DIY Hong Kong Trip + Giveaway (2019)

Saturday, March 30, 2019 Philippines


Hello Beauties! As requested by all of you, I am now sharing with you my own DIY Hong Kong Trip for 2019. This trip was planned by me and my boyfriend as we wanted to enjoy Hong Kong for the second time just by ourselves. (Our first trip to Hong Kong is with both our families back in 2016.)

Why Hong Kong? Well, there is something about it that wants you to come back. Honestly. However, one of the reasons that might impact the choice is because this country does not need a visa.

Anyway, I wanted to talk about so many things but I will focus and give you ten tips while also sharing how my whole trip was planned. I was not able to take a lot of photos but I have many Instagram stories posted during our trip, I will just make a separate video of it and post in my YouTube channel.

1. If not in a hurry, wait for airfare seat sales!

Since we planned to have a trip out of the country for 2019 (we wanted to do it at least every other year), we took advantage of Cebu Pacific's seat sale ahead of time. I think it was around May 2018 when we bought our tickets for our travel in January 2019. Our plane ticket was only 2499php per head round trip but this does not yet include any baggage allowance (just carry-on) and miscellaneous fees like travel tax. Still, I had enough time to prepare for the other fees before the flight. Take note though, if you already wanted everything to be done with, you can already purchase the add-on baggage during the seat sale. 

The only downside with seat sales is that most of the time, the time that you will be arriving in your destination is already at night as well as the time of your flight back home.

In our case, we left Philippines around 3PM and arrived at 7PM in Hong Kong. With the time spent inside the airport and bus travel, we arrived in our hotel around 9PM. If you are riding a bus (which we prefer instead of trains to avoid terminal transfers) going to your hotel, there is a terminal beside the airport. Near the terminal, there is a map where it the bus stops are posted. I suggest that you take a picture of that so you can monitor the terminals the bus will be stopping. In our case, since our hotel is in Yau Ma Tei, we took the A21 bus. (A21 buses will also pass Mong Kok and Tsim Sha Tsui - the common hotel areas.)

The buses from the airport have a space wherein you can place your luggage. No hassle at all, you can sit back and just enjoy the view of the city.

2. Book your hotel ahead of time.

When booking a hotel, do it at least three months before. Believe me, Hong Kong is an easy tourist spot and most of the times hotels are fully booked! Specially if you will go there during their peak season (for example, Chinese New Year, Halloween Theme at Disney Land). 

3. Choose a hotel that is convenient for you.

For the hotel, we originally planned to stay at Park Hotel since each room has one cellular phone with unlimited mobile data for you to use freely but the price is now more expensive compared to our previous stay. So as suggested by my sister, we booked a hotel at Inn Hotel instead. The Inn hotel is located at Yau Ma Tei and is close to the MTR.

The room is small but clean and safe. The location is actually great. A few steps and you are already at Nathan Road where most shops and restaurants are located. The cost of our stay for four days and three nights is almost 15,000php. Compared to Park Hotel which may cost us around 25,000php, we managed to save more money with Inn Hotel. For the hotel, to confirm the booking, they asked for passport. Make sure that the one who will be booking is also the one travelling.

A quick question for you, why would you need a big and expensive hotel when you just need a place to shower and crash on after spending the whole day outside? Am I making any sense? Because believe me, the price difference is huge! Imagine the money that you can save can be put aside for food and shopping. As long as the place is clean, safe and comfortable to stay in plus it comes with a wifi connection, no need to rent for a five star rating hotel. Of course the choice is still yours and this is just in my opinion.

4. Weather check.

Before you leave the Philippines, make sure to check the weather forecast at Hong Kong during the period of your stay so that you will be able to bring the correct clothes. The forecast of the weather can be searched in Google. 

5. Obtain an Octopus Card.

Upon arrival in Hong Kong, since we already have our own Octopus Card from the previous visit, we just reloaded it at the airport. You can also buy a new one at the airport. The Octopus Card should be one card per person. This is like Beep in the Philippines but the Octopus Card is more versatile. You can use it in bus, trains, and even to purchase food.

