March 30, 2014

Guangzhou Short Update

I went to Guangzhou on 15th March for market research purpose. Stayed for 3 nights. The entire trip I rarely took out my camera or smart phone to snap shoot any picture. I was learned that do not expose your valuable items in GZ because pick pocket thieves might be anywhere looking for target. Though I saw many locals holding their phone in public. Prevention from being targeted by pick pocket thief is a wiser act. This is not a shopping nor sightseeing trip. A sling bag is advisable, always carry your bag in front of you.

Bank of China introduced their travel prepaid card with UnionPay. It's a prepaid card, application is fast but you just have to monitor the daily exchange rate to get better deal. For more information, click HERE. I applied one as I was thinking not to carry too much notes in hand. At the same time, I doubt its usability because not every merchant has the UnionPay facility. I deposited enough of amount for my hotel fee (thought hotel should has it). But upon check-in my hotel, I was told they don't accept UnionPay asked me for credit card i.e. Mastercard or Visa. I was quite surprised. I noticed the merchants in wholesale markets in GZ too if any of them accept UnionPay payment, truth is majority prefer cash term. Unless you buy in bulk quantity at office floors then they do have such facility. Anyway, I managed to use my UnionPay prepaid card to purchase a luggage. Though insufficient amount contained in the card, they accepted balance to pay in cash. I think it's a risk to deposit all cash in the prepaid card. One of its disadvantages is that you can't withdraw cash out in China. Have to think twice before you apply one.

These are the only photos I took at 十三行 (Shi San Hang) wholesale market in GZ. Starts at 6am until 1pm daily. Busy streets, all you can hear is trolley sound and people shouting 沙河, 沙河 (there are vans bringing customers to another wholesale market named 沙河).





First to third floors of these wholesale markets are small stalls, accept 拿货 (na huo) and 打包 (da bao). These two are important terms. The quantity of 拿货 (na huo): buy 2 pieces at least per design. Depends on their requirement, some accept minimum 2 pieces, some has higher requirement to accept 4 or 5 pieces. 打包 (da bao) is 10 pieces above. You can mix the quantity with different colour but not the design. They don't accept bargain if the quantity is small. But if you buy in big quantity you will be the boss. Price bargaining is a skill to master. Please teach me too if you are good at it ok :)

I stayed at Homeinns 如家. A lot of reviews on this hotel chain, good service, hygienic, etc. Oh yeah, it's a listed company on Nasdaq in US too. But I failed to make booking at their website, as it requires you to enter China mobile phone number. Researched for alternative methods to make booking, found a website which you can make China hotel booking without paying a penny. Sounds great isn't it? Here it is: http://www.chinahotels.org/ For those can't read Chinese, it's a great source for you to make hotel reservation.

This is my hotel room at Homeinn. No window because I opted the cheapest. Though the space is small for two but it is enough for a single like me. RMB606 for 3 nights. Plus point, it is adjacent to the subway station.









March 28, 2014

Colugos Bistro & Grill

Address: Tun Jugah Mall, Jalan TAR, Kuching



Sometime ago, we browsed through their menu which displayed outside the restaurant. Found their price is reasonable and lower than our expectation. Decided to give it a try one day. Then that one day had arrived when we ran out of idea of where to have for lunch.

I approached the waiter if they impose service charge and government tax. He answered no. You may call me cheapskate but I deem a new restaurant shouldn't charge service charge when their business is still in growing stage. Once my friend and I went to a restaurant at Cityone, it was "empty" which means there was no customer other than us. Their food is nice but when I received the bill, I would think twice to come back again. They charged 10% service charge which I found it unacceptable. I was thinking for what they think they deserve 10% service charge? They only came to take order and serve the food. And there was always "empty" whenever I passed by (I went there before this with another friend and left). For a new business to sustain, getting more repeating customers are more important.

Back to the topic, we went in Colugos.







They have two sets of menu, one western and one Indonesian cuisine named Banyuwangi. They provide variety of food: burger, soup, desserts e.g. toast with ice cream, lamb chop, beef, chicken, pasta, etc. Everything looks enticing.
























We both had Colugos Grill Chicken RM13.90. The presentation looks quite plain, I would prefer it to have something green as decoration. Chips and coleslaw were nice. The chicken meat was not marinated so its taste was quite plain. But the grill is very nicely done. 




I would visit again for other menu next time. Though the setting of the restaurant is more like a bar, their pricing is absolutely reasonable.

March 23, 2014

Cherry Blossom Episode 5: Tokyo Day 5 (Nihombashi, Ueno Onshi Park, Ameyoko)

The last day of our stay in Japan. As our flight was at 23:45 so we still able to visit places during daytime. We checked out from our hotel but kept our luggage with them. It's free of charge.

First stop, we went to Nihombashi.








Next stop, Ueno Onshi Park. Cherry blossom in Tokyo was ended when we got there.   








Friendly police was letting kid to sit on his bike.




Monkey show again. The kids and adults love it..










National Museum of Nature and Science




Ueno Zoological Gardens





The only cherry tree we saw in Tokyo. So cute like cotton candy! 






Sakura ice cream again.




Outside Ueno Station






Ameyoko, the streets with stores offering clothes, miscellaneous goods, fresh fish and dried food.
















Lunch at Ueno.






Went back to hotel to collect our luggage.




Bought this at 7-Eleven in Haneda Airport. Unforgettable taste! Miss it a lot..



End of Japan post at last.



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