Friday, January 7, 2011

What to do in Hong Kong and Macau on your first visit

{Trip from November 2007} I'm obsessive compulsive. I love planning random things, especially when it comes to arranging schedules, budgeting and organizing activities. Being the OC budget biyahera actually helps ease out the worries of not being able to maximize the time and budget provided. I know that there will always be those possible time constraints in every situation. But I've learned how to handle such obstacles throughout my journeys.

Now to give a recap on things, months before my first trip out of the country, I’ve researched extensively the contents of our Hong Kong and Macau itinerary. Through the process, I’ve stumbled upon the following websites that have helped me create our trip activities: 

Travel China Guide - For Tourist Spots
Trip Advisor - For Travel and Hotel Accommodation Tips
Lonely Planet - For Tourist Spots
Hong Kong Extras and HKG Travel - For Tourist Spots
Expedia - Where we booked our accommodations (it was formerly called YMCA Int'l House before the hotel changed its name to Cityview HKG)
CHECK OUT KLOOK FOR SOME AWESOME DEALS TOO!

With the help of a few detailed FREE Hong Kong maps, my Kuya and I were able to go around HKG easily. The MTR and buses were so convenient to find and were very fast, which made the commute a breeze for us after sometime.

Anyway, let me share to you what we did during our short stay in Hong Kong and Macau.

DAY 1 


· Checked-in at our hotel around 2 PM, at the YMCA International House (YMCA Hotel by Waterloo Road, near Yau Ma Tei MTR station).

· Headed out for some late lunch at Mcdonald’s (Central area) with my cousin, his wife, and daughter. Mcdo meals in HKG were pricey compared to ours here in the Philippines.


· Went shopping at the Central area - This particular area would have to be one of Hong Kong’s busiest places. I’ve encountered a lot of our fellow Overseas Filipino Workers, enjoying and having their ‘leisure time’ here. Believe it or not, you’ll see floors filled with people having picnics, watching on their portable TV’s and DVD players, and chatting away throughout the day. It was a familiar sight in HK Central, aside from the many branded outlet stores for you to shop in. 

· Shopping at the Ladies Night Market by Mongkok - The Ladies Night Market (OPEN from noon to 22:30 daily) was the highlight of my day! I went gaga over the many good finds. It was like a mini-Greenhills-and-Divisoria but cleaner! You’ll find a bunch of cheap things to buy in this area ranging from clothes, shoes, bags and more!

· Dinner at Delifrance - We ended the day by having dinner at Delifrance by Nathan Road. The pasta that we ordered was great despite the high cost. 


DAY 2

· The Peak – We were able to get to the famous ‘Peak’ via bus and tram. The place hosted several shopping and food centers too, which housed shops like Starbucks, Giordano and Hard Rock Cafe. An NBA Exhibit was also present during our visit, as well as an Art gallery (you can also check out Madame Tussauds Wax Museum). It also has a Sky Terrace on top where you can access a 360 view of Hong Kong. 


· Queens Road (posh area where the big fashion brands can be located) - We found a  picturesque cathedral nearby before heading out to Queens Road. We even had a nice encounter with a Chinese monk who offered us a Buddha bracelet and a shiny photo in exchange for money. Now, if you’re patient and adventurous enough to go around Queens road, you’ll find several off-the-wall shops that you’ll definitely go crazy for. 


· Get to experience the world’s longest escalator by checking out the Central Mid-levels escalators (the distance that it covers is about 800 meters, and can go as high as 135 meters). It operates from Cochrane Street between Queen's Road Central and Hollywood Road, then all the way to Shelley St.



· Also passed by the Victoria Harbour, where we got to see an authentic Chinese junk! =) You'll also find the Avenue of Stars here.


· Temple Market –
This particular market is near the iFC mall. I was able to buy a few quirky notebooks here, which I gave out as Christmas presents later on. 

· Mongkok (My version of the City of Lights) – Look for Argyle center in Mongkok, as it's one of HKG’s Divisoria-like malls (Argyle Center houses some of the best $HK 20 items

· Ladies Night Market – Can be similarly compared to our Greenhills Mall in the Philippines. 


DAY 3

· YMCA HOTEL - On our 3rd day, my kuya and I decided to check out the other shopping areas nearby. 

· SHAM SHUI PO – Here’s another version of Divisoria. If you're looking to purchase bulk/wholesale items, then this is the place for you. Sham Shui Po is about 3 stations away from the Yau Ma Tei station. 

· DRAGON CENTRE (the mall with the SM feel) – This particular mall wasn’t that extraordinary for me, except maybe for the BIG embossed Dragon display by the escalator. 


· MACAU ADVENTURE!!!!!!! 

Kuya and I also spent our third day in Macau. We made sure that we brought our passport, since we were going to enter a different part of China. No visa’s required. Just your passport. Anyway, we chose to buy our tickets from Turbo Jet, as our means of entry to Macau.

· Payments made: HK $138 to Macau / HK $176 to HK
· FREE SHUTTLE to Venetian Hotel from the Macau Port 


Since we arrived late in Macau, Kuya and I just visited the Venetian Hotel. The shuttle ride to the hotel was free, so we hopped on board as soon as we got off the pier. Whenw e got there, we were able to try out the Casino for their slot machines. We also went around. But we couldn’t find anything that we wanted to purchase, since most of the shops were too expensive for our taste. 


