In my case, I am celebrating a milestone on my birthday--me reverting to singlehood. Indeed, my 40th birthday is something to be really celebrated in a grand way!
My son and I love traveling. Yearly, we try to go to a new place around the Philippines. We already had been to Boracay, Puerto Princesa/El Nido, Cebu City, Bohol, Davao City, Tagum City, Ilocos Province, Tagaytay City, Quezon Province, among others. We also had been to different places around Metro Manila. However, it has been three years since we rode an airplane. Kib and I both miss riding an airplane, so for this year, I really wanted to go somewhere by airplane.
This year is the best year for us to travel abroad. I planned to go to Hongkong before to celebrate Kib's 7th birthday but plans have changed. I really prayed hard to God to give me an opportunity to travel abroad. I prayed hard for provision and schedule (Kib and I are very busy people). I renewed our passports last March and I made a promise to myself that I will put a stamp on it.
I booked our first international trip in June, a month before our birthday. Good thing that my July wasn't that hectic that is why I was able to squeeze in a time-out for the two of us. I booked a Cebu Pacific plane tickets and accommodation via Traveloka and tickets for Ocean Park and Disneyland via Klook.
As the day comes near, I suddenly got extra busy. I got stressed few days before the trip due to some unavoidable circumstances. I also got sick two weeks before the trip. I thought we won't be able to push through with the trip because of the last-minute stuff that I need to accomplish. I did last-minute preparations for the trip, did some grocery shopping and final tasks for my small business and work.
I booked an early flight going to Hongkong so that I would be able to maximize our time. I booked an Uber ride going to the airport three days before our trip so that I won't have difficult time booking for it on the day itself.
When we arrived at the airport, I immediately looked for the queue for checking-in. Since I got our plane tickets at Traveloka, travel tax wasn't included in the amount I paid, so I need to pay for travel tax at the airport.
|Where's our check-in counter?|
Our plane left on time, and our air travel was a smooth one.
As soon as we arrived at Hongkong International Airport, my son and I started to enjoy our first time adventure outside the country. We were both excited and nervous at the same time. Before leaving the airport, I got some brochures and travel guide and map. I got an Octopus card. It is a reloadable debit card which can be used to pay for train and bus fares and paying for other commodities where Octopus card is acceptable. It was a good decision for me to get it because it spared us from buying train tickets every time we go around Hongkong. Octopus card can also be surrendered and the remaining balance on it will be refunded together with the HKD50 bond I paid when I got it.
|Welcome to Hongkong!|
|The Octopus cards. In Hongkong, they implement a child rate on transportation, it's 50% off,|
I rode the Airline Express getting out of the airport. It was a bit expensive but it gave Kib a wonderful experience riding a deluxe train.
|Inside Airport Express. It was free Wi-Fi. I was able to call my mom in the US to tell her that we're already in Hongkong|
|Airport Express from the inside. It's spacious and has a special space for luggages.|
When we got off the Airline Express train, we had our first 'adventure': riding the wrong train line going to our hostel, haha.
|The train system in Hongkong. It can be a bit confusing at first|
Our hostel is along Nathan Road in Kowloon. I chose that area because Kowloon is a shopping district and Nathan Road is Kowloon's main road.
|The building where our hostel is located|
|Alhambra Building is originally a residential building, but due to high cost of living in Hongkong, residents converted their units into a hostel to be rented by tourists|
|There were five rooms in this apartment unit|
|We can avail of the laundry but with extra charge. I borrowed an electric kettle so that I will have water to drink.|
|The main door of our hostel|
On our first day, we just wandered on the streets in Kowloon: Mong Kok, Ladies' Market, Temple Street, Kowloon Children's Park, Garden of Stars, Kowloon Pier, and back to our hostel. It was a tiring walk but worthwhile because we saw a lot of interesting sights.
