Hong Kong is probably the first out-of-the-country destination for most
Filipinos. Aside from being close in terms of distance and frequent promo fares from local airlines, Philippines
nationals may visit Hong Kong visa-free.
Although it's not my first international trip, it's my first time to visit the Asia's World City. I was fortunate to be invited by Las Palmas Tours and Travel, in partnership with Hong Kong Tourism Board, for this amazing experience to #DiscoverHongKong. The trip became even more fun and exciting with the company of fellow travel bloggers and friends from media.
To give you an idea of what happened, watch the video below that contains the highlights of this trip.
Our trip started with the departure from NAIA Terminal 2 via Philippine Airlines (PAL). It was followed by an introduction about Hong Kong by our wonderful tour guide upon arrival and a sumptuous lunch of authentic Chinese food with Hong Kong Tourism Board. We were then checked-in to an amazing hotel in Kowloon fronting the stunning Victoria Harbour, the Kowloon Harbourfront Hotel. The location of the hotel is excellent and shuttle services are offered from/to shopping center areas like Tsim Sha Tsui.
It was a memorable 4 days with the group, with some days traveling in some parts of Hong Kong on my own. Yes, Hong Kong is a great destination not only for families and friends, but for solo travelers too.
During my solo moments and as a first-timer, I hardly got lost. I think one of the things I liked about Hong Kong is being tourist-friendly, you will see signs and directions everywhere you go! With the help of Google Map, looking around for your next destinations is easy breezy. Not to mention the speedy and reliable internet connection they have. In order to stay connected online, I bought a mobile prepaid card for $78 (PhP468) and subscribed to a local data package for 3 days which costs $38 only (PhP228).
From the airport to the rapid transit railway system, I was also impressed by the efficient and organized public transport system in Hong Kong. Just like my impression with Japan, getting from one place to another has been easy and quick in Hong Kong, thanks to the MTR.
On our first day, we maximized our free time by familiarizing the Tsim Sha Tsui area. And here's my first glimpse of the beautiful sunset against the magnificent Hong Kong skyline.
As a first time visitor in Hong Kong, one is expected to see the country's big and usual tourist spots but I decided to skip them. Instead, I took the non-mainstream route and explored the less touristy ones. This includes the cool neighborhoods surrounding the new MTR stations in Hong Kong Island namely, Sai Ying Pun, HKU and Kennedy Town which I will share more with you in a separate post. I also got to visit Hong Kong's hidden gems such as Tai Hang and Kowloon City.
It was an interesting and unique experience, a new way to discover Hong Kong. It allowed me to get to know more of Hong Kong's rich history and culture. It also let me experience the city like a local--from riding their famous "ding ding" or double-deck trams to exploring the local markets and tasting street food.
On my second day, I wasn't expecting to see and be amazed by the underground artwork found in the MTR station of Sai Ying Pun while on my way to the area.
The next station after Sai Ying Pun is HKU which was named after the University of Hong Kong, the oldest tertiary institution in Hong Kong. While exploring the campus, I couldn't help but be impressed by their top-notch facilities and colonial-style architecture.
Certainly, trying out local food should also be on your must-do list while in Hong Kong. DiscoverHongKong.com recommended on their website this delicious egg tart from a local bakeshop in Kowloon City. I didn't leave the place without trying it!
Of course, I didn't miss out on some popular tourist attractions in Hong Kong too that entice Pinoys and visitors around the world. One can't miss to see the skyline in Victoria Harbor or go shopping in Mong Kok. I've yet to experience the popular attractions such as Disneyland, Victoria Peak, cable car, and the list goes on... Because aside from these, Hong Kong has a lot more to offer that a typical 4-days-3-nights trip isn't enough. That only means I have more reasons to come back!
In Central district, I was lucky to catch this exhibit by the world-renowned Colombian artist Fernando Botero. Nine gigantic statues are currently on display at Hong Kong's Central Harbourfront which will run until August 3, 2016 only.
One of my favorite places was Shim Sha Po which most Filipinos say Hong Kong's version of Divisoria. It's popular for its flea markets and fashion streets where you can find bargain-priced gadgets, electronic items, tech accessories, clothes, fabrics, and many more!
I also had a quick visit to Mong Kok which is another major shopping area in Hong Kong. Here hundreds of colorful billboard and neon signs will try to capture your attention. They said it is the best place for bargain hunting and amazing food. Ladies' Market can be found in Tung Choi Street, a one-kilometer stretch of shopping haven.
It was a short trip but it felt like I've seen and experienced Hong Kong so much. Hong Kong is definitely a place outside the county that I would love to visit again and again. With so much things to see, do, experience and learn, Hong Kong will always be everyone's favorite.
Once again thank you to Las Palmas Tours and Travel and Hong Kong Tourism Board for this unforgettable experience. Make sure to follow Las Palmas Tours and Travel on Facebook for the latest deals on Hong Kong Tours. Don't forget to download the "My Hong Hong Guide" app on any Android and iOS phones, or visit DiscoverHongKong.com for everything you need to know about Hong Kong.
Las Palmas Tours and Travel