Adelaide Australia is a must do wine vacation

Greg Hung World explorer, film-maker & entrepreneur
Greg Hung World explorer, film-maker & entrepreneur

Greg is a modern World Explorer, Film-maker, Mobile & Google friendly Website producer, & Entrepreneur at the intersection of travel and technology. He has directed, shot, edited, and produced over 30 high definition travel and lifestyle related videos on Youtube in addition to producing ChicVoyage in Asia – modern travel adventures on the Amazon.com store in 2012. He has been instructed by globally renown SLR Director and film-maker Phillip Bloom. His 4 month 2013 journey took him to Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

Adelaide Australia is a must do wine vacation

I arrived in the city of Adelaide, also known as wine country. Before I booked my trip my research had revealed that many of the better-known Australian Wine brands are located in the Adelaide’s Barossa Valley. Jacob’s Creek, Penfolds, Peter Lehmann, Wolf Blass, Two Hands Wines, and Yalumba  are just some of the wineries available in the valley. What most people may not know is that Adelaide was ranked in the top 5 of the EIU’s most livable cities. When I have travel discussions that involve Australia it is very rare that Adelaide enters the discussion. It is the higher profile cities such as Sydney, Gold Coast, and Melbourne that often take the spotlight. I believe wine is something special that Australia has to offer the travel and Adelaide is the right Australian destination to explore that offering.

Adelaide is a smaller city than Sydney and Melbourne and requires that you rent a car especially if you are going to wine country. I also recommend getting a GPS or a sim card for your smart phone with Google maps.

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I was in need of some sleep as I woke up at 3am in Melbourne to catch this flight. I would be staying at a modern apartment that I found through airbnb with a pair of local girls. I reached the apartment with no issues and I received a warm welcome from my hosts. I was quickly shown to my room and was happy to see that it was nice, clean and spacious. I took a nap right away.

Adelaide Sunrise
The sunrise at Adelaide airport. A good start

Mount Lofty & Cleland Conservation Park

When I woke up I didn’t have much time to plan as the day was half way gone, but my hosts helped me plan an efficient schedule with the time I had left. It was midday and I didn’t have enough time to make it out to the wine country so I planned to get some aerial shots at mount lofty and see some koala’s, kangaroo’s at Cleland Conservation Park. Both locations were located nearby each other so I was actually able to visit both. In fact, I was able to visit Mount Lofty during the day and after sunset.

I pulled into the Mount Lofty parking area. As I didn’t want to pay for parking I parked on the side road where I saw other cars parked. I walked to the viewpoint and took some shots. It’s a good viewpoint and attracted many people.

Mount Lofty
A view from Mount Lofty during Sunset

The highlight of this day was Cleland Conservation Park. I paid for my ticket and headed straight for the star of this park, which was the Koala.

Tip: You will meet many kangaroo’s that are not shy of people, but there is only a limited time to see the koalas so see them first. I had heard that koala’s can sleep somewhere around 21-22 hours in a day so if you have a chance to see a koala awake its a precious moment.

I had a chance to take a picture with a koala and pet him and ask some questions of his caretaker.

Cleland national park
Picture time with a rare lighter coated kangeroo

There were even more koala’s nearby the viewing area that I took pictures of. You’ll get your koala fix at this park for sure.

After the koala’s I had some time so I planned to see the dingoes, wombats, and more kangaroos and some other animals long the way. The park provided me with a good visual map and it was easy enough to get around the park. It’s huge and I doubt you will be disappointed. I stayed right until sunset and then headed back to Mount Lofty for some sunset shots. I was satisfied with how I salvaged the day.

Up close with a koala. This could be you.

tip: expect to spend your first day settling into your destination and planning it out if you can. If you can squeeze a few things on the itinerary that’s great, but if you plan a compressed trip with everything crammed into 2-3 days you’re setting yourself up for a poor experience.

lanzou-beef-noodles
lanzou-beef-noodles in Adelaide!

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It was a long day and I wanted to eat out tonight even though I had access to a kitchen. I went to Gouger Street, which is in downtown Adelaide, but the area had a town feel to it. Here you will find a cluster of mainly Asian restaurants offering good food at good prices. I went to a shop called the noodle kingdom and ordered a $10 Lanzhou Beef Noodle soup. I was pleasantly surprised to find this dish, as something like this in large asian city like Vancouver still requires some hunting. It was actually good quality

Day 2-3 – The Barossa Valley

This italian cafe is a perfect stop before hitting up wine country. $5 fresh panini's

I picked up a couple of fresh $5 Panini’s and refreshments before embarking on my wine trip. I elected to drive myself for more flexibility and time to film. I had no problem finding my first winery called Yalumba. Yalumba enjoys good brand recognition in Vancouver and I was very pleased that they were willing to co-operate with my filming request of the wine tasting experience. I will leave it to the video to showcase it. Yalumba provided plenty of time, water, and even a fresh coffee.

I took some time to rest and eat my Panini’s before heading out to my next destination called Wolf Blass. You will find Wolf Blass on most of the shelves worldwide. They were just about closing, but I had a chance to do a rushed tasting before ending the day.

wolf-blass-hq
Wolf Blass Headquarters

I decided to return to Gouger St. to try a busy Sushi restaurant called Sushi train. It featured the conveyer belt, which is good way to preview the real life dishes, which I then order a la carte at the same price. The quality was good. I called it a night.

The next day I repeated the same routine and decided to visit Penfolds. I was treated to a very educational and enjoyable wine tasting experience here from a knowledgeable woman. My next stop was a recommendation from my host called Chateau Dorrien. From there I got a referral to visit a local popular restaurant/wine tasting spot called Maggie beer. My last stop was a unique winery called the Rockford. Check out the video for highlights of the experience.

Rockford Wineries
Rockford has a feel of a boutique winery that has an original decor and exceptional wines. Recommended by the local wineries in Barossa.

Overall, all the wineries were very friendly and offered free quality wine tastings. You are not pressured into buying anything, but if you do the prices you get here are a good deal with some wines they sell not available on the local bottle store shelves. I got a good wine education. Thanks to all the Barossa Valley’ wineries for their co-operation.

Day 4 – McLaren Vale – An education on Shiraz

McLaren Vale is a region south of Adelaide known for specializing in Shiraz variety of red wine. There wasn’t as much information available for me to plan my visit so I decided to head there and play it by ear. I came across a familiar winery in Stump Hill Shiraz and decided to pay a visit. I drove in the driveway for Stump Hill and heard a loud dog barking. This place did not look inviting and I could not see an entrance to any winery. It looked like a private house and I felt I was intruding and quickly left to get some information from the visitor center.

