Asia Aviation Hotels Travel

Hong Kong – Asiana Airlines, The Peninsula Hotel and Bird Market

Mr. Feather and I decided to spend the winter holidays in Asia a while back, but as classic procrastinators, didn’t actually get around to booking the tickets or hotels until it was a wee bit late. As a result all the direct flights to Hong Kong were outrageously expensive for the holidays and we decided to take Asiana instead and do a stop with a plane change (sigh) in Seoul. Like most Asian airlines it had really great service and food.

Our seats were in something called the “Quadra Smartium” configuration and I thought it was a really cool setup. Very comfy and laid completely flat. The best seats if you are flying by yourself are those by the window in my opinion, but if you’re in a couple then I recommend sitting in the “middle” seats which are almost right next to each other as you can see. There is a partition you can raise if you get sick of the person next to you but you are still in very close quarters so I’d only recommend it if you really like your companion. Also next to me on the other side next to the window was an old college classmate ! Small world.

They bring you out LOTS of food but here were a few of my favorites – a Korean fried pancake of some sort that was one of the appetizers, and bibimbap! If they only had egg this would have been perfect! I heard bibimbap is a signature “Asiana” dish ato serve and they offer this identical one in all cabins.

Also had to include this – a Shin Ramen snack later. My favorite ramen brand, I was so happy to get it on a plane! Although this + conspicuous amounts of Baileys Irish Cream made me sick I think 🙁

Overall I had a really great experience on Asiana and would recommend it to everyone. The connecting flight was brutal though, especially since I usually fly direct to Hong Kong so am used to a way shorter flight. After about 20 hours of travel/connection time then, Mr. Feather and I were really excited to get off the plane and make our way over to our hotel. We fetched our luggage, got into the Peninsula car, and then sat back and relaxed…until…

…the car pulled over and we were greeted with THIS, about ~1.5 miles away from The Peninsula! Yes, at close to midnight after all our travel, we had to walk more than 2 km in the cold to our hotel because all the streets around had to be closed down for the holidays. If we had known it was like this, we would have just taken the subway and/or changed our flight to an earlier time – especially since the hotel had sent three freezing employees to stand outside and lug our luggage with us for half an hour through these huge crowds of people. I felt so bad. Anyway this was the only “ehh” part of our experience but we finally made it.  Whew!

Some sweet holiday treats that we found in our hotel room – along with two Peninsula stockings filled with gingerbread cookies!

The next morning we woke up and had some grub. The Peninsula has a fantastic breakfast buffet, although I generally have always had great breakfast experiences at hotels in Hong Kong (my favorite one is at the W Hotel). It’s not as large as others but every item is very good quality and tasty.

After breakfast we went to go walk around the hotel a bit:

Isn’t this cute? Just a small snapshot of a big gingerbread “palace” they had, complete with a large house that you could actually walk into. Everything was edible and I could actually see some stars and decorations missing from people who had pried them off to eat them. A little gross but to each their own!

There were also several huge Christmas trees, accessorized by bags/boxes from all the stores in the Peninsula shopping arcade. As you can see I embarrassed myself not only by wearing these antlers around all day (hey it was Christmas!) but also forced Mr. Feather to share in my obnoxious behavior by making him to take this picture. Tourists around us were laughing – “Muhaha! Doesn’t this idiot realize the boxes are empty??” they were probably thinking. Worth a shot.

Later that day we walked around and went to one of my favorite childhood spots, the Hong Kong Bird Market.

The bird market overall was very lovely and when you enter you will see rows and rows of gorgeous antique birdcages and all kinds of adorable birds. It’s also very close to the Hong Kong Flower Market so I’d also recommend that you go swing by there and check out all the flowers. Mr. Feather snapped this photo of a beautiful parrot having fun in some water spray. I would give the final warning that it being Asia – this may not be the best place for animal rights lovers – a lot of the animals were crammed in cages pretty close to each other and there weren’t many other tourists (we were told due to SARS scares). There were many locals there though.

Later in our trip…

Afternoon tea at The Peninsula is considered an iconic Hong Kong activity by many and Mr. Feather and I decided to take a break and have the classic tea. The food and tea was excellent as always but I have to admit that overall I prefer the tea at Mandarin Oriental. Because The Peninsula’s tea is so popular there was always a huge line for it, and the hotel doesn’t take reservations (unless you are a  guest – definite perk of staying there!). As a result, while you’re trying to enjoy your tea and relax, you may also be subject to the hungry stares of hordes of tourists (and on occasions angry husbands who have been dragged there from their wives and just want to sit and eat). While we were there, there was in a line wrapped completely down the whole lobby (with hour + waits).

