Thursday 19 April 2012

Stanley - A Break from the Bustling City

Having been in Hong Kong for about a month now, I have experienced the bustling city and the hectic lifestyle of the locals. I was looking for a more relaxing way to spend my weekend and so I decided to head to Stanley to loosen up and enjoy the slow paced lifestyle.

To get to Stanley, you'll have to head to the road behind Wan Chai Market and board 6 or 6X. These 2 buses will bring you directly from Wan Chai to Stanley! A point to note, those who experience motion sickness should most probably board bus 6X because bus 6 will bring you up the mountain and down again which will definitely turn your stomach. On the way to Stanley, I went past Repulse Bay which boast of 2 beautiful white sandy beaches. I had the impulse to rush to the beach for a tan but I wasn't dresses for it and so I had to give it a miss this time. 
Up the mountain
Repulse Bay Beach
By the time I reached Stanley, it started drizzling. I quickly made my way to the famous Stanley Market which was sheltered and managed to do quite a bit of shopping while keeping myself out of the rain. Stanley Market is a very compact area of sheltered shops that sell all types of merchandises ranging from toys to clothes. I even spotted a few interesting promotional keyrings at some of the shops.
Stanley Market Entrance
After shopping at Stanley Market, I decided to head out to catch some fresh air.I made my way to Blake Pier which was a 10 minutes walk from Stanley Market. It was still drizzling at that time but with the cool sea breeze blowing gently, I didn't seem to mind at all. It was a relaxing stroll to the pier and upon reaching, I found myself surrounded by the magnificent view of the sea. Away from the bustling city, is this quiet place  where I could unwind, loosen up and immerse myself in the slower pace of life. I snapped a couple of pictures and moved on to my next destination, Hong Kong Maritime Museum.
View from Blake Pier
Hong Kong Maritime Museum was just right behind Blake Pier. It features the history of Hong Kong maritime trade and gave me an insight to how life was like on the seas in the past. Even though I did not get to enter the museum, but just by browsing through the outdoor exhibition, I found enriched by the cool and interesting facts.
Hong Kong Maritime Museum
I decided to head to a nearby cafe to chill and relax after enjoying the scenery of Stanley so I made my way to Stanley Plaza to explore the area. To my surprise, hidden in the small shopping mall are many small cafe that offers great coffee and snacks for a afternoon getaway. They even have vintage pinball machines that you can play! I ordered some snacks and sat down to indulge myself...

Stanley Plaza
40 year old Vintage Pinball Machine
Saffron Cafe - Marble Cheesecake & Latte
With that, I concluded my day at Stanley. Apply at The ODM Group for an internship program to enjoy your very own Asian internship experience! Check out our other blogs to know more about us:

Tuesday 17 April 2012

Disneyland Hong Kong - "Happiest Place on Earth" (Part 2)

Following Christina's guide on reaching Disneyland Hong Kong, let me take you on a journey through the "Happiest Place on Earth".

It was one of the days during the long weekend and I sure wasn't going to waste it away. I decided to give Disneyland a visit as it is one of the major tourist attraction in Hong Kong. I hopped on to the Disneyland train at Sunny Bay and began my magical journey through the wonderland.

Upon alighting the train, I found myself walking through a train station that was uniquely furbished and decorated with Disney characters. Even though I was only at the train station, I had already started taking pictures because the place was simply too beautiful to forgo a shot. I took my time to stroll from the train station into Disneyland because I wanted to immerse myself thoroughly throughout every moment of the journey.
Disneyland Station
Entrance of Disneyland
As soon as I reached the entrance, I quickly bought my ticket and made my way into the Magical Wonderland. There were so many rides and I didn't know where I should start! I decided to go for some adrenaline pumping ride before going to the milder rides to even out the day. A point to note, Disneyland is not just about going on rides but also the photo-taking sessions and theatre shows that it has.
Disney Bronze Figurine

I managed to take a few exciting rides such as Astro Blasters and Extreme Racing Cars which really got my blood pumping. Then I moved on to catch a 3D show and also a musical at 2 of the theatres within Disneyland itself. Next, I went for a photo taking session with some of the Disney characters including Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh. I felt as though I was reliving my childhood again.
Woody the Cowboy
Disneyland Express
I proceeded to take the Disneyland Express which was a train specially designed to revolve around Disneyland to give visitors a overview of the whole place. I must say I was impressed by how grand and amazing the whole theme park was. I ended my day off by watching a 10 minutes firework display at the Disneyland castle which really captivated me.

With that, I ended my journey to the "Happiest Place on Earth". However, it may just be the start of your journey in Hong Kong! Apply at ODM today for an internship program and you'll have the opportunity to experience Hong Kong and its wonderland. Feel free to contact us if you're interested.

