Hello everyone! It’s been 3 weeks since my last post and I’m feeling so guilty for not updating you of what’s been happening. I have a lot of stories to tell you, both happy and sad ones. But I don’t want to come back blogging on a sad note so I’ve decided to tell you about the happiest experience on my list — our first family trip abroad last week to celebrate Noa’s 3rd birthday and my husband’s.
Why Hong Kong?
Of all the many wonderful places here and abroad, why did we choose Hong Kong for our first international family vacation? Firstly, it’s because a lot of people said that this is the best country to visit for first-timers abroad. Secondly, it is relatively cheap — airfare and accommodation wise. Thirdly, Hong Kong has the nearest Disneyland to Manila.
This trip was a year in the making. We started planning it September 2013, a few weeks before our wedding anniversary. We decided not to hold a birthday party for Noa this year and just allot the budget to something memorable for our family.
We were “lucky” to book and buy some promo seats from Cebu Pacific Air for only Php6,500 ($145 or HKD 1,085) for the 3 of us, round trip to Hong Kong. Upon checking the regular rates at their website a week before leaving, those tickets could have cost us about Php32,000! Just a power saving tip if you are planning to cut down cost on your airfare, hunting down those promo seats or “piso fare“ could really save you money.
Also, a week before our flight, I purchased some additional baggage allowance of 30 kilos for about Php1,200.
Since my husband is away, I was mostly left in charge to plan. We did not get or hire a travel agent, and yes, this is a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) trip. If you are planning to visit Hong Kong soon, I hope you’d be able to benefit from what I’ll be sharing from our HK Holiday.
Update: Due to its increasing request, you can DOWNLOAD our Hong Kong Family Itinerary from my DropBox.
To give you an idea of how OC kind of planner I am, I even made a spreadsheet of our itinerary. I also included the possible cost that we might incur when visiting a particular place and its value in peso and Hong Kong dollars (HKD).
I encourage you to plan ahead and research a lot about the country you will be visiting. In this case, I spent a lot of time at the Discover Hong Kong website, and it has helped me a lot in preparing for our family vacation. In case you want a copy of this to help you, you can send me an email. 🙂
Where to stay in Hong Kong?
This is the next most important thing when you are planning a family vacation aside from the air travel arrangement. There are a lot of wonderful hotels, inns, and transient houses in Hong Kong but please be aware that spaces in Hong Kong is a luxury. Unless you are willing to pay a good price for a hotel, then by all means, book a spacious one.
You can scout for some billeting bargains at the Agoda website, plus the fact that you can read on really credible reviews from other travelers who have already stayed at the hotel that you are eyeing on. Another website that you might find extra useful for reviews is Trip Advisor if you want to counter-check on the reviews that you’ve read on Agoda.
If you are now asking where exactly did we stay in Hong Kong for this trip, we chose Homy Inn in Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon. Tsim Sha Tsui is like our version of Makati or Ortigas area since most of the big names in the hotel industry like Shangri-la and Intercon are located here. It is very accessible to bus, taxi and MTR (Hong Kong’s train station), which is only a 5-minute walk.
Homy Inn’s Double Standard Bedroom – photo ©hostelworld
I learned about them from Agoda and Trip Advisor has convinced me to book them. We did not stay in a fancy hotel since we knew that this trip won’t be a staycation for our family. My husband and I decided to book a clean, safe, accessible and decent room where we could sleep, take a bath and store our baggage.
Homy Inn though relatively small is big on customer service. The receptionists were really friendly and helpful and our room were always spotless. We booked a double bed for approximately Php2,000/night. Booking Homy Inn was one of the best decisions we’ve made for this travel. My husband agreed that if we were given a chance to go back to HK, we would surely stay at Homy Inn again.
I traveled with my husband and Noa and we fitted in this bunk comfortably. If you are travelling with more family members, I suggest booking their family room, double on double (2 double size beds). To know more about Homy Inn, please visit their official website, http://homyinn.com.hk. Thanks to everyone at Homy Inn for letting us feel a that we have a real home in Hong Kong for almost a week of our stay.
Another important thing when planning on traveling abroad, you should have at least a credit or debit card. In my case, I used my BPI E-Prepaid debit card when I booked Homy Inn. They require a reservation fee when booking for your room. I suggest booking them way before your stay since they are always fully booked.
On my next post, I will be sharing with you that one exciting day at the NAIA Terminal 3 — what to do, bring, how much to pay, etc., and our first sight of Hong Kong from the top, so please be sure to keep reading Moomy Musings. This post is just the tip of an iceberg. ‘Til then! ♥