April 13, 2014

Hong Kong & Macau Travel Tips & Tricks


So, I actually took a ton of videos during my trip in HK and Macau, but at the rate I'm going through them it'll be 2015 before they ever see the light of day wtf.... SOOOO I decided to do a little mini-post instead because I'm in a reminiscing mood~

Tbh I can't believe it's already been 2 months already because I am already itching to hit the road again! Speaking of, I will be going to Singapore (5 days) with a little stop in Shanghai (12 hours) and Kaula Lumpur (2 days) in June.  If any of y'all are from those neck of woods - let me knowwwww~   Meeting bloggers from other parts of the world is defintely one of the main reasons I still blog - it's crazy how small the world has become with the internet.


Anyway, for peeps who didn't know already - back in January, I went to Hong Kong and Macau for a few days. I would label this as my first 'true' solo adventure because it was the first time I went to a country alone and did not speak the primary language....though really, everything was in English so I don't even know if that should count....  However, even without the language barrier, many a crazy thing happened and it's true what they say - there is no teacher like Life itself xD  But I must say, my best memories are when my plans all went to shit ^_^

To make this post semi-useful I also included some tips that I picked up during the trip. If you ever visit HK/Macau - I hope this will help a bit :)



My Hong Kong & Macau Tips & Tricks
Yea, most of these are common sense....goes to show you how inexperienced I am at traveling :P

1.) Convert enough cash at the bank at home; even if you have a sweet travel credit card, you'll need cash sometimes.  Not only are bank rates are the best, especially in Macau, the conversion rates ARE HORRIBLE.  I didn't convert near enough money and ended up losing at least $40 USD in conversion rates over the course of my trip.  Don't ask me why I kept converting little chunks. Es stupido.

2.) Check the weather before you pack!  Let's just say I had to learn the hard way that HK is a hell of a lot closer to the equator than I thought. I had to tramp around HK in jeans and FUR BOOTS because I was dumb and did not check the weather....  And needless to say, I wore the same 2 shirts the entire trip because everything else I packed were sweaters.... (obviously one of them was a denim top >_>).

3.) The Yesinn@Causeway Bay is indeed an excellent Hong Kong hostel.  I stayed in the 21 people rooms and it wasn't bad at all. Bathrooms were pretty clean, no snorers, secure lockers and pretty cozy little bunks.  And of course EXCELLENT WIFI.  I recommend.

4.) The famous HK Skyline is really gorgeous at night but honestly, the light show is so overrated.  If you see it, that's cool, but if you miss it. Seriously, it was not much :\ Most the of the buildings don't even light up :(

5.) Get an Octopus card~ Tis so useful and a must-have for getting around on the subway.  The HK MTR is very good and everything is in English too!  Not all stations sell these cards though, the only one I know for sure that sells these are Central and Olympic stations. Also their Airport Express line is so damn luxurious....

Lord Stowe's - very unique, buttery egg tarts. This place is quite famous apparently :)

In Macau....

6.) There are free shuttle buses to the big hotels like MGM, Venetian, Galaxy etc from the Ferry Port. There are also free shuttles between the Venetian, Galaxy, and Hard Rock Casino (also House of the Dancing Waters). Use em to casino hop :)

7.) The House of Dancing Water show is truly a must see! Of course the best seats are in the very front, but due to the nature of the stage, honestly, even the cheapest seats allow you to see everything just fine. I sat in the cheapest seats but I had a blast all the same!

THE VIEW.

8.) The rooms in the high-end casinos, like the MGM, the Venetian, or the Wynn are not as expensive as you might think. Especially if you are traveling with other people, splitting a ~$200 USD dollar room is honestly much better than staying at a far-flung hostel/motel that you'll need to cab to anyway. We stayed in the Galaxy Macau (personally, my favorite casino) and while the room was ~$185 USD for a night, it easily could've fit 4 people in it and you got access to the sweet pool (wave pool!!!). Basically, it was just a really nice once-in-a-lifetime experience sort of thing.

Lantau Island
Back in Hong Kong...

9.) If you go to Lantau Island, here is a trick to getting discount access to the Crystal Cabins (aka cable cars with glass floors):
  • For adults, it is $150 for the Standard Cabins. The Crystal Cabins are $235.
When you buy your tickets, go ahead and just buy the $150 Standard Cabin tix.  Go up to the island and have some fun.  By 6pm, everyone needs to leave the island, so everyone starts queuing up to take the cable cars back down to the mainland.   Around this time, the line gets ridiculously long and employees will start offering people the choice to just pay an additional $10/person to take the Crystal Cabins back down. Why is this awesome?
  1. You get to ride the Crystal Cabins for just $160 - saved $75!
  2. The line for the Crystal Cabins is MUCH, MUCH shorter.  Actually, there is pretty much no line, so you save almost 2 hours of line waiting :)

The only downside is that it will probably be dark as you're going down so you won't be able to see as much through the glass floor - but it still is a lot of fun!!



10.) The Kowloon Walled Park was my favorite place in HK.  It was just beautiful and honestly, the pics above don't do it justice.  It was a little out of the way to get there, but it was like getting a glimpse of suburban HK - the vibe was just different out there - more calm and peaceful.

Other places I really loved: Bird Street and the Flower Market (both right next to each other). They are also in downtown HK so they are much easier to get to ^_^

Best of all these places were freeee~

11.) Food-related: Drink as much milk tea and eat as many egg tarts as you can! I thought it was a joke when someone told me making milk tea with stockings really made a difference but damn, I never tasted such silky smooth milk tea anywhere else.

Also I had the best Indian food IN MY LIFE (and I have eaten so much Indian food) at The Dehli Club at Chungking Mansions. The building is very sketchy and the line for the elevator is friggin long, but omg it is worth it.  I still dream of the curry I had....

And on a personal note:

  • Avoid the beef jerky samples in Macau if you can. I'm fairly certain that's where I got my food poisoning :( The stuff tasted really good but seriously, the 4 days of diarrhea was just not worth it ;_;  In general, be careful with meat when it comes to street food no matter what country you are in...better safe than sorry right ^_^?
Ah....HK, how I miss thee.... 

Have you been to Hong Kong or Macau? 
What was your experience like?

4 comments

  1. I've always ad a negative view of Hong Kong as an over crowded city with filthy, narrow streets, but I see there is also a natural side like the Kowloon Walled Park in your picture, and there seems to be so much to do!

    Also, I never eat street food, even from food trucks in America because I'm terrified of getting food poisoning.

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  2. I made a one day field trip to Macau when I visited HK, but I spent most of the time in the old town, where there's still a lot of Portuguese reminiscence. Though I barely got to see the casinos, I really liked Macau and I had a great time there ^_^.

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  3. This sounds so amazing. It's always been one of the places I really want to visit!

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  4. wow that looks amazing. haha the hotel looks SO much nicer than the one we stayed in Mexico!!

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