Thursday, July 28, 2011

my travel notes: hongkong and macau

finally, i'm on my very last post for my hk-macau stint that was like ages ago! this blog is i think about to throw up with over-indulgence of anything hk or macau, with 14 posts intervened in the past few months. sad. :( it's way past the second half of 2011 and i'm falling behind of getting out there, to feel both the sun and the rain!

anyway back to the main topic, here are the few notes i could remember from the last time i drafted my ideas on what exactly i need to enumerate. i'm pretty sure i'll be missing out a thing or two. thanks to my wonderful memory.

(1) Bring a small amount of HK$ from home especially if you're arriving late or at the wee hours of the morning.
by this time, all currency exchange facilities will surely be closed. the small amount however depends on your needs. in our case, that small amount was for the bus fare from HKIA to tsim sha tsui at HK$23 and our full payment for our stay at cosmic guest house

this was definitely a lesson learned for me as i didn't bring any single HK$ and i even decided to give in to the ATMs in the airport, brushing off the expensive fee of the transaction or if my ATM cards will work to begin with, though mine are international but i never tried it before. i was about to break a gallons of sweat and got somberly intimidated with all the chinese characters around the machine, let alone the machine itself, karina then told us that she had enough HK$ to save our asses from a total disaster.

(2) Don't go for currency exchangers along the streets.
because for sure, you'll never get a good deal. i had mentioned that we had done making our itinerary months before our intended travel and of course, the essential detail of the best currency exchanger was definitely included. yes, we had exchanged most of our US$ in the recommended exchanger which was the wing hoi money exchanger at the ground floor of mirador mansion. 

Confusing HK$ Bills!
but as we were eagerly walking around the hk streets on our first day, we decided to exchange our remaining bills for we might not have time on the next days. this is something to watch out for. amounts noticeably displayed in a street-side exchanger are NOT their buying value of your US$ but it's their selling value, which means it's the other way around of what you need. the huge value fooled us! we probably lost a few hundred pesos or roughly a little more than 5 US$ but it was worth the lesson learned.

(3) Wear your most comfortable shoes!
Or just shop your shoes there!
but don't forget to bring salon pas. LOL i love walking more than running or jogging. so, i will never complain if i would have to walk around hk forever but of course, if i would wear my comfy shoes! :P i truly admire the discipline induced by having designated stops for buses and taxis and also by having trains, not to mention the needed exercise in one's humdrum daily routine. 

it's a total contrast to what i'm used to in my country, wherein a passenger will try to get off anywhere he fancies, be it in the middle of the road, in the midst of an intersection or even at 3 meters away from the spot where the previous passenger had just disembarked. it's amusing to observe this but equally irritating at the same time!

(4) Spare Macau on weekends.
it's a gazillion of people out there when it's a weekend! it becomes worse if humidity of macau's summer seals the inconvenience deal. here's our hotel hopping and walking tour all in one sunday.

Disney Train
(5) Don't make DisneyLand as your destination on your last day.
and that's if you head straight to the airport which seems logical since disneyland and the airport are in the same island of lantau. taking a taxi to the airport is the most convenient, especially if you're towing a lot of luggage. however, before you can rave on the idea of taking a taxi, you need to spend a horrendous amount of money for disney's locker service. that's why, i would never have disneyland on my last day.

(6) Don't combine your passports when presenting them to the Immigration Officer in Hongkong.
it's "one by one!" as the IO in hk had reprimanded us. because you can lump your passports in one go at the immigration in mactan, cebu, this does not mean you can do it as well in hk. another great lesson for us! :D

as i always say or write, enjoy!

p.s. i could only come up with 6 for now. i'll just have to update this whenever another enlightenment strikes me and i can add another note which i hope will be useful.


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