Happy International Women’s Day!

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Happy International Women’s Day to all the hardworking women everywhere.

Especially to the ones out there trying to make a mark in this world (like myself….)!

IT’S OUR DAY!

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Destinartion #2: HONG KONG (On A Budget) – Page One Bookstore, Streetwear Goods, K11 Art Mall, Ghibli Store + A Few Tips (Where to Stay, Eat, etc.)

Back in December, I went to Hong Kong with a friend. It all started way back when we decided that if we have the money, we’re going to go on a budget trip to Hong Kong.

After months of saving up, we finally booked flights and accommodation in June, and managed to snag a whole 6 day trip to Hong Kong for around USD360/person. I will explain the whole breakdown later in the post. As of now I’ll give some reviews on which places you should go if you’re into art and animation, like me. (I will put aside the obvious like Disneyland…)

+ Page One Bookstore

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Page One is a bookstore and publisher of select design and art books that was founded in Singapore. It now has bookstores in Hong Kong and China. If you are studying design, you probably had come across a book published by Page One.

There are two Page One stores in Hong Kong (Festival Walk & Harbour City), but I went to the one in Harbour City. The store has 2 floors, at first you’d probably think that the store is a normal sized bookstore, however, once you go up, you’d eventually realize that the store is huge.

Aside from a huge collection of children’s books, fun stationeries, and other books, the second floor houses the Page One design and art book collection. The design and art section was located in a dark room. Some copies were opened so you can browse through, however you can get a shop assistant to open one for you. The collection was of course expansive.

If you have time and if you are actually into art and design, do make time for this bookstore, it’s massive, its collection is incredible, and you’ll be in awe!

More Info: PAGE ONE BOOKSTORE WEBSITE

Access: 5 Minute walk from Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Station, A1 Exit

 + K11 Art Mall

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K11 Art Mall is an art concept mall located not far from Page One. K11 is a mall-slash-gallery. It has a design store, art exhibitions that run all year round, and unique lifestyle stores. There’s this one part of the mall that reminds me of Goods Dept in Jakarta, or the stores at Cathay Cineleisure, Singapore. However though, the focus of this mall is the art and design part. Works by local and international artists can be found throughout the mall. The art space there is called Chi 11K Art Space, I didn’t manage to get in because I went there way too early, and I didn’t have time afterwards. Except for Chi 11K Art Space, everything is free! So it’s perfect if you just want to kill time and look at some art.

++ This mall also has D-Mop, a store that sells things you usually find on Hybeast or other streetwear websites. Such as Yeezy (the shoes were launched here and when I was there the clothes were still available), Jeremy Scott, Puma, Y-3, Lazy Oaf, and much more.

More Info: K11 ART MALL WEBSITE – D-MOP WEBSITE

Access: Tsim Sha Tsui MTR, D2 or N4 Exit

+ Ghibli Store (Donguri Republic)

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It is safe to say that I died. I’m not exaggerating! This is Donguri Republic’s first location outside of Japan!! I am a huge Ghibli fan, I’ve been to Japan a few times before and never really managed to get the tickets to the museum. So seeing this store was such a blessing.

The store is quite big, but it’s not Disney Store big. There was a huge sized Neko-bus in which people could go in, and a humungous Totoro too. The store looks like a library, a collection of DVDs and concept art books on the left, and the toys in the middle and on the right are the toys, towels, chopsticks, and some random goods. It felt like it was Hayao Miyazaki’s house (in my fantasy of course).

Do pay a visit here if you are into Ghibli and haven’t managed to go to the Ghibli Museum like me! After buying a few stuffs, I sat in Starbucks for 4 hours since I only had money for a cup of coffee! I probably got hypnotized at Donguri Republic.

More Info: DONGURI REPUBLIC FACEBOOK

Access: Tsim Sha Tsui MTR, A1 Exit

Those were the great art finds I found in Hong Kong, I really wanted to go the Hong Kong Museum of Art as well but it was in renovation. I loved Hong Kong and I really enjoyed my stay there.

I feel like Hong Kong is an Asian hub. Stores you can only find in Japan are available in Hong Kong (Ghibli, Neko Atsume Pop Up Stores, Gudetama Cafes (there were 2 when I was there!), Moomin Cafe, a large scale MUJI), stores you can only find in Korea (A-LAND, Stylenanda) are also available in Hong Kong. However, despite everything opening in Hong Kong, the true roots of Hong Kong is always there. The busy and congested streets of Tsim Sha Tsui, the never-ending street food, the shining bright lights. The “newer” area of Hong Kong which is Causeway Bay, also reminded me of Tokyo’s Takeshita-Dori on weekends! Hong Kong is greatttt!

