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Hongkong Here i come! (Day1)

Thanks to Cathay Pacific and Petrochina Intl' (where i work), i got discount for corporate secretary (this sound very lovely) for flight tickets to Jakarta-Hongkong return.

The fare that i have to pay is US$ 250 for return ticket Jakarta-Hongkong. Isn't that cool?

So, October 26, 2010 with Batavia air i fly from Jambi to Jakarta at 5.05 pm and arrive nearly 6pm at Soekarno Hatta-Jakarta. I had some dinner at terminal 1 (for Indonesia domestic flights). 

Arrive at Jakarta Soekarno Hatta at 6.05pm went to luggage claim and took my backpack and get something for my dinner. This time there was no problem like my previous traveling when I cannot find my back pack, and I had less than 3 hours flights to Bangkok!

But that was with Lion Air… this time with Bataviaair heheh… different airlines.

For my dinner I choose Mie Kingkong near the stairs to the mushalla (arrival door right side about 50 meters after A&W). I just want something other than junk food. I order Hot plate noodles with black pepper beef for Rp 30.000,- and I had a mineral water for Rp 8000,- the noodle actually taste nice, but its overcooked… from 1 to 10 (1 is yuck! 10 is have to have it) I will give 5, its better to pick other food.

After dinner I look up for free shuttle bus to terminal 2. The free shuttle bus (yellow mini bus) will come every 20-30 mins. It goes from Terminal 1 (Indonesia Domestic Flights) to Terminal 2 (International flights, including Garuda airways flights domestic and local and Air Asia for International Flights) and the last one is Terminal 3 (Domestic Air Asia Flights-including to Bali and Mandala Airways flights). Terminal 3 is my fave terminal since its new, clean and there are plenty places to eat, like Bakmi GM also J’co doughnuts and Starbucks.

Arrive at Terminal 2D, I sit down in front of China Airways check in desk. I still had few hours to go since my flight Cathay Pacific CX798 departs at 23.55 I still had like 4 hour to kill, so I get my netbook from my backpack and pick a good corner and updating my facebook stat and playing games, etc just to pass the time. One of the secretaries said they already check me in online hours before I leave Jambi. It is a convenient thing that you could do city check in or online check in its ease time, especially for those who live in Jakarta that took like 2 hours even more during this raining season just to get to airport earlier.

At 9pm I look up for Cathay Pacific counter, it was in D1, its quite far from where I sit down, but sure I still got plenty time. I check my huge backpack in and had my flight ticket from the group and find out… grrrrhhhhhh!! Not again!! Its wrong name again!

I had to spent 20 mins to explain that its not my mistake that they write my name differently…. But CX have a very good customer service… as I explain the point is.. its me on the flight ticket they want not other person.. so.. yepp they check my things in.

On check in counter I pass my passport and Rp 150.000,- for airport tax. I got my boarding pass with airport tax sticker on it and a “departure card” from the counter. I went to the Fiscal counter near the immigration check, and pass copy of my NPWP card (tax card) and the officer will give “free fiscal” stamp on my boarding pass. If you don’t have this NPWP card you have to prepare about US$200 or about 2 million rupiahs. If you’re Indonesian below 21 and your parent had NPWP card, you should bring copy of your family card (KK) and copy of your parent NPWP card.

After got my free fiscal stamp, I fill out the departure card and pass the immigration. Still few hours before leaving so I back to my netbook again sit on Starbucks sipping Caramel Latte tall, hmm.. I had cookie with me too…. This is fun.

At 11 pm I go to the gate waiting room. Wash my face and try to relax.. its really feel exciting as even if I travel as group, this will be my solo traveling. I will had my own plan, stay in hostel by myself and doing thing my own… hmm….

Nearly midnight we board to the plane. This is the first time in my life I am on flight aboard and its not budget flights. Hehehehe… usually I go by Air Asia or Tiger Airways or Value Jet… inside.. ofcourse this is a lot bigger plane… there are 2 seat near each window side, and 4 in the middle… they had business class too.. its pretty cool that they gave you blankets and pillow also headset for the small tv on the back of the front seat.. cute!

After having midnight dining with mash potatoes and beef sauce.. and a glass of tea (enough dosage of caffeine actually) I try to sleep. I manage to sleep about 2-3hrs when I think I heard the pilot announce that we’re about to land in Hongkong… errrhh? I see my watch still 3.50 wow…. Its 4.50 already in Hongkong. We landed at 5 am.. bummer….

