Exploring Hong Kong: getting there and our first meal in HK

Aids and I arrived in Hong Kong at 7:30 am. There was a line for immigration but the wait was bearable. Our baggage was waiting to be claimed by the time we got the coveted stamp in our passports (I love HKIA!). First order of business was finding out where the airport buses were. After that, I got in line for the information counter (there was only one lady fielding questions) to find out where the China Travel Service (HK) booth was (it’s booth A10 in the arrivals hall), as they offer discounted admission tickets to some of Hong Kong’s attractions.

The tickets we bought:

  • Ocean Park – HK$240 instead of HK$280
  • Round-trip Peak Tram + Sky Terrace – HK$56 instead of HK$65
  • One-way Airport Express ticket (Kowloon) – HK$72 instead of HK$90
  • One-way Ngong Ping cable car ride – HK$80 (no discount. Boo!)

Edit: we found out later that Ngong Ping is one of several attractions (including Ocean Park and the Peak Tram) that participates in a promo wherein you can get 10% off the admission ticket if you present a recently used ticket from one of the other attractions. So if you’re going to Ngong Ping during the later part of your trip, you can save the Ocean Park or Peak Tram ticket (which you already got at a discount :D) and present it when you buy your cable car tickets onsite. Ten percent off for minimal effort sounds good to me! Promo runs until January 2012.

We took the Cityflyer airport bus going to Tsim Sha Tsui as it was much cheaper compared to the Airport Express train ($33 versus $72) and the room we got was only some steps away from the bus stop. You get a free sightseeing tour too! However, we decided to take the Airport Express going back as we had an early flight. The bus route starts at 5:30 am and takes about an hour, so we could have missed our flight back if we’d taken it. And besides, taking the AE was an added experience πŸ™‚

Note: if you’re taking the Cityflyer bus from and to the airport, Citybus offer a round-trip bus ticket + Ocean Park ticket for only $295 πŸ˜€

We arrived in TST by 9:30.Instead of a hotel or hostel room, we rented a private room via Airbnb. Why Airbnb? First, hotel rooms in Hong Kong are extremely expensive in October (think 3x the usual rate) because of the trade fairs that bring hundreds of business people into town. Case in point: we just missed the HK Electronics Fair and could have gone to the China Sourcing Fair (I forget for what products). Second, we didn’t want to get a hostel room because this was a special occasion and we wanted something nicer than the usual clean but tiny room. We ended up staying in Cory’s apartment. He and his girlfriend Carla were such great hosts – very friendly and accommodating. They left for a business+leisure trip two nights after we got there so we had the place to ourselves for the rest of our stay.

The guest before us was still in the apartment by the time we got there so we just dumped our bags and got some brunch. Carla recommended a barbeque place along Hankow Road and we did look out for it, but we missed it somehow and ended up in a hole-in-the-wall noodle shop. It was more than a little intimidating at first, as it was full of locals and the owner spoke limited English. Good thing the menu had photos and English labels so the tried-and-tested pointing method worked πŸ˜€ One bowl of shrimp wonton noodle soup was HK$33.

We went back to the apartment to rest a bit and unpack some stuff. The day’s itinerary: the museums along the harbor front, the Avenue of Stars, and the Mong Kok night markets!