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Author Topic: A Trip to South Korea, China and Hong Kong  (Read 2395 times)

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Offline Manny

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A Trip to South Korea, China and Hong Kong
« on: September 22, 2023, 05:35:17 AM »
Not FSU I know, but I thought a few folks might be interested in my forthcoming jaunt in Asia for a couple of weeks. A few photos, a bit of commentary, etc.

I've started to take a short side trip when I go out there if I can, in 2019 I visited North Korea, and this time I am having a couple of days in South Korea on the way. I'll be staying in Gangnam, Seoul (as in Gangnam Style).

Then I'll be heading to Dongguan and Guangzhou in China for a week, then on the bullet train to Hong Kong for a week.

I've booked mostly with Hainan Airlines as their Business Class flights were far cheaper than others. At the expense of a few hours in Beijing for connections each way. Also, Chinese airlines can fly over Russia making the long haul aspect not as long as Western airlines. 2 hours shorter or thereabouts.

It's not for a couple of weeks yet, but I thought I'd start the topic now to see if there is interest.
Trip Reports: Links to my travels in Russia, Estonia, North Korea, South Korea, China and the US are >>here<<

Look what the American media makes some people believe:
Putin often threatens to strike US with nuclear weapons.

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Re: A Trip to South Korea, China and Hong Kong
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2023, 07:37:47 AM »
Definately interested. Especially what your experiences are what news is reported about the UA/RU war over there.
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Re: A Trip to South Korea, China and Hong Kong
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2023, 08:47:35 AM »
The wife and I did Hong Kong about 10 years ago. We both were thoroughly impressed. Customer service for whatever reason is was absolutely the best there than anywhere in the world that  I've experienced. If you've a need for some tailored made suits, it's a great place to get some


Offline Manny

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Re: A Trip to South Korea, China and Hong Kong
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2023, 05:08:10 PM »
If you've a need for some tailored made suits, it's a great place to get some

Funny you should say that. There was a post here 13 years ago that first alerted me to Hong Kong tailoring. I gave it a try and have had many shirts and suit jackets made there ever since. As it goes, after trying one called Manhatten Tailor since that isn't as good, I am going back to the first one I tried from that post this time around (they lost the mytailor.com domain in a legal action in the US), and are now called Hemrajani Brothers in Tsim Sha Tsui. I'm staying nearby at the Kowloon Shangri-La. US customers can find them at https://www.divij.com/

One reason I chose the Kowloon Shangri-La is it was mentioned often in Howard Marks' book Mr Nice. That book was unintentionally a good travel guide on Hong Kong. It's also a good book for those who want to see what the US government is capable of.

Definitely interested. Especially what your experiences are and what news is reported about the UA/RU war over there.

Good call, I'll find out.



Trip Reports: Links to my travels in Russia, Estonia, North Korea, South Korea, China and the US are >>here<<

Look what the American media makes some people believe:
Putin often threatens to strike US with nuclear weapons.

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Re: A Trip to South Korea, China and Hong Kong
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2023, 06:11:38 PM »
Cool trip Manny..def interested in your report! Have not visited the motherland in 20 odd years. Last time I was there the Brits were ceding control of HK back to China.

Get some good dim sum!

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Re: A Trip to South Korea, China and Hong Kong
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2023, 06:24:40 PM »
The wife and I did Hong Kong about 10 years ago. We both were thoroughly impressed. Customer service for whatever reason is was absolutely the best there than anywhere in the world that  I've experienced. If you've a need for some tailored made suits, it's a great place to get some

That's pretty interesting as specifically HK Chinese customer service is known to be rather poor, especially in restaurants!  Even for Chinese diaspora...