Meanwhile, check out some of the promotional products that Disney has included in it's marketing campaign:

Monday 16 April 2012

Macau - Las Vegas of the East

During the long weekend in Hong Kong, I decided to take a day trip to Macau to explore what was called the Las Vegas of the East. 

Situated 60km south-west of Hong Kong, I had to embark on a 1 hour Ferry ride from the Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal to the Macau Maritime Ferry Terminal. After alighting the ferry, I grabbed a map at the local tourism board counter and planned my route for the day. I had my eyes on some of the tourist attraction such as the Macau Tower, A-ma Temple, Ruins of Saint Paul's Cathedral and Casino Lisboa. With a handful of landmarks to visit in just a single day, I had to be fast! I took a bus to the furthest landmark - A-ma Temple, where I would slowly work my way back to the Ferry Terminal. 

Turbo Jet Ferry
Arriving at A-ma Temple, an ancient structure stood sturdily in front of me. With 500 years of history, this temple made out of stone was an eye opener to me. The temple was a contrast to the bustling city life of Macau and was swarmed with tourist who were either taking pictures or praying to the goddess of Matsu. I took the opportunity to walk around the temple and also snap a few pictures of this amazing place.

Entrance of A-ma Temple
Next, I made my way to the Macau Tower. Standing at 338 metres, the Macau Tower is the tallest building in the city of Macau. I took an elevator up the 61 storey tower and I was greeted by the breath taking view of Macau. With glass flooring installed at the top of the tower, I glanced down and found myself hovering in mid air. I strolled around the viewing gallery and took pictures of the 360 degree view that was laid right out in front of me. The magnificent view accompanied with the light breeze made me felt as though I was walking in the clouds. Before exiting the tower, I dropped by the merchandise store and found some really cool promotional products. Take a look at this blog to find out more!

Glass Flooring in the Viewing Gallery
After exiting the tower, I hopped on a cab and made my way to the next stop, Ruins of Saint Paul's Cathedral. I was awe-struck by the majestic structure that stood before my eyes. The remains of the stone structure was at the top of a hill and could be seen from afar. I made my way up to the top and when I reached, I was surrounded by the huge stone facade. I explored the ruins and was captivated by the view. I felt as though I was in Venice because the street lamps around the ruins had a Venetian touch to it. I was so immersed in exploring the ruins that I almost forgot I had one last stop to go - Casino Lisboa.

Ruins of Saint Paul's Cathedral
Streets of "Venice"
Casino Lisboa stands tall in the heart of Macau and is an architecture wonder. Look at the picture and you'll find out why! With such a grand outlook, it attracted the attention of many tourists, including me. It's not just the outlook that is grand but also the casino itself. Boasting 3 storeys of slot machines and tables, it is no wonder that Macau is reputable for its tourism and gambling trade. And this is just the start of it. There are many more grand casino in Macau that joins Casino Liboa in the gambling trade.

Entrance of Casino Lisboa
Hotel Lisboa
With the visit to Casino Lisboa, it marked the end of my visit in Macau. However, it is just the start for you!
Apply at ODM for internship programs and we guarantee that you'll be having an amazing time in Hong Kong and even in Macau. Feel free to drop us an email here if you're interested!

Meanwhile, do check out our other blogs to get an idea of what we do here at ODM:

Hong Kong Identity Card

Having stayed in Hong Kong for about a month, my fellow interns and I have decided to apply for a Hong Kong ID card! Application for this card is eligible to all who will be staying for a period of 180 days or more in the country.

We suggest all who meet this criteria, to apply for the card as it saves the hassle and the constant fear of having to bring your passport for identification around Hong Kong. Furthermore, registration is free of charge!

The procedure is simple, simply follow the 4 steps that are listed below and you should be well on your way to obtaining your HK ID card!

Appointments can be made through the Internet or via the Telephone.
Alternatively, you may walk-in and queue up for an appointment. However, there will be walk-in quotas so you had better be there early! 

Step 2: Registration 
Arrive at least 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment as you would need to queue up for registration. Do remember to bring your passport along for identification! Upon doing so, an application form along with a tag number, printed on the sheet, will be issued to you. Fill up the application form while waiting for your tag number to be called.

Step 3: Supporting Documents for Verification + Photo-Taking 
Look out for your tag number on the television screen. Once your number has been televised, proceed to the allocated booth number. The officer will verify your application form, after which, a free digital photo will be taken for your Hong Kong Identity Card. Thereafter, you would have to proceed on to another waiting area. 

