Monday, August 12, 2013

Hong Kong, China - August 2013

First time to go out of the country, is always a mix of excitement and fear. Stuff heard from horror stories from immigration, customs, government red tapes, crimes against tourists and the sorts. But a year of anticipation, having bought from one of Cebu Pacifics' seat sales pushes us determined to save up, be excited and prepare for the trip. Living in Urban Metro Manila doesnt really give you much to anticipate about a City Vacation, but hell I was wrong about Hong Kong.
NAIA Terminal 3 (Manila)
  • Proceed to pay Travel tax (P1620) 
  • Baggage Check in.
  • Pay Terminal Fee (P550)
  • Immigration for Visa stamping. Cellphone use here is prohibited.
  • Check in. Stay alert for Gate changes.
Hong Kong International Airport (2hour travel time)
  • Follow everyone-take airport train going to main terminal.
  • Immigration for Visa stamping. Make sure you have filled up the form handed over in the plane. Include your Hotel or Guesthouse where you will be staying. Declare your cash should you have more than $10k. Avoid attention and just stay casual, poker faced but not suspicious. But that's just my opinion.
  • Wait for bags from conveyor #X-make sure you have also noted this when announced before boarding off the plane.
  • Buy or Load up Octopus Card.
  • Buy Ngong Ping 360 tickets. Its cheaper bought here.
HKIA is a huge airport, make sure you know where you're going to- to locate where you should be commuting going out of it.
Octopus Card Loading station.
CTS China Travel Service
Stairs going to S1. Just almost in front of CTS.
CTS Rates.
S1 Bus Terminus.
First Stop. Tung Chung. City Gate Mall. Ngong Ping 360. (Lantau Island)
If you want to save up, instead of taking the Airport Express Train which is $60($48 if through travel services), take the bus going to Tung Chung, then take the MTR to your first destination or hostel. We chose to do this, as well as spend our first stop at Ngong Ping 360. Ngong Ping 360 is at the City Gate Mall which also houses the end of the Terminal for S1 buses. From the Airport, locate the S1 exit and take the buses with variable message signs saying S1. 

  • $3.50 coins, or swipe Octopus card.
  • Buses are double deck.
  • Arrives every few minutes. 
  • City Gate Mall have lots of Outlets (Factory Outlets)
  • Airport to Tung Chung via Bus - 10-15mins
  • Tung Chung MTR Station.
Food Republic (Food Court at Tung Chung)
Level up on Chopstick skills or go hungry.
Ngong Ping cable terminal at far horizon, Bus terminal at Post marks.
    Outlets galore at City Gate in Tung Chung.
Ngong Ping 360.
What: A 360 view of Hong Kong while riding on a cable car. There is a life-size Buddha (Tian Tan) you can see after passing a few mountain horizons, which you will also get to once at the Ngong Ping Village. Up the area, there are lots of souvenir shops and some restaurants- as well as stores for water and snacks. The walk can be tiring, especially under the beating sun.
Opens from 10AM to 6PM Weekdays
9AM to 6:30PM Weekends

To get there: From the Tung Chung City Gate bus terminal, Walk out- (to the left is the mall entrance) Turn right and follow the stalls. Make another right at the fountain area and you'll see the escalator going to the entrance of Ngong Ping 360.

Ticket Line here is long. If you have bought tickets at the airport, tell one of the staff that you already have tickets and they'll let you pass the barriers going up the escalator. Go to a special ticket counter up the establishment and they will issue the equivalent barcoded ticket you will use. 

Ticket at Site all includes Unlimited NLB Rides and Tai O Boat Excursion, but if you only want to get the Roundtrip cable transfer to head up to the village, its cheaper at the Airport as they do not include such "ala carte" on site.


CTS China Travel Service (A04 at the airport) 
  • $135 adult/$68 child (Round trip cable transfer only-Standard Cabin)
Ngong Ping round trip with bus and boat rides:
  • Standard Cabin - $200 adult/$125 child
  • Crystal Cabin - $278 adult/$203 child
  • Standard and Crystal cabin - $255 adult/$180 child
*CTS at A04 is also near the airport exit going to the S1 bus stop.
  • There are two types of  cabins, standard and crystal (where you can see what is beneath you via the floor of the cabin) Line here is longer.
  • When taking the ride, learn where the sun positions to avoid the heat on a sunny day. The cabin is not airconditioned, but vents allows for outside air to pass through the containment.
  • Ticket is barcoded, hover to allow entry in gates.
  • 3-4hours will do, if you're just in it for the sight seeing and walk up the Buddha. Alot more time if you intend to shop around or dine or if you bought the normal ticket package.
  • Water and soda averages at $9.
  • Prepare for a few hundred steps going up the Tian Tan Buddha. Given that, a towel and water to cool off. There's a store up the Buddha, but of course you know it's more expensive.
  • Make sure to check their website for annual 3 week Cable car maintenance checks. Usually happens on September. It is still possible to reach the village via bus, private vehicle or taxi. All of which of course are pricier.

