Studying Abroad In Hong Kong

Culture, language, tangibles, intangibles from countries known for tea. China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, India, etc...

Mar 25th 15 3:20 am
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Studying Abroad In Hong Kong

by TeaDizzle » Mar 25th 15 3:20 am

Let me start by stating I have zero proficiency in reading, writing or speaking cantonese or putonghua. I will be studying abroad in hong kong with 4 days weekend and willing to travel by flight. I was curious if anyone had any tips, tricks, suggestions or in a perfect world contacts that would be willing to meet up or guide me.

I am interested in all things tea/food and general sightseeing/tours.
I am interested in possibly going to Yunnan and/or Taiwan as I enjoy teas from there and will be relative close.
I am interested in avoiding tourist traps, scams and all around wastes of time/money.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated

Feel free to email me directly if you have an proposals or packages to offer

"freecoverta@gmail.com"

Thanks all tips are welcome no matter how big small or obvious, as I have never been outside the US.


Itinerary Rough Draft
Taiwan June 10-27
Hong Kong June 27-August 3
-Beijing on a weekend
-Kunming on a separate weekend
Fujian August 3-15
Shanghai August 15-19
Last edited by TeaDizzle on May 15th 15 6:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Mar 28th 15 7:37 am
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Re: Studying Abroad In Hong Kong

by Bok » Mar 28th 15 7:37 am

TeaDizzle wrote: I am interested in all things tea/food and general sightseeing/tours.
I am interested in possibly going to Yunnan and/or Taiwan as I enjoy teas from there and will be relative close.
I am interested in avoiding tourist traps, scams and all around wastes of time/money.
If you don’t speak Chinese up to a reasonable, conversation level it will be very difficult to avoid scams and rip-offs. And even then, as a foreigner you will most likely pay up.

The best way to buy decent tea at decent prices is to be introduced by someone (Chinese/Taiwanese). Buying tea is all about who you know…

Basic advice: Don’t buy tea where it is grown, mostly the best tea is already bought off by wholesalers and has left the area. Leftover, lower quality is sold to the tourists (I know that for Taiwan, but I guess China is probably the same).

If you come to Taiwan, you are not going to be disapointed by the food, nor tea that is for sure! My personal favorite part of Taiwan is the mountains, that is where you can smell in the air why the tea is so delicious!

Avoid Alishan and Sun Moon lake though, too many tourists have spoilt thoses places a bit, although there is still beauty to be found in the backroads in and around. Better head to Sanlinshi, Yilan or Hualien.

Hope that helps!

Apr 3rd 15 3:17 am
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Re: Studying Abroad In Hong Kong

by TeaDizzle » Apr 3rd 15 3:17 am

I am not so concerned with buying tea I have plenty hoarded at home I am more interested in visiting mountains and plantations, general sightseeing and yes of course culinary adventures are a must. Is there any must see places you recommend or places to stay things to eat etc.

So far I am thinking of flying into taiwan before my classes, travel sight see for about 3 days or so depending how cheaply I can find hotels. Then go to my classes in HK but 4-5 weeks and travel to Yunnan for another short period and finally beijing or possibly singapore for extended layover of 48 hours or so on my way back to 'merrica.

Apr 3rd 15 3:40 am
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Re: Studying Abroad In Hong Kong

by Bok » Apr 3rd 15 3:40 am

TeaDizzle wrote:I am not so concerned with buying tea I have plenty hoarded at home
You might want to reconsider, Tea is fantastic here and most of the best tea of Taiwan usually never leaves the country as the Taiwanese themselves are avid consumers and the price is a fraction of what you pay if buying outside of Taiwan. I’ve seen prices of reputable webshops 5 times higher and more than what I pay here for top grade leaves.
TeaDizzle wrote: I am more interested in visiting mountains and plantations, general sightseeing and yes of course culinary adventures are a must. Is there any must see places you recommend or places to stay things to eat etc.
The mountains in Taiwan are beautiful, if that is your thing, best try to get to Hualien, Yilan(Eastcoast, spectacular scenery) and the Nantou area around Taichung (Sanlinxi etc. lots of plantations around). Food is very good almost everywhere, although Taipei is more for Western/Japanese kind of foods, everything Taiwanese/Chinese/Hakka is better in the rest of the country, food paradise is Tainan in the south. Everyone is going to drag you to the famous nightmarkets for food, but I personally think the quality is pretty bad and much better things are to be had in the small street stands, and little restaurants – First rule, never eat in a restaurant with a door! :mrgreen:
TeaDizzle wrote:see for about 3 days or so depending how cheaply I can find hotels
3 Days is very short for Taiwan, although the country is not big, you won’t get to see much without very careful route planning… feel free to contact me if you want to check feasibility of your itinerary! Hotel prices are reasonable, but definitely not as cheap as, say Thailand. Also consider that on weekends a lot of places are booked due to the people from the Capital, especially Tainan. Watch out for public holidays in Taiwan, that’s when a lot of places are very busy too.

May 12th 15 1:51 pm
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Re: Studying Abroad In Hong Kong

by TeaDizzle » May 12th 15 1:51 pm

I will start working on my itinerary this week and now I have a full month to explore east Asia before my studys in HK plus every week during my studies I will have a 4-day weekend. So I was thinking of spending majority of time in Taiwan and maybe a week in japan.

Once again I looking to eat some good food (cheap), stay at some clean safe hostels, drink some good tea, get some new pots, maybe visit some tea mountains/ sun moon lake and see processing of dong fang meiren since it will be summer.

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May 12th 15 11:40 pm
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Re: Studying Abroad In Hong Kong

by jayinhk » May 12th 15 11:40 pm

I'm in Taiwan now and there are some great reals on short hops. I wouldn't entirely rule out short hops to China either...lots of tea to be had :) it's just a trickier place to buy tea.

