From snagging a cheap flight, to a toxic rat race back to Manila, our Hong Kong tour was beyond superb – it was meaningful for me and my family. Read this so you can have one wonderful trip as well.
Hong Kong offers more than just views. Attractions like their fast-paced metro is just a soft intro, so be ready for more.
Many of my friends have had HK as their first overseas destination mainly because HK has an easy access for tourists all over the world, easy as in no visa required (for ASEAN) so you can just simply visit, and if HK is not enough, then put Macau on your travel list! (HK is an amazing gateway to Macau, go now!!!)
Day 0 : Arrival in Hong Kong
Avenue of Stars
Expecting to arrive by nighttime, I was more than excited to take on an unusual ‘stargazing’ at the Avenue of Stars.
Note: Get a re-loadable Octopus card (HK$100 as deposit) that you can use to pay for transportation and convenient stores. Deposit will be refunded upon surrender of the card to any MTR stations. You can get your discounted octopus card via KLOOK.
From the airport, we took bus A21 going to Tsim Tsha Tsu. Swiftly ate dinner and hasted checking in the hostel, there’s no stopping us taking a quick stride to the Avenue of Stars (as it was only a walk away from the Chunking Mansion in Tsim Sha Tsu) to witness the light show. All that hurrying and we were still late – but to no regrets, the show was indeed worth it.
Day 1 : Must-Visit Attractions in Hong Kong
How to get to NgongPing 360
From Tsim Sha Tsu MTR station, take a train ride to Lai King station and transfer train to Tung Chung. From Tung Chung station, walk towards the 360 Cable car station. There, you can buy tickets for cable car. In our case, I presented the vouchers (bought via KLOOK) to exchange for tickets and lined in the queue for the cable car trip. (One-way ticket is Php 750 or $117)
It’ll take a cute 30-minute cable car ride to reach the Luntau Island where the Giant Buddha and Polin Monistery are located.
To get back to Tung Chung for Disneyland, ride a bus near the Giant Buddha going to Tung Chung station. Now, take the MTR from Tung Chung back to Sunny Bay station then transfer to a Disneyland train (There is only one lane set for Disneyland.)
I could attest to the claim that Disneyland is the happiest place on earth; Certainly, it sprung me back to my childhood and it was so ecstatic to see my favorite Disney characters up close – a dream-come-true-gift for me and it was wrapped in genuine happiness and glittering magic.
Given that Disneyland is a high-end, full-entertainment themed park, getting hungry is quite expensive. Normal meal costs HK$99 (Php 650). Before coming over to HK, you would want to purchase meal vouchers via KLOOK to lessen the costs, and more on chows! (KLOOK is indeed your meal buddy when you visit HK)
After filling up my dear tummy, it’s time for dessert – fireworks!! The Fireworks dsplay was the highlight of the whole Disneyland tour. We’ve watched in awe, and it wasn’t the end of it, they even played the iconic Alladin song “A Whole New World” all throughout the show which melted our already overwhelmed-in-happiness heart.
Day 2 : Gallivanting in Macau
Macau is not just about casinos and five-star hotels; Macau is also a place where history still very much exists. The country is mixed with Chinese and Portugese culture for it was the last country in Asia being colonized by Europeans.
Macau is a very small country that you can go around it quickly in a day or so. Tourists swarm to this place just to witness its organized city and gigantic casinos; given such, there’s nothing much you can do aside from city tour and casino hopping which is still fairly awesome.
How to go to Macau
If you are staying in Tsim Sha Tsu, take MTR to HK Central. From HK Central, walk towards the ferry station. You can purchase ferry tickets from nearby travel agencies if you haven’t booked online. I bought our two-way ticket from KLOOK HK$120/way (Php 1,100/way).
When in Macau, there’s nothing much to worry about transportation because you can go from one place to another at no cost and besides, there are free shuttle buses provided by the casinos and these are available upon arrival.
Upon reaching Macau, we took an interesting shuttle ride (Grand Lisboa) going to San Malo. The bus stopped at the Grand Lisboa Hotel and from there it was time to take a spot for lunch.
