Hong Kong is easily one of the most visited countries in the world. It's accessible, affordable and there are numerous places to see — HK Disneyland, HK Ocean Park, The Big Buddha, Lan Kwai Fong, Night Markets and many more! Not to mention, the cold weather was a refreshing change from the Philippines' usual tropical climate. For our anniversary, this is where JB and I decided to travel to and explore. It was inarguably one of the best trips we've had because we planned it together. We talked about our "must visits" as well as our "must trys" and married it into the 4 days we were in Hong Kong. In effect, I'm proud to say we were able to make the most of our stay and it was also very budget friendly. I love travelling with him because it's also a great way for us to amp up the teamwork and good partnership in our relationship. I already can't wait for our next trip together!
HOW TO GET THERE: FLY VIA CEBU PACIFIC
The easiest way to get to Hong Kong is to fly directly to HK via Air Asia, Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines or etc. Our airline of choice was Cebu Pacific. Flights usually cost around PHP 5,000 - PHP 7,000 depending on the season. It's best to wait for promos to get a good deal on flights!
WHERE TO STAY: GET AN AIRBNB
We got our place via Airbnb. Our Airbnb is Service Apartment 4B, which is within the neighborhood of Jordan Area. It's close to several train stations (5-min walk from Austin station, a 10-min walk from Jordan Station and a 10-15 min walk from Kowloon Station) and many establishments like 7eleven and affordable restaurants. It was comfortable but nothing fancy because it was simply a place for us to sleep given that we planned to spend most of our time going around.
Address: 10 Man Ying Street 9-16 Man Ying Building, Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Photo above from Airbnb
WHAT TO DO
Dimsum Hong Kong, Sky 100 Observation Deck, Mongkok (Sneaker Street & Ladies' Market), Yardbird, Pulse 3d Light Show at Hong Kong Cultural Center
Dimsum Hong Kong
Address: Man Wui corner Man Sing St, Hong Kong
For our lunch during day 1, we decided to try Dimsum Hong Kong because it was one of the most well known eating places in Kowloon. It's included in the list of the 101 Best places to Eat in the World and is well known for the delicious rice meals and numerous options of dimsum. Not to mention, it's very cheap! Meals here can cost around as low as HKD 26 or PHP 167.
The meals were so good and gave great value for money. We enjoyed dining here so much that we decided to have breakfast at Dimsum Hong Kong on Day 3.
Sky 100 Observation Deck
Address: Elements Mall, International Commerce Centre (ICC), 1 Austin Rd W, Yau Ma Tei, Hong Kong
After having a heavy lunch, we decided to visit the Sky 100 Observation Deck in Elements Mall. Sky 100 is one of the Top 10 Tallest Commercial Buildings in the World. It gives a fascinating view of the entire city of Hong Kong. With its romantic view that overlooks the city, it's also a known dining spot for locals and tourists. Our ticket cost around HKD 129 or PHP 824.
Before getting to the observation deck, we rode a futuristic elevator to reach the observation room where we get a full view of the entire city of Hong Kong.
Prior to entering the observation deck, there was a purple tunnel filled with lights.
It was a great way to start our trip. Looking from the Sky 100 Tower, we got a great view of the city we were going to explore for the next few days, and it was promising. We knew that Hong Kong was ours to conquer.
Address: Mongkong, Hong Kong
After spending some time resting at our Airbnb, we headed to Mongkok for some shopping!
There were so many establishments, left and right! You couldn't count the outlet stores for shoes, stalls that sold clothing, gadgets, face and beauty essentials! You name it, Mongkok had it. There were street performers and food carts. Everyone was alive and hungry for a good deal.
Sneaker Street, Mongkok
JB loves to buy shoes perfect for running because he's part of the Nike Pacers for the Nike Running Club. This is where he bought one of his Nike shoes for almost 50% off! It was a great deal. However, Sneaker Street also has a lot of other brands such as Adidas, Converse, Keds & etc.
Photo above from Google Images
There are a lot of stores that offer designs that aren't sold in the Philippines so if you buy in Sneaker Street, most likely, there won't be a lot of people with the same pair back in Manila.
Ladies' Market, Mongkok
I would consider Ladies' Market as the Greenhills of Hong Kong. If you like a hot bargain like me, then you'll surely enjoy Ladies' Market. The stalls sell a lot of gadgets, clothes, bags and decorative items that you can take back to Manila. Haggle 'til your heart's desire!
There were also a lot of funny items being sold like cute costumes and elephant underwear for men! I couldn't help but take a photo.
Address: 33 Bridges St, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
Yardbird is a unique & modern Yakitori restaurant in Sheung Wan. This is where we went after shopping. Get your pockets ready because you'll surely want to keep buying more food! All the delicious and tender yakitori will make your mouth water! Since this was our "splurge on food" day, we decided to eat at Yardbird since it's one of the most featured eating places in Hong Kong.
