Travel Guide to Hong Kong

1:23 PM



Why would I visit Hong Kong?
That's a good question.
Other than a vibrant city with a modern Chinese culture, what's interesting about Hong Kong?

Well, if you have visited Singapore countless times like me, you would probably think about those questions too. You will think that Hong Kong is Singapore, but bigger. Even one day before my departure, I still had not prepared anything other than ticket, my AirBnb booking, money, and passport. This didn't happen when I visited Osaka or Seoul last year, which I prepared every detail since a month before, especially the itinerary.

The plan to visit Hong Kong (and Macau) came from an idea to have a holiday together with my boyfriend, since he lives in Taipei and we don't see each other often. So, we look for a country that is near Taiwan but I haven't visited yet. Hong Kong is on the first list. So, yeah. We booked our tickets and AirBnb without any further plan, hahaha.

But as soon as I landed, my motivation to explore the city got raised. Hong Kong seemed to offer various attractions and foods which need to be on my bucket list. And the fact that this country is really easy to access and explore, made it even better. Yes, I'm talking about the free visa and a very convenient public transportation.

So, here we go.


General information about Hong Kong

According to Wikipedia, Hong Kong is an autonomous territory and former British colony in southeastern China. So, Hong Kong is a part of China, but different. Hahaha, you're getting confused? Don't worry, it is confusing for me at first too. China gives Hong Kong a special authority in many parts of its governmental decision. It has its own flag, currency, and many other things.

Hong Kong itself consists of some islands, as you can see in the map below. But don't worry, you can explore most of the places with their MTR and bus (MTR is their MRT name, don't be confused, hahaha).

Taken from travelchinaguide.com


Staying in Kowloon area is the best choice, I think, because most of the hips are going around Kowloon area. You can shop til drop at Tsim Sha Tsui, try many top listed restaurant from foodie blogs at Jordan, or even take a ferry to Macau. I stayed in Jordan area and never was I lack of idea of what I eat anytime in a day. Plus, if you want to go to Lantau or Hong Kong island, just take an MTR.

From the Airport to city

You can get into the city by many means of transportation. City bus is the cheapest. I paid only HKD 33 to get from airport to Jordan area. The bus is double-decker, which is super cool because you can view the city at once. If you prefer the faster way, take Hong Kong airport express. But it only stops at Hong Kong station. You need to get MTR to your nearest station or take a free shuttle bus if you stay in Hong Kong's major hotel. The airport express costs about HKD 90 for one way trip. You can check its website for more detail. If you prefer a more private transportation there's always taxi :)

Visa
I think most countries don't need visa to enter Hong Kong. But better check the information in your country. If you have Indonesian passport, you only need to fill the departure & arrival card. When you land, the immigration will scan your passport (no stamp will be put in your passport) and take the arrival card. Please keep the departure card, as you will need it if you leave the country to Macau, China, your home country, or other countries. Please also make sure your passport is still valid at least 6 months before the expired date.

How to get around
MTR, bus, tram, taxi, you name it. Hong Kong has one of the most convenient transportation system to explore its country, especially inside the city.
Get an Octopus card!
Octopus card is your life-safer. Octopus card is their prepaid transportation card like EZ-link in Singapore or ICOCA in Osaka. Octopus card is also accepted in some shops as a payment method. When you land at Hong Kong airport, make sure head up to their MTR or Hong Kong Express counter and buy the Octopus card. It costs HKD 150 (HKD 100 for balance and HKD 50 for deposit which you can refund at the end of your trip). You can also buy a tourist pass, of course.

Octopus card. So sad that it doesn't have a cute design like Korea's T-Money

Internet
I honestly can't travel without internet, even though for just few days. If you are like me, then you should get local internet connection. If you travel alone or prefer to have a private internet connection instead of shared, then getting a local SIM Card is a must. The best choice for tourist SIM Card is CSL Discover Hong Kong sim card. It costs HKD 118 for 8 days fast internet and can be recharged if you need for a longer stay. When you get out from the arrival gate, go left. You will find a gadget store named IOIO (or 1010?), you can get the SIM card there. They can help to put it in your phone too. Oh, by buying this SIM card I also got 50% discount admission to Madame Tussauds, which is on my bucket list! Wohoo! (not sure when the promo ends).

If you travel in small group, then getting a pocket wifi is a good deal. There are some pocket wifi counters in the airport that you can try. But if you don't want to get an internet connection, is fine too. Get an accommodation which provides you with a free internet and you can use free internet at some MTR stations or public places :D


Weather
Hong Kong is hot and humid, for me. Don't expect it has the same weather as Japan or Korea. Even compared to Taiwan, Hong Kong is even hotter. I traveled in early April but the sun stroke really hard, especially when I went to Ngong Ping. But it's getting cooler and windy at night. The good thing was I could pack shorts and t-shirt rather than filling my luggage with thick coat. Check accuweather before you pack to ensure the weather.


Accommodation
Accommodation in Hong Kong in my personal opinion is a bit costly. Do not expect a big space with a low price and demand many facilities which you may find in Seoul. Room space in Hong Kong is mostly small, or even cramped because if you search for an affordable stay you might find a room without any space left except for bed and bathroom. Thankfully I found Anthony's place in Airbnb. His place was the most affordable and convenient I could find. Just a minute walk from airport A22 city bus stop and Jordan station. Many foodie spots also are easily to be found around there, including my favorite Australian Dairy Company. I could literally also walk to Tsim Tsa Shui area and one stop MTR to Kowloon ferry terminal. So convenient! With only IDR 1,000,000 per night (or about USD 77), I got digital-locked room with double bed, private bathroom, and free internet access. He also cleaned the room everyday and let us to do early check-in also late check-out.
Check Anthony's place here for more detail.
Anthony nor Airbnb didn't pay me for this review. I really feel glad I found his place :)
Oh, if you're new to Airbnb, you can use my referral code to get IDR 350,000 discount (or about USD 27). Click here or visit https://www.airbnb.com/c/pmayasari1?s=8 to get it!


What to do in Hong Kong

Don't worry, I'll be writing a separate article for my 5 days 4 nights travel to Hong Kong & Macau. Below is just a highlight of the trip.

Wandering around Golden Bauhinia Square
Golden Bauhinia is so iconic for Hong Kong. But not only the golden flower which you can see. You can also enjoy the day view of the Harbor and also taking cute pictures with their anime characters.
How to get there:
Get MTR to Wan Chai Station and continue with 15 minutes walk (across the footbridge, turn right and continue walking to Central Plaza, pass through the overhead walkway and go down to the ground level).

This is impossible to win, isn't it?

Day view of the sea

The mighty flower of Bauhinia

Hong Kong Ferris Wheel (Observation Wheel)
Taking a Ferris Wheel to have a bird-eye view of a city is a must, I think. With only HKD 108, you can take a 15 min ride, which I felt it was too short (whyyy. I love the high rideeee).
How to get there:
Take MTR to Central or Hong Kong station. Walk across the pedestrian bridge near IFC Mall and walk downstairs when you reach the ferry terminal.


The Ferris Wheel!


View from above


15 min is too shooort!

Taking Tram to The Peak and Playing Around Madame Tussauds Museum
Taking tram to the Peak I think is the most iconic thing to do when in Hong Kong. It is an enjoyable ride (almost 45 degree climbing the hill, wohoo!), a majestic view, but it can be painful as you need to queue a long time for the tram (I queued for almost 1 hour for the tram ticket). My suggestion is avoid weekend or public holiday, but the ticket online (it can cut the ticket queue significantly), and if take the bus downhill if you don't want another tram (queuing) experience after your visit. You can skip Madame Tussauds if you want, but I enjoyed Madame Tussauds more than the peak itself, hahaha.
How to get there:
You need to go to the Peak Tram Lower Terminus. From MTR Central station, make your way to the J2 exit and walk up to the ground level. Turn right, through Chater Garden, cross Queen's Road Central, and make your way up Garden Road.

Oh, hello, guys!

Day or night, city view from The Peak is just stunning
Shopping
Whatever you're looking for - branded stuffs or even cheap souvenirs, Hong Kong has it all. High end brands are all over the city, especially around Tsim Tsa Shui area. Mong Kok also has many range of products from lower to high-end. Go to its Ladies Market for cheap souvenirs or to Pottinger Street. If you're looking for crazy discounted branded items, go to Citygate Outlet (beside Tung Chun MTR station).

Pottinger Street is also an iconic place to take picture

Take a day trip to Macau
With just an hour Ferry ride, you can reach another special authority country of China: Macau. You will be brought to a totally different view of huge casinos, hotels, and Portuguese style buildings. Without too many people filling the street, Macau is actually a romantic place to go. But unfortunately I went there on Sunday and all I can see is people everywhere. I couldn't barely breathe. They said at night Macau is also stunning with pretty lights coming from their huge buildings, but for me one day trip is enough. You can go to Venetian, explore the ruins of St Paul church, or even enjoy their famous egg tart. Around the city you can take taxi or just hop on free shuttle bus owned by some hotels. Read here for more detail about my day trip to Macau.





See Big Buddha in Ngong Ping
This is also a well-known touristy place in Hong Kong. Take a 30 min train ride from Hong Kong station to Tung Chun and another 30 min bus ride to Ngong Ping, this is worth to visit since it has a stunning view. Actually you can take cable car from Tung Chun to Ngong Ping, but when I was there, it was still on renovation. I actually could take a city bus but looking at the queue, it is so frustrating. Luckily, Ngong Ping cable car provide a shared tour bus. With only HKD 100 you can get a scheduled tour bus and you don't have to queue!


Look at this view!

Favorite shot so far


Le buffalo appeared!



Watch Symphony of Lights
Symphony of lights is actually a light and sound play by the building across the harbor. It's only a short show (about 10 min) started at 8pm everyday, but Hong Kong city's view at night can never be wrong. I watched it from The Avenue of Stars spot and it was stunning.
How to get there:
Take MTR to East Tsim Tsa Shui station and take exit L6, just follow the signs.

While waiting for the show


Hunt for Michelin Street Foods!
Hong Kong surprisingly has many Michelin listed street food restaurants! Which I love, because most of my memorable experience in traveling is about the foods, hahaha. Will Fly For Food blog helped me to find those street foods. But don't worry, even though it's not Michelin listed, Hong Kong foods are as delicious as you can get, from an authentic Chinese foods to fusion with western foods. Just eat, it's my advice.
Below are some Michelin foods I tried in Hong Kong.

Kam's Roast Goose
Po Wah Commercial Centre, G/F,, 226 Hennessy Rd, Wan Chai, Hong Kong

(Take the MTR to Wan Chai station (Exit A4). Walk east on Hennessy Rd and Kam’s Roast Goose will be on your right.)
I never eat goose before. I had a low expectation when coming to this place even though it's Michelin listed (i didn't even know it's Michelin listed before going there). I was afraid that I wouldn't like it. But I was wrong. 30 minutes wait was really worth it. The roast goose was the best! I had it combo with roast pork which makes it even better. I also drank the honey-lemon tea which was really refreshing. A must try place to eat!

Prepared for the queue!

We paid about HKD 165 for two combo meals and honey-lemon tea

Yat Lok
G/F, 34-38 Stanley Street, Central, Hong Kong

(Take the MTR to Central station (Exit D2). Walk northwest then make a left on Theatre Ln. Cross Queen’s Road Central to D’ Aguilar St. Make a right on Stanley St. Walk up Stanley St and Yat Lok will be on your left.)
Yat Lok's foods are similar to Kam's Roast Goose. But we found the queue was not as insane as Kam's and also the goose's skin was crispy, so I like this one better. Yat Lok was located near Pottinger Street, so you can stop by this restaurant after exploring the Pottinger street.
We were lucky for only queuing about 15 min.

Cheung Hing Kee
Shanghainese pan-fried bun which is reaaaally good for snacking. It's like Xiao Long Bao, but pan fried. I love the one with truffle instead of their signature bun. Again, we were so lucky that we went there at 7pm, so there was no queue. It's near the place where you can see Symphony of Lights, so we took it out and ate it by the harbor.



Disney Land
Disney Land is probably most of people's bucket list in Hong Kong. But I didn't get to go there. Beside the tight schedule, I prefer a high ride rather than sweet and cute rides like in Disney Land. But it's worth to visit if you're a Disney's fan. Buy ticket online, like from Klook, to get discounted price.
Train of happiness, they said?
Don't worry, just stopping by before going to Ngong Ping


As I promised, I will write separate articles about my Hong Kong itinerary, Macau trip, and foodie journey in Hong Kong. See you in my next post!

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