Sorry it took so long. It has been so long since my trip or since I updated about Hong Kong, I actually can’t remember what I actually did there LOL. Well, more or less I remember, but the reason why it took me so long to write this apart from bring lazy was because I didn’t really want to bore you guys.
Part 1 of Hong Kong for me was the most extravagant and craziest I’ve lived whilst during on a holiday. I felt like Kang Kyung Joon (drama: BIG) walking into the bank in a fricken suit and sunglasses wherever I went because for some stupid reason I felt that I had plenty of money to spend and didn’t care how I spent it because I wriggled myself into the mindset that everything was cheap. That very weekend I arrived I spent all my money LOL. Part 2 was just weird because Macau was so not what I was expecting… maybe because I was there during the day and didn’t really experience the whole “casino-ness” that I stereotyped it as. Part 3 is mostly about me being povo and scraping up whatever loose ends I have. But that’s okay, because I’m just here to share the experience.
Luckily for me, I didn’t have zero dollars on me, I did have Australian dollars to exchange, which I did at a HSBC branch I vaguely remembered located on Nathan Road, thanks to Google map’s streetview. Exchange on a Tuesday, because the rate tends to be a big higher. They charged me $100HKD in bank fees (to do the exchange and stuff) and you NEED I.D to process the money exchange. So on Tuesday, I was suddenly “rich” again, well, for a brief while anyway. TIP: Avoid exchange booths, they have really low exchange rates, less bang for your buck.
As a recap, I stopped updating after Sunday which was my Macau trip.
I might have gotten my days mixed up by the way, because I no longer remember the order in which I did stuff. The only hint I have is from my photographs – but either way, if I can’t remember which day it was, I won’t say which day it was.
Monday- Wednesday. Yes, in a clump.
On Monday-Wednesday I tried to do things that cost little to no money. After spending most of my money on stuff I didn’t expect to buy whilst outlet shopping, and having an extremely frugal experience in Macau spending literally under $500HKD all up for the day, it was time to continue to save. At this point in time, I felt guilty for spending my money like it was crap (it took me that fast to forget how long I saved up trololol), and did some pretty stupid things to save money. I really wanted to go home even though I’ve just arrived for like 4 days, and there was still another 5-6 days to go. I really didn’t want to exchange money and if I could, I would survive off the remaining money I had. I mean, it was possible, but it meant cooking my own meals or something (I forgot but I worked out the sum and it totally wasn’t worth it considering I’m on holidays and not on boot camp).
Most of my days during the week were the same – stayed at the hotel, watched TV and abused my $28HKD/day unlimited wifi usage. Got out of the hotel to eat lunch so that my room could be cleaned, arrived back at around 4pm or so – and mostly skipped dinner – which was a very very bad decision to make. Some nights I would make a trip to the supermarket to top up my Evian mineral water. Some nights I decided to go have McDonald’s (which is super cheap – a meal costs only $20HKD over there – the equivalent of less than $3AUD – I know however they did put up their prices so it should be $21HKD now). If I chose to skip dinner I tried to eat snacks that I had in my room, though very few. My worst night (which I forgot which day) was skipping dinner because I was feeling super depressed and it consisted of a children’s sized tetra pack of Vitasoy milk and 4 wheat biscuits with one side covered in chocolate. Yes. That was my dinner. I was counting how many calories would suffice for a dinner… but I think I did the calculations wrong. All I remember was having this miserable “dinner”, forcing myself to sleep quite early at around 11pm and having trouble sleeping. Then I got a phone call from my friend which lifted my mood… and then after that, back to square one.
Vitasoy milk. 125ml or something ridiculously tiny from memory. Cute, but not enough to feed an adult as a meal substitute.
