April 2012: Hong Kong

This is the second time I went out of the country (the first one’s Vietnam). I could say that it’s really a great experience and since it’s my first time in HK, I need to document all my blooper moments and some tips to those who are wanting to visit Hong Kong in the future. The very reason why I love travelling is because I like taking pictures of anything… I mean anything. Lately, I’ve been addicted to the clouds, to all things lighted or hanging or both and to good scenery. Oh btw, as pre-work for your trip, print a colored copy of the MTR lines. The tourist map is so big so a printed copy is handy.

Here’s the short cut story of what happened in Hong Kong with tips as promised. Time to stop blabbering. Hahaha.

Scene 1: Airport Blues

The Hong Kong International Airport is HUGE. You need to get into a train to go to immigration. What to to do after off boarding the plane?

  1. Follow the people. They will all go to immigration so you won’t get lost. That’s what we did (lol). But actually, Hong Kong has people friendly signs. You won’t get lost, promise. Although you need to prepare for a walk-a-thon. 
  2. Take the train to immigration. You don’t need a card yet, it’s part of the airport like an escalator. 
  3. Have your dollars changed in the airport foreign exchange section. It’s usually lower so I suggest you exchange just a couple of dollars. Hotels have higher rates than the airport. Money changers in the streets have the highest. You just need to pick which is legit. Make sure they give receipts with the stamp of their money changer name or anything that may lead you back to them in case something goes wrong.
  4. If you have hotel-airport transfers, all you need to get is the Octopus card. They sell it for 150HKD each: 100HKD for the actual amount, 50HKD is like a deposit and is refundable once you return the card. They also have promos for this but I guess the 150 is enough for a 3-day stay. If you don’t have any hotel transfers, then buy the Airport Express Card until the connecting station of the MTR that you need to take. All these you can buy at the concierge of the Airport. It’s in the middle and circular. You won’t miss it once you get out of the arrival section. 😉
The trip to Panda Hotel was about 45 minutes through the MTR. Noob moments included in the time computation. We arrived there past 12 midnight and the streets doesn’t look friendly at all when deserted. We weren’t mugged though. I was told that Hong Kong is safe even in the wee hours. And now I believe them.

Scene 2: Tourist Destinations

You can check the MTR map to see how to get the following places. I’ve already blogged about them so might wanna check them out. 🙂 This is basically our shortened itinerary.

Day 1

  1. Lunch at Tim Ho Wan Dim Sum Michelin Star Restaurant
  2. Quick shop at Ladies’ Market 
  3. Hong Kong Disneyland
Day 2
  1. Sam Tung Uk Museum
  2. Lunch at Cafe de Savoy (didn’t write a blog on this cause I didn’t like the food :()
  3. Visit at the Peak for Madame Tussaud’s
  4. Dinner at Sogo Mall’s Mrs. Wings

Other places that we weren’t able to do/go to:

  1. Avenue of Stars
  2. Harbour Mall
  3. TST Night market
  4. Ride the Ferry
  5. Watch A Symphony of Lights
Scene 3: Transportation
  1. We rode bus to the Peak tower. You can use your Octopus card to pay for the ride. You can also use your Octopus card in paying for other establishments like 7-11 as long as they have the sign.
  2. We rode MTR lines Tsuen Wan, Airport Express, Tung Chung, Disneyland Resort and West Rail. Whew. We literally toured Hong Kong just through the MTR. It’s very efficient and cheap.
  3. Taxi ride adds 1.5HKD per 200 meters. Once you get to 72HKD I think, the meter adds you 1HKD. Baggage costs 5$ for each item you put in the compartment. We availed of the taxi because my mom wanted to leave at 5 am and the first train trip starts at 6am. We had a total of 199.5 HKD from the hotel.
You can check out this link http://www.mtr.com.hk/jplanner/flash_eng/index.php?sid=26&eid=1&x=14&y=9 to have an estimate of how much your trip using the MTR will cost you 🙂

Hong Kong is nice (I ran out of adjectives to use -_-‘). But it really is! Why?

  1. Their signs aren’t misleading and not hard to see and understand. They’re very traveler friendly. The only hard thing here is that few people speak English. You might need a picture card to tell them what you want or where to go. But we managed. You just need to talk to (I guess) younger people. Most of them are able to speak English.
  2. The country’s squeaky clean. We saw a woman pick up her dog poop on the sidewalk and throw it in the trash can. In the trains, you’re not allowed to eat or litter else you’ll pay a fine. I forgot how much 😐 Escalator handles have antibacterial coating. What more can you ask??? Their escalators are pretty fast though so you really need to hold the handle. Keep right if you will wait til the escalator hits the top and save the left lane for people in a hurry.
  3. Taxi drivers are honest. They do not ask for additional payment aside from what’s in his meter.
  4. It’s safe even if it’s already way past your bedtime (this I already said above).

I would love to go back and I can confidently say that I can go back on my own. LOL. I hope my next trip is Korea. Fingers crossed.

++ This is a lengthy post -_-‘

♥ Tin

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