We arrived at the NAIA Terminal 3 two hours before our flight to Hong Kong. Armed with only 3 bags and a stroller, my husband and I braved ourselves for our first international flight as a family. I don’t know with my husband but I was a bit nervous since I was the one who planned for this trip since the beginning as I’ve mentioned in Hong Kong Summer Holiday (Part 1) post. It is our first time to be in a real foreign soil with our toddler in tow.
You may find this funny but one of the things that I was worried about is our encounter with the Immigration official. I was envisioning a lot of scenarios in my head, and some possible questions that they might ask us about. Maybe I was just scared of not being allowed to leave if anything goes wrong because I think I was the most excited person for this travel.
Some of my friends even warned me of how delayed Cebu Pacific is with international flights. Truth be told (this is not a sponsored post or whatsoever), I haven’t experienced any delay every time I traveled with them. With this in mind, I was also excited to discover my luck with their international flights.
The night before our flight, I already availed of their web check-in feature so it could spare us from (my expected) long lines at the counter.
When we arrived at the NAIA 3, it was quite a surprise because there was no line at the counter. We just gave our passports and we were directed to another counter to pay for our travel tax.
International Flight Travel Tax from Manila
If it is your first time traveling abroad (aside from having the most important passport and VISA if required), please be informed that you need to pay some fees called Travel Tax and Terminal Fee here in the Philippines. You can also check Visit Visa / Entry Permit policy for your country from the Hong Kong Immigration. For Filipino tourists according to the website, we are allowed 14 days visa-free in Hong Kong.
Manila to Hong Kong Travel Tax Fee
If you think paying is done, wait ’til you pass another encounter before facing the Immigration officials. There you have to pay another Php550 for the terminal fee for each passenger. At this point, we’ve already shelled out about Php5,000 for the 3 of us.
Travel Currency: Where To Exchange?
Before going to the boarding gate, my husband and I saw a Money Changer booth so we decided to change currencies there. One Hong Kong Dollar (HKD) is worth about Php5.50-6.00. For the sake of easy conversion, I always factor in at Php6.00. We changed mostly our peso in that booth that we saw in NAIA but we found out that in terms of value, better change currency when you reach Hong Kong. There are a lot of reputable money changing services on almost every corner.
We were allowed to enter the boarding gate just right on time!
Hello, Hong Kong!
We arrived in Hong Kong at about 7:00PM. There is no time difference between Hong Kong and Manila so need to worry about adjusting.
Hong Kong International Airport from the top
We safely landed at the Hong Kong International Aiport (HKIA) Terminal 1. It was a very modern and huge airport yet very efficient and easy to navigate. All passengers needed to go through the immigration officials again for checking and to accomplish some forms (if you need to declare anything, or concerning your health information). After passing this stage, you can go ahead and get all your checked-in baggage from the conveyor. It took us about 30-45 minutes to do all these.
What To Do While at the Hong Kong International Airport?
- The moment we got our bags, the first thing we did is to look for the Hong Kong Tourism Board booth. It is located at the Buffer Halls A and B, Arrivals Level. You can ask questions from their officials-in-charge for any concern that you may have. They also have a map and a brochure that has a lot of relevant information about Hong Kong (activities, must-see places, dining recommendations, promotions, etc.) You will really want to get this brochure because it also contains discount coupons from the top tourist destinations in Hong Kong like Disneyland.
- If you haven’t change currencies in Manila, you can do so at the airport now.
- Very close to the Hong Kong Tourism Board booth is the MTR booth (train or octopus cards booth). Unless you have no intention of riding the MTR during your stay, you can skip this. As for us, since this is a DIY travel and we wanted to experience and feel like locals, we decided to buy the Airport Express Travel Pass (2-way) cards for HKD300 or Php1,800 each. Children under 2 years old are free. This card allows us to use the Airport Express MTR line and the Airport Express Shuttle Bus for free since it is a complimentary service given to those who purchase this card. This type of card allows us a 3-day unlimited MTR ride. This will save us from the hassle of falling in line and reloading our cards at the MTR stations. Please check this site to learn more about the different MTR cards.
A little studying in the secret won’t hurt in any foreign place. Feel like a local.
Purchasing the Airport Express Travel Pass card was also one of the best decisions we made for this HK trip next to booking at Homy Inn for our billeting. Also, Hong Kong’s public transport system is really very efficient and we loved it! Very tourist-friendly.
From the HKIA, we walked going to the Airport Express line that will take us to Mongkok Station where our shuttle bus awaits. It took about 45 minutes from Lantau Island (where the airport is located) going to the Mongkok station.
See how beautiful the Aiport Express Train is?
When we reached the Mongkok station, we took a very quick walk to another holding area so we could take our shuttle bus to our hotel. Since we were billeted in Tsim Sha Tsui (TST), we took the K4 bus going to Homy Inn.
The timer says, “5 minutes” before the K4 Shuttle Bus arrives. See how efficient?
We arrived at Homy Inn, located in Hart Avenue in TST at about 9PM already. We just grabbed a quick dinner at a nearby McDonald’s because we were too tired to walk around, cleaned ourselves and slept. We needed to recharge for the next 4 long days in Hong Kong.
Can you guess what place did we visit first in Hong Kong?
Pasyalan time na on my next post! I hope you stick around because the best is yet to come. ♥