Friday, January 1, 2016

Hong Kong and Macau - 4 Days and 3 Nights Itinerary

Hong Kong is definitely the number 1 tourist destination for Filipinos given its proximity, convenience to travel (no visa needed and cheap airfare), and all its tourist spots such as shopping areas and Disney Land. It's a complete get away for couples, families, or the 'barkadas'. 

Hong Kong though is a very small country similar to Taiwan, so you don't need to stay for a long time and 3 or 4 days will be sufficient depending on your itinerary. It will depend on whether you want to visit all the tourist spots such as Ocean Park or Disney Land (which will require 1 full day) or if you want to go to Macau which will again require at least a day.

An ideal trip would look like 1 week visiting all these places and spending overnight in Macau. But this will really be costly. So my recommendation is a 3-4 day itinerary in Hong Kong which will be sufficient.

Here's our itinerary (4 Days and 3 Night):

For Hong Kong:
- You can skip Mongkok Ladies Market and Temple Street Night Market. You won't miss out on anything unless you want to buy a lot of gifts or 'pasalubongs' that are cheap.
- You can also skip City Gate Outlet given the outlet is extremely small and sells old stuff. Lan Kwai Fong is also an expat place where you can find a lot of bars and pubs. You can skip this if you don't plan to drink at night.
- Causeway Bay is definitely a must visit place for its shopping and food (e.g. Delicious Kitchen or Ichiran) and would definitely recommend Tsim Sha Tsui to visit Avenue of the Stars at night.

For Macau:
- 1 Day is sufficient! All the hotels are next to each other and you can ride the free shuttle bus to hop in and out. All these provide unique experiences so good to visit each one. But you'll most likely spend at most 30 mins in each hotel unless you want to start gambling in any of the casinos. Research on free shows that each hotel offers so you can visit them based on these schedule.
- I highly recommend to watch House of Dancing Waters in City of Dreams!

Revised itinerary that I'll recommend for first time travelers: 
The revised itinerary contains well known tourist spots such as Victoria Peak, Ngong pin, and Ocean Park or Disney Land. All these are frequently visited and may be good to experience if you've not gone to these before or if you've not experienced similar sights before (e.g. Riding Cable Cars or going to Disney Land in another country). 

Summary:
Hong Kong and Macau can be visited within 3-4 days. This is already a relaxed itinerary where we had enough time at each location. However, make sure you tailor fit to what you and your companions want to do as each itinerary will look very different! If you love to shop, then go to the night markets and shopping areas vs. the more touristy places. If you're bringing your kids or you're kid at heart, then go to the amusement parks.

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Hong Kong/Macau Expenses: 4 Days for 15k

I initially thought Hong Kong is not an expensive place to visit given it's  the most visited country by Filipinos. But I realized that cost of living is much higher compared to the Philippines and it's more expensive to travel to compared to countries like China or Taiwan. It's actually comparable already to Korea based on how much we've spent in several trips to Korea. I believe this is in contrast to what many people think that Hong Kong is not that expensive and Korea is an expensive place to travel to. The difference is that Hong Kong rely heavily on tourist destinations that entail cost (e.g. entrance fees, etc.) compared to other cities like Seoul where there is less of these costs.

Here's a breakdown of our expenses for Hong Kong and Macau Trip (4 Days/3 Nights):

If you remove Airfare and Taxes, here's our Day to Day Expenses:

We spent around Php 15,000 each, for 4 days in Hong Kong and Macau. We spent significant amount in watching 'House of Dancing Waters' in Macau (which was worth it! - see my review here) and in Ferry cost from Hong Kong to Macau and vice versa. You obviously will spend less if you don't visit Macau. However, you actually will spend much more if you decide to visit Hong Kong Disneyland, Ocean Park, Victoria Peak, or Cable Car (we skipped all these given that we already knew what to expect given our past experiences and felt it was not worth it). You'll easily spend around Php 30,000 if you visit all these usual tourist places.

Tips for lower cost:
1. Research first! - Check blogs first before deciding to go to these touristy places given that it's very expensive. E.g. we decided to skip Disney Land given we already went to Tokyo Disney Land and saw in blogs that both are very similar.
2. Save on hotels. If you don't mind small spaces and being in shared housing, use airbnb to stay in a good location but pay less. Our room was around Php 1,700 per night which we divided into two.
3. Just do Day Trip for Macau instead of spending overnight in an expensive hotel there. You'll save a lot on accommodation especially if you're not a heavy gambler.

To Summarize: If you're visiting Hong Kong for the first time and you want to visit all the famous tourist spots, expect to shell out a lot of money! Hong Kong is also known for its shopping, hence, expect also to spend money for shopping which is what most tourists do in Hong Kong. But if it's not your first time there (and have visited all these tourist spots already), then you can spend money similar to how much we've spent which is still quite expensive for a 4 day trip relative to the other places we've visited.

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Naia 3 Sky View Airport Lounge Review

I've been traveling for quite a while now but I've only experienced staying in an airport lounge for FREE this year, all thanks to my Citibank PremierMiles card :) 

I've been a Citibank PremierMiles cardholder for years and I chose to open a credit card to gain miles every time I purchase something but for some reason I never thought of trying the airport lounge in the past. Upon discovering FREE use of facilities and food/drinks, I regret not maximizing my credit card's major perks!  

Note: this is not a sponsored post! Just sharing my personal experience on the lounge located at Naia terminal 3. 

The Sky View Lounge is located at the 3rd floor, departure area in Naia Terminal 3. You need to finish processing all your documents, check-in bags, boarding pass, immigration, and security checks before entering the Sky View Lounge

Sky View Lounge is an ideal place for businessmen, families, and of course budget travelers like me because everything here is for FREE if you have either a Priority Pass, a Citibank PremierMiles, Citibank Platinum Card, Citigold Card or other partner credit card companies which I am not so familiar with (better check first if your card has this perk).
Upon entry, you need to present your accredited credit card and boarding pass to the receptionist. One card entitles entry for you and another guest. The receptionist will issue a receipt and he/she will provide you details on the number of hours you can stay and of course, Wifi password! :) Then, enjoy the complimentary food, drinks, and use of other facilities!
The lounge is small but clean and cozy. Sky View Lounge offers bite size pastries, coffee,  and tea.

White Seoul Christmas 2015 SDE

Sharing our White Christmas in Korea 2015 video!!! 

Watch it here, ENJOY! >> click here <<

Note: Details about the trip to follow! :) 
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