They must have seen you as a rich, generous foreigner ;D

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Re: A Trip to South Korea, China and Hong Kong
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2023, 10:13:58 PM »
If you've a need for some tailored made suits, it's a great place to get some

Funny you should say that. There was a post here 13 years ago that first alerted me to Hong Kong tailoring. I gave it a try and have had many shirts and suit jackets made there ever since. As it goes, after trying one called Manhatten Tailor since that isn't as good, I am going back to the first one I tried from that post this time around (they lost the mytailor.com domain in a legal action in the US), and are now called Hemrajani Brothers in Tsim Sha Tsui. I'm staying nearby at the Kowloon Shangri-La. US customers can find them at https://www.divij.com/

One reason I chose the Kowloon Shangri-La is it was mentioned often in Howard Marks' book Mr Nice. That book was unintentionally a good travel guide on Hong Kong. It's also a good book for those who want to see what the US government is capable of. 


I believe the name of our hotel was the Kowloon Grand Harbour. It was on the water. A really really nice place. The food in the hotel was incredible. I had heard it was a place to pick up some tailor made clothes. I got 3 suits, 8 or 10 shirts and a tie collection to match them. Several years later the tailor was in the states, remeasured me and sent me a couple of shirts and I bought some more. They stay in contact.

The wife and I did Hong Kong about 10 years ago. We both were thoroughly impressed. Customer service for whatever reason is was absolutely the best there than anywhere in the world that  I've experienced. If you've a need for some tailored made suits, it's a great place to get some


That's pretty interesting as specifically HK Chinese customer service is known to be rather poor, especially in restaurants!  Even for Chinese diaspora...

They must have seen you as a rich, generous foreigner ;D

Not from my experience. Everywhere we went and everything we did the customer service was exceptional. From shopping to 5 star restaurants and even the small tucked away dives. The tailor had my suits ready in 3 days

Offline Manny

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Re: A Trip to South Korea, China and Hong Kong
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2023, 02:45:04 PM »
The wife and I did Hong Kong about 10 years ago. We both were thoroughly impressed. Customer service for whatever reason is was absolutely the best there than anywhere in the world that  I've experienced. If you've a need for some tailored made suits, it's a great place to get some

That's pretty interesting as specifically HK Chinese customer service is known to be rather poor, especially in restaurants!  Even for Chinese diaspora...

They must have seen you as a rich, generous foreigner ;D

I've had mixed experiences in HK. The last few times I have been I have stayed on HK island at The Emperor Hotel in Wan Chai. That hotel is quite decent, I'd go again.

However, much of what I wanted to do meant crossing the Star Ferry to Tsim Sha Tsui. Shirts and tailors are in Tsim Sha Tsui, as are some of the banks and company agents I do stuff with, and the jewelry quarter is in Kowloon, so this time I decided to stay on the mainland side in Tsim Sha Tsui. I do not have much reason to go to HK Island as such.

One thing about HK for the Western visitor it is VERY expensive. A meal for one in a restaurant can easily be $130+ for nothing terribly special. My hotel in Kowloon is over £1000 for a few days. I once went into a steak restaurant in the financial district of HK Island, sat down, got some water, looked at the menu, and I couldn't believe my eyes. Who looks at prices really? It's just steak, right? £30-£60 pp worldwide. Not there. Steak and wine was coming out at almost £300 for ONE person. I walked out.

One time I was there I asked a local girl on WeChat I had used for translation before about local places to eat. She sent me some local places that were much more reasonable. If on HK island, there are lots of OK tourist places to eat as long as you avoid the women who want you to buy them "purple drinks" - think Odessa back in the day. A well-seasoned traveller can avoid all that nonsense. Scams are scams anywhere, right?

Like anywhere, do some online digging, ask a few friends, read the HK expat forums and you'll soon find out where the M&S is and how to operate away from the high prices.
Trip Reports: Links to my travels in Russia, Estonia, North Korea, South Korea, China and the US are >>here<<

Look what the American media makes some people believe:
Putin often threatens to strike US with nuclear weapons.

