Saturday, February 20, 2016

Hong Kong and Macau Series - Reminiscing + Tips on Pre-planning a DIY Guide

I've already been to Hong Kong and Macau last January 2014. But looking back, have I really done so? It was a packaged tour, wherein every part of our itinerary have been accounted for. I don't know at that time why I didn't opt for a DIY experience. Yes, I've been to Disneyland Hong Kong, Avenue of the Stars, St. Paul Ruins, Venetian Hotel. That's it. I didn't get to use the MTR as transfers are included on our tour. I didn't experience the trams nor visited the Big Buddha. Heck, the only thing I appreciate now is the stamp on my passport because as of March 19, 2013, Hong Kong no longer stamps passport. Tourist are being given landing slips instead.

Don't get me wrong, I did enjoyed my stay there as it is my first time to travel outside the Philippines and I was with a close group of friends. The weather way back then was freezing since it was January, and I personally was not prepared for it. Hehe.

Anyway, I'm coming back to Hong Kong this April 2016 for my birthday! And this time, I'm hoping to really experience it DIY. To start off, I was tasked to create our 5 days four nights itinerary. I've been reading Pinoy Exchange's Hong Kong Guide 2014 and would like to share the below tips:

1. Hong Kong is much  more than Ocean Park and Hong Kong Disneyland. But hey, I am still including these two destination as we have a ten year old kid travelling with us (it's his birthday too!).

2. Hong Kong is synonymous to walking, prepare for long walks so bring comfortable shoes. This is what I never experienced the first time I was there so I gotta prepare my self. 

3. A 5 minute walk for Hongkongers means 10 minutes walk for Filipinos (since most of them are briskwalkers). This is not a problem for me as I'm one. I'm not sure about my companions though. 

4. Octopus Card vs Airport Express Travel Pass. The consensus for this is that the travel pass is not worth it. You won't be able to maximize the ride-all-you-can. For those staying for 3-4 days, 150-200HKD is enough (including 50HKD deposit). If you are taking the Airport Express to the city, purchase it separately (preferably as a group so you will have discounts). The Airport Express has free shuttles to selected hotels. 

The Travel Pass is only recommended for travellers who will keep traveling back and forth using the MTR multiple times in a day. This is the only time you can take advantage of the unlimited MTR rides. If you are doing the usual first-timers itinerary which includes theme parks, this will not be worth it.

This is noted. 

5. Golden Crown Guesthouse has the cheapest tickets for everything. So for those who have enough time to buy from them on your first day, just get it from them. I'm actually looking into this as I'm also eyeing for discounted tickets (more on this on my next post). 

6. Unless you plan to exhaust yourself, don't go to Disneyland, Ocean Park and Macau in a 4D3N trip. We're on a 5 days 4 nights trip so I guess it's ok. Haha. 

7. Get a WIFI device or a 3g/4g SIM. Every travel abroad requires one. Good for sharing your experiene in real time and helpful when you gt lost. :)

TOP 10 Things to Do in Hong Kong

1. The Peak (includes Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum - BEST SEEN AT SUNSET/DUSK)
2. Ocean Park
3. Disneyland
4. Star Ferry
5. Century Old Ding Ding Tram
6. Nan Lian Gardens and Chilin Nunnery *No Tripods Allowed*
7. Tsim Sha Tsui Waterfront (Avenue of Stars)
8. Ngong Ping Village and Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car (Giant Buddha)
9. Causeway Bay and Mongkok Districts
10. Stanley and Aberdeen (Jumbo Floating Restaurant)

Aside from Pinoy Exchange Hong Kong guide, I also use an app called Tripomatic. It is available in iOS and Android. It helps you plan your trip strategically by plotting points of interest like hotels, attractions, and restaurants on a map. It shows you distances between points, enabling you to wisely plan which attractions to visit on which days, and in what order (more o it on a future post).

This is is for now.  

While strolling in Macau

Figuring out on what to order. :)

WiFi dependent. 

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