Hong Kong – Macau on a Budget: Our Php9,694 Itinerary

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Hong Kong Disneyland is a childhood dream. Anybody who says they’re too cool for that can suck it. Plus, it’s just a ferry-ride away from Macau!

Living in the Philippines, Hong Kong is so accessible and is a great first out of the country destination. It’s just almost 2 hours away by plane, there is no time difference, and there are no shortages of fellow Filipinos you could talk to.

It’s also only my second out of the country.

Last year was a month-long backpacking in Thailand with no itinerary whatsoever and this time it’s a 4D3N HK-Macau escapade… so believe me when I say that, to me, this was too short a trip and that I got too intense and excited with the planning.

For details on how we budgeted our trip and if you’re trying to determine how to know if you need an iVenture Hong Kong and Macau Attractions Pass or not, head to this post:

How to Determine if an iVenture Hong Kong and Macau Attraction Pass is Right for You

What is an iVenture Hong Kong and Macau Attractions Pass? Check this link:

KLOOK: iVenture HK-Macau Pass

 

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ENTRY:

Filipinos can stay in Hong Kong for up to 14 days without having to apply for a visa. This does not mean you can always simply just waltz through. To learn more about how we got stopped by an immigration officer upon entry and how we got through it, this post might be helpful:

Hong Kong Entry : Got Stopped by an Immigration Officer: http://alettertotheuniverse.com/post/175956612343/hong-kong-entry-got-stopped-by-an-immigration

 

Arrival:

After getting through the checks, although excited to hop on a bus, it was first things first for us!

For this trip, we pre-ordered the following essentials through KLOOK in advance:

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Octopus Card

HK’s transportation system is extremely impressive (I couldn’t shut up about it during our whole stay.) The metrorail system is easily accessible, connects you seamlessly to where you need to go, and there’s a train, like, every 2 minutes so it’s rarely cramped.

We knew we’d be going around a lot and would be using the MTR mainly, so we decided to get the Octopus card which is basically like our beep card wherein you top it up pre-trip and simply swipe it when your ready to board the train. It is also widely accepted by the buses so you will no longer have to wait in line to get a ticket or look for spare change.

With our itinerary, we approximately used up about $150HKD (Php1022) Octopus card top up.

You can get the Octopus Card at the airport for $100 plus a $50 deposit (you get this back when you return the card), so a total of Php1022 as well – not including any credit though.

We know we wouldn’t be able to return the card as our return flight will be from Macau, so we got ourselves a discounted one from KLOOK. It’s at Php641 and comes with a $50HKD  top up already.

The link is below if you want to check it out:

 

KLOOK: Octopus Card

 

4G SIM CARD

I NEED MAPS! All the time. I’m just lost without it, literally. *wink*

And ofcourse, I need to stay connected with my travel buddies so we got ourselves a 4GSIM (China Mobile network) off KLOOK simply because I’ve learned that sim cards sold at the airport are wayyy overpriced. Plus securing one beforehand is just so convenient.

The card we got is the 5day 4G SIM priced at P361 and would give you 1.5GB 4G Data plus $18HKD load.

Was the 1.5GB enough for our stay? Yes, it was and I didn’t even have to restrict my use. Of course, I didn’t bingewatch series or anything and our AirBnb had Wifi anyway. But it was enough for Maps, Google, and your social media needs while on the go.

Was the internet fast? YES. Wherever you go.

Link is below if you want to check it out:

KLOOK: HK 4G SIM

Was it easy to pickup: Yes. The voucher comes with specific instructions on where to pick it up at the HK airport. The sim and the Octopus card can be picked up on the same booth.

Accommodations:

Unless you are on a luxury trip, you cannot be picky with accommodations. The rooms just aren’t spacious to be honest, especially the bathrooms. But that’s just how it is at Hong Kong. It costs around $300HKD a night for a double room.

We got one at the Jordan area where they also sell cheap pasalubongs

Anywhere is a good place in my opinion as long as it’s close to the MTR.