Check our photos on our first day in Hongkong:
|The underground tunnel in Kowloon|
|At the Garden of Stars. Avenue of Stars is currently being renovated|
|Bruce Lee's statue at the Garden of Stars|
|Overlooking Hongkong from Kowloon side|
|Temple Street Night Market|
|Walking along Nathan Road|
|While payphones are thing of the past, they are still there serving its purpose|
|At Ladies' Market in Mongkok|
|Street food in Kowloon|
|At the viewing deck of Hongkong Bay in Kowloon side|
|Fire station in Kowloon|
|Parking meter. Kib was so amazed to see a lot of luxury cars in Hongkong. He said, "Mommy there are a lot of rich people in Hongkong!"|
On our second day, we went to Ocean Park. Ocean Park is very accessible via train. There were lots of things to do at Ocean Park--seeing different aquatic creatures on different places around Ocean Park, seeing rare animals like panda, koala, wallaby, riding amusement park rides, and watching the dolphin and sea lion show. So many things to do at Ocean Park that you have to spend the whole day there.
Here are some of the photos we had at Ocean Park:
We still managed to go to Victoria Peak via Peak tram on that day. There was a long queue for the tram ride. On top of Victoria Peak you will have a wonderful view of Hongkong. We didn't go to the observation deck anymore because we have to pay extra for that.
Check out the view of Hongkong from Victoria Peak:
|The skyscrapers at Hongkong while we were on our way going to the Peak Tram|
|There were lots of directional signs in Hongkong! You cannot get lost here. The pink signage indicates places of interest|
|While on queue for riding the Peak Tram|
|The Peak Tram. It's the fastest ride going to Victoria Peak, the highest point in Hongkong|
|A view of Hongkong from the old observation deck|
|The Peak Tower. You can go on top of the Peak Tower to get a wonderful view of Hongkong, however, you have to pay extra to get on top.|
On our third day, we went to the happiest place on earth, Disneyland. It was a dream come true for me because I haven't been to any Disneyland theme park. There was no Disneyland yet when I first came to Hongkong in year 2000. I wanted to have a picture with Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse.
The first thing we did there was to line up to have our picture taken with Minnie and Mickey Mouse! I was so happy that I hugged them before having our photos taken.
Disneyland was so huge that you really need to plan your day there so that you won't waste your time in lining up on each attraction. Sadly, there were attractions that we weren't able to try because of time constraints.
Spending the whole day at Disneyland was worth it! It's really magical till the very end.
See our photos at Disneyland:
On our fourth and last day, I planned to go to Ngong Ping, but when I checked our budget, I do not have enough anymore. In addition, the weather was not fine, there was a typhoon, so we just decided to just take a stroll in Hongkong Central. There were lots of Filipinos there, so happy to see my fellow countrymen having a get-together during their day-off at work.
|Filipinos lining up at remittance centers to send money to their loved ones in the Philippines.|
|We saw two Jollibee stores in Hongkong and this is one of them, located near the Central train station|
|Filipinos bonding in Hongkong|
|Bad weather didn't stop Filipinos from gathering together|
|Route of the Hongkong tram. It's a double-decker tram|
|More Filipinos gathering at the pier|
|Kib taking a short nap while waiting for the ferry operations to resume|
|Inside the ferry going to Kowloon, it was a short ride, about five minutes only|
We took the tram, and walked at the pier. We waited until the ferry operations resume again at 3:00pm. We rode the ferry going back to Kowloon. We went back to our hotel to get our luggages and waited for the double-decker bus to bring us to the airport.
And oh, we lost our city map! I tried looking for a hotel to ask where I can get one but didn't find any. I just thought of going to Macau ferry station to get one and yes, there is a city map there, whew!
|Waiting for a bus going to the airport. There are designated bus stops for each bus line. When there are no passengers on a particular bus stop, the bus doesn't stop anymore|
|Double-decker buses scramble at the streets in Hongkong|
|Our view from the double decker bus while on our way to the airport|
|Just checked-in on our way back to the Philippines|
|Which terminal to go?|
Our first international trip was a blast! Hoping for more international adventures with Kib. Where do we go next?