Monday, February 20, 2017

Adventure in Hong Kong Day 1 (Sky Terrace 428 and The AIA Great European Carnival)

If you are a Philippine resident and want to travel abroad, then Hong Kong is surely the easiest destination. It is a great place to explore especially with your family. And hey, it is where the nearest Disneyland Park is. In this blog, I will be sharing with you some tips and our 4 day, 3 night itinerary in one of the world’s most significant financial centers.

When planning a trip to Hong Kong on a limited time, make sure to book a flight in the morning because there is so much to explore. In our case, we took a 6:15 am flight via Cebu Pacific and arrived 8:55 am.

When traveling with family, I suggest planning your itinerary months before so all you would need to bring with you is your pocket money. Planning and paying attraction tickets months before is also ideal so you won’t have to spend a large amount of money at once. Traveling with kin can be somewhat costly so make sure to prepare your budget. Well, for us, we are a family of three and if you are more than three travelers, just do the math for the costs I will be indicating below.

Day 1

-        Sky Terrace 428
-        The Great European Carnival

Sky Terrace 428, Victoria Peak

The Sky Terrace 428 is one of the most popular attractions in Hong Kong. Situated 428 meters above sea level, it offers a panoramic view of the Hong Kong skyline and neighboring islands. For this trip, I booked our tickets via Klook. I suggest doing this to save you from the long line at The Peak Tram entrance. Booking via Klook allows you to skip the horrible line and allow to aboard the tram right away. 

Ticket Price: 625php (adult)
                     461php (child 2-12 years)
                     461php (senior 65+)

Upon booking on Klook, it will let you select the best time for you to meet your guide at Central Station Exit K. To get to Central Station from our hotel at Rambler Oasis in Tsing Yi, we took the bus outside our hotel to Tsing Yi Station. Bus fare is only $10HKD for the three of us. We then took the train to Central Station. Looking for the right train can be very confusing because Central Station is huge. However, don't hesitate to ask around. The people are very friendly and will try their very best to help. One elderly woman even accompanied us from purchasing tickets, to getting in the right train.

Klook will also be sending you a confirmation e-mail as well as additional instructions for your journey. We chose the 2:00 pm meet up time and met our guide who was holding a Klook board for easy identification. 

As soon as all tourists were gathered, we walked to the The Peak Tram entrance which was only about a 10-minute walk from Exit K. When we arrived at the entrance, we felt extremely lucky to have booked via Klook as it saved us a huge amount of time from lining up to get tickets. When we got to the Peak Tower, our guide did a short briefing before she allowed us roam around.

The Sky Terrace 428 is situated at the top most floor. Just follow the escalators leading you to the very top. Upon reaching, attendants will then be handing you gadgets for a virtual tour. We were not able to use them though since we enjoyed taking photos of the place. If you are planning to go during their winter season (December-February), wear layers of clothes as it can be freezing cold. We went there mid January and it was 3 degrees on the Sky Terrace! As you can see on the photos below, there was fog everywhere and it was really cold. 

If you wish to get the best view, then going to Hong Kong during the summer season would be best (at around 20 degrees). Still, we were able to get a great view. The Sky Terrace attendants will also be taking great photos of you which you can purchase at the tower’s 3rd floor for $148HKD. However, since we were traveling on a budget, we opted not to and just enjoyed our amateur shots.

On the same tower is where the Trick Eye Museum and Madame Tussauds Wax Museum are located. If you wish to experience any of these attractions, then there are also packages you can purchase at Klook.

The Peak Tram + Sky Terrace + Trick Eye Museum
Ticket Price:  987php (adult)
                     888php (child 2-12 years)
                     888php (senior 65+)

The Peak Tram + Sky Terrace + Madame Tussauds
Ticket Price:  1,744php (adult)
                     1,448php (child 2-12 years)
         1,448php (senior 65+)

The Peak Tram + Sky Terrace + Trick Eye Museum + Madame Tussauds
Ticket Price:  2,099php (adult)
                     1,836php child 2-12 years)
         1,836php (senior 65+)

If you do not wish to purchase any of these attractions, then it’s all good. The tower has 3D selfie booths which you can take amazing shots for you and your family. Just look out for the ones that are free since some selfie booths with attendants will not allow you to snap photos.

