July 24-26, 2015
Hello! Sorry for the lack of updates. It’s been a busy couple of months, and I’m not complaining :).
Last July, I was able to travel back to Hongkong (my 3rd time!) and of course go to Disneyland (more on that later). But the main purpose was to do a mission trip, which is to offer our support the FILCS (Filipino Cornerstone) branch in Hong Kong. I was also very blessed to be going there with one of our team Pastors and his family. I’ve always wanted to go back to these theme parks with my future kids, so I got a glimpse of that with my pastor’s kids. Anyways, this post is mostly to offer travel tips to first-timers in Hong Kong so here we go.
I did my money exchange in Changi airport before I left. 1 Singapore dollar is equivalent to approximately 5.4 Hong Kong dollars. In the case of SGD and HKD, it is advisable to do exchange from your departure point rather than do it in the country of destination. If you forgot to have your currency exchanged before boarding your plane, there will also be currency exchange counters in HKIA so no need to worry.
Once I’ve finished with the immigration process and got my baggage, I went to the Customer Information Desk to buy my Octopus Card. I paid $150 for the Octopus card for adult, which is $50 deposit and an initial load of $100. The balance that will show every time you use it is actually the balance left from the 100 dollars and you can top-up at any MTR stations and also in convenient stores. You will need to top-up because one-way fare from the airport to Tsing Yi station is already $60. If at the end of your stay you still have money left, you can return the card to the Information Desks at the airport and they will return the balance plus the $50 deposit for the card. Take note that there is also the Airport Express Travel Pass that is unlimited for train rides that the airport personnel recommends to tourists but I don’t recommend it as it doesn’t cover Bus and Tram rides. You can use the Octopus card for any transportation as well as to pay for your items in some convenience stores.
Hong Kong is one of the countries you can go to on your own without needing to consult a travel agency for tours. I say this because their transport system rocks! Much like South Korea, Hong Kong has a very complex MTR system that can take you from one end to another.
To go to Hong Kong, Kowloon, or Tsing Yi stations, take the Airport express train which will take 14 – 24 minutes. To say that it’s a very convenient way to go to HK is an understatement. The train is not so crowded, and you can sit back and relax while you pass by the beautiful scenery Hong Kong has to offer.
We stayed in Ovolo Hotel located in Sham Shui Po, Hongkong which is near 2 subway stations: Nam Cheong and Sham Shui Po. It is a very nice hotel situated in an old district. I went to HK with 2 families and they were the ones who booked this hotel. We booked the Family Suite, which had 3 rooms, and I was the one who occupied the small room. The hotel has very good facilities such as toiletries that are replenished every day, Wii Nintendo (which was a hit with the kids and adults because.. Super Mario!), Cable TV, free breakfast and snacks (free flow in the afternoon), mini kitchen, the list goes on. It’s a bit pricey for my budget but the freebies made up for it. And really the best thing was it is near the MTR. (Note: Sham Shui Po is the best place to go to for electronics and gadgets).
So after I reached the hotel and settled in for a while, it was time to go to Disneyland! It was raining when we reached Disneyland but after that initial downpour it didn’t rain anymore during the day :).
If you’ve been following this blog for some time you would know that I love theme parks! Haha. Seriously, it’s kinda my happy place. And Disneyland is not spared, it’s one of the best I’ve been to so far. This is my 3rd visit to Disneyland HK so you get what I’m saying. Although before it was just with my friends and family, going with kids it’s a totally different thing altogether. I can’t wait to bring my own kids here. I don’t know if it’s because of the kids, or my lack of sleep (I reached HK 6 am and we were in Disney before lunch), but it was a very tiring yet fun-filled day. And thank God the weather cooperated with us. My absolute favorite part of Disneyland is.. wait I can’t think of one. Haha. I like all of it. Going there is easy peasy, just take the Tung Chung line going towards Tung Chung and alight at Sunny Bay station, then take the train towards Disneyland Resort. Admission tickets are $499 HKD for adults and $355 for kids aged 2-11. Anyways, enough rambling and moving on to photos! (warning: there might be a LOT)
We stayed until the end of the fireworks and waited for the crowd to go before we finally took the train back to our hotel.
The following day we went to meet up with church leaders and afterwards we went to Avenue of the Stars. It was my first time here, and I’m not sure why we skipped this place the last 2 times I went to HK. Anyways, think of it as Hong Kong’s version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It is located along Victoria Harbour Front in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong kong. It is a walking distance from Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station (Exit J). It showcases hand prints of famous Hong Kong celebrities such as Jet Li, Bruce Lee, Michelle Yeoh, Stephen Chow, Andy Lau and much more. It offers a good view of the harbour front and the Hongkong Island and from here you can watch the Symphony of Lights at night.
Afterwards, we went back to the hotel to rest for a bit, and then us ladies went out to go for some night market shopping! The best place to go to would be in Mongkok, where there are stalls in the streets selling clothing, toys, shoes, bags, etc. Just take the Tsuen Wan Line towards Hong Kong and alight at Mong Kok station and exit via D3. Look for the signs towards the Ladies Market.
My last day was dedicated to church services and activities. My flight going back to SG was at 9:45 pm so I left the hotel at 6 and was at the airport by 7pm. To say that it was chaotic at the airport is an understatement (just my opinion). It didn’t help that I came early because they didn’t announce my boarding gate until an hour before boarding time. HKIA is huge, but it’s a bit confusing. By the time I reached my boarding gate, I was already rushing to queue for boarding because the gate was on the other side of the terminal. However, I’m still very thankful for this trip and would love to go back to Hong Kong over and over again. 😛