Shiso Duck Fried Rice
Corn Ball Tempura
Yakitoris: Thigh, Breast, Wings, Meatball (in no particular order)
The meatball Yakitori below is my personal favorite! The meat was tender and the egg with soy sauce got all the flavor out.
Pulse 3D Light Show at Hong Kong Cultural Center
Address: Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
The Pulse 3D Light Show is a new attraction in Hong Kong that uses audiovisual effects that are projected onto the popular Hong Kong Cultural Center building and Clock Tower. It's one of the Hong Kong Tourism events prepared for the Winter Season. There are several screening times for the English version. We caught the 8:20 show.
The view of the buildings was already stunning in itself. The chance of getting some entertainment was just the cherry on top.
Photo above from Google Images. I was too fascinated with the show that I forgot to take a photo
After the Pulse 3D Light Show, we decided to marvel at the amazing view from Tsim Sha Tsui.
All the city lights were lit up and the different colors were beautifully reflected onto the Hong Kong Bay.
Bbq Lobster HK, Lantau Island (Ngong Ping 360, Stage 360, Walking with Buddha, Motion 360, Zen Noodle Cafe) Disneyland Hong Kong, Temple Street Night Market
Bbq Lobster HK
Address: Jordan, Hong Kong
The activities we had lined up for Day 2 were filled with walking. Thus, it was very important for us to make sure our tummies were full without having to go over budget. We decided to eat at Bbq Lobster HK which was just around the corner where we were staying. For 20 HKD or PHP 128, you can already get a breakfast meal and a free drink!
Beef and Noodles
Warm Milk Tea
Address: Tung Chung, Hong Kong
For the first half of Day 2, we went around Lantau Island to see the Big Buddha and ride the famous cable car to Ngong Ping. We availed of the 360 Fun Pass for HKD 230 or PHP 1,479 which includes the Ngong Ping 360, Motion 360, Walking with Buddha and Stage 360. We also had lunch at Zen Noodle House situated at Ngong Ping Village.
Ngong Ping 360
To get to Lantau Island, you have the option to ride either the standard cabin or glass cabin cable cars that will take you directly to your destination. There's a hiker's path which will take you to the Big Buddha (the path along the cable car alignment); but that will take you around 3 hours.
The engineering of the cable cars was one to admire. My boyfriend and I were talking about how these would be a great mode of alternative transportation especially in Manila. It decongests the roads while simultaneously, provides tourists the opportunity to appreciate the surroundings as they travel from point A to point B.
As we got higher up, the view also got better.
Even the floor of the cable car was made of glass so I could easily see the surroundings from down below.
Ngong Ping Village, Lantau Island
The entirety of Ngong Ping Village was so picturesque! The temples, flowers and structures all added to the traditional feel of the whole village. Even though I've already been there before, I was still in awe.
You also have the oppotunity to get up close and personal with the Big Buddha statue that sits on top of the mountain. The climb to the top will take around 300 steps.
Motion 360 & Stage 360, Ngong Ping Village
Motion 360 takes you on a virtual reality tour of Lantau Island. It plays with your senses as the theater area's seats move to add a more realistic feel to the show. Stage 360 is a live show that talks about Hong Kong cinematography and famous Chinese actors such as Bruce Lee. Here, they discuss how the action movies of China are produced and brought to the big screen.
To get a better understanding of Motion 360 & Stage 360, just watch this video:
Walking with Buddha, Ngong Ping Village
Walking with Buddha starts with an animated short film on how Siddhartha, once a prince and warrior, chose the path of enlightenment and eventually became Buddha. After watching, we are led to a room that looks like a shrine for Buddha. Here, we were able to read about his teachings and offer our good thoughts. I didn't take much photos at this point because I wanted to immerse myself completely in the experience.
Zen Noodle House, Ngong Ping Village
For lunch, we decided to eat at one of the oriental dining places in Ngong Ping Village. They serve numerous dishes: katsudons, curry beef and etc. We spent around HKD 90 or PHP 576 for a set meal (inclusive of service charge).
Disneyland Hong Kong
Address: Hong Kong Disneyland, Sunny Bay Station, Hong Kong
During the second half of Day 2, it was finally time for us to head to the most magical place in Hong Kong — Disneyland! We got our tickets for HKD 518 or PHP 3,315. The whole afternoon was dedicated to enjoying the rides and feeling like kids again! My personal favorites were the Hyperspace Mountain and the Rollercoaster at the Grizzly Gulch. Mystic Garden was also surprisingly entertaining.
Of course, the night wouldn't be complete without watching the fireworks display at Cinderella's Castle. It drizzled that night and we were so scared that it was going to get cancelled. Luckily our prayers were answered and the rain stopped!
Temple Street Night Market
Address: Temple St, Yau Ma Tei, Hong Kong
Our last stop for Day 2 was Temple Street Night Market. Here, we tried the different street food of Hong Kong and hopped from stall to stall. Some examples of the street food we tasted: waffles, sausages wrapped in bacon and octopus tentacles on a stick. These can cost as low as HKD 12 or PHP 76.
