I was actually supposed to go to Bali. A few hours before my flight, CebuPac announced that they were cancelling the flight to Bali due to ashes brought by the volcano near Bali. I did not want to waste my excited spirit that time, so I booked a flight to HK instead of waiting for the postponed flight by adding some pesos to my Bali flight, in which CebuPac gladly assisted on the matter.
Hong Kong is not actually my kind of trip as the area is so urban for me. It does not interest me that much. But hey, having a last minute change in plan is more exciting, right?
I packed beach clothes, not the glamorous ones I can wear inside shopping malls of HK and Macau. I hyped up myself walking on the sand, not on busy streets.
Where did I stay in Hong Kong?
Staying in Hong Kong was not as nice as my experience in other countries. I stayed in one of the hostels in Chungking Mansion. Chungking Mansion is a multiple-floor building with lots of hostels. The ground floor is a bit crowded, and shady. Staying in Chungking Mansion was an experience, but I guess I will not stay in this place again.
The rooms are small, and the people at the ground floor are a bit rowdy and noisy. The building was also a bit scary, and it would be really difficult to escape the building in case of fire.
You can check rooms in Agoda.
How I Spent My Stay in HK and Macau?
I bucketed my trip to 3.
Day 1: Urban Tour
Morning: Walk around Tsim Sha Tsui, Traverse to Hong Kong Island
Afternoon: (Hong Kong Island) The Peak, Sunset
Night: Eat at Tim Ho Wan, Traverse back to Tsim Sia Tsui, Night Show by the River, Night Market
Day 2: Cultural
Morning: Ngong Ping Area –> Tian Tan Buddha (Big Buddha), Wisdom Path, Po Lin Monastery
Afternoon: Tai O Fishing Village –> Stilt Houses, Seafood Market
Night: HK Streetfood
Day 3: Macau
Morning: Historical and Cultural –> Senado Square, St. Dominic’s Church, Ruins of St. Paul’s, St. Lazarus Church, Cemiterio de S. Miguel Arcanjo
Afternoon: Urban –> Casinos!
Day 4: Shop and Departure
How to Go Around?
Get a map, or download a map. Ask locals, guards and other tourists. Go and figure it out. It’s part of the trip.
Day per Day
Day 1: Urban Hongkong
From Tsim Sha Tsui (Chungking Mansion), take a ferry going to Hong Kong Island.
Catch the light show at night!
Day 2: Lantau Island
After going around Ngong Ping, ride a bus to Tai O Village.
Day 3: Macau
Catch an early boat ride to Macau. You can do a one-day Macau trip just make sure you are willing to move quickly. You have to return to HK for your flight!
Read this to know how to transfer to Macau: http://www.nextstophongkong.com/how-to-get-to-macau/
Make sure you buy a round-trip ticket so you won’t need to line up for your return ticket.
Macau was the last European colony in Asia under Portugal. You will see the Portuguese influence of Macau in its old buildings. They write signages in three scripts — English, Chinese*, Portuguese. What I observed actually is the non-necessity of putting Portuguese in the signages since majority (if not all) of people of Macau, as what I have observed, do not speak the language. I guess it is just for tourists’ consumption more than something functional, which its purpose is to convey a “Portuguese” vibe of Macau.
My number 1 observation in Macau is that there were lots of Mainland Chinese tourists! If you find discomfort traveling with lots of Mainland Chinese, brace yourself.
Tourism and Gambling are the main economy drivers of Macau. So, in the morning, I took the “Tourism” part, and the “Gambling” part in the afternoon.
Morning: Historic Center of Macau
It was a bit humid during the time I visited Macau. I cannot just visit Macau and see The Ruins. The Portuguese influence does not stop here. So I walked around and looked for St. Lazarus Church. Then I ended up in these areas:
Now for the Gambling part, I returned to the Port since the new big casinos are in Taipa (other island of Macau), while the old casinos are in Macau Mainland. I prioritized the new casinos. From the port, there were free buses that took me to the casinos of Macau.
Since I had extra time and energy, I returned to Macau Proper to check out the old casinos.
Where to Eat?
The only popular restaurant I intently ate at is Tim Ho Wan. I ate lunch and dinner where ever I was. But for breakfast, I got my food at 7-11.
- Hong Kong has three islands: Kowloon (where Tsim Sha Tsui is), Hong Kong, Lantau.
- Cost of living is quite high. Dining can be a bit expensive, so I suggest that if you are on a tight budget, get food from 7-11.
- The same amount of hostel when you go to SEA countries will only give you a small room in HK.
- HK and Macau have a high number of Mainland Chinese tourists.
- HK public transportation has three main modes: bus, ferry and train. The major public transportation mode is the bus (their bus system is a bit tricky).
How much to prepare?
Lodging – 800 per night x 3 = Php2,400
Day 1: Php 2,000 (food, transpo)
Day 2: 2,000 (food, transpo, entrance)
Day 3: 1,000 (food) + Php2,500 (boat)
Note: 1 HKD = 6 Php