7 Things You Should Pack In Your Luggage

It’s the holiday season again, you have already gotten your air tickets booked and you are ready to embark on another journey out of this sunny island. You’ve gone on a thorough research on where you are going to stay over and where you are going to visit during your trip. Everything seems to fall nicely into place, but you realised something’s off.

You took a glance across your room and realised you have yet to pack for the trip. Your departure is just under 48 hours and you went into a panic mode. You suddenly have no idea what else, apart from your daily necessities and clothing, should be inside your packing list.

That was me before I left for Hong Kong two years back. I mean, hey, that was my first overseas trip in over a decade so I think I could still be excused for being so lost, right till the last minute.

I eventually figured out myself that there are actually a few items that one should be packed into your luggage no matter where your destination is. Guess it would be right if I share it with you guys as well!

1. Action Camera

(Image: Emily Ashman /RedSharkNews)

As a film and photography enthusiast, filming equipments are definitely at the top of my packing list. I don’t consider myself completing my trip without having to blog or produce a video on it. It’s like a habit that’s hard to get over, you see.

For those of you who share the same interest as myself, you should consider packing an action camera for your trip. Yes, I know most of us would own a DSLR, a mirrorless camera or, at the very least, a smartphone capable of recording in 4K. However, I felt that an action camera – as its name suggested – would best capture every action during your trip. It’s so handy, you can even hang it around your neck and start recording.

With various competitive brands and models for you to choose from, you will definitely find one that suits your budget and needs.

2. Power Bank

(Image: Hardwarezone)

I swear if you were to forget to throw this somewhere in your luggage, you will cry once your phone battery goes flat in the middle of your trip – especially when you are at places where power points are not readily available (i.e when you are trekking).

I would never leave home without a power bank (half charged at minimum), let alone leaving the country without it. It is the fundamental gadget in my backpack, apart from my phone and my earpiece. I will always have it on standby and grab it out anytime when I need it.

We are at an era whereby we become overly reliant on our mobile devices – we use it for any sort of purposes, be it finding your way around the city, booking private hire, communicating with your friends or even updating your whereabouts on social media. Once you are able to find a power source for your dying phone, I would say good luck to you.

Of course, power banks can also help charge your camera battaries (as long as you have the usb adapter for it) and any other electronics. You will be thankful for its existance, trust me.

3. Travel Adaptor

(Image: Materialicious)

Of course, apart from a portable power bank, you will also require a universal travel adapter. The type of power sockets differs from country to country. While a power plug from Singapore might fit in Hong Kong or the UK, you will find it incompatible with the sockets found in mainland Europe or USA.

DIFFERENT HOLES: The various types of sockets that can be found in different countries. (Graphics: Wikitravel/Peirz)

Hence, it is important to bring along some travel adapter so that you wouldn’t find any problem powering your gadgets back at your accomodation or at any power points whenever you are required to.

4. Sleeping Bag

(Image: Winfields)

Just in case you travelled too far out from your accommodation or you decided to be adventurous and wander deep inside the forest/desert, you will find comfort in a sleeping bag. You will want to sleep inside a spongy-feeling sleeping bag instead of lying flat on the grass or on the bench – at least it will do its part saving you from all the exposure in the wild.

Sleeping bag can also be extremely useful when you returned back to your accommodation too late in the night and you are too tired to wash up before heading to bed. Grab the sleeping bag and you can start dozing off on the floor – without dirtying your bed or the blankets.

5. Head Lamp

(Image: REI)

You can bring along a torchlight too, but I strongly suggest getting a head lamp for convenience sake. Imagine you are trekking through the jungle and your hands are holding on to the trekking pole, a torchlight and a map. It’ll be worse if you would also want to take photos for memories sake.

With a head lamp, it will help lessen the load on your hands, so that you wouldn’t struggle with so many items and end up dropping everything. You wouldn’t want to drop your phone on soil and mud.

6. First Aid Kit

(Image: Ready First)

You don’t leave for a holiday without packing in one of the most important things. I couldn’t emphasise more about the importance of having a first aid kit for your trip. Accidents might happen and when it does *touchwood*, you will want to respond fast.

It’s a matter of life and death we are talking about right now. Always be prepared because the faster you respond to an emergency case, the chance of it escalating will be minimised.

7. Waterproof Holder for Phones

(Image: Superpohod.ru)

This is especially for those who are visiting the beach or taking part in water activities. Grab a few waterproof holders and put them into your bagpacks. This will help protect your phone whenever you are going to the water and you can also take photo while inside the water!