I managed to get a map and plenty of help from the visitor’s center. They were reluctant to recommend any particular wineries although I managed to persuade them to highlight some wineries that included a strong recommendation for Squid Ink Shiraz, which isn’t really on the map. I hope this map I’m posting helps you and I also want to point out that there is a Mclaren Vale app. I didn’t have a chance to use it, but if you do please share your feedback.

Mclaren Vale Wine Map

 

Mclaren Vale App

My first stop was squid ink. It was a small winery with a small office feel, but I was quickly greeted by a lady that introduced me to the manager that personally and patiently took me through their product lineup. I tasted one of the best Shiraz wines I’ve ever had. Check the video to see which one it was.

 

I also managed to visit the Woodstock estate and had an excellent experience with the lady being very generous taking me through the entire menu. I had to take a Panini break after this tasting. When I was ready to resume my tasting I decided to visit a unique winery called Chapel Hill, which was based in a former church. It was a beautiful setting and a rainbow had formed just before I arrived hopefully signaling that I had arrived at the pot of gold. A man greeted me and although it was almost closing time he took me through most of the menu and shared some good knowledge of the wines.

squid-ink-shiraz- mclaren vale

I missed Rosemount Wineries, which I was really looking forward to. I had no regrets as both Barossa and Mclaren Vale had treated me very well.

Tip: If you like a wine in any of these valley’s buy it while you are there.

Final day – visiting town and night out with my hosts

On my last day I decided to give myself a bit of a break and just visit the town of Adelaide. I took up a mini mission to get to Rundle Mall and took some shots in town. Some notable areas I visited were the Botanical Gardens and the National Wine Center, which are next door to each other. I didn’t really enjoy the Botanical gardens although some people might. The wine center didn’t offer any free tastings, but had some photo friendly educational exhibits upstairs. I would recommend your time would be better spent in town if it is limited. The town of Adelaide feels like a large town rather than a city, but check out the video to make your own judgement.

girls-of-adelaide
local Adelaide girls we met at Bath

At night I decided to cook dinner at home. After speaking with my hosts we agreed to head out for some drinks, as it was a Friday night. They took me to the area of Norwood to the Bath lounge which featured live music, a bar, and some seating in a modern atmosphere. One of the hosts bumped into her local friends and we ended up taking some photos. I had an early morning flight so we decided to head home after a couple of beers (after all that wine a beer was nice).

Final thoughts

I had a great time in Adelaide! The big draw is the wine country at Barossa Valley and Mclaren Vale. I consider myself a moderate wine enthusiast, which means I’m a bit more knowledgeable than the average person and enjoy all kinds of wine types from time to time. Any wine enthusiast or someone that enjoys wine and wants to learn more must definitely make the trip out here to experience the wine tasting and education you will get. So far I’ve found it incomparable to any wine country I’ve been to such as the Kelowna’s Okanagan valley, Nappa Valley, and Capetown’s Stellenbosch. In addition to the popular Australian brands I managed to find some smaller wineries in both valleys such as Rockford and Squid Ink that offered exceptional wines.

A key draw are the free tastings for some very high quality wines and friendly and welcoming staff. If you are planning to drink lots you might want to take a tour otherwise if you have a designated driver you can take advantage of a more personal experience.

A bonus for me was getting to see the koalas and kangaroo’s up close at Cleland national park. Out of all the destinations I visited in Australia this was the best spot for visiting them and getting the best photo opportunities. I made a good decision to stay with these friendly and knowledgeable locals on airbnb and renting a car. I’ve come to the conclusion that your experience is in great part shaped by your decisions on where you stay, spend your time, and who you spend it with. The destination will still offer what i can, but you have these things under your control so take the time to make some good decisions.

If you would really like to see an Adelaide video. Share how much you want it by commenting or sharing on social media. I have plenty of great content, but it takes a tone of time to produce a good video.  So show me some love.

Downtown Adelaide - rondle-st
Downtown Adelaide - rondle-st

Sample itinerary

Some spots I visited during my Adelaide trip

Day 1

Cleland National Park to see the animals
Photos at the Mount Loft Sunset
Asian Dinner at Gouger Street

Day 2 – 3
Barossa Valley for wine tasting and perhaps even dinner

The wine tasting at Maggie's
The wine tasting at Maggie's Barossa Valley

Day 4
Maclaren Vale to sample the shiraz

Day 5
Botanical Gardens
Visit Penfolds in town
Check out Rundle Street for some lunch or shopping
Drinks at the Bath hotel in Norwood

Melbourne: 14 days in the most livable city in the world

Greg Hung World explorer, film-maker & entrepreneur
Greg Hung World explorer, film-maker & entrepreneur

Greg is a modern World Explorer, Film-maker, Mobile & Google friendly Website producer, & Entrepreneur at the intersection of travel and technology. He has directed, shot, edited, and produced over 30 high definition travel and lifestyle related videos on Youtube in addition to producing ChicVoyage in Asia – modern travel adventures on the Amazon.com store in 2012. He has been instructed by globally renown SLR Director and film-maker Phillip Bloom. His 4 month 2013 journey took him to Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

Before heading to Melbourne I had just left Auckland New Zealand with my suitcases, camera gear, and dreams to experience Melbourne.
My plan was to spend 14 days living like a local in Melbourne, filming, and asking whether Melbourne really is the most livable city in the world? First I would live with Airbnb locals getting a taste for the lifestyle in the South Bank area and then going on to explore sights, sounds, and tastes of downtown Melbourne. Exploring the grafitti alleys of Hosier lane, sampling pour over coffee at Market Lane, or enjoying a glass of wine at a local Jazz and wine bar.

I met a  family friend Melissa and we would visit the colorful houses of Brighton beach and taste some of the best pies at Skyhigh Mount Dandenong. I visited Victoria market and the infamous Rod Laver stadium, home of the Australian Open.

A trip to Melbourne would be incomplete without exploring the coast on the Great ocean road tour for a day long road trip seeing koala’s and sights like the twelve apostles.

I think travel guides with dry information is boring. You can just head over to the travel wiki for text information. If you want to follow my personal adventure and learn about Melbourne in a more interesting way through my story then you’ll want to click here or on the picture for by e-book on Amazon.

