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Monday, August 12, 2013

Hong Kong for First Timers

Just like your first love, your first travel (domestic or international) will always be unforgettable. You won’t forget how excited you were the first time your feet touched a foreign ground. The way you felt seeing for the first time that all the people around you look and speak differently. I never felt a single ounce of fear. I was in fact at awe. Maybe that’s why until now, I don’t feel like I’ll ever stop from traveling. So let me share my Hong Kong story.

Why Hong Kong was one of my most memorable trip?

  1. It was my first ever international trip. Yes, they were the very first to stamp my then virgin passport.
  2. It was a spontaneous one. There was no big planning ahead. I paid for the regular fare! Not to mention, spontaneous means expensive.
  3. I traveled with one of my best friends (and her kid).
  4. It was the only trip I used a luggage. As in. The first and the last time.
  5. We stayed in Hotels at the entire duration of the trip. Did I already mention this was my most expensive trip? :)
  6. We almost miss our HK flight! That was one hell of an experience.
  7. Our last day in HK was the day when the news broke that a bus full of HK tourists was held hostage and some of them got killed in my home country. How awkward and uncomfortable that made us feel.

My friend and I were just toying with the idea of going to HK. I never really thought it would push through. Then one day, we just found ourselves so drawn to the idea of strolling around Disneyland and we booked our flights! After some short planning and booking employee rate with our hotels there, we were good to go.

Day 1

We got the earliest Cebu Pacific flight departing 5:40 AM. We arrived at NAIA Terminal 3 before 4. After checking-in, we decided to have some breakfast at the food court. We got carried away with our conversation and totally lost track of time. When we checked our watches, our eyes widened and jaws dropped seeing it was already 5 effing 30! Just 10 minutes before the take off and we haven’t gone through the Immigration yet! We looked at each other and without saying a word, ran! When we emerged near the check-in area, a Cebu Pacific staff holding a radio approached us and asked for our names. When we showed her our Boarding Passes, she immediately talked to someone on the radio saying she found us and she assisted us all the way to the boarding area.

We breezed through the Immigration. Our departure cards looked like shit because of hurried writing. It was almost unintelligible. The Immigration Officer had scolded us for that and for being so late that we can no longer go through the usual process. After that, we had to run to the boarding gate which happened to be at the lowest floor, located at the very end of it! We were running like maniacs for I don’t know how many minutes. Alas! We reached the plane. We wanted to cover our faces while searching for our seats. We were so ashamed for causing the delay. When the aircraft finally took off, we felt so relieved and our excitement returned.

parang walang nangyari haha! ;)

We were already in Hong Kong (HK) before 8 AM. Everything went smoothly. We exchanged a few dollars, got city map and tourist brochures, then bought ourselves MTR Airport Express round trip tickets (HKD 70) and an Octopus Card (HKD 150). Yay! We were so ready for HK’s high-tech transportation system. HKIA is so huge (compared to our IAs). After some escalators and more luggage dragging, we took the train going to Kowloon.

we made it! :)

We were so impressed by the MTR train. It looks every inch of business-class. It is not crowded. Well, it is an airport train. The seats are very comfortable, the carriage so clean and it has flat screen TVs. And it is fast!

Airport Express

enjoying the view

We disembarked at Kowloon MTR Station. They do have there a complimentary Airport Express Shuttle Bus service that will take us to our hotel. Take note, you should know which bus number to take because there are different buses assigned to each area. In our case, it was K3 – for the InterContinental Grand Stanford.

our home for a night

We were at the hotel by 9:30. I was so glad they let us in even if it was still hours before the check-in time. The Front Office staff was so nice. We loved our room. The first thing we tried upon entering the room was the bed. So comfy, it’s heavenly!

lovin the bed!

But before we get too attached to the bed, we freshen ourselves up and prepared to go to where else? But Disneyland!!!

This is Part 1 of my Hong Kong travel series.

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