Loan your travel gears from LEASANY

Leasany is a local start-up that advocates sharing among travellers to-and-fro Singapore. Travellers would be able to loan essential yet costly equipment for their trip. While this initiative helps to reduce travel budget, yet, the start-up aims to encourage travellers like us to try on new things without spending a huge fortune for a huge yet risky initial investment.

Rent your items from Leasany using the promo code ‘EDDYCHUA’ to enjoy 20% off your total rental fee! Do it fast because the offer ends 10 September 2018!

EC in HK: Hello, Big Buddha

(This is a continuation to my EC In HK series, you can check out the first installment of the series here)

Our immersion trip to HK was more than just lessons and collecting information for our respective E-book project. We had a day set aside specifically for a local tour. We basically toured around HK, from Sheung Wan to Sai Wan Ho to Lantau Island.

Ok. not really around HK, but it least we had the central part and the outlying island covered.

We set off at around 9am on a coach which brought us from Kowloon Tong, across Victoria Harbour, to Hong Kong Island. It was evident that the whole lot of us were burned out from the past 5 days of activities. Almost all of us were making use of the travelling time to get some much-needed nap.

The journey seems an eternity but for those who were deep asleep, it seems short.

DESTINATION 1: HERITAGE ALONG WING LEE STREET
The bus parked near Wing Lee Street for us to alight and for us to make way up a diabolical set of stairs.

They say HK is the Land of Dim Sum, well while I do recognise this fact, I need to include another fact: HK is simultaneously the Land of Hills and Slopes. You can imagine how people like me who used to carry too many things everywhere had to climb up slopes after slopes, stairs after stairs. It’s like a tortoise trying to compete in the Swissotel Vertical Marathon.

UP THE STAIRS: The whole lot of us climbed out the stairs to get to our destination.

Wing Lee Street is located in Sheung Wan, near to the Former Hollywood Road Police Married Quarters – a Grade III historic building gazetted by the Antiquities and Monuments Office. The tour guide – yes, the school actually got us a tour guide to bring us around – brought us up Wing Lee Street to see the 1960s style of building. Dubbed as the ‘Seediest Street in Hong Kong’, the entire street is filled with old buildings which make it looks like the entire street has been frozen back in time.

AN INDICATION: Outside the residence at 10 Wing Lee Street

 

SMILE: When you see chiobu, just smile.
WHEN THE GUYS GO MATCHING ON: The guys from my course, but Zeliang was missing from this picture.
DESTINATION 2: HONG KONG FILM ARCHIVES
After Wing Lee, we were brought to Hong Kong Film Archives – located along Lei King Road in Sai Wan Ho. It is dedicated to the collection, preservation and screening of Hong Kong’s film. It is described as, according to their website, a ‘world-class facility’ with 5-storey, divided into ‘two big partitions’.
The film archives definitely live up to its name. I was immersed in the amount of books about Chinese-language films when I was at the library located at the third level. If you are a fan of Chinese films, this is definitely a must-go place for you to learn more about the history and the art of filmmaking.
DESTINATION 3: THE ADVENTURES AT LANTAU ISLAND
After departing from Sai Wan Ho,  we spent another an hour or so on the road before we reached our last destination for the day: The Big Buddha and Polin Monastery.

 

It definitely looks like a long journey from one end of Hong Kong to the other end, covering the three main parts that made up the entire Hong Kong SAR: Hong Kong Island, New Territories and Lantau Island. And not surprising, most of us spend the entire on the bus napping.

LAND OF THE BUDDHA: We were greeted by this paifang as we entered the Ngong Ping Village in Lantau.
Since this is a monastery, there are many people who were making their prayers in exchange for prosperity and health for themselves and their loved ones. It kind of reminded me of Singapore’s Kong Meng San, where I would usually visit during the night of Vesak Day.

 

I shall live a day as a vegetarian since I was in such a holy compound. There were definitely a lot of choices to choose from at the vegetarian shop located in the monastery. Although I only got myself a plate of bee hoon (if I did not remember wrongly), I managed to try out the other kind of food that were available there, thanks to those whom I was seating with at that time. I had Huiqi, Jonathan, Rebecca and Ang Ling seated alongside me at the round table and apparently they got too much food their stomach could handle.

And here I go, free food. 😀

 

After lunch, Rebecca was, as usual, lazy to walk up the stairs. She was accompanied by Ang Ling, who had come to this place before, at the foot of the small hill while the other three of us went up to take a closer look at the main attraction of the place – the Tian Tan Buddha, or otherwise known as the Big Buddha.