At this point of time I was questioning why I bothered to stay in Hong Kong for a long and weird period of 9 nights, because I was bored out of my mind. I honestly played my entire trip way too safe and didn’t go out and do anything crazy enough to make my stay worthwhile. If you planned on going to Hong Kong and hoped that you’d meet some random attractive stranger and have a few drinks all night long, or miraculously be friends with a clique of people you find amazingly compatible, snap out of it. Yes, we all daydream, but at the end of the day it’s not going to happen (I mean okay, it might, but hey, the probability is low). Out of the 9 nights I was there in Hong Kong, only 5 nights or days did I see friends and have dinner with someone else. I mean, how easy it is to be discouraged from going out at all for the remaining 4 nights? It sounds like a short period of time, but when you take into account that 4 nights actually probably is 4 nights and 6 days (since you don’t need to see someone during the day to have dinner at night), then you’ll understand why I felt so lonely and bored.
Either way, next time I go to Hong Kong, I’m only staying there max 7 nights – most likely 6, because I will go crazy. I knew that going solo was going to be tough, but I didn’t know that it was going to be that mentally challenging. Unless I’m going with a friend or someone else – that’s a different story.
On that note of saving money, I did do my part in buying cup noodles which I would have for breakfast (what, they only sell for $7HKD there… which is less than a dollar D:…).
I didn’t even bother buying a pair of chopsticks to use. I just simply used the two spoons provided in my room to eat, whilst folding the lid of the ramen bowl into quarters and using it as a big spoon. This was an average breakfast that I had – not all days, but probably 6 days I was there.
Went to Avenue of the Stars, Tsim Sha Tsui
My hotel is very very close to Victoria Harbour, which is a surprise because I probably mentioned before – the hotel is a lot more affordable than I had expected (one factor is that I don’t have a nice view at all, but that doesn’t matter because I care more about its location more than anything else). It is within walking distance to this popular tourist destination, which is where Running Man played the Cantonese singing game by the water in their Hong Kong special. To get the the Avenue of Stars, you actually need to walk in a subway to get there, which is pretty self explanatory. If you think you can skip doing so, forget it, because there’s nowhere for you to cross the road, you must take the underground route.
This is a strip along Victoria Harbour with awesome views and lots of open space where you can just walk and relax. There’s a Starbucks at the endish of the trail (with free wifi may I also add) but with disgusting public toilets (for the reasons I listed in my previous Hong Kong for noobs post – a result of attempting to flush excessive amounts of toilet paper simultaneously down a toilet which is not designed to take more than say, a square of toilet paper).
I sat at their Starbucks with a drink, chilling in their aircon in the 30 degree weather and leeched their free wi-fi.
The Starbucks is probably one of the highlights of this place, the rest is just walking and chillaxing.
You will find the trail interesting because there are handprints and signatures of some of the top stars from Hong Kong and other Asian countries, and there are little carts along the way which sell stuff like snacks though I can’t pinpoint what (I remember it being “Korean styled dried squid” but that’s a really bad translation lol).
A prime example of a famous Hong Kong movie star – Jackie Chan.
And I shall reiterate, the view is stunning. But that’s because I’ve always been fascinated with Hong Kong’s view – it’s just so different to what I’ve grown up with.
Worth a visit, but not for long. It’s only somewhere you can hang around for about 2 hours max. Really, MAX.
K12 was boring, and you must visit an agnés b cafe
There are a lot of shopping centres around Tsim Sha Tsui, one called K12. It’s a super boring shopping centre with nothing attractive other than the mass of jewellery stores around it, and a super big agnés b clothing store as well as an agnés b cafe.
I guess the best part about the shopping complex is that there is a large outdoor area (which is where the photo was taken) with plenty of seating so you can wait for friends. There’s wi-fi, and the whole place is actually undercover as you’re under a large glass roof. It looks cool and relaxing, but it was actually pretty hot sitting there :\
For those who don’t know agnés b (I didn’t know what it was and still don’t really know LOL), it is a “high end” designer label that sells bags, clothing, accessories and also has a cafe under the same label. It’s more popular in Asia (though it’s a French based label), such as Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore - otherwise I don’t really know much about the brand, nor do I care much for it either. I should have ideally had all my Starbucks meals at the agnés b cafes instead (it is only slightly more dearer than Starbucks maybe by about $10HKD) but they only seem to do cakes, they don’t really do bread. I say “high end” in inverted commas because in my opinion, it’s not really on the level I consider it to be called high end.
