I am always eager to discover new places here in Hong Kong so when I read about Tamar Park a while ago, I added it to my ‘to-do’ list for the weekend.
This place is super impressive and truly unique from any of the other parks I have come across in HK. Unlike its neighbour Hong Kong Park, Tamar Park is an open space with lush green grass that stretches to the Harbour front and looks utterly stunning intermingled with the array of skyscrapers.
This vast space has art, sculptures and even an amphitheater; where I am told you can catch the odd performance when the sun is shining. Tamar Park has an extremely modern design and
coexists perfectly with its surrounding areas; Admiralty and Central being just a stroll away.
This spot is perfect for an old- fashioned picnic with its gorgeous grass and stunning views. On top of that if you fancy leaving your basket and blanket at home there is anI-Bakery Gallery Café which has a fresh and airy vibe that serves pasta dishes and sandwiches. If you are working around the area this park is a fabulous escape and is still fairly unknown so would be great spot if you needed a little afternoon siesta in the sun.
I must admit it had been a tough week for me, having had a dreadful interview and feeling a little homesick. However at Tamar Park I rediscovered the gorgeousness of this city from a new perspective I was reminded of how much I love Hong Kong and then was put in a pretty sprightly mood (as you can see from my pic…)
If you are wanting an escape or just fancy getting some cool snaps while visiting Hong Kong get Tamar Park on the list of things to do! Hope you enjoy and if you are planning the perfect picnic don’t forget the Prosecco(who doesn’t love a Prosecco picnic!)
The Closest MTR: Admiralty take Exit A ( then walk towards the Harbour)
With Art Basel in town and Art Central, everyone in Hong Kong is embracing the artsy ambiance. When I saw that one of my favourite barsThe Woods, was making its very own art inspired cocktails for one week only I just had to get myself down and try!
The Woods on Hollywood Road has an amazing array of drinks and is proving very popular among the movers and shakers of Hong Kong. Their specialty is utterly sensational cocktails that get all your senses tingling. Their premise is using the freshest ingredients to create unique cocktails that both tantalise the taste buds but are also pieces of art.
The Woods, is beautifully designed and has a laid back elegance. The décor is made up of art work, natural materials has a subtle rustic theme running throughout. I particularly love the glasswork behind the bar, the gothic branches give the bar area an almost mystical feeling.
So I know you are all waiting the verdict on the Art Basel specials well, I can honestly say they did not disappoint and are certainly worth an Instagram! Inspired by Andy Warhol the aptly named “Dandy Warhol,” delivered in a tin can decorated in a classicCampbell’s Soup label this tomato and Tabasco cocktail was deliciously thick, ice cold and had a spicy twist not dissimilar to a bloody mary. I also tried the Damien Hirst cocktail which is brought to you in a “ Love of God,” inspired skull and poured to perfection with the applewood smoking from the glass( my favourite).
These cocktails are available until 17th Of March so you don’t have a lot of time to get down there. Don’t despair if you miss out on the Art Basel spectacles, every cocktail on The Woods Menu is fabulous so don’t forget to drop in !
The Extras :
Close MTR: Central MTR( then hop on the Mid-levels to Hollywood Road)
A little bit of Extra Direction: The Woods is fairly hidden from the street giving it a mystical effect so if you head for the Paisaono’s Pizza and walk up look out for the sign!
Price: Cocktails range from $100 HKD- ( I haven’t tried but I hear their nibbles are delicious!)
This week I have been off work and decided to tick a few places off the Hong Kong eateries bucket list so yesterday, I went to the newest burger joint in town, “Burger Circus.” Having spotted this place on “Hollywood Rd,” a couple of weeks ago I have been dying to give their burgers and shakes a try. Based on a 1950’s American Diner from the outside with its neon lights and open front you are able to see this is not just your average burger bar. When you walk in you are seated by one of the waiters dressed in their rather retro uniform made up of white apron, pointed hat and black dickie-bow!
