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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Hong Kong Trip Part 1

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I haven’t been able to blog last week because I was very busy. I was getting ready for my Hong Kong Trip.
First off, I’d like to thank people from Pinoy Exchange, in particular from the Hong Kong For The Dummies Thread which has been very informative. It made our trip easier to organize and it actually made us save on this trip. God Bless You all.
Last year, we were able to grab the Piso Fare Promo of Cebu Pacicific (thank God for low cost airlines like Cebu Pacific). This is actually my family’s second time In Hong Kong. The first time was actually 17 years ago when I was still in 2nd Grade and Hong Kong was still a British Colony. Though it’s been years, that memory is one of the happiest ones I have in my life. I would really suggest to young parents to travel with their kids because this way, you could save on your trip and your kids will be lucky enough (like us) not to get through the hassle of getting a passport when they grow up.

After a bumpy and scary ride from Davao to Manila, we stayed up in the airport for our 4 PM flight. In both flights, there were good-looking male flight attendants-hehehehe! It made up for the fact that our flight from Davao was really scary. The air turbulence was strong but the flight from Manila to Hong Kong was the best. It was almost like you weren't flying at all. The airplane was steady and it offered a good view of the sunset. We were told that HK was a having a fine weather that day as opposed to Manila weather which probably caused our scary ride.

I wasn't expecting them to dance like what has been posted in YouTube ( they didn’t.)  I think that this would actually boost up people’s interest in flying Cebu Pacific if they continue this dancing. I mean malls in here are doing this too. You’d get shock when all of the Sales Ladies and Men start busting out dance moves and they actually enjoy it aside from the fact that it’s exercise, it ‘s also an additional feat to customers.

We arrive at HKIA. I was really nervous approaching the Immigration Counter after that Jinggoy Estrada incident.  Immigration in Manila was tough. The man asked a lot of questions . Surprisingly, the Immigration in HK was a LOT nicer than the one we encountered in NAIA. We were lining up and my Dad took all our passports and he submitted it to the Immigration. It was a male officer and he checked the Passport one by one and called out each of us, when he got to mine he did a double take and LAUGHED. What an icebreaker. I got my passport two years ago when I was leaving my employer to move to another and I needed a valid ID since I didn’t have, I have to have my passport renewed in 3 days (at that time it was possible, just have to pay PHP750) the picture I have for my passport wasn’t accepted because it  had an angle (a bit to the side)  so I had to rush to a photo shop available outside the DFA and got a lousy photo. This isn’t actually the first time someone did a double take after looking at my passport, last year when I went to Bangkok, a guy from the Cebu Pacific counter actually commented that I lost weight-actually my picture made my face look bloated ( I think it was stretched). So much for my ugly passport photo. The  Immigration Officer smile at us and was very friendly and fast, no additional questions were asked.

Don't forget to buy your Octupos Card, just follow signs and you won't lose your way .

if you don't have HKD yet, ask your companion not to step out or just let him/her stand by the info counter because during our time, a woman who went pass the FOREX counter wasn't allowed to reenter and wasn't able to purchase her Octupus card. It was a good thing lagged behind my parents and asked questions at the info counter so I was able to buy Octupus cards.

 We then took the cab from the airport to our hotel and like our experience from Bangkok, the taxi driver didn’t take advantage of us, he charged what was on the meter plus the toll and baggage surcharge of HKD20 for a total of HKD225 (the estimate written on a board at the airport was HKD235) and he gave us the exact change and thanked us (we even insisted he keep the change but didn’t accept it). A far cry from taxi drivers in Manila BOOEEEEEEEHHHH!!!!!!
I actually have a high definition video version of this one from my Lumix Cam but then it takes a lot of time to upload.

