Free flights to Hong Kong!! One fine day an aggressive sales eDM landed in my inbox and it led me to quickly call a friend who agreed within seconds to come along IF and only IF I can get tickets at $0.
Honestly I doubted the server capacity the moment I logged on to the website as surely hundreds of thousands of people were trying to get on the booking system. With lightning speed I clicked next, waited some time…and TADAAAAA! There was that total price of $0, and in disbelief I confirmed my flight! Ok, there was a payable tax amount but I was already too happy then, it felt like I won something.
We stayed near Yau Ma Tei station (at the left-end of green line; it also intersects with the red line). Travel period was in January, the coldest month in HK (about 14 degrees Celsius in the evenings but beware of strong wind if you walk along the harbor, I felt it was like 10 degrees!).
I am sharing the plan vs real journey with you. The goal was to see as much as possible in 2 days.
5.30 am – Land in Hong Kong
6-7am: Find breakfast (starving after a past-midnight flight, so airport food was a good option) then take public bus to city.
8-11am: Explore Ngong Ping Villange, go via cable car. Visit the famous big buddha.
Even with my dark photograph above it looks awesome huh? Go, don’t just take my word for it. Bring a DSLR if possible.
If you are into hiking, try the infamous hike on the Dragon’s back. FYI, the Dragon’s Back Trail was once selected by TIME Asia as the best urban hiking trail. According to discover HK site, it has stunning views of Shek O, Tai Long Wan, Stanley, Tai Tam, and the South China Sea.
We explored the town uphill before we went looking for local delicacies. The place was catered for tourists so you will see the usual souvenir shops and tea houses. I had soybean curd, a tofu based dessert with ginger broth which is common in Asia.
Lunch then DisneyLand Sight-seeing HK city
After some thoughts, we decided it would be nicer to see the whole city instead of just a park so off we went to HK city. First things first, lunch! Try all the different types of noodles around, we had beef noodles and fishball noodles – you can find similar dishes in most Asian countries.
With that energy we walked the hilly landscape of streets around Sheung Wan to Central Station, we passed through some alleys with really cool graffiti- hipster area! We wanted to visit Victoria peak so we cabbed there to realize tram was a better (more scenic) method. From the mall where the cab dropped us, up to the peak called Sky Terrace, there is an entrance fee (about HK$40). If you’d like to go, I thought night time would look more beautiful.
Victoria Harbor, look at HK skyline at night Mong Kok and night markets!
Again the plan changed (oh life!), we visited Mongkok shopping district instead. This place is worthy of its own blog post, to explain to you this is something similar to Taipei’s Ximending district, with local stores and restaurants. Crowded and lively, you cannot miss a visit here! I can’t get enough of night markets and street food- the oyster pancake was soooo yummy! (Note: This is not a food blog)
dinner, strolling at tsim tsai tsui OR Nathan road-walk Rest!
The amount of walking we did during the day was crazy, so we bid goodbye to plan and decided to end the day. Near the hotel at Ya Ma Tei station, we found another night market (smaller) called Temple Street Night Market. Check this out if you’re crazy about night markets too. This delayed the plan to rest at 10 pm HAHAHA!
7-8am: Visit Kowloon park – Great place to jog if it’s not winter!!
ike at dragon’s back (24 mins taxi ride) OR Sai kung fishing village Cross the sea!
Guess what? After walking aimlessly, we spontaneously went for a boat ride to Macau. It was hard to understand which ferry goes where as people were talking on our faces and trying to pull us into buying whatever boat slots they have. Even going to the counter was confusing so I spoke with a map to indicate my destination. People in Hong Kong speak a dialect called Cantonese – with my Mandarin I could not really communicate well. Once we arrived, we could not find a bus stop with instruction to get around the city so we took cab; interestingly I felt cab drivers there are rude. Or they think I’m rude because I couldn’t converse in local language? So yeah I pointed to the map and the cab door opened automatically when the cab abruptly stopped. No words spoken, but I guessed we reached?
12-5 pm :
Explore Nan Lian garden Macau
I found a local shop selling my fave minced pork rice dish (lu rou fan)..
And then explored the old ruins (no, we are not in Europe. Macau was occupied by the Portugese in the past so you can find this type of architecture in the city).
Macau is also a famous place to gamble too, Casinos are so close to each other on a street . That was a day when I entered the most number of casinos in my whole life. Enter, exit, see next one within 2 hours. Quite an experience really. If you go, see the much talked-about Venetian Casino…this was too far from where I was so I skipped 😦
I asked around for a place with “dim sum” for dinner but could not find one, usually they have it for lunch? I swapped that dream for a burger before we hurried back to catch a ferry to Hong Kong.
Tips: Before coming to Macau, it’s best to plan what are the places you want to see and the ways/cost to get there.
Madame Tussaud, dinner then Victoria peak Spend time in HK!
We were back in the city about 7 pm to walk around Kowloon, and it was freezing (seriously wear gloves!). That dim sum craving was strong I had to stop at a chain food store to get custard bun, chee cheong fan, siew may etc. (nevermind it’s not the real deal).
Walking outside, Canton Road was full of branded goods if you are interested. Going towards the harbor, and along the path you can reach the Avenue of Stars. That moment, Starbucks was a life saver…or hot chocolate was, actually.
Day 3: The trip was meant for 2 days! On day 3, the flight was scheduled early morning and guess what?? We missed the check-in time by 5 minutes and no one was at the counter anymore Long story short, we had to buy a one-way ticket home…(stop smiling to your screen, this kind of stuff happen).
You can learn from me to choose safe flight timing next time, at least if the flight is not free and you have a choice.