Upon entering Burger Circus you are transported into the 1950’s with its cute candy jars, striped straws and its old-skool menu board. The attention to detail is really impressive with its clever layout and retro furnishings such as classic red steel diner stools, wooden benches and its carefully chosen colour scheme. The menus are flawlessly designed with candy stripes and burlesque beauties giving the place “rock and roll,” vintage vibe. Burger Circus even with its tardis-like qualities still manages to remain current and avoid looking too much like a tacky take on a diner.This is done with great music and by serving the food in stylish branded paper pots. Everything about the design of this place screams instagram and hashtag heaven! #retro #bugers #diner #1950’s( I could go on but I will leave that to you!)
Now, with somewhere as quirky as this it would be a huge shame if the food let it down and made this place all about the look rather than a taste. Fortunately, this does not happen(sigh of relief) and the boys in the “Burger Circus,” kitchen do not disappoint! The menu is mainly burger focused but if you aren’t a beef lover they have, “The Shark Rider,” (the fish option) and the “The Flame Swallower,”(the chicken choice) so there is a burger to suit all your needs! I opted for “The Burger Circus Burger,” which was a deliciously griddled ground beef burger topped with classic cheese, crispy bacon( cooked to perfection) and lettuce finished with drizzle of their own tasty “Circus sauce”.The burger was extremely yummy and served on an utterly adorable tray in a very on trend paper holder. My other half went for “The Magicians May Tag Blue.” which was a blue cheese burger with all the trimmings and I must say it smelt divine( I was envious of his choice) and judging by the speed it was devoured I would say it was ON POINT!
We also ordered a side of fries which I have to be honest were relatively small and did come a long time after our burgers however they were well seasoned and fantastically fried. If you are debating over the sides I would suggest going all out and getting the “ Circus Fries,” it seemed to be the “done thing” and when I saw them I couldn’t help but have some serious ”food envy,” they looked crazily cheesy and delicious! So anyone who has watched “Mad Men,” or has seen “Grease,” will know the only way to wash down a beefy burger is with a creamy cherry topped MILKSHAKE! These Shakes served in their kitsch glasses complete with stripey straw and rosey red cherry are just DREAMY! We both opted for the traditional “Vanilla shake,” with but I decided to add extra marshmallows for a pure sugar explosion and I LOVED IT!(although there were a few straw blockages marshmallows are not made to be sucked up a straw…) After all this food sadly we had no room for dessert however I have heard nothing but good things about the”Apple Pie La Mode,” and “ Chocolate Brownie.”
“Burger Circus,” is an incredibly hip restaurant the food was top notch and the whole place is worth an instagram( or two)! I would 100% go back here if only for the mouth-watering dessert menu!! So if you are visiting HK or living here get yourself to “Burger Circus” for a truly unique dining experience !
Hongdae, is one of my favourite places in Seoul it’s cool, edgy and has a fantastic bohemian atmosphere. This area is a hub for South Korean students and cool kids to shop, be seen and party! A night out here can very easily turn into the mother of all hangovers so be warned! Hongdae, has some of the hippest bars and there is no where I like to get my boogie on than “Suzie. Q’s.” Perfectly hidden in the madness of Hongdae, this place is a welcome change from the Techno-laser fueled Ho Bars or boring Expat Sports Bars; unlike a lot of places Suzie Q’s has SOUL !
Looking at the door leading to the basement stairs you are unsure what to expect. However, when you walk down and spy the vinyl clad walls leading to the main entrance you know you in for a good night!
This place is all about the music and it plays some of the best tunes around, if you are into 1960’s “rock&roll,” and “Motown & Soul,” there is nowhere better to shake them hips than here! Playing The Rolling Stones, The Small Faces, and The Supremes along with modern bands such as Kasabian and The Arctic Monkeys; this place is an indie-retro music lovers dream! No K-pop to worry about in this vicinity that’s for sure!( and my goodness aren’t we glad!) The bar has a laid back atmosphere and has a “dancing in your living room sort of vibe,” with its low key decor, big sofas and vintage band posters.
Unlike many bars around Seoul this place has a personal touch and is ran by “Kyu Nam Jo,” a well- known record collector in South Korea, who even plays each song from his own personalcollection! Kyu Nam Jo, himself has become a bit of an underground celebrity among the record collectors of South Korea and coming to this bar you can see why his collection is MASSIVE and utterly flawless!!!Not only does he put the needle on the record (literally) but he also is the king of multi-tasking and serves drinks too, while his wife is busy handing out FREE POPCORN to all their customers.