In the book you can expect

– My real personal story and experiences in Melbourne
– Travel tips like where to get the best pies or which is the best wine jazz bar in town
– A new feature I’m introducing with this book. Twitter posts I made during the actual trip that capture the detail and mood to precise detail
– Useful links or addresses of the places I visited at the end of the book
– A live google map with the places I visited

CLICK HERE FOR THE MELBOURNE EBOOK

www.amazon.com/dp/B00O8ZISWU

MELBOURNE-1
Melbourne – 14 days in the most livable city in the world? The Amazon Kindle ebook now available
melbourne most livable city

 

melbourne most livable city

Favorite Melbourne experiences

  • Hanging out at Federation Square on a nice day
  • Walking through South Bank and enjoying the patio
  • Enjoying live Jazz at the Transit Cocktail lounge and Federation Square
  • Sampling the coffee houses
  • Brunch at Manchester Press
  • Enjoy a sunset at Brighton beach

4 day usable itinerary

Day 1

  • Start your day off by visiting a Patricia Coffee Brewers
  • Visit federation square and take some photos and visit the tourist information center  to book a great ocean road tour
  • Walk down South Bank and sample the patio dining experience
  • Go up to the Eureka Tower accessed on South Bank
  • Enjoy the fire show at South bank in the evening

Day 2

  • Visit Croft Alley in Chinatown
  • Try out a Wagyu Burger at trump
  • Visit the Victoria market for produce and coffee
  • Have a drink at the Transit cocktail lounge at Federation Square

Day 3

  • Visit St. Kilda Beach
  • Have lunch at Fitzroy
  • Visit Brighton beach to catch a sunset
  • Dinner at Swanson street

Day 4

  • The Great Ocean Road Tour
Melbourne - places visited
Melbourne – places visited

 To help you out here is a Google map with these locations mapped out

 

 

 

 

5 days in Auckland living with locals: A 2nd visit


Greg is a modern World Explorer, Film-maker, Mobile & Google friendly Website producer, & Entrepreneur at the intersection of travel and technology. He has directed, shot, edited, and produced over 30 high definition travel and lifestyle related videos on Youtube in addition to producing ChicVoyage in Asia – modern travel adventures on the Amazon.com store in 2012. He has been instructed by globally renown SLR Director and film-maker Phillip Bloom. His 4 month 2013 journey took him to Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

in Auckland living with locals
The Te Atatu Peninsula waterfront enjoys a breath taking view of Aucklands skyline

Return to Auckland – A rough start

I made the mistake during my 13 day 2011 New Zealand trip of not visiting Australia while I was in this part of the world. I learned from my mistake and scheduled a 5 day trip to Auckland, New Zealand, which is about a 3-4 hour flight from Sydney Australia. In this part of the world you may find that Jetstar airlines has the cheapest flights within Australia and New Zealand. Unfortunately they are stingy with their baggage allowance, they loose luggage, and sometimes your flight schedule is limited to early morning 6am or late night 11pm flights. On this flight Jetstar lost my checked luggage and it was past midnight in Auckland. Auckland is very much a car city especially if you want to get out of the city and see some of the natural sights that New Zealand has to offer. I made it past customs just in time to purchase a 3g sim card for my iphone from telecom nz for $25. I think it covered 500mb, but it was sufficient for my data research, email, and google map gps needs. My host suggested Apex car rentals, which ended up being cheaper than options going through kayak. My iphone batteries ran out and I was forced to take a picture of the google map directions on my ipad before it died. I made it to the property around 3:20am.

tip: if you are using your smartphone for google map gps be sure to bring a phone charger for the car

tip: give yourself some time to get used to driving on the left hand side and the controls

5 days in Auckland
The auckland gps trail for this trip

 

Want more Auckland coverage of the North and South Island?

I’ve recently released an E-book on my entire 23 day experience in New Zealand on the Amazon Kindle store

Check it out by clicking the image

new zealand book
Book cover for the ebook documenting my 23 day travel adventure
Next Stop: Melbourne, Australia: The most livable city in the world?

 

 

 

22 days living like a local in Sydney: The journey begins

By Greg Hung Aug 27 2013

updated May 7 2014


Greg is a modern World Explorer, Film-maker, Mobile & Google friendly Website producer,  & Entrepreneur at the intersection of travel and technology. He has directed, shot, edited, and produced over 30 high definition travel and lifestyle related videos on Youtube videos in addition to producing ChicVoyage in Asia – modern travel adventures on the Amazon.com store in 2012. He has been instructed by globally renown SLR Director and film-maker Phillip Bloom. His 4 month 2013  journey took him to Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

Greg Hung World explorer, film-maker & entrepreneur
Greg Hung World explorer, film-maker & entrepreneur

22 days living like a local in Sydney: The journey begins

A several months of planning, anticipation and talking about Australia it was now actually going to happen.

The first order of business was to get set up on a cell phone sim card for a local number in Australia with internet access. I ended up selecting a sim card provided by Yes Optus for $30 for 30 days of high speed access on a 3G network, which is fast enough for youtube, google maps, facebook, and surfing the internet. Vodaphone is a familiar name, but even the employees said that their coverage would be poor in some of the other Australia cities I was going to.

As I have basically sold all my major possessions and savings to make this trip Ive been more frugal than I normally am. As such I’ve been avoiding some luxuries such as cabs and limiting expensive dining out. It takes discipline after having enjoyed these comforts already while working at a good full-time job.

Sydney public transport and helpful Australia

I hate transfers from airport to your place of accommodation in most destinations. If I had the resources I would make this experience better. You should be able to get off the plane and after customs walk directly to your transportation that will take you where you are staying. It’s not rocket science. Back to Sydney so I missed the Eastern shuttle from the airport to Bondi beach area, and now I had my first experience with the Sydney public transportation system. Compared to Singapore, Taipei, and Vancouver I found the system confusing. Many square grids and colored lines and many interconnecting trains with dangerous gaps between the train and the platform. I was surprised that the train itself wasn’t exactly in tip top condition.

On the bright side I had a working cell phone and an Airbnb host to guide me as well as some friendly Australian locals. I asked a local girl at Bondi junction which bus I needed to take and she escorted me right to my bus and helped me with my luggage. I can tell you 18 days into my trip that local Sydney Australians are probably among the most friendly and helpful people that I’ve met. As a Canadian I have taken this friendliness for granted.

The Bondi Crib

living like a local in sydney
The Bondi Crib – A surfing themed cave with custom sandstone work with full kitchen, wifi, and local coffee shop across the street

As I monitored the blue dot on my Google maps I arrived at the stop at Dorcas street. My host John introduced me to the apartment and the area. This was my first private apartment suite from Airbnb. The spot was an original with the custom sandstone and surf inspired theme. The apartment had everything I needed from wifi, full kitchen, condiments, couch, ping pong table, and washer and dryer. John even provided wetsuit, surf and snorkel gear, which is a value add in my books. This would be a perfect space for a couple of people to enjoy a Bondi surfing retreat for a week.

