Hello friends! As I mentioned during my last post, Ma’am Elaine and I visited Hong Kong weeks ago. It was a very productive travel and I enjoyed it very much.
We took our early morning flight for Manila via Philippine Airlines. Then, waited for our connecting flight from NAIA to Hong Kong with the same airline. I was a bit fussed with them because they advised us that our schedule for Manila to Hong Kong was changed only days before, when everything was already scheduled. Thus, instead of an early flight of 9am to Hong Kong, we were scheduled 2pm, that mean we had an entire day as our traveling time. I had to change plans, and opt out Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car ride and Ngong Ping Village visit for the next time. It hurts but we have to wisely calculate time so as not to cause stress while on a foreign trip.
We arrived in Hong Kong International Airport by 5pm and met with the travel agency representative. First thing that I learned is Hong Kong people are time-conscious. Every second truly counts for them. They are even talking and walking fast, that we had to hurry to claim our 4G Wifi sim card and Octopus Card we booked through Klook and KKDay. We then took a coaster, going to our hotel, Rambler Garden Hotel.
I was so tired that I thought we will instantly fall asleep. Our next day is full-packed but Ma’am Elaine is eager to explore the place. Thus, took the elevator down. It is interesting that I thought below the lobby is already the basement. Instead, there is still two floors which houses the pool, then the other one has the café and convenience stores like 7-Eleven. The hotel was made and placed strategically. Rambler Garden Hotel is a high-rise three-star hotel with 800 rooms located in Tsing Yi Road, Tsing Yi. Beside it is Rambler Oasis Hotel. It is also near to the bus station and shipping companies. By the way, Hong Kong has the largest shipping industry in the whole world.
We woke up early the next day and took our breakfast at Café de Coral. The meals all look delicious but my Filipino stomach is being picky! The 25HKD noodle is seemed miswa to me, but our miswa is still more delicious for me! Ha, what a struggle on a first day. I also picked a somewhat egg bun and a coffee.
In the lobby, we saw several Filipinos waiting for the ride, only to find out we belong in the same tour bus.
First, we went to Victoria Harbor with a very breathtaking and picturesque scenery, then shortly at Avenue of the Stars. It was just a bit sad we only made it to the entrance where the statue of Bruce Lee was. I researched regarding all the places I saw in our itinerary and there’s more inside and even more beautiful if we went to Hong Kong Cultural Centre with its famous backdrop. However, our tour guide seemed obsessed of our next destination which is the Jewelry Factory where we were invited to see some expensive jewelries only made in Hong Kong.
After over 40 minutes of staying inside the jewelry shop (That long that we thought the tour guide is really hoping we would all buy), we hopped back in the bus and this time, we got shocked. One of our tour guides asked us to pay 180HKD for our photo placed in the plate frame. Those were the photos he took one by one of us in Victoria Harbor; he did not tell us we have to pay for it afterwards. Everyone was anxious that we do not have any choice but to pay because our faces are already there. I have pondered I read about this warning in a blog post long time ago, yet I did not expect that I would be visiting Hong Kong so soon. I am sure as well that our local travel agency did not expect this circumstance, reason we immediately moved on from paying 180HKD for a souvenir that we do not like. Thus, I am sharing this as a reminder to those who plan to go to Hong Kong. Have the courage to ask if they will charge one they take photo of yours, and learn to say no when you are asked to pay for a souvenir you were not given idea about beforehand. For us, we were not really expecting it and we felt like we have no choice, but if you know it beforehand, I think you could be more prepared and mustered in saying no, and instead buy cheaper pasalubongs in Mong Kok. Hehe.
Thereafter, we went to Aberdeen Fishing Village.
We took a sampan ride at the quaint and charming Aberdeen Fishing Village – with a picturesque harbour, boats, seafood markets, and floating restos. There, you will see old-fashioned junks and sampans, some house boats where fishermen and their families still live (at least for some 9 months of the year). It is a surprising scene of Hong Kong of years ago with touch of modernity. The high-rises framing the harbour and ultra-modern yachts moored not far away, complete this picture of contrasts.
We paid 60HKD for the sampan ride because it is not included in our tour package. Though we were oriented by our local travel agency that it is optional, I bet the experience is new. Thus, I did not just mind paying.
We decided to not redeem our free lunch anymore since we were planning to visit Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in Victoria Peak. We were actually anxious on what kind of transportation to take, good thing we bumped into a Filipino family who were going to the same destination. Plus, Ms. Majo and her family are all accommodating. We were three groups that went with them and we ate lunch and laughed away our earlier incident together.
We made a few strolling, passed by Central Station, had been lost a little bit and finally found our bus. The double-decker bus ride from Hong Kong Central to Victoria Peak took more than 30 minutes.
Madame Tussauds is famous as tourist destination and has branches in many Asian countries (I will have a photo blog separately for our visit to Madame Tussauds Wax Museum). What I looked forward in this place are the figures of fashion icons Kendall Jenner, Taylor Swift, Coco Chanel, some Korean idols (especially Lee-jung sok!) in their K-Zone and The Selfie Gallery.
After Madame Tussauds, we also had a glimpse of Hong Kong’s picturesque view in the next floor.
Thereafter Madame Tussauds, The Peak and reloading our Octopus Card, we went back to Central Park through The Peak Tram (Another check in the bucket list!) and we made it only less than 15 minutes! We then asked for quick tips from Ms. Majo, particularly on how to go to and go back home (Haha!) from Mong Kok, and after, we thanked them, bid goodbyes, and broke out from the group.
We were initially lost, but we unexpectedly made it to Hong Kong Park, another tourist site away from hassle and bustle.
We then went down to Pacific Palace, and made it to Admiralty Station. It took us several residents to ask for a way and little Google Map to be at the station. Though not all Hong Kong people are not that accommodating to be asked for, there are some who will really guide and even walk with you to the right way. We were just lucky to bump to some nicer ones that it did not took us a long time to be on our right way.
We took the MTR going to Mong Kok and how lucky for us that Ladies Night Market is just very near and few steps away from the station. Mong Kok is one of the busiest districts in this part of the country and is famous for cheap finds, street foods and pasalubongs (I still have to revive some Mong Kok photos in my Google Photos. Huhu!).
We took our first ever rice meal and though, it’s not that tasty for me, having something in my stomach is already more than enough. Perhaps, I found another challenge in my traveling person self, that I am really too picky with food. Uggghh.
Our first day is very long. It might not perfect but it’s all worth it. Getting lost is part of the fun. In fact, I more enjoyed our DIY time because we interact more with locals, stay as long as we want to in a particular area and explore as much as we want. Though, I still appreciated guided tour because we spend more time exploring, than stressing over being late because we initially struggle with our transportation. I guess, we balanced both guided and DIY in our first day and I am happy about it.