Suzie Q’s, feels less like a bar but more like a cool house party hosted by South Korea’s very own” Quentin,”( Bill Neigh in the boat that rocked, if you don’t know the reference watch the film asap!) As you bop to “The Beatles,” with your free popcorn and your reasonably priced beer, you can’t help but love it here!!
What is even more impressive is unlike a lot of places he is more than happy to play requests under a strictly no K-pop rule of course, in fact he was very impressed when we asked for, “Runaway- By Del Shannon,” My other half has a very distinctive Beatles hair-do no dissimilar to Kyu Nam Jo’s, own and he was loving it!
With his thick framed glasses 1960’s hair and vintage style this guy is very much a person you want to party with if given the chance!!We spent most of the evening here and I can honestly say it was fantastic and one of the best bars I have visited in Asia. It was not relatively busy when we visited which meant we were able to get on our dancing shoes and we even managed to get a boogie in with the man of the moment.
For anyone taking a trip to Seoul, Hongdae is a must see attraction and Suzie.Q’s should be put top billing of places to visit if you are wanting to have an old fashion wiggle to some fantastic music!
As mentioned its pretty hidden and I have tried my best to find directions and this is the best I could come across:
From Hongik Univeristy Main Gate towards Sangsu Station( near Exit 1.) pass Club Evans on the right and Suzie.Qs, is on a nearby side street( best advice would be to ask around or try and google map it)
Having the privilege of living in Asia means you get to go on some pretty amazing holidays and last year I visited Hanoi a city that has been on my bucket list for some time. Hanoi is a city bustling with life, great food and a lot of MOTORBIKES. Since visiting it has become one of my favourite places to talk about and recommend.
Unfortunately, when I visited the weather was wet and surprisingly cold so I was forced to walk around in a cagoule and the same pair of trousers for pretty much 7 days (I packed for warmer climes…opps).However even with the bad weather Hanoi was probably one of the most surprising places and I absolutely LOVED IT. Now, of course most of you will know about Halong Bay, The War Museums and food; so I am going to tell you about my favourite Hanoi past times which mostly involve walking , sitting, eating and riding a bike…
Walking – Having a walk around The Old Quarter
This area of town is where EVERYTHING happens so I really recommend choosing a place to stay around here. (word of warning most of my best bits are based around this area)The Old Quarterin Hanoi is one of the best places to experience the chaotic and crazy streets you expect from Vietnam. Here, you can find the best shopping, local cuisine and nightlife. If it’s an atmosphere and nightlife you are after head down to “Beer Corner”( a street that needs little explanation) grab yourself a plastic chair and watch the world whiz by . If Beer Corner leaves you with a sore head in the morning a tried and tested cure is a cream cheese, ham and chili sauce baguette words can’t describe it, just HAVE ONE!
Eating – Taking a Street Food Tour
Having heard so much about Vietnamese cuisine we decided the best way to tackle it was to take a street food tour. Based around the Old Quarter this street food took us a little bit around the city and helped us sample some of the local cuisine. We booked it through one of the many tour operators and even though it was only an hour and half it was a great way to experience the city with your own personal tour guide. Our tour guide was a young student who was incredibly sweet and even though there was only two of us she made a huge effort to tell us a lot about the dishes.
The tour was around £20.00 and was well worth it as Hanoi is pretty much a street food place so from here on in our mealtimes were sorted!( now a Bun Cha addict!) . For me the main unexpected delight was the EGG COFFEE and EGG chocolate something you MUST have in Vietnam. This drink is still to this day one of the best things I have ever tasted and without our lovely tour guide there is no way I would be able to have located this tiny coffee house with its dreamy drink.