In order to obtain an Octopus Card, there is no additional charges necessary except for the load, I think there is just a minimum amount that you need to purchase if I can remember correctly back in 2016, the minimum amount is HK$150. Reloading is easy, just go to any 7 Eleven stores. they just have a minimum of HK$50 for reload. 

I budgeted around HK$300 per card for our whole stay and the remaining balance were spent shopping at the airport. (That is about 2,700php per card depending on the exchange rate.) I actually deposited more than usual because I can use it on almost all of the establishments for payments like in McDonalds, KFC, and even the convenience stores. 

That is why during your stay at Hong Kong, the Octopus Card will be your life. Why? It will save you time from purchasing one way tickets every time you need a ride either by bus or train. Even when purchasing food, having an Octopus Card has a separate counters for easier transactions.

6. Purchase park tickets at Klook. 

Download the Klook application from your mobile phone. You can already do this while in the Philippines. Check out the ticket prices since it is usually cheaper. We bought our Disneyland tickets through Klook. It is easy to use, no need to print the confirmation ticket, just swipe the QR code at the park. The staff will assist you in the Klook specified lanes for QR code entries.

In our 2019 itinerary, we did not include Ocean Park (already done that during our first visit) and the museums. But if you wanted to visit these amusement parks, it is also available at Klook. 

7. Plan your activities well and follow your time frame. 

It may sound strict and no fun but if you want to maximize your visit at Hong Kong, plan your activities well and keep up to your schedule. There are so many good places to visit that I wanted to cover almost all of it but staying there for four days is just not enough. That is why, time is precious. From the time that you woke up until the night that you sleep, make sure it is worth it.

Upon arrival from airport, since it was late already, we just had dinner at KFC and visited the stores near our hotel. We went to CN Square, it will take about 5 minutes walk from our hotel but worth visiting for someone like me who loves pens and art supplies. It is a five level store of toys, pens, and art supplies. (Photo of my haul above)

Our first day of stay, we visited my favorite place, Disney Land. The Disney Land is under renovation so the castle is not seen in our photo. (Photo above) There are new attractions at Disney Land, like Lion King and Moana's show. The amusement park was decorated with a lot of Chinese New Year decors. There was no night parade during our visit this 2019 because it was Mickey's birthday so the usual parade was replaced with Mickey and Minnie's performance. I am not sure if there is still a fireworks display happened because Aurora's castle is under maintenance and we did not stay until the closing time because we still wanted to shop at Lady's Market.

So after Disney Land we shopped at Lady's Market and had dinner in a Vietnamese restaurant beside the market. Since the restaurant's name is written in Chinese, I did not understand the store name. Also, it is hard to have a conversation with the store's staff. When you order, you just point at the picture of the food.

I suggest that you do visits per location. It will save you time, effort, and transportation budget. For example, on our third day, we went to Ngong Ping Village to visit the Big Buddha. Redgie and I wanted to experience the culture of Hong Kong. We were curious to see the temples and locals. Since the bus terminal on board to Ngong Ping Village is located at Lantau Island beside the City Gate Mall, make sure to take the time to shop at City Gate Mall. This mall is an outlet store.

Anyway, are you curious why we took the bus instead of Cable Car going to Ngong Ping Village? You may laugh at me but I am really afraid of heights. I am already losing hope that I may not be brave enough to visit the village after all. Fortunately, Redgie searched online without telling me and he found a way of going to Ngong Ping Village without taking the cable car. There is a provincial bus that you can ride but it will take more time than the cable car. The bus ride took an hour (Cable Car may take you about 20 to 30 minutes) but we were also able to enjoy the view. We saw beaches and mountains as well as the houses in the village. In case you also wanted to take a bus on bound to Ngong Ping Village, take the Bus 23 and the terminal is just beside the City Gate Mall. To our surprise, taking the bus is cheaper than the cable car. The bus ride is HK$80 round trip while the Cable Car is around $255 for a round trip.

