Monday, September 15, 2014

Day 1 Part 1: Airport, Flea Market, Trains and getting to know Hongkong

This marks our first international trip together as a couple, though we've both been traveling around different parts of Asia him mostly with his family and me, well I am always traveling alone till I met him. Which made me realize there is indeed a beauty when you're traveling with someone that you're comfortable with and as excited as you to learn about new things. I thought I would not enjoy since I believe he might be a sort of an excess baggage and another emotional key chain that I need to carry around. But hence, he helped me and with his tech savvy-ness guided me to the different places that I listed on our itinerary. We have been traveling together for a year now, but mostly domestic flights and long drive in different provinces here in the Philippines.

Our carrier for this Hongkong, China trip is Cebu Pacific Airlines, you can get promo tickets here I got ours for roughly PHP5700 (130USD) good for 2pax back and forth. You can see I like traveling on a budget when it comes to booking an airline, I want as much as possible to indulge on food, experience and other stuff that could be found at that place, for me this is money well spent.

Bound to Hongkong via Cebu Pacific

We arrived on a cold morning, temperature is around (12-15 degrees Celsius) coming from a tropical country this is chilly for me. I really like their spacious airport reminds me of Thailand and Malaysia. Remember to buy your Octupus Card at the kiosk inside the airport, this is one card for all transportation in Hongkong it's really handy and valid for 5 years.

One thing we did wrong when we arrived was to ride the airport express train to Lai King interchange (orange line) in order to go to the interchange station to get to Red line MTR, so we can go to our hotel which is situated in Tsuen Wan at the far end of Red line, you can view the map here : Hongkong MTR as of 2014. As I was saying, the airport express train costs HKD60 plus the other stations we need to ride to get to the Silka Far East Hotel which is Tsuen Wan. So if you're on a budget or a more bus kinda person you can opt to try for a bus to take your hotel which will be way cheaper than riding the train.

At Hongkong International Airport

Tigran and I at the Hongkong Airport Express Train

I got our hotel booking from Agoda, they really offer big discounts. I got our room for only 5000PHP (800HKD, 113USD) a night, really cheap considering it was a deluxe suite. Don't get your hopes to high even if you are in a 4star - 5 star hotel, rooms are quite small since people are maximizing the small spaces in Hongkong. I like the hotel even if it was small since it's quite close the MRT and there is a market place that serves great duck dishes, century eggs and wantons.

No plans for the morning of Day 1, we wanted to explore first the location that we are at. It has been a habit of mine to get to know my surroundings before I ran off to my destination, it somewhat gives me a secure feeling that I am aware of my surroundings and possible landmarks to aid me if ever I get lost.

Mini Bus at Tsuen Wan

Tsuen Wan, Hongkong

Me loving the chilly weather of Hongkong

While we were looking around the Tsuen Wan, this is a bit weird really even for us, we were really hungry coming from the flight and we couldn't find any authentic Cantonese restaurant since it was a bit early, we decided to just eat at McDonalds. :( I am not a type of person who tries the stereotypical food, I would never do this if there was another option. I always go for the what-is-the-country-known-for type of girl, I try my best to experience what the country has to offer.

Our Mc Donalds breakfast Menu
Thank God for the abundant Wi-Fi spots around Tsuen Wan we managed to find a place to look for a tripod since we left ours in the Philippines. There was a lot of camera shops in Sham Shui Pio, and on the few sites that we visited they really recommend this. We got off at Sham Shui Pio station, FYI it was really easy to use the trains here since everything is interconnected you just have to find the right stop and do not lose your Octopus Card.

It was a haven of different electronic gadgets and other handy items you usually see on flea markets. Class A watches, shoes, clothes, camera and phone accessories it's very similar to our country's Divisoria. Here we bought our new tripod for HKD 95, which was really a bargain since he started with HKD 180 then I haggled and ask for discounts till we arrived at a compromise which is HKD 95. We also went around Apliu Street, these are streets full of flea market even the second and third floors have shops inside them. Remember if you want to maximize your discount don't touch their merchandise unless you asked permission, otherwise the uncle/auntie would be annoyed and would not give you any discounts.

You can also alight at Cheung Sha Wan station to get to Apliu

Apliu Street - Flea Market

So here's a quick look of the what Apliu Flea Market looks like, just don't spend too much money here there are still a few more shopping havens you can see. This was just Day 1 of our Hongkong Tour.

Apliu Flea Market - Hongkong, China

Apliu Flea Market - Hongkong, China

Apliu Flea Market - Hongkong, China

Apliu Flea Market - Hongkong, China

We went back to Silka Far East Hotel at Tsuen Wan , just in time for our Hotel Check-in to have our bags personally escorted to our room. After which, we went out again to grab some satisfying lunch and have our USD's exchanged to HKD's. Tsuen Wan is an ideal location, since it's quite close to the airport and most the places to explore are already on the Red Line MTR or the interchange is also there.

We ate at (I am not really sure) if this is a Chinese or Cantonese restaurant, I couldn't ask anyone since none or most of them doesn't understand English. We had to transfer to a different restaurant where the menu has photos and readable (not Chinese character) description, it was still a great choice the Shrimp wanton noodles was amazing and the noodles were hand pulled, pair it with their milk tea it really keeps you warm during the cold days. I was so satisfied that I order another set of Shrimp Wanton Noodles and Milk Tea. I do no know the name of the place since everything is in Chinese but it's 24hrs and there's a big aquarium outside. These is quite near the Silka Far East. If anyone is familiar with these symbols please do not hesitate to comment, I really love this place. 

Milk Tea

Shrimp Wanton Noodle
So we are off to explore new places since our tummies are full, please watch out for my next post 

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