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!