July 08, 2016

Backpacking 101: Hong Kong and Macau Travel Guide, Budget and Itinerary

View from Victoria Harbor

I never thought that Hong Kong and Macau can be so exciting for a heritage enthusiast like me. Aside from the most popular destination in Hong Kong like Disneyland, Ngong Ping Cable Car and Victoria Peak, the heritage buildings of Hong Kong as well as its heritage towns and villages wowed me. Same thing for Macau, its a haven for me! I did not expect the unique cobbled streets surrounding the heritage buildings of Central Macau. I will tell you more when I write about each spots and places about Hong Kong and Macau.

In this travel guide I will try to help you build your own adventure in Hong Kong and Macau. I am a backpacker so expect that most of our activities here are DIY or “do it yourself” if not all.

Going to Hong Kong and Macau
Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific flies daily to Hong Kong and Macau. Filipinos do not need Visa to visit Hong Kong and Macau. 14 days is the maximum days of stay for Filipinos in Hong Kong.


Hong Kong International Airport

From Hong Kong you can ride a ferry to go to Macau. Most people tour Macau for just a day. Book your ferry ticket in the morning and be back at night to maximize your stay in Macau.

Better option would be, book your flight from Manila (or anywhere) to Hong Kong then book your fly out from Macau to Manila (or anywhere).

Did you know that Hong Kong and Macau is building a bridge that would connect them? The construction of 50 kilometers Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge is ongoing and is expected to be completed by 2021.

Location
Hong Kong Location Map





Macau Location Map


The stars on the map are the places of interest.

Accommodation
There are a lot of hotels and hostel in both Hong Kong and Macau ranging from budget to splurge. In Hong Kong Most of the budget hotels are located in Tsim Sha Tsui. We stayed at Hop Inn in Mody St., Tsim Sha Tsui.



In Macau we stayed at SanVa Hotel in the center of Macau.


SanVa Hotel Reception

Money
One (1) Hong Kong Dollar is equivalent to Six (6) Philippine Pesos (as of June 2016). Same rate with MOP or Macanese Pataca. You can actually use your HKD in Macau. I am not just sure if MOP and be used in Hong Kong.

I bought my Hong Kong Dollar at Sanrys in Trinoma Mall for Php6.20 per 1 HKD.

Food
Food in Hong Kong and Macau is expensive by Philippine standard. HKD50 per meal per person is a safe budget if you want to eat decent food. Unless you want to settle with microwavable food of 7 11 stores, you can budget HKD20.00 each for a super ultra budget meal.


Shrimp Onion and Fish Dumplings Noodles for HKD36.00 (Php216.00)

McDonalds and KFC are you saving grace in Hong Kong. For HKD36.00 you can eat a decent Mcdo Meal. But as for me and Lana noodle in an authentic Chinese restaurant is my favorite. Each bowl would cost HKD30.00 plus a cold milk tea that cost HKD19.00. If you are familiar with Wai Ying in Binondo, that is actually similar to some restaurants in Hong Kong.

Best Time to Go in Hong Kong and Macau
Some said that the best time to visit Hong Kong and Macau is during the months of November to March to experience cold weather. Temperature drops 15 degrees and below. But hearing stories such us people climbing up the walls of Hong Kong Disneyland just to enter scares me. We all hate places that are too crowded. And also because November to March is the winter months in the West, they tend to go here in Asia to escape the cold weather in their country thus flocking of tourist everywhere in Asia and Southeast Asia.


Quick picture while walking along Chattam Road under 32 degrees

June is the hottest month according to Hong Kong statistics. But though the hottest do not think that people will not go to Hong Kong in June. We went to Hong Kong last June 22 to 26, 2016 ;) The temperature is between 32-33, we are experiencing 35 to 40 here in the Philippines during summer... so what now? hehehe...

To sum up what Discover Hong Kong said, a mild climate from the middle of September to the end of February, while the weather from May to mid-September can be hot, wet and humid, with August being the wettest month.