After Ngong Ping Village and shopping at City Gate Mall (where we also ate late lunch). We went back to Lady's Market to finish our shopping list as well as CN Square. At night, we went to the Harbour to watch the City of Lights. Just a note, since it is beside the sea and at night, the weather is cool and windy. Make sure to keep yourself warm.

8. Save budget for food. 

Sadly, if you are on a tight budget, eating authentic Chinese food is more expensive. Eating in a fast food restaurant like KFC, McDonalds, Jollibee (Yes they do have one at Mong Kok.) is cheaper. I know it is not healthy to encourage it but if it is just for a few days, I guess it will suffice. Unless you have more budget allotted for food.

Also, there are specialty cafes around Hong Kong that you might wanted to try, like the Charlie Brown Cafe (Unfortunately, we forgot to eat in here!). There are many restaurants that are Instagrammable in Hong Kong so if it is your target, make sure to save a lot of money for food.

If you are around Mong Kok specially at the Lady's Market area, authentic Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants there are affordable. I get to eat my favorite Hakaw and other dumplings! If only this is not a one ride of MTR away, I will prefer eating authentic Chinese meals here over fast food.

Computing the amount of the food from Hong Kong Dollar to Peso, let us face it, it is definitely more expensive. That is why your budget per meal per person should be at least HK$50-100 (450php-1000php). You are lucky if you will find a range of HK$25-35 per meal. Food in Hong Kong is expensive in a way that you will compute it in Filipino money. 

You can restock your water from Watsons or 7 Eleven stores. Usually hotels only offer two small bottles of water for free per day. (Remember, most affordable hotels in Hong Kong does not have mini refrigerator in their rooms that is why I rarely buy more than two bottles of water. I prefer it fresh from store so that it is cold.)

9. Shop for great deals. 

At City Gate Mall, it caters outlet stores of famous brands. There are promos of buy 1 take 1 for shoes, bags, and clothes. Also, the Pandora Outlet store offers up to 50% off for the rings, earrings, bracelets (selected sizes only), and charms. Did you know that I was able to buy 2 charms and 2 clippers for only US$79 (4,100php)? (Check the circled charms in  my photo.) If I will compute it, the total money I spent is just equivalent to one charm here in Philippines. Just make sure to check the charms for defects since it is an outlet store. It might have a defect, fortunately, all the charms that I bought are perfect. Stores at City Gate Mall offer their products cheaper than their stores outside. For example, Cath Kidston products are priced with 40% off. There are so many stores available, like Nike, Adidas, Vans, Armani, Coach, name it and you might find it there. 

Originally, there is also a Giordano Outlet Store at City Gate Mall but they transferred to Mong Kok. We had a hard time looking for it but since it is Redgie's favorite brand, we NEED to find it. LOL (Also, he already put up with my shopping sprees, it is now his turn.) At Giordano, during our visit, they are on sale. When you buy two sets of their products, you get 40% off for the second set.

In Lady's Market, do not be shy to bargain. Sometimes when you turn your back on them to leave, they will give you more discount from the price. I was able to bargain 10 pairs of socks for HK$100. Actually, I regret something in Lady's Market. On the first night of our visit, I already used up all of my HK dollar from shopping there and from Disney Land. Then I saw a luggage of Sailor Moon being sold, the old lady offered me $600 for it. I badly wanted to buy it. Unfortunately, I told her I had to come back the next day since I will still exchange my US dollar for HK dollar.

The next night when I came back for it, a man replaced the old lady at the store. He is selling the luggage at $750 to me. I could still afford it but it seems he knows I really wanted it. He denied that his mother offered it to me for $600 the previous night.  He does not even wanted to give me a discount. Even for $700. I felt disappointed, specially since last night they offered it to me for only $600. I feel like I am being scammed. Because of that, I let my pride rule and did not buy the Sailor Moon luggage at all. My only regret is that I should have bought it the previous night when the old lady offered me a special price. Then I just convinced myself that the extra money that I have now  for the luggage can be spent at Sasa instead.  

