20 October 2013

Budget-Friendly Hong Kong Trip

When I was still a cadet, one of our perks is being able to travel around the country and if lucky enough, to travel abroad. This never changed when I already joined the officer corps. Some of the places I've been aside from my home province Pangasinan and other areas in Luzon include Davao City, Compostela Valley, Cebu, Zamboanga, Bukidnon, Bicol Region, Palawan and Cagayan De Oro. More so, having a husband who loves to travel, I also found myself loving to be always on the go. Of course aside from having a happy feet and interest in knowing more of the different scenic views in our country, I believe all of you would agree that traveling outside the Philippines is also included in your bucket list. 

Travel List

For a mother like me, I would love to bring my children to the famous HK Disneyland, Malaysia Legoland and KL Petronas Towers, spending the day with the elephants of Kachanaburi in Thailand, visiting various parks and rich culture of Bali, Indonesia and Singapore's Universal Studios. I've listed down Asian countries first; visa-free countries. Hopefully, this list will be accomplished and be able to share it with you. But for the meantime, I would like to share to you my 2 days 2 nights stay in HK.

Pre-Departure

Of course before leaving, you must have a quick check list. So here was mine:
- Passport (This must be updated of course. Mall annexes are already provided for new passport applicants.)
- Visa (If and only if you will be visiting a visa country i.e. US, Australia, Japan.)
- Plane Tickets (Of course for obvious reasons.)
- Identification Cards (Aside from passport, it's better to bring some of your IDs i.e. driver's license, postal ID.)
- Traveling Bag (The weight/size depends on how many days will you be staying in the area.)
- Wardrobe (Check first what's the season of the country you are visiting. You can't wear summer dresses in a cold weather can you?)
- Toiletries (I know women can't live without their kikay kit.)
- Small Blanket (You will need this while on the plane.)
- Medicines (If you have maintenance, be sure to bring it.)
- Of course, POCKET MONEY or your CARD. You should also find out the currency exchange.

HK Day 1

This was an unplanned short vacation and unwinding/bonding session with my two favorite aunts (my mother's sisters). So here was our itinerary for day 1:

0700H - Our departure from the Philippines.

0915H - We arrived at HK Airport. Luckily I chose the right airlines (Tiger Airways) so no delays occurred to and from Clark Airport. Piece of advice, if you will be travelling from Manila, you may choose Manila based airports. If you will be coming from Northern Luzon or Central Luzon area, Clark airport is nearer.

(Note: Prepare Php1620.00 worth of travel tax per person.)



Upon arriving at the airport, we bought a 3-day tourist pass. We chose the Airport Express Travel Pass worth HK$300 (includes HK$50 refundable deposit). It is a less hassle type of pass which allowed us to enjoy unlimited travel on MTR, Light Rail and MTR Bus. The good thing is, you get to pay just what you have spent during your stay in HK. At the end of your trip, you return your tourist pass and  are able to refund the deposit and the remaining balance of your card. Sulit right?


We then rode the train and travelled from the Airport Station to Kowloon. From Kowloon Station, we took a cab (from Kowloon Station to Argylle Street, it costed us HK$45) to enroute to our hotel at Mongkok.

1000H - I was able to finally locate our hotel in Mongkok. We particularly stayed at Hongkong Budget Hostel, a budget hostel for travellers. We paid HK$430 per day. We stayed for 2 days and 2 nights so that makes HK$860 in all. Take note, the room we got was good for three people with personal bathroom.


After settling our things, we then had our brunch then went back to the hotel to rest.


1300H - We went to Avenue of the Stars and had a non-stop walking in the area. Using MTR cards we bought, we rode a train from Mongkok to MTR East Tsim Sha Tsui and walk through Exit J.



1600H - We left Boulevard of the Stars and went back to Mongkok. We went back to the hostel to rest and freshen up.

1700H - My aunts and I went down the hostel and had our dinner at a nearby noodle house. Technically speaking, the whole day was a noodle day. The serving was really big that two persons could share a bowl of noodles. Surprisingly, as I have observed the people, even the ladies, they really can consume the whole of it!

Aside from numerous noodle houses, what I also loved was their "street foods." Comparably, our street foods here in the Philippines are literally mobile and are located in the streets. What I liked about HK street foods is that they do have their own stall and you really have a lot of choices. You also get to see how the dimsum are made. This actually became our favorite merienda during our stay in HK. And..it was just below our hostel!
1900H - Aunt Sally, Aunt Fe and I went directly to recon the Ladies Market. For shopping aficionados, which is closely similar to our very own Divisoria, where a lot of items can be found particularly  a la mode clothing, bags, shoes, accessories etc. It was a long street market place where different races and culture meet: Filipinos, Chinese, Koreans, Americans, English, name it!

