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Adventure Travel

Hong Kong and Macau Vacation (vlog)

We all cannot contain our excitement! We were all excited to explore the shopping capital of Asia, Hong Kong! Though we were not planning to do shopping right there, we were eyeing for the attractions that it offers. Our flight was early morning at 6:15 via Cebu Pacific but we headed to the airport at around 3 AM, 3 hours early for immigration and security stuff. We departed from Cebu and arrived in Hong Kong on time (8:55 AM), and it was beautiful weather right there at 25°C, really perfect for strolling!

The first thing in our itinerary prepared by Iris M. was Ngong Ping via cable car since it’s the closest from the airport. We left our pack at the Airport Left Luggage Center for HKD12 per hour and went ahead to the cable car terminal but unfortunately, the cable car was under maintenance and taking a bus going there would take 48mins. So we decided to go back to the airport to check out our bags and headed to our Hotel in Kowloon.

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It’s our first time in Hong  Kong, so we rely much on their MTR map. After we check out our baggage in the Airport Left Luggage Center, we took the Airport Express Train for HKD60 (this is the most expensive ride ever we had hahahaha) and transferred to Lai King station.

Tip: A cheaper alternative than taking an Airport Express Train is by bus from the airport to Kowloon.

After then we moved to another train that will go to Tsim Sha Tsui station. Tip: Before taking any travel via train or bus it is very important to purchase first your Octopus card available at the airport, or if you have a friend that went to Hong Kong and did not surrender his Octopus card then you can borrow it so you don’t have to buy one and directly use it after topping it up aka load. The Octopus card is very useful here in Hong Kong as this prepaid card is accepted in almost any business establishments and not just by train and bus. The Octopus card can be used as payment in Seven Eleven stores, Fastfood chains like McDonald’s, KFC’s and other restaurants.

So we arrived at our hotel at Kowloon TST Guesthouse, this is within Chungking Mansion. The Chungking Mansion is a building with so many guesthouses within it as well as stores. On the ground floor, you will find money exchange shops, cell phone and electronic stores, Indian food stalls and many others; it’s like a market of different goods right there. Your first impression maybe bad since you’ll find them like a sketchy business, but they’re actually not they’re just similar here in the Philippines “night market” or bazaar though they are renting theirs for good. The mansion has 4 narrow elevators that can accommodate about 7 persons with an average weight of 60 to 70 kgs each. Kowloon TST Guesthouse is okay, the main caretaker and receptionist Rajul is friendly, the place is clean and safe inside as they have CCTV’s and electronic door lock. The guesthouse provides towels, generic toothbrush, and toothpaste for each of their guests, as well as rolls of toilet papers and bathroom, it has a water heater for shower. I would say that Guesthouse business is booming in Hong Kong as a lot of travelers of different nationalities are checking in, Chungking Mansion is a busy building with many tourists, locals, and vendors bustling around. Warning: The guest houses here offer cheap accommodation and it’s expected that you’ll get what you paid for; If you are a backpacker or someone that would not mind losing a little comfort then they’re fine.

1st Day

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On our first day in Hong Kong, the only highlight we had was the famous symphony of lights and we viewed it at Kowloon Public Pier, Victoria Harbour. The symphony of lights starts at 8:00 PM, it was a fine weather, and there were a lot of foreigners as well as locals swarming and waiting for the free event at Victoria Harbour. After the show, we strolled for a little while and appreciate the city harbor as there were performers and tattoo artists around Star Ferry terminal and cute Christmas decors at the promenade of Marco Polo Hong Kong Hotel then we ate our dinner at KFC Harbour City.

2nd day

Second day and it’s Disneyland Day! For me this is the highlight of our Hong Kong vacation, you know I’m still a kid inside (actually all of us hahahaha). We woke up early so we can start great and maximize our 1-day Disneyland experience. From TST, we took a train going to Sunny Bay; the travel was around 30 minutes and 11 stations. Read more and check the tips and trivia about Disneyland here: My HK Disneyland experience.

