Hong Kong and Macau – Preparations and Itinerary

I think every child’s dream is to be able to treat their parents a trip to abroad just as a way of saying thank you for all their hardships for us. To do this, I really do save a lot. My older sister also shared the expenses with me for this trip. This was also the first time my parents and my younger sister were able to ride the airplane. My next plan is to treat my grandparents. Wish me well in saving a lot more!

Luckily, I was able to book the four of us (Mom, Dad, sister and me) a Piso fare (seat sale) from Cebu Pacific. The All-in round trip ticket to Hong Kong only cost 2,698PHP (US$52) for one person. The overall budget for one person for the whole trip 4D4N to Hong Kong and Macau cost 18,725.24PHP (US$361). This included airfare, travel tax, hotel, food, transportation, admission fees to HK Disneyland, Ngong Ping 360, Macau Tower, The Peak, Sky Terrace, and Wifi. You can lower the cost if you prefer not to go to places with admission fees. If I remove them, the whole trip for one person will cost only about 10,000-11,000PHP (193-212USD).

I usually know how much the whole trip will cost (estimated value) when I make the itinerary. I usually book almost everything in advance using my credit card so that everything is prepared when I arrive there and I will only exchange the foreign money that I need for food and transportation. For me, this is more “tipid” (economical) and time-efficient.

This is the summary of our trip and budget breakdown.

*Exchange rate as of Nov 2017

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1. Itinerary and Budget
You can download our detailed itinerary here.

2. Octopus card for train transportation
You may check here for Octopus card details.
We availed ours from Klook which is cheaper for only 12.5USD. It is already preloaded with a deposit of HK$50.

4. Transportation apps
Aside from GoogleMaps, these SPECIFIC apps will be very helpful in navigating your way in HK & Macau. You can download them from AppStore or GooglePlay. I really like how detailed CitybusNWFB and Macau Bus are. You can just input a landmark (from and to) and they will simulate the right bus for you unlike other bus apps that only show Bus routes.
MTR Mobile – for trains in HK
CitybusNWFB – for buses in HK
Macau Bus – for buses in Macau

5. Internet / Pocket Wi-Fi
You will need internet to use the above apps to help get you to your destination. You may avail one from any shops or agencies that offer budget pocket wifi for tourists in Hong Kong.
We availed ours from Klook which can be used both in HK and Macau.

6. Hotel / Place to stay
Your hotel MUST be strategically placed. Your chosen one will be your starting point. Best place would be a walking distance to a train station or along Nathan Road.
Ours was Park Hostel in Mirador Mansion just beside the Tsim Tsa Tsui station along Nathan Road.
The Airport bus terminal station is also very near there.

7. Pocket Money
Better be prepared with cash. Usually, only big establishments accept credit card as payment. As per my research and experience, the best place to exchange PHP to HKD is BDO. You must have an account first before you can exchange local money with another currency. Usually, they will have it prepared for you in a week.

You may also refer to 10 Tips on How to Plan your DIY Itinerary on a Budget to help you in creating your Itinerary.

Notes and Tips:

1. Check for good deals from Klook. I booked all of these from Klook: HK Disneyland, Ngong Ping 360, Macau Tower, The Peak, Sky Terrace, Turbojet and Wifi.
We used Airport bus which costs only 33HKD instead of Airport Express which costs 65HKD (one way) to travel from Airport to city proper and vice versa.
Check for the one that passes along the way to your hotel.
3. There isn’t much convenience store there compared to Japan and South Korea.
4. We bought our “pasalubong” from iSquare grocecy/supermarket in Tsim Tsa Tsui (just very near the station Exit C1). You can find many good deals there especially cup noodles which are very cheap.
5. If you prefer rice for lunch and dinner, you may opt to eat at KFC. The mushroom rice bucket for sharing only costs 25HKD and it is so YUMMY. Also try their egg tart which is my favorite.
6. We ate our own baon from Manila for breakfast. We brought rice cooker and canned goods. Luckily, our hostel had free water dispenser outside our room so we did not have to buy water outside that much.
The water from convenience store is quite expensive. Food is also quite expensive in HK and Macau so you better have a good budget for food. I suggest about 35-70HKD for one person per meal. The food in tourist spots is far more expensive.
7. You can’t bring food and water in HK Disneyland but we DID. Just don’t get caught since food inside the park is quite expensive. Cover and hide them wisely.
We bought our lunch from McDonald’s near our hotel.
There are water dispensers inside the park. You can just drink from there.
8. For Ngong Ping 360 cable car, we availed the One Way Standard Cabin + One Way Crystal Cabin (Roundtrip) from Klook for only US$21.3.
9. In Macau, you can maximize the use of free shuttles c/o the hotels and casinos there. Please also bear in mind that some of them tend to wait for the shuttle bus to get full before going especially those waiting in Macau terminal so better check for public buses which are very affordable. Just refer to the Macau bus app for details. Also outside the Terminal there are people (tour guide/s) offering a tour package which costs about 100HKD for one person. We didn’t avail it because you know, I came prepared. 🙂 Thanks to Macau bus app.
10. Also in Macau, you cannot use Octopus card for bus transportation fee but you can use your HKD. The exchange rate does not have much a difference though and prepare for an exact fare since they won’t be giving you a change. You should press the button before arriving at your destination when the monitor/screen shows the next destination to notify the driver that you will go down to the next station since the bus won’t be stopping at every station.
10. People in HK and MC do not usually speak in English so you better be prepared.
11. When shopping at Ladies’ Market (open from 10am-11pm only), ask for more discount (usually half or quarter of the introductory price). The introductory price of items is usually very expensive.
We only bought T-shirts, key chains and magnets there. Also my friends say that the vendors are also quite sensitive. Don’t touch their item if you won’t buy it or you’re gonna see their wrath!
12. Minimum Octopus card (re)load is 50HKD. You may check here for Octopus card details.