Sunday, 29 April 2012

2012: Hong Kong

The trip to Hong Kong (February 9- 13, 2012)  is so memorable for me because it was my first time to:
  • travel with a non- relative
  • go out somewhere for a long period of time with a friend
  • plan own itinerary   
  • spend my own money (though I did receive a few cash pocket money (XD)
All in all, I enjoyed this memorable Hong Kong trip very much, which I was able to experience together with my close College friend, Trish (you can read her take on our HK experience by clicking this link right *here* ). I'm hoping that there would be more blogs like this one in the near future and not to mention, more travels! 


Enough with the chitchat, here goes the real blog!

Here is a quick look into our itinerary:


DAY 1: Disney Land, Tsim Sha Tsui(Cameron, Carnavon & Lock Road)
DAY 2: Ocean Park, Kowloon area, GTMA Center
DAY 3: Silverchord Mall, Harbour City, Causeway Bay, Sogo Mall, Kowloon Area, Avenue of Stars


First of all, I'd like to give you an idea on what spurred on this trip: Cebu Pacific's ticket sale. Since we wanted to travel  since our 3rd year in College, we decided to go through with this plan especially since we were already working so we could pay for our own trip expenses. So, why Hong Kong you ask? Of course, our "Id" or "inner kids" as I'd like to call it, also wanted to see Disneyland so we had to give into this urge while we were still quite young. Also, I had this stupid notion that it is cheap to travel to Hong Kong. Time and time again, I hear a lot of experienced travelers saying that it is cheaper to travel to Hong Kong than to go to Boracay... That's probably true, but it is definitely NOT cheap to go to Hong Kong. The airfare IS cheap, but all the other stuff, even water, is very expensive! So, if shopping is in the top list of your itinerary, I suggest that you go to Bangkok instead. Not that Hong Kong is not worth it... Anyway, enough with the ranting! 

WARNING: 

Loooong blog entry and lots of photos. May take awhile to load.



We had a night flight to Hong Kong. As usual with Cebu Pacific, it got delayed a little bit so we arrived there at around 11:00 p.m. It would've been nice if I could have slept a little bit in the plane, but I was distracted by the man sitting next to me who kept on telling me his travel escapades. I *tried* to give him hints that I wanted to rest up, but he was not able to catch it, or so I think. Thus, I was not able to sleep at all and I was quite exhausted also since I had work before the flight. 

Upon arriving at the airport, Trish and I were struck because it was sooo big! We even had to take an underground train inside to reach the immigration area! I was scanning the whole area, looking for the 'thermometer thingies' because I was running a low fever at that time and I was afraid that I would get deported or something. Luckily, nothing like that happened! 


The transaction in the immigration area was very efficient so we had enough time to look for the stall where we could purchase an Octopus Card. For tourists who are not part of a group, I'd recommend that you get an Octopus Card because you can use it and top it up every time you have to use the bus or the MTR... It is very convenient! TAKE NOTE: you don't have to purchase the Hong Kong Airport Express Card because that is too expensive! 



Once we got out of the airport, we were greeted by the chilly weather! At first, we enjoyed it quite a bit, but after a few minutes, our noses and fingers felt so cold, it was a little uncomfortable. It was a good thing that the bus that we were supposed to ride, bus A21 going to Nathan Road, was easy to find. We rode the bus and once there, we kept on looking at the signboard that features the different stops.Our stop was the 13th stop so we could go to our inn, Yiu Fai Guesthouse. 

It was a long time before we arrived at our 1st stop so we were complacent in checking the board...Until we noticed that the board was saying that it was already on the 17th stop! We panicked. Trish tried to talk to the hot-headed bus driver and it was all in vain so we had to go down with our suitcases in a bus stop that was not ours. It was already around midnight at that time. We were groggy. We were tired. We were cold. We were pulling our suitcases behind us. In short, we were lost tourists  (a.k.a. easy-pickpocket-prey) and we looked the part.




We strolled around the area for more than one hour. We repeatedly passed the same places because the streets and the signs were confusing. Trish did not want to take out her map because it would make it obvious that we were tourists-- a magnet for pickpockets-- especially at such an ungodly hour. But, we had no choice. I am so glad that Trish's aunt gave her the map because there were none in the airport anymore. Also, I am so thankful that Trish is good at decoding the map since I am a hopeless navigator. She is also good at avoiding the wrong type of people, unlike me, who almost reserved another room just because I was asking directions from a man who could not understand me! In times like these, it really would be best to have a travel buddy!