Shocking prices

living like a local in sydney
a sample menu of the opera bar drink list. See if you can read it

As soon as I unpacked I made a stop to the local owned Chinese grocery store. I picked up some pasta, some veggies, pasta sauce, milk, and a small bread and the bill came to almost $30. I use a small cup of coffee  from Starbucks as a baseline between prices in Vancouver and Sydney. A small coffee in Vancouver goes for about $2. A small coffee at a Sydney Starbucks is $5!, but if you find a local spot (which most are better) the cheapest you will find is $3.50. Good cheap food will go for $10-13. Now I really appreciate the good prices we have in Vancouver. If I was going to survive 2 months Australia I was going to have to be in super frugal mode.  This meant shopping for local groceries, taking public transport, and basically questioning every expenditure while still trying to have a decent time. Sounds challenging?  Well I was still able to enjoy a local Australian Porterhouse  steak dinner by getting two steak cuts for about $8-9 by picking it up from Woolworths (where the locals shop for good priced quality groceries).

living like a local in sydney
Enjoying a good steak and not breaking the bank in Sydney

The Bondi lifestyle

living like a local in sydney
Bondi beach lives up to the hype

Bondi is well regarded by locals and from what I’ve read one of the most popular beaches in the world. I will vouch for that. I have seen some of the better beaches in the world from Turks and Caicos, Cancun, Maui and Honolulu. In my opinion Bondi is one of the best beaches because the sand is nice, it is large and spacious (unlike Honolulu), offers free Wifi, is clean, relatively clear water, and it has real waves. Big waves. There is a strong surfing culture. There were large groups of surfers in wetsuits riding waves and even chatted to a couple in the water. I bumped into several on my walk to the beach on their way out or on the way back. You don’t have to go that far out from the beach to catch some good waves. The north side of Bondi has tamer waves that are more beginner friendly while the side closer to Bondi Iceberg is closer to the rocks in the picture with rougher.  The waves are very powerful and it’s hard to get far from the shore. I didn’t find this at Honolulu.

tip: use a longer board. 7 foot or longer if you are a beginner. wear a wetsuit as salt water will burn against your stomach and the board.

Bondi is among several other beaches along a seawall path that leads to other beaches such as Bronte, and Tamamara. Each beach has it’s own vibe and characteristics. The locals here come out to walk,tan or jog along this path and at Bondi beach as part of their daily lifestlyle.

There are plenty of shops in the town of Bondi to have a drink and eat. I walked into town on a weekend night in Bondi to get a feel for the nightlife. It felt like a different vibe during the day with a lot of wild young people spilling outside of bars and young people loitering on the street. I enjoy my nightlife, but for some reason this didn’t feel like my scene or that welcoming.

I read much about Bondi Iceberg and felt that I had to at least check it out while I was staying in the area. The camera operator that I hired told me that the Bondi Iceberg club was a bit snooty and I had to arrange a filming with them beforehand. Later during my stay I came there for a drink and found that it was not pretentious as I thought it would be. They just asked for my drivers license and you’re free to order a drink and enjoy it on the patio along with some of the views of Bondi beach. In fact the prices of their beer and wine are very good. I sampled some other spots in Bondi like the Bucketlist bar for a beer and the surf shop for a deep fried Mars Bar. The Bondi Iceberg pool is something I didn’t try. It is not heated and I think the appeal of it for the locals is the heritage and the branding associated with the club.

There are many well located waterfront properties along the beach. I would love to have a vacation home here with the proximity to a world class beach, good year round weather, and it’s just about 25 minutes away from the Sydney CBD. to top it off there are many great adjacent beaches if you walk along the beach path known as the coastal walk.

Celebrating my birthday in the Sydney CBD

I found an excellent and attractive masseuse at Bondi iceberg, and treated myself to one with her to start out my birthday in Sydney. My masseuse had suggested checking out Watsons Bay. I made a mental note. Sydney is a huge area. Good thing my next Airbnb host offered to pick me up from my place at Bondi. I based myself in the neighborhood of Surrey Hills using Airbnb, a good neighborhood located a short 10 minutes walk to the CBD area. I started by exploring on foot to get familiar with the streets and my surroundings. I started by doing some grocery shopping at the local IGA. I had never once experienced a birthday in a city where I knew just about no one. I felt that I had to at least have a drink and attempt to make some friends. I quickly search the meetup site and found an informal entrepreneur event where beers were allowed. I walked and navigated myself using Google maps and asking people directions. At the event I had a good chat, drank some beer, and exchanged some business cards. Like some meetups in Vancouver this one felt like a superficial crowd and didn’t feel like I made many genuine connections with exception with one couple from New Zealand. I reached a point where I was ready to leave and try to see Iron Man 3 by myself. I found the main movie theater on George street and was not allowed in the movie theater because I brought my SLR camera. I decided not to risk leaving it with their office and sadly headed home.

living like a local in sydney
Celebrating my 35th birthday at a Thai restaurant with a new friend in Sydney

I walked down Elizabeth street checking out the various asian restaurants. The Mcdonalds cheeseburger meal wasn’t going to suffice as dinner after all it was my birthday. I was reading the menu of a Thai restaurant when I bumped into the New Zealand couple from the meetup that were doing their Avatar conference just up the road. They kindly offered to invite me for dinner at this restaurant. We had a good conversation and the couple suggested that I visit an area called New Town while in Sydney. Funny how things worked out that night. There are some good people in this world. I hope you’re reading this. Thank you.

Tip: It’s a good idea to get familiar with your local area on foot or on bike.

Surrey Hills & the Nightlife

living like a local in sydney
A taste of the Friday night Sydney nightlife in the Surrey Hills district H-Bar

Located just south of the main attractions Surrey Hills is a suburb lined with character homes with unique second floor terraces and cafe’s. It is a safe neighborhood during the day, but at night especially during the weekend I found much of the nightlife crowd makes their way through this area during the weekend. I did reserve a Friday night to sample some nightlife just a 4 minute walk away from my place. First stop was the H bar, which appeared to be a happening spot for a drink on a Friday. I snagged the only seat available on the outside bar for a sparking champagne. To figure out my next stop I asked the bar tender who suggested the wild rover and the Playbar just a minute away. Next stop was the Playbar. A bouncer guarded the door, but as I approached he greeted me and let me in. There was a good vibe in this place, with a live dj,  and some benches to sit. I grabbed a quick drink and took some footage before moving onto the Wild Rover.

The Wild Rover looked intimidating from the outside. A darkly lit building with people coming in and out guarded by a bouncer. As I walked closer I mentioned I was referred here by H bar to come have drink and was let in. This place was a controlled chaos. Limited seating with some table and seats by the bar with the majority of the space standing room only. Bar tenders dressed in smart outfits and with the crowd appearing to have a good time socializing with their group. Not the most solo friendly space but an interesting spot to check out on both floors and have a good beer. I ended the night by walking 5 minutes down Campbell street where you’ll find many of the Asian restaurants. I enjoyed a good meal of Korean Jap Chae noodles at the Campbell food court

Tip: Ask local bar tenders for suggestions for bars and lounges if you are unsure. They are usually in the know.

