My FiL was very generous to sponsor our entire 7 day trip to Hong Kong. For your info, the itinerary that I will be sharing is planned with our young kids in mind. They are turning 9, 6 and 4 this year. There is also a fit elderly (71 this year). We brought our umbrella stroller along so that our kids can take turns sitting on it and it’s narrow and light enough to navigate.
The average exchange rate at that time was an average of 1SGD= 5.5HKD
14th April 2016 (Monday)
Home -> Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1 Breakfast -> Hong Kong International Airport Terminal 1 -> L’Hotel -> Sham Tseng -> Anglers’ Beach Pier -> Yue Kee Restaurant Dinner -> Lucky Dessert -> L’Hotel
5.45am: Wake up
Things that I packed in our carry-on backpacks:
- Water bottles for each one of us (Remember to take them out of your bag during take-off and landing because the change in pressure somehow makes them leak. You wouldn’t want all your things in your bags to be wet right at the start of your journey.)
- Writing/colouring materials with little scrapbooks/ notebooks for the kids to doodle
- Snacks like oat biscuits
- Two layers of clothing for each of us (I made them wear 2 layers on the plane – one cotton long-sleeved t-shirt and one jacket. The girls wore tights and cotton long pants. Then put on the 3rd layer when we were getting off the plane.The forecasted weather was about 17 deg cel.)
- Passports and wallets
6.45am: Leave home. My Brother-in-law called for a 7-seater taxi since his flight was around the same time as us, and he can claim from his company :). Managed to save more than S$50 since the 6 of us (my family of 5 plus FiL) won’t be able to fit into one normal taxi.
7.30am: Reach Changi Airport Terminal 1. Self check-in for Jetstar. Had breakfast at the 24-hr Wang Cafe at the departure hall near Jetstar’s Row. Kaya Toast and Half-boiled eggs with hot milk tea or Milo. But N didn’t feel well. Probably car-sick….
Tip: In the morning, just go into the transit area for breakfast instead of having it outside at the public area. There are more choices. See below for more details.
We wasted some time waiting for each other to finish the food and toilet breaks. Finally, we went through the immigration. Took some photos at the Piazza Garden.
As we were walking towards our gate, I discovered a play area!!! with food!!! and even free internet kiosks (which we locals don’t need of course). Argh…. We should have had our breakfast here… There’s Dunkin Donuts, Owl Transit (which is similar to Wang Cafe), and Sakae Sushi.
9:40am: Jetstar flight to Hong Kong. We took one whole row, three on each side.
I was surprised that the legroom was not too bad, because they designed the magazine holder to be placed above the tray instead of below. Simple tweak of design without increasing space.
I added the S$40 Plus bundle which includes a meal and 20KG Check-in Luggage for each of us. But really, the food is not very nice. Comes with a bottle of mineral water and a cup of coffee or tea. For the kids, they can choose hot Milo for the hot beverage. If I were to do it again, I will only add the Plus Bundle for 3 people for 60KG of luggage each way. Then order the S$5 instant noodles for my kids. A cup of hot Milo costs S$3.
They serve the food quite soon after the plane has stabilized but only the girls ate (esp N who didn’t eat earlier) because we were not hungry yet. You may tell them to serve you later, preferably not later than 1 hr before touch down. That way, we didn’t need to waste time having a meal later after getting our baggage. It was good that the girls ate already because they took a long nap after that.
1:40pm: Plane touched down in Hong Kong International Airport. Nice view of the airport surrounded by foggy mountains. It was fun and exciting to walk down the stairs, onto the tarmac and into the runway bus that will bring us to the main building. There are only 6 seats in that bus, the rest of the passengers would have to stand. They packed everyone into one bus. It was cool to have the front of the bus open up in front so that we could walk straight into the building, instead of the small side doors we boarded from.
It took quite a long time for our luggages to arrive. So, go for your toilet break first so that you don’t waste time later. In fact, you can even buy/top up the Octopus card at the MTR Airport Express Customer Service Counters in the buffer hall (between customs and the arrival hall) if the queue is short. Otherwise, you can do so later in the arrival hall or on the airport station departure platform. Learn more about the Octopus Card. You can basically use it to pay for all forms of transport and even in retail shops and restaurants. http://www.hongkongextras.com/octopuscard.html
After we walked through the arrival gate A, we turned right and saw the 1010 shop immediately as it was the first shop on the right. I thought there might be a One2Free shop, but when I asked the info counter, they said it was no more and the only place to get a SIM card is at 1010. Oh well… Spent H$118 each adult for 8 day 4G 5GB data.
