We have this tradition of going out of the country every year to celebrate our wedding anniversary. For this particular year, we decided to visit Hong Kong, a neighboring country 45 minutes away by plane.
Our itinerary was simple, get out of the country, relax, see the sights. Of course, the obvious target was to visit Disneyland HK. My wife’s childhood dream was to be able to visit one of the world’s playground for every kid. And finally, we were able to make one of her dreams come true.
Costly? Not really. We had to save up probably around P40,000 (US$ 900 – 1000) for the entire 3-day, 2-night stay). We spent around P7,700 for the airfare for two (Cebu Pacific Air was on sale that season), and then we booked ourselves to stay at the Auberge Hotel, located inside the new territories, HK. Auberge was recently opened, so we were still able to enjoy the introductory rate, which was relatively cheap for a 5-star hotel. Getting to and from within HK is a breeze, which made me appreciate their government and transportation system even more.
Taxi cabs were not difficult to find, as there normally is one on every major destination. Coming from our Hotel, we just took the bus which arrived and departed exactly as it displays on the bus stop schedule.
Buses were also not difficult to identify. They are color coded and letter number coded. Most major destinations also offer a small leaflet that contained the schedule. The first time to use their bus system can be quite confusing, but after your first try, the rest will be relatively easier, all it takes is that first experience, until you realize, oh, so that’s how it works.
We didn’t experience much traffic during the 3-day stay there. We used the bus going to and from Ocean Park and Disneyland. Coming from the New Territories side of Hong Kong, we had to take the ferry, so timing was crucial. Like I said earlier, the buses strictly adhere to their schedule and if you’re even just 5 seconds late, sorry, you’ll have to wait for the next bus. The same goes for their ferries, they stick to their routes and schedules.
Ocean park was our destination on day one. We saved Disneyland for day two. We got there using the bus as well, with absolutely no chance of us getting lost because we just simply stuck to the schedule and proceeded to the appropriate bus stop.
Ocean park, like most theme parks, was a childhood dream. It’s like a modern-day zoo, where you’ll see animals that you normally get to see on a daily basis. Penguins, pandas, and other attractions await every child in us. Paying for the one day pass was also child’s play. It was affordable, and it allowed you access to all parts of the park already, for the entire day. Lockers were provided in case you need a place to stash your stuff into (at a reasonable price, of course).
We particularly enjoyed the Panda farm as it always fascinated us how they adjusted to their new habitat. It’s amazing how self-sufficient these creatures are. The attendant gives them a set of leaves, and they can already take care of themselves after receiving their daily meal. They take a good stash of leaves, roll it up with their paws, or hands, whatever you call them, and then after creating what looks like a huge cigar-roll of leaves, they eat them as if they were eating a burrito. Like I said, fascinating creatures. You can probably catch a glimpse of the panda on the top part of the image on the left.
The rest of the park provided everything you’ll need during your visit. Souvenir shops, they also have animal shows with respective schedules, bathrooms, and of course, good places to go to when you’ve grown hungry from all the walking and sight-seeing. Everything at a reasonable price.
Hong Kong is also famous for their budget-friendly shopping district. It’s also easy access to those who prefer to commute. I’d recommend you take the train, should you wish to visit one of their known places for shopping for the economical. The Mong Kok district can be accessed using their train system, which, like the bus, was a bit confusing to translate at first, but again, the color coding made everything easy. We saw a lot of fellow pinoys working there as sales folks, which, in my opinion, made it easier to transact with as we could readily use our native language.
Think of Mong Kok district as their own version of our ‘Divisoria’ or Greenhills ‘tiangge’.
Hong Kong is definitely a place we’d love to visit again some time. People are friendly, lots of pinoys everywhere, prices are relatively cheap, and hats off to the transportation system. If and when you decide to visit HK, I’d recommend you book the flight and the hotel on your own, and separately. We learned that taking the ‘bundles’ or the ‘flight packages’ normally would result to you having a lower class hotel room, which is just for sleeping purposes. Though our intention in HK was to sight-see, we also wanted to sleep well and be able to relax completely. Booking Auberge was a smart and affordable choice. I’d recommend their hotel anytime.
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