 3 Sisters & the making a good friend on the Meetup Coogee Coastal Walk Hike

living like a local in sydney

I decided to take half the day to get out of the city and take the train to go see an attraction called the 3 sisters. You take the train to small town and catch the bus to get off and take pictures of 3 pointed rocks known as the 3 sisters. Sorry I’m not getting too excited about this one, but the attraction did attract bus loads of chinese tourists that I had to compete with to get some decent pictures. If you’ve got some time in Sydney and want to get out of town to see an attraction then this is one idea. Personally I would like recommend spending your time seeing the Sydney Opera, Harbour Bridge, or the Coogee Coastal walk before even thinking about the 3 sisters.

living like a local in sydney
the Sydney harbour bridge

Speaking of the Coogee coastal walk I joined a meetup group called the Sydney Bushwalking Meetup to do this walk with a group. We would meet at the Circular Quay , the location where you would catch ferries and also see the Sydney Opera House, the Rocks, and the Harbour Bridge. We met our group and I immediately hit it off with an attractive UK expat. We got took the Ferry to Watson’s bay and snapped some shots of the Sydney skyline and along the coast. The walk is a great way to get some sunshine and exercise while enjoying the beautiful ocean and views along the coast. We walked past Bondi and Bronte beach and stopped at our destination at Coogee beach. During the walk I had a glimpse into expat life as one of the girls who had been living there told me that it was frustrating making friends with other expats because they would leave shortly after they met. Her solution and tip was to join associations that were more established like tennis clubs and make friends there. By the time we arrived at Coogee I found out my UK friend had a South African boyfriend, but we exchanged contacts to do dinner in Newtown before I left. Coogee was a nice family friendly beach to have a bbq or a picnic. Most of the group was too tired to BBQ after the hike so we picked up some kebabs and beer before I caught the bus back. A productive day where I got some exercise, some shots, and made a new friend.

Saving the best for Last: The Opera house & the Harbour Bridge

living like a local in sydney
The iconic opera house

Before I traveled to Sydney the image of Opera house was the image I envisioned when I thought about Sydney. To me it was an iconic structure and I had to all type of shots of it before my trip was over. To get to the Opera house you go to the circular quay. You have to walk about 10 minutes from there until you get to it. The first sight of it will have you reaching for your camera. It is indeed amazing. I recommend taking pictures of it during the day and night time and from both sides of the Harbour Bridge to cover all the angles. I walked inside it to check it out and use the bathroom. If I had budget I would probably have seen a show, but instead I chose to enjoy an organic tap beer at the Opera Bar. This bar is happening and you can enjoy it sitting my a heat lamp at night or by an outside table as you enjoy prime seats of the Opera House and the Harbour bridge. One sunny day I decided to reward myself after I filmed and enjoyed a beer and a pizza at this Opera Bar. It was one of my highlights of the Sydney trip and I savored every minute of it.

living like a local in sydney
Life is worth it. Opera Bar Sydney

The harbour bridge is also a significant structure and I recommend walking across it. Instead of paying hundreds of dollars to walk on top of the bridge you can spend around $11 halfway through the bridge and climb to the top. At the top there is a viewpoint where you can enjoy amazing 360 degrees views of the Opera house, the bridge and the people climbing it, and more. I also recommend to continue walking to the other side of the bridge where you will be rewarded with views of the Sydney skyline and another angle of the Opera House. If you plan it well you can get to the other side by sunset to take evening shots. Just when you thought you got all the best pictures try taking the ferry back to circular quay instead of walking back across the bridge. You will get picture angles of the Opera house that a good percentage of the tourists had never thought of.

 

living like a local in sydney
A pizza and beer are a perfect way to enjoy the sun and views of the Opera House

Tip: Try taking the ferry to Manley beach from circular quay. Its a worthwhile trip on its own and you’ll get good photo ops of the Opera house from the ferry.

Newtown & Brekkie

living like a local in sydney
delicious brekkie in surrey hills
living like a local in sydney
surrey-hills

On my last evening I met with my UK friend at the Newtown train station for dinner (she is camera shy btw) Newtown was packed with restaurants on both sides of the street. We decided to try a vietnamese restaurant. The next morning I decided to sample some brekkie in Surrey Hills. I settled on a spot referred by locals called Reuben Hills. The portion was small, but good quality and I ended up tagging some good tracks on my Shazam so I was happy. Back at the Surrey Hills mansion I had my bags packed and was about to open the door for the shuttle when I saw it drive by and stop at the street. I chased it down in my socks and the Airbnb host got him to drive back in front of the house. We said our goodbyes. Next stop a return to Auckland.

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Produced by Greg Hung for Chicvoyage Productions 2013

The footage in this video is available for licensing

ChicVoyage offers high quality global travel content (videos, pictures, entertainment) available for licensing.

Stock Travel Footage Available for licensing

Produced by greg hung for chicvoyage productions 2013

Digital Nomad Videographer Lifestyle

music by – birocratic
tracks: orientation, merlot, bump #4, stay gold

music by – Tom Wendt
tracks: Cool Surf pour Joerg ind Liza
https://soundcloud.com/tom-wendt/cool-surf-pour-joerg-und-lisa

camera operator assistant: charles clement

thanks to
the Bucket list, Bondi Surf seafoods,Bondi iceberg club , and John F airbnb host

Melbourne Australia tour

a melbourne walking tour

By Greg Hung Aug 6th 2013

Melbourne Australia Tour


Greg is a World Explorer, Film-maker & Travel & Technology Serial Entrepreneur has directed, shot, edited, and produced over 30 high definition travel and lifestyle related videos on Youtube videos in addition to producing ChicVoyage in Asia – modern travel adventures on the Amazon.com store. He has been instructed by globally renown SLR Director and film-maker Phillip Bloom.

Greg Hung World explorer, film-maker & entrepreneur
Greg Hung World explorer, film-maker & entrepreneur

Is Melbourne the most livable city in the world? According to the The EIU’s Global Liveability Report it is, but is it actually like to live there for 14 days like a local. I set out on a journey to answer this same question for some one the worlds most livable cities: Sydney, Auckland, Vancouver, Adelaide, and Melbourne. To give you a taste of Melbourne I decided to start with a walking tour video of Melbourne. After doing a google and youtube search today for Melbourne Australia walking tours I see there isn’t many professional videos out there. I hope this fills the void and offers something entertaining and informative for the views out there.

Melbourne Australia tour
Federation Square - A central meeting square near the South Bank to meet friends and surf the free wifi

During my time at their place I got a chance to know my Airbnb hosts, Gretchen and William quite well. I came up with an idea and inspiration to do a walking tour video of Melbourne hosted with my Airbnb hosts that I could also pitch to Airbnb for a future show. William and Gretchen thought it was a good idea as well and so we got it done.  As you can see they are very friendly and knowledgeable about Melbourne and I would recommend to stay them in South Bank if you can.