It was very convenient as all you need to do is to tell the server at the middle island table which one you want, 5 day $88 or $118 7 days. Pay her. Then join the next queue where another server would help you to change the SIM card and set up everything for you. Each SIM card takes an approx. 5-10 mins. http://www.discoverhongkong.com/seasia/plan-your-trip/traveller-info/communications/tourist-sim-card.jsp
Actually I wanted to order my SIM card on https://www.klook.com/activity/727-hongkong-one2free-3g-sim-card-hongkong/ which is cheaper at H$60 for 7 days 3GB data. But I couldn’t order it that same day. I think it’s better to order at least one or 2 days in advance to be safer.
After we settled the SIM Cards, we went to buy/top up the Octopus Cards. We topped up H$200 for 2 existing adult cards, and H$100 for 2 existing children cards since my SiL gave them to us. Then we bought one Elderly (above 65 yrs old) and one child (3-11 yrs old) card at H$170 each ($120 value, deposit H$50). Please note that if you want to refund what’s left in the card in the future, there would be a $9 refund handling fee. If it’s damaged, there would be a $30 damaged fee. Otherwise, just keep it and pass on to your friend/relative next time.
By the way, there are many dining options if you are hungry. But we just wanted to go to our hotel quickly.
3:00pm: Finally, we could go the taxi area to take a Red Urban taxi to our hotel. There were different queues for different coloured taxis.
We were told to take a “Taxi 5 Seats” red taxi, even though Tsuen Wan is considered part of the New Territories. Even though there are 6 of us, our 3 young kids can be considered as 2 adults because they are below 130cm. I got this info from the booklet below but many taxi drivers that we encountered were quite unhappy to let us take the cab. But with some broken Cantonese “Never mind lah”, alot of sheepish grins and a thick skin, we managed to take one cab every time throughout this trip. You can tell if a taxi is “Taxi 4 Seats or “Taxi 5 Seats” by the green semi-circle on the front and back of the taxi.
For more information about the taxis in Hong Kong, read about them at http://www.hongkongextras.com/taxis.html and http://www.td.gov.hk/filemanager/tc/publication/td_booklet_tra_web1.pdf
If you have problems telling the taxi driver where to go, you might want to buy and download the Hong Kong Taxi Translator app to your hp. https://itunes.apple.com/hk/app/hong-kong-taxi-translator/id438401655?mt=8
The Tsing Ma Bridge is the world’s 9th longest suspension bridge in the world, and was the second longest at time of completion. The bridge was named after two of the islands on each end, namely Tsing Yi and Ma Wan.
The taxi ride took about 30mins as there wasn’t much traffic at all and the taxi driver drove very fast. All taxi drivers and small bus drivers drive very fast in Hong Kong. Quite scary but save time…
We chose to take a taxi because it takes the shortest time and quite economical, considering there are 2 adults, 1 elderly and 3 children.
Other ways to get to L’Hotel:
- Bus A31 (Double decker bus) from the airport to Nina Tower Bus Terminal which leaves every 20 mins. http://www.hongkong.net/transportation/to-from-airport/bus/a31 We took this bus from the hotel to the airport on the last day. the travelling time took exactly 1hr with not much traffic (excludes waiting and heavy traffic). The bus terminal is just next to the hotel. Very convenient. and there’s a big area for keeping the luggages on the bottom deck. $18.90 per person. (Total $113.40 for 6 of us) Can use Octopus Card. Total time: Plan up to 1hr 40mins to include waiting and traffic time. Good choice if you are not in a hurry.
- Take the Airport Express for 1 stop from the Airport to Tsing Yi (15mins ride), then take a taxi from Tsing Yi MTR station to L’Hotel. Cost: $60 each for 2 adults, $30 each for 1 elderly and 3 children + $(50 + $5 each luggage for 3 pcs=$65 taxi)= $305 for 6 people. Total time: about 30 mins (better include another 15mins to look for a taxi stand and wait). Good choice for 1 or 2 people and you are in a hurry. But I still feel taking a taxi all the way or Bus A31 are better choices.
We booked our rooms from L’Hotel’s website because there was some early bird discount with free wifi in the rooms. http://www.lhotelgroup.com/en/hotel/lhotel-nina/Home
We booked 2 Standard Rooms – Tower 1 (the shorter tower of max. 42 levels. Tower 2 has 89 levels!). Each room was an average of 34 sqm with 2 Queen beds. City View (instead of the nicer harbour view). Comes with a Bathtub and Shower Head, Coffee and Tea Making Facilities, Electric Kettle, Hairdryer. Mini Fridge, Personal Electronic Safe, LCD TV, IDD. Total Price: HKD 10,060.60
Why we chose L’Hotel at Tsuen Wan, even though it is so far away from the city centre:
- Spacious rooms
- 2 queen beds in each room. The 2 girls slept on one bed, Y and I slept on one bed. DH slept on one bed, and FiL slept on one bed.
