Travelling to Hongkong for the First Time (PART 2)
After an hour and fifty minutes, our plane successfully landed at Hongkong International Airport (HKIA). From my window seat, I thought HKIA airside area didn’t have that much difference from NAIA or DMIA (or any other air ports?)—all bore the same wide runways, ramps, security staff, courtesy transports, shuttles and of course, airbuses. When I got off the plane and went inside the terminal building, I was awed.
|The awesome ceiling! hehe|
HONGKONG INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
The terminal building was large and the facilities looked new and clean. I walked through a carpeted passage and purposely followed the people. I used a moving walkway to save time and energy. Airport ambassadors warmly greeted us (in a language I couldn’t understand :)). I continued walking then I noticed passengers from different gates were slowly crowding the hall. I saw some Europeans, Americans and Chinese at most.
|When I arrived, I used a moving walkway :)|
For a while, I queued for immigration and security processes. The immigration officer was very serious as I expected. He asked to see my passport, arrival card and return ticket. After carefully inspecting my passport, he stamped it. It was quick. Welcome to Hongkong, Hon Kang!
After immigration check, I knew I needed to proceed to the Baggage Reclaim Hall to pick up my suitcase. I didn’t actually know where to go, so I followed the crowd again. REMEMBER: Always follow the crowd!
I went through an automatic sliding door and for the second time, the vastness and structure of the terminal building impressed me. It’s huge. There were many counters and information display to guide (first-time) travellers like me. I proceeded to Air Asia counter to ask where I could get my suitcase. The attendant asked me my flight number and he instructed me to get my stuff from baggage carousel no. 3. I took a baggage cart (which I didn’t know how to use that time, good thing a Chinese woman taught me how to use it) and headed to the Kaiten Sushi, I meant the baggage carousel.
It was around 9 am and I wasn’t hungry. Thanks to my boyfriend, he purchased the in-flight meal add-on.
|the map, the money and the marble :)|
After I got my suitcase, I still followed the crowd to the arrival hall. I took some freebies—map and brochure, afterwards, I went to the Travelex booth to buy some Hongkong dollars. The exchange rate at the airport was HKD 1.00 = PHP 0.16.
I continued to walk and decided to look around the building. This time, I didn’t follow anyone but my instinct. :) There was a good selection of shops; passengers could easily get what they want in the halls. There were courtesy phones installed throughout the terminals which passengers could use to call anywhere in Hongkong for free. Battery recharge service was also available at a reasonable cost. Waiting area, airport hotel and lounges were also available. As I’ve said, passengers could easily get what they want in the halls; we just need to seek help from information desk.
After minutes of strolling, I became so much more exhausted. I slept for only 2 hours the night before, I felt like fainting anytime soon so I cancelled my plan to go to Macau. I wanted to get to our hotel immediately so I went to a booth to buy an octopus card. I bought two cards, one for me and one for my boyfriend. It cost HKD 150 each. The HKD 50 was a deposit. I bought a separate Airport Express ticket to Tsing Yi for HKD 60 (although I could use the octopus card).
I went back to my stalking… I followed the crowd but this time I used a map for directions. I rode the Airport Express and got off at the first station, Tsing Yi. It took me 15 stations including 3 interchange stations from Tsing Yi to Ngau Tau Kok. It was very easy.
I thought Hongkong transportation was a bit similar to the Philippines. Albeit more expensive, it’s faster, safer, and more convenient. There’s an MRT, but they call it an MTR. Compared to the 3 (or 4) RT lines in the Philippines, Hongkong had 11 TR lines. Passengers could easily get off and get on the next train without hassle. There’s no need to get out of the station or climb stairways to heaven, passengers just needed to go to the other lane. In some instances, I needed to take a lift or ride an escalator for an interchange station, still it was convenient.
|Convenient transfer at Shek Kip Mei station|
Trains came every 10 minutes or earlier. In my experience, over-crowding seldom happened.
Inside the train, there was an interactive monitor. I could see which station I was currently at and the next station the train was arriving to.
I mentioned earlier about “octopus card”. This was like a cash card. It’s reloadable. It could also be used in trams, buses and at convenience stores.
FINDING THE HOTEL
When I arrived at Ngau Tau Kok station, I carefully followed my boyfriend’s instruction on how to get to the hotel. After walking for a couple of minutes, I found the hotel! It was easy for me to go to there because of the directions my boyfriend figured out prior to our trip. I was glad he was the “planner type”, had good sense of direction and had a great taste on many things. So helpful!
|must exit at B6|
The hotel was fantastic. It was a four star hotel built just June of this year. :) I liked the friendly staff, the design of the building, the ambiance and the smell the most, it was very relaxing.
The hotel receptionist welcomed me and assisted on carrying my stuff. After that, I proceeded to the 32nd floor to check in. The hotel staff could speak English so I didn’t have any problems communicating with her. She asked for my passport, my boyfriend’s name and the hotel voucher and after that she handed me the key to our room. She also gave me the Wi-fi password. Finally, I could sleep!
|Nice pool :)|
BACK TO THE AIRPORT
I slept for a while. At 7 PM, I left the hotel and went back to the airport to pick up my boyfriend. I ate at Burger King for dinner while I waited for him. I ordered Whopper Jr value meal which cost HKD 40, a bit pricier as expected. Anyhow, I was so hungry; the price didn’t matter at all.
My boyfriend’s plane arrived late. Nevertheless, I was more than ecstatic he arrived! He was there, he stood right in front of me… it was epic. My heartbeat rushed while the world around me seemed to have stopped. It was more than epic, it was magical. :) Suddenly, the airport was filled with sweet air of happiness. Honey, you’re home!
We left HKIA and took the same route to get back to the hotel. I enjoyed the MTR ride and appreciated it even more because Hon was by my side.
I’ll create new posts about my HK experience next time. :) Ciao for now!