For those that follow me on my blog, and on instagram, you’ll know that I’ve set off for Australia, with a stopover in Hong Kong. I’m writing this very jet lagged, at midnight Hong Kong time. So apologies if it makes no sense!
I flew to Hong Kong from London Heathrow with Virgin Atlantic. It was a 12 hour one way flight, and cost me roughly £200 for one way. I booked this back in October, so roughly 6-7 months before departure.
12 hours went pretty quick, and it wasn’t as painful as I thought it was going to be. I left Heathrow around 10pm, so it was an overnight flight. I hate flying, and can’t sleep on planes, so I tried my hardest to get a row to myself. Unfortunately, I couldn’t. But did manage to bag the middle seat and window seat to myself. So better than nothing! We landed slightly early, ahead of schedule, around 4:30pm Hong Kong time, the next day.
So far, my favourite airline to fly with has been Emirates, but Virgin Atlantic come closely second. It was my first time flying with them, and I have to admit I was pretty impressed. The only downside is their entertainment. The music and films are a bit dated. Whereas with Emirates, I had access to the latest music and films.
Being from the UK, I didn’t have to apply for a visa beforehand, like you do for the rest of China. This applies as long as you are going on a short holiday. It was as simple as filling out an immigration card on the plane, then hand it in when you land. You will need to give you name, home address, the address you are staying at in Hong Kong (so make sure you have it handy on the plane), then your date of birth, passport number and signature. They will hand you a small piece of paper, almost like a receipt. Do not lose this, as apparently you will have to hand it in when you leave Hong Kong. A tourist visa for Hong Kong didn’t cost me anything.
How to get into Hong Kong from the Airport
If you don’t already know, Hong Kong is set on different islands. The airport itself, is on a separate island to the main part of Hong Kong. It’s around an hours drive into the centre of Hong Kong, so bare this in mind when your planning times etc (unless you choose the Airport Express). If there is a few of you, it’s probably worth getting a taxi. I got told it would cost me around £40 into the centre of Hong Kong, so that split between you is a reasonable amount. If there is only yourself, or just two of you, then it might be cheaper using public transport. Luckily, Hong Kong’s public transport is pretty good, and cheap!
When you get to Hong Kong Airport, and have gone through immigration and collected your luggage, follow the signs for ‘Transport to Mainland.’ You will eventually get to a sign saying Taxi’s one way, Bus another. There is also the Airport Express option, but if you want that, follow that sign from the start, as this is in the other side of the airport. The airport express is a train that gets you into the centre of Hong Kong in 20 minutes and costs $100 HKD, roughly £10. This is a good option if you’ve been to Hong Kong before or know where you’re going. It drops you off near central station, so you’re then more than likely going to have to get the underground to get to your hostel/hotel. The airport bus, only cost me $33 HKD. So roughly just over £3. The lucky thing for me is that the bus stop was right outside my hostel, so this is why I went the bus option, despite it taking longer. This isn’t a bad thing though, because some of the views going into Hong Kong are beautiful.
It is worth noting when you take the bus, to check beforehand to see what stop is closest to your hotel/hostel. It makes it a lot easier and also helps you find the right bus quicker, as there are a few. Although if you forget to, there are signs up telling you where each stop off is at. Then just pick up a free Hong Kong map from inside the airport, and see where you need to go. There are electronic signs in the bus telling which stop is coming up, so it’s really easy, and you’re less likely to miss your stop.
The hostel I picked to stay in for my full duration in Hong Kong is called Urban Pack Hostel. For 4 nights in a mixed 10 bed dorm, it cost me $675HKD, which is roughly £67. I booked this through Booking.com. Be aware that booking.com don’t take any payment beforehand, and you have to pay in cash when arrive at the hostel. It’s also worth noting you have to pay a $200HKD (£20) deposit for your key on your safe. You will get this back at the end of your stay, as long as you don’t lose your safe key, or cause any damages! When I arrived, I was told they have overbooked on the mixed beds, so had upgraded me to a girls bedroom, which would have cost me a lot more, as there are only 6 beds in the girls room. I was a bit disappointed, as from travelling in the past, I’ve found girls only dorms tend to be a lot less sociable and a lot quieter. I was right to think it. When I walked in, there were only myself, and 2 other girls, who neither could speak a word of English. Some might find this a good thing, but when your travelling alone, it’s nice to make friends along the way. To overcome this, I just went into the main common room at night, where luckily I met a bunch of guys from Sweden, who were on a university trip. They were more than happy to sit and have a few drinks, and play a few card games. So luckily it wasn’t too lonely in my all girls dorm!
I will do a post reviewing the Urban Pack Hostel properly, once I’ve stayed the full duration. Including how to find it, the location etc.
As I didn’t arrive to the hostel until around 6:30pm, I just quickly jumped in the shower, freshened up, then had a walk down the harbour front, which was about a 10 minute walk from my hostel. I just caught the end of the light show. I then had a wander back to my hostel, and got to know my bearings. It’s worth noting the Hong Kong is so busy, even at night. So even as a solo female, I never felt unsafe walking around, even at night with all my expensive camera gear. I grabbed a few ciders, then headed back to the hostel, which is where I met the guys from Sweden, as mentioned above. Spent the night drinking, playing card games, before trying to have an early night. This is where the jetlag kicked in, and when I began to write this post!
So far I hadn’t really spent a lot. Here’s a breakdown of my costs for my first day in Hong Kong.
Bus to Hostel: $33 (£3.20)
Hostel for 4 nights: $675HKD (£67)
2 cans of Strongbow cider from the supermarket nearby: $17 each (£1.70)
Pot Noodle for my dinner: $18 (£1.80
Total Spend: £75.40