++ TIPS

My guide is probably more suitable if you’re in Hong Kong with friends or if you’re on a budget.

+ Where to Stay – ($-$$)

There are lots of hostels you can choose from in Hong Kong (both in Tsim Sha Tsui area or the Causeway Bay area), however my choice was Urban Pack. What a great decision it was! The place was located just across the Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Station and a mosque. Harbour City is just a walk away and Avenue of the Stars was just a 5-minute walk away too. The place is clean, and has this youthful vibe with its murals and chalkboards. It has clean bathrooms and a communal area as well.

Price: Vary, my friend stayed in a mixed room for USD30/night. I stayed in a female room (with 7 other people) for USD40/night. Pretty cheap for a city like Hong Kong, and with a super convenient location too!

Urban Pack TripAdvisor Page

+ Flights 

I used Jetstar, flight prices are probably varied depending the month you are going. I also booked 6 months prior, which explains the cheap flight. I recommend to check out Scoot airlines too. Its base is in Singapore and not Jakarta, however you can get such cheap prices!! My friend and I tried booking on Scoot, however the site was on the verge of breaking down when we wanted to book. It couldn’t handle the traffic.

+ Cheap Transportation Fares, Disneyland Meal Vouchers, Sim Cards etc.

Go to Klook to book some of the cheapest deals on MTR tickets, 4G Sim Cards, Disneyland Meal Vouchers (important since the meals at Disneyland are expensive). All of the bookings are done online, some of the vouchers can be printed at home, but some have to be picked up at the Hong Kong International Airport, like the sim card.

+ Where to Eat (not going to review Tim Ho Wan…) ($!)

Cha Chaan Tengs! Cha Chaan Tengs are basically wartegs in Indonesia or hole-in-the-wall restaurants. It typically serves Hong Kong food, such as wonton, scrambled eggs and ham (order just the eggs if you don’t eat pork!), macaroni soup, milk pudding, and much more. The services are quick (so chill if you spot a queue, you’ll probably be able to eat in 5 minutes), you also probably have to share a table with other people when the place is full. Here are the 3 cha chaan tengs I went to in Hong Kong, I visit them for breakfast and lunch almost everyday! Sorry for the crappy pictures too, we had to be quick!

+ Australia Dairy Company

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This place has the best eggs!!! I am now hungry just writing about it. The place is quite famous already. The eggs are soft and they melt in your mouth. Do order that plus a toast on the side and a hot milk tea too. It’s so filling, enough for you to walk through the day in Hong Kong.

Its Breakfast Set is around USD3.

+ Yee Shun Milk Company

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If ADC has the best eggs, this place has the best milk puddings! So good and the portion’s big too. I didn’t get the chance to try the flavored milk they had, but it’s a must visit if you want to eat a good milk pudding in Hong Kong. They have an option of having the pudding hot or cold.

Milk Pudding is around USD3.

+ Mak Man Kee Noodle Shop

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Wonton noodles!!! Which I love but only managed to eat this once since my friend and I got so obsessed with ADC! The portion was big, this was the first meal that we got in Hong Kong.

Price is around USD3.

All these cha chaan tengs are located in Jordan, one stop from Tsim Sha Tsui MTR. ADC is located next to Mak Man Kee Noodle Shop, and Yee Shun is just a block away. The picture below is the area. The lit signage with two bowls and the red typeface is the Mak Man Kee Noodle Shop.

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Plus, if you like Hong Kong Waffles, there is also North Point, a booth which sells Hong Kong Waffles. The reviews are great, I didn’t manage to get one 😦

++ TIP FOR EATING: Since almost everything are not in English, it’s easier if you browse online first. Save photos of the restaurants’ logos and the food you want to eat. Google Maps is a godsend too.

+ More Cute Things! ($-$$$)

Visit the LOG-ON store. It is a store of all things cute, the store itself is spread out around Hong Kong. It is filled with random Japanese items, cosmetics, Sailor Moon goodies, Sanrio things, and much more. A crossover of Tokyu Hands, Daiso, and a Sanrio Store. One of the biggest ones I visited was in Fashion Walk, Causeway Bay.

There’s also I.T. A place you can visit if you have lotssss of money to splurge (which I didn’t…) It reminds me of Opening Ceremony. Like a high-end Goods Dept. It sells Kenzo, Moschino, 3CE, youthful high-end fashion brands. One of the first stores I went to with English speaking sales associates. There are some stores spread around Hong Kong, but I visited the one behind Times Square HK, Causeway Bay.

Anyway, visit Hong Kong if you want some good cheap eats, great shopping (window shopping if you’re a cheapo like me, except for Ghibli :(), great design to see, and a great public transportation system!

