What to Expect When Visiting Hong Kong

Not like my other adventures abroad, this trip challenged my skills in bringing adventure to the family circle. Yes I have been in difficult travel situations in the past but when you are with family, it’s like 10 times the stress but 20 times the fun. I was not able to practice my DIY skills in this trip as we got an agency to take care of stuff but here are some information you need to know when traveling to Hong Kong.

Accommodation

We were able to get accommodation that was cheaper but it was a bit far from the metro. We stayed at Rambler Oasis Hotel in Tsing Yi, Hong Kong. Transportation was hard to and from the hotel but we were able to make some arrangements with the agency. Tips:

  • Get an accommodation in the center of Kowloon. This will make it easier to find food, go to different places, and buy things for pasalubongs
  • Try airbnb.com. I checked the rates online, and compared to Singapore, there are a lot of airbnb accommodations that won’t hurt your budget. Don’t forget to click this link to get P980 worth of discount on your first booking.

Transportation

If you have been to some Asian countries, the train system in Hong Kong is pretty much the same with Singapore and Japan. You just need to study in advance how to ready the signs and what they mean. A single journey with approximately 8 stations can cost around HK$11 (Php66). Taxi on the other hand is surprisingly affordable. Our trip from the MRT to the hotel which is about 25 minutes cost us around HK$28 (Php168). That’s equivalent to a decent meal in 7Eleven.

Food

A regular meal in HongKong costs around HK$50-80. You need to allot atleast HK$210 a day for food. The savings can be used for other things before you go back home. Basically food is everywhere, you just need to walk a bit and you’ll immediately find a decent restaurant. While in Kowloon we were able to eat in a karenderia named Kabayan. Food was all Pinoy and we didn’t have a hard time picking on what food to eat. When all else fails, there’s always 7Eleven. They have decent microwavable meals. Water is essential in your trips so I recommend buying many in the nearest 7eleven and stuck on water especially when going to theme parks.

Currency Exchange

Ever since my first travel abroad I always make it a point to exchange my peso to US dollars first before exchanging it with the local currency. This is because the United States is one among the countries with the most stable economy. This keeps you away from sudden fluctuation of currency rates. My friend is a living victim of this. Once he directly exchange his peso to Vietnamese Dong, he lost about 1 Million Dong (Php 2,000). Anyway, never exchange your US dollars in the hotel’s money changer. They are usually the most expensive. You can have a certain amount changed in the airport so you’ll have cash to spend for transportation but you can buy HK dollars once you are in the metro. Tip: If you happen to bumped in to tour guides, ask their currency exchange rates, usually you can buy cheap HK$ from them.

Ocean Park

Yes, Disneyland is great but Ocean Park has its own beauty too. The landscape is to die for and if you are a sucker for extreme adventures, this is the best place for you. One of the things you need to see here is the sought-after cable car. Never visit the park without taking a ride. Here are some things you need to know about the place:

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  • The Park is divided into two areas. The one near the entrance and the one on the other side of the mountain. You can take either the cable car of the Ocean Express Train to get to the other side. Cable car takes about 15 minutes and 5 minutes for the Ocean Express.
  • Once you entered the park, immediately get hold of a map and plan for your priority route.
  • When selecting rides, it’s not the same with all people, but aim for less extreme rides first. Some extreme rides will make you want to go to the toilet more often.
  • Always bring umbrella and maybe sunblock. Yes, they are allowed inside and, rain or shine, you will definitely need one as there will be a lot walking around the huge park.
  • Allot a full day for Ocean Park (10AM-7PM). There’s too many rides and sites to explore that a day sometimes is not enough.
  • Bring lots of water with you. Outside, water costs HK$10 (Php 60) but inside the park it costs HK$30 (Php 182). That’s the standard rate for all mineral water bottles.
  • The park offers access to free wifi. It is wiser to charge your phones and in case you decide to somehow split-up the exploration, you can contact anyone anytime.
  • Park closes at 7PM.