This was an ice cappuccino and cake by the name of “jasmine”. It’s actually a really yummy and moist cake which was surprisingly good. They had a lot of other cakes, pink, purple – all colours you could imagine. I should have tried more. The cappuccino was only so-so though. This “meal” cost me about $80-$90HKD. I can’t remember.
And on the note about recharge cards, SmarTone are a bitch to find. I had to sit at K12, leech wi-fi and google search where the hell they are sold because SmarTone recharge cards are ONLY sold at SmarTone stores. There’s only ONE in the whole of Tsim Sha Tsui, which thankfully was only about a 7 minute walk away.
iSQUARE on the other hand is a shopping centre that is much closer to my hotel and can be reached just by crossing one street (okay maybe two depending on which way I walk around the block) or via the underground subway MTR tunnels. I usually went underground because NO UV RAYS. You feel like burning under the sun.
And yes, wi-fi available.
I came across this place called Hey yo! which does frozen yoghurt which you pay depending on the weight of your froyo tub. Their flavours are pretty limited (original, vanilla, strawberry, chocolate) and their toppings were so-so. I chose an original and vanilla froyo base (you just need to self serve and get it out of the yoghurt dispenser), strawberries, mango, dragonfuit, and various jellies you find in milk tea.
This cost about $70HKD and it was about 70g or so. (I think it’s $100HKD for 100g) Wasn’t really worth it LOL. Should have got more toppings than yoghurt so it would have been lighter, but I wanted to have a more filling experience. Let’s say – after I finished eating this, I WAS FREEZING. It was COLD.
I felt like a slow eater because everyone eats so damn fast. But oh well.
We’ve all seen this photo because I posted it up before, but iSQUARE is home to a lot of brands that may otherwise be hard to find, one of which is SKINFOOD. They also have The Saem (another Korean brand) which is surprising. I wasn’t expecting to buy from Skinfood, but it’s really hard to buy those nail essences as I can’t find them anywhere online anymore. They were only $30HKD each (bought all three that were in stock) and I got a skin exfoliator which was about $155HKD. The Apple line is brand new and it smells pretty good. A good alternative to Missha’s Detoxifying Peeling Gel at a fraction of the price, and smells like heaven compared to the wreck that is Etude House’s moistfull peeling gel which smells like a dead animal made from plastic. Prices in Skinfood are pricey considering they would be slightly cheaper in Korea, but probably only by $3 max (for example, if a product is $23, it could be $21 in Korea…? Or at least that’s the feeling I got). Stock is limited and the store is quite small. If you spend $600HKD you get VIP membership which means you get discounts and extra freebies – but I didn’t go for it because I was short on cash.
Probably the largest shopping centre in Tsim Sha Tsui which is also walking distance from where I stayed. This is where all the big brands are, and the complex is HUGE you actually need to rely on a map or else you will never find what you are after.
Looks shabby from this entry, but damn this place is amazing. If you’re after all the big labels, they’re all here, if not within walking distance from here. Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Salvatore Ferragamo, Fendi, Dior, Miu Miu, Prada, Celine, Marc by Marc Jacobs (even) - it’s all in or near here. Although it’s called Harbour City, it’s actually divided into several different sections and they all have different names. I just will refer to the whole complex as Harbour City as I can’t tell which is what anyway. You will know when you’re inside because the colour scheme and materials change when you’re in a different section.
If the big names are intimidating, they have a lot of other stuff like UNIQLO, Muji, Zara and there’s a H&M across the road. Probably one of the coolest places which I didn’t explore fully enough was Citi Super – that place is freaking huge – goes on for about 20 stores long and they have a section for everything – magazine and books, cosmetics, fresh food/ groceries – holy crap, I didn’t go in because I was scared I’d go nuts with my spending.
