I will be honest here, I have never thought of flying to Hong Kong in 2017. I’ve always pictured it to be a place bustling with people and surrounded with tall skyscrapers that you won’t even see the skies anymore. I’ve always preferred places with greeneries and see the hues of blue and green of the ocean since I was born in a small island in the Philippines and lived in a more laid-back city. And I was right! This little urban territory tucked in the Southeastern part of China surely has a lot of things going on. But this place won’t stop enchanting tourists from coming. Wanna see what a gem Hong Kong is? If you answered yes to my question, then keep on reading this blog.
Getting to Hong Kong from Cebu
We booked our flight tickets in July since we were worried there won’t be upcoming seat sales anymore that would be available for our travel dates in December so we booked our tickets immediately when we saw a relatively cheap round trip airfare.
We got our round trip tickets for 4,860php with Cebu Pacific.
Currently, Cebu Pacific has only one schedule flying in and out of Hong Kong. They depart to Hong Kong from Cebu at 06:10AM and depart from Hong Kong at 09:45AM daily. Always look out for seat sales and plan it months ahead if you are a traveler like me who wants to see the world without having to spend so much fortune. But if you’re not on a budget or wouldn’t mind having flight stop-overs, there are many airlines out there that cater to this route. To see available flights, check this site –> Skyscanner.com
The Accommodation: Traveller Friendship Hostel
I will not lie. I hated our experience with this hostel. We had so much stress upon check-in and I will tell you straight away at this point to avoid this hostel. No free breakfast and terrible service, that should put you off from ever considering this hostel.
To summarize what happened, they forfeited the 2 rooms we booked and made the 6 of us stayed in a room that’s good for 4 and we had to shell out extra money for this crazy policy they have. Picture this, we arrived at the hostel at around 2:30PM in hopes that they can consider an early check-in since we were so tired and my grandma was traveling with us. They didn’t allow us to do so until my cousin could present his travel documents to match with the booking and so we had to wait until around 9:00PM when he arrived from Singapore. And it only got crazier from there. Read about my detailed review about this hostel to see what really happened –> Traveller Friendship Hostel Review.
The only positive thing I could say about this hostel is its location. It is situated in the Mirador Mansion in Tsim Sha Tsui which is pretty central and has access to the major attractions in Hong Kong. It’s also only a 5-minute walk to the TST station which gives easy access to the trains. It’s also near restaurants and fast food chains which is a great thing since I’m always hungry. We ate at KFC and McDonald’s a lot during this trip to save on budget for food as eating in restaurants is unsurprisingly expensive.
There are other hostels inside the Mirador Mansion and I’m sure the management is better than of Traveller Friendship Hostel’s so I’d advise you to stay around this area if you’re a budgetarian. Check these websites to see accommodations in Hong Kong –> Agoda, Booking, and Traveloka. If you prefer to book private apartments or houses, you can do so by booking with Airbnb. Sign up here and get 1,100php off your first booking –> Airbnb.com.
Tip: I usually book accommodations with Traveloka since they always have promo codes available for you to book with them at discounted prices. You can also book flights with them. Yes, Traveloka is legit.
Getting around Hong Kong:
Friends were kind enough to lend us their Octopus cards so we didn’t have to purchase them. An Octopus card is what you will use for the trains and buses in Hong Kong. You can also use this to pay for purchases at certain stores and restaurants. It costs 150hkd or 967php with 100hkd worth of usable stored value. It’s re-loadable at the MTR stations or at convenience stores like 7/11. They have a different card for seniors aging 65 years old and up and the fares cost cheaper than of the regular ones. For more information on this, visit –> Octopus card.
Taxis are also available in Hong Kong but we didn’t get the chance to take them since we found the MTR the most efficient and the cheaper choice.
Tip: If staying in Mirador Mansion or the Chungking Mansion, take the A21 city flyer bus from the airport rather than taking the airport train as it only costs 33hkd or 213php. Alight at bus stop no. 13 or 14 and walk over to the mansions. It’s very near, I swear.
