Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Exploring Hong Kong

Taking advantage of an offer we have read in the newspaper, my mom, Julie and I booked for a short trip to Hong Kong last April 28 to May 1, 2007 for only 4,500++ PHP each. We took Hong Kong Airlines, which flew from Clark (Diosdado Macapagal International Airport) to Hong Kong. Because the airport is outside Manila, we need to travel to Clark, Pampanga which is almost 2 hours away. Good thing Hong Kong Airlines offered free bus shuttle from Manila to Clark and back. Unfortunately, last time I heard, Hong Kong Airlines already discontinued Clark - Hong Kong route service.

Going to our hostel in Causeway Bay we rode the Airport Express. Yes, we stayed in a hostel, Wang Fat Hostel to be specific, because we are on a budget. To save more we bought an MTR 3-day ticket pass on all routes which includes roundtrip Airport Express pass.

From the airport, we took the train, went down in Central Station, transferred lines, and arrived in Causeway Bay station. Our hostel is located in Patterson Building. I thought the location was nice - it is accessible from a lot of clothing and electronics shops, restaurants and a lot of establishments. Bright lights and busy people surrounded us.

Because it was almost 9pm already, we went out to grab something to eat. The first thing we saw was KFC.

Going back to our hostel, we decided to get a good rest because we have a tour booking early the next day. We passed by a convenience store on the way to buy food and drinks. This is how our hostel room looked like. It has basic amenities - beds, sheets, pillows, toilet with hot shower, television, aircon, and for backpackers delight - free wi-fi.

Because there is no breakfast service in our hostel, we brought food with us from the Philippines. With hot water, a few utensils and bread from the convenience store, we heated and ate Dinuguan in Hong Kong. Thanks to Goldilocks for their packed viands! Our tour started around 9am-ish that day. The view of tall buildings and structures in Hong Kong is stunning!

One thing I like in Hong Kong is that there are public toilets everywhere like this one.

The tour drove around different areas in Hong Kong. I didn't expect the city to be that big. First stop of the tour is in Man Mo Temple.

Next, we went to Victoria Peak. We road the Peak Tram going up.

The view from the peak was stunning! Although it was cloudy and gloomy that day, it was nice to see the city from above.

Because lunch is not part of our agenda, we decided to grab food at the "American Embassy" in The Peak Galleria.

Next, we went to Aberdeen Fishing Village and rode a sampan (boat). Here we saw a traditional fishing village and saw how a lifestyle of the fishing folks go.

We also passed by a famous landmark and restaurant in Hong Kong - Jumbo Floating Restaurant.

Part of the tour was a visit to the factory of Dynasty Jewelry. Since we have no choice, we reluctantly went around and saw how the jewelries were made. Everything was beautiful but since we are in a budget trip, we have to resist the temptation.

On the way to Stanley Market, the bus passed by Repulse Bay, apparently it was a popular swimming destination for the locals. Around the bay are luxurious apartments and houses

Last part of the tour (which I was surprised to know) is to go to Stanley Market. There we were left alone to shop on our own. It was an interesting market to see. There were local produce, fake products and cute nifty stuffs. I heard that if you know the "underground" there are surplus branded and signature items for sale here that were manufactured in Hong Kong. I didn't dare bother, however.

At the end of the tour, we went back to our hostel, packed some of our things and off we went to Hong Kong Disneyland Resort via MTR. I'll be blogging about this experience next. We also went to Ocean Park Hong Kong afterwards which I'll also blog later.

Coming from Ocean Park Hong Kong, we left around closing time and a lot of people were also going home. Not a lot of buses were available so there was a long long line of about 2 blocks to get into the bus. After 30 minutes, we're in one of these double-deckers that will take us to Admiralty.

From Admiralty, we took the MTR to Mong Kok Station. We were told that somewhere in Mong Kok, we can find a night street market so this is where we are heading. This is our last night in Hong Kong and we want to maximize our time. The tip was right. Aside from a lot of restaurants around, some streets were closed and were converted into a flea market. Bargains galore! Because roads were closed, traffic was bad. No problem for us since we are only travelling on foot and via MTR. Bright lights, busy streets, people left and right, it is indeed a very busy area.

On our last day in Hong Kong, we strolled around Causeway Bay the whole morning. Lots of shops and department stores are in the area - Sogo, Times Square, Fashion Walk, etc.

For visitors in Hong Kong, there are lots of things you can do:
1. Shopping! Hong Kong is a fashion capital, and unlike European fashion cities, Hong Kong is well known for fashion that doesn't burn holes in your pockets. There are bargain stalls in flea markets and high-end upscale stores in the city. From the malls, to Stanley Market, to night markets, the city is a shopaholic's heaven!
2. Go to Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and fulfill your childhood dreams.
3. Visit Ocean Park Hong Kong, a marine theme park and amusement park. Watch shows and go for the rides!
4. Food trip! Hong Kong cuisine is delicious!
5. Tour in the city! Be amazed by the rich culture and beautiful building architectures!

More pictures are available in multiply. Just add me as a friend to view them.


Margie said...

Hi, your blog has been very informative and helpful for people who wants to travel to Hongkong like myself. How did you book the tour by the way... penge naman information coz like you medyo on a budget rin kami. Thanks.

Jasper said...

hi Mary Grace,

thanks for reading my blog :)

on booking a tour, it's actually easy. the first thing i do is to check grayline.com for tours available at the place where i'm going then i search for other group tours over the internet and then compare the results. i chose grayline first because i know they offer quality tours. i compare the iterinary of the others and grayline and decide on many factors including price, places to visit and time in each attraction.

you should also check the official websites of the government of Hong Kong because sometimes they offer tourism discounts.

if you're staying in a hostel, they usually offer booking services that are within your budget (check with the front desk before going) or you may chat with other travellers like you when you come.

hope you'll have great time in Hong Kong!

Margie said...

Thanks. Will message you for more questions later.

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