Make sure you plan where you want to go first and second etc and map it out, because I walked back and forth a lot trying to find what I wanted.
And at times you are greeted with a beautiful view like this.
If I remember correctly this was just outside of Muji.
Go nuts and get lost in Harbour City, you will have a good night’s sleep. The place is huge.
Other stuff you can do which you need to do, that doesn’t cost money
Wash your clothes. I mentioned this before, but it’s best to wash all your clothes. Don’t worry if they’re not 100% spanking clean, just do it because if you go to Hong Kong during its warmer seasons like I did, you will end up with a load of pretty smelly clothes. Just wash them again when you get back home – but don’t put them into a stuffy plastic bag, it is super gross since you’ll be sweating all the time.
Clean your room and pack regularly. I was going to put up a photo of my messy room and then I realised that there was something on the chair I forgot to blur out -_-
I wanted to talk about these two items I got from SaSa when I discovered my bb cream was running out. I used the sunscreen mostly for my arms and the Dr Jart BB cream is horrible. I’ve never had bb cream melt off my face before, but this sure did. Completely wrecked my skin and I’m too scared to use it again. Maybe it’s more suitable for the Sydney weather than it is for Hong Kong, but it made my face blotchy and bumpy. I was so scared and depressed about the state of my skin I had to go to SaSa again to buy something to calm my skin down. Luckily for me the sales did a skin test for me, recommended me a product (tried to sell me a whole set, but I refused since it was over $1000HKD and I only had like 3 days left in HK) and gave me a bunch of samples to take back. I did buy the moisturiser she recommended and it’s been working so well for me I’ve now stocked about 5 jars at home at this moment.
Hopefully that will give you a few ideas of where you can go and what you can do without actually really spending money. Great places to hang, leech wi-fi or window shop. Or spend money if you still have lots to blow
Thursday and Friday
On Thursday I went to Causeway Bay.
Again, Causeway Bay is something completely different to me. Apparently I was there when I was younger, but I have absolutely no memory of it. You basically get around the place via a lot of overhead pedestrian bridges/ walkways which is very common in the Hong Kong Island area.
Wire sculpture(s) outside Times Square – this was only one of them.
I got out the wrong entrance and walked all the way to Times Square, which was alright – I picked up a pair of earrings from Lane Crawford since the earrings I wore to Hong Kong tarnished in the humid weather and got exposed to hair dye and stuff lolol. I was that particular I just had to get a pair of earrings that I felt I could actually wear out without feeling they looked gross.
I followed my self drawn map and ended up at SOGO where I bought 2 Juicy Couture hair ties… pretty expensive… they were like $30AUD for a set of 3 (times that by 2 that’s $60…). Don’t know what I was thinking… but they do make good presents.
I visited the new Forever 21 store, which made me really happy, though most of their stuff wasn’t really my style. Most of the items were more affordable than H&M in my opinion, it was less packed and there wasn’t much of a waiting line for the change rooms. I loved how there were like 4 floors or so of just stuff you could buy. Everything was well organised with different sections for different things, like the casual stuff being on the first two floors, a section for clubbing dresses and another section for lingerie. The top floor was really fun as it was full of jewellery and gifts – the jewellery was so cheap – like $21HKD for a necklace (about $3) which actually looked pretty nice. There was a lot of stuff and I picked up a bunch of hairties for just $10HKD. And by a bunch I mean like, 15 LOL. Forever 21 is a super fun place – I should have originally stuck to my original plan to visit the store as soon as I got to Hong Kong, as they close their doors at 1am in the morning. 1am!!
Either way, I picked up 2 dresses, an umbrella, phone case, hair ties and hair clips.
THE PEAK, Victoria’s Peak
On Friday I visited THE PEAK, which is the highest point in Hong Kong where you can see all of Hong Kong (sort of).
The Peak is located at Victoria’s Peak, which is a ride away from Admiralty.
