Wednesday, April 22, 2015

What to do in Hongkong - A travel guide to the City of Nights!

Hong Kong is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Asia, and for good reason: there’s literally something in Hong Kong for EVERYONE. Hong Kong boasts of a wide range of tourist attractions and destinations, so whether you’re looking to shop, sightsee, visit cultural heritage sites, or experience a new cuisine, Hong Kong is the place to be. Hong Kong is a melting pot where the old and the new squeeze in together comfortably to create a vibrant, exciting city with a lot to offer visitors.

It was my 2nd time in Hong Kong when I went there last December.  On my first night, I stayed at Hotel Pennington. Hotel Pennington is owned and managed by Rhombus International. Their location was close to many restaurants, and near the train stations. My room was big, clean and has a great view of the streets of Hongkong. It has a very nice bathroom and big closet enough for me and my friend to fit in if we wanna play. Haha! The staff there were really sweet for sending me a welcome card and plate of fruits. If you’re looking for a more affordable hotel that’s also close to the action, I would recommend their sister hotel, Hotel Bonaparte. The rooms are a bit smaller but well-kept. It has everything you need; a fridge, a workstation, LED TV, Wifi and a mobile phone that they will lend you for free with unlimited calls to any number in Hongkong. So when you find yourself lost, all you have to do is give their front desk a call. No wonder this is an award winning hotel for many years already. They spoil you. They even allowed pets to stay in their hotel.

In Hong Kong, the easiest and most efficient way to get around is via the MTR. The MTR is Hong Kong’s metro railway transit, and it runs through all of Hong Kong. There is literally no place in Hong Kong that can’t be reached by a few rides on the MTR, then going for a short walk. Sure, you can opt to use the bus or a taxi, but for the authentic Hong Kong experience, ride the MTR.

Here are some things I recommend that you do when in Hong Kong.

1. Find your inner Disney baby at Disneyland Hong Kong - What would a visit to Hong Kong be without a visit to Disney Land? Hong Kong Disney Land is a great place for families and kids, because of the numerous shows and attractions, and kid-friendly rides. And yes, I gave into temptation and had my picture taken with Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Tickets cost $499 HK for general admission, $355 HK for children 11 and below, and $100 HK for senior citizens. They now have new attractions so expect seeing more people in the park.

2. Climb up Victoria Peak- I made a trip to Victoria Peak because the view from the top is just gorgeous. I could literally see the Hong Kong skyline, and everywhere I looked, the energy and life of Hong Kong were buzzing. It’s no wonder that even the locals love to climb up Victoria Peak every now and again. Getting up the peak is very simple: just ride the Peak Tram (located in Garden Road), which will bring you to the top of the Peak.  For the best view, I recommend that you ride up around 30 minutes before the sunset, where you can watch the sun disappear beyond the horizon, as well as watch the lights of Hong Kong start to come to life!
 3. Go shopping! - If you’re ever in Hong Kong and you’re looking for a good place to shop on a budget, the Temple Street Night Market is definitely the place for you. Everywhere you look, there are vendors selling pretty much anything, from small trinkets, to knock-off gadgets, and even live animals!

4. Appreciate some history – A visit to the Hong Kong heritage museum is like taking a trip back in time. You will be able to see artifacts and art from early Hong Kong culture. The craftsmanship of the statues and paintings were breathtaking. You can also spend time checking out Hong Kong’s many temples, such as the Wong Tai Sin Temple, the Sam Tung Uk Museum, and the Tsz Wan Court.

5. Take a Walk on the Wild Side- There are many zoos and parks in Hong Kong, but none quite like Ocean Park, which allows you to experience being up close with marine animals. I especially loved the shark exhibit, and there was even an amusement park with rides! If you’re an adrenaline junkie like me, you shouldn’t miss a trip to Ocean Park. You can also spend a quiet day just walking around Hong Kong’s zoo and botanical gardens.

6.  See the View from a Ferry – The Hong Kong coastline is a spectacular sight at night because of the many lights from buildings on the shore. It was very cheap (around $.28) and enjoyable! I recommend that you get an upper deck seat so that you can see the spectacular view of Quarry Bay.

7. Tempt your Taste bud – For a quiet night with good food and drink, get a table at the IFC Rooftop. The food and drinks can get a bit pricey, but the view of the city is worth it! However, if you don’t want to spend too much, you can just sit outdoors so that you don’t feel pressured to purchase anything. For a wider range of choices, visit the Kowloon district, where you can find authentic Chinese food, as well as stalls with street food choices.
8. Take a side trip to Macau  - If you’re looking for just a little bit more adventure, why not go to Macau? Macau is one of China’s busiest and largest cities, and you can travel there from Hong Kong by ferry. It will take around an hour to get there from Hong Kong & it will just cost you a little, less than $50. You can go casino hopping. Every casino has a shuttle that takes you for free from the ferry terminal to the hotel and vice versa. You can also visit the Ruins of St. Paul located at the UNESCO heritage site, Senado Square.

There are so many things to do and places to visit in Hong Kong that it would be best to plan an itinerary before you go. Also, make sure that you secure your belongings such as your passport and credit cards, and that you always have some extra cash with you. Having a fully-charged camera won’t hurt either so that you can capture those special moments!  You want to be able to have the best experience possible in Hong Kong, so make sure that you are always ready for your next adventure!

Also, I would recommend that you register to Smart's all day roaming. It's more convenient traveling when you have a trusted data roaming provider. Smart has partnered with Hutchison telecom so you can maximize your connection there without unnecessary mobile charges. It's only P550 and all you have to do is:

Text ROAM ON & send to 333 at least 30 mins before leaving the country. Then Check your network settings and make sure you are connected to SMART’s Conexus Roaming Partner. To access the USSD Menu, Dial *133# & Press ANSWER then enter 5 to choose DATA ROAMING. Then choose Thailand & True Telecom from the list of countries & roaming partner. Select the All-DAY SURF ABROAD 500. Once successful, you'll receive a confirmation. For more details, check out  #SmartAllDaySurfAbroad 


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