3rd day

Ocean Park was on our 3rd day; we were overwhelmed by our Disneyland experience that we want to come back again, but I guess that would be for the next HK visit. Similar to Disneyland this attraction has been flocked by foreign and local visitors too, but unlike Disneyland, Ocean Park features more thrilling rides, wildlife education, and tour. We were amazed by the different water species, pandas, dolphin, and sea lion shows. We might not be able to experience the Ngong Ping cable car transit, but we were still able to experience cable car ride here when we head over to the portion of the theme park called “The Summit.” Read more about Oceanpark on my separate blog.

4th day

We were all exhausted and woke up a little late this time, our itinerary for this day was museum hopping, and the highlights were the wax and trick eye museum at The Peak. We purchased a discount voucher for the “The Peak” tour and the scheduled meet-up with the organizer was 2 PM, so we have a few hours in the morning to stroll other sightings nearby Kowloon. We went to Hong Kong Avenue of Comic Stars, Hong Kong Science Museum, and Hong Kong Museum of History. Learn more of what we did this day, and the discount voucher I’m talking about on separate blog post soon to publish.

5th Day

Macau, Aqui Vamos nós!

Yes, it’s our last hurrah in our vacation, and the itinerary was Macao! Macao is not part of Hong Kong; it is actually another country and it is located in the west part and going there is just about an hour via ferry aka fast craft. We went to Ruins of St. Paul, tried the famous egg tart and meat jerkies, the luxurious Venetian Hotel, Parisian Hotel, and Grand Lisboa. Learn more of what we did this day, separate blog post soon to publish.

It was fun and we feel so accomplished on this trip, we visited and enjoyed the famous attractions in Hong Kong, been to its peak and watch the beautiful skyscrapers of the city, explore the neighboring country Macau and check the beauty and luxury of their famous hotels and all of those were packed in 5 days. I will definitely come back soon in Hong Kong and Macau, I’m excited to try their street food and other authentic Chinese food while if I’m in Macau I want to watch the performance of The House of Dancing Water. By the way, here’s the very helpful itinerary that Iris M. created for this trip, thanks Iris for this!  ^_^  Iris M’s Itinerary

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Adventure Travel

My HK Disneyland experience

Second day and it’s Disneyland Day! For me this is the highlight of our Hong Kong vacation, you know I’m still a kid inside (actually all of us hahahaha). We woke up early so we can start great and maximize our 1-day Disneyland experience. From TST, we took a train going to Sunny Bay; the travel was around 30 minutes and 11 stations.

On September 12, 2005, Hong Kong Disneyland opened to the public, and the park has two luxurious hotels occupying 126 hectares on Lantau Island.

Tribya: Disneyland was constructed to boost the Hong Kong economy during the SARS epidemic in 2003. Shanghai Disney Resort was deliberately slowed down as support from Beijing to make way for Hong Kong’s Disneyland growth.

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So as early as 4 AM we all woke up and prepared to make sure we seize the whole day and try most of the rides, attractions and everything in Disneyland. We took the train from TST to Sunny Bay and then transferred to Disneyland Train, a special train with Mickey Mouse head shape windows. When we arrived, we queued for our tickets and then get the park map and planned for the rides and attractions. The plan is simple – to try “all” in a counter-clockwise manner and no crisscrossing to optimize the experience. Tip: It is great to visit Disneyland during weekdays as it has fewer visitors and less queuing and you’ll surely enjoy.

Rides and Adventure

The first ride we took was the Jungle River Cruise then visited Tarzan’s Treehouse in Adventure land. The first extreme ride we had was the Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars; this is like a roller coaster. For me, it seems scary (I’m not a fan of roller coasters), but I put in my mind that this will be fun and it is safe, and I’m right! Hahahaha I will surely ride this again when I come back. What I like the most of this ride was when the mine cars would run backward after it will try to reach a peak and then run forward again, that was awesome!