That night we were still pretty jetlagged so some friends met us for drinks at the hotel bar, Felix. Felix is a beautiful Starck designed bar with great views of Hong Kong. The bathrooms are especially notorious because of the below:

Photo via travelstock

Yes…I’m showing you photos of men’s urinals! I’d recommend Felix to anybody – especially if you’re staying on Kowloon side – but especially if you have male companions. The men’s restroom view is infamous for allowing you to err…”do your business” over Hong Kong. Unfortunately the women’s restroom don’t offer the same option…but it’s a great bar nonetheless.
The next morning we headed off to Bangkok…and so this wraps up the first part of our trip in Hong Kong! I know that quite a few readers are from there and I would love to hear your thoughts on “must see” sights in the city so I know where to explore next. It always fascinates me how there’s an endless number of things to do and restaurants to eat at in Hong Kong – one of the best cities in the world. Hope you enjoyed and have a great Monday!

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  • Cendana K
    January 9, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Amazing shot of the bird there!! And what a trip!! Annnddd what a flight!! Flat seat you can put your feet up and good food 🙂

  • Annette
    January 9, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Love Asian airline food! I've only ridden Asiana a couple of times during my childhood, but I remember they were pretty awesome. My brother and I got Lego toys from the flight attendants when we were little.

    All of your pictures are great, but I think the one with you and the antlers might possibly be the best one of the bunch!

  • NatalieCottrell
    January 9, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    These shots are awesome! Thank you so much for taking us along, so to speak. You are too cute in those antlers. Hehe. I, too, am all about the photo op, so party on! 😉

  • MissA*
    January 9, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    Thanks for sharing! 🙂 You make me can't wait for my winter vacation in Asia (in 10 days time!). I still need to add Korea, Japan and Taiwan to my 'must visit Asian countries list'. I always prefer flying with an Asian airline when I'm going to Asia/Australia. Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines are always my preferred airlines.

  • Lili
    January 9, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    amazing! glad you had fun!

  • HiLLjO
    January 9, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Gorgeous photos! I can't believe how much food you get on the plane, too!

  • skippysays
    January 9, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    Wow, sounds like quite the trip already! Can't wait for more recaps 🙂

  • Adele
    January 9, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    Tea at the Penisula…aaah, the line was way too long when we tried to go xoxo

  • amy b.s.
    January 9, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    looks like an amazing beginning to your trip!

  • makeupandpearls
    January 9, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    now that looks like the right way to fly! lovely photos and i can't wait to see more!

  • Bravoe Runway
    January 9, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    SUPER Jealous you got to go to HK. I've never been…the last time I was in Asia was 1989…were you even born yet??

  • Carin
    January 9, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    The hotel looks absolutely lovely Kat 🙂 I'm glad you had a great time!

    Cari (tpf)

  • Chocolate, Cookies & Candies
    January 9, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    I remember spending Xmas in HK many years ago. My goodness, the crowd! And they were out in hordes to shop. A friend used to work as a flight attendant on Asiana and always told me that it's a darn good airline. Ahh…seeing Peninsula Hotel brings back memories. Yes, I was one of those who dragged hubby for the afternoon tea. Lil L was only 14 months then and managed to crumble an entire scone and toss the remains around her like fairy dust. Yes, we tipped REALLY well purely to assuage our embarrassment.

  • Chocolate, Cookies & Candies
    January 9, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    I remember spending Xmas in HK many years ago. My goodness, the crowd! And they were out in hordes to shop. A friend used to work as a flight attendant on Asiana and always told me that it's a darn good airline. Ahh…seeing Peninsula Hotel brings back memories. Yes, I was one of those who dragged hubby for the afternoon tea. Lil L was only 14 months then and managed to crumble an entire scone and toss the remains around her like fairy dust. Yes, we tipped REALLY well purely to assuage our embarrassment.

  • Tanya
    January 9, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    Oooh, that's traveling in style!!! Looks like an awesome trip, hope you had a blast. Also those urinals – WOW!! Will have to show boyfriend these later!

  • Lindsay
    January 9, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    I can't stop laughing over the rindeer ears and Christmas tree picture! I love that you were festive and able to have some fun!

  • Amy
    January 9, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    I love the Christmas tree photo! The antlers are quite priceless!

  • Sarah Roads
    January 9, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    What a coincidence I posted about my trip to Hong Kong today too. Great pics, I didn't see any of this. I think my favorite is the urinals, how great is that view?!

