Monday, June 13, 2016

Hong Kong in the eyes of a First Time Traveler

I've never been out of the country. EVER. I have been offered to go to London, Egypt, Thailand, Panama, South America, USA, Japan, Bali, and other places but I have never said yes. I just wasn't into the idea. I've never been a wanderlust but now that I am turning 36, I realized that perhaps it is time for me to actually step out of my comfort zone and explore a new place.

An opportunity for Hong Kong came and finally, I said yes.

As with anything I went ahead and forged ahead like a bull. I didn't even want my family to take me to the airport. I wanted to start this trip on my own and not have my family hold my hand which I honestly needed but knew I shouldn't depend on.

THE WORRIES: I was really worried about the laglag bala scheme at the airport. It sucked that this was even a cause for concern but since I was going on my own, I knew that I may be prime target. Thankfully, I got through it without any mishaps. Next was going through Immigrations. I've heard horror stories about the Immigration officers here having more attitude and giving Pinoys a hard time which is really sad so I was ready to give charm or poison. Thankfully, being a blogger had its perks and the moment the officer saw my business card, I was good to go.

THE AIRPORT: I never knew that the international side of the NAIA 3 was quite big (compared to our other airports anyway.) I had to walk a bit to get to my boarding gate. The next worry I had was the consistency of  Cebu Pacific for being late. Surprisingly, there were no delays in this flight. Miracles do happen.

THE FLIGHT: On the flight to Hong Kong, it was fairly smooth and we got there ahead of time by 25 minutes. It was also my first time to have a full meal while travelling. It seems that the ticket that was given to me had a meal chosen for myself which luckily was chicken.

UPSIDE:  It tasted good.

DOWNSIDE: It was hard to manage because the atsara had sauce and there were no nearby trash cans.

HONGKONG AIRPORT: You know those scene in the movies where the lead actress marvels around, goes in a circle just taking everything in, and simply is in awe of everything she sees? I was that girl. I was definitely impressed with their airport and wished that we had it back here.

They were also very efficient and orderly. You could really feel that they value people's time because they make sure that everything is addressed without causing any confusion. I never had to ask for anything twice even with the language barrier.

THE CITY: There was absolutely no traffic. Seriously. No traffic whatsoever and people followed the rules. Coming from Manila where people had a mind of their own and traffic laws seem more like decor than anything else, this was definitely a shocker. I mean I've heard about it but seeing it first hand was definitely something.

It was also clean. There were trash bins everywhere and people actually use it. Art was also found in a lot of places and I even saw a wall signage saying that without art, a society is without a soul.

THE VIEW: One of the things I truly enjoyed about Hong Kong was the view. The view was so amazing from across the bay when we had dinner at Nobu and from the 28th floor when we ate at Hutong Bay. It was definitely mesmerizing and jaw dropping when I saw it from my room at the 112th floor of the Ritz Carlton. I have always loved city views and seeing Hong Kong from that point of view was definitely something. It was like being able to see a sliver of what God sees and it was just SO BEAUTIFUL.

THE FOOD: It was pretty good but I guess being Chinese and exposed to the same food made me less impressed with what they had to offer. HOWEVER I haven't tried all the dishes Hong Kong has to offer so I'm sure that I will still be blown away in future trips. I will say though that for those who haven't tried their food, they will definitely be treated to a sumptuous meal.

THE MTR: This is probably the most amazing and impressive thing for me about Hong Kong. It was just so efficient and so on time. It was not crowded no matter how many people get on it and it was definitely not hot inside. I was just so blown away with every single aspect of the MTR. It was running 24/7 and it was definitely clean. It also let me go around the city by myself.

People also follow and respect each other. They don't rush in and let people go out. They let the elderly sit in and no one really minds standing because it's not hot inside. The MTR is also very efficient and gets you to your destination fast and cheap.

THE WALKING: I think if I lived or worked there, I would lose weight with all the walking around. I just don't know if I can do the whole high heel while walking thing though. I'm just not that graceful.

THE FASHION: Half of the people there were just so fashionable. They walk around so confident and so secure that they can go around the city and not have to worry about being raped or mugged. It's really liberating. I like low neck shirts coz I'm not so gifted there but with the "rape culture" perpetuated here, it's hard.

THE LADIES MARKET: OMIGOSH! There are absolutely no words for this really wonderful place. An afternoon wasn't enough to go around the place and have a look at everything. I didn't even have time to take photos of the merchandise because I was just so overwhelmed with how big and diverse this place was. I literally want to go back just because of the Ladies Market. I got so many things but now I kind of want to start a business with them. Be still my shopping heart.

