A Christmas experience in Shanghai,Singapore, and Vancouver

We are nearing another holiday season in Vancouver. The pace at office begins to slow down and become more social and relaxed. The Christmas trees and decorations at the office, retail stores, public spaces, and apartments lobbies signal the season has begun. In Vancouver cold weather, rain and sometimes the chance of snow are also part of the experience. You might be doing last minute Christmas shopping, going to parties for your work, going to parties for your friends, or you might be throwing a party of your own. On Christmas day most shops are closed except movie theaters and Chinese restaurants.

It was this time a year ago when I was filming and traveling through Shanghai and Singapore around the holiday season. I had escaped the holiday obligations for gifts with friends and family back in Vancouver. In Shanghai there were Christmas trees and decorations up at the hotels and malls.

Greg Hung in Shanghai
Greg & Jeff in Shanghai, Xin Tian Di

I was fortunate to know my local friend Jeff who invited me to a local party in Shanghai. The entrance would be a respectable gift for a secret Santa and some booze.  I purchased some quality tea from the Shanghai museum. The host of the party lived in a good sized apartment and offered us some beer and food. We looked at some photos on his television and then put on fights from the UFC. Later we would do secret Santa where I won a hot pot set, which I traded in for something I don’t remember. I was lucky to get a ride back to downtown Shanghai from the apartment which was about 30-40 minutes from the person I gave the hot pot set to. So it all worked out and felt very much like a Vancouver Christmas experience.

Jeff's Secret Santa Gift
Jeff's Secret Santa Gift
Tea could be a good secret santa gift
Tea could be a good secret santa gift

I arrived in Singapore several days before Christmas to spend time with my Grandmother, cousin, Aunt, and new nieces. I must admit that there is no replacement for spending the holidays with your family. We had a Christmas tree set up with some gifts already there. A signal that I was running out of time to get gifts for my family in Singapore. I had plenty of time to explore the central areas such as Little India, Orchard Road, and the Marina Bay. Marina bay had lights set up to recognize the season, Little India didn’t have much set up, and the Orchard area had a tree with bright lights. There were huge crowds out to take pictures of the lights and to publicly enjoy the occasion outdoors. My grandmother cooked us a Christmas dinner that we ate at home. After the dinner it was business as usual with the family winding down getting ready for bed. I went out in search of some action by going down to Marina Bay area. I was disappointed to see that it was very quiet, everything was closing early, and it started raining.

Marina Bay Singapore Christmas Day
Marina Bay Singapore Christmas Day
Orchard area Christmas eve, Singapore
Orchard area Christmas eve, Singapore

After spending Christmas in these 3 different cities I see that it is recognized and celebrated similarly. The chance of a white Christmas is most likely to happen in Vancouver, but the usage of lights, christmas trees, the spirit of giving, and time with family and friends are common elements. Wouldn’t it be interesting to a get a glimpse into how it is celebrate in other cities around the world?

 

 

ChicVoyage in Asia is a collection of modern travel adventure documentaries showcasing must-see attractions, food, culture, nightlife, and unique adventures with local friends in popular cities in Asia.

Greg Hung
Greg Hung

Originally invited to participate in his best friend’s wedding in Taiwan Greg took the opportunity to extend the trip and see more of Asia. In December 2011 Greg went on a journey to cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Guangzhou, Xian, and Taiwan. After a month and a half in Asia he returned to Vancouver determined to produce a collection of 6 entertaining, inspiring, and informative travel adventure films to share Asia with the world.

 

 

Top things Vancouver locals enjoy doing in Summer

I’ve lived in Vancouver since 1995 and have traveled to South Africa, New Zealand, Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, Taiwan, Peru, Mexico, Las Vegas, Paris, Rome, Hong Kong, Hawaii, Xian, Turks and Caicos, Toronto, San Francisco and so on.

Greg Hung
Greg Hung

I enjoy keeping an active lifestyle, enjoy eating and trying a variety of experiences. With this in mind here are some top things Vancouver locals including myself enjoy doing:

1. Vancouver Seawall – I’ve yet to find a city in my travels that rivals our 22km seawall. The seawall is a paved path set aside for pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy amazing natural views that Vancouver has to offer. It begins from Coal harbour wraps around Stanley Park, goes through False Creek, past the Science World, and finishes at Kitsilano Park. To sum it up it is long. My favorite area is along the False Creek and Athletes Village Seawall. At False creek you have separate lanes for walkers and cyclists and an amazing view. You can also catch the Aqua Bus at David Lam and cross the water to Granville Island to visit the market and get something delicious to eat.