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Re: A Trip to South Korea, China and Hong Kong
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2023, 05:31:30 PM »

However, much of what I wanted to do meant crossing the Star Ferry to Tsim Sha Tsui. Shirts and tailors are in Tsim Sha Tsui, as are some of the banks and company agents I do stuff with, and the jewelry quarter is in Kowloon, so this time I decided to stay on the mainland side in Tsim Sha Tsui. I do not have much reason to go to HK Island as such.

One thing about HK for the Western visitor it is VERY expensive. A meal for one in a restaurant can easily be $130+ for nothing terribly special. My hotel in Kowloon is over £1000 for a few days. I once went into a steak restaurant in the financial district of HK Island, sat down, got some water, looked at the menu, and I couldn't believe my eyes. Who looks at prices really? It's just steak, right? £30-£60 pp worldwide. Not there. Steak and wine was coming out at almost £300 for ONE person. I walked out.




We were only in HK for 4 full days, 5 total. The Hotel had an incredible buffet every afternoon/evening. I do know the restaurant in the hotel was pricey and we ate it once but our best meals were at the buffet. We didn't venture far out of the Kowloon Tsim Sha Tsui proper except for one tour that we took. We would set out in the morning and taxi where we wanted to go. Usually a fitting for the suits was the first stop then whatever we chose to do.

Prior to HK we were in Hawaii. I had a brand new iPhone 5 that got wet when I fell in the Pacific ocean. I was out of phone service from that point on and leaving for HK the next day. I waited until we got to HK to see about getting it repaired and that took the rest of a couple of mornings. I mention that to mention this, lunch and during the day we just ate on the fly based on recommendations from folks we'd dealt with during the day. Or just stopped at something that appealed to us. Every time the food was good and I thought it was cheap. These were some off the beaten path, mom & pop places.

The tailor I used was L&K Tailors in Tsim Sha Tsui. The owner was/is an Iraqi guy named Michael Lawlani (sp). I would recommend  and give them a 5 star rating. The actual tailor was a Chinese guy. He smoked constantly and never flipped his ashes. It was comical to watch, his cig burned to the butt and the entire ash still hanging on. He'd work right through it, go for a puff and have to light another


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Re: A Trip to South Korea, China and Hong Kong
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2023, 07:36:36 PM »
I haven't been back in decades so things may have changed alot.  Same with China.  My friends who are also overseas Chinese and speak Cantonese said when they visited the taxi drivers tried to rip them off, taking them in big loops and charging far higher.  I guess this can be said about many places.

There's the infamous expat street Lan Kwai Fong on HK Island, probably still a tourist trap. 

The western style hotels, Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental, Shangri La, Pennisula seem to have high standards catering to foreigners with prices to match.

I really should go back one day but with the political climate in China it's just not worth it.

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Re: A Trip to South Korea, China and Hong Kong
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2023, 07:38:57 PM »
Did you guys ever go up Victoria Peak?  To this day that is still one of the most incredible views I've seen anywhere in world.  All the neon lights at night.  And I've been up a few places.  Definitely go up there if you have a chance.

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Re: A Trip to South Korea, China and Hong Kong
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2023, 08:35:46 PM »
Did you guys ever go up Victoria Peak?  To this day that is still one of the most incredible views I've seen anywhere in world.  All the neon lights at night.  And I've been up a few places.  Definitely go up there if you have a chance.

I did go to Victoria Peak. It was part of the tour we took. The guide mention that that part was a better trip at night due to the lights. It was early evening when we were there.

Early every morning I'd go out and watch Victoria bay there at the hotel and there was a Chinese guy swimming it and singing. You could hear him swimming and singing from the other side. He was doing a lot of swimming and the water was filty polluted. That didn't seem to bother him at all. Of course it was just a small part of the bay surrounded by hotels.

Offline Manny

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Re: A Trip to South Korea, China and Hong Kong
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2023, 11:50:58 PM »
Michael Lalwlani

Small world. I know him. He's from Manhattan Tailors. I wouldn't use them again, personally.

Did you guys ever go up Victoria Peak? 

