My trip to Hong Kong will probably one of my most unforgettable trip ever. Why? First of all, it was raining so hard when I left home. Typhoon Odette was on the run then, but was about to leave the country around afternoon the next day. My flight was around 5:40 am. Fortunately for me, all flights was cancelled that day except for my flight. Unfortunately for me, Typhoon Odette (International name Usagi) left the country almost the same time that I did. And so there goes my first day at Hong Kong. All the tourist destination was closed because of the typhoon.
It wasn’t that bad though. I was able to go to Central Hong Kong and meet with a friend’s sister during the afternoon of my first day. She taught me the way around Central Hong Kong through buses and trains (MTR). She also treat me to lunch at Jollibee Hong Kong which is not so different from Jollibee here except that they have bigger serving. I was also able to observe the way our fellow Filipinos who works there spend their day offs, hear stories about their jobs and their employers. And I must say, I admire our overseas Filipino workers all the more.
“In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.” It was Anne Frank who said those lines. On my few days in Hong Kong I have seen how true those lines were. Specially to those Filipinos who treat every kababayan as a sister or a brother on first meeting even if they don’t really know them. And so, Hong Kong day one was over.
Typhoon Usagi was still on signal number 8 but will go down at 10 o’ clock that morning. Mind you, their weather forecast was quite accurate. I woke up around 6 am, had my bath and breakfast and prepared myself to a day’s adventure.
Do you know that you can walk from Central station to the Peak Tram? Yes. But it’s a really long walk. So it’s more advisable to take bus 15c. However, if you walked from Central station to the Peak Tram, you can drop by the Hong Kong Botanical Garden and Hong Kong park. It’s not too far from Central to the Peak Tram if you make stops to those two garden/park. The Peak Tram is at Garden Road. The Tram going to the Peak leaves every 15 minutes. The Peak is probably one of Hong Kong’s highlight. From there you can view all of Hong Kong. Though I strongly advise that you only go there if the weather is good. Even if it was already sunny when I went there, it’s still a bit foggy due to the weather. You can still see all of Hong Kong but it won’t register the same on your camera. Yes, you can’t take really good pictures unless it’s clear skies. Unless you have a really high grade camera unlike mine which is just the ordinary digicam. The Peak Tram cost 40HK$ and ticket to the Sky Terrace cost another 40HK$.
Next stop: Avenue of the stars
Avenue of the stars is Hong Kong’s ‘Walk of Fame’ street. From Central Hong Kong you can take a ferry to Tsim Sha Tsui or you can take the MTR going to Tsuen Wan, drop off at Tsim Sha Tsui and exit at J. From there you can start walking along the street of the ‘the Avenue of Stars’. From there you can visit the Hong Kong Space Museum, Hong Kong Cultural Center and the HongKong Museum of Arts. The Clock Tower is also on the same street at the far end of the Hong Kong Cultural Center building. Entrance to the Museums ranges from 10-20HK$ but they’re free on Wednesdays.
From there, I rode the MTR to Mong Kok and visit the ladies market. I also went around the area where the Converse, Levi’s, etch boutiques were on sale. If you still have the energy, you can go to the night market which is near Jordan station by MTR. The market starts at 8pm. If you plan on buying souvenirs and pasalubong I suggest that you do it at the Temple street night market because all the little souvenir stuff that you can buy at the tourist places, you can find it there at half the price.
On my third day, we went to Ngong pin Village and Disney Land. You can go to Ngong Pin by Bus or by cable car. From our place, we ride the MTR going to Tung Chung. From there we took the cable car ride to Ngong Pin. There are several packages for the cable car ride. We took the one for the standard cable car ride back and forth. Standard round trip tickets cost 135HK$.
Once we disembark the cable car, we started our tour around Ngong Pin village. There you can see the custom and culture of Lantau Island. In the center of the village is the Po Lin Monastery Plaza. From there you can see a flight of steps (268 steps) going to the Giant Buddha – the world’s largest bronze statue.
After we went around the village, we headed back to the cable car terminal back to Tung Chung for our Disneyland adventure . Alternatively, you can also take bus 23 from Ngong Pin to Tung Chung.
Next Stop: DisneyLand
If you have more time to tour around Hong Kong, I suggest that you alot one day to Disneyland. The resort opens at 10 in the morning.
From Tung Chung take MTR to Sunny Bay and transfer to the pink line that will you directly to the Disneyland Gate. Disneyland one day admission ticket is currently at 450HK$. Enjoy watching the parade ( unfortunately we weren’t able to cath the parade), the shows, stroll around the parks and the rides.
One of Disneyland’s highlights is the fireworks called “Disney in the stars” that starts at eight o’ clock pm. After the fireworks, we headed back to the night market, then back home.
Time to rest. The next day is my flight back to the Philippines.
Tips on Tip
Hong Kong cabs are costly not to mention the drivers don’t speak english. If you want to save money ( you can use them instead to shop) I suggest taking the Bus and trains instead. Hong Kong buses are really okay and trains too. Unlike our trains their stations are adjacent to each other that’s why it’s no hassle to transfer stations. On my 3 days in Hong Kong I spent a total of 200HK$ on fare. There’s this 50HK$ Value ticket which is unlimited for a day. Or you can loan an Octopus card. It cost 150HK$ the 50HK$ is refundable upon the return of the card. You can reload it anytime at 7/11 stores which is anywhere in every station. The advantage of the Octopus card is that you can use it both on train and buses. MTR ride is discounted when you use the Octopus card. You can loan an Octopus card in the airport. It’s right in the middle once you exit the Hong Kong immigration.
All admission tickets (Disney, cable car, the Peak, Ocean Park etc) can be bought at a discounted price when you buy them at China Travel Service (CTS). They have a stall inside the airport at the far left once you exit the Immigration.
Don’t forget to get your maps. All Hong Kong travel destinations have maps and brochures near the exit.
For security purposes, it will help if you print your travel itinerary even if you can’t really follow them just in case the immigration personnel invite you for a short interview. And of course, never forget to have your passport with you anywhere you go.
Always bring a pe. You will need that in the airport to fill up forms. From the Philippines, you will need to pay 1620Php departure tax and 550Php for the terminal fee.
So there… That’s how my first out of the country adventure went by. I had a lot of fun and I definitely plan to come back. Maybe next te around I can successfully travel to Macau, and I’ll add ocean park, and Hong Kong Wetland Park on my list.