Here are some tips I have on looking good for your photo! 
  • Face the camera with an expression of ease
  • Wear light make up if need be and avoid using dark coloured toned cosmetics
  • Have plenty of sleep and rest beforehand to maintain a fresh and lively look
  • If you wear glasses, non-reflective lens will produce better results
  • Dress appropriately and preferably in dark coloured clothing
Step 4:  Supporting Documents for Verification  + Collection Slip
This is the final booth whereby your Hong Kong Identity Card collection slip will be issued. It takes about 2 weeks for your Hong Kong Identity Card to be ready. So meanwhile, ensure you do not lose the collection slip as no duplicates will be given. 

Check out the Supporting Documents which you will be required to bring!
Here are some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) as well!

For now, stay tuned for our next post!

Thursday 12 April 2012

Time to meet your Chinese host family!

We had arrived in China during the national ‘tomb sweeping’ holiday and it appeared busier than ever! We managed to navigate our way through Guangzhou coach station and catch our coach for the 2 hour journey to Zhuhai. Driving into Zhuhai we were greeted by a beautiful coastline and as we spotted some of the 146 islands which made up the ‘Romantic’ city we could understand why it is known as one of China’s cleanest and prettiest cities.

We were met by some members of the InternChina team and then we were off to meet our host families who we would be living with for the next few weeks!

The taxi stopped outside a large secure complex and I realised we were here! The guards let us in and after walking past a few apartment blocks we arrived at the one I would be staying in. My family lived on the 14th floor and as I looked out of the window by the lift I could see greenery; very different from the view out of my window in London, and very different to what I imagined of China!

My host family were lovely and we managed to communicate with each other fairly effectively; albeit with the help of an English to Chinese app on our smart phones! We soon sat down for dinner and with my chop-sticks I tucked into dinner which looked like an absolute feast; I was soon to realise that this is what every meal time in China is like! I was exhausted, my first couple of days in China had been non-stop and I needed to get some sleep. After all I had my first day of StudyChina school tomorrow!

24 hours in Guangzhou!

I knew from the rate of growth that China has been achieving in recent years that the country would be moving at a fast pace. Catching a taxi from the airport into the centre of Guangzhou I realised just how fast paced EVERYTHING was in China! Nobody has any time to wait around; ranging from the taxi driver, weaving in and out of any cars that got in his way, to the residents who are practically stepping on your flip-flop before you've even managed to lift your foot up and step forward!

Feeling pretty jet-lagged and with just 24 hours in Guangzhou I wanted to fit in as much of the city as possible! The day was filled with exploring the city, our first real taste at Chinese food and a quick nap in our 5* hotel rooms which had cost us just £20 each! We saved our visit to the Canton Tower for late in the evening, standing at 1,968.5 ft it is the tallest structure in China and the fourth-tallest freestanding structure in the world; giving us an amazing view across the city! Up the top of the tower it seemed the Chinese tourists were a little less fascinated by the view outside and more excited by what was inside - English tourists! After a few minutes of staring a couple finally plucked up the courage to ask for a picture, and before long we were being pulled in different directions by each person wanting to have a photo with us! After escaping the tower, and a quick stroll through one of the main streets we went onto our final destination of the evening 'Party Pier'! The club, although designed for Westerners, still had many Chinese attendees and it was an interesting insight into a side of China that I never expected to see. Although the Chinese people were much more reserved than the Westerners in the style of dancing, and many of them were stood around high tables drinking and playing a traditional dice game, the club seemed very similar to something that you would see in many English cities!

My brief visit in Guangzhou was over! Next stop Zhuhai for my language lessons with StudyChina and internship with The ODM Group through InternChina!

Wednesday 11 April 2012

Welcome to China with StudyChina and InternChina

The decision to visit China for me was an easy one:
  • A recorded population of more than 1.3 billion people – making up 20% of the world’s population
  • The ability to speak English and Mandarin means that you can communicate with over half of the world’s population
  • The introduction of market-based economic reforms in 1978 has led to China becoming the world's fastest-growing major economy; from 1989 to 2011 China's average annual GDP Growth was 9.32%
  • As of 2012, China became the world's second-largest economy, after the United States, by both nominal GDP and Purchasing Power Parity (PPP)
  • The world's largest exporter and second largest importer of goods
I am visiting China as part of the StudyChina programme, which is now in its sixth year. It is managed by the University of Manchester on behalf of the UK Government and is open to students who meet the eligibility criteria at all UK Universities. This year StudyChina began working with InternChina which allowed them to introduce a work experience element to the programme; successful candidates would benefit from a week of Mandarin language lessons and a weeks internship, as well as participating in cultural activities and living with a host family.

The aim is to encourage UK students to visit China and equip themselves with skills to live in an increasingly globalised world.

I know that I am going to gain a lot from participating in the StudyChina programme, and feel lucky to be one of the 250-odd selected from more than 1,000 applicants.

My Remote Internship Experience: At the Midpoint

An internship with a company is an important and valuable learning experience for any tertiary student out there. I had been looking forward...