Hong Kong: The First Day

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It’s really hard for me to act my age.

Since the morning of our arrival in Hong Kong was reserved for errands like checking into the hostel, exchanging money, and cursing ourselves for not packing an umbrella, we only had from lunch time onward for touring. Our first destination was the TST (Tsim Sha Tsui) harbour so we can take the Star Ferry from TST to Central. The terminal was about a ten-minute walk from our hostel, but it turned into around fifteen because of the rain and a couple of wrong turns. Continue reading

Hong Kong: A Prologue

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Thanks to Arsenal and Cebu Pacific’s seat sales, I was able to go to Hong Kong last July 2012. We were there for around 4 days and 4 nights — not enough to explore everything Hong Kong has to offer, but we didn’t do so badly in terms of sightseeing.

Before I start on the actual Hong Kong blog posts, I wanted to write this sort of intro in an effort to make my blog useful and not just ‘rah rah I went there, here are the pics’.

Itinerary

Here’s the general itinerary we had for the 4 days we were there:

HK IT

Click for larger pic.

Full disclosure: We didn’t get to do everything in the itinerary above, mostly because we spent a day stalking Arsenal players in their hotel (time flies when you’re a-creepin’). But since not everyone is as stalkery as us, the itinerary above is doable. If you take away all the football stuff, you could do so much more. I bet you can even insert a day trip to Macau in there.

Hostel

Our hostel was in the Tsim Sha Tsui, along Nathan Road, which was a very good location. As expected of a backpackers hotel, the room was small– the bed barely fit in it. I really don’t mind if I don’t stay in a fancy place when I’m traveling, as long as it’s clean. Yiu Fai Guesthouse is clean enough and the shared bathroom isn’t really a big deal because there are only a few rooms at the floor and it’s kept clean. There’s also free hot and cold water (for drinking), tea, and coffee. However, if I had a bone to pick with the hostel, it’s that we reserved a twin room but ended up getting a double. That was kind of annoying. But at least the hostel was located in a relatively quiet building. I have been warned repeatedly against booking a hostel in Chungking Mansions and I heeded the warning.

Octopus Card

Get one. It’s really convenient. You can use it for almost all modes of transportation within Hong Kong — MTR, buses, the Star Ferry, the Knight Bus etc. The customer service counter in the arrivals hall sells and tops up Octopus cards. I’ve read somewhere that the cards are refundable when you return them, but I didn’t return mine so I can’t tell you if this is true.

Getting to Nathan Road from the HK Airport

From the airport, we took the Airport Express train. It was 100 HKD one way to Tsim Sha Tsui station. That’s like PHP500++. Not the best use of our money and our newly topped-up Octopus card. Pros: It’s really fast and… yeah, it’s really fast. Next time though, I’m going to take the A21 bus, which is around 33 HKD to Nathan Rd. The bus only takes 45 minutes, if the ride from Nathan Rd to the airport is the same length as the reverse. Oh. The bus has free wifi. Just saying.

Budget

I wasn’t as meticulous with my budget here as I was in my Indochina trip, so I don’t have a detailed expense sheet of what I spent in Hong Kong. I do, however, remember that I brought around 400 USD but didn’t use it all up. The flight and the Arsenal game tickets have already been booked, of course, so I did spend quite a bit more than 400 USD for the entire trip.

It was sale season in Hong Kong (we went there July) so the shopping budget was smaller than originally planned.

Food is expensive in Hong Kong (compared to Manila or Kuala Lumpur or Saigon). I saved a lot by bringing breakfast stuff that I ate at the hostel before going off sightseeing. Go me!

Getting Around HK

The MTR system is very comprehensive and easy enough to navigate. The buses are numbered so it’s ostensibly easy to get from one point to another. Weeeell, I do recall walking (one time, even running) around aimlessly at times trying to look for bus stops for certain buses. Google maps are only useful up to a certain point and it is really hard to ask for directions from locals. Not that they aren’t friendly enough, but most of them say “Just go straight.” and lord, this isn’t useful all of the time.

But yeah, stick to the MTRs if you can. If you get lost, hail a cab. 😉

Okay, now on to the actual blog posts. Which should be up in three days a week two weeks soon.

Blogger’s Remorse and an IG Spam

Not only have I not been updating as much as I promised when I started this blog, I also haven’t been blogging the big things. But I promise, when I get back from South Korea, I’ll have the following posts up one at a time:

  • Hong Kong trip
  • Egay’s Bridal Shower
  • Indochina trip (most likely divided into 3 parts: Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand)
  • South Korea!

And just so you know I’m not lying about posting stuff, here’s a teaser of my Indochina trip. And by teaser I mean the instagram pics I took.

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Off the Grid (Or how I never say no to food.)

Food trucks? Why, yes please.

It was back to SF for me on a Friday afternoon as we drove over to Fort Mason Center so we can check out Off The Grid. We had a very systematic approach to this visit, with the list of vendors printed out and all. The suggestions of people who has been there were even highlighted and noted. We take our food trip seriously! Haha.

I want to pause at this point to say that I can’t get a quote from “Go On” out of my head: It’s a short trip from foodie to fatty.

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Those That Didn’t Make The Cut: Days 21-30

I could weep with relief that I’ve finally finished this challenge. I have Marj & Zsappy to thank for the pressure, since they did theirs right on schedule. So here’s the last batch of this photo challenge, and what a useless crop it is:

Day 21 – Faceless Self-portrait

Another photo shoot done at the office. Oh well.

Smile though your heart is aching…

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