I love planning my trips - researching, making lists of places to visit, excel sheets to sort out hotel reservations, flight tickets, expenses, sometimes even shopping. Last year we did our third overseas travel - to Hong Kong and Macau during Christmas Break. My planning started 6 months in advance, mostly to get a good deal on flight tickets and accomodation.
By August tickets were booked - Singapore Airlines (Bangalore to Honk Kong) and Qantas (Hong Kong to Sydney). After that I started my research :P - asking friends and friends-of-friends about their experiences, read articles on things-to-do and visa details. But the greatest knowledge comes when you experience it in real.
|Hong Kong Island|
TIPS n TRICKS:
For travellers with Indian Passport, Visa is on arrival (valid for a limited time). They don't stamp your passport but give you a small paper ticket. Keep it safe as you will need it while leaving the country.
Carry few Hong Kong Dollars with you (probably just enough for food and to reach your Hotel) After that you can look for a good exchange rate in Tsim Sha Tsui. I carried 1000 HKD while travelling. But once we arrived in Hong Kong, we found numerous currency exchange shops in Jordan and Tsim Sha Tsui area. In fact we even got an incredible rate, much much better than the ones offering at the airport. So if you are planning to splurge, be patient and look for some good offers.
After landing at the airport, just outside the train station, we bought an Octopus Travel Card (I think the charges were 100 HKD for card and then 50 HKD as top up). These cards can be returned for a refund while leaving Hong Kong. We used these cards extensively to travel in Trains and Bus.
|Bus Stop outside Hong Kong Airport|
We didn't book taxi to reach our Hotel, instead caught a bus. Took an hour to reach Austin Road, Tsim Sha Tsui where our Hotel B P International (rating of 7.4/10) was situated. I had done my booking two months in advance through Bookings.com. The stay cost us about 7200 HKD for 6 nights.
- Most hotels in Hong Kong charge extra for Wi-fi and everyday housekeeping
- Our Check in was at 3 pm, so we had spend the whole morning at the hotel Lobby waiting for our turn.
- It gets pretty crowded while checking out as well, so you might want to queue quite early. Add in the fact that it was a busy time of the year.
Traveling between different parts of Hong Kong by train is extremely easy. Just follow the signs. With a map in hand, we also covered a lot of places by walking. East Tsim Sha Tsui to Jordan, then Yau Mai Tei to Sham Shui Po, took a Ferry to Hong Kong Island and there too explored the place on foot. Of course, by the end of our trip we had to let our aching feet be taken care by the expert hands of a foot masseuse :)
Beware of Queues - a common sight in Hong kong. We had to miss the cable ride because there was a 2 hour long queue just to reach the ticket counter. Plan ahead or have a plan B. In our case, instead of taking the cable ride, we took a bus to the serene Tai O village and then took another bus to Ngong Ping. While returning back from Lantau Island, we had to wait atleast an hour in the queue before we got a chance to board the bus. Note: It was New Year's Eve.
|Queue to the ticket counter for Cable ride, Hong Kong|
In my next post I will list down all the top places to visit in Hong Kong. Stay Tuned!!
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