05 March 2012

Hong Kong Hustle (Part 2)

Up early on our second day, we headed for our new favorite food place Café de Coral. Their breakfast menu didn't disappoint and it was a perfect start for a busy day. (Php1,320 total or Php220 each)

From Mirador Mansion we walked towards Victoria Harbour to the Avenue of Stars. It was a clear sunny day and the view was breathtaking, tall buildings crowding between water and mountains. Clearly, not an inch of land in Hong Kong is wasted.

After admiring the view, its time to go to it. Next stop was The Peak in the opposite side of the harbour. We rode the timeless Star ferry to get to Hong Kong Island and paid only Php12 for the 10 minute ride.  Travel guides suggest taking the Tram up to The Peak but after a mix-up in bus numbers, we ended up riding the bus all the way to the top instead of just the tram station. The bus ride up to the peak, particularly on the double-deck bus, was a nice experience. Although a bit slower, the ride gives great views of Hong Kong just the same and is much cheaper than the tram (Php72 vs. Php168). There's not much to do at the peak except admire the view of Hong Kong from the top. We already experienced a Wax Museum in Manila when I was a kid and visiting Madame Tussauds was not that appealing. After having some coffee and buying some stuff, we left The Peak this time using the Tram. The tram ride was a steep ride and the view, though scenic, was short to be awed at it.

The bus ride (Php25) back to the star ferry was far much better. The double-deck bus with an open second level was quite a treat. I think i got a stiffed-neck looking up and marveling at the tall buildings the entire duration of the ride. Look up and see tall buildings, Look down and see Filipinos everywhere. It was a sunday and the streets are filled with our kababayans using every open space as a place to relax and mingle with other filipinos working in Hong Kong.

We rode the star ferry (Php12) back to Tsim Sha Tsui and took the MTR to Mong Kok for some shopping at Ladies' Market. The street was crowded but that didn't stop my family from checking out all the stalls from end to end. My advice to Hong Kong shoppers: Bring a lot of bargaining skills and don't be intimidated by persistent sellers. I remember turning down an offer, which I believe was too high for a certain item, walked away then suddenly this lady grabbed my arm trying to convince me to buy the item. I was already a few meters away from her stall. Another tip, walking away is a good bluff, they usually cut their prices in half when you walk away. We then found a small Vietnamese restaurant for our late lunch (Php300 each). Later, we headed back to the guesthouse to rest our tired feet.

A quick rest and then we're off to the Avenue of Stars once again, this time to check out the Symphony of Lights. It's amazing how all the buildings synchronize their lights to the music every night. After the spectacle, crowds dissipate and the view of Victoria Harbour from Tsim Sha Tsui at night was impressive. For dinner, we went again to Café de Coral to try other food on the menu (Php280 each).

The morning after, we headed straight to the airport to go back to Manila. This time we boarded the Airport Express train suing what's left of our Octopus Card. We had our breakfast at the HKIA which offers a lot of different dining choices (around Php220 each).

In all, we spent around Php58,084.53 or an average of Php9,680.76 per person for the entire duration of the trip including airfare, taxes, transportation and food. Add your purchase of Disneyland tickets and a little shopping, the total would still be less than Php15,000.

Note: Assumption is Php6.00 per 1 HKD for conservative computation purposes. Current actual exchange rate is at Php5.50 which would mean our costs would me much less.

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