First impressions last (whether it is positive or negative). This makes a huge impact on your overall experience. It was the first time I traveled to Hong Kong 🇭🇰 It was a roller coaster ride of emotions, fear, bliss, satisfaction, disappointment and regret. Allow me to share my experience during my stay, but let’s start with my first impressions about Hong Kong.
Why Hong Kong 🇭🇰?
Honestly, I decided to take this trip because it’s more on the business side— I registered as one of the participants in the ITE Hong Kong 2023 held at the Hong Kong Convention Center on June 15, 2023. As the owner and general manager of Tripsdiary Travel and Tours, I was thinking of creating new travel packages for Hong Kong 🇭🇰, one of the most popular travel destinations.
Of course, it was also an opportunity to take a quick break and enjoy 😉. I was looking forward to see the towering skyscrapers, iconic sights of the city, colorful landmarks, jam-packed streets, try their awesome food, and experience nightlife and shopping in one of the busiest and most developed metropolitan hubs in Asia.
I suppose it’s an advantage to own a travel agency, so I knew what documents and other things I had to prepare.
Basically, here are the only documents that you need to prepare since Hong Kong is a visa-free country.
• active passport 🛂
• Round-trip air tickets 🛫
• Hotel booking voucher 🏨
• Activity/tour voucher
Immigration officers are just strict with first-time travelers, especially to ex-OFWs or with negative travel history. We couldn’t blame them because there are passengers who don’t return on the specified arrival date just because they really wanted to work.
Additional Requirements (if in case the IO will request me to present)
The immigration officer will only ask for these requirements if he or she is in doubt that you will return. You need to show or prove that you are financially capable of spending for your trip.
• Proof of your bank balance
I didn’t prepare a bank statement, but just in case the IO would ask me to open the banking app, I am prepared to open it and show the balance statement.
• Business permits (my DTI, Mayor”s Permit, and BIR COR)
I just prepared digital copies of my business permits just in case I will be asked to present those.
My Packing List
I didn’t pack much because I only have a checked baggage of 20 kgs per way. These are the things that I have packed in my luggage.
• outfits good for 4 days only
• Beauty and skincare
• Powerbank and charger
My 🇵🇭 Immigration Experience
I had no issues at all (likely because I travelled with my daughter and had previous travel experience). The IO (immigration officer) didn’t even ask for a copy of our hotel and activity voucher. He just asked about my work 😃
Hello, Hong Kong 🇭🇰❤️
Welcome to Hong Kong, a city which celebrates diversity, offers a blend of cultures, culinary experiences and unforgettable memories.
My First Impressions
Hong Kong 🇭🇰 International Airport
I admired the cleanliness of the airport itself, the organized airport staff and system. You won’t get lost because directional panels are actually helpful.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to collaborate with the Hong Kong Tourism Board. I could have provided more interesting content. Anyway, in this post, I will be sharing our genuine experience and our impressions, so you will have an idea what to expect if in case you haven’t visited Hong Kong yet.
Actually, it’s the exact opoosite of what I have in mind. You don’t need a car or private airport transfers because it’s easy and convenient to use the MTR. They have a map 🗺️, which you can use to know how far will it take for you to reach your destination. They also have a machine where you can purchase MTR cards easily.
If you have used the MTR, it’s easier for you to go around and explore. Don’t worry if you get lost, it’s normal. The only struggle that we have encountered is walking and commuting with your luggages–it’s not convenient at all.
We got lost inside the MTR station. The first time was when we entered a different station, so we had to go to the exit and buy another MTR card. The second time was on our way to Disneyland Resort. We weren’t sure where to go, so I approached Customer Service. To be fair with, the lady answered my question. I just had trouble grasping her accent, but she should have been patient enough. In addition, a Customer Service employee’s job is to resolve the customer’s problem/concern. It would have been better if she at least smiled. Well, I guess, that’s her personality.
Fortunately, I found someone to help us out. I just forgot her name. She was so friendly and she patiently explained to me how can we reach Disneyland Resort.
Cost of Living
Honestly, we thought that everything was cheap in Hong Kong 🇭🇰 Well, we were wrong, because most are quite expensive. To get an idea of the price, we multiply 1HKD to 7.00 or to be more exact, I use the internet to convert the price. If you work in Hong Kong and spend the money here in the Philippines, you may save a lot of money. We met a Filipina waitress who earns over 100,000 a month (you don’t earn as much if you work here in the Philippines as a waitress 😂)
Hotel Alexandra Hong Kong 🇭🇰
Hotel Alexandra Hong Kong is a four-star hotel 🏨 in North Point. This was our home for 4 days and 3 nights. We expected an average hotel, but surprisingly, our jaws literally dropped when we entered the hotel and saw the magnificent and stylish interiors. It’s like we were transported in Wonderland for a magical experience.
Decorated with luxurious and modern furniture, we could not help but admire the place. We felt like royalties while walking inside the hotel premises.
We stayed in a room 🍀 (triple sharing) with the city and stunning views of the harbor.
Because you are special, I will be dedicating a separate blog post about Hotel Alexandra Hong Kong 🇭🇰
Hong Kong is known as one of the best places to shop worldwide. Of course, shopping is on my to-do list for my Hong Kong trip! Actually, I had planned to go to Kowloon, but because I wanted to go back to the hotel earlier, I opted for the 10-minute ride. When we got there, we searched for bazaars, but we only found a few stalls in Causeway Bay Shopping District. Though I would like to go to Kowloon, we didn’t have much time to do so and check out the other night markets to explore and buy cheap finds.
I am a very picky eater, that’s why I thought it would be difficult for me. Contrary to this, I loved the various food options, whether they are cheap restaurants, cafés, convenience stores or buffet.
The People 🧍♀️🧍🧍♂️
Unlike the Filipino people who are known for being hospitable and friendly, I prefer to say that the people of Hong Kong are professional. They are more into getting the job done, rather than doing it with love and passion– that was just my impression ✌️
Travel tips 🛫
• Always bring HKD cash with you in case of emergencies. They accept international credit cards 💳 in some commercial establishments, but in the marketplace, small shops and taxis, they only accept cash.
• Plan all your OOTDS and pack lightly. Put on comfortable shoes and bring slippers/sandals.
• Shop smartly. Just buy for the things you need unless you have the money to splurge.
• Book your accommodation ahead of time. Try to search and consider the location, so it will be easier for you to go around.
• Make sure to be connected with the social media all the time. I subscribed to Globe Roaming. ( GoRoam Hong Kong) for only ₱600 for 5 days. I need to update my followers with my Hong Kong adventure.
My Mistakes ❌
During our 4 days and 3 nights stay in Hong Kong, here are the things I wish I could have done. I have listed them here, so we’ll do them on our next trip to Hong Kong.
• We should’ve bought an Octopus Card and reload it, so it would be more convenient when we use the MTR.
• We should’ve gone to The Peak, Harbour City and other tourist spots.
• We should have explored the other parts of Hong Kong and shop for inexpensive items.
• We should have taken a culinary tour guided by an expert or explore by ourselves (I think this is even better!)
With the first impressions I have shared, I will certainly be back in Hong Kong. In spite of the things I’ve missed and not happy about, it’s not as bad as you think. There are plenty of other things to discover about Hong Kong’s beauty. Let’s plan it next time.
Btw, I would like to give you a sneak peek of our Hong Kong Experience, but I couldn’t attach the Facebook link here.
I still have series of Hong Kong content to share. Watch out for those.
Don’t forget to follow my social media accounts so we can stay connected ❤️