Hongkong Airport at 5 am from plane on the way to Immigration 
Outside Immigration (after luggage) you could see the Octopus Card booth on the centre

Queue for Octopus Card
I get myself an Octopus Card for HK$150. Octopus Card could be use for most of transportation system in Hongkong like MTR, Bus, Tram, and you could use it too in some shop. Its very convenient since you don't have to collect small coins, just need to tap it to the device that provided. There is tourist pass for 3 days… its cheaper considerate that i could use it for 3 days and included 2 times ride with Airport Express train...but I think I pass that since its for 3 days MTR use and 2 airport express train back and forward for HK$300 this would be useful for anyone who stay in Hongkong for 3 days, but I just think I am planning to go to Macau or Shenzen so regular Octopus Card would be ok. Oh, the HK$ 50 is deposit that you could get back if you return your Octopus Card (its included on the HK$ 150 price).

Going to the bus to the town its not far from octopus booth just go to the right (not to the parking-but to the other side) and follow the direction, its pretty simple-not! haha if your flight arrive early morning and you're half awake hahaha!

From the octopus booth you could see this sign to get to the bus
When you see this, turn right....
and... there goes the exit door to the bus! yay!

When the door is open, I can’t forget how freakin’ cold the wind is (aaaaaaaaaaaarrrgghhhhhh!!) sorry.. maybe for someone from 4 weather countries its noting and sounds like exaggerating , as I quote my Canadian boss said “19 degrees is a beautiful day to wear short and had picnic with the family” but its cold… seriously.. if you live in equator lines and your average daily  temp is 30-31 C degrees, 17 degrees is cold.

As I look at the information about the buses, they were many of them... I try to jump and run anything to make me warm, and I even wear my wools gloves hahaha!

Bus information, from here you could go to right or left depends on the bus u will take

I use bus #A21 to get my self to Mongkok Kowloon, it was on the right side of the bus terminal (right side of the information board). It still 6 am the wind blow very strong and its only me on the bus stop freezing. I think about my two short and a flip flop on my back pack, and send sms to my mom about this, she must laugh so hard now (ya..ya mom weather is good-I am freeeeezzziiinggg) yepp she laugh at me. A nice lesson for me, October should check if the country I visit had winter!! (Hongkong apparently does have those 4 seasons ugghh!!)

Get in the bus at 6.05 am, I tap my octopus card on the front, near the driver and I show the driver the print out in Cantonese/mandarin language from my hostel, and he nod saying something with gesture to ask me to sit down. Well.. ok.. he know where I should stop at least… it’s the best thing if you had the print out of where to stop because most of Hongkong people cannot understand English, even the taxi driver!! You have to provide the Chinese written in everything, maps, street, hostels, MRT … fiuhhh.. lost in translation begin!

The view from the airport to the city amazing… why? Because you could see Hongkong have everything beside jungle like Sumatra hahahaha! (im in good mood when write this on my note) they had blue ocean with white gulls and mountains and they had tunnels, street are nice, and I could see path where you could run or hike, its very clean, the air is fresh (compare to Jakarta-hehe unfair due to amount of people who live there) and they had busy container port with big ships, I could see ferries to Macau, and long bridges… wow… I see apartment with hanging clothes… I am in HONGKONG! Yaaayyy!

I kept counting the bus stop as it said 6 bus stop. When I almost close I ask the bus driver again.. and he ask me to go? Hah??? He forgot about where I should go down! Aaarrrggghhh!! TT.TT I don’t even know where I am! Freezing, with huge backpack and day pack on front of my body I walk like giant hot dog… suppose to be a normal view but still they stare… hahaha.. anyway… I stand still there and try to figure out where I am, look at map for the 7th or 8 times… still I cant figure it out. Uhmmm... gave up...

So I ask where the nearest MTR to a passing students.. why students? Because they suppose to be able to speak English these days, hehehe…. If they can’t I will teach them some.. hahaha! (my brain freezing and start to act crazy sometimes). One of them point a direction and I could see where I did wrong, I was only less than 70 meters from MTR You Ma Tei … uhhhh…. He got me down earlier then I should… hahah I should be more confident and not rely on someone else.. duuh… So I go by MTR to Mongkok and go to exit B and…. Wow its straight from exit B about 50 meters and turn left when you see theres 7 eleven across, the first door you could see “AH SAN” hostel sign. I am very close to check in.. fiuhh… Going to 14th floor.. this building consist of several guest house, and it is in the center of Mongkok the shopping heaven! Yaaayyyyyy! Great price and the place was clean, the guest house owner could speak fluent Indonesian (see me with wonder at my back pack).

I cannot check in because the check in time is at 1pm. So I ask her if I could use the bathroom. They are very nice to let me use the bathroom. So I clean myself and had new tshirt and wear my thick socks and I am good to go. I kept my luggage locked at the reception.