SCENERY OF HILLS: I just love this background a lot. You can’t get this in Singapore.

After climbing a total of 268 steps, we finally reached the ‘summit’ of the hill and got to meet Buddha. Hello, Big Buddha. I finally get to see you.

Like literally.

It sounded like we were on a short pilgrimage.

Here’s a trivia.
As provided by Hong Kong Tourism Board, the Big Buddha, erected in 1993, faces north towards mainland China. The HK$60million majestic bronze Buddha statue sits 26.4m on top of the lotus throne and is 34m high. This sure is majestic.
THE SHADES OF HONOUR: Because we swag. (From left: Huiqi, Jon, me)
YOU JUMP, I JUMP… NOT: Disgusting things we do, I am so sorry.
While we were at the top of the hill, we happened to see Sijie right below us. And since I was holding on to my camera, I instinctively just whipped out that photo-capturing device and started taking random photos.
Of course, he realised our presence.

So he posed like a swag.

As we were walking down, we met another three of our course mates: Siqi, Lisha and Emi. We were the last few to leave the summit and it was like minutes left before we had to gather so that the guide could bring us tour the other parts of Ngong Ping.
PROJECT RUNWAY: They were so willing to pose for a photo together. (From left: Siqi, Lisha, Emi)
And I don’t know how I eventually became Lisha’s personal photographer for the rest of the day.
And I don’t even know how Jon was perceived as my ‘小助理’ (Small Assistance) for the rest of the day. Thank you, friend.
There was still a little more time before our scheduled gathering timing, so why not let’s take some burst shots.
CAN WE DEFEAT THOSE STRESS: No doubt that the HK trip might be a little stressful, but we knew how to have fun when it was time to have fun.
ALL KUNG-FU FIGHTING: Alright, Jon. You’ve won the best kungfu stance award for that day.

 

WHY KICK WHEN YOU CAN SPLIT: So Siqi did the impossible, a front split. Damn all these flexibilities.
After we gathered, the guide brought us into the wilderness.
Literally ya, she brought us through the bushes and sandy trails before we reached a nature wonderland.
And so we wandered around.

 

NATURE’S PARADISE: I swear I could just build a house here and staty here forever.
WALKING INTO THE UNKNOWN: There was so much uncertainty at that point in time I swear. I was doubting if it was safe enough to prevent anyone from falling down the freaking cliff.

 

RISKING LIFES TO TAKE PHOTO: I was praying that no one sacrificed just to have this taken.
As much as I love the nature, Ngong Ping is really a heaven for nature lovers like me. Although some part of the trails might be life endangering, as long as you are not freaking moronic enough to jump onto the rocks to take better photos with the beauteous background, you will come back in one piece like the rest of us.
Of course, after meeting the Buddha, maybe you might want to gain Nirvana at such a calming location.
I will continue on the rest of my trip in HK in my subsequent posts! Stay tune!

EC in HK: Living outside home for the First Time (Week 1)

Hey guys, I am finally back after a month or so of absence on this blog. It has been a rather hectic month for me because I had to travel with my coursemates to Hong Kong for this Overseas Media Exposure (OME) trip for an immersion programme.

Of course, that’s not all. We had to work on our integrated project while we were there. Running from place to place, rushing against the time and tiring ourselves out just to do interviews and research gathering for the project.

But putting the dreadful part of the trip apart, we did have a good time there nevertheless.

We left Singapore in the wee hours of 3rd July. It was freaking 6am and I was just trying to make sure that I was wide awake to prevent myself from following the wrong group of people onto the wrong flight (Actually, I don’t think that’s even possible though).

A family photo before departure. Sounds like I am going to leave home for like 14 years instead of 14 days… HAHAHA

 

First time viewing the planes from this angle.

For a person like me who haven’t been on a flight since I was a year old, talking an airplane suddenly seems like a fascinating idea to me. I mean hey, I don’t remember seeing how an interior of an airplane look like with my own eyes. I didn’t know what to expect inside a flight.

But then, everything becomes sort of normal once I was on the flight – apart from the chatterings from the kids because they are so excited to see the take off from the inside.

It’s time for some breakfast!

Not long after we took off for Hong Kong, breakfast was served. Look, that’s another mandatory cup of coffee for me to make sure I can last till the end of the day.

Ohoh! I think I should mentioned about the in-flight entertainment as well. SIA has almost any kind of in-flight entertainment available – it looks like they have the entire collections of songs and movies.

You bet I was so delighted when I realised they have “London Has Fallen” – one of my favourite movies of all time.

