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Travel: A Beginner's Guide to Preparing for a Hong Kong Trip

Ever been to Hong Kong? 

If not, and you're planning to go, here's a beginner's guide to prep for your first trip to HK. 

These are all from my preparations for my first trip to HK. :D

Hong Kong Skyline. This was after we watched the Symphony of Lights

First, Book your Flight

Always check Cebupacificair.com or AirAsia.com for cheap promo flights. They usually have promos during holidays. 

From my experience:

We booked a promo flight for two to HK for 6400 Php roundtrip including the Check in baggage fee! That's really cheap! The only down side of getting promo flights is that it's for a much later date. We booked the flight on Sep 2013, and the flight is on Nov 2014. Haha

Second, Prepare your Passport

Make sure you have a valid passport before even thinking about leaving for HK. 

The minimum validity of the passport should be 6 months before you leave the country. 
Just to be sure, apply for a passport (or renew your old one) at least 1 month before your trip.
We don't need to prepare a Visa because Philippines has Visa-Free Entry to HK. Awesome right?

From my experience:

I already had a valid passport before our trip to HK and since it's valid for 5 years I didn't need to do anything.

Third, Book a Hotel

It's always better to book your hotel before  going to another country. You might even get a cheaper rate if you book early. The sites I usually check are Agoda.com or Airbnb.com. Try to look for a hotel as soon as you book your flight. 

Another tip is to read as many of the hotel reviews as possible. The experience of other guests at that hotel could be the key to finding the cheapest and coziest hotel. Check Tripadvisor.com for reviews of the hotel you're planning to book. 

From my experience:

We booked a small apartment in Mong kok for 5 nights at 10000 Php and it was pretty spacious for 2 people. I was afraid of getting a room with absolutely no space whatsoever, where the bathroom is one step away from the bed and the room is so small you can't even fit your luggage inside(which is the norm I'm afraid in Hong Kong for cheap rooms). But at 2000 Php a night in Airbnb we got a pretty decent place that's 5 minutes away from the MTR station and Ladies Market is right downstairs.

You can register at Airbnb using my link and you get 25 Dollars or 1122 Php discount on your first booking!

The base is 25 US Dollars, so the Peso rate will change depending on forex for the day.

Fourth, Prepare an Itinerary

Okay so you have your flight, your hotel, and your passport ready. Now you have to plan what you're gonna do in HK! Always make an itinerary based on what you want to do and where you wanna go, not what everybody says you should do. Your trip is successful if you enjoyed it, and you can only enjoy something if you truly want it. But once you get there, you don't have to stick to your itinerary. Go where your gut tells you to go. It's a vacation after all. It's not a requirement to go to every single tourist spot in HK. :D

From my experience:

I was researching for things to do and I mostly researched for promos once I get there. haha. I just took down the list of "WHERE TO GO" like Tsim Sha Tsui, or Ladies Market. But not what we're gonna eat there. I thought we'll just choose based on what's available and boy were there a LOT of choices.
I also thought of going to Tim Ho Wan right in Hong kong. But based on a blog post that I saw before we left for HK, there's always a line in that place. So we didn't bother to go. I'll just waste time there.

Fifth, Check weather

Before packing your clothes for the trip, it's best to check the weather forecast for the area you'll be visiting. And also try to consider what you'll be doing when packing clothes. Will you be hiking? Are you going to a fancy restaurant? Is it cold there? Should I bring a sweater?

From my experience:

I asked coworkers who went to HK on November to get a feel of the weather there. And I was told it was cold. It's also cold based on Accuweather. But we still brought shorts. Coz it's just like Baguio. I mean, it's not that cold in Baguio right? But when we got there, boy oh boy, did we make a mistake. We were shivering right after stepping off the plane. We bought nice jackets at Ladies Market tho. XD So we look cool and feel warm in the cold weather.

Sixth, Prepare your Money

Budgeting for the basic stuff should be easy. Set aside enough money for the hotel you booked, the flight you booked, and the activities that you will DEFINITELY be doing once you get to HK. Once you have that set aside, the rest of your money can go to extra stuff you want to buy and random delicious looking food being sold on the streets. And make sure to exchange some of your money either here in Manila or at the Airport before heading out.

Read my other blog post about exchanging money for more tips:Exchanging Money

From my experience:

We spent a little over 16,000 php on airfare and hotel expenses. Then we set aside 3000 HKD for the payables for Macau, Ngong Ping 360, Ocean Park, etc. After setting that aside, the rest of our money went to whatever the hell we want! :D

Once you have all of the above set, you're good to go. If you have anything else that you prep before you go to HK or any other foreign country please comment below. :D


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