Hong Kong is just a 2-hour plane ride from Manila. For a Hong Kong virgin like me, planning this trip was made into a career; and I mean CAREER. My itinerary for five days was in excel format, complete with color codes and the estimated expenses for the day. It was so detailed that I wanted to give myself flowers and a virtual pat on the back for a job well done. Reason why I wanted to share my experience and be of help to others who are planning their trips as well.
First things first, book a flight. There are a lot of airlines going to Hong Kong Cathay Pacific, Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific to name some. I was fortunate to catch Cebu Pacific's Piso Fare promo last year and booked my whole family for our first out of the country trip together.
Upon arrival at the airport, it is a MUST to purchase the Octopus Card which costs 150 HKD: 100 for the load and 50 for the card which is reimbursable upon exit. A 7 HKD handling fee will be charged after refund. The card can be used for all modes of transportation (buses, trams and MTR) except for taxis. It cannot go below 50 HKD, don't believe what you read online that you arae allowed to go at -35, it can be reloaded either at the MTR stations or at 7-11. It can also be used in other establishments; refer to the Octopus website for details.
Outside the airport there is a transport terminal for taxis and buses. Taxis going to Kowloon are costly so we decided to commute via Citybus. Getting around Hong Kong is a breeze since they have a very organized transport system. We rode bus A21 which will traverse Nathan Road where our hotel is located. Also, buses have LED panels inside which will tell you where the next stop would be.
We were told that the best location to stay would be at Kowloon, specifically in the area of Tsim Sha Tsui. Upon research from the internet, I concluded that Mong Kok was not a safe place to stay due to the recent news of acid attacks. We stayed at the Imperial Hotel (63 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui) which we booked via http://www.agoda.com/. Agoda is a reputable online booking service and they have deals which are cheaper than booking directly using the hotel's website. Imperial Hotel is near the MTR Tsi Sham Tsui station (Exit E is just across the road) and the Citybus stop is just in front of the hotel. It is also walking distance from fastfood restaurants such as Mc Donald's, Burger King, KFC and Yoshinoya which are all located along Cameron Road. It is also a stone's throw away from CKE which houses Mannings - one of the 2 chains of convenient stores in Hong Kong (the other one being 7-11); Cafe de Coral - the largest Chinese fastfood in the area; and Sasa - a haven for beauty addicts all over. Mannings proved to be very helpful. Unlike here in the Philippines wherein you can ask for service water from restaurants, there water is a priced commodity. A bottle of a 500 mL mineral water costs 16 HKD (96 PhP) at Burger King. So no, do not bother doing water therapy in Hong Kong. I actually wonder if the Chinese are a dehydrated bunch of people. Mannings distilled water of the same volume is just at 2.90 HKD (18 PhP). Imperial Hotel is also near the shopping district of Canton Road and the Hong Kong Harbor.
Now let's all be honest here. I'll give you the pros and cons of this hotel:
- new slippers, roll of tissue and toothbrushes everyday
- fresh supply of coffee and tea everyday
- they have a water heater for drinking and a hairdryer
- good location
- bed is not that soft
- my parents' room smelled weird
- check-in time was at 2 PM but our room was not ready for occuoancy until about 3 PM.
Would I stay here again? Probably, I'm going to just sleep anyway. Plus at least I'm quite assured that my security is not threatened unlike in a hostel in some alley.
Now that we're set with the transportation and accomodations I guess we're good to go.. *winks*
Hong Kong - Macau Series