Each time, I gave up due to the queue.
Trip Reports: Links to my travels in Russia, Estonia, North Korea, South Korea, China and the US are >>here<<

Look what the American media makes some people believe:
Putin often threatens to strike US with nuclear weapons.

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Re: A Trip to South Korea, China and Hong Kong
« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2023, 10:01:55 AM »
So I am back now and I'll start to document a bit as I can over a few days. I'm going to put a few short 30-second videos to accompany this topic on the RUA Twitter account @ruadventures.

It was a looooong journey due to the connection in Beijing (I'll not do that again). Probably 24 hours total door to door. I checked in at Manchester Airport and checked my case through to Incheon Airport, Seoul.

Hainan Airlines is quite nice. Airbus A330. Nice business class seats that go flat into a bed, and all the air hostesses in cheongsam (qipao) dresses. The food was quite decent. Nothing is too much trouble. Sicilian wine, some Chinese food. Things could be worse. I'd use them again. There's a very short video of the plane on Twitter here.

I had a bunch of stuff downloaded from Netflix on my iPad to watch, so the long flight was painless.

I arrived in Beijing and instead of being able to hang out in the transit area and wait for your connecting flight as in most places in the world, they now make you go through immigration and check back in for your onward flight. Tedious. If you haven't got a Chinese visa, you get a 144-hour transit one there. Not bad if you want to do a quick visit to China, but as I have a Chinese business visa anyway, they used that to stamp me in as it was faster.

They make you faff about more than I remember with health declaration forms, some QR codes, fingerprint nonsense, etc. By the time you go through immigration you are clutching various bits of paper. It was all rather slow.

You exit immigration into the baggage hall to get out. So I am strolling through the baggage hall and there's my suitcase rolling around a conveyor belt all on its own!  :o

That case should have been checked all the way to Seoul, not drifting around a conveyor belt in Beijing. So I collected it. I saw from the way the label had been applied, the final destination airport was obscured, so it's an easy mistake for the baggage handlers to make I guess. That would have been lost for days on end, so I was glad to intercept it.

So here's where the fun starts. I went to check back in with my case and they said, "Oh, you are adding another case? We need to charge you for that". Try explaining to a Chinese check-in clerk the nature of the routing error and why you are checking in the case that is on their system as en route to Seoul already. That was a challenge, but we got there in the end.

Eventually, I am checked back in for Seoul, back through security and waiting on my short flight to Incheon.

South Korean immigration was a breeze, all very efficient, and I'm in a taxi on the way to Gangnam.



The taxi driver spoke decent English, and he spent most of the journey telling me how they hate the Chinese, and that all the fuzzy skies we see is Chinese pollution that the weather has taken over Korea. I tried to divert him onto the subject of North Korea instead, as I've been. I wanted his view on Korean reunification and the presence of the US military in his country. It seems they have a media blackout on pretty much anything to do with North Korea - their media simply doesn't cover it. He was surprised that people were able to go as tourists, even (South Koreans aren't allowed to go). Imagine a place less than 100 miles away that you know exactly zero about - that's how it was. He seemed to have no views one way or the other on the US military being there in such great numbers and having 15 military bases there. It seems the media does a good job of promoting the narrative there.

My hotel was called the Hotel in 9, its on Google street view here. It was adequate, clean and nothing special. But OK. I'm only there for a couple of days to have a look around and get a feel of the place so I didn't need anything too special.

It was almost evening when I arrived at the hotel. Not much to do other than have a walk around the locality and get some food before bed.

The roads are busy and wide, so there are many subways. And they are exceptionally clean! And this one is full of plants.



As Gangnam is the home of Gangnam Style, and where most of Psy's video was filmed, there is a famous bronze statue of two Gangnam Style hands a five-minute walk from the hotel.



There is a pan-around video there on Twitter here.
Trip Reports: Links to my travels in Russia, Estonia, North Korea, South Korea, China and the US are >>here<<

Look what the American media makes some people believe:
Putin often threatens to strike US with nuclear weapons.

