Had a chance to visit HongKong.
As always tried being on my own and almost no cabs. Succeeded very much on the same and ended up saving a lot of money. Especially in HongKong where taxi’s cost a bomb.
If you are visiting HongKong for the first time and your motto is only having fun and in a budget, look for a hotel in MongKok. I stayed in Cosmo MongKok and ended up as a very pleasant experience. First thing, dont expect palaces, you get the right amount of space. Thats it. You’ll find every inch of the room used, dont complain. HongKong is like that.
The moment you land, the surprising thing you’ll notice is that crazy toy train from gates to terminal building. So crazy that it goes at a maddening speed and its un manned. It took me 2 mins flat to reach from the arrival gate to reach Terminal.
Collect your bags, walk to immigration, HongKong’s arrival card is designed to fit in your passport unlike the fullscape paper given in India. Fill in, find the right que as there are many counters dedicated to HongKong Nationals, Diplomats and e-Channels.
No hassles, they ask for your return ticket and hotel booking. Thats it, your Visa is stamped.
Walk out, there is a counter to buy tickets to Airport Express. Usually there is a long que, skip it, walk out, there is a ticketing counter near the Airport Express Platform, which is relatively less crowded. For MongKok I took a ticket to Kowloon and got into the train. 24 Mins. I was dropped in the station. Got out, I was a little confused about the location of the Shuttle and took a cab. And this is the only Taxi I took in the entire trip. Ended up paying around 80$.
Hotel guys told me there is a free shuttle to important points and asked me to make use of it. Trust me, all the hotels have it and it is very very useful. HongKong lives on Octopus card. Its a prepaid card, which is accepted almost in any place of HongKong. From MTR to Buses, McDonalds, KFC……name it…almost everywhere. I will suggest you to buy one as the travel on MTR will be cheaper as you will get a 10% off.
Dump Google maps, it just isnt accurate when it comes to your location, even while having a proper fix. I think its just a GLONASS thingy…..didnt get deep in to it.
Day one, walked to Nathan Road, walked the whole road, looking at the Chow Tai Fook, Citi Chain, The enormous amount of Camera Shops, Fortress everything.
Walked into a local restaurant and had the most famed French Toast loaded with butter and a Coffee. Trust me, the coffee has such a punch that it will punch you with caffeine as hard as possible. Just loved it.
Now Really needed the phone on 3G and took the One2Free card for 80$, which gave me unlimited 3G access for 7 days. And there was some 20$ left as balance. Good enough.
Nathan Road goes and bangs into the Arts Exhibition Center of HongKong, parallel to Canton Road. Took a right, crossed Peninsula and went to Victoria Bay. And took the ferry tour.
Was an amazing experience. There is just no better way to see the HongKong Skyline. Great to click pics.
They have 2 prices, 80$ and 155$. The expensive one is for the Symphony of Lights cruise. I would suggest, take the 5.55PM cruise which is the last one before Symphony of Lights, come back, stand near the viewpoint and see the Symphony of Lights.
Came back to Nathan Road, Walked the whole road again, ended up in Mongkok station, Ladies Market (Negotiate hard, very hard, If they say 250$ be shameless and ask for 100$, you’ll get it)
Had some more street food and crashed.
Next day, took the Hotel Shuttle to China Ferry Terminal, Took Turbojet to Macau. Word of caution, the mobile sim taken in HKG will not work in Macau and the free Wifi is very scarce in Macau unlike HongKong. Be prepared to be in a dark spot if you are on a day trip.
I took a private tour and I ended up with a conclusion that except Venetian Macau and other few casinos and Portuguese Style buildings, Macau tower…….everything else is skippable.
Came back from Taipa Ferry Terminal on CotaiJet. Thats a massive hydrofoil. Really massive.
Next Day, Ocean park!
Simplest way to travel, walk to olympic station and take a train to Admiralty. You will have to get down in HongKong station and change trains. Pretty easy as you have english written everywhere. Get down in Admiralty, come out you will get buses to OceanPark. Another caution, dont buy tickets for OceanPark in the hotel. Buy them in Admiralty station, there is a counter for the same. 30$ lesser.
Take the bus, get down and have fun. And dont miss the Hair Raiser.
I Skipped Disney. On the way back from Ocenpark, Took a train and went to causeway bay to spend some time in IKEA. Dont miss the PopCorn and Coffee in Ikea Bistro! Amazingly cheap and extremely tasty.
Next, full shopping. These HongKongers tend to guide you to Canton Road if you ask for shopping districts. Canton Road has only super brands. LV, Prada, Chanel, Fendi, Burberry Etc. Not my cup of tea.
You can really find superb deals in Nathan road. You just need to walk a bit and explore. I happened to bump into Bossini with a 80% sale. Good quality stuff and throw away prices. I somehow felt it makes sense to buy in these outlets rather than LAdies market as I was not convinced with the quality.
Another great location is Hankow road near Canton road. Got really good stuff there.
Getting back, If you are taking the airport express, you can checkin your baggages in Kowloon station itself.
And if you wish to spend some more money and time, HongKong International airport is an amazing place. You have a very nice mall inside with not expensive prices. And there is a IMAX theater also.
Now the pix below! (Might take some time to load, used all hi-res pix)