2014 Hong Kong Day 1: The Cityview Hotel | Avenue of Stars | A Symphony of Lights

April 24, 2014

I just realized that it been a week since I came back from Hong Kong. Seriously, where does all the time go?

To be honest, now that I’m back home, I’m feeling really lethargic when I think of having to go through all the 2400 pictures that we took during our trip. But I also figured what has to be done had to be done, sooner or later. So, here’s my first blog post for my recent overseas trip!

And in any case if you didn’t know, my Boyfriend and I just went to Hong Kong (and Macau) for a 9D8N trip two weeks ago.

(Finally! I always joke with him about how he only brings me to the “B” places – Batam / Bali / Bangkok! Now it’s finally time for us to start exploring outside the circle.)

The first impression when I told people that I’m going away to Hong Kong for 9 days were “Wow, that’s very long!” And to tell you the truth, I thought the trip was a little too long than what I would normally preferred too.

Like what I’ve mentioned in my previous blog post, the air tickets for this trip were booked way back in November 2013. The Boyfriend happened to see that Jetstar was having promotion for air tickets to Hong Kong; and it worked out to be approximately SGD450 for two return trip tickets. So after some considerations, we decided to seize the opportunity and booked the tickets in advance. However, right before our trip (which was supposed to be on 3rd April), some issues occurred and we realized that we will almost certainly be unable to travel on the 3rd. As such, we decided to change our leaving date to 6th April and extend our trip till 14th April. (By doing so, we also had to forgo our initial return trip ticket which was supposed to be on 9th April.)

So what supposed to be a 7D6N trip (from 3rd to 9th April) eventually turns out to be a 9D8N trip (from 6th to 14th April).

Our flight to Hong Kong was scheduled to be on Sunday morning at 10:25am. A huge thank you goes out to XF who offered to drive us all the way from Woodlands to Bukit Batok to Changi Airport.

We had a pretty uneventful flight, and shortly after 3.5 hours, we’ve arrived safely at Hong Kong!

Oh, did I mention that this is my virgin trip to Hong Kong?

Prior to my trip, I heard that Hong Kong was experiencing with bad weather and I immediately had a taste of it when we reached Hong Kong. It was drizzling with strong wind when we touched down.. Not a very good sign.

We managed to clear immigration pretty fast, and after collecting some brochures and maps, we began to explore the way to board the bus to the city.

Walk straight if you want to take the train and turn right if you’re heading for the bus.

Found the counter that sells the bus tickets for the various bus services to the city.

As we’ve yet to purchase our octopus card (similar to our local ez-link card), we decided to purchase our bus tickets over at the counter. Well, I supposed you can pay with cash when you board the bus.. But tickets will be good if you didn’t have the exact fare.

Research told us that we should board bus A21. That’s the bus that will bring us to the area that we will be residing for the next 5 days – Yau Ma Tei.

It was right after snapping this shot when my camera starts flashing “out of memory” on my screen. I almost killed myself! Who went overseas with a camera that is without a memory card?

Apparently, I did.

After approximately 40 minutes of travelling and some walking, we managed to check in to our hotel – The Cityview, located at Yau Ma Tei.

Equip with a bathtub, the toilet was actually pretty small. The bathtub also prove to be rather redundant as weather was too cold most of the nights that makes us only want to take quick showers.

Overall I thought the hotel room was rather clean and spacious. (Spacious as compared to the second hotel that we stayed in. More about that in the upcoming blog post.) I’ve heard how the hotels in Hong Kong are usually small and tiny, but I’m really pleased and satisfied with the size of our room in The Cityview. There are ample walking space and place to put and open our luggage. The cardboard is also big enough for us to hang our clothes and put our bags in.

But ultimately, I guess what worth mentioning is that the location of the hotel is also very convenient! It takes us about 3 minutes or less to walk to the Yau Ma Tei train station and the popular Ladies Street is also within a 10 minutes walk away.

As we stayed in Yau Ma Tei area, it is also pretty easy to look for eateries and fast food chains. There is Yoshinoya, KFC and Burger King nearby and if you don’t mind some walking, there’s also a 24 hour McDonald’s within walking distance.

On top of that, there is a 7-11 outlet located right across the street of the hotel which we ended up visiting almost every day during our stay to get our drinks and snacks. In fact, that 7-11 was the first place we went to after we unpacked our luggage.

Sorry, but I immediately got attracted by this the moment I stepped into the 7-11.

Apparently, 7-11 had come out with this series of Mickey & friends key-chains in celebration of Disney 90th Anniversary! Just like the 7-11 in Singapore, you get a stamp (sticker) once you exceed a certain amount of purchase; and once you’ve collected enough, you can then exchanged it for one of the key-chain.

Anyway, back to the main purpose of coming to 7-11.. We were actually there because we wanted to purchase our data SIM card. We initially wanted to purchase the SIM card from the 7-11 at the airport but was told that they were all sold out. If that happened to you, you can easily get it from another 7-11 anywhere around Hong Kong.

Based on recommendation, we decided to get the above one which was meant for 8 days of data usage at HKD96 (work out to be approximately SGD15).

No activation is needed for the SIM card, so just insert it into your phone and you can start using it immediately.

