.

Landmark Shopping Mall

This is followed by more retail therapy at IFC Mall.

IFC at Central Waterfront is a world-class business and leisure destination in Hong Kong.

This is so true!

Dinner at Tsim Chai Kee, a traditional Cantonese noodle place popular in Hong Kong amongst both locals and tourists. It is also a Michelin Bib Gourmand recommended place for many years serving value for money ping pong sized wonton noodle.

No Frills Menu
King Prawn Wonton Noodle
Fresh Sliced Beef Noodle
Vegetables with Oyster Sauce

What a great meal to end a great day.

Day 4 morning, headed over to 一點心 (One Dim Sum) for breakfast.

One Dim Sum is relatively easy to find. Take the MTR to Prince Edward station. From Exit A, take a right turn and walk along Playing Field Road towards Tung Choi Street. Turn left at Tung Choi Street, and you’ll see the store immediately at the corner.

This is another Michelin Bib Gourmand eatery highly recommended for the quality and affordable dim sum place.


Over here, you will order from the menu, and the items will be served to you upon order placing.

The items served are huge in portion coupled with the flavourful quality. 👍👍👍

It is recommended to come right after their opening hours or at odd hours in order to avoid the long queue, which can set you back easily by an hour. 😱

More sightseeing at Admiralty after a hearty breakfast.

With its distinctive and unique design, the Lippo Centre is one of the landmarks of Hong Kong.

The High Court of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is a part of the legal system of Hong Kong. It consists of the Court of Appeal and the Court of First Instance.

Another check off list (been there, done that) from those Hong Kong drama that I often see. ☺️

Pacific Place is a complex of office towers and hotels and a shopping centre situated at 88 Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong.

The four-level shopping centre is home to over 160 shops and boutiques and one major department store.

Enjoying a nice lunch today at Nadaman Island Shangri-La. Loved the classy ambience.

Menu for Lunch Kaiseki & Chef’s Recommendation Hana Set Lunch

Sweet corn pudding with dashi sauce and water shield, boiled Egyptian spinach & marinated pike eel.


Thinly sliced giant octopus Sashimi salad served with plum dressing.

Cold Dish

Cold simmered summer vegetables; water eggplant, cucumber, mini tomato, ginger and water shield.

Simmered Dish

Simmered winter melon with dried scallop soup.

Grilled Dish

Grilled Ayu sweet fish served in bamboo, served with Japanese bayberry and ginger.

Rice Dish

Rice with summer vegetables; edaname bean, taro, carrot, lotus root and sweet corn.

Almond Pudding

Dessert of the day.