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Now that that’s out of the way, we finally get to the part I’m most excited to write about: the places and activities!

Ngong Ping 360

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We board the bus off the aiport at around 9:30am and first went to Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car.

Basically, to get to Lantau Island, we wanted to ride the cable car which goes over several mountains and gives you a beautiful Hong Kong city view from the top.

Our choice was to experience both the standard cabin and the crystal cabin (wherein you can also see the view through the floor of the cabin). We got a discounted ticket from KLOOK for this as well which costs P1139.

Link below:

KLOOK: Ngong Ping 360

You may also ride a bus to get to Lantau Island if you are not into the cable car route, so don’t worry.

Ngong Ping Village, Lantau Island

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In this island is the Ngong Ping village which is where you’ll be dropped off by the cable car. It’s a dainty village showing off beautiful, traditional architecture and cobblestone streets. Their 7-11 store design is so cute. In the square, you’ll see a carabao roaming around

Tip: You may drop your bags off a counter as soon as you get off the cable car. Just ask around for it, it shouldn’t be hard to find.

 

Tian Tan Buddha

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After taking (quite a lot) of photos of the village, we went to see the Tian Tan Buddha which was atop a 250-step staicase.

To me, there’s really something about big Buddhas that is extremely humbling and calming.

Once at the top, you’ll get a great view of the island and you’ll see the intricate details of the Tian Tan Buddha. Keep in mind to be respectful though as some people are praying at the foot of the Buddha and at the square.

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Drop by the Po Lin monastery as well if you have time. It’s all in one area within walking distance.

If you are into a formal tour with a pro tour guide and everything, the below link may prove to be useful:

 

KLOOK: Lantau Island Day Tour

 

The Peak

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We left at noon to catch the KLOOK rep at Central Station who will take us to the tram which is also something new to me (in one day, I already gained new transpo experiences: cable car and tram).

This was a really cool experience – one of my favorites.

We got to go up the side of the mountain on a really old but still well kept train, while looking out the window into an amazing view. Once we got there, we directly went unto the top of the Sky Terrace 428 (the actual Peak) and was greeted by the best, highest view of the Hong Kong cityscape.

This is what we have availed for PHP625:

KLOOK: The Peak Fast Track Combo

Heading out, you’ll pass by the 3D Art Museum. I’m not if it is always for free bit it was that day.

Other activities in this tower ar Madame Tussauds Wax Museum and Chocolate Art Museum.

We were supposed to go out that night but we were so tiiiired, we decided to simply check into our AirBnb and have dinner around the Jordan area.

We ate this delicious spicy squid dish that was around $120HKD which is a bit pricey as per most good dishes at Hong Kong are. Good for 2-person sharing though.

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I tried to stop multiplying my expenses by 7 but it was just so hard to stop converting HKD to PHP, lol. Checkout other dishes we got to try within our stay:

Disneyland 

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Day 2 was a full day at Disneyland. It was every bit amazing as imagined.

The Ironman experience, It’s a Small World, and the Magic Manor are my top 3 favorite rides.

There was a tribute to Mickey that night wherein they projected Mickey clips across the whole street making the building walls come alive. The closing parade was magical. It was just epic.

I made a whole separate post just in tribute to it so there, check it out and feel my feelings with me:

A Day of Disney Magic

 

Man Mo Temple

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Day 3 was our cultural day. Also, all the places we visited that day didn’t involve entrance fees. Yay! 

There’s a lot of free things to do in every country. Just walk around a city and experience the local life.

It was such a unique experience to be inside this temple. Every corner felt so… spiritual? And eerie, but in a mesmerizing way. It may be because of the incense, the lighting, and the hanging lanterns… but it’s so hard to describe unless you get to experience it (so go experience it!)

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I also got my fortune told for $30HKD which is cool to say and all, but really it was only 2 minutes and less exciting. Hahahaha. He just told me something about not quitting my job until September. Meh. I wasn’t planning to anyway.

I mean, do this for the experience, like I did, but if you are on a really tight budget, you won’t miss a lot by skipping this.