Sitting – at S.T. Joseph’s Cathedral(Nha Tho Lon)
Hanoi is city that you can’t help but want to sit and watch the chaos. When a rest stop is required its important to pick a good spec! So I suggest choosing a seat with a view and one of my favourites was from “La Place Café,” which looks over St Joseph’s Cathedral. The whole area surrounding this lovely cathedral harks back to Vietnam’s colonial times and has some fantastic colourful architecture which can be seen perfectly from this quaint, quirky and colourful café. The café has a laid back European atmosphere and has a good selection of coffees, cakes and snacks. In you are lucky you can grab a spot on its Parisanequse balcony and watch the tourist takes their snaps and the locals play football.
Riding a bike- in Tam Coc
Arriving at boat pick up point I didn’t have high hopes due to grey clouds and the prospect of being on a rowing boat for two hours… When we got on the boat our driver was quick to make friends and showed us his rather interesting skills of rowing with his feet. The boat ride took us through utterly fascinating scenes of natural tunnels, local fishermen and the truly beautiful rice fields. Our driver was that friendly he even lent me his hat!
My favourite part of the trip was without a doubt the BIKES! Being a bike lover as soon as I saw them I opted for the pink one with the basket and I have to say it did me very well in indeed. Our tour guide took us on an epic journey through the rice fields and a local village which felt like a real adventure serving past cows and motorbikes. This tour will remain one of my favourite days ever and I have to say I got some pretty fantastic snaps as we all know : “bikes + gorgeous scenery =one great selfie!”
So what are you waiting for get booking your holiday!!
A place to Stay – “Hanoi Guest House,” comes highly recommended the price, location and breakfasts are amazing!! click here to book
Now I have to be brutally honest I am not one for exercise and I am certainly not someone who you would call the “Outdoorsy-type,” so when a friend visiting Hong Kong, last month suggest we should go on a New Year’s Dayhike, it was panic stations!! Considering I had never hiked before the prospect of walking for hours with a groggy head was not filling me with joy!
“The Dragons Back trial,” is one of the best Urban hikes around Asia and super easy to navigate and offers beautiful views. You take the MTR to Shau Kei Wan and then get on the bus No.9 which takes you to the start of the trail and it is really well sign posted. The bus that takes you from to the hike’s starting point is an amazing ride and has some lovely views of Hong Kong Island’s Coastline and more scenic areas. (keep a look out for the starting point sign!) Now, a word to the wise this bus takes you ALONG way up on a windy path so if you are thinking of heading up there with a sore head, be warned you may have a few sketchy moments.
The first steep walk up to the main part of the trail was the tough being both unfit and hung-over and I did being to wonder if this was a good idea. However after a struggle and a brief moan, something amazing happened I was hit in the face( literally) by the sea breeze, the fresh air and the VIEW! Suddenly, I felt less foggy and like one happy hiker. The views along the trial were lovely the blue waters, yellow beaches and beach houses were a sight to behold.
The hike has no food on route and I have to be honest this was an issue after an hour in we were starving luckily we brought along a trusty TWIX, which was slightly melted and had to be split four ways…Nevertheless, it gave us the sugar rush we needed to last another 2 hours( so don’t forget a snacks)! The trail is really easy to follow and has toilets on route but be sure to bring some loo roll and alcohol gel, they are not the most pleasant porta-loos.
This hike was a real eye opener for me and I was surprised how good I felt not only that but it was an amazing way to catch up with old friends. With a head filled with fresh air and no distractions from the usual culprits like facebook (apart from getting the odd selfie snap) it meant we all just talked and walked and enjoyed the view and the company! After three hours we opted however you can walk all the way to the beach if you are wanting a longer journey. “Dragons Back,” is made for novice hikers so don’t be put off by its scary fire breathing connotations.
This trail hasn’t changed me in the sense I won’t be climbing Everest anytime soon, but I have bought a new flatpackbackpack(there is such a thing) and I plan on doing a hike once a month before the summer months kick-in. The Dragons Back Hike is perfect for a beginner hiker and in actual fact depending on how rough you are a tried and tested HANG OVER CURE!! So what are you waiting for go get on your walking shoes and go and hike along the Dragons back. (sounds cool doesn’t it!)
Closet Mtr –
Shau Kei Wan, Exit A3
No.9 to Tei Wan, Shek O’Road.
Essentials – Water, Suncream, a jumper, a backpack and a twix.