Destinartion #1: VIENNA – MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Arts

Vienna was something new to me. I didn’t have a clue of what the city is all about. Except for the fact that it was the city where Madeline (the French cartoon character) was kidnapped to in her first movie. My family and I planned to go to another city, but at the last minute, my mother suggested “Let’s just go to Vienna, we’ve never been there.”

January 15th, we finally arrived in Vienna. The city is beautiful, and it houses many museums and galleries, perfect for me. Among some of the galleries and museums I visited, MAK would be the first museum I review.

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#1 MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Arts

First and foremost, this museum’s architecture is splendid. It was such a view for the eyes, I couldn’t help but just gawk at everything. This museum dates back to the 1800s, which explains the beautiful architecture.

When I was there MAK was holding 2 major exhibitions. World’s brightest, happiest graphic designer (according to me, who else.) Stefan Sagmeister’s “the Happy Show” and Star Wars Identities, the Star Wars exhibition had a separate ticket though. It had some more exhibitions going on too, such as the 100 Best Posters 14 – Germany Austria Switzerland which features some of the most colorful and fun poster designs compiled from a graphic design competition. Other than that, there were also the Helmut Lang Archive and the Josef Frank “Against Design” Exhibition.

Here’s a quick review of the two major exhibitions:

+ Stefan Sagmeister’s The Happy Show

Runs from 28 October 2015 until 28 March 2016

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Stefan Sagmeister’s graphic design work had always been mostly fun, bright, and colorful. He speaks a lot on happiness too. Which explains the ultra bright exhibition, dominated by the color yellow.

The biggest piece was at the main hall of MAK, it was right there when you get inside. Two huge monkeys holding signs saying “Everybody Always Thinks They Are Right.”

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The Exhibition then started on the basement floor and continued to the second floor. The works displayed were mostly his past typography work, which was inspired by his notes.

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The exhibition was extremely enjoyable. There were some interactive features, such as riding a bike to get an artwork to light up, moving in front of an artwork so that it would move, and a lot more. It was pure joy and happiness. Even my 8-year-old brother enjoyed it!

+ Star Wars Identities

Runs from 18 December 2015 until 16 April 2016

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Star Wars Identities is an exhibition dedicated to everything Star Wars. Costumes, concept arts, vehicles, and anything you can think of about Star Wars. The exhibition itself started back in 2012 in Canada. The exhibition is touring the world, and its first stop in Europe happens to be Vienna.

This exhibition is more on the expensive side (my father even complained, though in the end he was happy.), but it’s worth every penny, especially if you are into this legendary franchise.

I’ve only been into Star Wars not too long ago (I apologize, I am so sorry). Some people I know sometimes just assumed that I’m into Star Wars. Since I watch a lot of Marvel movies, I read comic books and watch cartoons, I visit Comic Cons, and I happen to have a few Uniqlo Star Wars t-shirts too… so yeah. However, I haven’t even watched any Star Wars movies until last year! I don’t even know why I skipped Star Wars, probably because I was introduced to Spider-Man instead when I was little, not Star Wars. Fast forward to late 2015, I finished the previous 6 movies in 2 days, and watched them again in the next 2 days. In short I was hooked. Please forget my embarrassment and let’s just move on.

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Star Wars Identities boasts about having 200 original props, costumes, etc. They were not lying. I was completely stunned, apart from the complete collection of costumes from the previous 6 movies, there were also Anakin’s podracer, droids (BB-8 as their latest addition), and most importantly, the amazing Ralph McQuirrie concept arts, which I had been looking forward to.

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A highlight to me was the concept arts. The previous sketches for each character were displayed. Each had an explanation as well. For example, how they got Yoda’s eyes from Albert Einstein, and some other versions such as a female Luke Skywalker. These were not all by Ralph McQuirrie though.

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Another fun part was the interactive features. We were able to create our own Star Wars heroes. Throughout the exhibition there were checkpoints in which we could scan our wristbands, filled in data, gave a nickname to our Star Wars Hero, and we would be asked to choose which side were we on, the dark or the light. By the end, our characters would be displayed on a screen, and its characteristics and personal info would be e-mailed to us.

It was a delightful experience, everyone was happy! Including my parents, which was great.

More Info: MAK WEBSITE

Access: 10 minute walk from Stephansplatz, or ride the U-bahn (U3-Stubbentor), the stop is across MAK, near the famous Plachutta restaurant.

Vienna Tip: Download the Qando Wien App it’s an official app by Vienna’s public transport network, gives you tram routes, subway routes, etc. Just download this one, I downloaded a few other crappy ones and got lost…

+ Check out my TripAdvisor profile to see some of the things I’ve reviewed as well!