Places to Visit in Hong Kong

Klook.com


Hong Kong is a combination of playground for children, haven for heritage buff/enthusiast like and shopping paradise for many.

Our first Agenda in Hong Kong is to visit the Hong Kong Museum of History which is just steps away from Hop Inn in Mody St. I was not wrong doing so, the museum is like a city on its own. They build their History in the museum. Some of the famous tourist spots in Hong Kong are Victoria Harbor, Victoria PeakHong Kong Disneyland, Ngong Ping Cable Car, Tian Tan Buddha (the Giant Buddah).
Ding Ding inside the Museum

Aside from those major parks and landmarks that we visited, the likes of HSBC Headquarters and the IFC Tower or the International Financial Center in the Hong Kong Island can also land in your own Itinerary.


HSBC Headquarters

Let me summarize the major attraction in Hong Kong:

Hong Kong Island
The Historic Kong Kong Tram Ride or Ding Ding


One of my favorite view in the world!

Lantau Island
HongKong Disneyland
Tian Tan Buddha
Tai O Fishing Village

Kowloon
Victoria Harbor
Avenue of Start (Close until 2018)
Pin Shan Heritage Train (which we fail to visit)
Hong Kong Museum of History
Shopping Area of in Mongkok such as Temple Street and Ladies Market
Tsim Sha Tsui for budget hotels

In Macau, I thought it is just good for a side trip. I thought it was just the huge casinos and St. Paul Ruins until I gave it a chance. We stayed in Macau for a night and explored the city for 2 days. Then I said wow to Senado Square and all the heritage houses in Central Macau. Coloane Village is an escape to the buzz of the casinos and the noisy tourist.
Macau is divided into four district namely:

Macau Peninsula where you can find:
St. Paul Ruins
Senado Square
Grand Lisboa Casino
Heritage Buildings and houses around Senado Square

Taipa where you can stroll around Taipa Village and visit some heritage houses. Sadly we failed to visit this area.

Cotai area is where big casino complex are located such as The Venetian Macau, City of Dreams, Galaxy Macau, Studio City and the soon to open Parisian Macau.

Coloane is the peaceful part of Macau. Walk around Coloane Village and visit the first bakery of Lord's Tow. Climb up to A-Ma Cultural Village and A-Ma Statue. Here you can also see a panda in Seac Pai Van Park.

Day 1 – Manila, Hong Kong Museum of History, Victoria Harbor, Star Ferry, Tram Tour and Victoria Peak
6:20 AM – Departure for Hong Kong
  • Travel Tax – Php1,650.00 each (Php3,300)

7:40AM – Arrival in Hong Kong International Airport
8:30AM – Train to Kowloon Station
Airport Express Single Journey Ticket

9:00AM – Arrival in Kowloon Station
  • Take the free shuttle going to Mody St. in Tsim Sha Tsui where Hop Inn is located.
9:30AM – Arrival in Hop Inn
  • Paid HKD372.00
10:30AM – Quick Brunch in Yuen Kee
  • HKD100.00 for 2
11:00AM – Hong Kong Museum of History
  • Free of charge every Wednesday


1:00PM – Walk from Hong Kong Museum of History to Victoria Harbor
  • Subway Star Gallery, Hong Kong Cultural Center, Victoria Harbor and Old Clock Tower
1:30PM – Star Ferry from Tsim Sha Tsui (Star Ferry Pier) to Wan Chai Ferry Pier
  • Fare HKD2.50 each (HKD5.00)
Our first Star Ferry Ride

2:20PM – Ding Ding Tram Ride from Wan Chai to Kennedy Town
  • Fare HKD2.30 each (HKD4.60)
3:00PM – Arrived in Kennedy Town, Explore
3:30PM - Bus going to Central
  • Fare HKD3.00 each (HKD6.00)
Ding Ding Ride!