But then again, watching planes getting blown off when you yourself were on a plane makes people think that you are freaking sadistic. Just ask Yee Tong and Zefang – the two ladies who seemed rather unfortunate to be seating alongside me. HAHAHA

 

Not sure if that’s a good reminder when you were actually on the plane.

“London Has Fallen” lasted 1hr 30mins+, which means we were somewhere in the middle of our journey when it ended. That means that I have basically nothing else to do – I was kind of tired from all sticking my eyeballs onto the screen.

It’s time for some reading and yeah, classics.

Listening to Air Supply on the plane makes the journey seems more pleasant and soothing. Russell Hitchcock’s vocal has that soothing feel.

 

While listening to Air Supply, I read this book called “5000-1: The Leicester City Story”, a book on Leicester City’s fairy tale season. Really inspiring though.

 

It took us about 4 hours before we finally arrived in Hong Kong.

This marked my first time stepping into East Asia. Although it’s like located in the Northern Hemisphere, yet the weather is so much like Singapore’s.

Freaking HOT.

 

We took a bus ride from the airport to Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), located in Kowloon Tong.

I swear Hong Kong is a city build upon mountains and hills. Along the way there, I was presented with the ‘hilly’ skyline of Hong Kong. Thank goodness these aren’t volcanos.

After half an hour of bus ride, we finally reached our destination. We took some time to check in into our rooms. Jonathan and I shared the same room and it was the start of hell bonding time in the next 14 days…

Since it’s the first day there, my group members for the integrated project (Peiyi, Yan Ting and Yoke Yeng) and I decided to explore a bit. HKBU is located within walking distance (I know some people ain’t going to agree with me on this one) from Lok Fu Plaza and Lok Fu MTR Station.

After which, we went down to Mong Kok to take a look at one of the more happening night scene in Hong Kong.

On the second day (4th July), after our morning lesson, there was a school tour conducted for us. We managed to tour around the School of Communications and the Film Academy housed within HKBU.

We were exposed to such professional studio setup – It’s really rare to be seeing it a campus. Although I think NP’s FMS have something similar to this. Everyone was so fascinated by the setup, me alike.

The control room seems reminded me about the one we’ve seen when we were at Singapore Media Academy. The only difference is that the location of this control room is located above the studio and out directly outside the studio. This, therefore, makes communication between the producer and line producer more crucial.

 

I swear we looked like we are about the get arrested.

Over the next few days of the week, apart from having lessons, all of us were occupied with our respective project interviews.

My group and I stayed in campus to conduct interviews with the lecturers in HKBU.

 

Apart from interviews, we also have to head out to capture some shots that I could use when I was editing our videos in the following weeks to come.

Of course this gave us a chance to admire the sunset from Admiralty, with the sun setting behind those skyscrapers and the ferris wheel.

Since we were all in Hong Kong, I should also talk about the food there too! Hong Kong’s food culture is widely admired and many comes to Hong Kong just to have a taste of their food. Although I was quite shag with all the assignments and so, I managed to have some hearty meals to provide me with enough energy to survive the day.

As long as we were having project days – meaning that whenever we don’t have lessons and the entire day was being dedicated for us to work on whatever we need to work on for our project – we would be having our breakfast and meals outside.

I just kind of realised I had macaroni with toast, alongside a cup of coffee for breakfast most of the time. Most likely is that I was tired of having instant cereal for breakfast and needed something better for my taste bud.

 

Ok! That’s in for this post! I’ll be posting a few more posts about my trip to HK over the next few days!

P.S.: I am now on Dayre too! So do check out (and please follow!) my Dayre: https://dayre.me/theeddychua for more interesting stories. I’ll definitely update more frequently there since it’s so mobile. HEHE ^^

When Cats Rule The Island: The Journey to St. John’s

Just finished with my last assignment this morning, that means that I am coming back to blogging like a finally! Before I post an update, I would like to wish everyone Happy Chinese New Year! May the huat be with you!

On the morning of 29th January, 2016, I embarked on a journey to one of the southern outlaying islands in Singapore – St. John’s Island! St. John Island, formerly known as Pulau Sekijang Bendara (which probably means One Barking Deer and Flag Island — does that even make sense? HAHA) is located some 6.5km off the shores of mainland Singapore.

It was formerly used by the Straits administration as a site of quarantine for immigrants coming to Singapore who were suspected of cholera in the late 19th century. It can be accessible via a ferry departing from Marina South Pier. It was the site where Sir Stamford Raffles and his men were at before they met with the Malay chief of Singapore in 1819. In the early 20th century, victims of beri-beri were also brought to the island. By 1930s, the island gained international recognition as a quarantine centre screening Asian immigrants and pilgrims returning from Mecca. The island was used to house rehabilitation centre when mass immigration is closed in the mid-20th century.