Melbourne Australia tour
One of many picture opportunities in the grafitti alleys of Melbourne

Melbourne has a strong coffee culture; however you may be surprised how difficult it is to find a regular drip coffee. They call it a pour over coffee and in Australia it was quite rare to find in contrast to the long black and flat whites. In the video we try out a coffee flight and get you watch the unique way and attention that is given during the preparation of the coffee flight. Melbourne also has a popular grafitti culture. William and Gretchen take us to the croft alley in chinatown where you’ll get to glimpse of these alleys from your computer without having to deal with the smell. We finish off at a diner where William will explain the popular style of burger found in Australia and Singapore called the wagyu burger. Food is generally expensive in Melbourne , but at this diner we show you where to find these quality burgers starting at $10.

Melbourne Australia Tour
The coffee flight tasting experience in Melbourne featured in the video

If you enjoy this video please do your part and share it with your friends. I would like to partner with Airbnb and do more of these videos worldwide and a larger viewership will bring me closer to that.

 

The next journey: travel filming adventures in Maui and Honolulu

It is a beautiful day in Bondi Beach Sydney Australia so I have to get out and do some grocery shopping and enjoy the beach. I’m staying at a sandstone surfer dwelling 300m from the beach. I’m still trying to find the right mix of text, pictures, and videos and get these updates out on a timely basis so please comment to provide some feedback on what works best for you.

The second travel adventure – It’s a bit longer this time

travel filming adventures

 This is my second major travel filming adventure. The first was a month in a half trip in Asia December 2011 when I traveled with an SLR camera and filmed a Travelogue adventure entitled ChicVoyage in Asia. I managed to film San Francisco, The Grand Canyon, and Las Vegas before I returned to the workforce in April 2012 and during the making of ChicVoyage in Asia I began to feel an attraction for Australia. During the rest of the year I was inspired by my sister and friend Denny’s bold decision to relocate their life from Vancouver to Toronto to think about embarking on a longer term trip where I had a chance to work and live in a different country.

So off I began researching and I came across a working holiday program that Canada offered to individuals. A working holiday program allows individuals a more straightforward approach to obtaining a visa to work and live in another country. These programs help streamline the process for obtaining a visa to work and live if you are under 35 with most requiring you to be 30 and under. I settled on a working holiday to Taiwan and along the way I would make stops in some of the most livable waterfront cities in the world in countries such as Australia and New Zealand.

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travel filming adventures
Beautiful Sydney: Enjoy a beer by the Opera house

My first stops from Vancouver would be in the islands of Maui and Oahu in Hawaii.

What is it like being free from the corporate world and how was it spent?

After I informed my manager that I was leaving the company and the message got out I was invited to plenty of lunches and had an awesome send off party. Thanks guys. These types of social gatherings provide positive energy that I’ll bank on for any adversity I may face ahead. The first days of waking up are liberating because you don’t have to wake up to a schedule that you don’t control.  I formed a regular habit of sleeping late at 1-2am and waking up at 9-9:30am. My routine consisted of making myself fresh coffee, selling items on Craigslist , and trip planning.

To prepare for a more mobile lifestyle I traded in my 27 inch iMac for a 15 inch mac book pro for mobile video editing and work.

I now was now free to do work at good wifi spots through out Vancouver Canada. Some of my favorites included Urban Fair at Yaletown Roundhouse and Athletes Village. They offer what I call a hassle free wifi service meaning no passwords or time limits that Blenz Coffee shops do. Other good spots to check out include Giovanni’s Cafe at the Fairmont Pacific Rim, JJ Beans on Burrard (only location with wifi), Edge Cafe, and WholeFoods in West Vancouver. These places offer you good food, nice atmosphere, comfortable seating, washrooms, and free water. In my books definitely a step up from some coffee shops.

However freedom didn’t come without it’s responsibilities. The idea of leaving everything behind to travel and film the world sounds like an attractive idea, but what does it actually take?

For starters I had to purge any possessions that I wouldn’t be traveling with and pack enough to film, travel and relocate my life. Not an easy task. There are things like selling your car and major possessions, getting travel insurance, planning your trip, securing cash flow, and paying your bills. Planning for a trip requires project management skills. There are many logistical things to plan for. Other things I did:

travel filming adventures
sold my car. my baby
travel filming adventures
the sacrifice. Selling my car
  • upgrading my camera equipment and videography skills
  • tried to run my own SLR workshop
  • purging and selling major possessions
  • started a kickstarter campaign
  • had many lunches and dinners with friends
  • extensive planning for my potentially 1 year working holiday
  • a going away potluck party
travel filming adventures
Going away party. One of the best parties I’ve had
travel filming adventures
Going away party. One of the best parties I’ve had

Yes I was busy. Leaving work and the city does have its benefits. I recommend you try it. The trade-off is that it is super sad to leave family, friends, and colleagues.

The first stop Maui – the ocean front condo experience

I decided to make a pit stop on the way to Australia with my parents. The first stop was in Hawaii where I had an awesome stay in Maui at an ocean front condominium.  Words cannot describe the feeling of being at the oceanfront and experience perfect weather enjoyed from the Lanai (patio). Perhaps pictures and videos can. This google map outlines what the main attractions planned were and the red line and black spots track what we managed to visit.

travel filming adventures


View Maui in a larger map

Highlights of the trip and usable itinerary:

You can use the map above along with the information written here as a usable itinerary for yourself. I didn’t get a chance to complete everything I planned to see in Maui. Perhaps you might.

  • Snorkeling at Black Rock Kaanapali Beach looking for turtles.

The Black Rock is known as a popular destination for snorkeling and the Kaanapali beach. We drove in search of the Black Rock and found that there was free parking next to the Sheraton hotel with access to the beach. The beach was not crowded and the water was slightly colder than luke warm water. I took my snorkeling gear in search of turtles. I asked some people in the water for some tips and one person motioned to the area near the black rocks. Will I find a turtle? Watch the video to find out. Please excuse the production value. I’m experimenting with reducing the publishing time and still keeping quality, but it is difficult without some editing help.

Tip: there is free covered parking adjacent to the Sheraton hotel with beach access.