Right after getting our sim card, we then walked over to the train station to purchase our octopus card. As we’ll be in Hong Kong for 9 days, it’ll be more worthwhile if we were to simply purchase the adult octopus card at HKD150 each. In fact, I would recommend anyone who visits Hong Kong to do the same too. Forget about getting the 1-day unlimited trips ticket.

Out of the HKD150, HKD50 goes to the deposit of the card, whereas HKD100 is the value that you can use for your transportation. Not to worry, as any remaining value in the card will be refunded to you anytime you return the card at the ticketing counter.

Once we’ve gotten our octopus card, we then took the train down to Mong Kok Station (one station away from Yau Ma Tei ) where Langham Place is.

Came out from the station and I got attracted to a roadside stall selling various finger food. Weather was very cold then and I was dying to get some comfort food into my belly. Not forgetting it was more than 8 hours since we last had our meal in Singapore..

I saw that they were selling 鱼旦 (a popular local food in Hong Kong) and I remembered my sister telling me it was a must-try in Hong Kong.

The seller gave me this huge portion for HKD40. I didn’t know how much to pay for them hence I just paid whatever amount that the seller quote me. (I eventually learnt that you pay around HKD7 for a stick) It was only after I’ve paid for it then we did our calculation and found out that HKD40 is equivalent to SGD6.50.

Trust me; nobody needs to eat SGD6.50 worth of fishballs at one go.

I swear there were at least 30 fishballs in that cup!

We just kept stuffing ourselves with fishball after fishball until the Boyfriend couldn’t take it anymore and asked me to finish the remaining left over in the cup. Even though I was really hungry, it was horrible to eat so many in one serving! And to be honest, I didn’t think it was nice at all. Maybe because I had too many at one go or because I didn’t have the spicy ones, hence I didn’t really enjoy it. The texture of these were a little more solid and less bouncy than the usual fishballs that we’ve over here. My sister had been raving and craving for this ever since she came back from Hong Kong, but I thought it was nothing special? I’m just not a fan for this.

So after getting this, we then walked over to Langham Place.

Langham Place is a huge shopping mall + hotel located at the heart of Mong Kok. In there, you can find various well-known brands such as H&M, The Body Shop, Pandora, etc, together with numerous eateries. (Click here for the list of shops found in the mall.)

Actually, I’ve no idea why we were there for, but it was within the Boyfriend’s itinerary for Day 1 in Hong Kong.

We walked for a few levels, before finally decided to settle down for our late lunch / dinner.

It was our first meal in Hong Kong but honestly, we’ve no clue as to what we should eat. I didn’t want to have fast food and I told the Boyfriend that we should at least have something that is popular with the local. Eventually, we decided to settle on this restaurant called 池记. The place was pretty crowded at the time when we were there.

The Boyfriend had rice with braised chicken wings and fried wanton, whereas I decided to go for a bowl of wanton noodle and warm dessert. I was almost stuffed to the brim after having eaten so many fishballs earlier on!

Our total bill came up to HKD133, which was approximately SGD22. Frankly, we weren’t really impressed by the food. It was kind of sad, especially since that was our first meal in Hong Kong..

After having a not so satisfied meal, we decided to leave Langham Place and head over to the Avenue of Stars, located along Tsim Sha Tsui.

I really love how fast and convenient their MTR is because we managed to reach Tsim Sha Tsui in a really short time.

Before exiting from the station, we were really lucky to have found a shop selling electronics gadgets and I was finally able to get a SD card for my camera! We tried to look for one in Langham Place but the lady at the information counter told us that they didn’t have any electronics store in the mall. Unbelievable!

We were there slightly before 8pm and it was already crowded with a ton of people! And as you can probably tell from the above picture, a majority of them were there for A Symphony of Lights show that is set off daily at 8pm along the Victoria Harbour.

Said to have involve more than 40 buildings on both side of the harbour, A symphony of Lights involve the use of coloured lights and laser beams to present a large scale multimedia show.

I was pretty excited to be there because I’ve heard a fair share of how impressive the show is!

Having finish watching the entire show for the first time, I honestly thought that it wasn’t as impressive as it claimed to be? To be honest, I was really disappointed especially since it was named as “World’s Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show” by Guinness World Records. The moment the Boyfriend told me that the show has ended, my reaction was like “What? This is it? Just like this?.. Oh. Okay.”

Please tell me it was because of the weather, but it was a far cry from the pictures I found on the web 🙁

We left shortly after the show ended and decided to spend our time exploring around Tsim Sha Tsui area.

Found a mobile softee van while we were roaming along the streets and we decided to get one at HKD9. So soft and creamy ♥

There was actually nothing much in Tsim Sha Tsui, apart from several SaSa and Bonjour stores. I initially thought that I would go crazy shopping for cosmetics in SaSa.. But surprisingly, I didn’t. I guess having seen so many same stores along the streets of Hong Kong somehow lost the appeal of shopping for me? Plus, I wasn’t planning on spending my money on things that I could get in Singapore, especially when the price ain’t competitive at all.

With that, we concluded our Day 1 in Hong Kong!

Haa. Writing this blog post make me realize that our day doesn’t appear to be that interesting at all? But then again, it seem like it was like this throughout our entire trip. We basically have no sense of urgent and woke up at any time we want to in the morning, and randomly went to different places, with no fixed itinerary at all. Haa.

That being said, coming up next – our Day 2 was spent shopping in the popular Ladies Street, Fa Yuen Street and Temple Street.





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