Travel Guide: Travel essentials, tips, itinerary and budgets when planning a trip to Hong Kong
They say you cannot visit all the hot spots in Hong Kong in one visit, the key here is to prioritize the destination that motivates you from food hunting, shopping and strolling. It involves a lot of WALKING! So brace yourself and wear comfortable clothing and shoes. What’s nice about there – people are fast-paced, the escalators are fast and the transportation from city bus to MTR are super fast and efficient. The food hubs at night are excitingly busy, the shopping districts are open until midnight. Arm yourself with the moolah and you’re ready to hit the HK culture! Best things to do in Hong Kong.
– Lago de Senado (Senate Square)
– St. Dominic Church
– St. Paul Ruins
– Casino and hotels: Wynn Macau (Dragon of Fortune), The Venetian, Wynn Palace (Skycab cable cart), Grand Lisboa, and The Parisian
– Food street
– Souvenir shops
Where to buy cheapest ferry ticket to Macau?
Usually hotels where you are checked-in sells ticket at discounted rate. Ferries to Macau have basically the same rate but you can find travel agencies within China Ferry Terminal (mall) but do check the expiry date and sailing time. They do have peak and non-peak rate.
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Tips when taking a public commute from St. Paul Ruins going to Venetian then to Fisherman’s wharf then to outer Harbour Ferry Terminal.
– To Venetian: take bus line 26A from Almeida Ribeiro/Rua Camilo Station to Est. Baia N.S. Esperanca Station. Bus fare is MOP 6.4.
– To Fisherman’s Wharf: take bus line AP1 from Est. Gov. Nobre Carvalho Station to Av. Amizado/Viaduto Station. Bus fare is MOP 4.2.
– From Fisherman’s Wharf walk to Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal within 10 minutes.
Hong Kong China Ferry Terminal
How to get there?
The terminal is along Canton Road. From Nathan Road, walk down Haiphong Road to reach Canton Road. Reach China Hong Kong City Mall connected to China Ferry Terminal in the 1st Floor
– The Peak Tram
– Sky Terrace 428
– Madam Tussauds Wax Museum
– 3D Museum
– Peak Post Office
– Hong Kong Tourism Board Visitor Centre
Victoria Peak is along Hong Kong Island, from Sky Terrace panoramic views of surrounding areas of Kowloon, and HK Island, New Territories.
The Peak Tram ride is over 120 years old, considered one of the world’s oldest funicular railways, rises to 396 metres or 1,300 feet above sea level.
Sky Terrace 428 is highest viewing terrace in Hong Kong, it offers a breathtaking 360-degree panoramic view across Hong Kong Peninsula.
Madam Tussauds Wax Museum is a noteworthy celebrity-inspired attraction that connects visitors with famous figures and events. It features six areas with different themes. The attraction highlights over 100 local and international celebrity wax figures with thrilling audiovisual effects and interactive adventures to connect with guests.
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Peak Post Office relives the tradition of sending mails, visitors can send postcards to a friend or loved one. There were about 6-8 postcard designs, it costs HK$3 each. Stamp rates depends on the location. We send postcards to Philippines and USA, charged HK$3 each. Transit time is 14 days. Our US Postal recipient received the mail in time (exactly 14 days) while the Philippine Postal Office delivered the postcard one and a half month!
Hong Kong Tourism Board Visitor Centre is located at The Peak Piazza, it’s a 29sq meters visitor center in converted 49-year old vintage metal tramcar used from 1959 – 1989.
Peak Tram Lower Terminus
How to get there?
From Central MTR (HK Island) proceed to Exit J2. The Peak Walk (Central to Peak/vice-versa) start from this point going to Garden Road. Uphill walk towards tram station takes about 20 minutes or less. Go straight along St. John’s Cathedral. Cross Albert Road, across the street you could see the The Peak tram fountain next to the ticketing station.
Buy tickets in package: Peak Tram Sky Pass – Peak Tram return tickets, Sky Terrace and Madam Tussauds
– Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery
– HK Heritage Museum
– Snoopy Land
– New Town Plaza
Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery
The Buddhist temple is a mid-20th century monastery located in 220 Pai Tau Village, Sha Tin Hong Kong
How to get there?
Alight Sha Tin MTR Station, take Exit B. Walk down the ramp and pass by traditional house and locals at Pai Tau Village. Turn left to Pai Tau Street, follow signs to the Sha Tin Government Offices. Turn right to Sheung Wo Che Street. Across the street is the Grand Central Plaza Mall and Ikea store. Go to the end, look for a path behind the Government building. Temple signage can be seen thru bamboo groves with concrete path.
Hong Kong Heritage Museum
Currently the museum collaborated with Bruce Lee Foundation in the United States and has organized “Bruce Lee. Kung Fu. Art. Life” exhibit that showcase Bruce Lee as a film star, martial artist and cultural phenomenon – his great achievements, contributions and signifance in popular culture. The exhibition paraded 600 invaluable memorabilia provided by local and overseas collectors and organizations.
How to get there?