My aunts decided to shop that night so our second and last night in HK will be allotted for another walking escapade in the other shopping areas of Mongkok. We were able to purchase a lot of souvenir items for pasalubong: t-shirts, polo, shoes, skirts, display items, wallet, bags, and of course, food stuff! I loved HK naicha! I am not a tea connoisseur but I can attest that HK naicha is the best! With this, I ended up buying BOXES of milk tea. Aside from milk tea, my little prince E loved HK misua so I also bought a lot of it.

At about 2200H, we went back to our place and rested.


HK Day 2

0800H - We went to breakfast bakery and had our breakfast. We bought a lot of bread that day. we were also able to eat rice for breakfast (can't stay away with our staple food) and of course, 2 cups of hot naicha.

0900H - We went back to the hostel to freshen up then left to continue our second day of tour. Our mission: To be able to visit Disneyland, to take a cable ride to one of the highest peak in HK and to  see the largest sitting Buddha.

First Stop: DISNEYLAND

We rode a train from Mongkok to Lai King Station. The second day was a lot of rides. We then transferred to Tung Chung Line still at Lai King Station. From Lai King Station Tung Chung Line, we reached Sunny Bay Station then once again transferred to (finally) Disneyland Resort Line (you will be able to clearly differentiate Disneyland Train because of its peculiar appearance).

From the Left: My aunt "mamita" Sally and I at MTR Tsuen Wan Line, my
aunt Sally and aunt Fe at Disney MTR, bottom: different disney figures to see
at Disneyland MTR.
Needless to say, here are some of the photos taken during our short tour at HK Disneyland.

From Upper Left: MTR HK Disneyland, HK Disneyland MTR seat, HK Disneyland MTR safety handle, first figures to see at the entrance: Moby Dick and Mickey Mouse.
From the Left: SMC at the different parts of the entrance and bottom right is the window design of HK Disneyland MTR.
Checking for the rates especially if you are on your own and not part of a tour package? Here's the update pricing as of 1st quarter 2013. Most of the time, price rate changes every year at a minimal amount.
Afraid to becoming lost? Here's HK Disney's Directory. 
For further details, they have guest relations office just near the main gate of the amusement park.
We really did not spend an hour in HK Disneyland for the sole reason that we don't have kids as company. So I promised myself to go back here and bring my little E and A.

Main Entrance of the Amusement Park
My favorite photo in HK Disneyland. This was actually a stolen shot. They were both surprised and was not really aware of their sweetness as siblings (something I missed since I'm an only begotten child). 



Second Stop: NGONG PING



From Disneyland, take the MTR Disneyland back to Sunny Bay Station. In Sunny Bay Station, transfer back to Tung Chung Line then unload at Tung Chung Station. From the station, you are to walk about a hundred meters to reach the ticketing office of famous Ngong Ping Cable Car ride.

From Top Left: first mountain top to traverse, the waters separating the Ngong Ping ticketing office to the first mountain top, typical view while inside the cabin and the view from the top of Ngong Ping Village.
There are three types of cabin you can choose from: Standard, Crystal and Private Cabins. All cabins look similar with small different features. For standard (costs HK$135 per head), you get to have 360 degrees view; for crystal clear cabin (costs HK$213 per head) you get to see even the view below the cabin, which is not really advisable for those who has fear of heights like me; and, the private cabin on the other hand comes with a package (the prices I posted are for adults).

Meanwhile, here are some photos taken at Ngong Ping Village:




Souvenir Photo. This costs HK$ 100.
Freebie shot we got upon arrival in Ngong Ping Village.
1100H - We opted not to climb the Buddha. Maybe next time I will be able to climb it. After the hyper walking, we went back to Mongkok. Ride the cable car back to Tung Chung then ride MTR at Tung Chung Station to Lai King. Transfer to Tsuen Wan Line Lai King Station then unload at Mongkok Station.

1200H - We had our lunch and then back to hotel.

I am amazed with this type of bus but I really do not have any
intentions of riding such.
1300H - We checked out the Jade Market and Jade Street. To go there, ride MTR Mongkok Station then unload at Yau Ma Tei Station. You may also take the double deck bus if you want to. But personally, we do prefer the MTR than the buses.


1500H - We went back to hostel and took a nap/rest.

1800H - after recharging our energies, we went out to have dinner with a family friend, Aunt Nancy, who has been living in HK for a decade or so. She did treat us for dinner and once again accompany us to have our final shopping before we go home the next day.




HK Day 3 

It was really a crash travel. But I did love it. I could say HK is really a friendly tourist place, which I would love to revisit.

Waiting for our flight at HK International Airport. 
Going to airport is much easier. From Mongkok, take a cab to MTR Kowloon Station. Ride MTR at Kowloon Station and unload at Airport Express. You can already have your baggages checked in upon arrival at the the last stop of Airport Express then load again the MTR to proceed to HK airport. You can wait up there for your flight. I loved their airport, clean and systematic...tourist friendly.

Hope this post helped you! Have a nice trip!



Chikita