Highlights of the trip:
- City Tour- You wouldn’t come to Hong Kong and expect a provincial or rural setting. This place is all about the busy streets, towering buildings, and living in a concrete jungle. This former British colony is for those who like being in the big cities. Explore Hong Kong by foot or by train and see the famous landmarks within the city. Hong Kong is very vibrant with many locals and tourists swarming the city. You might not like this urban gem at first, but in the long run, you will get to appreciate its beauty. I swear I imagined Bruce Lee walking the streets of this bustling city in the past and I get so pumped with that thought! 😄
- Visit the Night Markets- Spare at least a night or two to check out Hong Kong’s night markets. We visited the Ladies’ Market in Mong Kok and the Temple Street Night Market in Jordan since these two are the most accessible to us. And oh my, I was so ecstatic to see all the items they were selling there. From knock-off designer bags and shoes, cheap retail clothing, to great souvenir items, they’re all here!
I was especially amused on the area near the Ladies’ Market as they have so much retail stores on shoes! And shoes are my biggest weakness! I went on a mini-adventure in Mong Kok in search for the perfect shoes to reward myself after working hard for the year, and alas! I found my prized possession at one of the shoe stores there. I bought a new pair of New Balance 520 for 470hkd at a sale price. I would have bought another one if we weren’t on the run to catch the last train back to Tsim Sha Tsui!
There are also many food stalls around the night market for you to dine on if you ever go hungry. After that, gotta get back to more shopping, of course! 😉
The night markets run until midnight so you could enjoy shopping until the late hours but do not miss the last train back home or you’ll end up taking a taxi which would cost more.
- Visit the Disneyland Resort- I can not stress this enough! When you are in Hong Kong, you need to visit Disneyland! I was tearing up while I was there as everything was so nostalgic. I was mumbling to myself the whole time that this was my childhood right here.
So many attractions and rides to do and I actually felt like a day won’t be enough, I was right again. We missed rides since we only have a limited time so be there early. So glad we went there on a Saturday and we were able to witness the spectacular fireworks display! I read in the news somewhere that they are soon going to stop doing the fireworks display so we were really fortunate that we were able to witness it before it’s gone. We expected a lot of crowd since it was weekend but we were given priority access on the lines for the rides and the shows since we were with a senior. We rented a wheelchair for my grandma so she could relax and not get tired from all the walking. This became a great advantage for us since we were able to skip the lines. 😂
Dust, my cousin, planned out which rides to take and which shows to see on what time so we were able to see some of the major shows like the Festival of the Lion King show, Mickey and the Wondrous Book Show, and do quite a number of rides. It’s very important that you strategically plan what you wanna do and see there so you get to enjoy your preferred attractions.
Before heading out to Disneyland, bulk up on food during breakfast as food inside the resort is very expensive! And they won’t allow you to bring outside food. I totally enjoyed the food they served at the Banquet Hall since it was undoubtedly delicious, but the price is too much for one meal. HAHA. We spent more than 5,000php for food here that’s good for 6.
If you have loads of money to spend and would like to take your Disney experience up a notch, stay at the Disneyland Hotel and book a 2-day pass to the Disneyland Resort. See Disneyland Hotel room rates here –> Disneyland Hotel booking.
We booked our 1-day Disneyland tickets for a discounted price of 3,341php each at Klook. Watch out for their sales and you might be lucky enough to get insanely cheap tickets. Book here –> Klook Disneyland Tickets.
- Do the TramOramic tour- One of the most authentic way to experience Hong Kong is through this tour. You are treated to a 1-hour city tour aboard a 3rd generation open top tram or what the locals call as “ding-dings” from the 1920’s. It comes with an audio guide that will tell you a tale of Hong Kong’s history while on the tour. At the end of the tour, you are rewarded of a Golden Ticket that gives you unlimited access to Hong Kong Tramways’ network for 2 days where you can ride their trams and explore over 60 attractions.
We booked our TramOramic tour tickets for a discounted price of 489php each at Klook. Watch out for their sales and you might be lucky enough to get insanely cheap tickets. Book here –> Klook TramOramic Tour Tickets
Tip: Make sure you have a map of the pick-up point of this tour. This will really come in handy or else it will be hard for you to locate the place. Print it out from Klook.
- Go to the Peak- This activity went from “what” to “wow” and then “what” again real quick. I’ll explain further so don’t worry.
