Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The Monkeys Along the Way towards Hongfu Temple @ Qianling Hill Park (黔灵山公园) in Guizhou

Qianling Hill Park (黔灵山公园) was one of our stopovers in the provincial capital of Guiyang and while its main attraction is the almost 400-year-old Hongfu temple; there's another thing worth nothing, especially if it is your first trip there.

Hint on what to expect. We were given a heads-up by Huan Huan on the coach before arriving at the park and hence, were well-prepared on what to do.

Yes, monkeys (species: macaques) in the park and boy did they look exactly like the ones from the original, year 1986, drama series from China; Journey to the West! 

Rule number one - steer clear of them! I think i inherited my naughty, stubborn streak from my dad. He was adamant on getting as close as he could to the monkey! I would have done so too if i am with my friends but when i am travelling with my dad; his safety is of paramount importance.

Worth noting is that the primate population is thriving and there were said to be at least about 500 of them in the park. Which means, you better don't bully them.

They have the ability to congregate and get back at the bully! Therefore, just keep clear of their path and at no point should you engage them! 

Rule number two - never feed them and that also means you don't bring any snacks or even plastic bags as they have the tendency to grab them. In this case, they would actively engage you instead of you engaging them.

Humans evolve from primates and their intelligence is no joke too, especially when it concerns food. Mostly, they would avoid humans even though i thought it's the other way around.

See the wide berth between the monkey and human! 

There were the occasional curious humans who would intentionally step forth for a closer picture. 

Well, i would advise investing in a phone with a good zoom camera. iPhone XR isn't fantastic in that aspect and even though I would like to recommend Huawei P30 Pro, the recent news is that "Google has suspended business" with the cell phone company; i rely heavily on google services! 

Last picture before i end the night! 

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Monday, May 20, 2019

เฮียให้ Here Hai Restaurant - A Hidden Gem Serving Darn Good Food @ Ekkamai [Bangkok, Thailand] #herehairestaurant #crabfriedrice #cabbagewithporklard #mantisshrimps

After the largely disappointing crab feast at Nhong Rim Klong in November 2018, i told myself i wouldn't bother spending my money at other similar establishments in Bangkok.

To think i would break my promise so fast! While researching for my itinerary for April 2019, i came upon this restaurant that had yet gained much attention from tourists. It has a rather interesting name as i could draw exact references from words in English and even Chinese; Here Hai.

Before reviewing the food, it's important to let you know how you can get to the restaurant. It's literally a hidden gem as there's no mention of the restaurant's name (unless you understand Thai) when you are standing outside the shophouse!

Access is from the back of the coffee shop on level one and you have to climb the stairs to level two! Don't be shy; just brazenly walk in to the back and i guarantee you can find a staircase on your left.

It was 11 am and i thought i was early for lunch! The small eatery was already packed with diners and there were so many food delivery drivers waiting for the food. I was asked to leave down my name and return an hour later.

With an hour to spare, i am honestly tied on where to go as i totally didn't expect this. My eyes widened with happiness when i looked across from the shophouse; a building with Don Don Donki!

[Fast forward to an hour later] no seat and we had to wait for about 30 minutes before a table was released for us! Menu was easy to read with English and Chinese translations; you know what that means? It means it's getting popularity with foreign travellers!

The wait for food took us no less than an hour! As there were just Alex (with his tiny stomach) and i, there's a need not to over-order and i guess the above three dishes (all tagged as must-try on the menu) would be sufficient.

Insane Crab Fried Rice - when i see the word "insane", i am guessing it means there would be an abundance of crab meat, just like Nhong Rim Klong's version. Well, it does contain a lot of crab meat but key difference was how good the plate of fried rice was at Here Hai!

The wok-hei essence was so strong here; i don't think it's an exaggeration to say that it had been deliciously encapsulated in every single rice grain! Mix in the spicy yet appetising green chilli from the saucer to perfect the fried rice! 

Stir-Fried Mantis Shrimps - stir fried with garlic and pepper, i was a bit hesitant to get these as i saw the kitchen staff took out a frozen bag from the styrofoam boxes. But, it's a must-try and i had waited too long to give this a miss!

My first time trying mantis shrimps and boy were they fascinating; the taste was a bit on the pungent side although the addition of garlic and pepper did lift the palatability to the extent i really did enjoy them and would have loved to order more!

Cabbage with Pork Lard - this surprised me as the pork crackling indicated on the menu refers to the amazing amount of crispy pork lards topping the stir fried cabbage! I was totally on cloud nine then as people who know me well would be aware i love my crispy pork lards!

And do you know it's ranked eighth on the 100 most nutritious foods compiled by researchers, according to BBC? Anyway, aside from the crazy sprinklers of pork lard, the cabbage tasted almost like it came out from my mom's kitchen! Those who have had the fortune of eating the stir fried cabbage from my mom would know it's da best!