Tip: if you are snorkeling for turtles you will find more sea life near the black rocks

 

 

  • Waking up at 3:30am in the morning for a driving video tour up to the 4th highest point on the planet at the Haleakala Crater to enjoy the view and the sunrise

travel guides will suggest that you wake up and ride your bike up for the sunrise and ride back down. I recommend that you drive up in a car. There is a long stretch of uphill road to get there and although this means fun times going back the road is narrow. I’m proud of my parents for making the effort to wake up, however we just missed the sunrise.  Give yourself plenty of time to get up there. Google the sunrise time and use google map to plan to work backwards to figure out what time you need to leave. Is it worth it to drive up here?  If you enjoy adventure and panoramic views then yes,  but this is not as awe inspiring on the caliber level of a grand canyon. My official Maui travelogue video will feature video footage of the Haleakala.

travel filming adventures
Maui. We woke up early to catch the sunrise at Halakea
travel filming adventures
Maui. We woke up early to catch the sunrise at Halakea
  • Lunch at the town of Lanai where we enjoyed a local beer oceanfront

If you are staying in the Northwest of Maui chances are you will drive past the town of Lanai. I think Lanai is one of the few towns in Maui, and I’ve read it’s a tourist trap. What you will find there are narrow streets and a clusters of restaurants and tourist attractions along the ocean. Yes it is catered to tourists, but I suggest  you still visit. We went there once for lunch at the Kool Kat cafe and the second time for a drink at the Koa’s Seaside Grill. I will vouch for Koa as the beer was good, prices fair, excellent service, and prime time ocean views.

travel filming adventures

  • More on the experience of staying at a private ocean front condo

I found this condo through VRBO and arranged to provide a video of the apartment for a good deal on the accommodation. This non hotel experience worked out very well for myself and my parents. The apartment had kitchen facilities, laundry, pool, ocean front lanai, parking, and wifi. I think that going through the VRBO route ends up being better value and a better experience for a traveling family. Also what are the chances you will score an Ocean front view at a reasonable cost in Maui? If you would information on the place I stayed at please comment below.

  • Costco

I recommend making a stop at Costco if you have rented out a private space with a kitchen for your food and alcohol. You get a great quality and value. The alcohol generally works out to half the price for an equivalent bottle in British Columbia, Canada. If you have a Costco card in Canada it works in the US. Cool!

Tip: If you have an unlocked phone you can get a prepaid Sim card, which is invaluable for navigating the island and doing research. Hertz offered me a GPS device for $60 for 5 days, but a prepaid sim can provide audio navigation with unlimited data and voice for $2 a day with Tmobile.

Tip: if you are looking for recommendations on restaurants and business services use a website or smartphone app called “Yelp”

Honolulu

You will find this part if more brief. I spent much of my time filming condo apartments there.

travel filming adventures

I flew to Honolulu where I arranged for an awesome chic condo at the Ilikai Marina with an awesome view of the marina and the Hilton Lagoon. We took an inter-island flight with Hawaiin airlines and then took a shuttle from the airport. Watch out for some of those sharks that try to get you in their shuttle as soon as they spot the lost look on your face. Shop around first using the shuttle services listed by the phone in the airport. We paid about $22 for round-trip from the airport to our condo.

  • The scene at Waikiki

We stayed at the Ilikai Marina, which is a private condo building which is a 5 minute walk away to the Hilton Lagoon.  The Hilton appears to be the anchor in the Waikiki beach area and you can figure out how central your accommodation is to this hotel. The Modern hotel is in an adjacent building to the Ilikai Marina and features a cool pool and bar/lounge area worth checking out. It is an international crowd, very family and tourist oriented with a large volume of Japanese people as well as young and fit people at the beach.
travel filming adventures

  • A front row scene for the fireworks at the Hilton Lagoon

Our condo owner told us that the Hilton offers fireworks every Friday night, but we were lucky to catch them on a Wednesday night. You can see the fireworks by the lagoon.

  • My experience attempting to surf at Waikiki after a decade.

The beach is very crowded and hot at Waikiki. A suggestion is to bring beach chairs or towels and plenty of sunscreen. Rent your board from across the street from the Hilton for about $20 to save yourself some money. When I was there in May there were not that many surfers in the ocean. The ones that were there are quite far from shore and the waves are not that strong. After expending a lot of energy to get out to the area to surf I found most of my time was spent waiting for the waves. I also forgot to take off my sunglasses, which mean I was being careful not to let the waves knock them off.

Okay I’ve finally made it to the end of this post for now. If you enjoy this updates and would like to keep receiving them I would appreciate that you support our  kickstarter campaign http://kck.st/ZLc6xv. After the campaign is over (42 hours at time of writing) please email me to see how you can help.  I try to produce independent content so it stays clear of any external influences.

travel filming adventures

 

 

ChicVoyage visiting Beijing soon

Beijing is our first stop on a month and a half long visit to Asia in early December. Here is a little bit of research I wanted to share before the trip.

The essentials

China Visa

To begin, the first thing to do before booking your trip is to get a Chinese Visa. Here is a good site about the requirements for Canadians. From my experience, you can save yourself one additional trip to the visa office by printing out the forms prior to your first visit and get your passport photos completed. The visa office will only take a limited number of people a day so be there before opening time with your completed application. The  contact number for  the Visa office  is (604) 734 – 0704. The office address is 288-1338 West Broadway, Vancouver. You can also try avoiding all the hassle by hiring a travel agent to do this on your behalf.  Here are two contacts who can help you with this:

Sundeck Vacations
John Wong
604.728.0569
Richmond, BC

Travel Gallery
Betty Tan
604.879.6883
Vancouver, BC

Currency

The currency in China is called Yuan or Renminbi. One Canadian dollar as of today is equivalent to 6.09 CNY. I’ve been told by the local store where I got my China sim card that foreigners are limited to withdraw a certain denomination a day so it was suggested to buy at least $1000 CDN worth of Renminbi locally before I leave.

You will also want to visit your doctor to make sure that your immunization is up to date, and make sure you have travel insurance.

TIP: If you have an iphone I recommend downloading “Exchange LE” to convert worldwide currencies on the fly. If you don’t have an iPhone try the Fairmont’s currency convertor.

TIP: Check that you have the appropriate electric plug adapters for China. I was told by a London Drugs employee that most modern electronics such as Iphones do not require a convertor so save yourself some money.

Overview

Beijing is located west of North Korea between the Yellow Sea. Beijing is known as the capital of China, is the country with the world’s largest population and was host of the 2008 Summer Olympics. Beijing’s has the second largest population after Shanghai with a population of 17.55 million people in 18 districts. It is the political, education, and cultural center of the country that offers many historical sites and important government and cultural institutions.

Beijing’s time is known as the China Standard Time (CST) and runs 16 hours ahead of people in the Pacific Time (PST) time zone, which includes Vancouverites. So currently looking at the iPhone world clock its currently 12:10pm. One way that I do time zone math is to add 12 hours to the current time, which would be the same time but you exchange the pm for am and then add the additional hours.

12:10pm + 12 hours = 12:10am plus 4 hours which equals 4:10am

Beijing is known for its flatness with only 3 hills found within the city limits. The configuration of Beijing is that of concentric rectangular shaped ring roads. Most of the tourist sights are located in what is called the old walled city and enclosed by ring road two.

Beijing districts
Beijing districts

picture courtesy of wikitravel.org

XiCheng District – this covers the northwestern part of the central city and includes the Beijing Zoo and National Concert Hall.

