Free admission for these attractions! /Paris, France

October 18, 2017

Paris is the most tourist-friendly place I have been ever because foreigners could enjoy many benefits here. Tourists are classified into 3 categories here: Non-EU citizens and EU citizens. EU citizens could be divided into normal EU adult and other identities like students, elderly and disabled. The following would introduce the attractions free for different kinds of people.

Continue reading Free admission for these attractions! /Paris, France

They detained my passport! /St.Petersburg, Russia

I was being suspected!??
how my cruise holiday ended up to be?
duty-free shops in the port of St.Petersburg
I would strongly recommend people not to visit Russia with free visa because it is VERY time-consuming. Eventually, it took 3-4 hours for queuing in passport control and you have only a half day to visit the city.
St.Petersburg line was expected to arrive at 09.30 but ended up at 10.00. They opened the gate at almost 10.30. When you feel like “oh yeah I’m in Russia”, you have to wait for the passport control which takes at least 10 minutes per person. But basically they won’t talk to you except asking you to remove your glasses and I am fucking wondering what the fuck they are looking my passport again and again for fucking 10 minutes hahhahaha

Most unforgettable customs experience

For any they feel suspected, they are bringing to a special room. I heard an experience of an American soldier showed his passport with his soldier card (Something like that) and being detained for 3 days. He even missed his voyage and has to take a flight back.
Like me
yes, maybe I look like a spy
yes, they act like I look different from the passport
and I never do makeup or have any plastic surgery
It took another 20-30 minutes for me to wait in that “special room”
In fact, it is not special at all because there are quite a lot of people here
even for the tour guides who visit Russia with a free visa for a few times already
Technically, they compared my face with the passport photo for a few times with digital camera only.
Even though you are not the one being suspected, there are so many people being suspected queuing in front of you, so it is not worth to take the cruise trip if you are coming for the free visa to Russia. (my purpose is to enjoy a cruise holiday hahahha) Anyway, it is another new experience for me since the customs of Russia is so different from other countries I have been to, which probably going to be the most unforgettable customs experience.

shocking facts about the customs of Russia

1. they won’t scan your passport. Instead, you will keep hearing the voices of paper flipping. You would start wondering why are they staring at your passport for more than 10 minutes, even though there are a few stamps only.
2. You are not required to scan your fingerprint
3. There are no separate queues for Russians. But Russians can cut queues wherever and whatever they wanted and walk to the counters without waiting.

shuttle bus to city center

THIS IS A DISASTER TO TAKE THE SHUTTLE BUS. Since the bus (but it’s better to describe it as a van) has limited seats and you cannot stand in the van, everyone is squeezing and no one keeps the line when the van has arrived. It’s like a refugee camp and we can’t wait to be sent out! The shuttle bus doesn’t come on time despite the timetable provided. Shuttle buses back to the terminal stop in the same place of where they drop off, parking area of St.Issac’s Square. Most of the tourist attractions in St.Petersburg are within walking distance. You have to take a taxi if you are not managed to get into the shuttle bus. My roommates managed to take a taxi instead, which costs them 70€ in total for the trip.

Duty-free shop

Shopping in a duty-free shop is a wise choice if you spent up all the time in sightseeing The price is decent and they got Christmas offer for some chocolate. They are all well-packed which are nice as presents to others. (Even they are not that tasty) It costs 1-2€ for magnet and other little souvenirs, which both cash and cards are accepted. Drinking a bottle of alcohol in that size on a cruise would be a lovely gift to the beloved one. They are so eye-catching and I have to empathize that they do offer different kinds of souvenirs.

Looking for the best exchange rate in town? /Hong Kong, China

Looking for the best exchange rate in town?

Where is the local shopping area?

How to save your time in transport?

Best exchange rate inside the most dangerous place /Tsim Shi Tsui

Shops in Hong Kong don’t accept other currencies but usually accept credit card. It is necessary to bring some cash if you would like to explore the local culture, like trying street food.

Tsim Sha Tsui area is the busiest area for both the locals and tourists. You can find many old buildings under maintenance here.

There are many commercial buildings here but it’s better to get some leaflets before going up. There are too many shops and brands inside, which would be time-wasting if you are not sure where to go.