Alight at the Che Kung Temple Station (Exit A), 5-minute walk or
Sha Tin Station, 15-minute walk
Man Lam Road, Sha Tin, HK
Museums in Tsim Sha Tsui
Museum of History
Currently exhibits “ The Legend of Hong Kong Toys” organized by Hong Kong Toys Council, Toys Manufacturer’s Association of Hong Kong Ltd, Leisure and Cultural Services Department.
It features around 2,000 sets of toys made locally and explores the evolution of toys in the past century and the way industrialists transformed Hong Kong into a toy producing kingdom.
Hong Kong Science Museum
Hong Kong Space Museum
Jordan (Kowloon District)
– Parkes Street
– Temple Street Night market along Yau Ma Tei MTR: fake goods and souvenirs, same stuff you see in Divisoria
– Mongkok Ladies Market in Tung Choi Street: fake goods and souvenirs, same stuff you see in Greenhills
– Electronic Steet in Sai Yeung Choi Street
– Dundas Street
– Rubber Shoes Street in Fa Yuen Street: sneakers and rubber shoes (new releases)
– Langham Place (mall)
– Argyle Centre: Non-branded clothes, shoes, and bags
– Sino Centre (Nathan Road): anime and toy collectors
– Pak Po Lee Commercial Centre: girl’s items, casio watches, instax
– Ho King Building: console games
– Yan On Building: hobby shops and airsoft shops
– Mongkok Computer Centre: less than half the prize of Golden Computer Arcade (Sham Shui Po)
– Sin Tat Plaza: cellphones and accessories
– Sim City: electronics, digital cameras, cellphones, powerbanks, cables
– Yin Choi Street : anime, toys and models
– CTMA: toys, instax, girl’s items, anime, toys and models
– Kwang Wa Street (intersection of Tung Choi and Dundas Street): anime, toys and models
– Shantung Street: car accessories
Tsim Sha Tsui (Kowloon District)
– Haiphong Road
– Nathan Road
– Canton Road
– Granville Road: Non-branded shopping, Lung Shing Dispensary (cheapest source of cosmetics, perfume, and body care).
– Hong Kong Space Museum
– Museum of History
– Hong Kong Science Museum
– Avenue of Stars
– Symphony of Lights
– Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront
– Star Ferry Harbour
– Victoria Harbour
– Old Clock Tower
– Kowloon Park – HK Avenue of Comic of Stars
– Kowloon City and Kowloon Walled City Park
– The Peninsula Hong Kong
– Shopping district: Harbour City, Park Lane Shopper’s Boulevard
– HK China Ferry Terminal (to Macau)
– Sky 100 (closer to Kowloon Station)
Avenue of Stars, Hong Kong Space Museum, Symphony of Lights, Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront, Clock Tower, Cultural Center.
How to get there?
Take the MTR going to East Tsim Sha Tsui Station, take exit J which connects to Starry Gallery. The Peninsula Hotel is the nearest landmark, cross the Salisbury Road going to Hong Kong Space Museum, Hong Kong Museum of Arts and the Avenue of Stars and the rest of the tourist spots.
Sham Shui Po (Kowloon District)
– Fuk Wa Street and Fuk Wing Street: comparable to Ladies Market but with lesser crowd
– Apliu Street: electronics, same stuff you see in Avenida and Raon in Quiapo
– Golden Computer Arcade – electronics, console, computers
– Pet accessories
Stanley (Central District)
– Stanley Market: comparable to Ladies Market but with lesser crowd
– Citygate Outlet Mall
– Discovery Bay
– Ngong Ping Village
– Ngong Ping 360 cable car
– Giant Buddha
– Po Lin Monastery
Hong Kong Disneyland
What to expect in Disneyland?
Reckon a great deal of walking, going there you have to wear comfy sneakers and clothing and minimize bringing a lot of stuff. They say you have to be there early to beat the crowds, this idea is applicable to those who do not have tickets yet. I highly suggest to purchase ticket sin advance mostly from hotels/hostels you are staying at, they usually give a discounted rate.
Be sure your octopus card are loaded, this can be useful when going back home, again to avoid ques and the crowd.
Disneyland is indeed full of shopping, souvenir shops are in every corner. But the biggest is the Emporium along the Main Street U.S.A., the commodities are outrageously tolled but they are truly one of a kind, there’s the Disney quality embedded on every merch.
Parades are clocked at 1PM, 4PM, and 7PM. Be sure to reserved slot/seat before the clock ticks so you manageably take photos and videos, especially for children to get a better view.
Fireworks is slated before 8PM, It’s a 12-minute sight and sound show topped with the spectacular pyrotechnics. It’s a compilation of Disney’s famous cartoon movie characters.
How to get there?
From the MTR, alight Tung Chung line (orange lane in the MTR map) and transfer to Sunny Bay (Mickey Mouse train) station going to Disneyland Resort station.
– Shopping district
– Noon Day Gun
– Time Square Mall
– World Trade Center Mall
– Wanchai Computer Center
– Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center
– HKCEC Promenade\
Hong Kong Wetlands Park
Nan Lian Gardens
Century Old Ding Ding Tram
Lamma, Lantau, Cheung Chau, and Peng Chau
Do It Yourself Trip
How Much Do You Need for a Trip to Hong Kong?