Vancouver Seawall
Vancouver Seawall

 

2. Vancouver Asian Food – It is hard to find a friend or colleague in Vancouver that that does not enjoy the great options for food we have in Vancouver. However, I believe that Vancouver locals enjoy an excellent variety of Asian food that from Chinese (Sun Sui Wah) , Shanghai (Shanghai Wonderful, Shanghai River) , Taiwanese (Wang’s Beef Noodles, Huang’s Beef Noodles), Korean, Vietnamese (Au Petit Cafe, Thai Son), Malaysian, Cambodian (Phnom Penh), and East Indian. Other food experiences to try include Dim Sum, the snacks at the Summer night market in Richmond, food courts in Richmond (Richmond Public Market, Aberdeen, YaoHan), or Bubble tea cafes (Pearl Castle, Bubble World). Using Yelp on your smartphone is also a great idea. You can filter for restaurants that are in your location, fit your budget, well reviewed, type of food you want, and includes the contact information. What an awesome app.

In this entertaining and informative video Greg Hung and Catherine film a beginning to end of the Dim sum experience at one of the top Chinese restaurants Sun Sui Wah. Catherine is a locally born Vancouverite and will share some of her favorite dim sum dishes and even an education on tea etiquette.

 

Vancouver Dim Sum
Vancouver Dim Sum with local friend Catherine

3. Vancouver Coffee houses – Walk into a starbucks or a JJ Bean during a weekday or weekend morning and you will see evidence of how popular coffee is with the locals. Vancouver has a strong coffee culture that supports a variety of coffee shops that provide different experiences. Some of my local favorites for the quality and strength of the coffee and ambiance include: Bean Around the World, JJ Bean,  and Cafe Artigiano. There is strong support for Starbucks, Tim Hortons, and even internet friendly coffee shops like Waves, 49th Parallel, and Blenz.

Vancouver Coffee
Vancouver Coffee at Main Street 49th Parallel

4. Beach Volleyball – Vancouver active locals love to organize BBQ’s and beach volleyball games at the beach. You’ve got a beautiful backdrop of the mountains and downtown to enjoy while you play. Popular beaches to play include Kitsilano and Spanish banks beaches. It is free as long as you bring your own volleyball, net, and friends.

Vancouver summer volleyball Spanish Banks
Vancouver summer volleyball Spanish Banks

5. Hiking –  Vancouver locals love to get outdoors especially during the summer. A popular weekend activity to is to organize a hike with some friends and bring your hiking gear (water, appropriate shoes, clothing, lunch) and take pictures. It’s a great way to get some exercise, social time, and adventure. Some popular trails are the Grouse Grind located at Grouse Mountain, but some locals prefer other trails due to its populatiry. Another option is the Stawamus Chief Hike, which rewards you with amazing views at the top of any of their 3 peaks.

 

Here is a video of the Stawamus Hike experience


Our Mission:
Inspire and inform people to travel and discover the world by visiting every inspirational destination.

www.chicvoyagegroup.com

Entrepreneur Greg Hung sold his home and left his job in Vancouver BC, Canada to pursue his dream of building a global company ChicVoyage, dedicated to sharing travel experiences Chic style. In 2011 his journey took him to Montreal, Whistler, Turks and Caicos, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Guangzhou, Xian, and Taiwan.

 

Producing a Travel Documentary – ChicVoyage in Asia

Producing a Travel Documentary

Almost a year in the making after departing for Asia in December 2012 I will be receiving the first batch of high definition Blu-Ray copies of ChicVoyage in Asia from my supplier. if you go to our subsidiary website Chicvoyage Productions travel store  you will also see  ChicVoyage in Asia now available for sale as a digital download .

I never would have imagined the amount of time and passion it would take to complete a film project from beginning to end. Filming videos and putting together music videos for youtube is one thing, but taking video footage and producing it into a entertaining and professional show is a much larger undertaking.

I have a new level of respect for film-makers after going through the process of planning, filming, and post production. When I left for Asia I had an idea that I wanted to film video and eventually produce a travel show; however it wasn’t crystal clear what the format of the show was going to be.

When I got back to Vancouver I knew that I had captured some amazing footage and unique travel adventures in my month and a half.  Originally I created a music video from my time in Asia, but it wasn’t the appropriate video to showcase the adventures I had. My friend introduced me to a travel adventure show called departures by two Canadians that inspired to begin working on the show.