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We were all fascinated by the laser works at Mystic Manor as it will create an illusion that its stardust that will animate everything in the chambers. Tribya: The Mystic Manor exterior design is inspired by Bradbury Mansion (now demolished) at 147 North Hill Street in L.A Bunker Hill. Mystic Manor tells the story of Lord Henry Mystic and his monkey Albert. Having recently acquired an enchanted music box, Albert opens the box and brings everything inside the house to life (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mystic_Manor).

Next stop we had was the Toy Soldier Parachute Ride that tickles our tummies during the semi-drop of the parachute and Slinky Dog Spin at Toy Storyland; we had a chance too to have a photo opp with Jessie, the cowgirl character at Barrel of Fun.

Lunch Time like Royals


 

 

We had our lunch at Royal Banquet Hall; Royal Banquet Hall has four food stations – Grill, Sushi, Dim Sum, and Kettle. The interior of the restaurant is an ornate Gothic dining hall with soaring archways, vaulted cathedral ceilings, marble columns, iron chandeliers, colorful murals and statues of the Disney Princesses like Cinderella, Snow White, and Belle with their princes sharing a romantic waltz.

Grill station

American-style classics like beef cheeseburgers, fish, and prawns, fish and chips, beef steak, chicken wings or the Royal Mixed Grill combination meal with beef, chicken, sausage, and bacon.

Sushi station

If you like Japanese food like sushi, bento boxes, ramen soups, curry pork chops, or vegetable tempura udon soup, then this is your station!

Dim Sum station

Chinese cuisine, like pork dumplings, Xiao Long Bao, pork buns, Royal Seafood Fried Rice with scallops, braised beef brisket with turnip or Shanghai chicken with Chinese mushrooms.

Kettle station

Personal pizzas, baked pork chop rice, Kashmiri curry chicken, baked penne carbonara or spaghetti with mixed mushrooms in cream sauce.

Fantasy and Shows

After we had our sumptuous lunch, we explored the Fairy Tale Forest and took lots of pictures of the garden. Tinkerbell photo opp is in the forest too, and the two girls were excited to have a picture with her! Mickey’s PhilharMagic was next. It’s a 4D theater with 150 foot-wide wraparound screen in almost 180-degree. The show is 10-minutes long, and we enjoyed the memorable and famous Disney songs like Be Our Guest (Beauty and the Beast), Part of Your World (The Little Mermaid), I Just Can’t Wait To Be King (The Lion King), You Can Fly (Peter Pan), and A Whole New World (Aladdin).

3 PM and its Flight of Fantasy Parade, the festive daily parade with beautiful floats of the Disney characters accompanied by acrobats. The next parade we witnessed was the Disney Paint the Night at around 7:30 PM when Mickey Mouse lights up the night with pixie-dust infused light and color. We enjoyed the glowing characters dancing and singing like Tinkerbell, Ariel, Belle, Lightning McQueen, Buzz Lightyear, Sheriff Woody and Mike and Sulley!

 

The next extreme ride we took was the Hyperspace Mountain; It’s an epic ride like you’re right out of a Star Wars movie! The sudden twist, rapid climb and sharp plunge, the laser lights and the rushing wind that touches your face, it’s like you are in hyperspace! The two girls were nauseated that we have to rest for a while and sit on park benches outside the Space Mountain.

 

20161117_170736After that exhilarating ride, we went back to Adventureland to witness the “Festival of the Lion King” show. This is our first to witness a “professional” musical; I said professional because everybody in the cast is really good, they have a nice voice, got the moves and good looking too, it’s like Broadway! What I love the most was the aerial dance of the swan character and the stage that lift and blow some fire.

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Since Adventureland is near to Main Street, we seized the opportunity to have a photo with Santa Goofy at the City Hall building; this was actually to dedicate and to tease as well hahahaha for our friend back in the Philippines that didn’t make the travel with us.