After what seemed like several hours (though it was only one), we finally reached our inn, Yiu Fai Guesthouse, located along Nathan Road in the Tsim Sha Tsui area. Mr. Raymond, the owner, was very hospitable. He waited for us to arrive-- it was already 1:30 a.m. by that time! We were extremely happy with the services and accommodation that we received from this place. We only payed 1400 HKD for three nights in this comfortable place! Once we reached our spacious room, we just lounged a little bit and then we decided to have some midnight snacks. We searched for a food joint and we came across this stall.




Trish and I wanted to taste authentic HK street food just like any travelers, but we were a little bit discouraged since the menu was only in Chinese and it did not look *that* clean. So, we settled for McDonald's instead. It was already past 3 a.m. when we arrived back at the guesthouse and got our long awaited rest. 



Day 1: Disneyland



Our attempt at waking up early failed horribly. We woke up at around 8:00 a.m., which is understandable considering the hardships that we had to go through last night. We left our inn at around 10:00 a.m. and got lost in the MTR station by trying to discover how it works. Again, Trish is the one who should take all the credits in this endeavor! Anyway,we had to change trains 3 times from Nathan Road to Disneyland. It was already 12:30 pm when we arrived there. Thank God for Mr. Raymond! He saved us a lot of time by offering us discounted Disneyland tickets so we did not have to line up the long ticket queue... We saved up 30HKD because he offered the ticket to us for only 370HKD instead of the standard 400HKD. 


Here are my favorite shots from our trip to Disneyland!




There were so many fashionable youngsters at Disneyland! I saw a lot of "Gyarus" and "Ulzzangs" there...




It was also fun to just do 'people-watching." Everyone is just so energetic, child- like and happy!



Trish's trusty tripod~!



We were really bundled up on our 1st day at HK! It was really chilly, the perfect weather to go to an amusement park!


(photo from Trish)



Even before we were able to try out the rides, we were already having fun just strolling around especially because of the fun sidewalks and 'stores!' Look at that hat! It reminds me of "Black Butler!" (photos by Trish)





Cute children having a blast at the various attractions that Disneyland has to offer... Even children there were so fashionable!




I find this kid so adorable! She's wearing such a cute outfit and yet, she is striking a 'bad-ass' pose! Look at that suitcase. It seems like a lot of people visiting here really prep- up their looks. 


You'd think that a children's ride would not be too challenging, but this one really made us dizzy!




Of course, we would not miss a great photo opportunity on this beautiful spot, right beside the entrance. 





Amusement parks would not be complete without balloons of course!



Disneyland has a lot of cute souvenir items like this headband! But alas, it costs a fortune!


I am so envious of these kids! Imagine, a field trip to Disneyland, the happiest place on Earth!





AHA! Again, we were lost even though we were just in Disneyland!



Disneyland's newest attraction! It really looks like a big toy land! 




I'm guessing that this is Trish's favorite attraction all because of Woody! We even lined up just to have a shot with him.



These soldiers were amazing! They were 'in-character' all the time!

(Photo from Trish)




The waffle that made us so hungry all throughout our stay at Disneyland. It's also a little expensive, 45HKD! Lesson: Eat before going to an amusement park. Our measly lunch at Clovin's Festival of Foods costs 80HKD already! That's around 450PHP!



(Photo from Trish)


We did not really stay too long inside Disneyland because it was getting jam- packed already by around 3pm! Classes were already out in the afternoon so more children were coming in so we decided to leave by around 5pm... After all, we were exhausted after 5 hours of walking around and since people there don't seem to have a penchant for seats, we decided to go back to our inn early just to let our aching legs rest a bit. But on our way out, we were asked by a staff for a 'short' survey, which was NOT short at all! But, it was worth it to answer their queries for around 15 minutes since we got some freebies! 

Again, we had to change trains three times... A funny story there is that we encountered this Japanese family who had two boys in their company... The two were horsing around in the train stop and I couldn't help but exclaim, "Yaoi Trish oh!" Haha! At that time, I did not know they were Japanese... Lesson learned: When traveling, refrain from saying things like these especially when you're not sure about the nationality of those around you! 


Hong Kong is so busy, especially at night. This is the sidewalk across our inn. There are so many skyscrapers and the street lights really add a magical quality to this urban jungle.


