If you’re into history and food, these destinations may be of interest to you. I took advantage of a Jetstar promo and bought return tickets to Jieyang/Shantou for only $64. Here’s my itinerary:
Day 1 Jieyang airport is about half an hour from Chaozhou, an hour away from Shantou and two hours from Meizhou. You may actually start your trip from any of the three cities. For me, Shantou seems to be the logical place to start. The Jetstar flight timing is such that by the time you’re checked into your hotel, it’s almost time for dinner.
Fuyuan is the place to be for Teochew dishes.
After dinner, we took a long stroll towards Xiao Wu rice rolls (小吴肠粉), stopping by Suning mall along the way.
Day 2 The Shantou old city area is worth spending half a day to check out. Various traditional food outlets are littered throughout this area.
First stop, Laomagong (老妈宫) dumplings. It is named after the temple across the street, which is near the centre of the old city area.
To relieve the stomach from too much food, we visited the Shantou development museum, which is free admission and interesting enough. Still quite stuffed but had to proceed with lunch, at Fuhecheng (福合埕), just to check it off the list.
Day 3 There are frequent buses to Chaozhou, although it is somewhat annoying that the bus spends half an hour picking up passengers in Shantou before actually starting on the journey to Chaozhou. It is also possible to take a train to Chaozhou and the trip takes only half an hour (vs more than an hour by bus), but you may have trouble finding a taxi when you arrive! In fact, this was the biggest problem we faced when in Chaozhou. The taxis don’t go by meter and you have to haggle over the price. More importantly, you may not even be able to find a taxi when you need one!
Other than this very distasteful tourist trap of being swindled every time you need to get around, Chaozhou is a pleasant place to be, despite being very touristic.
Day 4 You could say this was the day when everything went wrong. My plan was to take a train to Meizhou. There was conflicting information on the train schedule and it turned out the 11am train I was hoping to take was no longer available since years ago. Lesson learnt: the train schedule that is actually available for booking online (via ctrip website for example) is accurate.
It’s unfortunate that Chaozhou and Meizhou are not well connected. There is only a single train trip per day at 530pm and two bus trips at 915 and 3pm respectively. The situation will be much improved when the high speed rail link is launched later this year (2019). If you’re interested to go to Meizhou, you might want to hold off your travel plans until the high speed rail is operational. It departs from the high speed rail station near Jieyang Chaoshan airport.
Anyway, I decided to catch a bus to Jieyang and transit to another bus for Meizhou. Little did I know, there was a detour from the usual 2 hours route from Jieyang to Meizhou due to road closure, and the journey became 4.5 hours! Anyway, this was still the best outcome possible, being able to arrive at Meizhou around 6pm. If I took the 3pm bus from Chaozhou or the 530pm train, I would have arrived at 8pm! It was raining the whole day anyway, and I may not have been able to do much anyway if I arrived at the planned timing 1pm.
Day 5 My original plan for the day was to visit the neighbouring small town called Songkou as well as the Nanyanfei tea plantation (雁南飞茶园) and Qiaoxi Hakka village (桥溪古韵). Instead, I moved the itinerary I had planned for the day before to the present day, and thankfully it worked even better this way.
Day 6 The plan for the day was to buy Hakka goodies and to have the final meal in Meizhou. The 1230pm bus arrived slightly ahead of the scheduled 230pm at Jieyang airport. Given we had more than 2 hours before the check-in counters open, we decided to explore the neighbouring villages. There isn’t any public transport at all, so we took a taxi to save some effort (the nearest village 孙畔村 is actually within walking distance). The fare had to be higher (20 Yuan) because the taxis usually take people into Shantou and Chaozhou instead of the nearby areas.
We knew we would arrive at the airport too early, so I did research and found out there were villages in the vicinity of the airport worth checking out.
Yong Peng remains the best lunch stop, timing wise, when traveling down to JB from KL. 688 coffee shop is a lively place with 5 stalls, which is considered a high stall count for Yong Peng. There is the drink stall that also sells Bak Kut Teh, Assam fish and porridge. There’s also a chicken rice stall, a Wanton noodle stall, a Tze Char stall and a soup stall (fish balls, pork ribs etc.).