After the pictorial with Santa Goofy, the Main Street, and the major Disney Characters showed up and meet the crowd while fake snow was falling for everyone. Then, we went ahead to watch Mickey and Olaf set the stage for a new and spectacular adventure to bring to life new and classic Disney stories and movies at Mickey and the Wondrous Book, Disney’s Storybook Theater. The 28-minute musical features a cast of live vocalists, Disney characters, and dancers and found ourselves surprised as we were drawn into the truly immersive experience as each world comes alive.

Another highlight in Disneyland is the “Disney In The Stars” Fireworks; the daily 12-minute fireworks show every 9:00 PM where all the guest’s eyes fixated at the stunning pyrotechnics in gorgeous designs and patterns in the night sky above and around the Sleeping Beauty Castle accented by a medley of memorable Disney songs.

The street-to-sky extravaganza, featuring breathtaking fireworks and an all-new animated light projection show on Sleeping Beauty Castle, promises to warm your heart and fascinate your senses like never before!
-https://www.hongkongdisneyland.com

We enjoyed this day, though our feet were tired we went home with a smile on our face and a heart filled with joy. Tip: Bring extra money to buy for “pasalubong” or some merchandises like shirts, toys, plushes, and other accessories.

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Adventure Travel

A day at Ocean Park Hong Kong

Overwhelmed by our Disneyland experience that we want to come back again, but I guess that would be for the next HK visit. On our 3rd day, we went to another popular attraction in Hong Kong – Ocean Park. It is similar to Disneyland and has been flocked by foreign and local visitors, but unlike Disneyland, Ocean Park features more thrilling rides, wildlife education, and tour. We were amazed by the different water species, pandas, dolphins, and sea lion shows. We might not be able to experience the Ngong Ping cable car transit, but we were still able to experience cable car ride here when we head over to the portion of the theme park called “The Summit.”

We might not be able to experience the Ngong Ping cable car transit, but we were still able to experience cable car ride here when we head over to the portion of the theme park called “The Summit.”

Iris booked a voucher via Klook; the voucher inclusion was one-way transfer, admission, and meal coupon. Most of the activities we had were book via Klook; Klook is a one-stop shop travel voucher site where you can get a discounted price on events for that particular country. Klook has an offer in most major countries and cities in Asia, Australia, as well as the Middle East and Africa.

Exhausted on our Disneyland adventure the day before that we got so lazy in strolling Ocean Park. The 2 girls were in trauma for the rides and I had a headache due to my astigmatism. Despite the “laziness” we still tried to enjoy ourselves on the attractions. The first attraction that we went was the Grand Aquarium where we get a chance to get close to the 5,000 fishes from over 400 species. We enjoyed strolling in the Reef Tunnel and Panoramic Ocean Gallery.

Giant Panda Adventure (大熊貓之旅)

A purpose-built habitat that houses two rare giant pandas – Ying Ying and Le Le, as well as red pandas. It also houses the critically endangered Chinese giant salamander. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_Park_Hong_Kong)

Old Hong Kong (香港老大街)

Offers an immersive experience of culture, history, and delicacies of Hong Kong between the 1950s and the 1970s. It features a replica of Edinburgh Place Ferry Pier’s clock tower and its signature toll, a manually retrofitted heritage tramcar and rows of tong lau-style apartment buildings. Visitors can also try more than 70 types of local street food and beverage that evoke the flavor of old Hong Kong. The area also provides a wide array of classic booth games. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_Park_Hong_Kong)

Toto the Loco (砵砵火車頭)

A small train that takes young visitors through a mini forest to meet clowns playing accordions, cellos, and violins. During that time we were not able to visit it since it’s closed for renovation.

Symbio! (雙龍奇緣)

In front of the Grand Aquarium in Aqua City, the Lagoon hosts Symbio!, a nighttime show that features the world’s first and only 360° water screen. The show also features lighting, fireworks and sound effects, set against a soundtrack. It illustrates the symbiotic relationship between humans and nature through the story of two dragons.