· LAN KWAI FONG (Bar strip-small U-shaped area) - We left Macau at around 7PM, and went straight to Lan Kwai Fong to meet a few friends. This was HKG’s Night Life haven, and it was definitely packed with a lot of foreigners and many other personalities. Although the drinks and food were expensive, we still helped ourselves to some cold drinks and some finger-food. You should try Bulldog’s when you go there! 


DAY 4

· TSIM SHA TSUI – A place where you can get your Fashion & Designer/Branded items. To go there, you can take the Tram, MTR or Bus. 

· GRANVILLE ROAD – This is where I bought my first pair of cheap yet authentic Birkenstocks sandals. There are also several off-the wall shops here, similar to our surplus shops that offer marked down goods. I bought several tops here for only HKD 20 each (that’s about Php120). 


· ARGYLE CENTRE – Went here again to do some last minute shopping. We also ate dinner at The Spaghetti House before heading back to the hotel. 

· Commute to HKG AIRPORT – If you’re coming from Yau Ma Tei by Nathan Road, wait for the A21 Airport Bus. The ride back to the airport will only cost you about $25-35 HKD. Buses that have A’s on them are only the ones that permit and carry any form of luggage inside the bus. Other than that, the entire trip to the airport took about 30-minute (since it went on several stops to pick-up passengers along the way). 

· Steak dinner at the HKG Airport – Our last stop was the Hong Kong International Airport. 



My Hong Kong/Macau trip ends here. But not the wayfaring part. And if this isn't enough, you may also check my other Hong Kong expeditions. Click here to travel with me more.

Explore & Be Free! 
Mai

31 comments:

  1. Hongkong is oone of the best countries I've visited. Sarap tuloy bumalik. =)

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  2. wow, what a great trip. i love hongkong!

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  3. Hi Ness! Oo nga, sarap bumalik lalo na't magssummer na! Nagccrave nako ng malamig na weather. =)

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  4. I love HKG too! When was your last visit Carizza? =) Btw, I saw in FB that you're connected to Wesley Valenzuela. Was he your professor in college? =)

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  5. like 8yrs ago. LOL he's not my prof but I know him and make kulit with him when I was still in 1st yr college hahaha at ust, but im not sure if he remembers me. 

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  6. hehe.. napaghahalata ang age ni kuya wes! bestfriend siya ng kuya ko.. and some of his paintings are actually here sa office namin. Super cool guy! =)

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  7. Do they offer rice meals in Mcdo HK? hehe. Maybe I will be able to travel abroad 5 years from now. Hehe! Will start saving. :D

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  8. Hey Pinay Mama! Prang di ko maalala.. kasi I was ordering mostly their chicken caesar salad (which we still don't have here in the Philippines), and their burgers. =D and go go go! Start saving, kahit P20 per day? hehe

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  9. I like your top hahahah by the way what is that bracelet for?

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  10. Hello Chrisair! =) which top are you referring to? =) And did you mean the bracelet from the monk? There was actually a language barrier, since he couldn't understand english that much. Although I remember him saying that those were blessed buddha beads. That was it. =)

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  11. I so admire your organization skills and you can even remember events of the days....wow! :) I always just rely on gps and google map...

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  12. Nothing like a best laid plan. I'm glad your planned itinerary fell through. And I can see you really enjoyed HK :D

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  13. Hello Nessie! Btw, I love your name. =D And yes, I had a great time with my kuya, and with our friends. It was the best of times. =) Nothing like a well-laid out plan talaga! =)

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  14. Hello Matsumotochan1607! Ano nickname mo? =) 

    And yes, my organizational skills might have been both a curse and a gift.. Many people get to appreciate what I do, while most people just take advantage of it. =)) And before I had my iTouch, I would just manually jot down my activities and expenses on my travel journal. That handy notebook saved my life, especially when it came to remembering what transpired during my trip/s. =)

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  15. woow!! you really looking enjoyed and had fun in your trip.. ;D

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  16.  Agree!! If everything is planned well, things will flow smoothly :D HK is one great place and nothing must be wasted :D

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  17. I sure did, gagay! =) Have you been to HKG too? =)

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  18. I super did, first time makaalis ng bansa kasi..hehe! =)

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  19. So true! Our itinerary was perfect! =) I super loved HKG.

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  20. Sarap naman ng gala niyo heheh thank for sharing this...

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  21. Surely! Sana makatulong kung pumunta ka ng HKG. =)

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  22. thanks for sharing.  Ibo bookmark ko na to para pag me plan kami magpunta ng HK may guide na ko :) 

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  23. Awww.. thanks for keeping my blog a part of your future HKG trip. I hope my itinerary helps. =)

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  24. I haven't been to Hong Kong yet, but I hope I get to visit it soon. Anyway, thank you so much for sharing your itinerary. I'll definitely check this when I get to go to Hong Kong ;)

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  25. Yey! Thanks Sumi! I have high hopes that you will be able to visit HKG soon. Dami naman cheap airfare deals now, plus HKG's just a 2-hour plane trip. =)

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  26. wow looks like you planned your itenrary for a long time ndi siya parang biglaan haha

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  27. True! OC din kasi talaga ako pagdating sa minute details. =)

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  28. This is a great guide for travelers who want to visit both cities. I like how well lit the shopping areas are.
    -Wanderer Juan

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  29. Correct! I actually miss HKG! I want to go back! :) How about you? Any plans to travel there soon?

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  30. Thank you for the compliment, Wanderer Juan! I actually loved that part of HKG (amongst other things), being well-lit and all. :) It's just a sight for sore eyes! :)

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