4:00PM – Rest at Statue Square in front of HSBC Headquarters Building
  • Bought some snack at 7:11 – HKD20.00
5:00PM – Meet the tour guide for Victoria Peak
5:45PM – Ride the Peak Tram going to Victoria Peak
  • Explore the Peak, wait until sunset.
Folks flock at the Peak in the afternoon

7:40PM – Back in central using the Peak Tram
8:00PM – Dinner time in a restaurant at Central Station.
  • HKD106.00 for 2
8:30PM – Back in Tsim Sha Tsui
  • Fare HKD9.70 (HKD19.40)
Day 1 Total Budget:
Philippine Peso – Php5,008.00
Hong Kong Dollars – HKD633.00

Day 2 – Disneyland


We are the very first!

8:00AM – TST to Hong Kong Disneyland
9:00PM - Hong Kong Disneylandto TST
  • Fare HKD20.30 Each (HKD40.60)
  • Bought dinner in 7:11 – HKD20.00
Day 2 Total Budget:
Philippine Peso – Php6,394.00
Hong Kong Dollars – HKD101.20

Day 3 – Ngong Ping 360, Giant Buddah, Tai O Fishing Village, Mongkok and Victoria Harbor
8:00AM – TST to Tung Chung
  • MRT Fare – HKD16.50 each (HKD33.00)
  • Bought breakfast in 7 11 – HKD20.00
9:00AM – Arrival Citygate Mall in Tung Chung Terminal
  • Bought fruits – HKD25.00
10:00AM – Ngong Ping 360 (Cable Car to Giant Buddah)

No fear of heights!

10:55AM – Departure for Ngong PingVillage trough the Cable Car
11:20 – Arrived at Ngong Ping Village; Explore the Village
  • Ngong Ping Piazza
  • Tian Tan Buddah
  • Po Lin Monastery
200+ steps!

12:45PM – Depart for Tai O Village
  • Bus Fare HKD6.60 each (HKD13.20)
1:00PM – Arrival in Tai O Fising Village
1:20PM – Tai O Fishing Village Tour



  • Boat Ride for Pink Dolphins. Boat Fee HKD25.00 Each (HKD50.00)
  • Tai O Market
  • Tai O Fishing Village
  • Tai O Rural Committee Historical and Cultural Room
  • Quick Snack and Lunch – HKD50.00
2:45PM – Back to TST
  • Bus Tai O to Tung Chung HKD12.00 Each (HKD24.00)
  • MTR Tung Chung Station to TST – HKD16.90 Each (HKD33.80)
  • Late lunch Noodles for HKD110.00 for 2
  • Bought noodles for Snack and breakfast the next day at 7 11 – HKD30.00
4:30PM – Arrived in Hop Inn – Rest for a while
5:30PM – Walked to Temple Street and Ladies Market for shopping – HKD1,000.00
9:00PM – Walked going to Victoria Harbor for the night view of Hong Kong Island
  • Eat dinner in McDonald – HKD98.00 for 2
Day 3 Total Budget:
Philippine Peso – Php1,396.00
Hong Kong Dollars – HKD487.00 (Budget) + HKD1,000.00 (Shopping Budget)

Day 4 – Macau, St. Paul Ruins, Senado Square, Macau Tower and Venetian Hotel
Its Saturday at the Ruins

11:00AM – Checked out in Hop Inn, Proceed to HK Macau Ferry Station
  • MTR from TST to Sheung Wan - HKD9.70 Each (HKD19.40)
11:30AM – Arrived in HK Macau Ferry Station
Proceed to Cotai to redeem the ticket bought through klook.com
  • Eat Lunch at KFC – HKD95.00 for 2
1:00PM – Depart for Macau
2:00PM – Arrived in Macau Taipa Ferry Terminal
  • Took the Free Shuttle Bus going to Hotel Lisboa (Central) where our hotel is located.
3:30PM – Checked in SanVa Hotel
4:00PM – Started Walking Tour