Whiskers’ Theatre (威威劇場)

Located in Whiskers Harbour, Whiskers Theatre features two shows, “Sea Lion Fun Time” and “Whiskers and Friends”. The former explores a day in the life of the Park’s sea lions, while the latter is a variety show starring the Park’s mascots. The last item we’ve been

Transportation within the park

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Ocean Park features a 1.5-kilometer (0.93 mi) long cable car system connecting the Waterfront and the Summit with an eight-minute journey, with views of the South China Sea. It has a capacity of 4,000 passengers per hour with 252 cable cars on two pairs of ropeways. Each car can hold six passengers.

The ‘Ocean Express’ funicular railway system between the Summit and the Waterfront can carry 5,000 people per hour on its three-minute journey. This themed ride utilizes multimedia effects to simulate the feeling of traveling into the depths of the sea.

We had so much fun and we enjoy our visit despite that we’re not able to ride their thrilling rides, we enjoyed the experience, what we saw and what we learned. A highly recommend to visit Ocean Park Hong Kong, you will surely enjoy especially when shared with family or friends.

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Adventure Travel

Wandering Hong Kong Essentials

In a few days from now, I will be wandering Hong Kong with my friends. We have been planning this trip for about a year or more, but keeps on changing the dates, the people that will go, and this has been unprioritized too for sometimes, and now it’s just a few days, and we are all excited! At last!

Hopefully, in God’s blessing our trip will be fun and smooth. I prayed for this because one of our friends is in danger that she might not be able to come with us in HK, but we are still hoping that she will pursue the travel. She endured a lot of challenges for this planned trip. She had a problem in getting her passport because of her NSO birth certificate that she has to went home back in Surigao from Cebu and been denied twice because of her documents and now a new challenge came which was about her financial stability because their house needs an emergency reconstruction and it came in just last week.

Anyway, this post is about our preparations for this trip. Besides from getting an airfare ticket, having a passport, booking a hotel, and preparing our itinerary below are my little personal stuff that I should have when strolling or in other words “what to bring in strolling Hong Kong.”

  • Camera – going to a different place is perhaps a life milestone, so it is vital to document that achievement.
  • Bag – This will be a container of all your stuff while exploring the foreign place, make sure that it’s not that bulky so that you won’t annoy other passengers.
  • Powerbank – Our smartphone will be totally very helpful to us, from navigating the place, checking what is nearby, translation service, searching the internet, social media, and connecting wth your loved ones back home but this device will run out of juice before the day ends, so a portable power is crucial.
  • Bottled water – water is essential to rehydrate our body so always bring one to enjoy the journey while keeping your energy boosted sufficiently.
  • Sunglass and cap – exploring under the heat of the sun may irritate your eyes and stressed it at the end of the day, protect it by using these items while enjoying the scenery.
  • Jacket – I checked the forecast weather in Hong Kong, and it says that it’s about 23 to 27 degrees Celsius and I guess that’s tolerable but to keep myself warm, I better bring a jacket to ensure.
  • Watch – time is gold, with limited time in Hong Kong we don’t want to miss everything, so a perfect piece of watch is important in your wrist.
  • Walking/running shoes – I specifically indicated “walking or running” shoes because it is expected that we will be using our feet more.
  • Smart Phone – a feature packed device, from map, notes, camera, email, search, games, communication, and more! I think this is the most innovated object of the century. Smart Phone paired with a reliable and fast internet connection will simplify your trip and let you enjoy more. Share your experience with your friends back home or all over the world, post your selfie and snaps, check-in in Swarm or Facebook and see recommendations nearby.
  • Passport – it’s imperative that we should bring with us always our passport once we are not in our territory, this will be our identification on that country.

I hope that our adventure to HK will be pleasing and smooth. More blog and vlog post soon as we wander the Shopping Capital of Asia. I hope you like Wandering Hong Kong Essentials, and please feel free to comment, share, and follow. Have a great day ahead!  🙂

 

PS: She’s not able to come with us to Hong Kong. 🙁