Saturday, May 17, 2014

Hongkong 2014 - Harbour City Resort Plaza

I have been going back to Hongkong for quite sometime now. However, unlike before where we stayed at hostels or any cheap place near Mongkok/Tsim Sha Tsui, this is the first time that I stayed at New Territories so here's my trip report.

This is our plan:

Day 1: Checkin at NAIA I for CX 918 flight. Checkin at Harbour City Resort Plaza in Tin Shui Wai, New Territories, Hongkong.

Day 2: Whole Day Disneyland.

Day 3: Whole Day Ocean Park then visit Avenue of Stars/Symphony of Lights.

Day 4: Shopping at Mongkok.

I think now is really a bad time if you have a flight departing at NAIA I since the place is an oven! It was so hot from the entrance, to the checkin counters, immigration (I think this has the worst and most unbearable heat in the entire NAIA 1 Complex), and waiting area. I am a regular Cebu Pacific flier but for a change (and for a ridiculously low price of Php 5800 for a RT ticket) we decided to get the Cathay Pacific ticket).

Now, I have taken the Manila-Hongkong for quite some time but my trip last week is the bumpiest plane ride I ever had. It took us more than 2 hours just to land at Hongkong International Airport due to thunderstorm in the area.

When we landed, we immediately proceeded to the bus where bus E34 is to Tin Shui Wai Town Center. The nearest stop of E34 to the Harbour City Resort Plaza is the last stop, which is the Tin Shui Wai Town Center. From the last stop, it's like 15-20 meters away/3 minute walk from the  bus station.

Here's the picture of the hotel:

 This is the 21st floor lobby.

Room picture...they even have cooking facility and's like a condo unit.

It took less than a minute to check in and soon enough, we were shown our rooms and I was surprised with the room size because it was big! The info sheet says the room is 36 square meters which is just a fraction of the room size had we opted to stay in Mongkok or TST. For the Php 3500 price per night, I am not complaining =) We slept soundly since we were all tired with the rough flight.

When Day 2 came, our group was split because some would like to go to Disneyland while the rest would go to Citygate and at Ngongping 360 to check out the Big Buddha there. So from the hotel, we took the Light Rail Ginza Station (which is just right in front of the Hotel) to go to Tin Shui Wai MTR Station to Mei Foo, then transfer to Lai King, then transfer to Sunny Bay and from there, Disneyland already. It just took as a little less than an hour to get to Disneyland from there.

However, while most of the gang decided to go to Disneyland, I opted to go to the Nanlian Garden and Chi lin Nunnery. I did not regret going there. I took the train to Laiking, and from there transferred to the red line to Mongkok, and from there to the green line to Diamond Hill. From Diamond Hill, I took exit C2 and when I arrived at the street level, there were arrows that lead to the Nanlian Garden. Though it was raining, the garden is still beautiful.

The Nanlian Garden was like Beijing in Hongkong and I recommend all visitors to go here. Entrance is free!

From there, I rode the train back to go back to Mongkok (just 6 stops away from Diamond Hill) to eat at Eat Together. Although now I think they changed their name to Eat to New. Here's the price list for those doing the budgeting so you will have an idea how much a meal costs in hongkong. Note though that prices increase dramatically if you find yourself hungry and you are either in Disneyland or Ocean Park =(

From Mongkok, I road the MTR to Tsim Sha Tsui and since it was pretty late and it was raining hard, I opted to take the bus back to Harbour City Resort Plaza. From Tsim Sha Tsui, the bus 269B goes straight to Tin Shui Wai and the trip is 40 minutes. It stops at Tin Shui Wai Town Center, the last stop and very near the hotel=)

The following day is Ocean Park Day. Since we are at  Tin Shui Wai, we opted to take the bus to Central instead of taking the train which involves a lot of transfer. So from the bus stop right in front of the hotel, we took 969 to Admiralty. We alighted at Central Station (in front of World Wide Center) and from there, we went to Central Bus Terminus to go to Ocean Park by taking the bus 629. I saw the Ocean Park MTR station still being constructed but it is almost at its final stages. Perhaps before the year ends, this station will be opened to the public so no need to take the bus =)

We bought the Ocean Park tickets via Asiatravel since it is cheaper as compared to other ticket sellers. Here are some pictures of the Ocean Park:

I think the gloomy weather helped because there was practically no lines for all rides and shows, unlike before where we had to wait for 40 minutes just to ride Hair Raiser or Raging River or The Rapids.

 After the rides, we took the 629 bus back to Admiralty and went to Avenue of Stars via Tsim Sha Tsui. I forgot that there was a long walk from TST to Avenue of Stars but we  were able to get there just in time for the Symphony of Lights, although it looks weird due to the strong wind and rains.

For the last day, we decided not to leave our luggage at the hotel. Since Cathay Pacific checkin counters are open even 12 hours before the departure, we checked in our luggage and went to shop at Central. We were able to buy cheap clothes at the alleys in Central, as well as in Mongkok. Of course, we also went to ParknShop to buy food items as pasalubong (I gotta say they got the cheapest food items).

So to those going to Hongkong, try to stay in a good hotel like Harbour City Resort Plaza. It is less than an hour away by bus and it is well connected so instead of trying to squeeze in one of those TST/Mirador/Chungking-based hostels, I guess it is sometimes alright to try to stay in a good hotel, albeit far from the City but has good big rooms. And hey, it's Hongkong where transpo is very efficient. 

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