4D3N in Hong Kong: Day 1 + Pre-Trip Planning

Saturday, May 11, 2019
Last month I boarded a plane 6 times, testament to the ease of travel today’s world provides and perhaps, testament too to my restlessness at having been bed-ridden in the early months of 2019 due to an ankle injury and subsequent surgery.

And as I strained against the plaster cast, the hospital bed, packs of ice and the doctor’s instructions to be careful and wary, the longing to get up and  explore  yearned  to  be  satisfied.  It made sense then that when the opportunity arose to visit a friend in Hong Kong, my best friend in fact, I got  clearance  from  my  physiotherapist for more strenuous walking, found dates that suited both  Celine  and me (how could we resist a three musketeers reunion?), booked our flights, and on 4 April 2019, a too-early Thursday  morning before the sun even rose, we made our way to KLIA2 to embark on our mini-Hong Kong adventure.

Killer view from McDonalds. Don't crowd with everyone else at the viewing deck.

If anyone’s  keeping  count,  true,  this  is  only  1  flight  out of the aforementioned  6.  For  clarity,  the  other  4  were the China-transiting flights  to  the  US  I  had to take in the 3rd week of April, but that’s a story for another day.

Pre-trip Preparation

We finally figured out the best time to travel and decided on April between the  options  of  April  and  June because well, frankly, June is hot and I didn’t  fancy queuing for Disneyland rides in the scorching sun (because OF COURSE, we were going to Disneyland – more on that later!). 3 weeks before our  chosen dates, we booked Air Asia flights through Skyscanner. By paying with Bigpay  (use my code for RM10 off for me & you! (TVRSP1ZZSE)) which removed booking fees, we got our return flights for RM560 each.

At  the onset, I must clarify that I don’t speak Cantonese or read Chinese, which  in  Hong  Kong,  meant  that  I  was  practically  inarticulate  and illiterate.  I  decided  that  in order to best get around, I’d have better luck  with  my itinerary if certain essentials were pre-bought. It was also just more convenient to have some stuff sorted for us beforehand.

We got an unlimited travel card for RM174 with two-way Airport Express from KK Day (link here) although it would have worked out to  be cheaper if we paid per trip, it was convenient and we made it around HK with it without having to top up or go through the hassle of queuing for a card. Upon arrival, there was a booth in the airport and we picked it up immediately. Because we were in a group of 4 most of the time in HK, it was just easier to take a taxi every so often, and we ended up doing that, incurring  further  travel cost over the trip. I would’ve loved to be cheap and take the MTR everywhere because it was really well connected, but after so  much  walking, it was so much more tempting to raise our hand to hail a cab  than  trek wherever it was to get on the MTR. Additional savings tip - If  you  return  the card at the airport or customer service counter at the MTR station, you get a 50 HKD (approx. RM25) refund.

As  you  know by now, we knew we wanted to go to Disneyland and got tickets for RM295 each on Klook (link here). The price on the official Disneyland page is 619 HKD (approx. RM330) so we got a good deal! But I did find a cheaper link later on from KK Day (link here - less than RM10 difference from Klook so if you have a Klook promo code it might work out cheaper on that instead) which left me with a bit of a post buyer’s regret.  Nevertheless, it was easy to use. I bought 4 tickets and they sent us 4 separate QR codes, meaning that you can come in separately which was great for meeting up!

Enjoying that top class view from the service apartment! 

Charmingly urban and quintessentially Hong Kong. 
Accommodation  was  so  thankfully  sorted  out  by aforementioned bestie – Jocelyn!  Long  time readers know I call her Baby J on here and she and her boyfriend ZY graciously offered us a roof over our heads, a warm bed to lie in and even a hairdryer. Well deserved 5 stars on Airbnb hahaha. And I guess the pre-trip prep tip (say that 5 times real quick) is to make good friends when you’re in highschool and keep them as friends for a long time so you have someplace to stay when they go  overseas to work. Also applicable for primary school friends and university friends. Can’t confirm whether it works for kindergarten pals or colleagues.

