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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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….

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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

Suvarnabhumi Airport, and also feels

I associate airports with feelings.

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The last time I was outside the country, I was transitioning to a new job, and I was counting a couple hundred pesos before I become broke. It was also near the end of the year, and I was evaluating what I have done with it. There were a lot of feelings involved — especially I dealt with a very tough 2013.

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Not that it matters, but in a few hours, I’ll be on a plane again towards another country I haven’t been to. It gets to me that I’m still excited no matter how common this place is among travelers in my country. I have lost sleep thinking about being in the airport with thousands of souls seeking refuge, whatever their reason is, and heading towards whether to certainty or oblivion.

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And I guess I’ll never get over the necessary goodbyes an airport represents.

*Photos taken using an iPhone 5

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