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soloflightEd

September 2, 2010
Hongkong Trip Day 1: Tsim Sha Tsui and Mongkok Computer Center

It was a good thing Cindy, the ever-reliable researcher, read through a lot of information online especially on PinoyExchange.com (PEX). She told me that all the necessary details on what to do, where to go and how to get there is already laid out so there was no need for us to hire a travel agency to create an Itinerary for us.

busy hongkong streetshongkong night
shops and streets at 10pm!

I woke up and saw my friends, Cindy and Logan, still surfing the net with their laptops. I slept for a couple of hours at the Hong Kong International Airport which was a good thing as I had more energy to stroll around the place when we got to our hostel.

tickets train station octopus cards
Train Tickets to purchase Octopus cards

Unknown Object6am, at the airport; we went to the center where we could buy some Octopus cards for our MTR (Mass Transit Railway) fares. This proved to be a wise choice as it’s a very convenient way to travel and pay for your fare when going to different towns.

Octopus cards – check out wikipedia for more information about it: Wikipedia – Octopus Card

Places we visited:
Tsim Sha Tsui
Tai San Guesthouse
Avenue of the Stars
1881 Heritage
Mongkok Computer Center

hongkong airport hongkong lights
going out of the HKIA

bus stop hongkong
A21 Bus route for Tsim Sha Tsui

We called Ate Yolly (caretaker of Tai San Guest House in Tsim Sha Tsui) to inform her that we were about to drop by and check in. She gave us the go signal and off we went to search for an A21 bus so we could go to the hostel.

hongkong bus terminaldouble-decker bus

Note: It is advisable to bring some Hongkong dollars and coins with you on your first day. In our case, we wouldn’t be able to call the guesthouse hadn’t Cindy brought some coins and change in Cebu. Actually we can, but for convenience sake, just do it.

Although there were money changers at the HKIA, we weren’t sure if they were open since we arrived at the wee hours of the morning. Plus we didn’t know if they had a higher selling rate for HK dollars.

Anyway, we rode the A21 bus and was told to count the number of stops as ours was on the 13th stop. We were checking out Hong Kong on the windows so we got confused on how many stops we were already at. In the end, we went down somewhere in Mongkok and got lost.

hongkong sights
riding on the bus and seeing the other side of Hongkong in the morning

We asked a few people around and one lady was kind enough to give us directions on how to get there via MTR albeit with broken English. I realized as well that there was no need to have perfect English as the important thing is to get our message across. So there and for the rest of the days, I used my ‘Carabao English’ skills and started talking in broken sentences.

bulrington arcade buildingfree newspaper, Burlington Arcade

We rode the MTR going to Tsim Sha Tsui and when we arrived there, we thought the Tai San Guest House was an easy find. We actually passed by a couple of streets and a few alleys until we found out that we were just circling around a block where our hostel was located. Because it took us some more time and we were carrying our backpacks and luggage, we looked for a phone booth and called Ate Yolly again. She gave us directions and we still got lost in the process. But we were able to locate the Burlington Arcade and after a few more bloopers, we arrived at the hostel.

Who wouldn’t get lost with all the signs and stores around? The hostel even has another branch on the same block! I guess that’s how serious space is in this special administrative region.

Tai San Guesthouse rooms are equipped with a bathroom, telephone, television, DVD, small refrigerator and computers with free broadband Internet service!

taisan guesthouse roomour room, a little cramped for three (had an extra bed on the floor, but this was decent already considering the price

Visit their website here: http://hktaisanguesthouse.com/eng/index.htm

When we arrived at the guest house, it was good that there was a vacant room and Ate Yolly said that we could just leave our things there. On the topmost floor of the condo, the available room was located at the attic! (how convenient… not). But we were lucky enough to get a room considering the number of people booking for space.

mcdo hongkong
Mcdonalds is located at the basement of one building

We went out to eat breakfast while the room was still being cleaned. We ate at a Mcdonalds restaurant near our hostel and afterwards, my friends decided to get some shut eyes since we were all tired from the trip. However, I changed some clothes in order to start strolling downtown as my feet were already itching to explore just to get familiar with the place.

I got back after an hour or so and my friends were already prepared to check the place out. We headed to The Avenue of the Stars at the Victoria Harbour waterfront in Tsim Sha Tsui.

avenue of the stars
Avenue of the Stars, Hongkong

paintings hongkong
clock tower, paintings being sold

Upon further walking, we were able to check out 1881 Heritage; which used to be the headquarters of the Hong Kong Marine Police. It has a beautiful Victorian architecture with shopping malls, high-class boutiques and hotels around.

1881 Heritage is located at Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui.

1881 heritage
the 1881 Heritage in Hongkong, beautiful despite the chaotic city life outside

brands in hongkong
branded shops: Chanel, Rolex, Hermes, Tiffany & Co. etc.

We walked even further and bought some drinks (juice packs) to quench our thirst because of walking. We were going from one street to another and had our US Dollars exchanged to Hongkong Dollars.