At Sasa, there are also plenty of promos specially for perfumes and skincare products. For example, when you buy Dr. Morita Face Masks, you save more when you buy in two sets. Sasa is a beauty heaven store for us girls! Hong Kong trip is not complete if you do not buy at Sasa.

On our last day, we did not go far. We just enjoyed strolling around the city near our hotel. We also used our remaining Hong Kong dollars to shop for food that we could take home to our families, co-workers and friends.

Budget wisely and purchase products that are usually expensive here in the Philippines. 

10. Pack wisely.

If most of your shopping purchases are bulky, make sure you will not excess in baggage. I almost did. LOL. I bought too many face masks from Sasa that I forgot about my baggage allowance. Plus, it is bulky! Thankfully, the hotels lends you weighing scale to check your luggage. Fortunately, I did not exceed!

For the baggage, I only bought one baggage allowance of 20kg going to Hong Kong since we are not carrying that much yet. Back to the Philippines, Redgie and I had our own luggage allowance of 20kg each. The maximum of 20kg can be a one luggage only or two luggage but the total should only weigh 20kg. In short, we went to Hong Kong carrying two suitcases only and coming back using 3 suitcases.

There are so many cheap and affordable finds at Hong Kong that it is easy to shop but always remember your luggage, can it accommodate your purchases?

For our DIY summary, our overall budget for two:

Airfare (Cebu Pacific Seat Sale): 4,998php
Baggage: 3447php
Tax: 3440php
Other fees of Cebu Pacific: 982.70php
Hotel: 15,000php (4 days and 3 nights)
Food: 10,000php
Shopping: 15,000php (Estimate, both me and Redgie shops products alternately or separately.)
Transportation: 5400php
Disney Land Ticket: 6,826php
Parking Fee: 1000php (We left the car before flying.)
TOTAL: 66,093.75php (This amount is good for two.)

*We were not able to use all the HK dollar we had exchanged for shopping and food so we converted it back to peso when we got home. The money left is around HK$300 with coins. The food and shopping allowance were used depends on our need. The amount listed above is the budget that we allocated.

DIY Itinerary:

Day 1 - Hotel check-in
           - Dinner at KFC in Yau Ma Tei
           - Visited CN Square

Day 2 - Breakfast at McDonalds Yau Ma Tei
           - Disney Land
           - Lunch at Starliner Diner - most affordable diner inside Disney Land)
           - Lady's Market
           - Dinner in a Chinese Restaurant at Mong Kok beside Lady's Market

Day 3 - Ngong Ping Village
           - Late breakfast snack at Ngong Ping Village, they have a corn, dumpling, sausages in sticks
           - City Gate Mall
           - Late lunch at City Gate Mall McDonald's
           - Rest at hotel (Believe me you would like to rest after hiking the stairs to the Big Buddha!)
           - Harbour City Mall and Fascess
           - Symphony of Lights at Harbour
           - Lady's Market Vietnamese Restaurant at Mong Kok beside Lady's Market

Day 4 - Shopped at CN Square
           - Shopped at Sasa
           - Hotel Check out
           - Walked around Mong Kok and Nathan Road and shopped to various stores
           - Late lunch at Jollibee
           - Waited time for departure inside the airport at McDonald's took me three days to write this post and I hope it is helpful for you who wants to travel. Since you had the patience to read it, I will be giving away products (worth 3,000php) that I bought from Lady's Market, CN Square, and Sasa to one lucky winner! 

This giveaway is open to Philippine residents only. All you have to do is:

1. Re-post the picture that I will be posting in Instagram, @allaboutbeauty101ph (photo of the giveaway products) and caption why you wanted to win my giveaway.
2. Follow my Instagram page. 
3. Tag me and three of your friends to join the giveaway. 
4. Use hashtag #aab101giveaway so that I could monitor the entries. 

That's all and I will personally ship the items to the winner. :) Giveaway will run until April 30, 2019. Thank you so much Beauties and good luck! 

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