Hong Kong Travel Tips for First Timers

One of the first international destinations of Filipinos is Hong Kong because of its proximity.  It only takes 1 1/2 hours from Manila to Hong Kong.  Hong Kong may be small, but it can overwhelm you.  Hong Kong is a first-class city so coming from a developing country, one can get a bit scared as soon as you set foot at the airport.  You will be amazed on how big Hong Kong International Airport is compared to our international airport in Manila.  As you walk towards the main exit of the airport, your anxiety starts to creep in.  You don't know if you can survive in the urban jungle with few people speaking English fluently.  You fear getting lost and being ripped off by locals and even by your fellow foreigners.

One thing that I can assure you, you can survive Hong Kong on your first travel, just like how me and my son survived it too!

Here are some tips for you to survive your first trip in Hong Kong:

1.  Purchase Octopus card.  Octopus card is a multi-use prepaid card which you can buy near the Airport Express station at the airport.  You can use this to pay fares (except in taxis), buy at vending machines, and at some establishments in Hong Kong.  There are different colors of Octopus card: rainbow for adults, pink for children (up to age 11), and green for senior citizens (60 years old and above).  Make sure you present ID to the clerk before purchasing to give you the right Octopus card.  You can surrender the Octopus card at any train stations or at the airport and your deposit will be refunded to you.





2.  Get in and out of the airport via bus (A20 route).  While the fastest way to get out of Hong Kong International Airport is via Airport Express, it is also expensive.  You may try getting out of the airport by riding a double-decker bus.  You can go the airport bus station as you walk left of the Airport Express station.  

There are lots of buses at the airport.  You can check the bus routes here, but if you will be staying in Kowloon, you can ride the A20 bus.  Bus fare is way much cheaper than Airport Express (only 35HKD).  Get off at the bus station that is near to your hotel.






3.  Visit Hong Kong during summer.  We have both experienced going to Hong Kong in summer and in winter.  While it is a good experience for Filipinos to go to a place where there is winter, there are no available outdoor water activities during this time.  If you are staying in a hotel with an outdoor pool, you cannot use the pool as most hotels take this opportunity to do maintenance in their pools.  Also, in theme parks, water rides are also closed.  

Anyway, summer in Hong Kong is not so hot compared in the Philippines.  It is windy and the days are longer (7PM in Hong Kong is just like 5PM in the Philippines).  However, it is still advisable that you put on sunscreen lotion and bring an umbrella when you go around the city.




4.  Bringing luggage while shopping is normal.  Shops in Hong Kong charge for shopping bags, so either you just put the items you bought in your bag or pay extra for shopping bags or bring a luggage with you so that you don't have to carry a lot of items when you shop.  It is common for locals to bring luggages with them when they shop, so don't be shocked.

5.  Try different modes of public transportation.  Hong Kong is a mix of old and modern culture, so try to ride different modes of public transportation when you go around.  Ride the subway, the ferry, the tram.













6.  Eat fishballs.  Hong Kong has street food too, so don't miss tasting their own version of fishballs.  It comes in both regular and spicy variations.  




7.  Bring water tumbler.  Bottled water is expensive in Hong Kong, so make sure you fill your water tumbler before you go out of your hotel for sightseeing and shopping.  In addition, not all restaurants serve water, most of the time they serve warm tea. 

8.  Eat at Tim Ho Wan.  Michelin star restaurant Tim Ho Wan's origins are in Hong Kong.  While you already have experienced eating at Tim Ho Wan in the Philippines, I would still recommend that you still experience eating at Tim Ho Wan in Hong Kong.  Make sure that you have cash when you dine at Tim Ho Wan because they do not accept credit card payments.




9.  No need to buy local sim to have Wi-fi access.  Most places in Hong Kong have wi-fi access, so if you are a person who does not need to be connected all the time, there is no need to buy a local sim card.  You can also rent a pocket wi-fi so that you don't need to remove your phone's sim card.  I will tell you about international pocket wi-fi on my blog soon.

10.  Wear comfortable shoes.  Going around Hong Kong entails long walks, so make sure that you wear comfortable shoes so that your feet and legs won't ache and you can last the whole day touring the city.  While the best walking shoes are rubber shoes, you can also try wearing shoes with memory foam or shoes that take the form of your sole.





2 comments:

  1. U always provide detailed, helpful infos —THANK U! even tho I may never make it to HK.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your kind words! I do hope that you can visit Hong Kong someday :)

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