Kowloon Walled City

We were supposed to tour around the infamous walled city but during our stay there was a typhoon (signal warning number 1) so we went to take cover instead for a few hours at Chi Lin Nunnery. Guess I’ll just have to come back to HK next time for a tour of Kowloon’s walled city. :‘c

 

Chi Lin Nunnery

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The most peaceful place I’ve ever visited as of date (the rain helped with the cozy ambiance, I guess). Like the Man Mo Temple, it’s really hard to explain the effect of these places. There’s just calm and spirituality in the air. And the design of each corner of this place is wonderful and intricate.

Again, it’s a place of worship for some people there so be extra cautious and respectful.

 

Victoria Harbour: Symphony of Lights Show

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It’s at 8pm every night!

We watched from the Avenue of Stars (we were literally running to catch it on time). 

Sat beside the bay to watch the sky and the buildings light up.

You definitely must not miss this!!! I love Hong Kong at night and this is part of the top reasons why.

See my post dedicated simply to HK’s after sunset magic:

Hong Kong at Night

This was our last day at HK so we went around Jordan’s night market to buy pasalubong and to eat.

I’m not sure why Filipinos say things are cheap at HK so it’s a great place to shop around but from my experience, things… weren’t cheap?

I kept converting it to PHP, so to me a $100HKD blouse is equivalent to PHP600+. Don’t they do that? Or have I just not found the right shopping places? Do let me know.

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Macau

We only had a few hours stay in Macau and the typhoon warning was raised to signal number 2 so… we were’t able to get to the place I was looking forward to the most: the Ruins of St. Paul.

But here’s how we spent the few hours we had:

We boarded the Cotaijet Ferry at 10am.

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The trip was about an hour and the transaction was actually hassle-free.

Tip: We got a PHP1091 discount voucher from KLOOK and we exchanged it for a ticket the day prior (we did this on Day 3) – to reserve a 10am slot.

For more info about the voucher, here’s the link:

KLOOK: Hong Kong – Macau Cotaijet Ferry

Tip: Upon arriving, we boarded one of the free buses. These are everywhere and are provided by the hotels even if you do not check into them or are not availing anything from them. You won’t have to pay for transpo honestly if you simply want to see the tourist spots. These buses will give you a free ride.

Tip Again: Cotaijet personnels will offer you free discount vouchers upon arriving (they just hand them out when you walk by). TAKE THOSE. You’ll get loads of discount coupons and we even got a free pass to the Parisian’s Eiffle Tower viewing deck which would have cost us $100HKD otherwise.

Good to know: No need to change your money. Macau widely accepts HKD.

The Parisian

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The hotel interior is a tourist spot in itself. It’s just grand.

The ceiling paintings are mesmerizing. Plus the staff are extremely accomodating.

Good to know: $20HKD temporary lockers are available at the lobby. Only accepts exact cash though. If you don’t have $20 bills/coins, head to the Casino or Main Reception to have your bills exchanged.

At the Parisian, you can visit their replica of the Eiffel Tower. It includes a small tour of the history of the construction of the tower and a viewing deck.

At the viewing deck, there is also a recreation of the the Love Locks bridge. 

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It’s $60HKD to get your lock or, you know, just bring your own.

So if you’re like me who can’t afford Paris yet, this place is pretty amazing and is the best part of my Macau stay.

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The Venetian

This hotel is just a passageway away from the Parisian. You won’t even have to go outside again.

Have you ever been to the Venice Grand Canal in Mckinley Hill, BGC? It’s like that. It’s basically the same, really.

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It’s like Venice streets inside a mall. It even has a moving sky projected in the ceiling. (In my opinion, the one here in BGC looks better so if you haven’t been, you should.)

Tip: Try the $10HKD cheesecake. It’s nice.

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Hope this was helpful. If it was, do drop me a line in the comments or messages.

I hope you get to visit HK and Macau! If you already did, what are your favorite memories?

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Extremely fortunate to be experiencing this,

N