Disneyland

Disneyland is the perfect place for everyone who’s a kid at heart. If Ocean Park offers extreme rides and stunning vista of Hong Kong and neighboring islands, Disneyland brings to life the fairy tales that you only see on TV when you were young. Here you’ll see princesses, a castle, characters of your childhood and shows that will take your breath away. You will enjoy this place more when you travel with friends of your age or closer generations. Things to remember:

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  • Once inside, get copies of the map of Disneyland and the schedule of their shows.
  • Shows. Not sure about shows in Ocean Park but Disneyland has a daily schedule of shows you definitely need to watch. These include, Mickey and the Wondrous Book, Festival of the Lion King, Flights of Fantasy Parade, Disney Paint the Night (my personal favorite) and the most awaited Disney In The Stars Fireworks Display. The evening parade is a must see! It’s like a festival of lights! And when you are ready to watch the fireworks, make sure that you are situated in the center right in front of the castle. You will appreciate the fireworks more if you are in the center.
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Mickey and the Wondrous Book
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Festival of the Lion King
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Disney Paint the Night Parade
  • Once you get hold of the map and the schedule, immediately board the Disney train. This train will go around the entire Disneyland compound and you will be able to see all the themed parks that you will be exploring. Get off the station where you boarded and start there.
  • After the train ride, go take pictures with Mickey and Minnie. I think they only have one picture-taking schedule in a day.
  • Of all the adventures inside Disneyland, never miss the Mystic Manor. Thank me later.
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Mystic Manor 
  • Food inside Disneyland can be pricey. From HK$99-200 but if you happen to see a tour guide in your trips, ask for a food ticket to signature restaurants inside. From the expensive HK$ 99 (Php 601) meal, you can get the same meal for HK$ 50 (Php 303).
  • Bring umbrella and lots of water. It’s perfectly fine. Like in Oceanpark, water in Disneyland costs KH$30 (Php 182). Food however is not permitted. They key is to bring sandwiches and small food that you can just cover up with anything inside your bag.
  • When you are done with the stuff mentioned above, go and follow your own itinerary.
  • There’s wifi inside the park but Oceanpark has better wifi than Disneyland. Haha
  • You can ride the MTR (train) to Disneyland. The train station is just near the parking area. A 3-minute walk.
  • Park closes at 10PM.

City Tour

I heard the Victoria Peak is a must see during daytime and most certainly during the night. Avenue of the stars is also a great site to visit. The internet can provide you with the other spots you need to see.

Pasalubong

As I mentioned earlier, family can be difficult sometimes when it comes to travel as they get easily tired. HAHA You can look for it online but we were able to visit the Ladies’ Market. They have really affordable items from t-shirts, mugs, electronics, artsy stuff, and etc. Careful with asking prices, many vendors easily get irritated if you ask many questions and won’t buy anything. If you see something beautiful ask for a 50% discount or haggle for the lowest price. You’ll be surprised at how cheap you can get the items.

For a four-day visit to Hong Kong I suggest the following budget:

Item

Particulars

Amount

Water and Food HK$ 210 (Php 1,274)/day x 4 days HK$ 840 (Php 6,550)
Accommodation HK$ 250 (Php 1,518)/day x 3 nights HK$ 750 (Php 4,553)
Transportation HK$50 (Php 303) x 4 days HK$ 200 (Php 1,214)
Disneyland HK$ 539 (Php 3,272)/person HK$ 539 (Php 3,272)
Ocean Park HK$ 385 (Php 2,337)/ person HK$ 385 (Php 2,337)
Pasalubong HK$ 200 (Php 1,214) HK$ 200 (Php 1,214)
Total HK$ 2,914 (17,694.00)

Disclaimer: Prices in the above table are projections and may not necessarily be the actual amount. The figures were shown as it is necessary for you to anticipate the expenses of your trip.  

Since we were 15 in the group, I did not go with the hassle of going DIY for my entire family. Instead, we got a package from an agency and spent Php 11,500/person. Inclusions are the following:

  1. Airport to Hotel to Airport Transfers
  2. 3 Nights Accommodation
  3. Daily Breakfast
  4. Daily Transfers
  5. Half City Tour
  6. Ocean Park
  7. Disneyland

After Hong Kong, how about Japan? I made this article to inspire you. Click here. 

Note: The information above is based on the writer’s experience. You may contact the writer or leave your comments and suggestions below to improve this article. 🙂 

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