65 liters and almost full packed at 16kilos. Sweaty nipples.

Lights and Sounds. Tsim Sha Tsui (Kowloon Island)
What: A musical presentation of emanating lights synced to sounds from Kowloon island to lights from across Hong Kong island buildings.
To get there: 
  • Take MTR to Tsim Sha Tsui.
  • From Nathan Road, walk all the way towards Salisbury road.
  • Facing Sogo, you'll need to cross the road.
  • To your right (There's a huge Louis Vuitton sign), cross the pedestrian street and take the subway path. 
  • Facing Sogo, there is also a subway path to your left. You will be passing through a mall. Follow the signs and eventually you'll exit at The HongKong Space Museum. 
Follow everyone else going to the Salisbury Garden. You'll know you're there when you see the breakwaters and the Film Awards Statue (lady statue wrapped in film with arms raised holding a round object) Starts at 8PM. I've also seen nice sunset pictures from here setting at the HK Island city horizon. Might be nice to catch. 

Tsim Sha Tsui- Avenue of Stars, Port Area, Clock Tower etc. (Kowloon Island)
To Get there, and what to expect: Instead of taking Nathan road to get to the Baywalk, From Nathan road, scenic route is to turn right to Peking road, cross past Kowloon Park Drive then Canton Road.
Pass by 1881 Heritage -a Hotel where they have some of Hong Kongs declared monuments. You can just stay outside for the view. Prominent is the Time Ball Tower which was used in the 1800's by mariners to calibrate their chronometers.

Follow Canton Road towards the direction of Salisbury Road and you'll eventually reach the Pier area. We originally plan to drop off here if when we miss public transport hours from Hong Kong Islands Peak Tram going back to TST. There's also a bus terminal here.

Tsim Sha Tsui Clock Tower as well as some Cultural centers and Museums are just around the area.

You can have breakfast at Deli and Wine (8:30-11AM). Personalized restaurant at fastfood prices.

Following the Baywalk (Avenue of Stars) will eventually end at a Starbucks and the East Tsim Sha Tsui MTR. Take the escalator and walk further towards the buildings ahead. This will lead you to the Signal Hill Garden and Middle Road Childrens Playground. If you take Middle Road and turn left at Mariners Club (still Middle Road), this will lead you back to Nathan Road.

Newspapers being handed out for free.
Find the first weirdest food and order it. Mcdonalds soup.
1881 Heritage.
Pier. Avenue of Stars at the horizon.
Clock Tower.
Nathan road without the crowd. T8. No public transport. No work, no Crowd, just tourists.
Breakfast at Deli and Wine.
At the far end is where Deli and Wine is.
Film Award Statue.

Avenue of Stars.

For gear heads, Tom Lee at Cameron Lane. Closed due to T8.

Strolling the inner skirts of Nathan Road.

Lan Kwai Fong - Wan Chai (Hong Kong Island)
We were fortunate enough to have been invited by a friend to indulge in one of Hong Kongs night life epicenter. Perfect time, as we were already bumping activities off the IT as a T3 which eventually transitioned into a T8 Typhoon is pouring rains and heavy winds on us.
Took an MTR to Central and from there, it was a walk-tour passing by big signs and popular brands. We also passed by a Filipino landmark, Rizal Plaque, mounted on an outside wall of a building where he used to hold clinic. Pinoys joke around that since the area is a spot full of bars, that Rizal used to hang out after his day at the clinic. Eventually, we reached HK Brew at 21 D' Aguilar Street where we met with 2 more Filipinos. It was always a pleasure to chat with Kababayans in a foreign land and even when the association is mutual, over drinks and pizza, makes for a perfect night spent. But even when I already lost count of the shots Pinoy and HK Brew Bar Tender, Kuya Richard mixed and poured, after his shift, we went out to Cinta J where more Filipinos hang out as well as perform. Awesome night and possibly one of the highlights of our trip. 

  • Lan Kwai Fong is a Shopping and Night Life center. But really, almost all MTR Stations is situated in a Business District, Shopping area or both.
  • There's a Jollibee at the side of the building, exit A or B in Central.
  • Rizal Plaque is at Century Square building along D' Aguilar street . 
  • MTR Wan Chai is just walking distance from Cinta J.
  • 500ml beer, about $50.

Windy Central.
Kuya Baba and Richard at HK Brew.

Them guys at Cinta J. Yep, they have Pilsen.
Ze wife with fellow Pinoy entertainers.
Too wasted that I ate with em chopsticks upside down. Awesome noodles in Wan Chai.
With em chinese guy who frequents Cinta J to learn and sing Pinoy songs.

