|Flashpacker in Hong Kong|
I must admit that I am a flashpacker. And as a flashpacker I do always want to check and have the most convenient place that i will go to, be it to travel or have a good extension stay.
I always carry my Nikon D3000, a tripod, a SAMSUNG Notebook, and my HTC Android phone wherever I go. I don’t mind spending extra if it will make sure a hassle-free stay, be it local or international destination. Oh yes, I also do backpacking. But more often, it’s flashpacking. It must have been my gadgets and my extra clothes that I bring plus an ATM and a bit of cash inside my pocket.
|Got my Nikon D3000 for my travel photos.|
Just recently, I went on a 3D/2N Hong Kong trip with fellow blogger Azrael Coladilla – and it was our first! Well, we didn’t get lost, thankfully!
Before that trip, I confirmed my hotel and airline booking days before and as always, Cebu Pacific Air never failed me with this short notice. Likewise, our agent provided me and my companion a very nice and chic hotel booking in Hong Kong, which is called Kimberley Hotel.
Before our early Monday morning flight, I booked myself to Gran Prix Hotel in Pasay for the night to give me extra convenience going to Ninoy Aquino International Airport for that 5:30 AM flight. I arrived at the airport around 3AM for early check-in.
And here goes our trip as we share our Hong Kong trip diary with you.
Me and Azrael lined up to Cebu Pacific Air check-in counter. We showed our passport and had our baggage cleared for check-in. We both have 15 kilo baggage free for that flight and 7 kilo free for hand-carry.
|Early morning check-in at Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Terminal 1, Manila, Philippines for our 5:30 AM flight to Hong Kong.|
After paying Php 550 each for the Terminal Fee and Cebu Pacific Air people checked our belongings, we went straight to the Departure Area. But before entering the Departure Area, we submit to the Immigration Officer’s booth where our passport were checked and stamped. After they cleared us, we boarded Cebu Pacific Air flight 5J 108.
Four minutes ahead of our landing schedule, we arrived at Hong Kong International Airport Terminal 1. And wow! This airport is huge!
|Inside Hong Kong International Airport, Terminal 1.|
We were already at the lobby of the Arrival Area of Hong Kong International Airport. We waited for Mr. Ben Chan, our agent in Hong Kong who met us and took transfer us from the airport in Lantau to our hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui.
|With Ben Chan (in white shirt) of SL Travel based in Hong Kong.|
We took time to exchange for a Hong Kong Dollar currency. We first exchange Php 5,000 each and we got HK$820 for that.
We also bought here our Octopus Card for HK$150 which can be used in major purchases in Hong Kong such as the MTR, double-decker bus, taxi, fast-food, shopping, etc.
Read more tips at Discover Hong Kong – Asia’s World City.
The exact time when we boarded the van from the airport going to Tsim Sha Tsui.
|Getting ready for our ride.|
|Our ride to Kowloon.|
After boarding off, we proceed to the reception area of Kimberley Hotel in Kowloon, Hong Kong. We deposited an amount of HK$1,000 for incidental fee.
|At the front desk of Kimberley Hotel.|
Just right after we leave our baggage to the lobby (it’s still way too early for our check-in time which is 3PM) we went outside the hotel and started to feel the Hong Kong experience!
|Outside Kimberley Hotel.|
We scouted and mapped possible places to visit and restaurants to discover. Since it’s nearing lunch time, we head on to the nearest foreign exchange booth, which is by the way is almost in every corner.
|Time for foreign currency exchange.|
We saw this small Chinese restaurant, we didn’t even know it’s name because it’s written in Cantonese. We went inside and ordered lunch. It’s like turo-turo because we just point to our order base on the picture and price on the menu board. I don’t mind whatever it is as long as it can be eaten and digested, it’s alright with me.
|Azrael posing outside the famed Chinese restaurant.|
|Munching a Vegetable Rice Bowl with Shrimp and Fried Dumplings on the side. Total lunch costs HK$62.|
Almost everywhere, you’ll find 711 stores. If you want to get on the budget and missed the opportunity of enjoying authentic Chinese food, then you’re options ranges from 711 and fast-food stops like McDonald’s KFC, Burger King, and others.
|711 at Carnarvon Road.|
|Mineral Water and Coke in can are easily available through these joints.|
Oh! Look! There’s a Cotton On store just right across Granville Road and Shun Yee Street!
|Clothing store Cotton On in Kowloon.|
|Cotton On side street.|
|Hong Kong noodles!|
|Pecking duck, anyone?|
Everywhere there are road and street signs.
|Road signs are visible everywhere, even on the pavement. Hong Kong is also a right-hand driving city and pedestrians must observe traffic rules and signs very carefully.|
We just found a UNIQLO store here in Kowloon, Hong Kong at the Mira Mall.
|UNIQLO, Kowloon, Hong Kong store.|
|It’s Fall Collection already here at UNIQLO.|
En route to Nathan Road and our feet brought us to Kowloon Park.
|Nathan Road is one of the busiest main road in Kowloon that stretches from Tsim Sha Tsui all the way to Mong Kok.|
|Entrance to Kowloon Park. Park is open daily.|
|Free Wi-Fi is also available here.|
|Kowloon Park is home to pigeons and they live freely here.|
|This scene reminds me of one of my favorite action movie director John Woo who loves to put pigeons in his films.|
Now we go back to our hotel.
|Kimberley Hotel at Kimberley Road, Kowloon.|
And this our room! A non-smoking Deluxe Twin Bed
|Twin-sharing room perfect for travelers like us.|
|Fish-eye view of our room.|
After a short rest at the hotel, we decided to stroll the rest of Kowloon. Weather is partly cloudy and rainy this time around but that’s okay because we brought our jackets.
