Explore Asia’s top destinations with tips from those in the know! HotelQuickly quizzes local bloggers and travel experts about their newest discoveries, favorite finds and most memorable experiences, to give you something MORE to look forward to on your next visit.
The Expert: Gloria Chung — Travel and Food Writer, Assistant Editor of Weekend Weekly
Profile: World traveler. Professional eater. Homeware collector. Language lover.
Platform: @foodandtravelhk on Instagram
HQ: What’s your go-to weekend getaway from Hong Kong?
G: I love going to Taipei for the weekend. If it’s winter, I will head straight to Beitou for the hot springs. Beitou is an amazing town to explore. They have a beautiful hot spring museum and public library that you can visit. In the morning, go to the Beitou market for 矮仔財’s 魯肉飯 (Taiwanese-style braised minced pork and rice.) It’s known as the best one in Taipei.
Accommodation tip: I stayed in Hotel Royal — top-notch service and food, and I love the hot springs as well.
HQ: Where do you go to relax?
G: If it’s summer, I will probably just hide in the cafes in Taipei.
You may not believe this, but I think Taipei has got some of the best cafes in the world.
Amazingly friendly cafe staff and coffee. Some of the cafes that I can easily spend all afternoon at include Rufous, Flügel Studio, and Cafe de Riz. I can read books and watch city dwellers passing by the whole day. It’s the best way for me to relax.
HQ: What’s one creative date idea in your city that most people wouldn’t think of?
G: Hong Kong is a concrete jungle with a lot of hidden gems. I love walking in the city, discovering dead ends and finding little alleys where I can have a quiet moment.
If I have to choose, I think Asia Society in Admiralty is perfect. Go on a good day you will see the amazing architecture with the scenic mountains behind it. It’s an oasis in the middle of the city. It’s usually quiet (shhh, please keep this as a secret) and you can enjoy a stroll, the sun, and the breeze. You can also visit their amazing museum and the restaurant AMMO inside the building. They serve yummy pasta!
HQ: What’s the most amazing rooftop bar you’ve discovered on your travels?
G: I have just come back from Bangkok where there are many amazing rooftop bars. I discovered Vertigo Too in Bangkok Banyan Tree Hotel. It’s pretty amazing to see the 270-degree view of Chao Phraya River. They do great cocktails too. Also check out Top Knot in Hotel Once: go there just before the sunset while it’s still light. It’s the most magical hour.
HQ: What was your most memorable hotel experience of last year?
G: Nothing beats the rooms in the Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Hong Kong. The design is sleek, elegant and chic. I stayed in the L600 Deluxe with my mum in late 2015. We didn’t want to leave the goose-down bedding by Ploh at all, not to mention the huge round bathtub.
To me luxury is always in the details.
I never fancy the welcome canapes, but the 52-month Bellota ham and the lemon tart that are kept in the little cabinet were the best ever.
HQ: Which is your favorite picture from your Instagram feed? What’s the story behind that shot?
G: If I have to choose, it’s probably this one that I took in Tsukiji, Tokyo. This gentleman is the owner/barista in a cafe hidden in Tsukiji fish market that will be moved soon. He owned this cafe for decades and he has many regulars who work in the market.
People always care about the sushi restaurants but there is actually a life that we do not see in the market.
There are a couple of really nostalgic cafes and small restaurants that serve mainly the workers in Tsukiji. Check them out if you are there. We had a great piece of toast and coffee in this cafe. The language barrier didn’t stop us from chatting and this man posed when I took pictures. What a heart-warming cafe!
HQ: What new travel tools, apps, groups, hacks or tips have you adopted this year?
G: None really. I do pack lighter this year with more compartments in my suitcase. I always tell people the best way to pack is to have travel bags that separate every bit of your stuff. Create different spaces in the suitcase to keep it tidy and minimal. That way you have room if you want to buy more during your trip.
HQ: In just a few sentences, how would you pitch your city to travelers who’ve never been there?
G: Hong Kong is a cross-cultural futuristic city that’s got the best, top-notch food in the world. Enjoy this beautiful place!
Eager to try out Gloria’s recommendations? Book a holiday in Hong Kong and grab an unbeatable hotel deal on the HotelQuickly app. Stay tuned for more check-ins with your favorite writers and bloggers!
Melissa is a passionate foodie, travel writer, and editor working in media internationally and in the USA. She has lived in Bangkok since 2004 and has a background in the travel industry. Melissa’s writing has been published globally in many prestigious online and print magazines for over a decade. Her motto for life is “You cannot live or love well if you have not wined and dined well!”