We bought US Dollars in the Philippines because according to PEX, we will get a better exchange rate if we use USD instead of Philippine Pesos. I didn’t bother checking the rates because it was too much Math already. hehe

streets in hongkong
streets in Tsim Sha Tsui

There are a lot of Money Changer stations in Tsim Sha Tsui so you don’t have to worry about looking for one. Also, we weren’t afraid to get lost as we had our Hongkong map and MTR Map with us. If we got lost, we just have to look for the red MTR logo and go down and ride the station going to where we needed to be. The transportation system in Hongkong is very impressive.

money changer hongkong MTR logo
money changer

We ate our late lunch cum dinner in KFC. I kept converting the prices to pesos to make sure we got the best rates possible. Instead of buying a 2-piece chicken meal at 32 HKD, we bought a bucket meal at 89 HKD. This was good for three people plus we had some good side dishes included. We didn’t finish the whole thing as we saved some for our midnight snack later on. I didn’t have any problem with compromising the food as I can always eat a lot when I’m back in the Philippines.

kfc hongkong
KFC Bucket meal

After eating, we rode the MTR and went to Mongkok where we dropped by the Mongkok Computer Center because we wanted to check out gadgets and more gadgets!

The Mongkok Computer Center is a building up to 3 floors (I think) which houses different stores for gadgets. It’s like those Divisoria malls, only this one is full of computer and electronic stuff. The prices are way cheaper too! For example, a 500 GB portable external hard drive in the Philippines would cost 4,000 Php. Here in Mongkok, it would only be 2,900 Php! We took a long time checking the place because of being mesmerized by all the items they sold.

mongkok computer center
external hard drives, laptops, camera lenses, everything here at the Mongkok Computer Center!

I bought a Buffalo wireless router for 950 Php only! hehe. I thought I wouldn’t be able to buy something on the first day but it was such a hard offer to resist. We went out of the computer center and checked the stores on the streets. There were still a lot of people even at 10pm or 11pm! The scene reminds me of Quiapo in Manila or Colon in Cebu.

lost in hongkong
Had to have my picture taken while people were busy walking!

There were a lot of stores as well below. You would wonder why there’s already a Nike store in one corner, in front of it is another Nike store! Sometimes we were already wondering if these were original or just Class A shoes. Because they really used the logo of Nike/Adidas/etc. and had billboards to go with the shops.

shoes hongkong
colorful shoes

street night
Hongkong streets and lights

streetfood
didn’t try Hongkong streetfood because my tastebuds weren’t as adventurous

Anyway, there may be stores who are selling class A items. Because of how crowded the place is, you would wonder where the shops are knowing that there are signs pointing to the store. Some of the shops are located at the basement, 2nd or 3rd floor.

After seeing that the shops were about to close (around 1am), we went down to an MTR station and then got back to Tsim Sha Tsui. It was a fast commute, we got home to TST from Mongkok in 10 minutes via MTR. This is the fastest way for you to go to places.

MTR station
amazing transport system of Hongkong and their MTR

At the hostel, we tested the router since the three of us brought our laptops with us and since our room was located in the attic, the free wifi of the hostel couldn’t reach us. They had an internet port and we set up the router then. All of us were able to go online and the router did work!

We bought rice at KFC and drinks at 7/11 and ate the remaining food that we had from our lunch/dinner for our midnight snacks.

hongkong wireless router KFC dinner
wireless router and our midnight snack, the free newspaper proved to be useful

It was a long and tiring day because we kept on walking and walking. Little did we know that this was just the first of many walks to come the succeeding days.

Hong Kong Day 1 Expenses:

Hostel: 2250 HKD – TaiSan Guesthouse rate for 5 nights at 450 HKD/per night
– this is good for 3 persons so I paid only 150 HKD/night

Transportation: 100 HKD – Octopus Card

Food: 99 HKD – Bucket Meal good for 3 people (that’s 33 HKD each)
6.80 HKD – gravy (doesn’t come free!)
3.20 HKD – Juice Watsons

40 HKD – Extra Rice and Drinks at KFC for Dinner
16 HKD – Water and Coke at 7/11

Other Items: 50 HKD – wallets (good for 5)
158 HKD – Buffalo wireless router at Mongkok Computer Center

* 1 Hong Kong Dollar at 6 Philippine Pesos

Check out my blog posts about my Cebu to Hongkong trip here:


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soloflightEd.com is a travel blog by Edcel Suyo. He enjoys performing headstands and crazy stunts during his trips in the Philippines, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Now based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and working to earn a living, he takes time to enjoy the city and travel during weekends.
For updates, Like his page on Facebook or Follow him on Twitter.
For questions, advertising, and other concerns, shoot an email to ed@soloflighted.com.


26 comments… add one
  • doi

    nice entry ed! very informative 🙂 can't wait to read about the rest of your trip! 

    • Edcel

      thanks doi! i still have about 5 days to go! haha. pressure?