St. Paul Ruins
St. Paul Ruins in Senado Square is always on top of the list when visiting Macau. Here, you can learn its history and meet a diverse culture. The place had not only pleased our eyes with breath-taking views, but it also quenched our hunger for a free taste of different Macanese food (Lutong Macau) as these were being offered all over the place. Vendors would frantically chase us so we could have a bite of their product, and now we have literally, a lot in our hands.
Being famous for its luxurious hotels and casinos, hopping from one place to another can’t be helped – the place is just GORGEOUS! and by riding the free shuttle buses, you can visit every casino in this wee country, no matter how many times you like!
After Senado Square, we hopped on the bus going to Taipa to visit ‘The Venetian’, City of Dreams, and Parisian Macau (No entrance fee. Crazy right?). Some casinos will give guests a complimentary casino card with a credit on it that you can use to play the night away.
It was around 6 in the evening when we headed back to Hong Kong and we capped the night off via a relaxing ferry ride back to Hong Kong (and shop in the night market).
There are plenty of night markets in Hong Kong where you can dine and shop, but we chose the nearest one – Ladies’ Night Market in Jordan (few meters away from MTR Jordan station).
HK night market is pretty much the same with what we have in the Philippines (just a bit nicer on the prices). There were lots of shopping goods to grab: bags, shirts, souvenirs, cosmetics, toys and shoes, name it and they’ll put up a good price for you. Items are being sold for a discounted price (almost half of the original price). Haggling the prices is very common in night markets, it’s a skill you need to attain and sometimes it takes a little acting as well for a more convincing negotiation – I got a table piece from HK$70 down to HK$30 and a fridge magnet from HK$50 down to HK$15 (victory!!!) Most of the merchants will chase the buyers if they disliked the price (like ‘World War Z’ crazy chasing. Haha); they would offer a lower price to get the buy in and it was always a win-win favor for both parties anyway, so why not.
Day 3 : Back in Hong Kong
It was our last day in HK, and our flight for Manila was scheduled 5PM and we had to be at the airport by 3PM – no need to worry, Victoria Peak was the only destination we had for day three.
“The Peak” or commonly known as Victoria Peak is located in the western part of Hong Kong Island. It’s also the highest point in Hong Kong, giving its visitors a heart-stopping view of the whole Hong Kong harbor and Lama Island.
How to go to Victoria Peak
From Tsim Sha Tsu, ride a boat to cross to HK Central. From the port in central, take a double-decker bus (5C) going to The Peak – Fare is less than HK$20. Moreover, the well-known transport system going to The Peak is the tram (it’s an experience itself), however, tram ticket is a bit expensive than bus (HK$56/way).
It was about 12PM when we left The Peak, and that’s where the “run for the flight” had started.
My plan was to take a bus going to the airport because airport express is entirely expensive (HK$100/ticket) so I asked around where to find the bus station bounded for the airport, but all of them told us different directions that made us confused altogether. We lost our way eventually, and all of us were already quite weary and frustrated – it’s a feeling like we took off even before the plane did.
With all desperation and anxiety, we decided to take the train and purchased the tickets for an airport express lane. I got more nervous after I checked the time and realized that we only had 45mins left before the boarding gate is closed.
Upon arriving, we immediatly lined-up for check-in and surrendered our Octopus cards for refund. I shamelessly begged the ground crew of Airasia to wait for us while my heart was pounding louder than my watch ticking towards the time (we also had to take another train to get to the boarding gate, how big was this airport anyway?). After the rat-race that I was ranting about in my first sentence, It was a buzzer beater when my family reached the boarding gate a minute before the gate closed. We literally ran thru the vast Hong Kong airport for this victorious ride back to Manila.
As I sat on the plane, I could not hear anything – not a modicum of the airplane engine roaring – aside from the gasps and relieved sighs from each member of my family. In lieu of blaming myself and venting out unnecessary frustration, I tried to look on the brighter side of the situation – the ordeal, however, was an experience to share.
Arriving at Manila is a total relief because there is no place like home and I was so grateful to have this opportune experience with my family.
So now do you see why it was worth the trip? Hong Kong can tell you far more than I did for I just teased you, HK will always do the convincing.
***Escape Manila recommends these guest houses and hostels in Hong Kong. All of these properties are in Tsim Sha Tsui area, the best place to stay in Hong Kong. Please click the name of the establishment to check the rates and availability.
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