Sunday, June 27, 2010

Off to Hong Kong!

Just got married yesterday and now my wife (Roshie) and I (together with Mr. Truffles, the bear) are now in Hong Kong for our honeymoon celebration. It's Roshie's first time (as well as Mr. Truffles) to be out of country and since we're newly married, this trip has to be special, but thrifty as much as possible so as not to waste a lot of money. For this trip, we have relied a lot on earned points and status to minimize expenses, as well as public transportation while on the other hand splurge on the luxury of what the city has to offer.
We stayed last night at Manila Marriott Hotel, as soon as we got off from our wedding reception, redeeming a free night stay out of my points (15000/night, Category 3) but we barely stayed there as we arrived almost midnight and had to check-out early morning to catch our flight just across the hotel in Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3. For this trip, we booked a Cebu Pacific flight out of Manila.
Our plane departed Manila around 8AM. Luckily the flight is not full so we managed to have a seat for Mr. Truffles on his own, to the amazement of the flight attendants as we are towing a kid-sized stuffed toy with us throughout our trip
Shortly after 10AM, we arrived in Hong Kong International Airport and after a few formalities we were already out of the airport and bound for our hotel. We bought the Airport Express Travel Pass  from an airport counter (HKD220 each), which included one way Airport Express to Hong Kong station and 3 consecutive days unlimited ride in MTR, buses and light rail.
From Hong Kong station, there is a complementary shuttle bus courtesy to Airport Express customers to JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong, where we will be staying for the night. We just followed the instructions and we were dropped off at the lobby area of the hotel at around lunch time.
I reserved for a 1 King Bed Guest Room, City View using points (30000/night, Category 6) but when the hotel came to know it was for our honeymoon, they upgraded us to a 1 King Bed Guest Room, Harbor View.
Of course, it is always a delight to be upgraded in the hotel room. As this is a special occasion, we are happy to take it. The room features a nice working area and chair to lounge around if we're staying in the room, but honestly we didn't stay that long in the room either as we came to the city to explore the outside.
view of the harbor from our room
All this time drizzle and rain has been showering the outside, but this didn't stop us from pursuing our plans to explore the city today. There was a bit of fog, specially on the mountainous area, but we're armed and ready for this and nothing will spoil our day, not even the rain. 

Our first stop was in Ocean Park Hong Kong which is accessible from MTR Admiralty station Exit B. MTR Admiralty station was just below the hotel so commuting was a breeze. We were dropped off at an entrance of the park at the higher portion of the park and proceeded to buy our tickets for HKD425 for the both of us (HKD212.50 each). I've been to the park before the first time I was here in the city 3 years back with my mom and sister.
The view from above is nice, overlooking the outlying islands and nearby area so we stopped a while to mesmerize the view before we have proceed inside the park.
We headed first to the aquariums. Apparently it was peak season and there were a lot of tourist left and right, mostly from Mainland China as it is about to be summer season there. Despite the chaos due to number of tourists, we managed to get along, although with limited pictures, and what seemed to be a peaceful memory of the place I had before was overturned into a more vibrant and very active theme park right now. Below are some of the pictures taken from the different aquariums in the Marine World:

Then we proceeded to the Ocean Theatre for Sea Dreams! (sea lion and dolphin) show.

me, Roshie and Mr. Truffles
Then we rode the cable car to the lowlands area of the park.

It was almost dark when we left the park and rode the bus again back to near MTR Admiralty station, walking distance from our hotel. As a Gold Elite member of our hotel program, we were given access to Executive Lounge, where we had cocktails (turned into a small dinner) tonight.
some other food items we enjoyed tonight
It was a good thing that we were given the lounge access as it helped a lot for us in terms of saving time (versus going out and looking for place to eat) and saving money. We were already tired thereafter and since we need to take good rest due to lack of sleep the last night, we hit the sack earlier. As we came to our room, we were surprised, or rather mesmerized, with the view waiting for us outside the window.
Tomorrow is another day, and it's now time to take a good rest.

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