THE OCTOPUS CARD: They have a card there that you can load at the train station and airport which you can use almost everywhere. It's really wonderful. I used my Octopus card at 7-11, restaurants, to buy food at bakeries, and almost anywhere. It makes for faster transactions and I definitely did not hear this super hated phrase "may barya po kayo?" I really hate that. If we had the Octopus card, this wouldn't be a problem and we would always pay what we just need to pay.

THE ART: Almost everywhere, there was art. It was encouraged and I really loved this being an artist myself. In a city where business means business, it is always good to see that there is soul.

THE FLEA MARKET: I was lucky enough to have dropped by the Cultural Center of Hong Kong on a Sunday. Apparently, 3 Sundays a week, they hold a flea market. What I loved about this is that most of the craft makers were seniors. They were old people just really pursuing their passion. It was such a LIFE GOAL.

I was only in Hong Kong for a couple of days but it was definitely life changing. I have seen a glimpse of the world and I am now ready to take a peek again. Thank you Hong Kong for being my first. It was definitely memorable.

All photos taken using my ASUS ZENFONE SELFIE and it was really good. I could easily snap photos and I didn't have a hard time taking food shots even inside the dimly lit Nobu and Hutong Bay because of the flashlight aspect of the phone and the 13MP. Yey to ASUS PH.

Separate write ups to follow for Ritz Carlton, Nobu Hotel, Hutong Bay, and Kams Roasted Goose.

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  1. The thing about traveling to a place for the first time is that 3D2N is not enough! Looking forward to the next posts :)

  2. It looks like you had an amazing time. We have been wanting to visit Hong Kong. It is definitely on my bucket list :)

  3. I went to HK for my 18th birthday and it was magical!!! I am flying into HK again at the end of the year but that's only so as to catch a flight to Vietnam!

  4. I know I would love the food here. Hong Kong sounds like a place I need to visit.

  5. I've only been to Hong Kong once and I was 13, it's been a long time! I really enjoyed the food there and the shopping as well. I'm sure it's a lot better now too. I hope you had a lot of fun, and I hope you travel more outside of the country!

  6. Oh, I like to go to HK too. I heard about the good food and the wonderful culture they have.

  7. I want to travel around the world too. I've been to Hongkong and it's really beautiful.

  8. It looks like you had such an amazing trip! I would love to see Hong Kong one day!

  9. I've never been to Hong Kong but it looks interesting. Not so sure on the foods but yours looked good.

  10. I want to go to Hong Kong and I haven't quite gotten there, yet! But one day!! I have been to a few countries and travelled a tiny bit, but I NEED MORE! Thanks for the inspirational post!!

  11. I've never been to Hong Kong before. It sounds like a lovely place to go. I love all your photos. They're beautiful! Makes me wish I could go visit now.

  12. I have always wanted to go to Hong Kong! It looks like such an amazingly vibrant city, and full of life!

  13. I am so glad that you took this trip! I love to travel and never thought about what it would like for someone not too. Great job!

  14. What an amazing opportunity! I don't do a lot of traveling at all either but I would have jumped at the idea of going to Hong Kong.

  15. You've done a good job covering your experiences with Hong Kong. I believe we had the same "Atsara" experience which is quite funny seeing it from a different person. And that far-top river view's simply stunning.

  16. Hong Kong looks and sounds like an amazing city. The Octopus card much be such a convenience for out of country travelers. What an amazing concept!

  17. This looks like an amazing trip! So much fun.

  18. I've never been out of the country either, and Hong Kong has been on my bucklet list for years! It looks and sounds like you had a fabulous time! Hopefully one day I'll get the chance to go as well!

  19. Hong Kong is by far one of my most favorite cities in the whole WORLD!!! I went there when I was 18. And I stayed at the Island Shangra-La... And there was THE BEST RESTAURANT EVER in there called Cafe Too... EVERY SINGLE CUISINE you could possibly imagine was served up BUFFET STYLE and ... I think I ate there oh, 5 times over the course of my 10-day trip! Ah ha ha ha! SO SO GOOD!

  20. Just by reading your post I can feel the way you've been mesmerized by Hong Kong. Maybe I'll feel the same way when I have the chance to visit HK too :) or I guess more excited than what you felt :)

  21. Wow congrats on your first out of town and solo trip. I've been to other countries aside from HongKong as I prefer to go there with my family especially the Disneyland. Looks like you really enjoyed it! More to go. :)

  22. This sounds like a fun trip. The pictures are beautiful.

  23. Wow your pics of honk kong are awesome. I wasn't too familiar with it but there is a lot of beauty in the city!


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