Day 1

We arrived in Hong Kong just in time for lunch and met with one of my favourite people from my time at LSE. This was a real hand of God intervention right here! We arrived on a Thursday, which as you know, is a working day. And my friend, Andrea, had taken some time off because she was flying to Vietnam on that day! So we had juuuust enough time for a late lunch together at the famous Tsim Wah at the airport before she had to catch her flight.

The cutest cup for the HK milk tea! Though every sip was like kissing Chip's forehead. 

Celine's beef brisket noodles! 

My shrimp wonton soup noodles, which was pretty underwhelming. It wasn't even pretty! The rule for food is that if it doesn't taste good, it should at least look good. 

My milk tea and soup noodles worked out to 60 HKD (approx. RM32) which wasn't too bad for airport food! More importantly, it was so nice being able to see Andrea, a friend that I can easily pick up with where we left off despite the time and distance between us. Discussion was all like "Who's getting married first?" "Did you hear about so-and-so?" "Man, can you believe how much. time. has. passed?!?!"

When we parted ways, Celine and I got a little distracted by the adorable Harry Potter themed store in the airport, stopping to take pictures and ogle at the merchandise. 

After we found the wands, cast some spells, the next thing we knew..

We were outta there! 
And into Wan Chai!

Okay, guys. Let me just say that I'm someone who's pretty aware of my weaknesses. And one of them was revealed to me this trip when walking around the area, we saw a sign proclaiming "Best Mochi in HK" along with other self-aggrandising statements. Basically, I'm easily a victim of advertising and dragged Celine along to try this mango-stuffed mochi. We found a little anclove between some buildings, perfect for sitting down and munching on a snack nearby. It was breezy and tranquil, but the mochi was pretty meh. The mango wasn't as sweet as you'd expect and though the mochi texture was the ideal amount of gooey, the entire thing was coated with so much powdered sugar, breathe too close and you might end up coughing and choking on it like I did, sending clouds of white powder everywhere - onto my bag, my camera, my clothes, all over the ground too!

For 16 HKD (approx RM8.50) a piece, it's not exactly an extravagant splurge, but if that's the best they've got in HK.. well. Hm. 

We were soon off adventuring again, scouting for popular sightseeing spots and trailing behind cute dogs, when available. 

We finally found ourselves in front of the Blue House, that oh-so-popular Instagram-worthy photo spot, known for the bright colours of the buildings. Though we didn't know it then, a Wikipedia search of Blue House tells me that it was the site of the first hospital in the district and is one of Hong Kong's heritage sites.

The area in front of the building sees heavy foot traffic, much like most of Hong Kong, and many locals walked by unfazed by the mini-tourist photoshoot.

There's an entire stretch of beautifully coloured buildings in the area so if you frame your shot just right, you'll get to capture all of it!

Hardly 5 minutes away was the Wan Chai Street Market, open daily from 11am - 7pm. Bustling and crowded, there's no culture shock here for the seasoned Malaysian and Celine and I happily got a few pairs of those non-slip 'invisible socks' to wear beneath your flats so they don't peek out for 13HKD per pair (approx. RM7).

With time to spare, we followed the alleys. We didn't have an internet connection, only a time to meet Jocelyn after work at another stop, and it was refreshing to walk around, drinking in the sights and sounds of Wan Chai without a real destination in mind.  What we found was beautiful shophouses, painted pastel and lit up bright, music playing softly through art installations throughout the street. We had accidentally stumbled into Lee Tung Avenue and it was beautiful!  

A huge spinning globe made up the centre of the street, spinning slowly and ironically, seemed ethereal. Measuring 7 metres in diameter, the globe is based on a NASA satellite photo and I guess that's what you'd see if you were looking from space. 

We met up with Jocelyn and ZY for dinner & drinks later on, but I'll write about that in my next post! Next post: 4D3N in Hong Kong: Day 1 - Dinner at Yum Cha & Drinks in Lan Kwai Fong

Till next time! 

2 comments on "4D3N in Hong Kong: Day 1 + Pre-Trip Planning"
  1. Wonderful trip explained on the above post. I will keep remember all these things. Thanks a lot.
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