Unlike our Indochina trip this August, our recent escape in Hong Kong & Macau on March 17-22 was decided on January when Cebu Pac had another seat sale. And even if it comes first before Indochina, I was more fired up to plan the latter. In my mind planning a 5-day trip to Hong Kong & Macau should be a breeze. I was also confident since the husband has a friend in Macau.
We had tons of fun and some notable bloopers and fails. But overall it was a great trip. This was our first international trip as husband & wife, and it certainly goes beyond expectations. We’ve learned more about each other and appreciated our strengths and weaknesses more. If you are planning your own trip to HK & Macau on your own, don’t fret. Hong Kong is very friendly to tourists. Signs are everywhere.
Before embarking on your own adventure, please note on the following list. These are our fails (or just mine since I am the researcher).
- Check on the weather of your travel dates. There are a lot of online sites where you can go check the weather of your destination. We neglect this one and suffered somehow. It was 18-degree cold when we reached Hong Kong and we only had our windbreaker on.
- Wear comfortable shoes suitable for walking A LOT! It’s good to be beautiful in your photos with a cool boots but make sure it won’t kill your feet. It’s good to bring some extra shoes as well for back-up. I did brought a trekking sandal but didn’t have any appropriate socks to pair it on. In Hong Kong, you will have to walk a lot in between MTR stations and bus stops.
- Grab a map, plot your adventure and manage your time. When you are visiting theme parks like in Disneyland and Ocean Park, everything is nice but if you want to maximize your experience, you have to know how to navigate wisely. We actually don’t have a problem with this one since the husband was such a good explorer.
- Know your exit strategy. In your research, make sure to include how to go home especially if it involves walking to reach your destination. On our visit to Maclehose Trail, I assumed we can just trek back but we started at 12 PM already. We reached Long Ke beach by 3:30 PM. We stayed for half an hour and back to the paved road at 4:30 PM where the locals hired taxi back to Pak Tam Chung, the bus stop to Sai Kung town. It’s a 2-hour walk. Unfortunately, I was too hesitant to ask about the fare. And seeing there are a lot of passengers, I assumed the worst so we trek back instead. Minutes after walking, the husband raised concern about the last schedule of the bus to town of which I neglect to include in research as well. When we realized the repercussions of trekking instead of just taking a taxi, the husband make it our goal to constantly check our time against the section stops. We had an average of 6 minutes/section. We arrived at Pak Tam Chung some minutes before 7 PM, just in time to catch bus 94 heading to Sai Kung.
- Plot your spending daily. We included money estimates in our itinerary but we forgot to check the actual. We had some unplanned spending for the jackets as well. Before going back to Macau, we were shocked because we only have little money left. Good thing we didn’t spend that much in Macau since our host was very generous. Thanks God! Tip on the next travel: Divide and store your money per day in different container. Make sure there is ample extras per day and don’t ever get money planned for other days.
Now that you have the reminders, let’s go to what you can see & do. The husband and I enjoy theme parks a lot so visiting Disneyland and Ocean Parks were must-dos in Hong Kong. Since his best friend is in Macau, going there is a must too.
But we set our itinerary to be flexible. It’s good that it is because we have freedom to adjust accordingly. Tips: If you plan to visit Hong Kong & Macau, it might be best to do a multi-route flight to Cebu. Do everything that you can in Hong Kong and when you’re done, go to Macau and take a flight back home from there. You can save time and money. And since we are not able to do a city tour or shopping in Hong Kong, we might be back in the future.
- Buy theme park tickets online and be there as soon as the park opens. Because the ticket is very costly, you have to maximize every bit of your visit. The husband and I arrived in both parks as soon as it opens and were the last ones to leave as well. The ticket we bought at Klook was already good to go. We didn’t have to endure the long ticket queues.
- Use MTRs. It’s a bit costly from the buses but you will be amazed at how organized and tourist friendly it is. There are maps and info stations where you can plot your next destination. We mainly use MTRs going to places except for the ones that don’t have like the trip to Maclehose Trail. In total, we spent around 180HKD in MTRs. We got an Octopus card at the airport for 150HKD and reloaded it with 50HKD.
- Use AirBNB to book your accommodation. You might find a good deal on other sites but what I like about AirBNB is that it could track all my travel details in one place. Besides, it’s also where we host our M&M. And I feel secure to transact with AirBNB because I’ve been doing it for a while now.
- Make your itinerary flexible. You will be surprised at how good it is to just go with the flow.
- Get A Baggage Allowance. Though we were able to manage without any check-in baggage, it was quite a hassle when we had to get things out of the husband’s backpack to comply with the 7-kg requirement. But going with out a check-in baggage is very convenient. We didn’t have to wait for our baggage.
- Sleep at the Airport. But make sure to research first if the airport you are going to stay the night can accommodate you. On our first draft of itinerary, there was an accommodation for our last night in HK but later on, after researching that it’s safe to stay at Hong Kong airport, I suggested it to the husband who was very supportive of the idea.
- Get the trip schedule of buses, MTRs or any transport. On this trip, we mainly use buses and MTRs. But since we always go home before 12 AM and don’t have activities that requires night travel, we forgot to check the trip schedules. We were stuck in HK on our last night for about 3 hours, waiting at the wrong stop and looking for the right bus station of the bus that travels to airport at night. We arrived from Macau at around 12:30ish and hurried to the Airport express MTR station. We assumed that since it’s an express, it might be running 24 hours. We arrived just in time for the last ride to leave. We then proceeded to the nearest bus stop but didn’t check the bus schedules right away. We waited for about 30 minutes until I got impatient. When we checked, it turned out, we were waiting for nothing. We then proceeded to our target bus stop, sketched by the husband’s friend. Still no luck there.
Money Matters If you want to visit Hong Kong & Macau, be prepared to shell out around Php25K/pax. See below the breakdown. Only the accommodation is shared. All other entries are for each person.
This trip involves a lot of walking and up to now, my feet is still aching. But it’s all worth it. =) I wouldn’t want to spend our 1st wedding anniversary other way. 🙂
Cheers to traveling with the husband!!!
Helpful sites that has helped us a lot in our preparations:
M&M 1st Int’l Travel HK Macau (1st Wedding Anniversary):
Hong Kong Disneyland Hacks & Tips
Why Hong Kong Ocean Park Is A Must
Trekking In Hong Kong in 1 Day: Maclehose Trail
Grandiose Macau: Hotel Hopping & More
Touristy Macau: A Cold Welcome
10 Things Why You Should Travel As A Couple