Jul 19, 2015

My Short Transit Tour in Hong Kong

I promised myself that if I ever go back to the US and have the same 9-hour layover in Hong Kong I had last year, I will definitely go out of the airport and explore Hong Kong, even for just a bit. I was just in the airport for the entire 9 hours last year because I was too afraid to go out and because it was my first time there. Luckily, I just had the opportunity to go to the US again this year with the same 9-hour layover in Hong Kong (yey!).

I didn't have much time to prepare for the layover trip because the initial booking was that I didn't have the long layover but then they suddenly changed it like three days before my trip. xD Thankfully, my coworker who has tried the layover trip taught me how to do it and he also gave me a map. I also searched some blogs for any Hong Kong layover trips and guides. Finally, I made my personal itinerary (in my mind, not written!) and prepared my self for my short solo adventure in Hong Kong. I will give details as much as I can so some of you might want to do it too!

The day of my flight came and I arrived in Hong Kong around 3pm. My next connecting flight is still in 12 midnight so a lot of time for me! So I went to the arrival area instead of the connecting flight area and prepared my passport. I followed the signs for visitor immigration and then lined myself. Nothing to be worried about with the immigration as they don't ask anything and just give these small papers to keep and give back when you return to the airport.

After the immigration, you will see an area with maps and a couple of people that will guide and give tips to the tourists on how to make their way around Hong Kong. Although I already had something planned on my mind, I still approached them and asked about the best routes to take to and from Avenue of Stars. I was really glad I asked because they gave me the best route to take when going back to the airport which I will explain later. ;)

Okay so after the conversation with the guide, I had all of my remaining Philippine Peso and a 20 US Dollar bill exchanged for Hong Kong Dollars.

I bought the same day return  Airport Express ticket which is 100HKD.

Then I went to the baggage counter at Level 1 of Terminal 2 to deposit one of my hand carry bag. The rate was 12HKD per hour.

Then I ran to the entrance of Airport Express train while it was still openly waiting and sat on one of the cozy seats.

Inside the Airport Express

I alighted at Hong Kong Station and tap my ticket which will show that one ride was already taken from it. The travel took around 25 minutes. I found a map on where I was and then I went outside.

Okay so when I was outside the Hong Kong Station, I felt like I was lost! But then I tried to remember the map I just saw and went to the direction of Pier 7 from the map. Finally, after some walking, I found the signs to Pier 7.

You will see this view on your way to Pier 7.

When I arrived in Pier 7, I followed how people purchase their coin ticket for the ferry ride.
This is where you buy the token to ride the Ferry.

The token for the Ferry ride.

Then I followed the direction of the people where they insert the coin and open the entrance to the waiting area. When I inserted my coin, it didn't insert successfully so I was stuck for a moment but thankfully they have these people monitoring the passengers getting in so one of them bang the insert machine and then the entrance opened (whew!). Then I waited for the Ferry in the designated waiting area.

Waiting area for the Ferry ride.

The Ferry arrived and people started to get inside. The waves are really strong so be careful when getting inside the Ferry.

Look at those photobombers at the back during the Ferry ride but I really don't mind. :D

The Ferry ride was just short but it will show you the spectacular view of Hong Kong buildings near the sea (just like NYC).

View from the Ferry

As soon as I arrived in Tsim Tsa Tsui after the Ferry ride, I saw some stores and bought a magnet (I collect magnets of the places I have visited).

I walked around the area and saw the Clock Tower and some monuments that I didn't recognize. xD

The Clock Tower
A Dragon Boat

Anyway, recalling the map, the direction of Avenue of Stars should be to the left, facing the sea. As I walked, I didn't see any signs so I ask a guy I saw looking into the sea. He pointed me to the direction (I just needed to walk further to see it lol) and then off I go. So finally I arrived in Avenue of Stars. Here are some of my photos:

Bruce Lee!

So much of the walking, I bought an orange juice and rested a bit in one of the benches. After some time, I took some photos with Bruce Lee and then decided to go back already.

Selfie with Bruce Lee! :)

I decided to take the guide's advice to take a free bus ride from Sheraton Hotel to Kowloon Station. Luckily, there is free WiFi in the area (thank God for the generous Hong Kong people) so I used my Google maps and followed the GPS direction to Sheraton Hotel which was around 10-minute walk. I arrived in the hotel however, I didn't spot right away the bus stop so I had to ask around. The third person I asked eventually guided me to the bus stop (very helpful young man! thank you!) and just right on time, the bus arrived. It was a free Airport Express bus with bus no. K4 and it goes around the nearby hotels for passengers that would like to go and from Kowloon Station, how convenient is that! Also, I got to see a little of the night lights around the area by just riding the bus!

Inside the free bus ride to Kowloon Station, all alone.

So I arrived in Kowloon Station, took the Airport Express and head back to the airport. I was all sweaty from the short trip so I changed my clothes (luckily, I brought an extra dress). I followed the signs for departure, presented my passport and the little paper they gave before I went out, had my hand baggage scanned and the laptop should be taken out ( I really hate this, like my laptop is really heavy T^T), and headed to the train that will take you to the gates area.

I still have around 11 HKD so I searched for a drink around that price and yes, I found one in McDonalds; a small size softdrink worth 10 HKD+ (I forgot the exact amount but it was less than 11 HKD). I have estimated my money exchange very well because I was left with maybe 2-3 cents. :)

It felt really fulfilling to finally be able to go out of Hong Kong Airport for the first time and do solo travel.

Summary of Expenses:

Expense Amount (HKD)            
Airport Express 100
Left Baggage Fee ~48
Ferry Ride 2.5
Hong Kong Magnet 25
Orange Juice ~10
McDonald Softdrink ~11
TOTAL 196.5

~ estimated amount, forgot the exact amount. xD

Lastly, I made a short video of my Hong Kong transit tour. Please check the video below: