Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hong Kong Day1: Strolling around Tsim Sha Tsui

Let’s now get back to my Hong Kong trip with family last April. We were there for 5 days and 4 nights, and we had so much fun! In my previous post, I shared with you guys the detailed itinerary I prepared before our trip. We weren’t able to follow it thoroughly though, as we did a ton of shopping. We’re four girls in the family, so go figure! LOL

Our flight was the first flight out for the day (5:40 AM). As eager beavers as we are for our first trip abroad as a family, we wanted to be there 3 hours before our flight (2:40 AM). But I guess my dad was more excited than we were (para daw may parking space pa or baka daw traffic haha!), we arrived at the airport a little past 1AM. True enough, there were a ton of people packed in the airport already, but the check-in counters won’t open until 3AM anyway.

I have a thing for skies whenever I’m flying. I just love staring at the magnificent sky. Makes me feel closer to God.
clouds, sky, plane, cebu pacific

clouds, sunrise, plane, hong kong, cebu pacific

We arrived at the Hong Kong International Airport just right on time. After going through the immigration (which was quite a snooze since the Immigration Officer moved like a snail), we grabbed our luggage and headed out. To be honest, I was quite shy to ask around for directions since they’re all Chinese. I was intimidated. Good thing that there were a lot of signs, so finding the bus terminal was quite a breeze.

family, hong kong, airport

family, hong kong, airport

I wore a very comfortable outfit for our first day. I didn’t want to be cold while on the plane, so I wore a knit shirt from WAGW, denim jeans from JAG (SM Dept Store), blazer and flats from Forever21. I also want a roomy bag that will fit all my essentials, so I brought my Longchamp Le Pliage.

Since Day 1 of our Hong Kong trip is strolling around the area, we took the bus instead of the Airport Express. We rode the A21 bus going to Hung Hom Station, and we got down at the Carnarvon Road (about 12 stops). What I like about their buses is the LED display that shows which station they arriving at. This is quite useful especially for travelers like us! Also, their bus is a double-decker (FIRST TIME!!!) so it was quite an experience for me and my sisters.

hong kong, double deck bus, family
My youngest sister, Erika
hong kong, bus, city

hong kong, bus, city

We checked in at Cosmic Guest House in Mirador Mansion, which is along Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui. Check-in time is at 2PM, but they were nice enough to allow us to check in earlier (we were there at around 11AM).  After which, HELLO HONG KOOOOOOONG <3

Nathan Road is FILLED to the brim with shops and malls; it’s definitely a shopper’s nirvana. Along Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui are malls like Mira Mall, Park Lane Shopper’s Boulevard, iSquare, and The One. Shops are a mix of high-end ones (like Coach, Hermes, etc) to the usual shops (like Giordano, G2000, The Body Shop, etc).

hong kong, family, nathan road, trip, tips

After Nathan Road, we headed to Granville Road. I heard there are tons of other shops here (especially shops of local designers), so we wanted to check it out. We were quite hungry since we didn’t have a real breakfast, so we were on the scout for a quick lunch place. Lo and behold, we ended up in Paisano’s Pizzeria.

Paisano’s is a local pizza place that features hand-tossed New York-style pizza, homemade Italian pasta, and other dishes. What draws you into this place is their MASSIVE pizza slices displayed on the counter. The entire pizza is 2 ft in diameter (24 inches), so boy were the pizza slices humongous, too! Pizza slices range from HK$25 (around Php130) to HK$45 (around Php230). Plus, if you come in between 11AM to 2PM, you get a free drink with your Cheese or Pepperoni slice!

hong kong, family, nathan road, trip, tips, pizza, paisanos, lunch

hong kong, family, granville road, trip, tips, pizza, paisanos, lunch

I looooove Paisano’s Pizzeria! We ended up buying midnight snacks for 2 more nights! Ugggh, just thinking about the meaty sauce and cheesy base of the pizza make me drool.