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Re: A Trip to South Korea, China and Hong Kong
« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2023, 12:02:43 PM »
Nice trip report.

I enjoyed the short video of the Gangnam hands. You mentioned that the layover in Beijing was too long and that you would not do that again.

What is the normal route you would take, if you had not gone through Beijing?

Yes it does seem odd that Koreans don't know much about North Korea, with it being so close by.

Good to hear that the subways are clean. One can only imagine what they'd look like if you were in a major American city.  :o


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Re: A Trip to South Korea, China and Hong Kong
« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2023, 03:21:25 PM »
Good writeup  Manny,
Lots of interesting Stuff.

and:

Good to hear that the subways are clean. One can only imagine what they'd look like if you were in a major American city.  :o
I think america is the only country that does NOT care about its subway stations.

Moscow/St.Pete and Kiev all are work of arts like this korean one.
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Re: A Trip to South Korea, China and Hong Kong
« Reply #16 on: October 30, 2023, 09:31:32 AM »
You mentioned that the layover in Beijing was too long and that you would not do that again.

What is the normal route you would take, if you had not gone through Beijing?

It makes logistical sense if going to either of the Koreas to connect through Beijing, but the bureaucracy, delays and queues involved which I haven't touched on yet in China make it really tedious. I'll cover it in later bits of the tale.

Good writeup  Manny,
Lots of interesting Stuff.

 tiphat

Trip Reports: Links to my travels in Russia, Estonia, North Korea, South Korea, China and the US are >>here<<

Look what the American media makes some people believe:
Putin often threatens to strike US with nuclear weapons.

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Re: A Trip to South Korea, China and Hong Kong
« Reply #17 on: October 30, 2023, 09:57:15 AM »
So the next morning now in Gangnam. Up bright and early for breakfast, usual Asian stuff, fried rice, dumplings, fatty meat of unidentifiable origin, and mostly local stuff. I was there the moment it opened, so the room was empty. The restaurant was high up, maybe 20th floor, so there's a short video out of the windows over the city on Twitter >here<.

Breakfast over with, off to explore the city a bit. It always makes me laugh when I see something that is a terrible translation abroad. Check out this airport "limo".  :chuckle:



It was hot and sticky, maybe in the early 30s. So you can only spend so long outside walking until you have to seek sanctuary somewhere familiar that has AC.



And around this time, I found a small glitch in my plan. My mobile (cell) provider has this deal for £6 a day where you get phone service and internet in a huge list of countries. Works in China, Russia, all over Europe, the US, and everywhere. But not in South Korea it turns out.  (:)

I found this out when I got an SMS telling me I had spent £100 in 24 hours.  :o

A quick bit of research told me South Korea wasn't in my plan. So I am stuck with Wi-Fi, which buggers up using Google Maps to navigate your way around. So I had to find free Wi-Fi connections (like Starbucks). But I got a map from the hotel reception and went old school, so not the end of the world.

I spent today just walking around the city. I must have walked ten miles. Seoul has 25 districts, of which Gangnam is one. And Gangnam is supposed to be the posh one, often compared to Beverly Hills. It is where lots of K-pop stars live. If you've watched Crash Landing on You, it's where the Seoul part was set. And for sure there seems to be plenty of money there. You see lots of expensive cars around. Plenty of Rolls Royce, Range Rovers, and Maybachs about, but posh? I don't see it. To me, it looks like any other bog-standard Asian city. Busy roads and tower blocks (another short video over the city from the hotel roof garden is on Twitter >here<). I could have been in pretty much any city in China. It reminded me somewhat of Ningbo.

I always like to delve into the back streets away from the tourists and the showcase bits. 



And that underlined what I had thought already. Bog standard Asian city.



Apart from the signage in Korean, this could be pretty much anywhere in China or Hong Kong.



It looks slightly more glamorous at night, people are nice and it's very, very clean. And I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it slightly underwhelmed me for reasons I can't really articulate.