|Crossing Carnarvon Road.|
Going to the Avenue of Stars.
|Road signs to Avenue of Stars.|
|Taking the subway to get to the other side.|
It’s kinda good to know that everywhere you go here, you’ll see a lot of road signs which are useful especially for tourists. Also smokers, take note of this. Smoking is prohibited in most areas and penalty for smoking in public places may cost you HK$5,000. Make sure you know where are the designated areas for smoking.
|Also, if you have to go you must control or else, urinating in public is a major offense in Hong Kong.|
After some walking, we finally reach Avenue of Stars. This is breath-taking. I just can’t believe my eyes that I’m in Hong Kong already. The sights are wonderful, just like the ones we see on TV.
|Here we are and I’m beside the big clapper!|
|Oh yeah! We’re in Hong Kong baby!|
We ran into numbers of “stars” by known Chinese celebrities like Wong Man Lei, Raymond Chow, Jet Li, Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee and many more.
|Bruce Lee’s “star”.|
|Bruce Lee’s statue.|
|Azrael caught me doing one of my acrobatic shooting skills.|
Avenue of Stars is a great outdoor park where tourists and locals alike gathered and enjoyed a priceless moment while enjoying the sight-seeing of mainland Hong Kong just across the bay.
|From Avenue of Stars you can see the great view of mainland Hong Kong across the bay.|
This month also celebrates the 2012 Hong Kong Wine and Dine Month.
|November 2012 is Wine and Dine Month in Hong Kong.|
It’s also a perfect time to watch the sunset from Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade bridge.
|Sunset at Kowloon.|
Passing Hong Kong Space Museum before heading to the Ferry Concourse where we will ride the Star Ferry to get to the other side, mainland Hong Kong.
|Outside the Hong Kong Space Museum.|
At the Harbour City where we’ll ride the Star Ferry to Central Pier (fare is around HK$3). When in Harbour City in the evening, don’t forget to take photos of the lighted buildings by the bay.
|Panoramic shot of Harbour City’s Watch Tower.|
|Inside the Star Ferry at 6:20 PM.|
|Scenic view of Hong Kong Island from the Star Ferry.|
|Approaching Central Pier in less than 5 minute ferry ride.|
|Exiting Star Ferry. Time check at 6:26 PM.|
We set foot at Central Pier and will proceed to Victoria Peak Tower. From here, the famous IFC (International Finance Centre, Central) can be seen up and close. IFC is one of the tallest landmarks in Hong Kong Island. But before we went to Victoria Peak Tower, we met up with Azrael’s cousin who took us first at the top of the mountain for a great view of Hong Kong before going to The Peak Galleria where The Pearl of Orient (Victoria Peak Tower), Hong Kong by Night is experienced.
|The impressive International Finance Centre, Central by night.|
The Peak Galleria is also a one-stop dining and shopping places here. Perfect to buy some t-shirts and souvenir items.
|The Peak Galleria in Victoria Peak Tower.|
They say, you have never been to Hong Kong if you did not go to Victoria Peak Tower. This is one of the great places in Hong Kong. Best to enjoy Asia’s World City night view. Madame Tussauds wax museum is also found here.
|Hong Kong via Victoria Peak Tower.|
|We don’t want to miss this! Picture with Bruce Lee at Madame Tussauds wax museum. He’s all waxed up alright!|
After almost a two-hour tour that usually costs HK$380 (HK$280 for kids aged 2-11 yrs. old) at Victoria Peak Tower, we drove around downtown for more sight-seeing side trip. We were brought to Wan Chai, also called the red-light district. Here we saw a lot of bars and clubs, and it’s not surprising that you’ll see a lot of Filipinos in these streets. There are also bars known as and managed by Pinoys, such as Spicy Fingers, Boracay Club and Makati Pub & Disco.
|Driving around Wan Chai on a Jaguar. Cool!|
|There’s Makati Pub & Disco to your left!|
After a late dinner treat, topped by of Sinigang na Salmon sa Miso and downing a couple of Corona beer, we found ourselves waiting for an MTR ride at Admiralty Station. This station is just one ride away to get to Tsim Sha Tsui Station. It’s the ride that connects Kowloon and Hong Kong via subway train that passes through an underground tunnel under the sea. It’s a smooth and no more than 2 minute ride and you’re in Tsim Sha Tsui. Costing at roughly a HK$4. Thanks to Octopus Card!
Another good thing about the MTR, and might good for our government to replicate, is that their stations has glass panels beyond the platform which may prevent pushing or other accidents might happen. These glass panels opens simultaneously when an in-coming train opens its doors for passengers. Pop points for that, Hong Kong!
|MTR Admiralty Station. Just one ride stop to Tsim Sha Tsui.|
|Inside the train looks crowded but it’s not. It is very much spacious and passengers follows the right path of way from boarding and alighting the train.|
Our first day in Hong Kong was a blast and we visited different places already. It was a great day. Weather is cold in Hong Kong and we love it!
Thank you Team Asia, Hong Kong Tourism Board, Ocean Park Hong Kong, SL Travel (Mr. Ben Chan), Kimberley Hotel, and Cebu Pacific Air!
for more interesting updates!
Next stop: Ocean Park Hong Kong!
Follow our Day 2 as we visit and experience extreme rides inside Ocean Park Hong Kong on our next story. Let’s go!
Visit Azrael’s blog here www.AzraelColadilla.com for more Hong Kong trip adventure that we had.