January 21, 2017

Hong Kong-Macau 2016 Travel Diary: My Two Cents

Well, this is a super overdue post. I was thinking if I should write about my Hong Kong-Macau trip back in October of 2016; I kept procrastinating and then one day I decided “Ok, let’s share it anyway”. This trip is also my birthday gift to myself, I was supposed to go to Bangkok and Cambodia after my best friend’s wedding but that got postponed later this year so my college friends and I decided to just go with another college friend to her family trip to HK. This trip was a bit impulsive and expensive since we booked our flights only one month before the trip date, and you know how airline charges can be very steep especially when the holidays are approaching.




During our flight, there’s a massive typhoon happening in the Philippines and is on its way to Hong Kong too. Our flight was delayed for an hour (though not a surprising thing with Cebu Pacific) and it was drizzling too when we got to Hong Kong. Our trip was 5 days and 4 nights, but we kind of lost a day because of the typhoon. In Hong Kong, when there’s a big storm, almost all of Hong Kong is shut down so you can’t do anything really. The only places that are open are 24-7 convenience stores.
 


But all in all, it was a very nice trip; especially that I got to do my very first trip out of the country with my best college friends (I was supposed to go to HK back in 2011 but that got cancelled because of some unfortunate events). We’ve been planning a trip together but only that this time around that we finally got to do it. It was almost a decade in the making but was a memorable one especially that I got to spend it with people that meant a lot to me.


 

I will try my best to recall what transpired during this trip; the places that we went to, the experiences that we had, the things that we did etc. Though I might do blog posts that have more photos than words in it. This will probably be more like a photo diary and sharing of experience than reviews or how-to’s. But for this post, I will share my experience, observations and impressions of both Hong Kong and Macau. 



 

HONG KONG
Hong Kong is an island country and an autonomous territory on the Pearl River Delta of East Asia. Macau lies across the delta to the west, and the Chinese province of Guangdong borders the territory to the north. It is one of the most densely populated state in the world because it’s a well-known financial and trade district. It was colonized by the British from 1842–1997. Then was returned to China in 1997 but remained as a sovereign state.



Transportation and communications-wise, I think Hong Kong has one of the best and efficient in the world. Going from one place to another is pretty easy, you just need to have the patience with walking, because trust me you will do a lot of walking around there. For someone who’s used to taking a cabs, carpool or Uber, I seriously wasn’t prepared for all the walking that we did back in HK. 




But their train system is very easy to follow. I liked that their MTR card can also be used in other establishments besides the train. Which is pretty convenient and cool if you’ll ask me. I hope we would soon have that kind of system here in the Philippines. And oh, should I talk about their airport? Oh man! It was massive! So if you get lost, there’s a great chance you’ll miss your flight.



 
In most of my trips, what I’m always excited about is the local cuisine! And Hong Kong did not disappoint! I love Chinese food and to finally get to eat authentic Hong Kong food is one of the most awesome things in life. When it comes to food, especially when travelling, it is one of the things I splurge on. In HK, even convenience stores and supermarkets offer quality food. Though I felt like I wasn’t able to completely enjoy HK cuisine even if stayed for 5 days. Well, there’s my reason to go back eh?




Another thing that I noticed about HK locals is that they’re fashionable people and they love to dress up. We would often see people well-dressed even in small alleys and if you’re in the business district, people look more posh. Women are always wearing heels and I’m like, how can they do that even though they take the public transport every day. I envy them, but I just can’t. As for being hospitable people, well, some are and some are not. I don’t blame them, every culture is different and I understand that most HK locals are very busy people.




I like HK, I can consider living there because it’s modern yet still in touch with its roots. I almost didn’t want to go back to Manila and just stay there. Ugh if only! Anyway, you can do a lot of things in HK and it’s a melting pot of cultures as well. It is a place I wouldn’t mind returning to because there’s still so much to see and do.





MACAU 
Macau can be reached by ferry (or plane or helicopter if you’ve got the money to spend), it’s around an hour trip by sea and you can easily go to the ferry terminal at Shun Tak Center via the MTR line. Macau is the complete opposite of HK if you’re going to ask me. If HK is so busy, Macau is laid back. There’s not much going on around there if you’re not around the hotels, casinos and the tourist spots.
 



Macau is a territory of China as well, just like HK, but is also sovereign for the most part. It was colonized by the Portuguese thus the old world-European influence that is evident in Macau’s architecture, food, culture and language. I don’t know and don’t get me wrong, this is just me being me, but on our bus ride to the city proper, I had this eerie feeling that I’m in some place that was left somewhere in time. To be very honest, I almost compared it to North Korea because the atmosphere and the surroundings in Macau kinda reminded me of photos of how N. Korea looked like. If it weren’t for the casinos and hotels, Macau is like the country side.

 


We only had a day trip in Macau and went only to see the Macau Giant Panda Pavilion and the newly-built Eiffel Tower at the Parisian Macau. We don't have enough time so we didn’t get to see Senado Square and the Ruins of St Paul Cathedral because the last affordable ferry ride back to HK leaves at 5:00 pm.




As for the locals, I didn’t find them accommodating and most of them don’t speak English. Starting at the ferry terminal, the people there aren’t helpful, at all. Good thing that we met Filipinos along the way who aided us out to get to the places that we needed to be.




Their common transportation is by bus, almost all hotels and casinos offer free rides which is a great thing. But beyond that you have to pay (not a problem). Though even with a map, we kinda had a hard time locating the places and the signage on the buses are hard to understand. That’s why I’m glad we met Filipinos who helped us. Besides the free bus rides another good thing about Macau is that you can use your HK dollars instead of exchanging them to Macau Patacas.
  


Read more about my Hong-Kong and Macau trip here:
Hong Kong-Macau 2016 Travel Diary: My Two Cents
Hong Kong-Macau 2016 Travel Diary: Accommodation in Causeway Way via Airbnb
Hong Kong-Macau 2016 Travel Diary: Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel
Hong Kong-Macau 2016 Travel Diary: Hong Kong Disneyland
Hong Kong-Macau 2016 Travel Diary: Delicious Kitchen
Hong Kong-Macau 2016 Travel Diary: Macau Giant Panda Pavilion
Hong Kong-Macau 2016 Travel Diary: Eiffel Tower at Parisian Macau



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2 comments:

  1. Awesome summary of your travel! I love and misses Hong Kong. NEVER been to Macau though.. 😃
    http://sepatuholig.blogspot.com
    instagram.com/grace_njio

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    1. Thanks dear! You should put Macau on your travel bucketlist then ;-)

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