Despite having a lot of US influence which you can see everywhere, not least the beige carb junk food places, fried chicken joints or Starbucks on every corner, surprisingly few people spoke English. Even younger people who supposedly learned it in school had very poor skills. That, coupled with not having cell data on the street to use my translation app made it a bit challenging. But I was travelling all over the place before we all had internet on our phones, so you go back to basics and overcome these minor hurdles with sign language, laughing, and much pointing.   

Anyway, tomorrow is K-Star Road and Gangnam's answer to Rodeo Drive.
Trip Reports: Links to my travels in Russia, Estonia, North Korea, South Korea, China and the US are >>here<<

Look what the American media makes some people believe:
Putin often threatens to strike US with nuclear weapons.

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Re: A Trip to South Korea, China and Hong Kong
« Reply #18 on: October 30, 2023, 03:58:11 PM »
Manny,you can download maps on Google Maps. Not whole countries, but they've improved the downloads a lot. Works fine for navigation. All that's missing is live data, but it'll get everywhere you want to go.

Also, with Google Translate,you can download language packs for offline use. Possibly not quite as extensive as with online access but i usually keep several packs downloaded. Not sure if image translation works offline though.
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Re: A Trip to South Korea, China and Hong Kong
« Reply #19 on: October 30, 2023, 10:55:31 PM »
Good to hear the start of the trip report Manny...I lived in Seoul when I did a university exchange there so it brings back memories.but I am sure it has changed alot since I was there. Are you doing business in Korea or just passing by?  Koreans are notorious for drinking especially after business meetings and may try to get you drunk on soju.  Never did like that drink, nor sake. the korean BBQ joints are great though.

I noticed too that Koreans don't speak English well even though many of them take ESL classes.  The Chinese in HK probably have the highest level due to the British influence for so long and it being mandatory in schools.  In China they are catching up.

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Re: A Trip to South Korea, China and Hong Kong
« Reply #20 on: October 31, 2023, 05:22:36 AM »
Manny,you can download maps on Google Maps. Not whole countries, but they've improved the downloads a lot. Works fine for navigation. All that's missing is live data, but it'll get everywhere you want to go.

Also, with Google Translate,you can download language packs for offline use. Possibly not quite as extensive as with online access but i usually keep several packs downloaded. Not sure if image translation works offline though.

Thanks. Downloading never occurred to me.

Are you doing business in Korea or just passing by?

Just tourism, this bit. Just two days looking about to get a feel for the place to decide if I want to come back in the future. I like a side trip when I go to China. I've been to North Korea as you know, I wanted to see what the South was like.

The Chinese in HK probably have the highest level due to the British influence for so long and it being mandatory in schools.  In China they are catching up.

I agree with that.

Trip Reports: Links to my travels in Russia, Estonia, North Korea, South Korea, China and the US are >>here<<

Look what the American media makes some people believe:
Putin often threatens to strike US with nuclear weapons.

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Re: A Trip to South Korea, China and Hong Kong
« Reply #21 on: October 31, 2023, 10:40:19 AM »
So second and last full day in Korea before I go to China.

I mentioned before that apparently K-Star Road is Gangnam's answer to Rodeo Drive, so I thought I'd have a look there.



They have all these huge bears down the road, each decorated with insignia from a different K Pop band. There's a page all about that here.



As well as the bear things, it is where all the music companies are located, SM Entertainment who manages Girls Generation, and so on.



But it is also where all the designer stores are to be found all in one place, so is where Louis Vuitton, Tiffany, Chanel, Rolex, etc. are to be found.

There's a quick pan-around video on Twitter here.

Again, for all the hype and it being such a big tourist attraction, for me it was quite underwhelming and nothing terribly special. China and Hong Kong is full of shopping streets full of similar stores. I'd file it under "nothing to see here", personally.

I had a fine but forgettable evening meal. Korea would probably be better with a local as a translator and helper. I mentioned above that very few people speak English, and even the metro is unfathomable for me as a foreigner (and strangely, cash only), and I like to try those out when in such places.