One of the best exchange rate shop is located in Chungking Mansion, Tsim Sha Tsui

Chungking Mansion is told to be the most dangerous building in Hong Kong. Many ethical minority and refugees stayed here, which a few robbery and murder incidents happened before. Some said many people try to talk to you once you enter the building, they ask you to exchange the currency in their stores if they notice you are coming for currency exchange.

However, it never happened to me…

Anyways, be aware of your wallet and bags whenever you enter the building. Make sure which currency shop you are going. Even though you can’t find the shop, you have to look super confidence.

If you walk straight, Kin Shing Money Exchange is located there. Compared with other stores, Kin Shing offers more competitive rate and more transparent information (rate is updated here every day). They will give you scripts back, listed with your rate applied and amount exchanged.


Lunar New Year special, shopping in /Mong Kok

Like Thanksgiving in America and Christmas in Europe, Lunar new year is an important festival for Asian to celebrate with their relatives. Since it symbolizes the start of a new year, people like to replace new stuff with the old. Children or those who are not married will receive red pockets from their relatives (amount varied from 1€ -10€). Shops usually offer a special discount for celebrating the festival as well.

Ladies’ market and Fa Yuen Street (or called Sneakers’ Street) would be introduced here. There are many shopping streets and area in Mong Kok area. Some of them are famous for tourists only. However, these two streets are famous tourist attractions and common for locals to do shopping here as well.

Ladies’ Market

Ladies’ Market is located at D3 exit of MTR station. The souvenirs sold here are at a decent price, like 1.5 € for a keychain. However, the price is not listed so shopowners usually set a higher price with you asked them first. We asked the price for a keychain and the shopowners said 3 €, we walked away and she started cutting the price: offer you as 2 €, alright how about 1.5 €…

To be honest, the quality here is not good. If you know about Alibaba and Taobao, most of their products are coming from there. The cost is super low and perhaps 0.1 € for 1 keychain only, so as for other products as well. If you are planning to travel the mainland part of China. probably you could find more choices there. Otherwise, it is quite convenient to get one in Ladies’ Market.

The key is not to be rush. The Ladies’ Market is so big and they sell similar products here. You could always compare here and buy when only you feel satisfied with the price. Apart from souvenirs, they also sold some “brand-name” clothes and luxury bags. Most of them are counterfeit but with good quality.

Fa Yuen Street/ Sneakers’ Street

Hong Kong people like buying sneakers, especially the latest one and special edition. There are different types of shoe shops in this street.

– Brand’s shops

The shops are opened by their own brand and they sold a single brand of shoes only, like Adidas, Nike, and New Balance. You shall shop here if you are the loyalty customer of a single brand.

– local distributors

Some distributors got the products from different brands and sell them in the same store. Some brands don’t have their own stores in Hong Kong, like Birkenstock. Sometimes they use the brand name as the store name but they operated by the local distributor, like CPU. You shall shop here if you buy products of different brands.

– local shops

Some local shops would import products from different countries like Japan and USA on their own. Unlike local distributors, which their products are imported by their suppliers. These local shops may offer some products which are not available in local market. However, sometimes it is quite risky to do shopping here because you never know where do their product come from. You shall shop here if you are looking for some products which are not available in local market.

As for lunar new year special offer, they offer 20% off on regular items and 10% off for 2 pairs of discounted items. We went on the weekday but still, it is very crowded to do shopping. I would advise visiting the shop which you are interested in, it is not needed to compare the price and type of products because all the shops are selling similar products.

Traffic jam in Hong Kong

Lastly, please keep in mind with the traffic peak hour in Hong Kong, which saves you lot of time on the road. Traffic jam in Hong Kong happens every day and it is quite serious due to the limited land of this small city. For example, it takes 50 minutes for you to travel from Mong Kok to the airport by bus, but it may take up to 2 hours if you travel during the peak hours. Big shopping malls and shops are usually opened at 10 am or 11 am every day 07.00 to 09.00 is peak hour since people who at office usually start working at 9 am, it is recommended to travel after 9 am.

Some people prefer moving to a location for dinner after doing shopping. However, it is reminded to avoid taking any transport from 17.00 to 19.00, which people off from work and travel back home.