Approximately PHP30,000 – PHP40,000 per person on a 4D3N, this budget depends on the quality of accommodations, food expenses, and choice of airplane.
Sample Budget Details:
As for 2017, actual working budget is PHP40,000 on a 6D5N. Airline is based on a family rate (Philippine Airlines) and accommodation is based a guest house in Tsim Sha Tsui n Kowloon district.
This budget is inclusive of:
Meals – HK$150/day
MTR (transportation) – HK$200
Disneyland ticket – HK$1,375
Macau visit (ferry ticket) – HK$459
The Peak (Sky Terrace 428 and Madame Tussauds Wax Museum) – HK$
Sha Tin (10,000 Buddha Temple and Heritage Museum)
Museum in Tsim Sha Tsui
The budget does not include extra budget for food, shopping for clothes, toys, memorabilia, trinkets, and “pasalubong” (treats to give to friends and family).
It’s best to book accommodation direct contact the hotel/hostels admin via official website unless you have an existing account in an online booking websites such as booking.com, agoda.com, traveloka, expedia.com, hotels.com, etc. to get reward points. But as per my observation and accommodation comparison, online booking sites displays discounted rate but in reality they add jack-up price (service charge) on final computation.
US$ to HK$ in Hong Kong is normally pegged at US$1 = HK$7.7.
My friendly advice is to exchange money in Manila, a budget to get started when arriving in Hong Kong airport. Say exchange US$300 to US$500 (usual rate PHP1 = HK$6). At this pace you can go around the airport to purchase your MTR card and food if needed. Money changer in Hong Kong airport charges varies from unreasonable rates. The recommended place to exchange money (rates are between US$1 = HK$7.6. to 7.7).
In Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui – Golden Crown Guesthouse, inside Mirador Mansion, or Chungking Mansion
In Worldwide Plaza, Central – Frankie Money Exchange.
I checked the money exchange shops in malls, ferries, remittance centers; they pegged as low HK$6.6.
List of Reliable Money Changers in Metro Manila (when buying HK$)
Sanry’s – Trinoma, Glorietta, and Greenhills
Czarina – main office only
AsianFX – main office in Rufino Plaza, Makati Citry, Greenhills, Market! Market! BGC Taguig, and Gateway Mall.
Cheapest Place to Eat
The cheapest meal available in Hong Kong are below HK$50. Set your budget within HK$50-70 (PhP350 – PhP500) for a safe meal. Local eateries and fastfood offers authentic and affordable meal can be found in Café de Coral, Fairwood, and MX. I recommend Jordan district, the streets like Parkes are within the budget meal and totally satisfying from traditional Chinese restaurants to night food market. Walk around Mongkok district and find a variety of restaurants along the way.
Other local eats can be found in:
– Tsim Sha Tsui: Side Streets of Hankow, Ashley, Granville, Humphreys, and Kimberly
– Causeway Bay: Jardine’s Bazaar and Jaffe Road
– Central: Wellington and Stanley Streets
– Foodcourt of City Super, Apita and Aeon.
– Food Republic Food Court in Citygate and Silvercord Mall
– Sogo basement
Dine with style at:
How to get to your hotel/hostel
Transportation to and from airport, purchase Octopus card at International Airport Arrivals, this card is refundable. There options to reach the city proper: bus (CityFlyer), MTR (airport express), or taxi. Airport bus is the most convenient route to get to the city proper.
CityFlyer Fare and Routes
A21 Bus for Kowloon District
Rate: HK$33/adult, HK$16.5/child under 12 yrs. old
A11 Bus for Hong Kong Island
Rate: HK$40/adult, HK$120/child under 12 yrs. old
Check your hotel’s website and look for INSTRUCTION for public transportation. They normally attached street maps and bus stops.
After passing the immigration, proceed to Customer Service Counter in the Arrivals Hall near McDonalds. The octopus card is payable by HK$ only. They close at midnight before the last trip of the Airport Express buses to the city. If you cannot get ab octopus card you can pay the airport bus using cash.
There is a HK$50 deposit for the card upon purchasing it. You need to load HK$100. Standard initial load for an adult is HK$150 to HK$200, child HK$70. The card deposit can be use if you can’t find a place to reload it, you can swipe as high as HK$35 only.
The card is refundable if you choose to surrender it upon leaving Hong Kong. You may return the card at Customer Service Counter in the airport. Although the card has an expiry of 1,000 days (almost 3 years validity). If you have not reloaded value within the duration, the octopus card will be deactivated. Reactivation can be done in any Customer Service Centre at MTR stations.
Octopus card can be avail in the airport or in any MTR station. Card reload in MTR stations and 7-Eleven store. Minimum reload is HK$50.
OC can be used for the following mode of transportations: buses, MTR, peak tram, star ferry, and HK island tram. Can also be used to buy goods in 7-Eleven, McDonalds and other places.
How to use the octopus card?
For bus: Tap once upon entering on the front door
For MTR: Tap once on the reader to entrance and tap once to exit destination
For trams: Tap once upon exiting on the front door. Entrance at the back.
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