Down stairs.. oh my… its soooooo cooooolllld! Hahaha its very different than tropical weather when the wind blow, it will be hot and humid, but this is the contrary.. its cold and its very dry. Its good that I kept my nivea lip care with me, keep me moist all the time. But I could feel my skin getting dry by the wind blow only!

My first trip I go from Mongkok MRT to Central and then switch train to Sheung Wan line. My traveling methods are… trying to find places that most of others not going hahahah! And try not to push myself like really schedule it.. because this is a vacation and I shall relax and have fun without “dead line” of places to goes… so it should be flexible (as much as I want) and this is the fun thing about traveling by, myself, I could arrange things my own!
In Sheung Wan I jump on the first Tram that I saw… hahah without seeing where it goes. I go to 2nd floor of the tram. This is one of must do that I wrote. The tram had several colors that show directions and where their last stop. Oh.. for tram, you jump up from behind and go down from front side. I just know about this when I want to get in and some guy point at the back of the tram.. hehehe.. sorry!
My tram color was white, its goes all over to Fortress Hill.
I love the ride as I could see the most of Hongkong Island from a different view. It took about 20 min to get to Fortress Hill where I decide to walk and explore.
I found traditional markets and got myself a very delicious.. tasty… egg tart 3 for HK$ 20! Yums! When I see map while chewing my egg tart that I was pretty close to Central MTR (yepp I walk so far away!) so I go to the MTR and jump on train to Wan Chai MTR station I want to see the Golden Bauhinia Square.

From Wan Chai I get out from exit A5. Errrhh… there are peoples get off from train and I got carried with the crowd following the direction to the Golden Bauhinian, and suddenly… aaaahahahaha… I am in the middle of great building with people using suits, short skir, heels, and up do stylist hair.. OMG.. hahaha..i am completely lost in a wrong place!!

I am the only person who use jeans and tshirt with map on hand and backpack… oh.. I am so lost! Haha! I took the wrong turn and instead getting outside building to the street… I follow people to the expo building!! (but for girls… toilet in here are clean!! Its hard to find clean toilet while in HKG)

Golden Bauhinian Square well known as Expo Promenade it’s a huge place for conference (kind of Esplanade, but for different use) the building is exceptional and the view are amazing.
I manage to find the famous square, but suddenly few tourist bus stop and I know its my time to move to other place… but I see the view are amazing… I could see the other part of Hongkong-The new Territories…. There are plenty people with hi tech camera taking lots of pictures. I sat down on the stairs and enjoy the view..

But not too long because the wind chilling! So I went to the Reunification Monument its about 100 meters from the Square, its still in the same area. The statue and the flower actually signifying the establishment of the Hongkong Special Administration Region.
From there I return back to Wan Chai MTR station and look at my map and decide to do some Museum tours…

From Wan Chai MTR station I go to Admiralty MTR station and exit to Lippo Bank Building (buses to Ocean Park). A nice finding is…I found Bank Negara Indoensia (BNI) wow.. what a relief.. so I could get some more HK$ but too bad they didn’t have MOP for Macau. I think its better to do the exchange in bank because I read things about money changer that they will change the money with currency that not used anymore or it’s a fake money.. sigh… 

The Lippo Bank building itself is one of famous Hongkong icon, you will see this building on tv most of time-the building with all glasses and the shape of the windows quite funny. There are two towers and one of the tower leads to ..short of sky walk—pretty similar with one in Bangkok. These sky walks connect from one building to another. So I don’t need to cross the street below. So, I went from the Lippo Bank building all the way to Fairmount Building across and then I go down to cross the street.. and the park in front of me!! Yaayy…

The uphill path little bit tiring me so I sit down in a bench and enjoy the view of Hongkong building… oh gosh its so convenient to have a park in the middle of town like Hongkong…. Its beautiful!

In Hongkong Park there are several buildings. One of the buildings I was entering was a museum with old Chinese Old Stamps on the 2nd floor… it’s amazing, all made of jade of course… I cannot understand the carvings but I enjoy it! On the first floor is place where you could enjoy Chinese Tea.. its actually a tea house… cool!

The second building was the Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware. In here we could see Chinese antique tea ware, ohhh there are some cute tea pots and movie about the traditions related with tea. There are displays about how they made traditional tea, how to process and the kins of tea.

After seeing and enjoying the museum I went out to the Hongkong Park again, it’s a very fine afternoon. Its amazing…. As the park is so beautiful.. there’s a large fish pool with few turtles… baby turtles.. it’s really calm.. and ohhhh you won’t believe it’s a city centre and its very clean!!
There are also few police walking… I like this.. feel safe, and this park amazing.. with trees and fish pools and waterfall! A bride and groom taking pictures, some senior citizen sit down and enjoy the afternoon… its so beautiful… and oh.. it had free wifi too… amazing! So I sat there for a while, checking my FB and eating a bar of chocolate.

Its nearly 4 pm when I start to explore the park. It had an Olympic park, also a wedding registry where theres a wedding happens.. ohh.. so many wedding a brides and grooms here… I also found the “Aviary” where they had this huge dome contains birds, tropical birds, and they were amazing, its just like one in Singapore zoo… difference is this is the city centre!

Outside the aviary I went to the cotton tree drive rd, across the squash centre theres building to the peak tram. I could see the queue VERY long! I don’t think it will be fine for me if I went to the peak at night I will be frozen!! So I decide to go back to Central MRT again and then I saw map I was on the Connaught Road (Hongkong not that big, so walking is pretty easy!) so I think I want to try the LONGEST ESCALATOR IN  THE WORLD yepp its in Hongkong!

Connaught Rd Central and the Queens Road full of shopping centre (place where I shouldn’t go!) but anyway I cant resist seeing BodyShop so I went there and get something for my skin as the cold wind breaks my skin and lips!

I found the start of the escalator. It was on the 2nd floor of Hang Seng Building.

I see there are many stores on the bottom of the escalator, so I decide to use stairs instead.
I found some interesting shops, massage shop, hairdress, tailors…ice creams and, ahhhh the frozen yohgurt!!! I get some of the frozen yoghurt, its so soft and sweet! And the girls whos own the shop really nice!

I went up to the escalator again and stop at Caine Street. I want to visit the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Museum.

I like Dr Sun Yat Sen… i know him from history books, he was a very smart person. As political Science Faculty Student i do had some politic classes and I like the way he think to mix the western world and the Asian… He live in Hawaii for a while with his older brother and this length of time give a great influence on his political views. Being a modern person but also not forgetting his root. Its kind of my thing... He was the founding Father of Republic of China, and he was the greatest leaders of modern China politics. His political Philosophy are called "Three Principles of the People" its consist of  principle of nationalism, democracy, and  the People's Livelihood.  

The museum it self actually an amazing house! Its really worth to see! This mid level must be stunning back then, when there are no tall buildings like these days. It’s a residence of a rich family.

Back from Sun Yat Sen Museum tours… haha.. theres no escalator going down.. the escalator will remain one way from down to up from 10.20 am until midnight!

Back to Central MTR, its quite a walk and I like it because theres plenty to see… lots of people start to wear Halloween costumes, and its funny and scary! Hahaha… I love this!

From Central I go to TST MTR… its about time to see the light show-The Symphony of Lights! From TST I went to Salisbury Road (plenty direction signs). When I arrive there are many people already with their huge cameras waiting for the show… even when its still 45 min before 8pm. The show start at 8pm.

The light show its actually mixed between lights and laser. Its … good.. because the sound system… but woooww.. the wind blowing and im freezing hahah.. I feel good because I know I am right about not going to the peak! I pick my spot near the statue of a woman with a floating globe I think…. Its good view from there…

The show only few minutes last.. I watch it until its over… its quite romantic to be there with your love one for sure!

After the show over, I start to  walk on the Avenue of Stars… I found some of my favorite Hongkong actors and actress signature and hand print on the pavement… its very nice to know that actually Jet Lee had smaller palms than I do.. hahaha still he punch better tho hahaha! I also take pictures with a bronze Bruce Lee statue, the king of martial arts… hmmm…

Oh.. there was a stall that sold squids... oh Gosh.. smell and taste so goood... its cold and i am hungry! so i had two!! hehe!

I manage to find Starbucks and had my mocca latte and head up to MTR to go back to Mongkok. It was late… even if the Ladies market seemed temping place to explore.. but I just think of tomorrow I had to go to Macau.. so.. I choose to go to hostel and do my CHECK IN and I did! The owner was a nice lady, but its very limited in English, but surprisingly she does speak Indonesia language... impressive.

She took me to another apartment on same floor, it seemed where the dorm room are. It looks messy.. but clean. There was a guy working with his laptop. He said the wifi not really stable, and i ask him if i could access it from my bedroom, he said yeah sure.. so i wash my face and doing bit packing for tomorrow, i decide just to bring my day pack and leave my huge 15 liters back pack...

The room that I got suppose to be shared with 2 other people… but it was empty.. yippie!! So I charge all of my battery and go to bed! Its been an awesome day! Can't wait for more of my holidays!

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Backpacking in Hong Kong said...

Great sharing on your trip. Next time you come to Hong Kong, visit my blog for the lastest travel information on Hong Kong!

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