The meet-up point of the tour was located at the Central Station Exit K and it was a little hard to locate. You can ask around since there are many Filipinos around the area. We went there on a Sunday so it was really great to witness how the Filipino community meet up in the area to catch up with each other and take a break from their lives as OFW’s. Good thing we were there early as people started to arrive and the area was suddenly crowded with many tourists who booked with Klook for the same tour. Klook gave out stickers to distinguish us from other tourists who booked directly on the site. The walk from the meet-up point to the peak tram station was very loooong and exhausting since Hong Kong isn’t a flat land. We thought we would finally get to relax when we get to the station but no, we were greeted with another looooong queue of people all waiting to board the peak tram.
It was made clear then that booking with Klook will always have its advantages. Aside from the discounted ticket prices, they also usually have express lanes which is very convenient which was applicable to this tour. We learned that the queue could take up to 2 hours if not booking with Klook but we only waited to board the tram for 30 minutes. Thanks Klook!
The tram ride to the peak was an adventure in itself. It was ascending to the peak in a steep, slanted angle that I feared the tram could flip over anytime. Imagine a 45 degree angle, that’s how slanted it is.
Finally reaching the top of the peak tower, you will get to see a panoramic view of the Hong Kong skyline from the Sky Terrace 428 and it is breathtaking!
There are many restaurants, stores and other attractions to see at the peak tower so you could grab your lunch here like we did and do some shopping. We skipped Madam Tussauds as we were there on a limited time as Dust needed to catch their flight back to Singapore that night.
The ride down back to the tram station is another exhausting experience as Klook no longer have an express lane so you have to queue up along with the regular passengers. We found a way to amuse ourselves and not dread the long line by playing Heads Up! game while waiting for our turn to board the tram.
The long walk and the long lines are what made this tour from Klook a “so-so” for me. But the view at the top of the peak is surely a highlight on our Hong Kong trip. I’d do it again if provided another means to reach the peak like a private taxi to avoid the lines. So this will make my next tip…
Tip: If you would like a more convenient trip to the peak, take the taxi or hire a private car. This would be more expensive, of course, but it will save you on time and strength from all the standing up at the queues.
We booked our Peak Tram + Sky Pass tickets for a discounted price of 625php each at Klook. Watch out for their sales and you might be lucky enough to get insanely cheap tickets. Book here –> Klook Peak Tram + Sky Pass tickets.
- Airfare – P 4,860.00
- Philippine Travel Tax – P 1,620.00
- Mactan International Airport Terminal Fee – P 750.00
- Octopus Card Top-up – P 967.00 or $ 150.00
- A21 City Flyer Bus from Airport to TST – P 213.00
- Traveller Friendship Hostel Accommodation – P 2,560.00
- Hong Kong Disneyland Ticket – P 3,330.00
- TramOramic Tour Ticket – P 489.00
- Peak Tram + Sky Pass Ticket – P 625.00
- Total ——-> P 15,414.00/person excluding food and shopping
*Currency conversions are based on current conversion rates of HKD to PHP from XE.com
I flew to Hong Kong with doubt in my mind if it will ever be in par with the beauty of Singapore. I went home with joy in my heart and a realization that Hong Kong definitely has a beauty on its own. I was sad that we didn’t get to see more of Hong Kong as we only spent 2 full days to explore the city. I know I will be back soon, so no need to sulk in here.
There are many other attractions to see in Hong Kong if you are permitted to stay a longer time. Here are top attractions we missed that you can try:
- Ocean Park Hong Kong
- Ngong Ping 360
- Victoria Harbour and the Symphony of Lights
- Madame Tussauds Hong Kong
- Avenue of Stars
- Tai O Fishing Village
- Man Mo Temple
- Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade
- The Clocktower
What made this trip special for me is the fact that we actually traveled there to celebrate my Lola Otilia’s and Tita Beulah’s birthday. There were so many happy memories despite the misfortunes (ahem… hostel…) and surely, this trip was just as exciting as the previous trips I took. I never expected I’d join this trip as this was scheduled just a week after my Singapore trip. But boy was I glad I decided to go. Another foreign city ticked off the bucketlist. ❤ So for those who haven’t thought of flying to Hong Kong since you have the same perception as I do, fly to Hong Kong and see this dreamy city for yourself.
For now, this blog ends here. 👋