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Round Two

>> Saturday, December 26, 2015

On the last month of the year, I accompanied my aunt and niece for a trip to Hong Kong as their travel agent and tour guide. I had the responsibility of booking all flights and accomodation, as well as plan out our whole stay for five days.

Obligatory plane wing shot

I opted not to take the tours that were offered online because of the disappointing experience that me and my friends had the last time we visited the country. We had more fun when we stayed for an extra day and allowed ourselves to get lost and figure out our way around the city. Since I already knew that it was easy to navigate, I made our own itinerary.

DiscoverHongKong.com is a very helpful website in customizing your stay, depending on your interests. The attractions are categorized; whether you want a cultural experience, a theaterical one, a festive one, or a tourist-y mode by visiting the top tourist spots.

I recommend that if you plan to make your own itinerary, make sure that your companions are also willing to explore and help you navigate. Plus, it'll be fun to laugh at your mistakes and try again (rather than feel the frustration of your companions because the group has been walking in circles and couldn't find the place you wanted to go to).

We also had the liberty to follow our own schedule and check out the different places, depending on the pace of the group.

I will always love the MTR. I really do love our train system because of its supposed convenience in travelling, but because the system is not reliable, I tend to avoid it especially during the times that I need it the most (aka rush hour). So when the opportunity came to experience Hong Kong's MTR again, I wanted to maximize it.

Before the train was filled with locals and tourists

During my last trip, my friends and I bought a single journey card every time we went places. This time, I purchased an Octopus card -- the reloadable card -- for $150 each (senior citizens can get it for $70). The card already has a initial load of $50, which will prolly let you take 4-5 trips. We just reloaded our card, because we weren't sure if $50 was enough to go around the city, especially when we were going to take the MTR to Disneyland.

The Octopus is available in all MTR stations. Just drop by the Customer Service booth and ask for an On-Loan Octopus. Any amount that is left in the card when you leave is refundable, with a $9 loan fee. Very convenient.

Walking Tour
I decided to take a walking tour because they were accessible from the MTR and that the stops I chose were just walking distances from the MTR stops.

1. Nan Lian Garden
Just a few steps away from Diamond Hill Station is Nan Lian Garden. We arrived an hour before closing (6PM) which meant that there were a few people roaming around the place and left us to enjoy the place in quiet and in peace. The garden was in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the nearby mall and bus station. Entering it was like a breath of fresh air -- literally and figuratively.

Nan Lian Garden had two museums that featured precious rocks and the architecture of the Tang Dynasty. There are Chinese structures around the garden to admire too.

A photo posted by yumi pitargue (@bloowind) on

2. Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple
The Wong Tai Sin Temple is just a station away from Diamond Hill. Just like Nan Lian Garden, Wong Tai Sin Temple is just a few steps away from Wong Tai Sin station.

This is probably one of the stops for group tours because when we arrived, the place was packed with people. Some were there to pray and there were also some who were like us tourists.

A photo posted by yumi pitargue (@bloowind) on

One of the Dragons standing guard at the entrance of the Temple*

A wall installation of warrior poses didn't stop me from making a taiji pose. (Please imagine a sword on my left hand)

3. Hau Wong Temple and Kowloon Walled City Park
These two are a bit far from the Lok Fu Station. We had to take a M39 mini bus to get to these two stops. Good thing these two are right across each other.

I wasn't able to take a picture of the Hau Wong Temple because it looks the same on the outside as the Wong Tai Sin Temple. I wasn't sure if cameras were allowed inside one room so I wasn't able to take pictures. It was fascinating though because it looked like a shrine of possibly Chinese heroes.

Right across it is the Kowloon Walled City Park. It looks like an erm -- Walled City. There are different areas that tells the history of Hong Kong. We only visited a couple of areas because the Park is HUGE and it would take a lot of walking to explore every nook and cranny of the place.

A photo posted by yumi pitargue (@bloowind) on

I want to visit this place again some time in the future. It also looks like the perfect place to unwind (and do a couple of taiji moves).

A Hong Kong trip will not be complete without a visit to Disneyland!

This time around, I was able to experience more rides because we arrived early unlike last time where we arrived around mid afternoon.

At Sunny Bay station, while waiting for the Disney train*

MICKEY! The parade song was stuck in my head the whole day.*

The Princess Castle*

Of course we had to stay until 9 PM to watch the fireworks. Pro tip: plan your rides and end them around 8-8:30 PM. This will allow you to secure a good spot at the front of the castle and have a good view of the fireworks. You'll also be comfortably seated on the road.


Harbor View
During the final night, I had the chance to go out and explore Tsim Sha Tsui alone. My companions were tired from the walking that happened the whole day so they were dead beat by 7PM. It was our last night in Hong Kong and I didn't want to pass the opportunity to experience the city more.

I walked from our hotel in BP International to the Harbor to catch the symphony of lights at 8PM. If I wasn't saving my pocket money, I would've tried to ride those red sail boats and see the lights show up close.

A photo posted by yumi pitargue (@bloowind) on

A photo posted by yumi pitargue (@bloowind) on

Right after the lights show, I headed to the Hong Kong Cultural Centre for the Pulse 3D Light Show. A mini musical animated film was projected onto the walls of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. Since I was there in December, it was Christmas themed with adorable elves hurrying to catch the Christmas deadline.

The Experience
Despite the hiccups in the trip, I still managed to enjoy the sights and take a couple of photos. I also didn't bring my DSLR because I didn't want to lug a huge ass camera while doing my tour guide duties. I only had my mini and my Holga. So whenever you see a * with the photo, those are my prints from the Holga. I still have a couple of pics in the other film roll, but I haven't used them all yet and couldn't have them developed yet for prints.

View from the top bunk #1

Morning crawl.

A video posted by yumi pitargue (@bloowind) on

View from the top bunk #2


Double exposure shots of the city*

At night*

This was when we tried to find a catholic church for the Sunday Mass*

The iconic bridge that connects Kowloon and Hong Kong Island*

To cap off the trip, I summarized the whole experience in a 15-second video.

A video posted by yumi pitargue (@bloowind) on

I don't mind visiting the city again because there are still a lot of Walking Tours to experience and other places to visit. I still don't know if I would go back next year or try another city in South East Asia. Completing the South East Asia travel is part of my travel bucketlist. Or I should probably visit cities in my own country first.


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