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Sunday, May 26, 2019

My Hong Kong Itinerary: Hong Kong Travel Tips

I recently took a three-day trip to Hong Kong to take in all of its sights, flavors and sounds. With its iconic skyline, neon streets, mouthwatering dishes and vibrant culture, it is a place that’ll leave you in awe. I know this blog post won't do Hong Kong any justice, and that my photos can't ever capture its true, raw beauty, but hopefully,  you'll find my Hong Kong travel tips and itinerary useful in your future travels.

Day One
The Alley
It’s day one in Hong Kong and you’d think we’d hit the major tourists spots. Well, not exactly. First thing on the list: milk tea. The Alley is one of the most recommended milk tea spots in Hong Kong, so we just had to check it out. And you guys -- their brown sugar Deerioca?  Pure heavenIt's warm and cold at the same time, and the brown sugar tapioca balls? Best ever. I had to go back for a second round because it was just too good.

Avenue of Stars
If you just walk along Nathan Road, you'll find lots of interesting things to see, including the Avenue of Stars. It's a long boardwalk where you'll see a mix of tourists snapping photos and locals exercising. From there, you can get that postcard-worthy view of Victoria Harbor. Walk further along the boardwalk and you'll find a spot where Hong Kong's older residents are having the time of their lives, singing songs and dancing away with the ferry passing by behind them. 

The Peak
Fast forward to four PM and we find ourselves at Victoria Peak. The best time to go here is during the late afternoon, so you can get this spectacular view of Hong Kong during the day, and a few hours later, a stunning view at night. It can get pretty windy up here, so avoid wearing skirts and dresses. And ladies, if you have a hair tie, trust me on this and just tie your hair up if you don't wanna end up looking like a creature from a horror film.

Travel Tip: If you're taking the taxi or bus to and from Victoria Peak, you might get carsick because the road going there is extremely winding. Make yourself comfortable by bringing mints or medicine just in case you're feeling a bit nauseous along the way.

Bank of China Tower (accidental find)

The best way to explore? Get lost. My friend and I got off the wrong station, so we just decided to walk around. Getting lost turned out to be a blessing -- I got to take this stunning shot of central Hong Kong during the night (look at all the lights!), plus we got to see the iconic Bank of China tower. 

Day Two
Mong Kok Flower Market
Mong Kok Flower Market opens very early. Starting around 7 AM, you can already spot vendors setting up and arranging fresh flowers inside their shop and along the street. The flowers here are pretty affordable, and I would've bought myself a bunch if I had somewhere to put them. It's a huge market with a wide variety of flowers, and if you walk far enough, you'll find the stretch of flower shops along Yuen Po, which is just adjacent to the Yuen Po Bird Garden. 

Travel Tip: Research places that are free and open early. These are the spots you should visit when you're waiting for attractions to open. Don't waste a second when you're traveling!

Hong Kong Disneyland
Ah, Disneyland. The happiest place on Earth. I won't go into detail because you probably know what to expect already (yay, teacups and princesses). But, I will talk about Hong Kong Disneyland's new Marvel attractions, which were my favorites in the park. 

Marvel fans, rejoice. Hong Kong Disneyland has brought the world of Marvel to its park, and trust me, it's worth seeing. Disneyland is known for being a perfect place for kids, and let's be honest, little kids will probably enjoy Disneyland more than us adults. But Disneyland's introduction of Marvel to its parks makes even the big kids have the best time of their lives. 

You'll find so much Marvel merchandise scattered all around the park, in places you wouldn't expect. I found some Iron Man merch in one of the Fantasyland shops, which was kind of weird, but I guess that's how they get people to buy stuff. They do have a certain "zone" dedicated to Marvel, where you'll find the Stark Expo Shop (all the Iron Man merch you can imagine) and the Ant-Man and The Wasp: Nano Battle! ride.

Behind the Expo Shop, you'll find the Iron Man Experience, which is very similar to Universal Studios' Transformers ride. Basically, you get inside a room where you have to wear 3D glasses. You watch a video and Tony Stark takes you on an adventure across the city. You get thrown around. You feel as though you're falling from the sky. It's an awesome ride.

Ladies Market
I don't have photos inside the Ladies Market because: one, I was kind of scared to use it because it was insanely crowded, and two, some stalls had signs that said "no photographs", so I decided to just respect that. I've been to Temple Street Market, and personally, I prefer the Ladies Market because their prices are cheaper, and the layout is a lot more organized. You can find more clothes here, too. Temple Street Market is more on souvenirs.

Travel Tip: Haggle when you can! We were able to haggle down to HK$100 for 5 keychains when we were originally given a price of HK$39 per piece. 

Day Three
Choi Hung Estate
I came all the way here for an Instagram photo. Yes, I am not ashamed to admit that. Before coming to Hong Kong, I looked up HK's most instagrammable spots, and the Choi Hung Estate was on every list, so I knew I had to check it out. Located at HK's residential area, the estate is popular for its brightly colored buildings, and most especially, its highly Instagrammable basketball court. 

Getting here: Take the train to Choi Hung. Turn left at the exit. Look for a parking lot that's three levels high. Go to the top floor where you'll find a basketball court and lots of people taking OOTD shots. 

Man Mo Temple
Man Mo Temple is one of HK's most visited spots. It's free, but donations are welcome. Walking inside, you have to observe complete silence and respect. You can take as many photos as you want, but don't use flash, and don't make any noise. Do note that to get here, you'll have to walk uphill, so if you aren't into that, you're probably better off getting to the temple via taxi.

Tai Cheong Bakery
You can't visit Hong Kong without trying their famous egg tarts, which apparently can be found at Tai Cheong Bakery. You'll have to walk quite a bit to get here, but the egg tarts are worth it. I heard that the lines here can get very long at times, but when we got there at around 10 AM, we were the only ones around. The egg tarts are ready to be bought and eaten, but there are no tables at the bakery, so you'll have to eat them standing up, or wait until you get back to your hotel.

Travel tip: Buy the box of four or six. Trust me, you'll want to eat more and more.

Jordan Road
For neon photography, head on to Jordan Road. From there, just walk around and enter the other smaller streets -- you'll find lots of neon signs everywhere. The Temple Street Night Market is also accessible through Jordan Road, so if you're done taking pictures, you can spend your remaining Hong Kong dollars there.

Additional travel tips:

  1. Hong Kong is HOT but it can unexpectedly rain. Bring a fan and an umbrella.
  2. Walk fast especially at the MTR. Be considerate to people who are in a rush.
  3. Load your Octopus Card so you don’t have to use cash every time you wanna buy something – it’s a lot more convenient
  4. Use the MTR app and Google Maps so you don’t get lost
  5. Download the HK Disneyland app because it tracks where you are and shows activities happening around the park
  6. If you have to choose between NAIA and Mactan, take off from Mactan because omg their new airport is beautiful
  7. Looking for a seat sale? Don’t limit yourself to PAL, Cebupac and Air Asia. Sometimes, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways have better deals!

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