To get to The Peak you either catch a tram or a bus from Admiralty. To my luck, there were a lot of signs (and tourists who seemed to know where they were going) and using common sense you just need to take the overhead pedestrian bridges to cross the roads. I decided to take the Peak Tram as that’s what they took in Running Man’s Hong Kong special. You can buy a single way or a return ticket, and you can also choose to pay extra to allow entry to the Sky Terrace. I bought a return ticket ($65HKD return) which included entry to the Sky Terrace, which is the top floor of the Peak building where you can take photos and stuff.
Sorry for the blurry photo.
As you can see the tram station is actually quite some walk from the train station (entrances are in the boxes as drawn above) – I actually ended up taking the purple dotted line because I couldn’t find the J2 exit. The tram was pretty cool and it goes up really steep!
Take my advice, sit on the right of the tram (right as in the side you enter the tram as it is in the photo above). You’ll take better pictures than me.
I sat on the wrong side of the tram and there were no more seats on the right!!!!
There’s a mini balcony that’s free entry before you reach the Sky Terrace – I went there too. To be honest I am kind of scared of heights, and going alone going up so many escalators and standing on the rooftop without a friend or someone I could temporarily embrace was actually kinda freaky. I’m not sure if I should be calling myself brave or chicken shit… but I did make it up there, even though I was weak at the knees.
When I got to the top I was slightly disappointed because it was a cloudy day so it was super hard to take photos and see what I was doing. I tried to take self shots of myself but I could barely keep my eyes open since it was so bright even though it was overcast. Everything was also a whitish fog.
You can see the tram tracks… that’s how far up I was! But then again, I was 428m above sea level, the highest point in Hong Kong :O
See the criss crossed building in the middle? (It’s either the HSBC or Bank of China but I keep forgetting which one it is LOL) That was the building several photos up of the view I got when I got off Admiralty Such a long way away, felt like I hiked this far. The body of water is Victoria Harbour, and my hotel is on the other side.
This is a view that people usually neglect – this is facing south/westish. This was so different as it was lush and green without any buildings.
There was an attraction there which most people would have heard of – Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. I wasn’t really going to go to it, but when I stumbled across it by accident, I decided to pay the (very expensive) entry fee and go through it since I was there. It was pretty cool, and they looked really close to the real people! Probably wouldn’t do it again though
The entry was like $130HKD or something like that and I had no idea what was inside. I don’t want to post up my photos as such, but there are like 3 major sections and about 50-70 celebrities/ famous people inside. I lined up forever to take a photo of Louis Koo and Leon Lai – FOREVER. But as you enter you get greeted by Yong-sama (Bae Yong Joon) – the only Korean celebrity in the whole exhibit.
This is what The Peak looks like from outside. This is a building we actually came across during uni days because the architect whose firm that did this building came to our university to scout students to work for them after graduation. Well, it’s an interesting building, but the inside is actually pretty small and there’s not much to do in there. There are a lot of souvenir stores and a few restaurants, but nothing spectacular. The best attraction really is the Sky Terrace and that’s about it really.
Friday night dinner and drinks
Met up with my friend and we had dinner at a ramen place in Central. I think it was called Ippudou or something like that. Food was so-so. We ended up sitting across a super awkward couple who weren’t talking. I felt super bad because we were speaking in English about them (so they probably didn’t understand us) the entire time and he was giving them weird looks and typed messages on his phone to show me what he was thinking.
We then aimlessly wandered around and he took me to the famous(?) LKF, Lan Kwai Fong – the clubbing heart of Hong Kong. My disappointment though – it was empty, but it was about 9pm then. Apparently the partying starts at like 2am – I’ll go there next time I visit Hong Kong. Too bad I had a plane to catch the next day.
After that he called out another of our uni classmates to come out for a drink. We went to Landmark Hotel’s Zuma Bar which is located on level 7.
I forgot what this cocktail was called but it was gross. The orange juice in it was foul. This wasn’t a cheap cocktail either and just omg yuck.
The bar’s cocktail menu largely features oriental fusions so you get a lot of orange, lychee and weird things. Well, this wasn’t nice. I ordered it for the “peach” that was supposed to be in it, but all I could taste was orange. Eurgh.