Outside Madame Tussauds is also a wax figure of Bruce Lee which you can take selfies freely with. 

For souvenir purposes, we purchased one photo of us at the falling tram photo booth for $148HKD.

The tower also has the Peak Market were you can purchase mementos. From shirts to watches to jewelry, you can purchase some at a bargained price.

Now, if you are feeling famished from all the photo taking and wandering around the tower, then the tower also houses restaurants like Wild Fire, Bubba Gump and many more. If you want to dine on their window seats, please make a reservation ahead since window seats are much preferred. For example, if you wish to dine at Bubba Gump’s, then you can make a reservation ahead on their website here. They will be holding your reservation for 15 minutes and will allow you to stay and dine for 90 minutes.

If any of the restaurants does not suit your taste buds, then just at the tower’s courtyard is the Peak Galleria. The Peak Galleria is where you can also do additional shopping or maybe have coffee and still enjoy the view. Here, you can find McDonald’s, Starbucks, Haagen Dazs and many more.  

Just outside of the tower is the same tram which you will be taking going down. The ticket you will be purchasing on Klook lets you enjoy free time on the Peak Tower and will let you return at your own convenience. Once you’ve headed down back to Exit K, there will be no need for you to take another train to experience The Great European Carnival.

The AIA Great European Carnival

The AIA Great European Carnival was still on its 3rd year in Hong Kong when we went there. Situated at Victoria Harbourfront, it is only a walking distance from the station. If you wish to get there faster, then there are many cabs available in the area. Taking a cab would cost you around $28HKD.

TGEC offers loads of fun and games which both kids and kids at heart will surely enjoy. For this trip, I booked tickets on their site Just choose the date you prefer and checkout.

Ticket Price:  $125HKD (Adult)
         $90HKD (Child 2-12 years)

Once you get there, just present a printout of your ticket purchase at the counter and they will be giving you your access card. The ticket you purchase is already pre-loaded with 27 tokens which you can use for games and rides. Once you run out of credits, just head to the token booth to have your card reloaded. Price per token is $10HKD.

Although the tokens are quite expensive, the food around the carnival grounds are cheap. Ranging from $10-$45HKD, you can buy authentic dim sum like spring rolls, shao mai, noodles, roasted chicken and many more. And the best part? Rice comes for free and it’s plenty. Not just here on the carnival, but almost all of the places we’ve dined serves plenty of rice. One serving of rice in Hong Kong is like two cups equivalent to the standard serving in the Philippines. Here are some more photos at the carnival:

Once you’ve had enough fun and games for the day, you can roam around the vicinity and enjoy the sights of neon lights and skyscrapers as well as enjoy the harbour’s breathtaking view.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The AIA Great European Carnival only opens its grounds during the winter season (December – February). If you happen to be traveling during other seasons, then no worries as there are a hundred more options to choose from. Hong Kong would not be a popular tourist destination if its sights and attractions were limited. Here are some of the options you can choose from:

-        Ngong Ping 360 – A cable car ride on Lantau Island and visit the famous Tian Tan Buddha and Ngong Ping Village.
-        Bauhinia Harbor Cruise – For only 1,737php you can avail a dinner buffet aboard a luxurious ship while enjoying the views of Hong Kong at night.
-        Sky 100 – Experience a wonderful and breathtaking view across all of Hong Kong from the 100th floor of the city’s tallest building.
-        AquaLuna Evening Sail – For only 1,112php, enjoy a free drink while cruising around the neon city aboard a traditional Chinese junk boat.
-        Ladies’ Market – Located in Mong Kok and only a few minutes away from the central station, enjoy the colorful shopping streets and test your bargaining skills to take home cheap yet good quality items.

The first day alone can give you a sore feet but a happy heart. The adventure does not stop here though. Read about our Day 2 adventure here:

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