Again, Trish and I were at a loss for our dinner. We walked around Lock Road, looking for a place to eat some authentic HK food, but most of the restaurants were full with people and their menus were in Chinese. Finally, we came across this restaurant, which had some foreigners inside so we decided to try our luck. Fortunately, the waitress understands a little English so we were able to order our food. The name of the restaurant is "Special Delicious." My first full non- fastfood dinner is the Japanese (yeah right, 'authentic' HK food) Baked Rice with Seafood while Trish got the Hainanese Chicket set! It's fairly cheap, around 45HKD only. 


Day 2: Ocean Park and Kowloon Area


Again, we woke  up late, but it was because our muscles were aching soooooo much! Even though we were behind our ideal schedule, we still decided to have breakfast first before going to Ocean Park since we learned our lesson already from Disneyland: Make sure you are full before going inside since food in amusement parks are so expensive! 


We had breakfast at Big John's, which served American breakfast. There was nothing special about the food, but the place itself was charming albeit a little cramped. There were framed pictures of cats all around us and there was even a mirror in front of us while eating! Was it to make us conscious about what we were eating? Only Big John knows the answer!=D Anyway, they serve decent meals here and it is affordable, only 30HKD!

We were a little bit faster in terms of getting to Ocean Park since we know how the MTR operates already and instead of riding three trains like in Disneyland, going to Ocean Park only required us to ride one train then one bus. Oh yeah, it is also cheaper to go to Ocean Park than in Disneyland. The ticket here costs 280HKD (but Mr. Raymond gave it to us for  only 250HKD).



I have been to Ocean Park before, but I was in a group tour so I was not able to see the whole place before... I was shocked when I realized how big it really is! I am also drawn to this place because I have become more interested in marine life (all thanks to Jeremy Wade) so I was set on making this a fulfilling experience!



The unique buildings inside Ocean Park... They are so colorful and most of them have a sea creature theme like this Jellyfish!




Cute souvenirs! There is more variety in the souvenirs here than in Disneyland and they ARE cheaper (but still expensive for our standards). But, what I like better in Ocean Park than in Disneyland is their staff! The people here are much more friendly and their smiles are more readily available!




It is frustrating for me that I have not yet visited Manila Ocean Park even though it's quite close to my home... So to say that I was excited to enter HK Ocean Park's aquarium is an understatement. I WAS PSYCHED!~ But you know what, rude tourists really irritated the heck out of me... They kept on pushing and pushing until I ran out of patience! I was excited before, but they made me so irritable... Eurgh! 

I'm guessing that my bristled mood was a little bit noticeable already. I am glad that Trish was calm and unaffected. I guess, she perceived my bad mood inside the aquarium because she suggested that we let the rude tourists go first so we could have a view of the aquariums better. Her plan worked! 






There are so many attractions at Ocean Park! By the time we exited the aquarium building, these colorful guys were performing outside with the cold weather and all that!




Other than sea creatures, Ocean Park also houses land animals like these adorable pandas! Ocean Park is really awesome because it is an amusement park and at the same time, a zoo of some sort!






Graffiti time! 







Can you guess what we wished for? cough*more travels* cough




THIS IS THE CUTEST GOLDFISH EVER! S/HE IS DEFINITELY MY FAVORITE! Look at this shot, it's like s/he is playing coy and trying to hide!!!! >.<




According to Trish, this is the ugliest fish, ever. HAHA!




Riding the cable car is a thrilling experience, but if you're afraid of heights, it might turn into an anxiety-attack-inducing-trip, which I learned from Trish. Her fear was just so palpable, I also became anxious! 






We got hungry so we decided to try out some of the interesting food that Ocean Park had to offer. Trish tried the "Hot Rice Stick" while I tried the Dried Squid. Both failed to appease our appetites... Trish's hot rice stick was so few while mine was so many, I had a hard time finishing it off already!


(photo from Trish)




The colorful arcade portion on the other side of Ocean Park!








It was fun to see the monks enjoying the place as well! 



Capturing pictures of jellyfish is fun since they are so beautiful and graceful... But, I just can't stop thinking of how itchy they are!












Trish is right when she mentioned that the dolphin show at Zoobic is much better. Our dolphin had more tricks up their sleeves-- erm, fins?



Going around Ocean Park is really, really, exhausting because it was so big! There were moments when we just really wanted to sit down and rest for a little bit... We stumbled upon these Haagen Dasz seats and of course, we couldn't miss this photo opp! As you can see, I'm laying my hand on the pint of Belgian Chocolate, my favorite!!!! (photo from Trish)




Even though we were tired already, we did not want to waste time so we still decided to try and see the "Ladies' Market." But, upon arriving at the Kowloon Area, we were lost... We did not see the Ladies' Market anymore, but we did venture into the different stores including the GTMA Center, which features a nice shop that sells these amazing Korean stuff, which Trish blogged about here. This man drawing on the streets of Kowloon is also a heart- warming site. I've seen a picture of a person like him in a blog and apparently, they are writing about the misfortunes that happened in their lives... I don't exactly understand what he has written, but seeing him there, trying to relay his woes in life, was enough to make me teary- eyed. 




