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ELT in Hong Kong
Let’s start from the beginning: This beautiful Chinese island was once the center for trading fragrant goods like sandalwood, incenses etc and hence the name “Hong Kong” which means “fragrant harbor” in Chinese! Now since you are aware of the roots of this island let’s move to the next part i.e, my story behind the Hong Kong trip – As the name says it all, I am an Earned Leaves Traveler and all my International trips are basically planned around some big days like birthdays or anniversaries (easy excuse to get those earned leaves availed!).This was precisely my 2015 birthday getaway and Oh buoy! Did I enjoy it ;). Keep reading to know how you can plan the best 4 days in Hong Kong!
Planning is the KEY for short term travelers like ME
I am a mere vacationer who is always traveling on stringent timelines and therefore have only a few days in hands to explore any new place. So what do I do? I go PREPARED, yes that is the only key to optimize your vacation and absorb the most from your trip!
Thankfully, being an Indian that comes naturally to me. We are brilliant in planning and fool proofing as we rarely believe in taking risks (no offence please!), this comes handy as a traveler and before I enter a new place I know exactly what I am gonna do which saves hell lot of my most precious resource “TIME”. In a nutshell, REMEMBER, that you cannot cover everything a place has to offer in a few days so the AIM is to prioritise and cover EVERYTHING that you have planned.
My planning is to the level that I even jot down the restaurants (based on tripadvisor comments), where I am going to have my dinner each day of the trip (there is no compulsion of sticking to the plan of course but having a plan in hand is all what matters, gives you a sense of security!).
Things you must know before stepping in HK: ELT’s 3 Zones Approach!
To make your planning fool proof, it is important to know where your places of interest are exactly located and how are you planning to reach and explore these places. To ease this process for you here is an extremely handy ELT’s 3 Zones Approach!
HK can be divided in 3 main zones; Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and Lantau Island. These 3 zones cover all the major tourist attractions (which are always a MUST visit for the first timers). Here are the places falling in each zone which were under my radar:
Hong Kong Island: The party district Lan Kwai Fong aka LKF; chic and fashionable SoHo/ Causeway Bay and the Victoria Peak
Kowloon: Tsim Sha Tsui, Avenue of Stars, Mong Kok (street and cheap shopping paradise)
Lantau Island: Disneyland
How I planned my travel and time across these Zones
Once you reach the HK International airport head straight to the travel desk and buy the city pass (covering all mode of transport like trams, metro and buses). Also, Disneyland tickets can be bought at a competitive price at the airport. We took a cab to our hotel (wrong decision), just take the metro it is convenient and way cheaper. Most of the good hotels provide free shuttle service to and from metro stations and the harbor and also to the major tourist attractions in the region. You must take the FREE sim card offered at the airport, comes extremely handy as the sim offers FREE incoming calls and FREE data (No more missing your FB and Instgram!).
My Travel Plan: Kowloon (2 days) –Macau (2 days) – HK Island (2.5 days): Well, we had 4 days planned for HK and 2 days for Macau. We decided to first hit the Kowloon side and after spending 2 days there, we were off to Macau (many ferries leave everyday from the Terminal at Tsim Sha Sui, we booked the Business Class tickets from the terminal itself for Cotai Jet ferr).
On return from Macau we got down at the Hong Kong Island terminus so Voila! no tension of crossing between the two islands and yes ofcourse we saved the extra money we would have spent on commuting from Kowloon to HK Islands 😉
Hotels in HK
Kowloon – Metropark Mongkok:
In Hong Kong the hotels cost a bomb! It was difficult to find a nice one on our budget of under 6K a night (had already booked Venetian Macau for 30K 2 nights so we were a little bit tight on budget ;)).
Precisely, we were looking at 3-4 star properties. We settled down for Metropark Mongkok (6K per night) for 2 days. Hotel provides free shuttle, so that you may freely access Tsim Tsha Sui and Avenue of Stars and all nearby metro stations. Also, Mongkok market is walking distance (Alert for all the shopaholics ;)). The hotel had a decent swimming pool along with gym and spa!
ELT’s Recommendation in Kowloon: When in Tsim Tsha Sui, do check out Aqua Spirit, a fancy bar located on 30th floor that offers mesmerizing view of the harbor. I loved it!
Not to miss: The ‘World’s Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show’ called Symphony of Lights right at the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront outside the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. It starts everyday at 8 PM and lasts for around 15 mins. You can choose to be on a cruise during the same! You are bound to encounter Avenue of Stars when in Tsim Sha Sui, difficult to miss this one 🙂
Hong Kong Island – Bishop Lei International House
Now for other 2 days we choose to stay on a different island aka opposite to Kowloon; Hong Kong Island. This area is the main party hub and houses the famous party street LKF! Our party animal instincts made us book a hotel which was walking distance from the LKF street and hell yeah, that was one of the best decisions. We went for a 4 star property called Bishop Lei International House, right next to the hotel lies a flight of stairs that ends at the Oh! So vibrant street that never sleeps aka Lan Kwai Fong. The bedroom in this hotel was attached to a small living room, though the built up area was tiny but it was cozy and the room had harbor view (book a room on the upper floors).
All the attractions like Victoria Peak, and Yes HK SoHo/Causeway bay are nearby and reachable by foot (provided you don’t mind walking on steep roads, it can be treacherous for those with weak knees or simply too lazy to walk kinds like me 😉 but yes it is doable. For Victoria Peak opt for tram, it’s a nice experience. For SoHo/Causeway bay opt for a cab or bus, here you will encounter chic and upmarket restaurants and some really amazing fashion boutiques, that are capable of taking a toll on your pocket so BE-AWARE!
ELT Recommendations in HK Island: Classy and Chic shopping + Wine in Soho/Causeway bay. Late night Party at Hard Rock café LKF! Also, the entire LKF street is a paradise for pub hoppers with around 90 bars and restaurants so go for as many as you can 😉
Do not forget to catch that awwwhh soo adorable Disney themed train for HK Disneyland!
I can just go on and on but I guess halting here would be a good decision! Have any queries regarding HK? Shoot them at me, would be happy to help 🙂 Ciao for now!
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