Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Hong Kong Christmas 2006 - Part 1

Hong Kong Christmas Trip with my brother, Alex
Since young I have been a loyal viewer of Hong Kong movies and it has always been my dream to pay this Oriental Hollywood a visit. What can even better than visiting HK during Christmas season.... Thank You Alex for insisting me to join him for HK trip.

Flight & Accomodation
Christmas season is definitely a difficult period of time to hunt for budget airline from Malaysia or Singapore. As the trip was not planned much earlier, (sorry bro, my fault on this), we paid the monetary penalty in getting the late flight at slightly more expensive price. If we were to book the flight 2 months earlier, the fare could go as low as Sin$400. Nonetheless, we got ourselves two JetStar tickets from Changi Airport to HK International Airport for Sin$650 each (inclusive of tax). We didn't fly Airasia as we don't want to go Macau. It is a good option if you plan to visit Macau... However, there is a catch , the speed boat from Macau to HK Island is ~RM100 one-way.

For accomodation, via http://www.hostelworld.com (I am giving free referral here as I love this website personally...) we checked ourselves into USA Hotel in Mirador Mansion, Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. ~RM350 for 4 nights in twin private ensuite. Don't be deceived by the "mansion" word in the address. Don't even think that it is a high class mansion. :P It is really just a old residential flat with shoplots in the ground floor. In this mansion, there is a lot of budget hotel. However, for USA Hotel, it was refurbished end of 2005.

The hotel owner converts several residential apartments into multiple small-sized rooms that each can just fit two single beds, a small walk way and small bathroom with hot shower and toilet bowl. We are quite impressed with how the room is built up. I think that Tokyo could be even worse....

To me, I don't really bother about the class of the hotel, what I need is just a clean, secure and accesible place to hit the sake at night. I would recommend it to you if you are not looking for high class comfort. Considering the location-price-cleanliness-securit, to me typically budget traveller, it is a good value for my money. Furthermore, there is drinking water dispenser in the common area where u can fill your bottle before going out. So, no need to buy mineral water which is expensive in HK.

Arriving at HK Internation Airport and Bonus Booklet
There is a lot of brochures and booklets just before the immigration counters. So, make sure you pick up them as they are useful to help you navigate yourself around the touristy hot spots. After you pick up your luggage and walk pass custom checkpoint, you will come to an area where u can buy Hong Kong Rail Pass just before you enter the arrival hall. This rail pass allows you travel between airport and HK Island or Kowloon in the 25-minute express train and 3-days unlimited MTR (subway) ride. Make sure you get this pass for two-ways. It will cost u HK$300 with HK$50 as deposit refundable.

Tips: Say u are visiting 5-days like us, the pass will cover 3-days unlimited MTR ride. It is advisible that you only use it on the day where u will travel around. The 3-day unlimited ride has to be consecutive days and it starts counting 72 hours from the moment you scan your MTR card on the entrance. Scanning your card on the airport express exit is not the same as scanning it on MTR entrance and this does not activate the 3-days ride. So, you can activate the 3-day ride on the next day after you travelled to HK Island by using the airport express train.

Just next to this ticket counter besides the exit to the airport arrival hall, there was a booth full of Visit HK 2006 Bonus Booklet. This booklet has all the discount vouchers for selected items and shops. Inside this booklet, there is 10% discount voucher for this HK Rail Pass. So, we actually got the two-ways + 3-day unlimited subway ticket for HK$270 each. :) Besides, there is voucher for Marine Park, Disneyland, Yun Long Wife Biscuit and etc. So, if the bonus booklet booth is there (which might be seasonal promotion), you don't want to miss it. Ok?! Really, not many people know about it and we were smiling our way into the arrival hall. :)
Tips: At the exit of airport express train, there is free shuttle service connecting you to major hotels. Even if you are not staying in these major hotels, you can still take the bus to the hotel closest to the one you are actually staying. For USA Hotel, it will be Holiday Inn Hotel off Nathan Road. From Holiday Inn Hotel to Mirador Mansion is just 3 minutes of casual walking.

Mango King Prawn Sandwich at McCafe (Gourmet Cafe by McDonald's)
By the time we got into arrival hall, we were very hungry as we didn't have any food at since we boarded the 6:50am flight from Changi. Alex checked out the sandwiches in McCafe and he was so excited to got us a Mango King Prawn Sandwich at HK$25. It was indeed very nice... I seldom praise McD food you know... :P

To know more about kowloon area in Hong Kong, please check out my HK Christmas 2006 Trip Part-2 blog coming soon... :)

Elvin 12:36am 17th Jan 2007


Willie said...

Hi Bro, u r really a superb back-pack traveller...great tips!!!

Elvin Ong BL said...

Hi Willie,
I am just putting down my experience in HK backpacking so that next time I can still refer to it. :P

Anyway, I am now in Changi Airport and will be flying to Osaka later in 7pm.

I should be doing some blogging from Japan. Check it out loo