Initially, we had booked at Taisan Burlington Branch (store 1). I called up Ate Yolly a month before our actual travel date and she booked us the quad room which only costs HKD500.00 per night/per room. I didn’t pay any deposit even if Ken (also from Taisan) advised us to pay to secure our booking. Two weeks later, I called up Ate Yolly and she had a problem because there were no rooms available for Oct 1-2. She said she will find a way and we also emailed Ken if he had available rooms in his branch but everything was already booked. We took the initiative to call hotels. We called Hotel Benito, Bridal Tea House and Butterfly but they were strict  in not to allow 4 guests in one room. Oriental Lander Hotel was fully booked.  So we went with my first choice, Metropark Mongkok (formerly Hotel Concourse) they allowed us to stay in one room and there were no “sneak-in” charges that Travel Agencies charge. It was a good thing we didn’t avail of their packages because we saved 50% of what they were charging. They were charging us of PHP15,000 + per person (excluding airfare tickets and Disney). It might seem cheap to many but if you multiply that by 4 that actually PHP60,000 and that’s the cheapest we got (Dorsett Hotel Seaview Package). Dorsett’s location is actually far from MTR unlike Metropark Mongkok) , the MTR station is right behind the Hotel. You can actually walk to Mongkok Station to Sham Shi Po Station in 10-15 minutes. We only spent HKD 4,800+ (including breakfast for four-buffet breakfast is actually only for two persons so my Mom and I just ordered from Concourse Café a bowl of Chicken Congee and split it between us which is enough to keep us full until noon) . If converted to PHP that’s only about  PHP27,000 to PHP30,000.
Metropark 11th floor Hallway @ 1105

People at Metropark Mongkok were really nice. Christy was the one we talked to when we made our reservation without making any deposit(she was also the one who advised us to take a taxi from the airport rather than avail of the Hotel Shuttle Van because it’s cheaper. My parents didn’t want to take the MTR and the A21 bus)  but my Dad had to give his credit card number so that if we didn’t show up without cancelling the reservation 48 hours before our arrival , they would charge us on the first night so don’t reserve if you are not sure. We also paid a deposit of USD700.00 ( actually it was  USD 720  but we just haggled because we didn’t  have small USD bills and we also didn’t change that much at the airport because their exchange was a rip-off , rate was 7.15 vs rate outside of 7.8) but it is refundable when you check out and it’s usually a standard practice in Hotels like The Peninsula Manila.

The hotel is triangular in shape. In front is Lai Chi Kok Road. If you are facing this area then, the Exit for Prince Edward station is at your left side.

Across the street is Lydia's Bahay Hotel

Appetizers comes w/ the Congee HKD45
We stayed at the eleventh floor and unfortunately, it’s not part of the free Wi-FI access but they provided us with cable wire for free internet (very fast internet connection) and adaptors. Their housekeeping staff is very efficient and effective. We’d request for extra pillows and towel and they’d knock on the door 3-5 minutes after the call. The bed was one of the most complained about  in reviews because it is hard but I think if you are sharing it with another person, it’s an advantage as the bed won't creak you won’t be bothered by you bedmate’s constant stir or movement. Complimentary water, toothpaste, toothbrush and etc were present plus Blow Dryer.
congee @ metropark is good for 2 persons
Right across the street of Metropark Mongkok is Lydia’s Bahay Hotel. We walked around the Hotel when we arrived. There are 2 7/11 shops around the hotel ( left side facing the hotel entrance and one in front of the hotel).  A 24-hour Mc Donald’s Café/Branch is a block away from the hotel (just cross the street and go left). There’s also Pizzahut if you can walk a bit farther.
A Dimsum shop is located at the left side(if you are facing the hotel entrance from inside) of the hotel. We discovered that McDo meals are cheaper than that restaurant but if you like authentic dimsum then give it a try. They don’t know English so you just have to point to order and buy your own can of coke from shops outside because the food though tasty, leaves a strong after taste (that made me want to puke when we were looking around ladies market and restaurants along the side were displaying live fish/lobster etc for customers to pick out, sheesh malangsa talaga and amoy) and it is hard to communicate that you want Coke unless you have a picture of Coke (I also doubt if they have Coke inside).
surprise! utensils are inside a drawer under your table

Also grabbed a copy of this pamphlet. Very helpful in planning your activities and where to go. Don’t just get one map, get different kinds coz some maps specialize only on hotels while others are more complete like malls etc.

 All in all, the hotel’s service was good and I’m very happy that we stayed there because it is very accessible. Stay Tuned for Part II-Disneyland.


MV Pasoxal said...

What camera are you suing? Great shots!!!!

Whizzer's Rose said...

Actually we were using three cameras one cybershot, one samsung and one Panasonic. For this post, most were taken with my Panasonic Lumix especially the aerial and food pics however for the video, we were using the Sony Cybershot W210 because it's video size is smaller compared to Lumix thus easier to upload but Lumix had better video quality-totally HD but bigger size harder to upload via youtube-thanks!

Anonymous said...

hey how can we get in touch with Cristy the one you talked to regarding your Metropark hotel stay?
Please give us her contact number. Thank you.

Whizzer's Rose said...

hi, you can call her at 852-23979622
:-) I think her full name is cristy chung.