Two of my childhood dreams finally came true!
When I was a child, I never often stayed in a place for too long. I think it became a habit and became one of my wish – to travel the world or atleast visit 1 country other than Philippines. With only a very limited budget, Gerold and I went on a 5-day adventure trip to Hongkong last Dec 4! Memories are still fresh in my head.
Arrived at 9am in the Hongkong airport. The area was cloudy so I did not get to see how we landed. I was thinking that we were in Hongkong mainland all that time until we sat down to settle our itinerary for that day. We did not get any travel agency because we wanted it to be a real adventure wherein we can decide everything on our own, plus the fact that we were traveling on a very limited budget . After some discussion on where we really were (was it Hongkong Mainland or Lantau Island?) over breakfast, we finally decided to just get a hotel first and then we’ll talk again (whew, so much talking for 2 undecided couples in a foreign island). The maps and brochures were also very helpful, there were many free available brochures and maps in the airport.
(For the record, the Hongkong Airport we were in was in Lantau Island – a few minutes away to Disneyland)
We went for a ride to Tsim Sha Tsui in a double-decker mini bus (first time). It probably took us 30-45minutes to get there. Finding the hostel as described in our google search wasn’t easy. We were looking for Cosmic guest house at Mirador Mansion but we couldn’t find the block. Luckily we saw Garden hostel (written in English) so we tried that. The place wasn’t really that great but the price was excellent. For 2 people and 1 night and shared bathroom, the cost is only HKD180.00 – it’s the cheapest! The bathrooms were unacceptable but my feet were already tired from going up to 4th floor and down only by foot – thrice! Imagine that. So I won’t recommend the place unless you are on a tight budget. We stayed there for 2 nights which was ok.
To Ocean Park
It was already lunch time that we decided to go to Ocean Park first. Did I tell you that it was cold? Really cold? Totally cold? I remember it was only 18 deg. Celsius, probably almost same temperature in Baguio City. Matatakutin lang ako sa lamig so if you’re like me, I suggest bring a thicker jacket.
We traveled by MTR (MRT in Philippines) and another bus ride. The fare was in MTR was higher than in a bus but it was safer for newbies like us. Buses are only recommended if you are already familiar with the place or there are no other choice. In bus going to Ocean park, we saw so many Pinoys there. Parang nasa Pinas nga lang kami that time because I heard people talk in Tagalog and some local dialects here and there and then more Pinoys when we were inside the amusement park. Pretty comforting for the first day.
At the Ocean Park
I expected ocean park to be near and/or under the water. To my surprise, it is on a mountain (and near the water still). It is located in the southern part of Hongkong. Entrance fee was HKD350.00 each. The place was huge and there were so many rides. It was open from 10am – 6pm only and we were down around 1pm already. We had only only 5 hours to roam around so we decided to check out as many places as we can and no rides (sad). Luckily, there was a dolphin show at 3pm so we were able to watch. That was the highlight of our day. And then with the air balloon, we got another view of the whole adventure park.
We went home around 7pm. We arrived at the hostel around 8pm and looked for restaurant.
Things I learned
- Travel tax in Philippines is expensive. 1600+ each individual. Terminal fee is also expensive (200 each) while in Hongkong, there is no terminal fee.
- Hongkong people are called Honkers(not sure if I got that correctly, I think I read that somewhere in Hongkong)
- Not all Honkers can speak English, so better learn atleast sign language
- Airport Express are so expensive. Arriving at the Lantau Airport, check out the buses. They have routes and the drivers can be trusted to drop you off at your destination as long as you ask them nicely. They might not understand English though.
- Octupus is a type of card just like the MRT cards we have. But these cards can be reloaded and used in restaurants or any establishment too. Very convenient than cash. The cash can be refunded within 3 months after purchase so you can actually reload it as much as you want if you’ll stay there and get a refund after your visit.
- MTRs are so cool. They actually tells you where exactly you are. They have also connecting trains so you can get to any station without having to walk many miles.
- Allot whole day when visiting Ocean park
- Hongkong only have 2 seasons, summer and winter. Best place to go there starts in March. Weather can be unpredictable during winter season. It doesn’t snow though even it’s called winter.
Next, I’ll share our second day – the Disneyland Adventure! See yah!