It might not be as apt, posting a holiday itinerary here on a Food Blog, but hey, occasional exceptions are well needed to spice things up a little every now and then, right. Since Hong Kong is a nearby destination, that many Singaporeans like you and I travel to (and some, making it a point to fly up there once a year), I think, after all, it might still be of some use to readers of the blog. I am also only posting this because my travel companions and I followed the itinerary more closely than not, and most of it worked out fine. I had it planned out as a first-timer, thus most of the places of attractions are actually the mainstream, typical, touristy ones. If you have been there more than once, then maybe this will not suit you as much. Just a heads up.
So, general idea. We stayed at Madera Hotel, Jordan (Cheong Lok Street). For a premier suite room (consisting of a master bed room with a king-sized bed, a toilet, a guest room with a single bed and a living room), I say that it more or less does the job of accommodating our party of four. The size is not the most impressive, as with many other accommodations in Hong Kong, with its limited land space problem similar to that of Singapore. It does have a small gym, a games’ room (wii / PS3), but that’s about it. No pool, and no public hotel toilets with bathing facilities. Plus point though, is that it has free wifi.
(Day 1) Airport to Hotel :: We touched down in the afternoon, took the Airport Express Train to Kowloon for a free shuttle bus to the Jordan vicinity. There are also free shuttle buses to other areas of Hong Kong – that you have to check with the person selling the train tickets at the Airport MTR Station. After calculation, if you are traveling as foursome, taxi will be the best option. Otherwise the train will be the best.
(Day 1) MTR Transportation System :: Its MTR system is very similar to Singapore’s MRT. Their Octopus Card is equivalent to our EZ-link card. Topping up about HKD100 would be advisable. If needed, another HKD50 later on (that is the minimum top up amount, like how Singapore’s is SGD10). There is also a deposit of HKD50 for the Octopus Card, which I heard could be, if desired, refunded at the Airport when you are departing the country. We kept ours as souvenirs, and as a result, did not locate the exact location for the refund. Tip – finish using your card value by paying with it at stores like Manning (equivalent to our Guardian) at the Airport. The card can be deducted to a negative value, though I do not know the limit.
(Day 1) Dialogue in the Dark :: Get out from Exit G of Mei Foo MTR and head directly north (I hope you have the compass app in your phone). The Household Centre is just across the street, after the flyover. What is Dialogue in the Dark? It is basically a an hour and a half tour, where you will be kept in total darkness (no blindfold needed, even). The guide will be narrating, arousing your senses and feeling them being enhanced after losing your sense of sight. Walk around, hear, smell, touch, and hopefully, at the end of tour, be more appreciative of your operative senses. It is one unique tour that if you are interested, would be quite the experience.
(Day 1) Macau Cafe :: Decide for yourself. Review here.
(Day 1) Victoria Harbor :: Instead of taking the Cruise along Victoria Harbor, we decided on taking the more effective way of soaking up the local ambience and environment – by way of walking. We literally walked west of Macau Cafe, along the entire ‘U’ shape of the Harbor, until the end of Avenue of Stars, before retreating. In all, it was a good walk, to see the Harbor, the Clock Tower, the Avenue of Stars, and we happened to chance upon a Junk too. Pretty. We decided to skip Symphony of Lights, because really, even though it’s pitched as a must-go attraction, everyone I know who has watched it has put it down.
(Day 1) Temple Street Night Market :: Don’t waste your time here, really. It is just some repetitive, Chinatown-like, selling useless items, tourist-deceiving night market. Head home and have an early rest instead. We walked down the market without being stopped by anything enticing. 5 minutes and we were done with it.
(Day 2) King’s Cuisine :: Decide for yourself. Review here.
(Day 2) Ferry from Hong Kong to Macau :: Depending on where you take your ferry from (Tsim Sha Tsui or Central), schedule and prices differ. Read more here. I took it from Tsim Sha Tsui (China Ferry Terminal), and it was about HKD300 for 2 way. So yes, ferry to and fro isn’t that cheap. Departure from Tsim Sha Tsui is about every half an hour. If you want to catch the 1130 ferry, for example, do reach there at least 20 minutes in advance to purchase tickets and figure out where to check in etc (plus there might be large groups of tourists in line). You don’t want to reach at 1120 and realise that you are unable to get on the 1130 ferry and have to wait another 40 minutes. Not worth it.
(Day 2) Shuttle Bus from Macau Ferry Terminal to Hotels :: There are free shuttle buses from the Ferry Terminal to major hotels in Macau. To get across the street from the Macau Ferry Terminal, keep left when you come out from the Terminal Centre, to find the escalator down to the underpass. You can’t really get across by jay-walking, it’s blocked. Once there, most people would be going to Grand Lisboa Hotel / Lisboa Hotel (they are side by side), as it is the nearest to the main attraction there, the Senado Square.
(Day 2) Senado Square / Ruins of St. Pauls Church / Monte Fortress :: Once you reach the hotel, get out of it, and find a road that is running northwest to southeast (again, compass app would be most helpful). Walk down all the way (heading northwest) and you will hit Leal Senado, better known as Senado Square (en route, you will also be able to find the famous eatery selling Portuguese Egg Tarts at Margaret Cafe e Nata) . There, you can change some currencies from HKD to MOP (Macau Pataca). It is also there, that you will find some amazing street food, and shops for you to purchase some local delights back for your colleagues, friends and family. The most famous one being Koi Kei Bakery. No worries, you will not miss it. It is very easy to get to Ruins of St. Pauls Church, what with the prominent signs planted at every turn. To the right of it is the Monte Fortress / Macau Museum. If you have the time to spare, since you are already there, why not check it out.
Because we were really tired from all the walking and climbing, we decided to skip Fisherman’s Wharf (also because I heard it’s almost, if not completely, dysfunctional already – I might be wrong) and take a taxi to The Venetian instead of changing shuttle buses.
