Revisiting Hong Kong 9 years later

The first half of 2019 was a difficult one. A lot of things kept piling up (physically, emotionally, mentally), that it was already too much to handle. My husband and I needed a breather from all the stress and challenges that OFW life and work threw at us, that we decided on a whim to travel somewhere in Asia. We initially wanted to explore other Asian countries that we haven’t been to yet then realized that we still had to apply for a visa, which might take some time. We had to leave in a few days, so that wasn’t ideal for us. But that’s when the idea of going back to Hong Kong came to us. Asia’s World City has always been a favorite destination of mine (been here twice already). So it just felt right to revisit it after nine long years. 


We didn't book any pick-up service, as we initially planned on taking the bus to the city center. But it was raining hard when we arrived in Hong Kong early in the morning, and we saw how heavy the traffic was outside. So for us to check into our hotel in time, and for us not to get soaked in the rain, we decided to take the Airport Express. It was pricey for a single journey ticket (HKD 170 for two pax). But we were surely afforded a faster and comfortable trip. We got what we paid for, and we were pleased with how efficient the train system was. 


My husband and I didn’t create an itinerary for this specific trip. We just agreed to go wherever the wind and our interests blew us, which was both exciting and fun. And since we were on a budget, we made sure to allot a specific amount for us to spend per day. 

We checked-in at the Mini Hotel in Central, which was just a short walk (less than 10 minutes) to the nearest metro station. Plenty of trendy stores and delightful hole-in-the-wall restaurants can also be found in this area, which was advantageous for us, location-wise. 

But the hotel itself is a different thing. It was a disappointing stay and was not worth the price tag. My husband stayed in the same accommodation in 2016 and was content with his stay. But my experience with the lodging, however, was below standard. I’ll maybe write a more detailed review of the Mini Hotel on a separate post. 

Our first day in the city consisted of grocery shopping for breakfast food (a.k.a. cup noodles with tasty beef meat pieces) and trying out the local cuisine. We had brunch at Tim Ho Wan and ordered our usual favorites: the baked BBQ pork buns and steamed dumplings. We also had dinner at a local restaurant, which we recall have already been to before. I forgot the name of the eatery. But one thing that I will never forget is their big bowls of hot noodle soup (larger than my hand), which came with a generous serving of tasty broth and yummy noodles. It was a dining experience that truly helped us combat the cold rainy night. 


We decided that our entire Hong Kong visit would be a food trip of some sort. So shopping and sightseeing weren't made a priority. We wandered along Nathan Road and found several eateries that offered local dishes. But at the last minute, we decided to hop on the metro and go to Kennedytown, where we found a Michelin star restaurant called Sheung Hei Dim Sum. 

I wasn't able to take photos of our dumpling orders, as the locals who we had to share a table with kept looking at our every move. The restaurant was a bit tight-spaced, so we were seated with random people. My husband and I were probably the only Filipinos who dined in at the time, so we looked so different from everyone else. Anyway, we didn't stay as long as our table mates did because we could no longer bare how sloppily they ate. Good thing the food was commendable. 

Afterward, we headed back to Mongkok to find work shoes that my husband could bring back to Dubai. But before we discovered the best and most affordable pair of desert boots at Clark's, we surprisingly found the first milk tea shop that we fell in love with 9 years ago called Comebuy Tea. What used to be a small shop, was now a bigger, cozier, and trendier space. Their milk tea varieties have evolved as well. But we still bought our usual favorites, which felt reminiscent of our last trip to Hong Kong. 

We still had a lot of energy to expend, so we decided to watch the Symphony of Lights at the Victoria Harbour. The show wasn’t as vibrant and stellar as the ones we’ve seen in the earlier years, but it still wowed the audience. 


Our third day was more relaxed, as we got to spend it with family. But while we waited for my cousin to arrive for lunch at IFC Mall, we took a few photos and selfies from the rooftop (near Shake Shack), overlooking the Ferris wheel and harbor. 

My older cousin, who lived with his wife and daughter, has been based in Hong Kong for several years. It's probably been more than a decade since the last time I saw him, so I was so happy to enjoy the day with him, and for him to finally meet my husband. 


We decided to go on another random trip in Hong Kong before flying back to Dubai. We started our day early and soon found ourselves exploring Wan Chai. We then ended up eating large slices of pepperoni pizza from Paisano's before boarding a tram back to Central. The tram, which was our first time to ride, was pretty exciting to experience. We wished we rode it more during our first few days. But that was impossible, as it rained almost every day. 


We got on board the E11 airport bus in Central, which was an hour's drive to the terminal. We flew out of Hong Kong at around 6:30 PM and arrived in Dubai almost midnight. 

We landed in the UAE feeling refreshed and ready to take on our days abroad once more. Our Hong Kong trip was a kind of reset button to life, and I am grateful that my husband and I got to experience it together. 

Explore & Be Free! 

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