To have the technology to be able to capture that experience in high definition quality and share it does satisfy something internal in me to build and share. Traveling and filming provide me an opportunity to pursue my passions and film provides the platform to document it.  The actual process of producing a show provides additional opportunities to tell a story and invoke inspiration through visuals and music. I’ve always enjoyed music and I’ve hand picked tracks that are modern, fresh, and what I’ve felt are relevant for the particular country.

It is an amazing time to be able to have an opportunity to do this. I hope you’ll check out the trailers and purchase ChicVoyage in Asia also available on Blu-Ray in the Amazon Store.

Here is a special personal recount of the experience in Beijing and Xian. If you like it please comment and I can write more about the other cities in Asia.

Beijing

When I set foot in Beijing it was super exciting to be in the city to be able to film famous structures such as the Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China. What I didn’t expect in Beijing was the experience of going to the Centro Jazz bar in Beijing to experience the live jazz, the color ambiance, the smell, great drink, and company. This was one of my Beijing highlights and I manage to capture some of these elements on the film. Even though I’m no stranger to a the Chinese culture living in a dense Chinese population living in Vancouver BC Canada I did feel like an outsider not being able to speak Mandarin. I didn’t anticipate how little English would be spoken by the people I met throughout my trip in the hotels, bars, restaurants, and in the street. Catherine Lu and my good friend Linh were very helpful during my trip there and helped me find my way in Beijing and feel welcome. ChicVoyage in Beijing is a great introducing to Asia and great footage of the attractions such as Forbidden City are a given. What I believe is original about this adventure is including the experience of a night club in Beijing, riding through the Hutongs on a rickshaw bike, and getting a chance to experience some of the best Peking duck Beijing has to offer.


ChicVoyage in Beijing – Included in ChicVoyage in Asia

Xian

I had a short 2 day stay in Xian with the main goal to see the Terracotta warriors. I found Xian to be a city that is overcrowded with traffic and loose with the rules. You’ll find motor bikes riding on the sidewalk or taxi’s that only stop to pick you up if it’s convenient. I had a good first night filming at the City Wall, but spent over an hour trying to get a taxi back to my hotel. In the end I had to call the hotel to call a taxi to pick me up. The Terracotta experience more than made up for the first night. My tour guide Koko said I was extremely luck to get a chance to film all 3 pits at the museum as it is usually so overcrowded with people. For me seeing the Terracotta warriors was gratifying in the sense that I knew I had seen a unique worldwide attraction with a long history. I love the montage in ChicVoyage in Xian and I hope with the music I’ve picked you will enjoy it as well.

Trailers from some cities covered in ChicVoyage in Asia


ChicVoyage in Xian – Included in ChicVoyage in Asia

 

 

We’re Back – The blog is back, new website and new adventures

 

The ChicVoyage website is now complete. Our website has been in development for the past year and was a larger project than originally planned. I hope you enjoy the new site and find it Chic and a place you will come to visit for high quality travel content.

The first draft of the website actually came up while I was in Xian, China and around that time we lost the original blog. So this is our first blog post since late in 2011, and before that the blog was the most active area of the Chicvoyage website. I hope to use the blog as an active channel to share valuable content related to travel and film with you.

I created the ChicVoyageGroup which is a parent company for ChicVoyage Travel and ChicVoyage Productions.  When I first began the website there was just ChicVoyage. You may be wondering what happened since then. Well I traveled in Asia for a month and a half and I discovered a love of travel and video. When I returned back to Canada I decided that the focus for 2012 would be on developing travel films based on my adventures and travels around the world in 2011. So here is a quick  guide

ChicVoyage Travel

  • Experiences – Find high quality pictures and short video tours of destinations around the world. We will provide independent and first hand reviews of our experience to help you plan your visit. You can also expect to find sample itineraries if available and custom maps of the attraction locations.
  • Experience Designer – Create your own idea for a travel experience or create one you have already been on that you would like to share
  • Blog

ChicVoyage Productions

  • Portfolio – A sample of the video work we do
  • Travel Store – A location to purchase and download quality travel films. Currently I have produced films for Shanghai, Singapore, and Providenciales Turks & Caicos Island. There are films for Hong Kong, Xian,  Taipei, Beijing, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Napa Valley, and the Grand Canyon in the works. This is what I’m most excited about for 2012 and recommend you check out. Here are few pictures to spark the imagination.