Thursday, January 14, 2010

Everything Under the Sun: Hongkong and Bangkok Trips with Family

HongKong and Bangkok Trips with Family

In 2008, God had blessed my family with the opportunity and provision to go on short vacations abroad. That was the time when the world economic crunch began when the U.S. dollar was low and travel packages were being offered like candy.

First trip was in HongKong. We've been there a few times before but it was my daughter's first time there and she took most of the pictures. We stayed at a three-star hotel in Nathan Road and basically walked --- to Tsim Tsa Tsui, to Ocean Park, to Mongkok and Jordan, to where ever there's shopping. We also took the Star Ferry or the subway to got to the HongKong side for more shopping scenes and site seeing. There are more skyscrapers than before and more high-end shops have filled many of the streets, yet we found shops with high-quality products but with lower prices. Toni, my daughter, and I were also able to buy good shoes laid out on sacks in the streets near Causeway Bay (in short, 'bangketa' sale) for only HK$75-100. 

Food in HongKong has always been an adventure to me because my husband loves to try out those meats hanging in restaurant windows, chicken feet and those weird-looking roots and odd-smelling dried mushrooms, etc. Of course, I'd take the noodles anytime without some of those things. For breakfast, we'd always go to Mac Donald's because the breakfast there was usually congee or 'lugaw'. We didn't get the chance to go to the HongKong Disneyland but overall, we had fun.

 Our second vacation was in Bangkok. I lived in Bangkok in 1980 when I was stationed there as a flight attendant. It looked like Quiapo or Sampaloc because many old buildings lined up the main streets while modern buildings sprouted here and there. But oh my, it has changed a lot since then. Tall modern buildings, many shopping centers, nice hotels, MRT's, more traffic--these we've seen and experienced on our trip there. We stayed in Ramada Hotel, a few minutes by 'tuk-tuk' (like our local tricylces) to the most famous 'Platinum' shopping mall where many 'biyaheras' (Filipina businesswomen who engage in retailing women apparels and accessories) go. We bought clothes, clothes, clothes, and accessories and bags and lots of other things. Blouses which were sold for Php280 in Divisoria or Cluster Malls, we bought there for 180 Baht or around Php200. While we were doing the shopping, my husband waited at the 4th level food court where they sell lots of different Thai food from noodles, to Thai curry, Thai salads, Thai desserts, etc. Ohhh, hot and spicy!! There were also other malls like MBK and other high-end stores. What didn't change was the stores that sell fake or imitation signature bags, belts, and other leather goods. Not good!

As out trip included tours which I recommend to those who want to go to Bangkok, our tour guide took us to a big jewelry store where we could not resist to buy rings with precious little stones. The other tour was to Buddhist temples; the Thai people have always been proud of their temples and their religion to show them off to tourists, no matter if they are Christians like us. Well, their temples were so impressive that they were really good photo backgrounds for us. 

We had a nice time in Bangkok. And although the airfare was higher than HongKong, really we spent much much less in food and in shopping in Bangkok and overall it was even more satisfying and a great experience.

It's good to go on vacation, to see the rest of the world, to know their culture, to taste their food and to bring home memories of that adventure. I know, I traveled a lot before, but it's much better to do it with my family. God is so good!


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