With Kuya Baba, Ricard and Jojo.

Not so Badass graffiti and vandalism.

Those that did not withstand strong winds.
Standard model, red taxis.

Comfortable bus rides.

LV? Pssshh. Too Common a name here.
Double deck buses and Centrals busy streets.
Victoria Peak, Admiralty (Hong Kong Island)
What: Experience the steep ride on a Tram going up The Peak (Mount Austin) and enjoy the view of Hong Kong from up the area.
Opens from 7AM to 12MN
To Get there: 
  • Take MTR to Admiralty.
  • Exit at C1 and enter park.
  • Walk further and Exit park through foot bridge. (Right part area) You know you're not lost if there's a Fire Station below. After going down 1 level from footbridge, enter building office (Citybank Plaza) to the left and use exit up ahead. Below the footbridge is a smoking area, you can ask expats here.
  • Go out on the street, take right direction. Turn left on next corner. Go straight and follow the signs. 
  • You will eventually reach what appears as a fountain with THE PEAK TRAM sign at the middle of the road. Take the path to the left, where the entrance and ticket booths are.
  • 2-3hours may be enough to cover touring the area.
  • MAP
  • There is a mall up the area. (The Peak Tower)
  • Buildings appear to be tilted while you are on the train. It's that steep!
  • MASL reading 495. Often windy and cold.
  • Best viewed at night time. But day time also works. 
  • Lines can get packed, be there early. Crowd and line is minimal at 9:30AM.
  • Maddam Tussauds wax museum is at the Peak Tower. 
  • There are some characters outside but if you want to view most of the wax characters, you'd need to purchase tickets.
  • Sky Terrace 428 ticket $210 each.
Wax Museum-Just outside. 
Sky Terraces 428
Peak Tram History gallery.

Long line at 11:30AM
9:30AM, No line.

Souvenir Shops welcome you after the Tram ride.

Prime properties are up at The Peak.

Disneyland (Lantau Island)
We purchased our tickets from the Guest House we checked in into. Price is $420 each, $450 if you buy it on site.
To get there from TST: Take MTR and transfer at Lai King (Red to Orange) Then Transfer from Sunny Bay to Disney Train.
  • Get Disney Map.
  • Lines in each ride is long-prepare.
  • Check out the Grizzly Gulch area-awesome coaster rides.
  • You can have your pictures taken with Disney characters with your own camera, but staffs also take photos with theirs. A stub is given and you can purchase the output after an hour. Yep, purchase.
  • We've noticed that some Chinese have tendencies to take advantage of people falling in line, dont be too lax on space so they dont think of advancing before you.
  • On good weathers, there are also character parades.
  • Closed during T8s, well actually even offices are.

Everybody loves Tinkerbell.

Nan Lian Garden and Chi Lin Nunnery
To Get there: Take MTR to Diamond Hill, Exit C2 and follow the signs. 5min walk.
Nan Lian Garden Opens from 7AM - 9PM
Chi Lin Nunnery from 9AM to 4:30PM

  • There is a mall at the MTR station of Diamond Hill.
  • Some say bringing tripod here is prohibited.

The Chi Lin Nunnery is just at the upper landscape of the Nan Lian Garden. Seamless transition, no entrance fees.

Mongkong Night Market
To Get there: Take MTR going to Mong kok. Exit B2 or B3.
A pleasurable chaotic walk along endless shopping stalls of apparels, bags, shoes, gadgets-all of which are feast to the eyes, and sore to the wallet. Although shopping is still possible during day time, neon lights and street performers are some to anticipate during the night. 

  • Ladies Market at Tung Choi Street
  • Always ask for "The Last Price" when bargaining.

Aunties street performing.
Hostel : Yiu Fai Guesthouse
Location: Flat E, 5/FL., Golden Crown Court, 66-70 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, 
Tel: (852)23024812
Room rate: HKD 450 per night = 450 * 4 = HKD 1,800

How to get there: Take MTR, board off Tsim Sha Tsui, Exit D1 or A2.
  • Dont expect too much. 
  • Our Room was a room inside a room.
  • Wifi, Aircon, Small Flat TV(no cable but with HD local channels), Queen sized bed (Foam not Springed), Hot shower (not centralized) No Bidet.

MTR Tips:
  • Make sure to check the direction of the train. If the Colored line goes the other direction, you may have to board the train up or below that line. If you are in A1, go to A2 if not the parallel train going the other direction.
  • Dont worry that Train stations dont have huge location or terminal name signages, there are Station Layouts (maps) inside trains that light up to signify where you are and if you are in a connecting line.
  • $150 Octopus cards have $100 load. If in case you werent able to max it out, you can have the remaining amount plus the $50 refunded, and just the same, if you went negative, they will deduct the amount from the $50 card deposit. You are allowed to go negative up to $7.
  • Let seniors sit.
  • Unlike in the Philippines, when transferring lines, you need not board off the station and re-enter. Connecting lines are just parallel the platforms.
  • MTR Exits, know where you are going and exit where near. Consider exits when plotting your destinations.

