Monday, 28 March 2016

Hong Kong Macao Travelogue March 2016 -TRAVEL TIPS plus Day 1


I am just back from my short and sweet 5 days 4 nights Hong Kong trip with my parents a couple of weeks ago. This is the first time I am travelling solo with my parents and without the kiddos. Hubby has kindly offered to take care of the kiddos while I get my "leave" from my full time "job". 

Planning the trip without the kids means I can leave out the amusement park (Ocean Park, Disneyland), nap time arrangement, and we can basically eat anything we wanted (spicy etc). 

Prior to the trip, I have lots of useful trip from my cousin who is residing in Hong Kong. Sharing some of his great ideas.

1. Transport from the airport. If you stay somewhere in Mongkok area, it is probably a good idea to take public bus rather than airport express. First of all, you get great savings (Bus HKD$33 versus airport express which cost around HKD$90-100 depending on where you are going). Second, you get drop off directly on Nathan Road whereby you can walk to your hotel (of course again this depends on the location of your hotel but lots of hotel is around that area) whereas which the MTR, you have to transfer station. And lastly, you get a great view on the bus which passing Lantau Island. Plus did I mention that the bus has free WIFI! Yes, you get to surf and get connected, inform your loved ones that you have landed safely and on your way to hotel for FREE!

2. For SIM Card, he bought this (Vave Sim Card) for me and it is so much cheaper than the tourist one with better data plan. You get 7GB of 4G data and after that unlimited 3G data. (The tourist one has a cap of 1.5GB data) and the price he got it from local store is cheaper than what is seen online. You can get them at the phone shop near the Exit C2 of Sham Shui Po MTR Station. Activation is super easy, just put them in your phone and use the data (Surf net etc) and you get activation immediately. No fuss!

3. For ladies who likes to walk around Ladies Street, there is this street which sells more or less the same stuff but at a cheaper price. Also, all the item has a price tag on it so there is no need to bargain or ask how much is it compared to Ladies Street. 

How to go: MTR Mongkok station. Exit B3, walk up the escalator to the overhead bridge. Exit to Fa Yuen Street. You can see the streets while walking on the overhead bridge. 

4. Lastly, my cousin highly recommend Cheng Chao Island to us and we had great fun during our half day trip there. More details in my travelogue. 

So the day has come and everyone is excited for the trip. It is my mum and dad's maiden trip to Hong Kong and for me, it is my 3rd time visiting Hong Kong but my last trip is more than 5 years ago so lots of things are pretty new to me as well. 

Day 1

Mummy at Cactus Garden
Mum and dad couple shot
Our flight departs at 9.30am Singapore time and we had reached the airport earlier. After checking in, we walk around the duty free shops before settling down for our breakfast. I had curry chicken noodle, mum had some toasts while dad had mee siam. After that, we explored the cactus garden which I had always wanted to see but always no time at the airport. 

Flight boarded on time and we are on our way. 

We are off to Hong Kong. 
Flight time is 3.5 hours (30 minutes shorter than what is printed on our air ticket). We reached at about 1.30pm local time (no time difference with Singapore).

Do note that now Hong Kong no longer stamp in the visitor passport, rather the visitor is given a piece of paper that state the name, passport number and the validity of stay so do not be alarmed if there is no stamp on your passport. (http://www.immd.gov.hk/eng/useful_information/non-stamping-immigration-clearance.html)

We cleared custom in no time but the luggage took forever to come and at last , we collected all our stuff and we are famished. There are a couple of restaurants at arrival of Terminal 2 and we got our lunch fixed at Crystal Jade. The  menu slightly differ from what we have in Singapore but I must say the quality of the food is comparable. 

While waiting for the food, I got us the Octopus Card from the customer service area at the Airport Train Express Area. It is HKD$150 for the Octopus Card with a HKD$100 credit inside. Do note that you will only get HKD$41 back from your deposit if you return the card within 3 months of purchase.

After lunch, we walk to the airport ground transportation bus station to take our bus A21. (Just ask around for the bus station and someone will point it out for you). The bus takes us directly to our hotel and we get to see nice scenery on the way. The bus also have a screen which indicates the next stop so that as a visitor, we don't missed the stop which is a great feature. Plus the free wifi, i would say it is almost perfect :)

I found this website which details most hotel which is on this bus route with some other useful ideas. Check it out : http://www.hongkong.net/transportation/to-from-airport/bus/a21

The bus journey took about 45 minutes or so and we checked in to our hotel at 4 plus that evening. We stayed in Casa Hotel during our trip and the location is superb. Rooms are small (normal according to HK standard) but it was ok. We got a room which face the busy Nathan Street and it is bustling for the whole day even at night. Location of hotel is great, facing the Nathan Street and if u take the MTR it is just 2 mins walk from Exit C. Lots of food downstairs and Temple Street is just 2 streets behind us. I had no complains with the hotel. They even offer us thick duvet as the weather is pretty chilly when we are there. 

After showering and freshen up, we walk the busy streets to Fa Yuen Street as highly recommended by my cousin. 

Busy Streets of Mongkok area

Happy and cold mummy...
Along the way, there are lots of people, lots of shop. Totally like what we see in HK TV Drama...


Walk over an overhead bridge and when you see lots of stalls on this Fa Yuen Street, you know that you have reached. Lots of little shops for you to shop till you drop. 

After exploring Fa Yuen Street, just walk over to the adjacent road and you will reach Goldfish Street which lots of little cute animal and lots of fish shop. 
Pretty fishes


Coral
We are meeting cousin for dinner so while waiting and roaming the streets, we sat down for some quick snack. You can't say you have come to HK after you try the curry fish ball, so I bought that and a sausage and we sit down to chill.

Happy duo with their food.

We also walk pass Ladies Street and there is really no price tag for the items plus lots of counterfeit items. Not much people was shopping while we are there. Maybe not late enough yet...

The ladies with the ladies street. 
Our leg finally gave up and it is time for some rest. Tried to find a place to chill but most shops have limited seating area and I can't seem to locate any fast food joint. Finally saw Starbucks and since there is not a lot of people in the shop, we sat down, ordered coffee and rest our legs while waiting for cousin to finish work. 

Coffee time
We met up with cousin at 8pm as per agreed previously and he brought us through the back lane from Mongkok Station to Olympian City. He already made dinner reservations at Modern China Restaurant. Apparently this place is rather popular and you need to make reservation 1-2 weeks beforehand, otherwise be prepared to be in the long Q waiting for seats. He also make reservation for a special dish of Eight Treasures Duck.



Eight treasures duck braised until soft with lots of things inside
Besides the duck, we had a fish, special fried rice and egg white with crab meat and scallop. It was a good meal with great conversations and bonding time.


After the meal, everyone is really full and we even have to takeaway some food that we can't finish. We went for a walk to enjoy Hong Kong nightlife and to burn away the calories from the meal. We somehow manage to walk back to Nathan Street from the Olympian City and took a bus to the ferry terminal. The night view is really pretty plus it was foggy so it is dreamy feel. 


Mum is really freezing as the wind is rather strong... plus the weather is very chilly. 

Happy dad taking photos


From the pier, we stroll to Tsim Tsa Shui area and lots of pretty flowers along the way and mum could never resist pretty flowers :) 

Cousin show us the China Ferry Terminal that would take us to Macao tomorrow. By then, we are pretty exhausted so we took a bus back to the hotel and rest for the night.

Day 2- Macao Day Trip: http://blessedlittletravelers.blogspot.sg/2016/03/hong-kong-macao-travelogue-march-2016.html

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