In 1975, the island was transformed into a tranquil gateway with swimming lagoons, beaches, picnic areas, trekking routes and football fields.

It used to be rather difficult to travel to the pier since it was relocated from Clifford Pier in 2006. However, with the construction and opening of the Marina South Pier MRT Station in 2014, travelling to the southern islands become much more convenient.

A group of birdsman (basically this term is used to describe my group members, so just in case you were wondering what this is HAHA) were on their way to conduce location reconnaissance for their project. We bought the ticket for $18 each and were on the way to adventure and exploration.

After half-an-hour of safe and peaceful nauseous ride to the island, we finally reached our destination. You could never understand how glad I was when I saw that we were approaching the pier. As safe as the entire boat ride was, people with motion sickness like myself tend to feel giddy and nauseous. I felt that I was more like on board a cruiser that had just been hit by a torpedo. I thank myself for not having breakfast that morning, if not I would really have vomited on the freaking boat.

St. John Island looks kind of huge and it is connected to nearby Lazarus Island and Pulau Seringat by a bridge.

(Image: messier92)

The island, far away from civilisation, is indeed peaceful. It gives everyone a sense of nature and peace.

At St. John’s Island, there is a holiday camp for those who would like to have an overnight stay. The holiday camp can cater to 60 people which means that you could probably jio your entire class or even cohort and shut them within the island have a short getaway from civilisation. There are also holiday bungalows around the island which can accommodate up to 10 people. Hence, for those of you who just need small place to stay over on the island, the bungalows are just catered for you!

But not sure if it’s on purpose that most of the bungalows there looks more like some houses coming out directly from a 1950s horror film. And ya, that makes everything more scary. Legends had it that the island is haunted so ya, welcome if you feel that no other horror movies could excite you anymore and are looking for adventures at night.

Alright, jokes aside. I really love this place despite the eerie feelings that these houses brought me. People have been overlooking the importance of nature and instead spent too much time surrounded by forest of skyscrapers. Other than the nature aspect, I enjoyed how this place gives people some sort of kampung feel, the kind of feel that is gradually missing out in Singaporeans’ life since the fast pace of life catches up with us and everyone decided to be too busy to even communicate with their neighbours.

We continued on with our journey and eventually located the Holiday Camp. Just take a look at the office, you might actually doubt if you had actually time travelled to the past. It looks like time has stopped 40 years ago in the island.

Our leader, Sijie, leading the way.

Shihui and Yingxuan peeking in to check out how the office looks like.

The office just look like those you see from the 1980s SBC drama series.

Sometimes, I regretted not being able to come to this world earlier, so that I could explore the fun of being a kampung kid. Life might be tough but it used to be much simpler and carefree. Just take a look at the surrounding. I could imagine how life was like back then.

As we left the office, we walked further up ahead. There was nothing but trees and trees. And then, we saw a signage stating “Tropical Marine Science Institute, Marine Aquaculture Centre”. Looks like people are actually setting up research labs in the island to study marine life.

Yingxuan’s looking at the exhibit at the Marine Aquaculture Centre.

Just look at the reef that could be found around St. John Island and Sisters Islands.

We took a break at the Aquaculture Centre because it’s probably the only place in the island with air-conditional. We were like so happy when we realised the existence of an aircon room.

After the break, we walked back and travelled down to Lazarus Island. Well, along the way there we encounter some fluffy animals that looks extremely cute.

The amount of cats there are so high that we encountered like at least 20 of them throughout our journey. Of course, the SPCA had came to sterilize the cats between 2011 to 2014 to control the population of cats there on the island. If not, we might probably be chased around by cats instead.

I am sure the link bridge to Lazarus and Lazarus Island itself belongs to paradise. The clear blue waters from the sea and the green forest surrounding the area makes it look like the best place on Earth to be in right now. There were little pollutions and everything looked prehistoric. We were all mesmerised by the surroundings that we spent whole lots of time taking photos. HAHAHA

Iphi maciam model like that HAHA

Step emo.

Say cheese! 
Tips to great photography, as demonstrated by Sijie.

And of course, photo of the Day.

Got the 《那些年》feel, 有没有?

By 2.30pm, we had to leave the island because the second and final ferry to the island would be departing at around 2.45pm. We would not like to be stranded here alone throughout the night with no place to sleep uh! HAHAHA

I know I will return back to this island one day to, well, escape from reality.