Dongcheng – this covers the north eastern part of the central city. This includes the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and Beijing Central Station

XuanWu District – Southwestern pat of the central city

Chongwen District – Covers the south eastern part of the central city and includes the Temple of Heaven

For more information about the inner suburbs please check out Beijing wiki travel.

Highlights of the tourist attractions Beijing:

  • Tiananmen Square – This is located in the Dongcheng district. Wikipedia calls it the third largest public square and is also home to the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall. It has cultural significance as it was the location of several important events in Chinese history with the most recent being the protests of 1989.
  • Forbidden City – Wikitravel claims this is the most important palace that was home to the Imperial court during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. This site was protected during the Cultural Revolution from the Red Guards. Detailed information is available in the China Travel Guide
  • National Stadium – Better known as the Birds Nest this is located in Chaoyand district and is the symbol of the 2008 Olympic games.
  • Da Dong Roast Duck – Located in Dongcheng district Da Dong was recommended from a local who used to live in Beijing. Currently ranked as the # 3 place to eat in Beijing on Trip Advisor. Summarizing the variety of latest reviews from Trip Advisor I expect high prices, excellent Peking Roast Duck that is carved at the table, drinking, laughing, good food, upscale location, and free drinks waiting at the bar. Can’t wait!
  • Hutongs – These are narrow street alleys that are on the outskirts of the Forbidden City and I’m told visiting Hutong’s are a way to experience how the local Beijing Chinese culture and how they live.
  • Temple of Heaven – Located in Chongwen district my readings confirm that this is a worthwhile place to visit, a symbol of Beijing, and is a larger palace than Forbidden city. The reason is that Chinese emperors considered themselves sons of heaven and did not want to live a palace large than what was built for heaven.
  • Summer Palace – Located in the Haidan district it is known as the largest and most well-preserved Royal Park in China
  • The Great Wall of China – Our trip to China is not complete without scheduling dedicated time to view the largest man-made monument ever built. In 2007 the great wall was listed as one of the world’s wonders of the world, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which means it has special cultural and physical significance to the heritage of humanity.  In 220 BC during the Qin dynasty the wall was built as a fortification defense against the invading Mongol’s. It is 8,851.8 km and can be see seen from Space. According to TravelChinaGuide, the most information rich internet resource I’ve come across, the Badaling section of the great-wall is the most well preserved, and is located in Yanqing County 70 km north of Beijing.

Night Life

Based on the top Google searches for “Beijing Nightlife”, the Sanilitun bar street is most popular with ex pats and tourists as well as locals. Located West of Gongti North Gate in the Chaoyang district the MIX Bar seems worth visiting. What I expect is a mix of Western people and locals,  attractive women, and high quality sound and lighting. There are two floors with the first offering comfortable seating and the second offering French and Italian cuisine with music.

mix bar beijing
mix bar beijing

photo courtesy of clubzone.cn

The other up and coming area for nightlife is in the Hou Hai Bar Street. The Beijing impression calls No Name Bar  “hands-down one of Beijing’s best”. It is is located in Qianhaidongyan, Shichahai, XiCheng district by a lake.  It is known for scenic views, a welcoming atmosphere popular with locals, and a hidden gem due to no name on the door.  I’m expecting friendly staff, good modern music, a long drink list, and to make a reservation.

That should cover the Beijing plan for now. Hope you’ve enjoyed this blog post and will tune in for the post visit blog post with the pictures and HD video footage of must see attractions, restaurants, and nightlife for Beijing.

Cigar Lounges, Scotch, steaks, in Montreal. Where is the best cigar lounge?

So I discovered on the weekend that Montreal has been grandfathered by the city’s changing law, luckily Cigar lounges in Montreal have been spared. I first discovered the cigar during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.  On my way through Yaletown, I stopped at a cigar store called Reveluction. I wondered in there and a guy named Neo helped me pick out a cigar and allowed me to light it in the store. Very cool.

I didn’t know what I was doing at the beginning— all I can say was I  had a good experience and I would try this again when I was at home. On my patio one day, I light a cigar up and I decide to go for a stronger draw; the result was I got a good burn happening.  I could actually taste the flavours of the cigar and I didn’t feel like I was inhaling smoke. I knew I was doing something right. I didn’t finish the cigar that night, but I was hooked.

Now that you have the background on how I discovered cigars Iets look at our options for chic cigars lounges in Montreal. I followed up some suggestions from google  by checking out good old Yelp. I got the list and filtered out for the highest rated lounge. The lounge was a restaurant called “Queue De Cheval”. It had 35 reviews and averaged about 3.5 stars.  I decided to check the website out myself to get an idea of how established they were.

Queue De Cheval
Cohiba Robusto Starbucks
Cohiba Robusto Starbucks

 

 

  • Well reviewed on Yelp. 35 reviews averaging 3.5 stars. Could be higher, but not other options with 35 reviews
  • Meat lovers paradise. Prime selection of dry-aged steak cuts and home made sausage.
  • Great experience on the website makes it. With a level of detail down to their own customized Jazz track in the background, they have thought about the details to increase the chances of a great customer experience. Other things going for it include great presentation an educational, yet enjoyable experience learning about their cigar selection.

Cons

  • Numerous reviews on Yelp stating that that the good and wines were overpriced
  • Review describing the food as not very good.

http://www.queuedecheval.com

http://www.dailyxy.com/daily-xy/city-survival/top-cigar-lounges-montreal/

For now   based on the information available on the internet Queue De Cheval appears to be the best option to try. We ask any insiders what their thoughts are?

Another cigar lounge Stogies

Another Montreal Lounge i was interested in was called “Stogies” on 2015 rue Crescent. Out of the restaurants on the link below, Stogies seemed to meet the profile for my first cigar lounge in Montreal. Stogies only had three reviews on Yelp, but I decided to check the website nonetheless. The website seemed quite simple— I clicked on cigars to see what they had and got a message basically telling me I wouldn’t be able to see their vast cigar collection because I was accessing the website from outside of Quebec. There was a number to contact. With three reviews a lack of transparency (that Queue De Cheval was able to provide) I decided to move on.

Pros

  • Diverse selection of Cuban and Dominican cigars and cigarillos
  • Great drinks. 101 different martinis and more than 20 brands of single-malt scotch
  • Forefront of the cigar scene in Montreal
  • No cutting fee

Cons

  • Claims of poor service
  • Lack of information

Whiskey Cafe  

I checked the Whiskey Cafe on Yelp, which had four reviews . I visited the website curious to see the cigar selection; I click on their cigar lounge. Very disappointing. Only photos of the cigars, no educational explanations or accompanying pictures to get me excited.

More information
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g155032-d710637-r15204010-Whisky_Cafe-Montreal_Quebec.html#REVIEWS