The boys had a great time there, they were just checking out girls the entire night and saying how “the standard here is higher than other places”. I don’t know, because I’m not a guy, but to me they were all so-so. I thought this way because the way they dressed screamed out that they came after work, which I kind of think is sloppy – I think there’s a way to wear something work and drink friendly. But anyway who cares, I hated the place and didn’t like it. Barely got to talk to my friends and I basically had my face in my palms for the majority of the time because the cocktails were strong.
I finished the night with 3 drinks, the last being a cocktail I remember because its name was Bishounen (now that one was okay, though I spilled it because the alcohol was really getting to me -_- I suck). Friend asked if I was okay and told me 3 drinks was enough. Then I was like “did you know my second drink was a non-alcoholic one??” – he didn’t. So I cheated. I tricked them all. I have zero alcohol tolerance. Daaaaammmnnn.
The interior of Zuma was really nice though. The toilets were great, though the ladie’s toilets are located far far away from the men’s toilets. I almost walked in to the men’s toilets because I naturally assumed the women’s toilets would be opposite those… then a staff member was like “I’ll take you to the women’s toilets”. How embarassing.
I’ll probably go again, but I just didn’t like the super mature atmosphere of the bar (and by mature I don’t mean classy either, which makes it super awkward). All you see is people picking up random people, if not sticking to their own groups. Boring. The highlight of my night was accidentally blowing out the candle that was on our table. I thought that if I blew it, the flame wouldn’t go out. Lol, wut.
Then I went home. And couldn’t sleep much.
Saturday, and it’s time to leave.
Had brunch at a Japanese ramen place in another shopping centre named Mirador which is errr opposite Park Lane Boulevard (photo below) and in the direction of K12.
Browsed Harbour City for the last time. Under the recommendation of my friend’s friend we trekked to catch a bus to the airport. Probably a bad decision because my bag was freaking heavy and I wasn’t wearing any makeup since I didn’t want to bother with it on the plane – hence that’s how I got all my freckles (rageee). Basically I got fried under the sun, and we walked super far to find a bus stop which was for the NIGHT bus only. We had to walk all the way back omfg. Well, it was okay though, but probably next time I’ll take the MTR. The bus is really cheap (like $20 something HKD) but there was traffic along the way and I didn’t have much time left over at the airport. By the time I got to my terminal, I literally had to rush to go to the toilet for a last minute toilet break and then I was already lining up to get on the plane. I had no time to do any last minute airport shopping :\ Except for a pen, because I needed one to fill out customs forms on the plane.
My “heavy” bags only weighed a total of 15kg when my allowance was like what, 25kg. -_-
It’s really hard to guess how heavy your bags are, especially since I have to really pay for the excess weight if I had any. My friend was super nice and came with me all the way to the airport! So if I did have anything extra she could mail it to me… but in this case it was not necessary.
On the way back I also had a lady lean towards me the entire trip even though the seat on her other side was empty. WTF. And she snored. WTF. LOUDLY. WTF.
I have enough points to upgrade myself to business class so next time I fly, I’ll DEFINITELY fly business class on the way back – more space, privacy, and also 40kg baggage allowance. Economy is good enough to get there, but the way back was pretty much hell. Lots of people, packed plane, and I got literally no sleep. I LIED. I DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH POINTS, INSERT MEGASADFACE HERE. I need many many more points Wasted my entire hotel stay, I COULD HAVE EARNED POINTS THERE BUT I DIDN’T KNOW.
So after 4 months I have FINALLY completed my entries about Hong Kong. Took me forever to do it and this post was really rushed (literally 80% was done today), but I got distracted along the way. I am feeling a lot better now, I can eat toast now (omfg yay) but I literally have no strength in my arms – I’ve weakened a lot :\
Now that I have nothing to blog about I’ll have to seriously plan what to blog about next time. I have no idea because I don’t really have anything to write about. Meh, I’ll find something… later.