Moving on, we checked out a lot of shops along Granville Road. It was such an amazing experience to look through foreign designers’ works. Prices vary, actually. Some were quite expensive for me (like HK$100-200 for a top), and they’re not really “my style.” My favorite shops, though, were LUSH Cosmetics (I bought my liquid lipstick in Decisive and it’s my current favorite red lippie; they don’t carry it here in the Philippines), SASA, Lung Shing Dispensary, and Cotton On.

Lung Shing is considered as one of the must-sees in Tsim Sha Tsui. It sells cheap cosmetics, skin care products, perfumes, and lots more! They carry a lot of international brands, too, so do check it out if you visit Hong Kong. I was able to buy Skin Food nail polish at HK$25 each, Etude House mascara (forgot how much) and BB cream (HK$78), Revlon hair color (HK$35), and a few make-up brushes. It seems legit to me, since the place was SWARMING with people. That’s the downside, though. Many locals shop here since it’s the only outlet in Hong Kong. Oh, they only accept cash.

I enjoyed my stay at the Cotton On outlet in Granville Road. Everything’s cheaper compared here in Manila! I especially love their sales rack! We were able to buy dresses at HK$39 to HK$59 (around Php206 to Php312) each! It’s really a steal since dresses on sale here are at Php800 each. I also  bought tops (starting at HK$25 each |around Php130), shoes (HK$150 for 2 pairs | around Php390 per pair), undies (HK$80 for 5pcs | around Php400), and, my favorite, a bag that cost me HK$10 (barely Php60)!!! My sister and I were eyeing on this particular bag, which was priced at around Php400 to Php600 here. Good thing we didn’t buy it here in Manila ;)

We finished the whole stretch of Granville Road, and we wanted to explore the other streets. I forgot the exact streets we went to, but we ended up at K11 mall. It’s such a pretty mall; reminiscent of Podium’s coziness and Greenbelt’s lushery. We bought a few grocery items, like water and chips, to bring back to the hotel.

Oh, another tip! My family exchanged our PHP to USD first, so we were carrying USD and a few HKD when we got to Hong Kong. It was more convenient for us since HKD is pegged to the USD. If you’re planning to bring USD, too, make sure to bring enough HKD to last you until you reach your hotel. At Tsim Sha Tsui, there are tons of Forex stores that have better rates than the ones at the airport. The rates range from HK$7.70 to HK$7.74 for US$1. Lots of Pinays were manning these stores, too. They’re quite friendly and helpful!

After a few minutes of rest, we headed down to the Avenue of Stars for the Symphony of Lights Show. What I like about staying in Tsim Sha Tsui is that almost everything is walking distance. No need to ride a train or a cab! Avenue of Stars is about 5 to 10 minutes walk from the hostel. When we got there, there were a lot of other spectators as well. Good thing we were able to squeeze ourselves near the harbor.

It was spring time, so it was still chilly, especially at night. Don’t forget to bring a jacket or a cardigan or a scarf to keep you warm.

hong kong, family, avenue of stars, trip, tips, symphony of lights

hong kong, family, avenue of stars, trip, tips, symphony of lights

The Symphony of Lights is the longest running lights and sounds show. It’s also one of the biggest shows as it covers both sides of Victoria Harbour. Be amazed at those wonderful colored lights, laser beams, and search lights “dance” to the music and narration about Hong Kong. You can watch this spectacular show on either side of Victoria Harbour: Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront or the promenade outside the Golden Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai. You can catch it every night at 8PM.

hong kong, family, avenue of stars, trip, tips, symphony of lights

hong kong, family, avenue of stars, trip, tips, symphony of lights, victoria harbour

After watching (and taking pictures) the show, we headed back to Nathan Road to do more “window shopping.” We visited Park Lane Shoppers’ Boulevard and MiraMall.

My family and I aren’t really “adventurous” in trying out “other food.” HAHA. So yeah, you won’t be able to see any Chinese food review here. For dinner, we headed to McDonald’s and chowed down on some burgers. I love their McDonald’s!!! Aside from the bigger servings, I love their Strawberry Shake. I wish we have it here.

That’s it for now, loves! Days 2 ‘till 5 in my upcoming posts!





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