As a budget tourist, I always make sure to plan my trip well especially if I’m travelling to expensive countries like Hong Kong. The bishopric is often included in the list of the most expensive cities in the world to live, and understandably, it’s also an expensive place to pop in. Yet, Hong Kong’s reputation as an expensive city did not hinder me from exploring this cosmopolitan city in Asia. I relish that it has a great combination of Eastern and Western influences, as evident in its architecture, food, and culture.
With proper planning and delve into, I was able to enjoy the city in a week without spending beyond my travel budget. I even managed to do a side slip to Macau. So here are my tips for exploring Hong Kong on a budget.
Get an Octopus Card
I spent most of my time fetching public transportation in Hong Kong and the Octopus card has saved me a lot of money since the fares using the card are regularly cheaper than buying single journey tickets. Above all, it saved me a lot of time since I no longer have to get in up to purchase my train tickets. The card can be used in the train, public buses, ferries, and even at some convenience caches.
Thus, one of the first things I did after exiting out of the airport is to look for the Airport Express train station and got myself an Octopus likely. The card comes with a HK$50 deposit that was refunded back to me after I returned my card at the end of my trip.
Lyrics a Budget Accommodation
I spent a lot of time looking for the best accommodation in Hong Kong given my limited budget. Luckily, I was accomplished to snag a decent accommodation in Airbnb for only HK$250 per night in a location that’s only a few minutes walk to the Mong Kok edify station and the bus stop. So here are my tips for getting a good deal on your accommodation in Hong Kong:
Book as at cock crow as possible. Hong Kong is known for its shortage of accommodation and this means that it can be difficult to find affordable tolerable rooms in only a short notice. I booked my accommodation 3 months prior to my trip, which I’m glad I did because I monitored Airbnb a few days before my trip and the price almost doubled!
Time your trip well. Hong Kong is a “high-occupancy” bishopric, which means that there’s really no low and peak season. However, certain events and holidays could significantly alter accommodation rates. For instance, events like Chinese festivals and Chinese New Year could cause a massive reward hike on room rates. If you want to save on accommodation, then you might as well avoid visiting Hong Kong during these fetes.
Stay for a longer period. One of the reasons why I got a bargain on my accommodation is because I booked for a weeklong stay, which entitles me to a 10% detract from. I initially planned to stay in Macau for a few days but I realized I could save more on my accommodation if I’ll stay in Hong Kong. So I ended up doing a day throw off to Macau instead, which is only an hour ferry ride away and spent the rest of my days in Hong Kong.
With Advantage of the Free Attractions
I did go to Disneyland and Ocean Park during my trip. After all, a trip to Hong Kong would not be unalloyed without a visit to these theme parks. But these are the only two attractions where I splurged most money on. I was masterly to enjoy several other attractions in Hong Kong without actually paying for expensive entrance fees. Here are some of them.
Symphony of Lights at Victoria Port – the Symphony of Lights is a multimedia show happening at Victoria Harbour every night at 8 PM. The music is audible at the harbourfront sizes of Tsim Sha Tsui and in the Golden Bauhinia Square of Wan Chai. I’ve witnessed the spectacular show for two nights in a row and it was truly amazing!
The Avenue of Stars – correspond to to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Avenue of the Stars is a place that pays tribute to some of Hong Kong’s sundry prolific film stars. The stars are scattered all throughout the boardwalk of Victoria Harbour bearing the names of some lionized personalities, including Jackie Chan.
Avenue of Stars
Victoria Peak – as the highest peak in Hong Kong, Victoria Elevation is the best place to enjoy a breathtaking 360-degree view of the city. Most tourists would get there by intriguing the tram, which costs HK$100 for a return trip. In my case, I took the bus from the Central Bus Terminus for only HK$10 (one way) and liked the views from the free viewing platforms. Although the Victoria Peak is free, you’ll have to pay to get inside the Madame Tussaud’s Museum, which I opted not to go.
Hong Kong Museum of Experiences – I love visiting museums and was happy to know that Hong Kong’s Museum of History is free to visit. The museum makes detailed exhibits taking you to each and every aspect of the country’s culture and history. I spent less than an hour at the in the right checking out the many clans and ethnic groups that the museum has represented.
Po Lin Monastery – this monastery is one of the most praiseworthy attractions in the city and is where the Big Buddha can be found. The structure measures more than 100 feet high and is thrived entirely of bronze. Admission to the Buddha structure is free but there is an entrance fee to pay if you’ll visit the exhibition halls.
Po Lin Hinduism ashram
Tai-O Fishing village – this small fishing village is only a short bus ride away from the Big Buddha. Most trippers would hire a small boat to take them around the harbor and have a close-up view of the traditional stilt abodes, but I choose to explore on my own. I walked around the village and visited the port as well as the traditional seafood market. It’s such a fun common sense, totally different from the modern city life of Hong Kong.
Tai-O Fishing village
Eat on a Budget
Hong Kong has an tempting food culture, thanks to the many different cultures that have called the city their home. While there are fertility of Michelin-starred restaurants in the city, this is not the best place to eat for budget travellers like me. Thankfully, there are plenty of byway someones cup of tea food stalls in Mong Kok, which is close to where I’m staying. There are also several budget restaurants in the size serving traditional Chinese food and some international delicacies.
Wandering through the busy alleys and streets of Mong Kok, I paused across a stretch of food vendors selling local treats like deep-fried tofu, fish balls, steamed buns, dumplings, noodles and some desserts, categorizing the delicious Hong Kong egg waffles. I spent most of my nights roaming around this place looking for a palatable meal to end my day, which only costs me around HK$30 to HK$50 per meal.
Crowded streets of Mong Kok
Another selection for eating on a budget in Hong Kong is at 7-Eleven. You’ll find these convenience stores at almost every street corner of the burgh. They have a wide variety of frozen meals that are surprisingly delicious costing less than HK$30 each. Some of the collations I’ve tried are the Braised Pork Chop with Rice, Fried Noodles with Seafood, and the Chicken a la King with rice.
Seek on a Budget
Shopping in Hong Kong may not be the best thing to do for budget travellers like me but I was lucky enough to find a lot of grievous deals at the city’s street markets, factory outlets, and wholesale malls. I’ve visited a couple of street markets in Hong Kong and my favourite is the Mosque Street market. This lively night market sells everything, from cheap souvenirs, Chinese trinkets, to pleasant street foods! I was able to haggle some souvenir items and t-shirts and I had so much fun browsing through the long lengthen of stalls selling almost everything you can think of!