HK Ocean Park, The Bayview at Ocean Park, The Big Christmas Tree at Central, Lan Kwai Fong
HK Ocean Park
Address: Ocean Park, Aberdeen, Hong Kong
HK Ocean Park was a mix of intellectual activities and hair raising rides. This place was my special request because I love sea animals and the adrenaline rush of rides! Our tickets cost HKD 416 or PHP 2,661. This already includes access to all the rides & shows plus a complimentary 1- course meal from one of the restaurants.
There were so many cute animals: pandas, otters, penguins and more!
There are also tons of carnival games that you can play if you have extra cash to spend.
Jb played one of the basketball games for around HKD 50 and won me a cute Rudolph Stuffed Toy!
Aside from that, there are also a lot of gut punching rides like The Flash, The Hair Raiser, The Dragon & etc.
The Bayview, Ocean Park
For our complimentary meal, we decided to eat at the Bayview Restaurant because of the good reviews and the great view.
Things started to slow down during this part of our trip because we knew it was the last full day we had in HK. We talked about so many things and reflected on such a good year that has passed. I was definitely beyond thankful to be spending the last few days of 2016 with him.
The Big Christmas Tree at Central
Address: Central, Hong Kong
Our last stop before partying and celebrating our final night in Hong Kong was the Big Christmas Tree at Central. A lot of tourists flock to this area to take photos. Best of all, it's free admission!
The tree was as tall as a building! It was surely a sight to be seen as it lit up together with the other towering buildings.
Lan Kwai Fong
Address: Lan Kwai Fong, Central Hong Kong
Our last stop for the night was Stormy Weather, Lan Kwai Fong. LKF is known for its inclined road filled with tipsy tourists in high heels. It's the go-to place for night life and partying in Hong Kong. JB and I stayed at one of the bars, Stormy Weather, to have some drinks. I was able to save a lot too because it was Ladies' Night! I spent approximately HKD 110 or PHP 704 for the Captain's Special and the Jello Shot we shared. Our other drinks were free vodka sprite.
Australian Dairy Company
Address: 47 Parkes St, Jordan, Hong Kong
On our last day, we didn't want to let the opportunity to eat at one of the most featured restaurants in Hong Kong, pass. For only HKD 36 or PHP 231, I was able to taste the BEST scrambled eggs I've ever tasted (and this is a big thing for me because I love eggs), toasted bread and macaroni soup. Australian Dairy Company is perfect for quick breakfasts.
After our last breakfast in HK, it was finally time for us to head back to the airport. The days flew by so quickly that we were surprised that our trip was already done! I reflected on such a great year and how I was ready for 2017 to beat one of the best years yet. Moreover, I was so grateful to be making new memories with JB during our anniversary. Here's to more travel adventures for us in 2017!
1. Pre-purchase your admission tickets via Klook App.
JB and I owe a lot of our savings thanks to the Klook App. It's very easy to use & it's convenient because it helps you avoid the usual long lines while buying admission tickets. Just make sure to print out hard copies of your vouchers after your purchase via the mobile app. I actually made a cost comparison of our purchases. In summary, we were able to save HKD 404 or PHP 2,589 thanks to Klook.
2. Have your money exchanged in the Philippines.
Having your money exchanged in HK can be more costly because of the high exchange rate. However, should you decide to have your cash exchanged, there's a Foreign Exchange Shop in Kowloon near our Airbnb named Tong Hing Money Exchange. They buy PHP 1,000 for HKD 148 (6.7 Exchange Rate). This is actually one of the lowest considering other Foreign Exchange shops buy PHP 1,000 for as low as HKD 135 (7.4 Exchange Rate)
3. Download the Mobile Apps of Disneyland or Ocean Park (if you're going there)
What I love about Hong Kong is that almost everything has a mobile app. Utilize these apps because they often have perks such as cutting through long lines via fast passes. These fast passes let you get sure slots to shows / rides during a certain time of the day without having to line up. Aside from that, you get to see the schedules of the attractions / shows.
4. Get Pocket WiFi via Klook.
One of the reasons why we bought the pocket WiFi is because we wanted to make sure that we always had access to the internet. Since we weren't exactly masters of the roads of Hong Kong, Google Maps was a helpful tool for us to avoid getting lost. Not to mention, it avoids the outrageous phone bills that you get if you use your 3G or LTE.
5. Make time to visit the good food places.
Read: Phonebooky: 17 Essential Hong Kong Restaurants You Probably Haven't Tried
If you've already been to Hong Kong several times, then your itinerary might not have to be as hectic as ours. The next best thing you could do is splurge on all the good eating places.
6. Plan your itinerary by priority and location.
If you don't have the luxury of time and you're working on a limited budget, then the optimal way to explore Hong Kong is to allot more time for your "must visits" and group the other places you want to go to according to location. That's how JB and I planned our itinerary. We visited first the top places on our list; at the same time, a lot of the places we visited in the day were close to one another.
If you're planning to visit these places as well, feel free to copy the itinerary JB and I made!
Time to make your own memories! Happy Travels!