I’m from a family with three children. Three girls to be exact! I am the middle child. My older sister and I were born a little less than a year apart. (There are 12 days when we are the same age!) We were practically raised as twins. Same clothes, same shoes, same everything. It’s a different story between me and my youngest sister. There’s a five-year age gap between the two of us, six for her and our eldest. To us, no matter how old she is, she’ll always be the little sister. I guess that’s true for most siblings. Or maybe it’s just the case for us. Why is this relevant? Well, when my sister started college, my older sister and I were already working and we made her a promise: graduate with honors and we will reward you with a trip to Hong Kong. My sister kept her end of the bargain, graduating Cum Laude from the University of the Philippines. We were proud of her! And that meant another thing: we are going to Hong Kong!
Planning for Hong Kong is a relatively easy affair. I had several friends who have been there previously and there’s a lot of information online. The plan was for an enjoyable, very touristy trip. We weren’t going off of the beaten track. We were here to have fun. Check out the bottom of this post for the final draft of our itinerary in case anyone of you wants to take a look at it. I tried to make itineraries as detailed as possible for two reasons: (1) budgeting (yes, I’m a budget traveler) and (2) the itinerary can also serve as a quick guide in case I have no map on hand or I need detailed instructions. Hopefully, this itinerary will be helpful to you, as it was to us on our trip.
We arrived in Hong Kong at around 7PM. After immigration, make sure to get Octopus cards at the counter for the MTR/Airport Express. This will be very valuable to you in Hong Kong. Not only did we use it for the bus and MTR rides, we also got to use it in some stores and food establishments. I had made reservations at the Golden Crown guest house located at Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon. So from the airport, we took the A21 bus and got off at the station in Tsim Sha Tsui. From here, it was a short walk to the guest house. The guest house we stayed in had small rooms, which is very typical of budget accommodations this side of Hong Kong. However, since we only needed the room for sleep and would be out during the day, this was not an issue. Proximity to the bus and MTR stations was an advantage to the guest house we stayed in. Another advantage: it was close to a lot of fast foods and cheap eats. After checking in, we had a quick dinner and got some rest.
We were up early the following day. Today’s plan is to go to Ngong Ping to see the Tian Tan Buddha and then a visit to Hong Kong Disneyland until it closes for the fireworks. I was advised that food in Disneyland can get pretty expensive, so we ate a heavy breakfast at a fast food near the guest house. After breakfast, we were off.
To get to Ngong Ping from Tsim Sha Tsui, you need to ride the MTR from Tsim Sha Tsui to Lai King. Once at Lai King, switch to the Tung Chung line and get off at the last station. The Ngong Ping 360 is a short walk from the MTR station. We rode the cable car from Tung Chung to Ngong Ping. I suggest taking a glass bottom cable car to Ngong Ping and a regular car back. Since my little sister was scared of heights, we were limited to the regular cable car. It was still pretty good though. The ride was smooth and the view was fantastic! The ride from Tung Chung to Ngong Ping takes about 25 minutes. Make sure to check out their website for updated information on ticket prices and schedules.
When you get there, you’ll see the Ngong Ping village which is basically a group of restaurants and souvenir shops. Very tourist-y, indeed! On the plus side, it is also very photogenic. Take a short walk and lots of pictures until you get to the foot of the Tian Tan Buddha. From here, it’s a bit of a climb to get to the top to see the Buddha up close. Keep in mind that there is a monastery here so be respectful of your surroundings and of the people there to worship. After our walk around Ngong Ping Village, we rode the cable car back to Tung Chung. To Disneyland we go!
To get to Disneyland from here, we took the MTR from Tung Chung to the Sunny Bay Station. From the Sunny Bay station, you will switch trains to… Disney’s own train line! I love this! The train from Sunny Bay to Disneyland is quite different. Very—there’s no other word for it—very Disney! From the Mickey Mouse shaped windows, to the Disney Characters on the posts of the train. Hidden Mickey’s everywhere!
I don’t know if it’s just me and my sisters, but once we got to the Disneyland station, we were almost jumping. A permanent smile was plastered on my face. I think I skipped all the way to the gate. There was something about being in Disneyland. It felt magical. We were filled with child-like excitement.
There aren’t a lot of rides for adults in Hong Kong Disneyland, but it was fun just to walk around and see everything. Also fun, seeing these kids in princess costumes, celebrating their birthdays in the park. Never mind the merchandising and the branding and overpriced food. Never mind the lines to rides or the heat of the sun. I almost shrieked with delight whenever we come across one of the Disney characters while walking down the many streets. There was no staying cool here. Nobody apart from my sisters knew who I was. While I was there, I felt like a kid.
We stayed till the park’s closing for the fireworks. People sat on every possible surface. We were on the curb. Some people literally sat on the paved road in front of the castle. All eyes were on Sleeping Beauty’s castle. Then, it started: bouquets of lights exploding with Disney music blaring from wherever. Fun!
We took the train home tired but happy. It was a fun day and there was more tomorrow.
(This is another retro post. This trip took place April 25-29, 2012.)
Download a PDF copy of our itinerary here: MLA HK Itin Final