Culture Notes:
  • Remain at the right side of the escalator if you are not in a hurry to allow those who are to pass.
  • Cut speaking in fluent English, its less complicated for some to understand you in Barok English.
  • They say, its perfectly safe to get wasted, Policemen will even accompany you home or stay with you until you sober up.
  • It is also safe enough to hold your phone in public or rummage through crowds in thick places like Mong Kok, but tourists are still advised to watch their wallets and hide their bag zippers to protect against pickpockets.
  • Terminal=Terminus. Comfort Rooms=Toilets. "Ill have that too"="Same Same". Outlets=Cheaper clothing.
  • You want that I love Hong Kong shirt? Scout Nathan road and make a turn towards inside the stalls in buildings.
  • Authentic Rice Noodles are best at the chinese fastfoods by the side of the roads. There's this one with no English name counterpart at A2 exit of TST, Humphreys road, in between Uno Oun and I love Kitchen. Dont forget the chilli sauce. There are also lots of em at Hennessy Road, Wan Chai. Here's where I think we ate
  • Old people still get employed. We saw some in Fast Food chains.
  • Mcdo alternative is Cafe de Coral. Food at $35 up.
  • Free daily 20minute wifi from PCCW.
Actual IT:

- Manila -
418 AM – 439 AM
Taxi going Terminal 3

Terminal Fee

Travel tax

Meal at Dimsum and Dumplings

Bo’s Coffee

- Hong Kong -
1014 AM

Arrived in Hong Kong airport

Octopus load for 2

Ngong Ping Cable tickets for 2
1200 NN
City Gate, lunch at Food Republic – Macau Cuisine
1 PM – 4 PM

Ngong Ping tour

Water and softdrinks
5 PM

Arrived in Yiu Fai Guesthouse

Full payment for the room
7 PM

Go to Ave of the stars to watch Symphony of lights
836 PM
Dinner at Café de Coral

Coffee at 711
930 PM


August 13, 2013 - Tuesday

800 AM

Wake up time

Disneyland ticket for 2
912 AM
Breakfast in McDonalds
1000 AM – 1145 AM

Heritage 1881 to Avenue of Stars
1200 NN
Starbucks coffee (due to typhoon)
300 PM

Back to Hostel and rest
430 PM
Eat at The Spaghetti House
630 PM

Meet up with Baba G (Lan Kwai Fong)
1230 AM

Back to Hostel and rest

August 14, 2013 - Wednesday

9800 AM

Wake up time
1026 AM
Brunch at Deli and Wine
1108 AM – 200 PM

Walk from Clock tower to Nathan Road TST
200 PM
Rest at Pacific Coffee Company
330 PM

Back to Hostel and rest
430 PM – 6 PM

Visit Nan Lian Garden and Chi Lin Nunnery
630 PM
Plaza Hollywood , dinner at Food Republic - Vietnamese & Shanghai Szechuan cuisine
740 PM – 900 PM

Mongkok, window shop

711, coffee and chips
925 PM

Back to hostel and rest

August 15, 2013 - Thursday

700 AM

Wake up time
833 AM
Breakfast at Burger King
945 AM – 1130 AM
Visit The Peak

Souvenirs – Goblet and Magnet
1200 NN
Admiralty Center, lunch at Café de Coral

Mineral water in Watsons
130 PM – 1000 PM

612 PM
Dinner at Starliner Diner Disneyland

Souvenirs – Mickey wrist watch

Souvenirs – Mickey necklace and earrings
1100 PM
In TST, noodle house Aberdeen
1200 MN

Back to hostel and rest

August 16, 2013 - Friday

830 AM

Wake up time
1030 AM

Check out

Single journey ticket to Tung Chung for 2
1110 AM

City gate outlet



2 PM
Late lunch at Deli France
445 PM
Bus fare going to airport
611 PM
McDonalds snack
950 PM

Arrived in Manila

- Manila -
1017 PM
Dinner at Chubby Chiba
1130 PM to 1210 AM
Taxi going home

Exchange rate = 5.3157

Overall expenses:
Monday in Manila
Php 5,068
Monday in HK
HKD 2,027
HKD 1,224.60
HKD 276.50
HKD 1,065.50
HKD 1,825.70
Friday in Manila
Php 810
Total in Php
Php 5,878
Total in HKD
HKD 6,419.30
Php 3,458.98
34123.07301 + 9,336.980 =  43,460.053

Photos taken with Samsung GX100, Nikon D90 and Samsung Note2.