Mandatory selfie at Senado Square
  • Old Buildings of Macau in Almeida Ribeiro
  • St. Paul Ruins
  • Senado Square
5:30PM – Proceed to Macau Tower for Sunset and Night View of Macau
  • Bus Fare MOP5.00 Each (MOP10.00)


6:00PM – Arrived in Macau Tower, explored Macau 360 View
  • Bought Macau Tower vouchers for Php500.00 each (Php1,000.00)
7:50PM – Departure in Macau Tower for Venetian Hotel
  • Took the free shuttle in Macau Tower to City of Dreams Macau
8:00PM – Arrived in City of Dreams
  • Walked across the street for Venetian Macau
  • Explore Venetian Macau
  • Eat Dinner at McDonalds – MOP100.00 for 2
...and the famous view

10:00PM – Walked back to City of Dreams Macau to ride the free shuttle going to Central Area
10:20PM – Back in SanVa Hotel
10:30PM – Explored Macau alone at night.




Day 4 Total Budget:
Philippine Peso – Php1,000.00
Hong Kong Dollars – HKD114.40
MOP – 105.00MOP

Day 5 – Coloane Village, A-Ma Cultural Village, Casino Hopping
6:30AM – Departure for Coloane Village
  • Breakfast in one of the convenience store in R. das Lorchas (street)
  • Took Bus 26A going to Coloane Village MOP5.00 each (MOP10.00)
  • Explore Coloane Village, Chapel of St. Francis Xavier,Kun Lam Temple, Tam Kong Temple, Original Lord Stow's Bakery
  • Bought coke and other necessities MOP30.00
The almost unknown spot to tourist

9:00AM – Took Bus 26A in Coloane Village going to Seac Pai Van Park for A-Ma Cultural Village
  • Bus fare MOP4.00 each (MOP8.00)
  • Took the free shuttle going up to A-Ma Temple
9:30AM – Explored A-Ma Cultural Village and A-Ma Statue
11:00AM – Explored Explore Parke de Seac Pai Van Park (Panda Park)
  • Coke MOP20.00
  • Shop for Panda Goodies – MOP200.00
A-Ma Statue
12:00NN – Back in Central to check out.
  • Bus Fare MOP5.00 (MOP10.00)
1:00PM – Checked out. Left bag in SanVa Hotel to but goodies in St. Paul Ruins.
  • Shop for pasalubong MOP405.00
  • Lana bought a book – Little Prince Chinese Version – MOP100.00
4:00PM – Take free shuttle from Central to City of Dreams Macau
4:20PM – Arrived in City of Dreams Macau. Left bag in luggage area to explore Casinos in Taipa.
4:30PM – Casino Hopping
  • City of Dreams
  • Venetian Macau
  • Galaxy Macau
7:00PM – Take free shuttle from City of Dreams to Macau International Airport
8:00PM – Luggage Check-In
8:30 – Dinner at McDonalds – MOP100.00
10:30 – Departure for Manila


Macau International Airport

Day 5 Total Budget
MOP – 178.00MOP (Budget) + 605.00MOP (Pasalubong)
_______________________________________________________________
Hong Kong and Macau Total Budget
Philippine Peso – Php13,798.00
Hong Kong Dollars – HKD1,335.60 (plus HKD1,000.00 for shopping)
MOP – 283.00MOP (plus MOP705.00 for shopping)
Total HKD and MOP = 3,323.60 x 6.00 = Php19,941.60 + Php13,798

Total Budget in Hong and Macau without Airfare = Php33,739.60

Tip
Like what I have metioned above, you can purchase your vouchers on the online booking site www.klook.com We bought our Airport Express, Victoria Peak, Hong Kong Disneyland, Ngong Ping 360 and Macau Tower vouchers in Klook. Aside from the savings that we got, we escaped the long queues at Victoria Peak, Hong Kong Disneyland and Ngong Ping 360. 

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