Hong Kong Family Trip 2018: Mong Kok

This HK trip was our first family trip abroad. “Family” defined as me and my son, my aunt and her two children. They’re the closest family I have, my dad and my aunt being the only siblings. I am an only child and I’ve always treated my cousins (my aunt’s kids) as siblings.

This trip happened after a year that the youngest cousin graduated from college and my aunt retired and so, we have time and money for a trip abroad. This was also after all the “renovations” and “extensions” in the house were finished, as most retirees’ project was. My son was almost 7 at this time and so he can do most things on his own. Thankfully, he loves traveling as much as I do, so waking up early and waiting at the airport is no biggie for him.

I dislike paid travel tours with agencies, that’s why this trip was coordinated by me and my cousin. I know there’s a certain beauty in having your itinerary plotted out for you and everything paid for in one go for travel packages, but I find it “beautiful-ler” (like Elsa in Frozen) to explore and try to look like a genius deciphering maps, get lost and ask directions from locals (and be snubbed by locals most of the time in this case).

This was in March 2018 but was planned December 2017. My cousin who works abroad paid for the plane tickets and I spent for the hotel room for 4 days. The trick is to consistently check the Cebu Pacific Air website (www.cebupacificair.com). Around November 2017, we have decided on a date where all family members were available. In December, we chanced upon a one-way ticket to HK at Php2,000.xx each and so we booked it. This is a fly-only ticket which is fine by me. My son’s clothes and stuff aren’t very heavy so I have some extra kilos for my stuff. My son pays full in airline tickets but still half for the travel tax. Yes, in the Philippines we pay a “travel tax” before leaving the country for tourism purposes which is a big puzzle to me up to this time. In January, we booked the ticket going back at Php3,000.xx each. We added a 20kg baggage allowance and we were all set.

Outside our building, first morning in HK
I booked the hostel via www.booking.com and thankfully, the place we got was okay. I mean, it wasn’t that spectacular since it’s a budget hotel but it was a good deal, considering the price we paid for it. In HK also, hotels and hostels are small yet expensive, because the place is small and real estate is expensive. It took me a while to decide on the hostel because I read the review and double-checked prices and reviews and pictures against other websites. I paid Php16,000.xx for 4 nights. Php4,000.xx per night for a room for 4 adults and 1 kid, with a private T&B was a good deal, esp in Mong Kok area.

Bute Street, where we buy our take out brekky
The building where the hostel was located is old. The elevator was really old, but it was working. The style of most hostels in HK is that in one building there are a couple of hostels there. They rent out one floor with a couple of rooms, sometimes two or three floors for a bigger hostel and maybe half a floor with only 3 to 5 rooms for a small hostel business. Though our room was small, I love the location of the hostel. We are in the better side of Mong Kok. There’s a 7/11 store in our block, 2 minutes away, and there’s a 24-hour McDonalds in the next block, 3 minutes away. Across the street, there are restos and snack stores and ATM machines. If you walk farther towards the opposite block, there are small stores that serve fast and delish food. We had our go-to noodle shop in Bute street, which I don’t know the name coz it’s in Chinese. But we buy breakfast and sometimes, eat dinner there.

Along the road, from Mong Kok to Prince Edward Station
From the airport, the hotel may be reached via a bus. Though we sort of got lost looking for Argyle Center, thank god for police officers who were in the area who checked the number of the building and pointed us to the right direction. The manager of the hotel was messaging us and was waiting for us when we got there. 

Since I booked the hostel via booking.com, it was okay not to pay for the hostel prior to arrival. But, it is always more secure in my opinion, to pay at least half of the room price as reservation fee, esp during peak season. Good thing that Lucky Hostel's manager may be contacted via WhatsApp, once you confirm your booking. After my booking.com deal, I talked to the manager via WhatsApp and she gave me instructions on how to deposit half of the booking amount. The other half we paid at the hostel upon arrival. Instructions on how to go to the hostel from the airport was also communicated through WhatsApp. Other incidental questions as well. 

View from the nearest McDonalds from our hostel. We cross that intersection and our hostel's there. 

ood is basically noodles with anything on top! Quite filling. Price range would be HK$ 50 to HK$ 100, medium range. 

The busy street of Mong Kok. Pic taken from an overpass going to one of the night markets in Mong Kok.

Street musicians abound in the Mong Kok area near the night markets. Every few steps we would see one. Some had quite an audience, some none at all. 

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