(Day 2) The Venetian :: The hotel is located at the southern island of Macau, away from the main cluster. I have been to The Venetian at Las Vegas, California, USA, and I must say it’s quite a replica, both the big shopping gallery, and the same ol’ grand canal and gondola ride. Because it’s only a day-trip, we couldn’t afford to visit too many different hotels. Depending on your preference and liking, choose the hotel of your choice.
(Day 2) Shopping @ Mongkok :: Mongkok is possibly the best destination for shopping. It has numerous shopping malls around it to satisfy your itchy fingers and deplete your fat wallet. Shops close at around 10.30pm – 11.00pm.
(Day 3) Tim Ho Wan :: Decide for yourself. Review here.
(Day 3) Citygate Outlets :: Located right outside of Tung Chung MTR Station, you can give yourself about an hour, maybe, to walk around. It isn’t crazily extensive, so don’t expect much.
(Day 3) Ngong Ping 360 / Big Buddha :: Because it’s perched on top of a hill, it is comparatively cooler. I love it. You can opt to go up by bus or cable car. Of course, we chose the latter as it’s faster and more convenient. For ticket prices / packages, check out here. If you have your identity card / passport, there is someone (at least while we were there) you will find en route to the cable car station, who sells the tickets at a cheaper price. I say get it (because there is no catch here), and you skip the potentially very long queue at the ticketing counter later. Ngong Ping Village is a small area, and basically only a one-way kind of route to follow. So don’t be afraid of getting lost. We had a go at Hong Kong’s version of Honeymoon Dessert, but it was short of impressive. It was generally bland, and I thought Singapore did better for that. Somehow, I just love the serenity and picturesque village.
(Day 3) Mak’s Noodle :: Decide for yourself. Review here.
(Day 3) Tsim Chai Kee Noodle :: Decide for yourself. Review here.
(Day 3) The Peak :: In every country, there is at least one place that provides the high altitude and panoramic view of the area. And in Hong Kong, The Peak is just that place. At 428 metres above sea level, and depending on your luck (as it’s most unpredictable at times, foggy or not), you will get to see a spectacular view of Hong Kong. The timing is planned as such so that you are able to see a little bit of Hong Kong before sunset, and a whole lot of it in the dark, the best of both worlds. To see the ticket pricing, click here. By Sky Pass, they mean the ‘Observatory Deck’.
(Day 3) Madame Tussauds :: Madame Tussauds is located at The Peak itself. If you purchase the tickets for entry after 8pm, you’ll get it a few bucks in SGD cheaper (only valid for purchase online). For prices in details, click here. I wouldn’t have gone if not for my travel companion. If you’re like me, ignorant about the Hong Kong / Chinese stars, then forget about going to Madame Tussauds, Hong Kong. Wait for your chance at Los Angeles’. That is da’ bomb.
(Day 4) Luk Yu Tea House :: Because it was an Ocean Park day, I left my camera in the hotel. Luk Yu Tea House is one of the oldest dim sum places in Hong Kong. Items were slung around their shoulders and carried around. Their lotus paste bun created the deepest memory for me, and I loved it. Other items were pretty good as well. Most of them were ranging from average to above average. The only downside is its cost. It is much costlier than other dim sum restaurants in Hong Kong, and we were quite shocked. I cannot exactly remember, but I think it was about 30SGD per person. And for Hong Kong standard, that is high.
(Day 4) Ocean Park :: I think it is Exit C2 from Admiralty MTR Station. Look at the signboard to point you to the right exit. Once exit, turn left and you can purchase theme park tickets, together with the Route 629 bus tickets. Just go ahead and walk, you will be ushered in a few steps’ time which bus to board. They know you. Freakish. It takes about 20 minutes to reach the theme park. And then it’s play time. Grab a map at the entrance and start planning your craziness. If you have time, watch the Dolphins Show. It’s pretty amazing.
Because it was raining, we decided to skip the Jumbo @ Top Deck. My main motive of having dinner there this day is not only because it’s near to the Ocean Park, it is also to experience alfresco dining there, with a view over Sham Wan. Pity.
(Day 5) Australian Dairy Company :: Decide for yourself. Review here.
(Day 5) Traveling to Sai Kung Promenade :: It can be a challenge to travel there, as it is about an hour outside of the city area. Take a train to Choi Hung MTR Station. Get out from Exit C1. In sight, you will see a minibus stand. Board minibus 1A. Tap your Octopus Card in front (it’s only about SGD1 – SGD2 per trip). Take a seat, and you will be sent there (it’s the last stop, so don’t worry about missing your stop). The minibus ride takes about 20 – 25 minutes. Same way back.
(Day 5) Sai Kung Promenade :: We were there on a weekday afternoon. Frankly, nothing much was going on. Nothing but seafood restaurants bustling with patrons. I thought from the reads, that I would be able to see scenes of fishermen having boat loads of fresh seafood. But I guess I was there at a wrong timing or something, that it was quiet. Nevertheless, seafood trumps everything.
(Day 5) Loaf On :: Decide for yourself. Review here.
And then the journey ended. We headed back to the city, back to the airport, and back home to Singapore. I didn’t expect myself to love an Asian country this much. Turns out, there were good food, beautiful people, and a handful of worthy attractions for a first timer. Weather was around 22 degrees celsius whilst there. The cooling weather helped too in forming a good impression. Being so near Singapore, a re-visit is plausible.
Anyway. I hope this itinerary helps a little. If you have any queries / doubts / insecurities that you want to clear up, you can drop me a message and I’ll see if I can help.
HOW MUCH TO BRING:
SGD500 (excluding shopping) is just about nice. Assuming that your plane ticket and accommodation have already been paid for.