April 15-19, 2017
It was my first time to travel abroad. It’s a mixture of excitement and anxiety. Our friend, Erick works in Hong Kong Disneyland that’s why we decided to have a trip there and visit him too. We booked our flight just few months before our departure because we needed to be there before Erick finishes his contract and he was still uncertain that time he invited us in Hong Kong if he would renew his contract with Disneyland.
We were able to book a flight, with a departure date the night of April 15 and our return flight is from Macau in the evening. I got my ticket to Hong Kong for P2,799.50 and the ticket from Macao to Manila is P3,222.66 which is quite expensive because they’re not on seat sale and we needed those travel dates. Our hotel in Hong Kong was good for 4 was booked via Traveloka (you can also book via Airbnb or Agoda) with discount for only P1,500.00 each of us for 3 nights located at Tsim Sha Tsui. And the dreaded travel tax that costs P1,620.00 was paid online before our travel date so we don’t need to pay it at the airport.
I went straight to Pasay from Marindque after the project of our group TRIAGE in the municipality of Santa Cruz. I was dead tired and I didn’t have enough time to go back to Marikina to take rest and freshen up. I just booked a room at Sogo Hotel for 3 hours for P400 to freshen up and take a nap, enough before our (Mikai, Gino, Makoy, and I) flight at 7pm in NAIA Terminal 3.
HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
We arrived at Hong Kong International Airport at past nine in the evening. They have a train transport when exiting their airport and it’s kinda amazing because it is that huge that you need to take a train just to exit the airport. I just exchanged my Philippine Peso to Hong Kong Dollar at the Travelex Worldwide Money in the airport. All the money I exchanged is just PhP4,000 and I got HK$568 with the current conversion rate of PhP1=HK$0.1422. I thought of reserving my remaining PhP1,000 for Macao. I thought of just using my credit card whenever I can.
We just had our dinner at Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao Hong Kong International Airport Terminal 1. A rice meal has cost us HK$64 (PhP448) each and it’s really expensive when you convert it to Philippine Peso (PhP7 = HK$1). What’s more amazing, a glass of cold water cost us HK$8 (PhP56). Lesson learned, don’t ever order for a glass of cold water in Hong Kong.
They say that when you’re in Hong Kong, do not convert. But if you’re money comes from the Philippines, you will be forced to convert every now and then. It’s only applicable if your money is more powerful than HK$ or you are working in Hong Kong and earning their currency.
It is better to get your Octopus Card in the airport which can be used in MTR, buses, 7-eleven, and some stores. A deposit for the card costs HK$50 (PhP350) and the initial load is HK$100 (PhP700). A tourist day pass is also available in MTR stations which is a full-day unlimited travel to get you around Hong Kong which costs HK$65 (PhP455) for adults and HK$30 (PhP210) for children. Octopus Card is refundable in any MTR station for a HK$9 (PhP63) fee. Be sure also to get the free maps in the airport such as the map of Hong Kong, MTR system map, Hong Kong Tourism Guide, and other guides because they are very helpful touring around. It would be really helpful if you would study the MTR system of Hong Kong.
The color of the train station would help you determine if you’re riding the right train to your destination. Some stations have different (color) destination on its opposite side of the platform after your alight and not the usual return destination where you come from. You can check your guided destination and fare here.
It was already 11pm when we got out of the airport and we needed to catch the bus that will pass by Tsim Sha Tsui. Buses are numbered and you must check where it is going. We rode bus number 33 going to Tsim Sha Tsui from the airport and it costs HK$33 (PhP231). We were all so tired that we opt to rest instead of going out and tour around the city.
We were able to book our accommodation at USA Hotel Group located at Flat C2, 13/F Mirador Mansion, 54-64 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong. We got a room for 4 for 3 nights for PhP6,000 or PhP1,500 each for 3 nights. The hostel was just right beside the train station of Tsim Sha Tsui and it’s really convenient because it is also near the Victoria Harbour and Kowloon Park.
The room is really small for 4 people and the bathroom is compressed right beside the bed. Inside the bathroom is a toilet and beside it is the sink. So, the question is how’re you going to shower? You’ll just squeeze yourself in right in the middle of the toilet and sink because there is no designated space for shower. You know minimalist kemerut. One thing I cannot guarantee is the security of the area. I am not sure if it is really safe there, but our stay was generally safe.
DAY 1 HONG KONG DISNEYLAND
Our itinerary for the first day is Hong Kong Disneyland. We had our baon such as soda crackers, corned beef in sachet, chips, cup noodles and others to save us from expensive breakfasts. Hot water is free in our hostel, so it was a relief and we’re able to have our cup noodles for breakfast.
We had our supposed to be heavy lunch at Ichiran Ramen at Tsim Sha Tsui. Our order costs HK$89 (PhP623) plus noodle refill for HK$19 (PhP133) good for 2 persons.
Because we believe that sharing is caring and the good thing, drinking water is free at Ichiran. We still bought 750mL of Bonaqua (the only brand of water you can see in Hong Kong) for HK$9 (PhP56) good for 2 persons from 7-eleven. You can bring bottled water inside Disneyland and they have drinking fountains where you can refill your water bottles to save you from buying drinks.
We used our entire day in Disneyland Resort and went back to Tsim Sha Tsui via MTR again for HK$20.30 (PhP142.10). We had our dinner somewhere in a food alley in Tsim Sha Tsui and costs us HK$43 (PhP301) each. We already consumed our water and I was so uhaw, ang mahal-mahal ng tubig sa Hong Kong, nakakaiyak. We were forced to buy 1.5L of Bonaqua for HK$13 (PhP91), again good for 2 persons… and that is equivalent to 57L (15 gallons) of water here in the Philippines. Baket ang mahal?! Hahahaha!
