I was at a coffee shop one Saturday, working on a few articles due the following day. Since reading newspapers already became a habit, the first thing I did after getting drinks was to get all the papers in the rack.
While scanning, I noticed a small advertisement of a local budget carrier offering flights to from Manila to Hong Kong at P888.
Before I chanced upon that ad, I was obsessing over my future travels. I had been discussing future trips with my core group (The Mainstays) and Daryll, a friend who shares the same desire to go to places. Naturally, I was hyped when I saw it because it was damn cheap and since we’ve been talking about a cheap thrill in the coming months, I saw it as the best fit.
I ended up telling Daryll and another friend, Betti, about the promo and I was trying so hard to get seats. The mobile app wouldn’t allow me to book three seats so I ended up just booking two and Betti booked hers on her own. We weren’t on the same flight to Hong Kong but luckily, she got a seat for the return flight.
Anyway, the last time I was in Hong Kong was about 10 years ago. People who often travel say that’s lame since it was so near, and more affordable compared to other countries. But I didn’t discover my wanderlust until years later.
Daryll and I arrived a little later than Betti but we met her at the airport. Since it was quite late, we didn’t have much time to go around and do stuff. We did a little familiarizing with the area where we were staying. Daryll secured this room along Austin Road and very near the Jordan MTR station.
The entire night was spent looking for Daryll’s wig (for his Halloween costume) and eating at the ever reliable McDonald’s fast food, which serves great milkshakes, by the way.
Day one, as expected, was allotted for our first theme park adventure. We woke up early to get breakfast at this famous place called Australian Dairy Co. just a few minutes away from Austin.
Had our first train ride that day as we head for Disneyland. We were at the park early because people we know said it’d take hours from where we were staying. We were lucky enough to secure free tickets courtesy of my father’s friend. Spent most of the day going around the theme park filled with kids and grownups alike. It was a Halloween weekend after all.
We left the park to have a quick dinner somewhere near Tung Chung. My father’s cousin — Tito Padok — volunteered to host the dinner. That’s free meal, so why not?
We rode the train to Tung Chung and then rode the van to a place that houses a cluster of restaurants. Had a bounty Chinese dinner. Ended up bloated.
After that, we went back to Disneyland for the fireworks display and last-minute Halloween hirit — since some of the Halloween attractions started at night. We had to endure long lines but it didn’t matter. It’s still nice to feel like a kid again.
We arrived really late at the place where we were staying. There was a misunderstanding with the owners/caretakers that left us locked out of the room where our stuff were kept. So we slept on our sweaty clothes and just waited for the next morning, until the hostel’s staff were ready to accommodate our needs.
Because of the night’s mishap, we were a little behind the schedule for our second day. We didn’t have much time for breakfast so we had our quick fix at Sushi Express across City Gate in Tung Chung. The food was cheap and good!
After that, off we went to the long lines leading to the cable car that would bring us to Ngong Ping Village in Lantau Island. This was all Daryll’s idea and it was great since I wasn’t even able to step foot in this place when I was here 10 years ago!
It’s nice to explore different place. In Ngong Ping, we also visited the Tian Tan Buddha and to do that, we had to climb hundreds of steps. Tiring, as expected, but you know me — I love all things hard. Haha.
After Ngong Ping, we went window shopping at City Gate and ate out. Then went to Sneakers Street just because.. and the Ladies’ night market, again, for Daryll’s wig. I think these are near the Mong Kok MTR station. We actually had enough energy to visit the beaut Science Museum and check out a hipster café near Yau Ma Tei for Betti. Haha
And wait, there’s more. The highlight of our day two was the much awaited Halloween Party along Lan Kwai Fong — the crowd was crazy, and the people went all out with their customers. Daryll and I had been talking about this costume party for so long — and it was my first time to participate to such. Iba! What an experience.
Obviously, we went as three of the five emotions in the movie Inside Out. I chose Sadness not because I’m a sad kind of person (but somehow, yes) but because it’s the easiest costume. And I loveeeed my face paint. (I used Snazaroo! It was easy to apply and remove) 🙂
Daryll and Betti chose the emotions that usually reflect them. Haha.
Our longest day was the last whole day. Since we went home very early in the morning, we had to catch some sleep before that day. Daryll went out to meet with a friend while Betti and I ended up scourging the streets for a good place to have brunch. After that, we met at the Hong Kong Museum of History. I liked that place so much. I wish we have museums like that here at home.
After a taste of history, the plan was to go to take the tram to the ever famous Victoria Peak. It took us a while to figure out the way and that meant we had to take really really long walks. We passed by a really nice park so that’s one of the bonus of getting lost, discovering hidden wonders. It was just so hot and tiring. When we reached the place where we’re supposed to buy tickets, lines were impossibly long so we decided to skip that part and just took a cab to the bus station.
We bought our Ocean Park tickets at a cheaper price at the MTR station so we didn’t line up to secure some. Oh, I love Ocean Park. It’s rides, unlike in Disneyland, are extreme. While planning this trip, I checked out the place where I had been ten years ago and I couldn’t even remember much except for the Cable Car ride and some encounter with water animals.
I liked this trip because I tried so many things for the first time, including those extreme rides that made me so excited and nervous. I originally planned to skip all the scary ones but Daryll’s convincing powers were… well.. convincing. No regrets. Most thrillin’ moments of my life were spent while suspended up in the air and shouting because I was scared but impossible happy too.
Betti opted to just rest since she wasn’t feeling well and when you’re with Daryll, you just try all sorts of things — including crazy haunted houses.
Since it was a Halloween weekend, you could only imagine the looooong lines. We spent at least an hour for each attraction that lasts only a few minutes. But the waiting was so worth it. The experience made me feel so good and fearless. HAHA.
After a few more rides, and a dancing fountain show, we went back to Austin. But I am never too tired for some midnight stroll. Since we weren’t staying in Tsim Sha Tsui, I had to figure out — via the internet — how to get around.
It was my first time to wander alone in a foreign land. I was so scared but I just had to do it. I was talking to a friend via viber who told me I should do it anyways so I did. I saved the map in my phone and started with the train ride. I was so scared not to catch the last trip. Hehe.
I walked endlessly and finally reached the Victoria Harbor. Spent a few quiet moments there just walking, thinking about stuff and enjoying the view of Hong Kong’s skyline. I was looking for this gelato place but I was unsuccessful. Anyway, I was glad I did it. I was quite proud of myself since for the longest time, I had been the coward one who likes to stay at the safe side. I mostly stick to the status quo.
Ended up taking the train back to Jordan. I was planning to get some snacks but I ended up at McDonald’s again because the nearby places were all closed. I was done with my meal when suddenly Daryll entered the same fast food. He also went out that night and when we talked, we realized we went to the same place… he just did his favorite MTR-hopping prior to the harbor stroll. Chatted the night away until it’s time to go home.
Our flight was early in the morning. Wish we had more time. There were so much things to do and see. I especially loved the MTR rides. I was not very good with commuting but the train lines are very easy to adapt to + they’re the easiest means of going around. I think I’d try MTR-hopping too the next time I get there.
But the quick trip was a nice way to end my bum days because immediately the day after we arrived in Manila, I started working for the “other side.”