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Gosh, i ended all my food reviews with an exclamation mark! However, i am not going to change it as i sure was impressed with what we had at Here Hai. And to think that i initially thought we might not be able to finish all the food.

Address
112/3 Ekkamai Rd, Khwaeng Khlong Tan Nuea,
Khet Watthana, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110,
Bangkok, Thailand

Location Map

As above.

Facebook Page

Line 
QR as above. I think i would make a reservation via this app the next time so that i don't have to wait so long! If i can order to my hotel, i think that would be another great plus. 

Menu
As above.

Pricing
Insane Crab Fried Rice - 340 baht
Stir-Fried Mantis Shrimps - 380 baht
Cabbage with Pork Lard - 80 baht

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Day Three of The 8 Days' Guizhou Tour Package by Chan Brothers - Maling River Canyon (马岭河峡谷) #MalingRiverCanyon



Rise and shine at 6.45 am for breakfast and with plenty of time to spare until we departed from the awesome Guizhou Colorful Yijing Hotel Zhenfeng; we took to exploring the huge compound of the hotel.

It's impossible not to fall in love with this traditional looking hotel that had all the modern amenities yet blessed with a relaxed, almost classical atmosphere! Pity i couldn't show you more of the photos which were mostly taken by my now-lost DSLR.

As mentioned in day 2, the hotel employed a lot of people from the minority tribe; the Buyi which had a large concentration within the county of Zhenfeng.

Maybe to bank on the cultural dollar, a traditional weaving tool was installed near the restaurant where we had our breakfast and two aunties from the tribe were stationed to showcase their long established skill.


Very friendly people and thanks to my okay mandarin, i managed to strike a conversation with them. Upon knowing we were leaving the county, they even sang a song to wish us a safe journey in China! *touched*

Can see that even dad couldn't bear to leave the hotel. However, the journey must continue as there's so much to see and do in the next few days!

Destination was near when i saw the name on the bridge; Maling River Bridge. How i know? Because our next stop was to check out Earth's most beautiful natural scar; the Maling River Canyon!

This is how spectacularly beautiful it is! As this is a canyon, we had to take an elevator from the ground level to about a hundred plus meters down.

The beauty of this canyon can be attributed to the many waterfalls cascading down the top! It was said that there are about a hundred over waterfalls along the 74.8 kilometers canyon.

We didn't see that many although it's sufficient to make us ooh and ahh every turn! Huan huan, our pretty tour guide, shared that the waterfalls were especially amazing when it's the rainy season.

Our walk along the canyon wasn't particularly hard but we still managed to work out quite a sweat due to the many steps; some of which could be high and / or wet due to their proximity to some of the waterfalls.

Did you see the rainbow in the middle of the photo?!

End-point of our trek; the best spot for photos and totally worth the sweat. I did notice a path further down that's already closed to the public. It seemed like there are a lot of abandoned tracks and it's best to gauge yourself; if path appeared desolate of humans, stay clear of it.

Dad was impressed; very, very impressed.

I have visited China no less than five times and this particular tour to Guizhou counts as the most memorable when it comes to scenery. It was also etched in my mind as the place where i lost my most expensive possession, so far.

Shot from the tail-end of our track; aside from the waterfalls, one interesting landscape would be the layers of downward facing green bushes which are in fact rocks with green moss / algae.

Suspension bridge linking this side of the canyon with the other side. Huan Huan actually would prefer us to use the same route back but adventurous me and daring dad asked if we could go back via the other route so that we can take more pictures!

Above us was the Maling River Bridge that we drove along earlier.

Water rafting is popular along the river during the summer period from June to October but as the canyon is more than 70 meters long, i am unsure which stretch is allowed.

You can't see clearly from this picture; there were easily about five waterfalls. Although they were literally narrow streams of water falling from the top; the view was really out of the world.


Slow motion video showcasing two of the canyon's waterfalls.

Well, your orientation isn't wrong. My dad and i went back on the same route as i had a fall down a slippery flight of stairs. I wasn't badly hurt but i am more worried for my dad's safety as a fall for his age could be lethal.

The injuries i suffered; cuts on my finger and wrist. What i didn't realise then was that i had a large bruise on my left thigh! No wonder it felt a bit sore then.

More of the canyon.

These were taken on the other end of the track; near the elevator and also known as the path connecting to the other side of the canyon. I couldn't stand the fact that i didn't succeed in going the other route and this would be some kind of consolation, i guess.


Video taken in the elevator on our way back to the main entrance. From the surface, the place actually didn't look like there's something that spectacular beneath! 

Arrival in the city of Xinyi where we shall stay for two nights at Argyle Hotel; in an area near a shopping belt and where circular pedestrian bridges help to create access across the roads.

Dad badly needed warm clothes and we dropped by this particular store across the hotel; things were incredibly cheap. Imagine a pair of socks for about 20 Singapore cents and comfortable cloth shoes for about S$4.00! As the store was pretty large, we spent a good part of our night going through the merchandise! 

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