People say the Korean women are the most beautiful in Asia, I can't say I'd agree with that. A lot of them have had their eyes done to look more Western (Koreans love plastic surgery and Seoul is well-known for it), and fake chests seem to abound. They wear this shiny makeup which I don't find appealing and the dress is mostly very casual and baggy, more like you'd see in the US. They do seem to pay a lot of attention to their hair, but I'd say women in China and Hong Kong dress better. By better, I mean more feminine. You are not going to see women who look anything like you see in K-pop videos on the streets and in restaurants, that's for sure.

So the very short jaunt in South Korea is at an end, and I can't say I'd rush back. Perhaps if I went to a different region or somewhere there were more cultural things I'd have a different opinion. I'm glad I went and had a look anyway.

So now I am packing and heading to the airport and flying to Guangzhou in China early in the morning.
Trip Reports: Links to my travels in Russia, Estonia, North Korea, South Korea, China and the US are >>here<<

Look what the American media makes some people believe:
Putin often threatens to strike US with nuclear weapons.

Offline rosco

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Re: A Trip to South Korea, China and Hong Kong
« Reply #22 on: November 01, 2023, 04:55:47 AM »
Thanks for posting Manny, I always find trip reports and travel super interesting!

Enjoy the rest of the trip.  :thumbsup:

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Re: A Trip to South Korea, China and Hong Kong
« Reply #23 on: November 01, 2023, 06:36:31 AM »
So off the airport without event, and the 4-hour flight to Guangzhou.



Seat 1A, a glass of dragon fruit juice, a bit of Netflix, all is well with the world.

I arrived in China and had to go through the charade again of form filling, fingerprint machines, getting bits of paper and QR codes for this and that, and then you go to the immigration queue marked foreigners:coffeeread:

And that is where I encountered the queue. This is Canton Fair season, where I am going. And in this queue are hundreds and hundreds of people from every corner of the world. All coughing and spluttering at 30c+. Lovely.  :sick0012:



My driver Peter was waiting for me outside, I had to call him and tell him to hang about as I could be some time. Meanwhile, my phone had a signal but very little was working. I put it down to the number of people. It wasn't that. More on that later.

Eventually, I am out and we are on the road heading for Dongguan where I stay, which is about an hour and a half away.



Now in that photo you can see it looks a bit fuzzy and the sky a bit dull. It looks a bit foggy when you look across at buildings in the near distance. This is pollution, or smog or whatever you want to call it. The weather dictates whether it hangs about or is blown away, I guess. I've always been lucky that the air seems quite clean when I've been to China. Not this time. This haze was there the whole time I was there. It makes your throat sore, makes you cough and the glands in my neck got a bit swollen over the coming days.

I got to my hotel, one I had not used before called the Wanda Vista in Dongguan, and found not only did I not have a balcony as in my usual hotel, but the windows didn't open at all. Ventilation is AC only. I queried this and was told it was new rules, I can only assume for pollution reasons.

But anyway, time for dinner. I have a girl in Dongguan who helps me out with local bureaucracy, some translation and general bits and bobs in China. I'd not seen her for four years so thought I'd best catch up with her over dinner. As Chinese women often do, she arrived with two pals. So it's off to the restaurant looking like Andrewfi with three of them in tow.  :chuckle:

Despite being in China, I do like a bit of Japanese Teppanyaki. It's always my first port of call in Dongguan.

Trip Reports: Links to my travels in Russia, Estonia, North Korea, South Korea, China and the US are >>here<<

Look what the American media makes some people believe:
Putin often threatens to strike US with nuclear weapons.

Online andrewfi

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Re: A Trip to South Korea, China and Hong Kong
« Reply #24 on: November 01, 2023, 06:42:31 AM »
Are you still in the Far East or back in the UK?

If only I could look like Stuart with his three hotties in tow. The world changes. :)
...everything ends always well; if it’s still bad, then it’s not the end!