Hong Kong is very special to me because this was my first out of the country travel with my husband. We were both expat kids who grew up in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia & getting to Hong Kong from here is not as easy coming from the Philippines. First, because it’s far and second, it’s expensive. Yes, we were Overseas Filipino workers but we’re paid the minimum wage back then.
Four things to do based on my Hong Kong list:
- Disneyland (this is what I’ve told the immigration officer, for real)
- Ocean Park
- Mongkok Tiangge (night market)
- Food trip
We planned our travel alongside our Philippine flight. Back then, Cathay Pacific still operates in Saudi Arabia. We booked, Riyadh – Hong Kong – Manila – Hong Kong – Riyadh. It was cheaper, although still was not cheap. We really had to save up for it.
Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of China. It is part of China, but it has its own economy, currency, and immigration laws. Even mainland Chinese would need to go through Immigration checks upon entering the region. Although Hong Kong is officially a part of China, it is culturally, economically, and politically different from each other in a significant way. Perhaps it’s because of the rich history of Hong Kong. After the British won the Second Battle of Chienpi, the Qing Empire who ruled China back then has surrendered. Treaty of Nanjing came about around mid 1842 and that’s how Britain took control of Hong Kong, ending the First Opium War.
From then, Hong Kong became a colony of the the British Empire except from the World War II era, when it was occupied by Japan. Britain ruled and reigned the territory until 1997, when it was handed back to China. I was in 4th year high school back then but I remember it quite vividly.
For me, as a tourist, it’s best to visit Hong Kong during the ber months. It’s sunny yet it’s cold. The temperature is balanced according to the tourists’ convenience. We’ve always gone there around December – January so it was really cold. I remember going to Central wearing a short skirt and some lacey leggings plus only a cardigan to “supposedly protect” my body from the cold. I can safely say that it’s one of my biggest mistakes in life. I ran and ran so I’d emit natural body heat but also because I was in a rush to find a store that’s neither Louis Vuitton nor Gucci. A kilometer after, thank goodness for Giordano!
Probably this goes for most Southeast Asian countries, do avoid July-August if you can. It is the peak of the rainy season. Sometimes, Hong Kong experiences typhoons so strong it’s beyond the alert levels the Philippines can give. September can get a little damp as well. So basically, good season to travel Hong Kong starts in October. And if you are not a fan of big crowds and festivities, avoid the week before and after the Chinese New Year, usually around late January or early February.
Most people who visit Hong Kong goes to Macau as well as it is only a ferry ride away. We even had some racist experience prior to the ferry ride. My husband and I purchased the expensive fare as he wants to be able to lie down during the ride. We were supposed to go to the right but they kept on pointing us to the left regardless of our tickets. It made me feel slightly sad and offended.
Anyhow, we hired a tour guide in Macau. Someone who looked like Kuya Bodjie from Batibot. He became our official photographer in Macau. He’s such a kind dude. Happily helped and told his personal stories like how he swam from mainland to Macau. It was a fun tour albeit, can’t seem to feel a little rushed. Kuya Bodjie seemed like he’s in a hurry although we’ve booked him for the rest of the afternoon! Who knows what he’s thinking, hehehe.
We went back to Hong Kong the same day. It had been fun. We went to Disneyland and Ocean Park. I hated my rollercoaster experience because I did not anticipate the height of the loop. I was so shaken and I wanted to cry and back out and pass out all at the same time. Apart from that, everything had been so amazing!
We haven’t gone back to Hong Kong after Brooklyn was born. We do hope to take him there and show him that awesome giant human like fish that I can’t seem to shake out of my memory. It’s a shame I wasn’t able to take a photo of it or perhaps, it’s stashed on a memory card somewhere.
Hong Kong is one of the best destinations. It’s so close to the Philippines, the overall tour is not that expensive and besides, the tiangge in Mongkok (night market) would truly make it the best tour ever!
I miss Hong Kong!