  • katattack2000
    January 9, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    Wow I love all you're pictures! The gingerbread looks so good and even the plane food looks delish with the bibimbap! I love going to HK! Even though, I'm not from there but I love their markets and food! Whenever I head over I like to stay in Mongkok! Did you manage to head there?

  • Call me M
    January 9, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    Wow! So much food on the plane? Everything seems delicious! Loved your pics! Can't wait to see more!

  • Emily
    January 9, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    That food on the plane is amazing! I am so looking forward to more of your posts and can't wait to see more pictures 🙂

  • Christine
    January 9, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    Love the urinals pic! I swear the guys always gets the best urinals, you should see the one I posted on my blog in Malaysia :

    Was there a Chanel & Hermes store in the Peninsula?
    I'm visiting HK next month, would love your tips on where to shop!

  • swisscecilia
    January 9, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    I was just reading your blog earlier! ANA has really great food, I am sure you are hooked!!!!

    And you checked out the famous Felix bathroom too!! haha I couldn't help recommending my friends to go there, did you see the maid in maid uniform too?

    Happy 2012!! Stay sweet!

  • chicology
    January 9, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    whoa…love your travel post. 🙂

  • newpetite
    January 9, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    Love the food pics.. and sounds like a fun trip..

  • caise
    January 9, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    great pictures!:)

  • Sarah
    January 10, 2012 at 12:14 am

    Amazing photos! I've always wanted to visit Hong Kong because my parents were married there. Maybe someday! 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!

  • littlemissandrea
    January 10, 2012 at 12:34 am

    I always love going to Hong Kong. Love the pictures! They really bring back a lot of memories. I'll be heading there May of this year and can't wait to eat all of the delicious food.

    I'm guessing you've been to all the big touristy places (Ocean Park, The Peak, etc.), but my favourite places to go there are actually just the big public markets. There's so much to see & do!

  • RosaLovesDC
    January 10, 2012 at 12:56 am

    This is fabulous! The food looks so good and I am getting hungry!

  • lesouefsbrouilles
    January 10, 2012 at 1:19 am

    shin ramen is my true weakness! especially when someone else makes it for you because it always taste better!

  • DSK Steph
    January 10, 2012 at 1:46 am

    I really enjoy reading about your travels Kat! You describe everything so beautifully. 🙂 Great pic by the tree btw!! ;D

  • Ella Pretty Blog
    January 10, 2012 at 1:55 am

    Loved this post – felt like you took us there with you 🙂 We lived in Hong Kong briefly when I was a baby, and then we'd travel through it frequently when I was a child. We'd usually be in transit over night and would squeeze in some shopping while we could.

    Can't wait for the Bangkok installment – I LOVE the fresh fruit they sell with salt/sugar/chili powder – yum!

  • Anna G
    January 10, 2012 at 2:23 am

    Love your travel pictures. I would probably take pictures with the empty boxes also. Those are so cool! I need to go to Hong Kong, I definitely check out the bird market. So pretty!

  • Latkes and Dim Sum
    January 10, 2012 at 2:42 am

    Lovely post! I'm looking forward to your next installment. And there is no such thing as an overload of dim sum pictures 🙂

  • CynthiaC
    January 10, 2012 at 2:47 am

    It looks like my first comment didn't go. Anyway, I noted that it's interesting so many people went to HK over Christmas (including me…hehe! :)). Love the food there, but found the shopping to be meh…

  • Anna
    January 10, 2012 at 3:02 am

    It looks like you kids had one hell of a time. My BF has been to HK many times and he can't stop talking about the food (fine restaurants and night markets), shopping, and nightlife. It's one of the cities on my hit list in the near future. I read every word of this post and I can't wait for the next part of your vacation.

    It's been a while since the BF and I went on a relaxing vacation a la yours. Last spring we flew to Barcelona and Rome to travel. We did everything with military precision – saw lots of monuments, explored every part of the cities (the Hermes store on La Rambla in Barcelona was barren at best though). We came back from "vacation" more exhausted than prior to departure. We're off to Florida in a week for lazy time.

  • Meisha.Style
    January 10, 2012 at 5:03 am

    the tea set looks so yummy!!!

  • pink horrorshow
    January 10, 2012 at 5:05 am

    Ooh yes, the bibimbap! I mean it's not the best I've had but I always look forward to having it when I go to and from Korea 🙂 also waking up in the middle of the flight and being able to have the ramen is so special.

    So funny how the hotel had those empty boxes under the tree lol.

