Have just returned from HK on the 11th Nov. How would I rate my trip? I would say it is a mixture of satisfaction and disappointment. This is my 3rd trip to HK in the last 10 years and this time, I brought my kids along, a 4 year and a 7th month old baby.
I will start from our flight. We travel by a budget airline, JetStar Asia and fortunately, we are allocated the front row which has the largest legroom. This will be easier for my wife to breastfeed. Upon arrival HK Airport, immigration and custom clearance is relatively fast and there is a Airport Express Line counter where we can purchase our AEL tickets and Octopus card. I am pretty impressed by such an arrangement. After which I went to a money changer in the airport to change some US$ to HK$. A big mistake indeed as the rates there are terrible. I must have missed out on some post saying that there are numerous money changers in TST where they offer better rates.
We then took the AEL to HK station and transfer to the MTR. With 2 prams and 2 big luggages, it is still manageable in AEL. However, our first shock came when we disembark from TST station and found that the exit in Kowloon Hotel has no escalator. I have to carry the baggage all the way up the stairs. Fortunately, there are 2 men helping us out with the pram with my baby inside.
We then walk to our hostel, which is YMCA Salisbury. The hotel staff there is ok. They speak in a monotonous tone and they must have been a busy day. We check in into the family suite. I am glad that they upgraded our suite to a habour view one with high floor. They also allow us to check out at 6pm without any extra charge.
We went to Festive Walk at Kowloon Tong. Well, the complex is big unfortunately; I am not a shopping person so I left after 90mins. We then proceed to Yau Ma Tei MTR and walk down back to our hotel. The street has lots to offer like food and fashion.
We went Disneyland on the 2nd day. We have been to Anaheim Disneyland so we are prepared for some disappointment. The park is indeed small. However, I believe there are sufficient rides to keep you or your kids occupied the whole day. I only went to the Magic Philharmonic show and it was cool. The firework at the end of the day is great. Even if you are not a Mickey Mouse freak, you should try to take a walk in the park during weekday as the crowd is smaller to experience Disney.
On the 3rd day, we went to Snoopy World; New Town Plaza. We thought Festive Walk is big, but this complex is huge. It has 3 phases and I got tired after walking half of it. I turn back and have lunch at Maxim Express. The food taste nice but it is real crowded. We then went to Fa Yuen street and down to Sino Center for my wife’s anime stuff. If you are into anime, you will not be disappointed.
On the fourth day, we step into HK Island for the first time. We took the star ferry to HK and the experience is good. It reminds me of the time when I am small taking a ferry to an offshore island. We tried to take a electric tram to Wanchai from HK MTR but I wonder what when wrong. We ended walking to Admiralty. After trying to locate a tram stop for an hour, we finally have our first experience on a electric tram. Both the ferry and the tram experience bring back a nostalgic feeling and it was great. We alight at Wan Chai and proceed to Tai Yuen street. According to HK Tourism board, it is a place for you to buy toys. However, there seems to be only 6 toy shops along the street. But if you are looking for toys for your sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, friends’ kids and a bunch of kids in your hometown without burning a hole in your pocket, this is the place. I saw some tourist buying 12 pieces of the same toys for each of their intended recipients. Of course, do not expect those high end toys like ZOIDS or Fisher Price toys though you can still find some there. Look for those cheap toys like I bought a remote control car for only HK$35. I saw a Thomas the Tank Engine toy for less then HK$100 but in Sogo, it is selling for more then HK$200. If you are lucky, you still can find some toys like Macross, TOMY train system, Thomas the Tank Engine at unbelievable prices. I bought a Thomas the Tank Engine toy set at HK$299 and it is selling about HK$450 in my country. However, remember to compare prices and some of the shops is own by the same owner.
We proceed to Causeway Bay after that and I got bored in less then an hour. Shopping, shopping and more shopping. All the shopping center looks the same to me. Furthermore, I do not find the price of the stuff sold in shopping center cheaper then when I can get in my country. However, one thing for sure that what HK has and Singapore does not have. That is variety. HK has so much more to offer in terms of shopping.
We proceed to the Peak and it is a shame that we did not manage to take the bus with an open roof. The night view of HK is awesome. I wish my country can look just as nice in the night.
So with much cash in hand, we have almost nothing to spend on. In the end, we spend on food. We just keep eating. We tried anything that we can afford. From McDonalds, Yoshinoya, KFC, Dim Sum, Fried Squid in Mongkok, Mango Jelly drink, mango cake etc. we tried them. For fast food, we would like to see the standard compared to our country.
For the last day, we went to a Baby outlet and Ladies market. With more then HK$3000 on hand, my wife went on a shopping spree and bought Korean drama DVDs, toys and other stuff for my kids.
My verdict of my trip in HK, great with some exceptions. I would like to apologise that some statements I make may be offensive to some HK residents.
Firstly, I would like to say that HK is not disable or pram friendly. HK has a comprehensive subway system. However, what surprise me is that it is almost impossible for a disabled or people like me with a pram to navigate around conveniently. For example, upon getting off from the train and to the concourse, I do not know where the exit is for the disabled. I need the wide gate for my baby pram. In the end, I carry the pram over the barricade. Mind you that the height of the barricade is chest level. After that, most exit do not have escalator. Even if there is, it is usually one way, and the way is up. So if you are carrying the pram down the flight of stairs, it will be really tough. I do not understand why after so many years, the MTR do not want to invest money to replace the stairs with escalator on every exit. Like I said, the subway is very comprehensive and there are many exits. Maybe this is the reason why they may find it costly to build any lift or escalators.
We tried to taste HK food especially those small eateries along the road. However, most of them are too small or my pram. I really have to squeeze my way into it. To make matter worse, the HK govt allowed smoking in an air-conditioned environment. We gave up after the first visit. I really miss having roast goose noodles and the wanton noodles….
As for the weather, I am deeply disappointed. Of course, this is no one’s fault. I thought the weather should be cool hovering around 27 to 28 degrees. Well, the sun was shining so bright for the first 2 days and I am almost toasted. Luckily, the weather starts to turn cool around 3:30pm to 4pm.
So all in all, HK is still good to visit and I hope to visit it again in within 5 years.