Hong Kong is a city, and former British colony, in southeastern China. Vibrant and densely populated, it’s a major port and global financial center famed for its tower-studded skyline. It’s also known for its lively food scene – from Cantonese dim sum to extravagant high tea – and its shopping, with options spanning chaotic Temple Street Night Market to the city’s innumerable bespoke tailors. It’s a three-hour flight away from Manila and the closest I can get to the British dream.
June is not a very good month to travel since it can rain non-stop and when it’s not, it becomes very humid that you don’t even want to get out of the mall or hotel room. Boots and umbrellas are a must during the rainy season, and sadly, we weren’t able to bring any of the two.
We arrived around 6PM in Hongkong and was fetched by the agency where we got our tour package. Apparently, they thought there were seven of us so they chose to get us with the mini bus and we found ourselves sitting inside with only the four of us. We stayed at the Newton’s Place in Kwun Tong, a good 10-15mins taxi ride from Tsim Tsa Tsui and 5-10mins to Mong Kok, though the hotel location was a little hard to find. Breakfast was free but we had to walk two more blocks to get it from the nearest Mcdo branch.
Our call time was at eight in the morning so we had to get downstairs to wait for the tour bus. It was a day tour of the city and since this was my first time traveling with the family and spent all my bonus to this trip, my expectation was really high albeit I had no idea what the itinerary was. I didn’t even bother to look through the tourist spots since mom mentioned that everything was already covered.
We got on the bus and our first stop was the Victoria Harbour with the Kowloon skyscrapers across it. I know we should have checked out the Avenue of the Stars but I didn’t even know it was the same place!
We only spent fifteen minutes at the Victoria Harbour before proceeding to the most amazing shops I’ve seen my whole life – the novelty and the jewelry stores.
I wondered if those stores were actually owned by the tour agency or something. I wanted to scream and take all my money back and walk out from that day tour, I was that pissed!
After that horrible stores tour, we finally went to this place (I don’t know the name) for the Sampan boat ride which was actually optional and not included in the fee we paid. Mom didn’t want to spend an additional 60HKD but I realized that it may be the only Hongkong immersion we will get so I told Mom I’m going to pay for it instead.
We got on the boat with an Indian family who were also on our tour group and the boat went around for thirty minutes showing us the rich and the poor side in Sampan.
The water plays a big role in the Chinese feng shui and they believe that the nearer you are in the water, the more money you will have and a better sense of flow in life which is why a lot of million-dollar worth of condominium buildings stood along the large body of water. While enjoying the Sampan boat ride, I’ve seen the huge difference between the rich and the poor. While the rich parked and groomed their yachts and went into their expensive condo unit, the poor squeezed inside the old junk boats that also served as their home.
After the Sampan boat ride, the tour guide finally told us that we were going to Disneyland. He gave us the Disneyland tickets and I’ve received seven (because they assumed there were seven of us and I’m not sure if we also paid for seven people), then he reminded us that we needed our passports to get in. Because Mom was so excited, she actually confessed that she left our passports in the hotel but one family from the tour group told us that we didn’t need the passport as long as we have the tickets.
I was getting hungry by that time and I told Mom to just get down in Tsim Tsa Tsui, grab a lunch and head to Disneyland since there are trains to take us there but she said that we would be wasting time and just grab lunch in Disneyland but this part now deserves another blog post so I’ll wrap this up and remind you to never get a tour arrangement in Hongkong unless they send you the itinerary before the trip!