  • keepsakes. etc
    January 10, 2012 at 5:28 am

    Hi, we were in HK at the same time. Did you try the dim sum at the Pen? They are the best! I love HK, the best part is it is only 1.5 hrs from us. You can actually to a weekend food trip! — or better yet shop!

  • Makeup Morsels
    January 10, 2012 at 6:24 am

    Sounds like an amazing trip! The airplane food looks delicious, and I'm loving the seats. Somehow, whenever I fly to Taiwan, I always get stuck between the person who puts their chair all the way back and the kid who kicks my seat if I try to recline o.O

  • Sara
    January 10, 2012 at 6:45 am

    i just went to vietnam last summer and i'm SO jealous of your seat. looks so comfy. we stopped in seoul too(for a good 4 hours) and that airport is SO nice. free showers and way too much shopping! 🙂

  • Mimi
    January 10, 2012 at 9:09 am

    i cannot wait to read and see more of your trip! thanks for the fab photos, i really had fun reading this post. 🙂 the breakfast buffet we had when we went to hong kong was awesome too. and gosh, the food there is delicious. 😉

    <3, Mimi

  • Susan
    January 10, 2012 at 9:58 am

    In my experience, the asian airlines are always the top in food, customer service, and comfort. Singapore, Korean Air, and Asiana Airlines are great!

  • Lisa
    January 10, 2012 at 11:15 am

    yummm!!! the looks delicious on that flight~! i have to say i'm crazy impressed that they tempera fried an app for you hahaha :p i don't know why but i get really excited when i eat ramen on asian flights hahahah. yumm your penisula tea looks DIVINE!!! omgosh kat you are so hilarious.. although truth be told if i saw a giant orange Hermes box i'm fairly certain i would react the same way haha :p

  • xJOLE
    January 10, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    Thanks for sharing, K! The food at high tea looks so delicious.. and it totally sucks that you had to walk so far just to get to your hotel! Love the photo of you in your antlers, haha.

  • Ali
    January 10, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    This is so beautiful and fascinating – thanks for sharing! I've never been to Asia, but after this I'm adding it to my list! Can't wait to hear about the rest of your travels!


  • homestilo
    January 10, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    Umm, an airline that serves bibimbap?! Yes, please. What a great post Catherine. Thanks for sharing your awesome trip with us.

  • hrcktheherald
    January 10, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    What a FANTASTIC trip! Also, your airplane food looks tastier than the lunch that I just ordered at a restaurant. American airline companies need to up their game.

  • Edwina
    January 10, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    Ahhh you make me miss Hong Kong so much! I've never heard of Asiana before but I'll look into it next time I fly to Asia 🙂

  • just tututiny
    January 10, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    I would love to go travel Asia one day if only for the great food and culture. These photos are awesome K, thank you for sharing them with us.

  • Veronica of Best of Palm Beach Consignment
    January 11, 2012 at 1:34 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your trip with us. It looks like an amazing experience. I would love to go to Asia some day. I look forward to seeing more from your trip 🙂 Welcome back.

  • Ale e Elis
    January 11, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    WOW…. the plane looks like a hotel and the food….
    Amazing places you've been!!!!!
    Holiday season is so special!!!!

  • Ess here!
    January 12, 2012 at 9:01 am

    You've got such a beautiful blog 🙂

  • Cee
    January 13, 2012 at 3:36 am

    I bet we crossed paths… in the air at one point during both of our vacations 🙂 HK is completely new to me and I so enjoyed reading about your stay there and drooling over all the food pics. Looking forward to part two in Bangkok!

  • Pretty in Pink
    January 13, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    love your antler ears!

  • Katrina
    January 15, 2012 at 12:05 am

    LOL! Oh the wonders of a little extra cash to soothe a parents embarrassement!

  • Katrina
    January 15, 2012 at 12:09 am

    Wow! Looks like such a wonderful trip … I haven't had the pleasure of traveling to Asia although the hubs has been to Shanghai and loved it. You have inspired me to go and the plane look amazing in compares to the hunk of junk we flew to the Dominican Republic. I know long flights and layovers are a drag but be thankful that it's just the two of you it becomes a nightmare with a child. 🙂

  • cryskay
    January 18, 2012 at 6:40 am

    i'm catching up on your asia posts and am loving it! definitely need to fly asiana next time for the ramen alone! btw, an empty hermes box? i'd take it – still a gorgeous box even if it is empty! xx

  • Ashley
    January 29, 2012 at 3:07 am

    Reading this post took me back to my trips to Hong Kong. You and Mr. Feather look like you had an amazing time. You posing with the Hermes bag is hilarious!

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