I started off from KL fairly early in the morning and i wanted to have a quick lunch stop. Well, more like a snack stop. As with Yong Peng, Tangkak is just a short distance from the Toll booths, so it is good for a quick stop.
Everyone probably goes to the beef noodle shop. Not for me when i want to grab a quick bite and run. From Google maps, the eatery that caught my attention was Lok Pin Hotel & Coffee shop, conveniently located on the main street. From the name, you would know that it harkens from the days (many decades ago) when it was popular to run a hotel and coffee shop as part of the same business. It certainly reminds me of Chong Kok Kopitiam in Klang, which uses 中国酒店 as its Chinese name, meaning China Hotel. Except, Lok Pin Hotel is actually still in operation.
“How to get a Russia Tourist Visa in Singapore” is one of the more popular posts on my blog. Obviously, by now, i have already been to Russia. More than a year ago in fact. This is a long over due post on how the trip turned out. In a gist, I’m certain I want to go again!
Russian people are among the most friendly I have encountered! I also appreciate their artistic ingenuity as manifested in the architecture and interior design. The motifs employed are out of the world, and i love their use of bold yet harmonious colours.
Autumn turns out to be a good time to be in Northeastern China. The
weather is cool, and the colour of leaves in shades of red, orange and
yellow are breathtaking.
Harbin was especially mind blowing. They are obsessed about cleanliness! There is an army of cleaners tending the streets endlessly. Owing to Russian influence, the architecture is quite a bit more interesting than the generally drab ones built all over China during the 70s through 2000s.
Shenyang, in Liaoning province, is where people queue up to board transportation vehicles (and I have witnessed the same in Dalian a decade ago), something not emulated in other provinces. Their driving habits are horrendous though.
This was my 3rd visit to Bukit Gambir, and this time, i went to the restaurant 侨興 that was marked on Google maps. There must be a good reason for a restaurant to be highlighted in Google Maps, especially when it shows up at low zoom levels. True enough, 侨興 is one of the few restaurants has been around for ages in Bukit Gambir.
Medan is a bustling city, being the third largest in Indonesia. Prices are cheaper here than in Jakarta and Surabaya, so if you want a cheap getaway, Medan fits the bill.
Here is an important travel tip for Medan – use Grab for cheap and efficient transport around Medan (should apply to all Indonesian cities as well). For a six-seater car, it cost only 15 to 20k (S$1.50 to S$2) for travel within Medan city, which is quite affordable. For a normal sedan, it is even cheaper.
Grab is the no brainer choice to arrange for your airport transfer, costing less than 150k (S$15) for a six-seater, plus 15k for toll. The journey takes almost an hour. Here’s how you can use Grab upon your arrival – when you exit the airport terminal, go to the parking area A (Parkir A) on the right. The Grab cars are all just waiting there. Book a car and proceed to look for the car when the driver confirms the booking. Continue reading Medan 5 days itinerary
Having passed by Kampung Serom 3 after having lunch at Sungai Mati not too long ago, I vowed to check out this place, and so i did. Except for a Char Kway Teow stall, there was no other food to be found here, so it’s not recommended for lunch, unless you just want to check out this place.
What attracts me to Kampung Serom 3, as usual, is how old the place is. The two rows of shophouses by the road look like they are at least 60 years old. Locals seem to enjoy hanging around the 3 kopitiams (especially at the two that does not serve food). Just sitting around and sipping kopi.
The flight touched down at budget flight kind of timing, 8am. Fortunately, the driving in Okinawa is quite well mannered, and the general speed limit of 50-60km/h is safe enough for driving under lack of sleep. By the way, I did not make use of the ETC card and i avoided the toll highway completely.
I did not plan beforehand where to have breakfast, and while driving about looking for a place, we stumbled across an A&W restaurant.
Day 7 – I booked the Wang Gong clams picking tour (王功採蚵車摸蛤生態之旅) nearly two months ahead to ensure i got a place. You can do so via Facebook messenger, which was how i contacted them. Otherwise, you can also sign up for an adhoc tour at some of the restaurants in town, or, you could just walk to the beach area and DIY.