Again, we had a long day. I was really, really glad when we arrived back in our inn! This is just a peek of our room at Yiu Fai Guesthouse... I tried to take a picture inside, but the place was just so small, I had no way of maneuvering around the furniture and walls to get a good shot... 




DAY 3: Mall Hopping & Avenue of Stars(Silverchord Mall, Harbour City, Causeway Bay, Sogo Mall, Kowloon Area) 

Again, we woke up late. Is there something new? Haha. The third day was our 'free day.' So, we just went around the different shopping malls near our inn first such as this one, Silverchord Mall. 




Trish's new trench coat!




There are so many cute clothes in HK! It's no wonder they are known for being a fashion capital. But, again, we had this notion that HK is a shopping paradise; I guess it is partly true-- for the rich people that is! This boutique has trendy clothes for young people, but the price is definitely something that your parents can only afford!




So, we got out of Silverchord Mall as well as The Harbour City to look for the "H&M" store. These are the buildings along that area. So many skyscrapers! And, look at that pink bus! It's a double deck bus! 


This is the road outside the restaurant called "Delicious Kitchen" in Causeway Bay. There were so many people here! Apparently, it is also known for being a shopping area, but again, the price is not what you'd call cheap or affordable... 



LIZ LISA! They have LIZ LISA, the famous Japanese band for Gyarus, in HONG KONG! I was so tempted to buy that pink suitcase because it reminds me of the nightgown of  Kyou Kara Maou's Wolfram. It is also on sale, something like 5,000 only in PHP!  That's fairly cheap considering the fact that the prices of Liz Lisa can match Prada, etc... But, it seemed so fragile that I knew it would not last if I were to use it in traveling... I had to let it go! =(


Again, we rode the MTR to go back to our inn. People there are just so busy! They walk so fast that we were also pressured to match their pace!




So, while on our way up the escalator in the MTR, TRISH SAW THIS POSTER OF L'ARC-EN-CIEL's UPCOMING CONCERT!!!! I was so happy that I got teary- eyed-- then disappointed because they will not be performing in the Philippines. I had this crazy notion to go back to Hong Kong after two weeks just to watch their performance! But, I knew that it was not feasible... I WAS (am) SO HEART-BROKEN!

After our disappointing trip to the Kowloon Area, we got home at around 10pm... But Trish decided that we should not waste our last night so we went to Avenue of Stars for our last trip. It was near enough our inn that we did not have to ride the MTR anymore. But boy, was it a long and exhausting walk!!!! 

The killer view and cold weather more than made up for our exhausting walk. We just sat down, took pictures and fooled around because we were hyper due to eating excessive amounts of Mrs. Field's cookies! It was very delicious and it was on sale!!!! 




Sorry for the blurred quality... In shots like these, my camera can't be trusted so much. 

(photo from Trish)


Sadly, our trip had to end. After all, 'all good things have to end' right? We woke up late again the next day, which almost made us unable to catch the train! We were so afraid that we rode the expensive Airport Express train (around 500 pesos for a 15 minute ride!) But, we made it! We were even able to shop around inside the airport!





Of course, no trip would be complete without souvenirs. These are the things that I bought for myself... As you can see, there are a lot of cosmetics here because they have a fantastic cosmetic shop there called "Sasa."

Again, this trip was very special and made even more memorable with such a good travel buddy, Trish! (oooy, flattered 'yan!) Haha! Hoping again for the best, that we would be able to have more travels like the "Solesisters!" 

Again, if you want to read more of what Trish has to say about our experience, read her blog, ciatrish.blogspot.com

Next up, I guess I will blog about our El Nido, Palawan escapade since it is still fresh in my memory... Please wait for that! The other trips from my childhood and teenage years just have to wait a little bit longer... =D




1 comment:

  1. Hahahaha hilarious, I feel like my head increased 4 times its normal size :))

    It was also truly both an honor and pleasure traveling with you Jazelle!

    Not to mention that you impressed me on how you noted all the places we went to, the prices of our food (and even the food that I bought)! Your attention to detail is impeccable, my friend!

    Excited for your Puerto blog!

    ReplyDelete