- Bath tub. My kids love to play in the bath tub. And this had been very helpful for me as I needed a hot bath soak in the tub every night because we walked so much the whole day and night daily.
- Price is reasonable. If not for the last night on Saturday which pulled up my average night cost, it’s actually very cheap for 6 people.
- I considered staying in an AirBnB nearer the city area but it wasn’t easy finding a cheap 2 toilets, with at least 2 or 3 separate rooms, near an MTR. And AirBnB doesn’t have daily room cleaning service, with daily change of towels which are hard to dry, and nice smooth, clean bedsheet. 6 nights leh…. Must change towel…. Call me pampered but…. this is a holiday right? Who want to worry about washing and cleaning clothes and towels and making beds during a holiday?! I worry about the quality of the bed mattresses in AirBnB also….
- It’s not as crowded as the city area.
- Cheaper food and shopping alternatives compared to the city? There are many small shops across the road, besides several malls, all within 20 mins walk.
- It’s quite near Disneyland (20 mins taxi, $150) and Noah’s Ark at Ma Wan island (15 mins taxi, $120) and the airport (30 mins taxi, $230). So, taxi can be a reasonably-priced option for 6 of us, compared to the hassle of other forms of transport.
- We are accessible by 2 MTR lines: Tsuen Wan West (5mins walk) on West Rail Line and Tsuen Wan (20 mins walk) on Tsuen Wan Line.
- There’s a nice park called Tsuen Wan Park with a playground just facing the hotel lobby!
- We didn’t even have time to explore the hotel and make use of its facilities, like the indoor and outdoor swimming pools etc.
For more photos of the area near the hotel, http://mikelward.com/news/2009/03/hong-kong-day-1.html
3.40pm: Check- in. Please remember to ask for non-smoking rooms! They didn’t ask me if I wanted, and I forgot to ask. So we had to waste time changing to another room.
5.15pm: Left the room. We were going to Sham Tseng area to meet a friend for dinner at Yue Kee Restaurant for Roast Goose. http://www.yuekee.com.hk/en/ Sham Tseng is famous for eating roast goose, as there used to be a goose farm there. But now, most of their geese come from China…. Yue Kee is the oldest restaurant there, recommended by my FiL’s friend. But according to the friend we met for dinner, he heard that Singaporeans prefer the roast goose from Rhine Garden Restaurant.
Ways to get to Sham Tseng from L’Hotel:
- Taxi (10 mins, $70)
- Take small green bus 96 from Nina Tower Bus Terminus to Lido Garden. http://www.16seats.net/eng/gmb/gn_96.html ($6.40 per person, $2 per elderly) We took this bus back to the hotel from outside Rhine Garden Restaurant and it took us only about 10-15 mins at night, where there wasn’t much traffic.
- Take bus 234A ($6.10 per person) or 234B (big double decker bus) ($5.10 per person) from Tsuen Wan West Railway Station Bus Terminal, which is next to the Tsuen Wan West MTR station. Walk all the way in, it’s on the right( 10 mins walk). Alight at Sham Tseng Village. The bus ride was about 20-30 mins. We took this bus there, as it was suggested by the concierge at the hotel.
Our friend brought us to the pier at Anglers’ Beach (short walk of about 5-10 mins from the bus stop) to see the view of the bridges, Ma Wan island and many many tiny fish and jellyfish in the polluted water. He actually brought us back again to see the night view after our dinner.
I am really hungry by now, after all this walk. Let’s go to Yue Kee already….
After such a full meal, our friend led us through a short trail behind the restaurant, further up the narrow street, turn left to see what remains of a village, and back to the main road. Then, we went back to the Anglers’ beach again to see the night view of the bridges. Also to work up an appetite for dessert.
We didn’t order much dessert because we were still rather full from the dinner. While we wanted to try some iced dessert, we were scared the kids would start coughing so we ordered hot dessert instead. My FiL ordered chestnut paste, our friend ordered some papaya snow fungus thingy and I ordered the fried banana spring roll 焗香蕉酥皮卷 for the kids. Not too bad 🙂 http://www.openrice.com/en/hongkong/restaurant/sham-tseng-lucky-dessert/9819
My friend bought a pack of roast goose rice for my FiL to try at the hotel room with him, just to taste the difference between Rhine Garden’s and Yue Kee’s roast goose.
8.25pm: We decided to try a different bus and so we took the green minibus 96 back to Nina Bus Tower. Different bus companies have different bus stops. So look out for the right bus stop!
We had no idea the minibus was so fast and thrilling! It was like a roller coaster ride with all the bends as we had to travel along the coast back to the hotel. The kids really enjoyed themselves.
Reached the hotel at about 8.45pm. Another of my friend came to visit us and spent an hour here before going home. So sweet of her to come all the way here from IFC (Hong Kong island) and back :).
Read about the rest of the Hong Kong Trip here: