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