My Second Visit to Hong Kong: The City That Never Sleeps
Visiting Hong Kong in Summer
My first visit to Hong Kong was a few years back but during winter. At that time, it was cooling and the temperature hovered around 10 degree Celcius. This time we decided to brave the warm summer and visited in early June. It was definitely much hotter and we sweat buckets as we explored exciting Hong Kong on foot.
Beside the different season, this visit also marks the first time I am exploring Hong Kong on my own. On my previous visit, I was on a tour group so this time I promised myself to venture out and try the local food!
Convenient transport to and from the airport (HKIA)
Get an Octopus card!
Upon reaching the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), we headed to the MTR station counter to purchase an Octopus card (Bat Tat Tong in chinese) which is similar to the EZ-Link in Singapore and will allow for easy travel on public transport such as the MTR and buses. It can even be used on the Star Ferry to cross over to Central or Wan Chai from Tsim Sha Tsui. Before leaving Hong Kong, you can obtain a refund for your deposit of HKD50. However, if you are returning the card within 3 months, there is a deduction of HKD7 to obtain your deposit and any amount leftover.
As we had booked a hotel at Tsim Sha Tsui, we purchased a return ticket for bus A21. The cost was only HKD55 for return. If you are undecided on whether you wish to take the bus to the airport, you can also purchase a one-way ticket for HKD33. Very convenient! Do note that the A21 buses leave from the Kowloon island area like Mongkok, Tsim Sha Tsui and Hung Hom. It also heads from airport to these same places. For other areas, you would have to take other buses.
Travelling on the MTR to visit the Big Buddha
Late Night Shopping Along Hong Kong's Nathan Road
As we reached HK late at night, we only managed to walk about Nathan Road in the Tsim Sha Tsui area. There were lots of people walking about on Nathan Road although it was close to midnight. Even some of the shops like Sasa and Giordano were still open at such a late hour.
The next morning, we woke up early and had a delicious breakfast at Tsui Wah before taking the MTR to Tung Chung.
Big Buddha at Ngong Ping
Day 2: Visiting the Big Buddha
From the Tung Chung MTR station, we then walked for a few minutes to the Bus terminal. As we had Octopus cards, we did not have to queue to purchase the bus ticket. We just tapped our cards and went up bus 23 which would bring us to Ngong Ping. We could not experience the cable car ride as it was closed for maintenance during the day we visited. Nevertheless, the bus ride was still fun. It took longer than the cable ride, about 45 minutes at least, but we could enjoy the view on the way up. Do note the roads are going uphill, downhill and with many turns, so do be prepared with some medication if you are unable to take it.
Shops at Ngong Ping Village
Ngong Ping Village
Besides climbing up the steps to the Big Buddha, you can also purchase a meal coupon to enter the museum at the bottom of the Big Buddha. After that, you can head back down to level ground and visit the temple nearby. For Buddhists, you can buy incense and pray there.
For us who were not Buddhists, we headed further away to the Ngong Ping Village instead. There are a few shops there, including this one which sold all types of chopsticks. Very beautiful but also quite expensive. If you are hungry, you can also grab a snack here, have lunch here, or just grab a Starbucks coffee. Yes, Starbucks has invaded this place too =)
At Citygate Outlets
Shopping at Citygate Outlets
After exploring Ngong Ping for about 1.5 hours, we then took the bus back to Tung Chung. From there, we headed to Citygate Outlets for lunch and to shop. There are many branded goods here like Coach, Mango, Kate Spade, Esprit and Bally which have outlets here. They offer goods at discounts up to 90%. There were lots of people here trying to get great bargains.
Super Crowded Mongkok on a Sunday
From Tung Chung, we took the MTR back to Mongkok.The place was filled to the brim with people and I could barely move at the H&M branch at Langham Place. So, I decided to exit and headed to Argyle Centre instead. Here the shops are more similar to Sungei Wang Plaza in Kuala Lumpur. Shops are narrow and sell clothes and shoes more suitable for casual wear and for youths.
After dinner, we then walked over to Fa Yuen Street to continue our shopping. Although it was just about 8.30pm, the makeshifts stalls were already closing. It was probably due to the fact that the next day was a public holiday (Dumplings Festival). Hence, we just browsed through the shops themselves and purchased some clothes! 2 for HKD100 =) Soon, it was time for bed as we had an early morning ferry to catch to Macau!
Number of visits to HK
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More information on Hong Kong and Macau
Hong Kong Map of Places I Have Visited
There is always a lot of people...
Citygate Outlets is located here.
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