  • Shabz

    Cool

  • Edcel

    thanks shabz! 😀

  • tin

    Hi. Did you book the room with ate yolly months before going to t=HK?

    • Edcel

      Hi Tin: Yes, my friend booked the room and called ate Yolly months before. We called again to confirm around 1-2 weeks before our flight. We called her again on the day of our departure from Cebu to Hongkong. 😀

  • tin

    Edcel: kasi you mentioned na "When we arrived at the guest house, it was good that there was a vacant room" and that "we were lucky enough to get a room considering the number of people booking for space." So that means even if your friend booked with Ate Yolly months ago paran hindi pa rin kayo nai-reserved ng room in advance?

    • Edcel

      @tin: please make sure you reserve lang talaga. ate yolly was able to secure us a room. however there are times when other people may call the taisan guesthouse saying that they’ll reserve but didn’t push through. that’s sometimes the dilemma sa sitwasyon nya kasi marami kasi ang nagbobook talaga.

      just make sure that you call her and follow her instructions para masecure.

  • Wow – so extensive I don't know which part to comment about hihi. Seems like you pretty much covered everything in HK – somethingt that we have missed. I love their camera accessories there – got my 50mm at a difference of 500php here in CEBU hiihi so much for getting them cheaper. I WANNA GO BACK! 🙂 Love your photos! Re on the Wanna Eat changes – yes, they made an effort on those changes talaga. Just read your post, too 🙂 Regards!

    • Edcel

      @kristine: haha, took me a long time before i could finish the post. and i ain’t even done with the whole trip as i have about 4 entries for HK that I need to finish! haha. yeah, didn’t find a cheaper camera lens there. or i wasn’t searching because i couldn’t afford it anymore? haha. thanks for dropping by!

  • Samantha

     

    Hi, I want to know, How were you able to communicate with ate yolly before you arrived in HK? Were going there this month and I think i want to stay at TaiSan Guesthouse

    • Edcel

      @Samantha: it was my friend who contacted Ate Yolly a couple of months prior to our trip. We contacted her thru the information on their website. also, we called her again a couple of weeks before the schedule. and then contacted her again when we were at the Hong Kong airport. 😀

  • Okay, 2nd post na ko hehe. Buti naman gumana yung router. Natatakot ako bumili ng gadgets sa HK eh. Miss ko na streetfood nila. Okay, pa 3rd post na ko hihihi 😀

  • Dne

    Nice that you even listed ur expenses per day. 🙂 One thing, though… u ate mostly western foods? aww. Shouldve dove into dimsum, noodles, and everything oriental. hehehe. 

    • soloflightEd

      Dne: hi, thanks for dropping by! yeah, we were a bit scared to try out other cuisines — this is what i regret there. probably next time, ill horde all the oriental food! 😀

  • iamwahm

    Hi tanong ko lang, how much yung room niyo sa taisan? and what room number yan? ganda kasi 🙂 baka pwede request kay ate yolly. Saka anonng store or branch ba si Ate Yolly? 1 or 2?

  • @iamwahm: Hi, the room cost us 2700 Php per day (good for 3 persons). actually, it's at the topmost part of the building which was tedious especially when we had to climb stairs inside the guesthouse after a long day. I forgot if Ate Yolly is in 1 or 2. Please do contact her 😀

  • LZL

    ed  a million thanks to you and your website as well . we are now in Hongkong along with my three children and manage by ourselves thru the help or your very comprehensive details in this fabulous foreign land. yes i met Yolly a very kind Filipino land lady. More power to this site http://www.soloflighted .com 

  • @LZL: glad that you were able to arrive there safely! thanks for the feedback as well! 🙂

  • mari

    hi can you give me po the contact number of ms. yolly? Will be travelling to HK next year. Thanks

  • Marie

    Hi, i'd like to ask, which part of the airport were you able to sleep? was it before passing immigration or after entering immigration? please advise me, thanks!

    • @Marie: ey, that’s after the immigration. near the exit. where you can see Burger King, 7/11 shops. etc… 😀

  • Ilka

    Hi Ed. We're heading to HK in March. I'm confused, and I need your help. My friends told me that they weren't able to find buses at the airport in the wee hours of the morning. However, Ken of HK Tai San Guesthouse (who was very friendly) told us that we just need to take the N21 bus and get off at the 13th stop. We'll be at the HK airport at 12:30am. Is it true that we can still find N21 buses at dawn? Or would you suggest we save up for a cab, instead? Thanks! Best of luck on all your adventures! 🙂

  • Yang

    Can we get the number of Ate Yolly?. Thank you 🙂

  • Hello Ed. I won a solo two-way flight to HongKong from HSBC promo, kindly advise me if I could really do my trip alone. Based from your story, you got lost in getting to Tsim Sha Tsui considering n 3 kayo, what more ako lang. This is my first time to go abroad solo. I’m planning to book a room at Cosmic Guesthouse in TST. I will be staying there for 3 days. Until now confused pa din ako if I could really do it… naglalakas lakasan ng loob hehehe…. help me please… thanks a lot!

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