Which school in HK are you going to be at? I may be up for a tea adventure at some point.

May 13th 15 7:52 am
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Re: Studying Abroad In Hong Kong

by Bok » May 13th 15 7:52 am

TeaDizzle wrote:sun moon lake
Small tipp: Don’t waste too much time on the lake itself, which is horribly crowded with tour buses from China and hopelessly destroyed by brutal hotel architecture – Head to the old japanese Tea factory which is just a short drive from the lake. The famous Sun Moon Lake No18 is from there. Now it’s a small museum and little shop.

There is also an old snake kiln museum not far from the lake which is quite nice! They also sell some nice wood-fired pottery, the glazed stuff is less to my liking.

Other than that the surrounding areas have more to discover than the lake!

May 13th 15 7:55 am
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Re: Studying Abroad In Hong Kong

by Bok » May 13th 15 7:55 am

jayinhk wrote:I'm in Taiwan now and there are some great reals on short hops.
If you head to Yinge, make sure to see fellow tea chatter Peter Kuo’s shop!
Nice stuff to be had and always good to support a young up and coming artisan :)

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May 13th 15 1:50 pm
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Re: Studying Abroad In Hong Kong

by jayinhk » May 13th 15 1:50 pm

Hope to be back here in a month or two...maybe then! Spent most of my cash today!

May 15th 15 4:57 pm
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Re: Studying Abroad In Hong Kong

by TeaDizzle » May 15th 15 4:57 pm

jayinhk wrote:I'm in Taiwan now and there are some great reals on short hops. I wouldn't entirely rule out short hops to China either...lots of tea to be had :) it's just a trickier place to buy tea.

Which school in HK are you going to be at? I may be up for a tea adventure at some point.
I will be studying at CUHK and so far a rough draft itinerary

Taiwan june 10-27th
Hong kong (CUHK program) june27th-august 3rd
-Kunming 4-day weekend trip in july
-Beijing 4-day weekend trip in july
Fujian august 3-15th
Shanghai 15-19th

May 15th 15 5:40 pm
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Re: Studying Abroad In Hong Kong

by TeaDizzle » May 15th 15 5:40 pm

Bok wrote:
TeaDizzle wrote:sun moon lake
Small tipp: Don’t waste too much time on the lake itself, which is horribly crowded with tour buses from China and hopelessly destroyed by brutal hotel architecture – Head to the old japanese Tea factory which is just a short drive from the lake. The famous Sun Moon Lake No18 is from there. Now it’s a small museum and little shop.

There is also an old snake kiln museum not far from the lake which is quite nice! They also sell some nice wood-fired pottery, the glazed stuff is less to my liking.

Other than that the surrounding areas have more to discover than the lake!

Being Summer I really want to find a farm producing DongFang Mei Ren, but also visit other gardens on (around) the famous mountain areas. Also what tea shops and tea houses do you recommend I will be in taiwan for a few weeks so i want to see as much of the island as possible.

May 16th 15 2:54 am
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Re: Studying Abroad In Hong Kong

by Bok » May 16th 15 2:54 am

TeaDizzle wrote:Being Summer I really want to find a farm producing DongFang Mei Ren, but also visit other gardens on (around) the famous mountain areas. Also what tea shops and tea houses do you recommend I will be in taiwan for a few weeks so i want to see as much of the island as possible.
Tea shops is a tricky thing... Normally in Taiwan everyone has their own favorite shop who they trust. Simple walk-ins can result in getting ripped off quite easily, best thing is to be introduced by someone, that way the risk is smaller. Generally, don't buy in the shops where they do not brew the tea for you to try. Avoid the chains, most shops in Taipei are overpriced compared to the rest of the country.

Ignore the packaging! If it is pretty they probably spend more money on it than on the tea, or charge you more because of the design. My tea is all in no-brand standard bags.

I am living in the South (Tainan) at the moment, so I always go to my trusted shop here, never been disapointed so far, otherwise I try teas I've been given by friends :)

Don't try to buy tea at the farms itself, the risk of a rip-off is extremly high, as tempting as it may seem! The best tea is already reserved and shipped off to the cities, no bargains or special treats to be had there - unless you have a personal relationship with one of the farmers! Just enjoy the view and buy the tea somewhere else.

I strongly advise against buying in one particular very famous Tea shop in Tainan. Looks fancy with age old tea cans and old interior, but they have ripped me off (When I was fresh off the boat and naive, I was a better prey :cry: )

Teahouses
Taipei has the Wistaria Teahouse which has a good reputation.
Taichung has Qiu Shan Tang, which I've heard good things, going there tomorrow to see the exhibition of some of our fellow tea chatters, can report more afterwards. Tainan has a place called Feng Cha, which is the teaplace to go in the south. There are myriads more, but I mostly brew my tea myself at home, no need to spend that sort of money if I can have it a fraction.

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Re: Studying Abroad In Hong Kong

by jayinhk » May 16th 15 4:43 am

Trial and error is the only way to find tea you like, but suggestions yelp. Taiwan is packed with tea stores!

May 21st 15 1:43 am
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Re: Studying Abroad In Hong Kong

by TeaDizzle » May 21st 15 1:43 am

jayinhk wrote:Trial and error is the only way to find tea you like, but suggestions yelp. Taiwan is packed with tea stores!

Sounds good I look forward to traveling around trying out all the different shops and tasting food along the way.

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May 21st 15 1:46 am
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Re: Studying Abroad In Hong Kong

by jayinhk » May 21st 15 1:46 am

I hate autocorrect. Suggestions help, not yelp!