DAY 2 LANTAU ISLAND, MONG KOK, & VICTORIA HARBOUR
We were so pagod because of Disneyland and we woke up later than we should be. We should be having our breakfast with Erick and his partner, Erl, in Mong Kok but we had finished preparing ourselves later than planned. So we ate our heavy brunch in a local food restaurant (karinderia style) in Tsim Sha Tsui to save us from buying food in Ngong Ping 360. It has cost us HK$35 (PhP245) for a rice meal which is already cheap in the place.
We booked a land and sea guided tour to Ngong Ping 360 for PhP879 via Klook scheduled at 2pm. We have no choice because the cable cart during that time is under renovation. Just in case that cable cart is reopened for public use, you can also book via Klook the tour to Ngong Ping 360 for PhP775. We needed to reload our Octopus Card for a minimum of HK$50 (PhP350). From Tsim Sha Tsui, we rode the MTR going Tung Chung (HK$16.90 or PhP118.30) and desperately search where the heck the guides for early booking tour to Lantau are hiding. We’re lucky enough to find them just in time and had our tour to Lantau.
We were toured first in Tai O Fishing Village in Lantau. We’re able to see the soon-to-be (as of writing) longest bridge in the world above water which is 50km long and connecting Hong Kong SAR China and Macao SAR China. If you’re lucky enough, you may be able to see white dolphins. But dolphins usually appear early in the morning, and we get no luck. We were given a free time to tour around the village.
We tried the local donut (HK$10 or PhP70) that has a long queue in Lantau that caused us to be late in our scheduled time to be back in our meeting place for our guided tour. You may opt not to join the tour and ride a commuter bus going to the next destination or going back to Tung Chung (where we started). They are very strict with time, 5 minutes of delay will get you a reprimand from the tour guide. Yeah, they are not that much friendly to the tourists even to their fellow citizens.
Our next destination was the Ngong Ping Village, where the Tian Tan (Big) Buddha and Po Lin Monastery is situated. We just had to cover the entire area up to the Big Buddha for a limited time, just enough to take photos, no breathing like in an Amazing Race. Hahaha!
We were not able to visit the monasterybecause of limited time, and the stores close at 5pm even the 7-eleven. The place is very picturesque and the cows are abundant. I was confused in a minute whether it’s a Hindu or a Buddha sanctuary.
We were back in Tung Chung at around 6pm and we had enough time to window shop at Citygate Outlets to check cheap but branded shoes. The shoes are relatively cheaper than in the Philippines, but not cheap enough to make me a panic buyer. Hahaha! Just Kidding.
MTR from Tung Chung to Mong Kok costs HK$16.90 (PhP118.30). We got a free dinner take-out from Tong Kee Bao Dim, thanks to Erick we were able to save HK$25 (PhP175) for a sticky rice with toppings + HK$17 (PhP119) add-on dumplings. It was really a heavy meal. We also get the chance to enjoy the lights and people around Mong Kok and see the nice cheap items at the Lady’s Market.
We went back to Tsim Sha Tsui from Mong Kok via MTR (HK$5.30 or PhP37.10). Since Mikai and her husband, Gino was not yet around Tsim Sha Tsui, Makoy and I decided to check around the Victoria Harbour. We snapped some photos around the harbour and some of the beautiful sceneries around Tsim Sha Tsui.
That night, it felt like we’ve done so much things in our day. Our third day in Hong Kong is the time we needed to separate ways with Mikai and Gino.
DAY 3 KOWLOON PARK & VICTORIA HARBOUR
Our check out time was 11am but they departed earlier and transfer to another hotel. Makoy and I packed our stuff and checked out.
We visited the Kowloon Park and took some photos of the instagrammable architectural monuments, statues, and animals.
We went back to Victoria Harbour to take photos of the place in broad day light. I wanted a photo with the Chinese Junk Boat (Duk Ling) but I have not seen the red one. We were supposed to ride the ferry at Tsim Sha Tsui going to Taipa, Macao at 1pm, the last trip going there. But we have forgotten to refund our Octopus Card and needed to return to the nearest MTR station.
We just decided to ride the ferry at Sheung Wan since there are continuous ferry travel to Macao there. The MTR from Tsim Sha Tsui to Sheung Wan costs HK$9.70 (PhP67.90). We were able to refund HK$68.60 (PhP480.20) from our Octopus Card at Sheung Wan Station. The Ferry to Macao via TurboJET costs HK$164 (PhP1,148) for the economy class and the trip is around an hour.
We were able to survive Hong Kong without a tourist prepaid sim for our mobile data. We just used the free WiFi we found everywhere in Hong Kong.
|Manila to Hong Kong Plane Ticket||2,799.50|
|Macao to Manila Plane Ticket||3,222.66|
|Hostel Booking for 3 Nights||1,500.00|
|Klook Ngong Ping 360 Booking||879.00|
HONG KONG EXPENSES (EXCLUDING DISNEYLAND)
|Crystal Jade Dinner||72.00||504.00|
|Ichiran Ramen Sharing||54.00||378.00|
|Chinese Restaurant Lunch||35.00||245.00|
|Octopus Card Reload||50.00||350.00|
|Tai O Donut||10.00||70.00|
|Tong Kee Bao Dim Dinner||25.00||175.00|
|Octopus Card Refund||-68.60||-480.20|
|TurboJET Ferry to Macao||164.00||1,148.00|
|Dinner at Tsim Sha Tsui||43.00||301.00|
|Discounted Disneyland Ticket||515.00||3,605.00|
|Late Lunch at Starliner Diner HK$110 for 2||55.00||387.50|
TOTAL EXPENSES IN HONG KONG AND MACAO
|Hong Kong Tour||556.40||3,887.80|