Hong Kong: Tips on how to save money in HK, Expenses and Budgets for your Hong Kong Escapade (Based from my observation and experience)

The 1st time I visited Hong Kong was on August 2009. I’m only with my Mother that time. However, in this trip, we used a travel agency. Since I’m still a beginner in the world of travel. My Mom usually is our travel organizer but now, I’m the one whose planning it all..The travel agency we used was T&J Travel and Tours. Our entire trip costs P17,000.00 each or ($400 USD) including airfare. We used Cebu Pacific for this particular trip. The package consists of breakfast, hotel accommodation and seat-in-coach tours. This is a 4 days 3 nights package with overnight stay in Macau. We stayed in a 4 star hotel, the Royal View Hotel in Hong Kong and Best Western Taipa Hotel (3 stars) in Macau.

The 2nd time I visited Hong Kong was December 2010. This time I’m with my whole family. (My Dad, Mom, brother, sister-in-law and my nephew) and we also booked our trip using a travel agent. We used 99 Gem Travel and Tours. They charged us P33,000.oo each, ($768 USD) since almost of our tours are private (it is expensive due the fact that December is a peak season). We also got a 4 days 3 nights package with overnight in Macau. We stayed in a 5 star hotel which is the L’Hotel Nina in HK and Casa Real Hotel in Macau.

For my third time in Hong Kong, I only spent a total of P10,000.00 or $232 USD including airfare and shopping! This is the cheapest travel I made in Hong Kong (so far!). For this trip, I traveled with my friends, so cheap accommodation is okay. Instead of staying in a hotel, we stayed in an apartment (located in Hong Kong Island) which I booked through Airbnb. We stayed there for 3 days and 2 nights then went back to Manila.

NECESSITIES IN HK: How much are those?

Food is a little bit expensive in Hong Kong compared to Manila. The food there ranges from P250.00 to P500.00 ($6 to $12). Even Mcdonalds costs P250.00 up ($6). In the Philippines, Mcdonalds only costs P50.00 to P150.00 (1$ to 3$) for each variant.

If you travel with kids, beware since the chicken served in Mcdonalds is spicy, so Filipino children (who doesn’t like spicy food) will not be able to eat there. Don’t even look for Spaghetti or even rice since you cannot find it there. You can find  a lot of burgers instead of the usual Filipino food. If you want to eat rice, you can try other places instead. You can eat in KFC since they serve rice. However, take note that when you order fried chicken, there is no rice included, instead, you should order the rice-toppings (it tastes like a mushroom soup mixed with rice).

Water is also a bit more expensive compared to prices in Manila, but the prices is tolerable (unlike Singapore, where water costs $2 USD for a 500 mL of bottled water). Moreover, in theme parks, the food and water they sell are really expensive. In Ocean park, for example, the water there costs around $1.50 USD or P75.00 for 800mL which you can buy outside (any convenience store in HK) for only P25.00 or 0.50 USD. So, if you are going to theme parks, bring some water with you.

COMMUTING IN HK: THINGS TO MAKE YOU SAVE A LOT OF MONEY:

If you are going to commute all the time in Hong Kong, I suggest that you buy the Octopus Card. To get one, you will need to pay a deposit P700.00 (as far as I remember) and load it. Don’t worry your deposit will be given back to you once you return your card. If you purchase one, you will get discounts for fares and it is very convenient. To add, there is a big difference in the fares when using a regular ticket and the octopus card (the latter has a lot more discounts than the former) And it is also convenient since you will only need to touch the card to the reader and VOILA! you are set to go! This is better than lining up and buying individual tickets in the subway station, or making sure that you pay the exact amount when you ride the bus!

One more tip… If you don’t have an octopus card and opt to pay the traditional  way then make sure that when you get into the bus, you have the exact amount of fare with you, since bus drivers will NEVER..EVER.. give change to you.

To buy an octopus card, you can get one by buying in their website prior to your trip or buying it to the counters in the airport. You can purchase it in the first counter you see when you go out the doors of the customs. You will notice that there is a money exchange counter and in front of which is where you can buy the octopus card. Take note that they only accept HKD! So exchange your money first before trying to buy one!

If you don’t have a pre-booked airport transfer vehicle, worry-no-more, since you will save a lot of money by commuting by yourself! I’m not saying to commute using the airport train (which is luxurious and very expensive) or hail a cab, but to use this two simple steps:

1. When you already passed by the immigration and baggage claim counter, you can go to the lobby of the airport, you can ask where the elevator leading to the exits. When we went there the elevator is beside a coffeeshop. The farthest elevator (when you are coming from the customs) is the one you should ride.

2. Wait for the S1 bus, this will take you to a mall which is linked to a subway station (Tung Chung station). Just walk and pass by the fountain or the park (you don’t need to go inside the mall). Then, use the subway going to your desired station (where your hotel is).

More tips is to use the subway (it will save you a lot of time and money). But if you are going to the Victoria Peak, I suggest to ride a taxi, since the bus ride is long (will take you 1 hour to get to the peak, while the tram ride (although a good experience, the line to ride such is really long). The taxi ride is expensive if you are going solo, but if you travel by 3s or 5s the price is reasonable.

Take note that taxis in HK can accommodate 5 passengers. Which means it is bigger than the one here in Manila.

HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON TICKETS

While researching for discounted tickets in Hong Kong, I found CTS Hong Kong which stands for China Travel Service. They offer discounted tickets on any attractions in Hong Kong and Macau. They offer package tickets which will make you save a lot of money. My favorite is the package ticket going to Victoria Peak.

They have tickets for Ocean Park, Disneyland (they also offer this package —> admission ticket + transfer or train ticket + food voucher) and Victoria Peak (Madamme Tussauds, Tram (one way), Sky Terrace.

You can see the prices here

You can opt to buy tickets using their website (you need to pay using your credit card or through bank deposit) and they will deliver your tickets in your designated address (whether in HK –hotels or residences— or abroad). or the easiest way is to go to their counters in the airport. Their counter is the nearest one to the elevator (which leads to the exit). Just ask the guards and they will tell you where it is. Don’t worry they speak english!

CLICK HERE TO SEE MY OTHER POSTS FOR HONG KONG, CHINA SAR
HAPPY WANDERING!

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36 thoughts on “Hong Kong: Tips on how to save money in HK, Expenses and Budgets for your Hong Kong Escapade (Based from my observation and experience)”

    1. Oh, I really hope that my blog posts are helpful.. Thank you so much for your comment, I really appreciate it… and I hope you will enjoy your HK trip as I enjoyed mine. If you have questions don’t hesitate to contact me! HAPPY WANDERING! 🙂

      1. Hi Yanna,

        I really find your blogs very helpful! It is my first time to go to HK this coming July, will meet my Bf there ‘coz we’re celebrating our 1st yr anniv. He will be flying from Singapore. I’m quite scared as I’ve heard HK airport is quite big. It’s his first time as well and we don’t have any idea where are we going to meet! We’ll both arrive in Terminal 2. Where could be the best spot for us to meet? We might need an internet connection just to communicate. Help Please! 🙂

      2. Hi Fonda, thanks for the uplifting comments. 🙂 makes me happy 🙂 Anyway, as for your query, whether it’s Terminal 1 or 2, you’ll pass by the same immigration which is located in Terminal 1. (as much as I remember) All the terminals in hk are interconnected with one another unlike here in our country which are not. If you are in terminal 2, most likely you are going to take the automatic train towards terminal 1 or to use the very long walk-a-lators to get to terminal 1 where the immigration is located. HK airport has a centralized immigration place, so which means that the baggage claim area is also located in one place. I suggest that you meet in the baggage claim area, there are seats there so no worries about getting tired waiting, you can seat and even sleep there (during my second visit, my mom and dad are on another flight, so we waited for them there, and saw people sleeping there) haha! just tell him what belt number you plan to wait for each other. Or you can decide to wait for him in one of the restaurants found in the airport lobby of terminal 1, there is a starbucks located just outside the customs, so you can wait for him there. As for communicating, just register your phone for roaming so that both of you can contact each other. It’s a bit expensive but it’s better than nothing. So there, hope this helps. Thanks for visiting my blog and hope that you’ll have fun in HK! Happy Wandering Fonda!

      3. hi yanna our trip is on july 17 to 20 but our arrival in hk is evening what is the best way to spend on that evening

  1. Hi Yannah,

    Your blog is super helpful! We have a trip to Hongkong this September and it is our first time to go there so if you could post a blog for places to visit or sample itinerary (with actual cost if possible) would be a great help.

    Thanks thanks!=)

    1. Hi Angie!
      Thanks for visiting my blog and I’m glad that my blog is helpful 🙂 I’m really happy to hear that. Anyway, here is my posts about places to visit, itinerary and my own reviews about Hong Kong, click here.
      Happy Wandering! 🙂

  2. Hi Yanna,
    So grateful i stumbled upon your blog. It gave me a clearer itenerary for our trip this January. I have a question, in Ngong Pin, is it necessary to take cable rides? I’m a bit afraid of heights. thanks!

    1. Hi Haze!
      During our cable car ride I saw people taking up a hike there, but I don’t suggest taking that long hike, since it is very steep and long, it is crossing steep mountains or hills!!! they said that believers and followers of Buddhism take a hike there towards the Giant Buddha, it is like a procession of faith.. anyway, after that hike you will definitely get tired when you arrive at the Giant Buddha! 🙂 But if you are adventurous enough, then why not? Anyway, the cable car ride is not scary at all–I’m also afraid of heights! The cable car is enclosed and somehow airconditioned, the ride is slow so no worries about that. No turbulence or anything felt, the ride is smooth as silk! 🙂

      Hope this helps! 🙂

  3. Hi HannaH!

    Can u please help me arranging our itinerary? These are the places that we want to visit: 1.) Ocean Park 2.) The Peak 3.) Disneyland 4.) Ngong Ping and 5.) Kowloon night Market and Citygate mall 6.) If you still have any suggestion. We will be staying for 4 days only. pls pls help us…..thanks and GB!

  4. hi yanna i was very happy to have read your blogs. naexcite aku bgla sa 10k budget m including airfare. i wish i can do the same thing on january, although 5d 4n ang trip namen. was hesitant na to go on kase nga nababasa ku n mejo magastos s hk. anyways pls pls giv me suggestions naman on where to stay and to go na mageenjoi kame khit tight un budget. bsta i wanna go to disneyland kase zchildhood dream ku un hahaha. thank you in advance and thank you for sharing your experiences with us 😉

    1. Hi Wenaerz! 🙂 Thank you for visiting my blog, anyway, if you are 4+ traveling together, check out http://www.airbnb.com since there you can even haggle with the owners of the apartment if you wanna stay in their place, I already tried that site and it is pretty safe…. In AIRBNB you can rent the whole apartment on your own, or rent a private room (like a homestay). You can go to the Victoria Peak, as it is free, but have a nice view of hongkong during the night. To gain free view, find burger king and at the back of it, there is a balcony where you can get a free view of the night lights, it is better than paying in the sky terrace. You can also go to Chi Lin nunnery which offers a good Chinese garden (although I haven’t been here myself but I had planned going there except for the fact that I was too tired). And also go to a park in Tsuen Wan (after or before you go to disneyland) you can see a building like the temple of heaven in China there, it is a nice and free attraction, I forgot the name of that park. Anyway, these are all the places I can think of. Hope this helps!

    1. For travel in HK, the regular octupus card can be rented. There is only a deposit of P700.00, but I’m not so sure about the price now. after using it you can return it to HK airports and they will give you back the deposit.

  5. hi yanna super thanksnfor the reply. was wonderin if u can suggest a good hostel wer we can stay around hong kong island or near tin hau since i cant find a cheaper accomodation at airbnb.com. hehehe lapit n tour namen walamp ku naacomplish 😦

  6. Hi yanna! Off to HK on Apr 4 (arrival around 6:30pm) and departs HK on Apr 7 (9pm) back to Manila with my husband and 6yr old daughter. No accommodation and itinerary yet. Just want to make use of the limited time we have. Really appreciate your suggestion. Thanks thanks thanks!!!

  7. Hi Yanna – so helpful while I am now working on our itinerary to HK. I like the tip about CTS discounted prices. I’m travelling with my hubby and two kids so I find the discounts very good 🙂 thanks!

  8. If I’m travelling with my family do we need to get one Octopus card each or just one is enough? If our return to Manila is early can you suggest a place that we can still visit before going to the airport?

  9. Hi Yannah! Thanks for the prompt response! I really appreciate it and you’ve been a great help really 😉 Well I guess we just have to meet in Startbucks then since we are travelling light and only have backpacks. I just hope there’s only 1 Starbucks in that Airport though.haha. But, thanks really. I’ll arrive 1hour earlier so I guess I have to stay somewhere comfortable and the coffeeshop is the best place!haha.and of course, with Wifi!lol. Thanks again dear!

  10. Hi Yannah! My mom and my tita (group of 3) will go to HK this coming October 10- 15 (5 days, 4 nights). We will be staying in my tita’s friend in North Point, Hongkong Island. Can you help us make our itinerary with expenses? Our budget is only 10k/ per head including everything (airport terminal fee and taxes. We are not planning to go to Disney and Ocean Park since its not our cup of tea.

    Thanks so much! Have a great day

    BTW, this is our flight schedule:

    10/10/2013 Thursday MNL-HKG ETD 7:55am, ETA 9:55AM
    10/15/2013 Tuesday HKG-MNL ETD 10:40AM, ETA 12:40 AM

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