Hong Kong Hustle: Day 2; Lazy Pandas, Touristy Things, and Quirky Finds Shopping

Day 2 is about touristy things and lots of walking... jeez it was gloriously tiring, but I'll do it all over again


The first agenda of the day was to see pandas at the Ocean Park. We had coffee and croissant at a local Starbucks and got to Admiralty station for the bus. Unfortunately, there had been a reroute, so we got back to the MTR to Tin Hau. I just have to spend a moment though to say that the signs were put up the night before and it was so efficient and traveler-friendly of that move right there!


I haven’t seen theme parks abroad plainly because I’m boring like that almost always alone traveling so it was kind of refreshing to see the humongous park. But I’ll be honest that, I wasn’t so thrilled – haha! Signs of ageing, indeed.

IMG_5550The cable car leads to the Penguin shows. The lines were incessantly long, so no we didn’t go.

IMG_5552IMG_5554IMG_5555IMG_5556This may start to seem like a bad review, please bear with me haha we just went here for the PANDAS! 

IMG_5557IMG_5559Cue: “Who is that girl I see / Staring straight back at me…”


The Ocean Park houses a lot of zoo animals including this sad-looking but adorably cute fish that Nica and I couldn’t stop staring at! He’s like that chubby-faced kid from Up!


AND FINALLY! PANDAS!!!! But lazy pandas, at that! I think s/he fully know that he’s being watched and that s/he’s being a troll for not moving. Huhuhuhu, that all our HK$ 320 (US$ 42) went to because spending half a day there with the hot sun above and the throngs of Hongkongers slash tourist crowd was too much to bear. I think half of the island’s population were concentrated there on a Sunday. So yeah, we watched this lazy panda, which I’d correct myself was just making kuyakoy (moving its feet sublimely as it slept) on us, and the playful red panda enjoying the tourists’ attention.

IMG_5573IMG_5574IMG_5578Another lazy panda. Much lazier panda.


We were a bit disappointed with the pandas, so we went back to Sheung Wan to grab lunch. We ate at this nondescript diner with no English menu and a TV with horseracing on all day. Pretty legit. I felt like a kung fu scene from one of those movies we used to watch when we were kids would happen anytime. Flip all the tables, flying kicks, and flailing people. The works. But nah, it was just a peaceful meal with bouts of arguments in Cantonese, I think, whether who won the race and if their bets earned money. Beats me.


We continued walking from Sheung Wan to Soho and the Aberdeen area (yes, walked) and saw these quirky wastelands (!!!!!!!) There were a lot of home stuff, but mostly were artisanal or curated so I guess that’s why it was a bit expensive. But, I got a few things like a wooden postcard (another !!!!!!!!) and we just passed through. We were looking for PMQ which was at the end of Soho bisecting Aberdeen.


PMQ or Police Married Quarters is formerly what you think it is. It was transformed into blocks of creative shops selling artistic items from toys, postcards, books to clothes, furniture, and food. In Manila, we have these kind of stores, but not on steroids like these ones! We were just in time, I think there was an event there and there were a loooooot of people – both locals and foreigners – checking out the good stuff. I had an amaziiiing time looking at the stores. The stuff they sell there were on the pricier side though, so unless you came with a big budget, don’t expect to bring home a lot of stuff. I brought home a couple of postcards, a biographical photo-poetry book, and a really good shopping experience.

IMG_5611IMG_5612IMG_5613IMG_5614IMG_5615IMG_5616Five floors times two plus basements! There’s a connecting bridge somewhere in the fourth floor.


The walking didn’t stop there. Oh god, can you imagine our aching feet?! But the city is too charming to resist. Literally, the place is a living and self-manifesting art in itself. Walk a bit and you’ll see great street art and the next would be a slew of local market finds like meat, vegetables, and oh dim sum ingredients (I think that was Graham Street Market, one of the oldest in Hong Kong!) We rode the train back to Austin and lucky for us, there are a lot of dim sum places in the area so, hello dinner!

IMG_5626In a funny-sounding yet renown place called Dimdimsum (to the tune of the minions song)


We wouldn’t mind egg tarts for dessert really (from another store with no English menu again.)

Hong Kong Hustle: Day 1; Getting There… Alternatively

Hong Kong (HKG) is just two hours away from Manila via direct flight, perhaps the most convenient way to get yourself in the region. It is also an amazing international hub that serves major airlines around the world… But it isn’t the only way to get inside Hong Kong.

IMG_5432Couple rucksacks! HAHA

Actually, traveling via Hong Kong airport is more costly than going through the other airport nearby – which is Macau International Airport (MFM). I got a flight that costed us just PhP 2,250 each (roughly US$ 50!) but, caveat: we flew through MFM and the trip took a bit longer as the ferry ride take a good hour to arrive. And some more…


Again, kudos to AirAsia for a very relaxed flight, save for a bit of turbulence and some very rowdy, beer-smelling seatmates. Nica and I checked in online, and therefore didn’t get the chance to choose seats.


The flight was actually just the same number of hours if you’ll fly through either airports. In Macau also, you have the choice not to go through immigration and be directly transferred to the pier where the ferry to Hong Kong is.


By this time, you’ll need Hong Kong dollars to pay for the transfer — which will set you back HK$ 217 (US$ 28). Come to think of it, the cheap flight comes with a little drawback on the side. You can easily get the best rates at this bank behind me in the picture below. After having your money changed, just follow the signs that tells you where Express Link is.


A few realizations on taking the Express Link, though:

  1. There is not a lot of concrete instructions here but I think it’s safe to say that the time is accurate. You just have to remember it will be difficult to communicate in English.
  2. Not a lot of foreign visitors (by this I mean, non-Chinese) take this service. We were waiting for someone who hopefully can speak English in the area but we’re kinda stuck with ourselves there.
  3. Once you paid your ticket, you’ll be given a sticker that says Taipa Ferry. They will not give you a receipt so don’t lose that sticker.
  4. We almost missed the ferry because there are no signs in the Ferry Terminal where people should go from the Express Link bus. So reminder, guys: follow the tour group you probably shared the bus with and go inside to get your ticket (which is included in the Express Link fee).
    • Telling this to you may also mean that we kinda lost our way then and went straight to the boat only to find out we need a ticket /facepalm.


Despite the misadventures early on at Macau, we still made it to Hong Kong in one piece, albeit Nica’s sea sickness. The ferry would disembark at  Shun Tak Centre and at immigration, you will have to sign the arrival card like textbook, and queue for your passport stamp, errr… immigration paper! Don’t get weirded out that they won’t stamp your passport… I know, it’s sad if you’re collecting those stamps 🙁

I wonder; when did they stopped stamping passports? Hmmmmmmm….


Oh, and if you’re going through this route, know that Hong Kong MTR station is just a few walks away from the ferry terminal – just follow these signs and you’ll be in the MTR in no time. Drop by IFC, too, if you want!

* On your way back, you may just follow the steps in reverse to go back to MFM.
** We extended our stay and chose to book another (albeit, expensive) flight and flew through HKG because Nica got sea sick of the ferry ride.

Photos taken using an iPhone 5

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