Thursday, September 8, 2011

From Hongkong To Shenzhen (China)

This must have been the most daring travel I've made.

By the way, I forgot to mentioned on my previous post that when you arrive in Hongkong, you may opt to buy an Octopus Card which is usable in MTR, Light Trail, Trams, Peak Trams, Star Ferry, Buses, some minibuses, convenience stores such as 7-11, Circle K, supermarkets, fastfood outlets, or public telephone booths. Just wave it on the Octopus reader and payment will be deducted instantly (provided you have balance LOL). The reader also tells you how much your balance is so you can top up credit. You can top up credits at the public transportation company's Customer Service Centers, MTR station's Octopus add value machines or convenience stores like 7-11 and Circle K. You may return the card at any public transportation company's Customer Service Centers then you can get back the balance and the deposit. But since the Octopus card is valid 3 up to 3 years from the last top up date, I intend to keep mine. I might go back to Hongkong or if not, I have it as souvenir. I bought a HK$150 card with stored value of HK$100 and deposit of HK$50.

That's what I used on MTR.

When I arrived Hongkong, I secured my one-day Shenzhen visa at China Travel Services at Tsim Sha Tsui. Its a quasi state travel agent. Visa is cheaper at Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs but CTS offers full service and help you with the step by step procedures. I paid HK$180 for a one-day pass visa. Got it after 2days.

Here's the copy of the MTR map:


I stayed at Tsim Sha Tsui so I have 2 options. The fastest way is taking East Tsim Sha Tsui station [West Rail Line (purple)] then get myself to Hung Hom station [East Rail Line  (light blue)] then stay all the way to Hung Hom. But the adventurous blood in me was seeking for more heights so I took another route. From Tsim Sha Tsui (entrance D), I go all the way to Mongkok Station then transfer to [Kwun Tong Line (green)]. You can also go another more station, Prince Edward then transfer to green line. From either Mong Kok of Prince Edward, take the train then get off at Kowloon Tong and follow the signs to the Kowloon Canton Railways ([KCR (blue line)]. More walk on transferring from MTR to KCR this time. From Kowloon Tong, there are 2 different destinations going to mainland China, one is going to Lok Ma Chau and another going to Lo Wu. Take the one going to Lo Wu.

Lo Wu is a boarder crossing and you have to pass by the Custom and Immigration. Be sure to bring your passport. Have yourself cleared first from Hongkong by filling out Hongkong immigration departure card.

Now you're one step away from your bargain hunt. Look for the yelow sign hanging from the ceiling where you need to present your passport and visa.You can also buy visa at the CTS office in the boarder which you can find before you pass by the police station or you can also go on the 2nd floor and the visa office is on your right. Fill out the application form which you can get from the corner. give it to the man behind the counter and pay HK$100. The tourist visa is only valid at the Shenzhen Economic Zone. If your want to go beyond Shenzhen boarder, you need to get another visa. It wont take too much time. About 5-10minutes and you'll have your visa.

You have your passport and stamped visa. Now follow the queue for Chinese Immigration. Be sure to fill out the Arrival Form while on queue. This is to save time :P. Hand it over the Immigration Officer and pass through. Welcome to People's Republic of China! Go down another escalator and out the door. Turn right and you'll see the big, modern shopping center, the Lo Wu Commercial Center. Go over the pedestrian bridge and inside. Be watchful of your belongings.

You can pay here in HK dollars. If you pay in HK dollars they will give your change in HK dollars. It's a one to one exchange rate. You may lose a bit but if you don't want to be bothered long, its okay.

Here's how you bargain. Ask for the price then offer one third of the sum, nothing more. The seller will smile and shake their head. Examine the product thoroughly. If you like it then add some more dollar. Usually, the seller will punch price in a calculator. It's lower than the original price but might be higher than your bid. This is the time to haggle. If you really want the item, pick the middle ground with finality. But that price must not be more than 50% of the original price. 1/3 to 1/2 of the price is just right. It's really fun to bargain in Shenzhen. You can really buy a lot of stuffs at the lowest cost possible.

Warning: Bear in mind that those branded items that you got on bargain are mostly, if not all, fake. So it's not a good idea to buy them in bulk. 1 or 2 is enough since custom is starting to get tough on piracy.

It's time for me to eat something. My tummy is starting to make sound. Its hard to choose which place to eat. Most are in Chinese characters and if you ask the server they don't understand English. I found Laurel Chinese Restaurant on the top floor. they have the best dimsum ever.

It's time to go back to Hongkong. Same procedure. Fill out China departure card. Have yourself cleared. Fill out Hongkong arrival form.

I took the same route back. When I reached Tsim Sha Tsui, I was a bit tired and again hungry so I stopped by a shop and bought water and sandwich. I stayed at the station. Finished my food. Wander a little more. When its my time to get out, my Octopus card is not working. Gosh! It rush time and lots of people around. I tried and tried on different exits and still not working. Wahhh another mis-adventure! I approached the Customer Service and told her that my Card still have about 86$ balance but it's not working. She took my card and scanned it then she asked why I stayed long in the station. Honestly, I dunno its not allowed. I told her i was so tired and hungry and I just stopped by. Maybe she reset my card then it worked.

That's it!!!




Wednesday, September 7, 2011

From Hongkong to Macau... continued

Sorry for the long wait...

There are places in Macau that should not be missed. What else but the casinos. I've posted some pics of Grand Emperor and Lisboa on my previous entry. Time for City of Dreams now.

City of Dreams is the newest addition to the numbers of casinos in the area. They offer free ride from Ruins of St. Paul. They even give free tickets to their featured shows. Even bottled water are free here :P



The 3d mermaid at the casino wall:


I have this video of the mermaid show. Hope this one works:

video

Here's another one:

video

The Dragon Show:


The famous Venetian where gold color is very prominent:









The famous "artificial sky" inside Venetian where the food court is. Its hard to believe that you're actually inside the building:







The Canal inside the building where you can have a Gondola ride. That bangkero is a Pinoy. How did I know? He called me "Kabayan", LOL:


From here, I rode a free bus ride going to the ferry boat to go back to Hongkong.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

From Hongkong to Macau

I'm very thankful having the opportunity to travel a lot. T'is my first time in Hongkong and I have nothing with me but a map of the train :P and my laptop. Thanks to pinoyexchange.com, it helps me a lot in exploring places on my own.

Arriving @ Hongkong Airport, I was like a "kookoo". I dunno which exit to take. Taxi, train or bus? Geez, which way to go. Taxi is expensive. Train? Nahhh, I've seen different exits to Tsim Sha Tsui on my map. don't wanna explore yet, huh! Bus? Ok, bus N21A was given. Ok now, i'll take a bus!

An Inday from Manila went out of the airport. Now, left or right? Hmmpt! Ok, wherever majority of the people go. Wallah! right turn dear. Hahahah. Some few steps and I reach a big board where details of the buses where written. Uhm... there goes bus N21A. Hop in!

Some pics while I'm inside the bus:




Time to ask for directions now. I dunno where I am huhuhu. I ask the guy in front of me:

Me: Sir, how long will it take before we reach Tsim Sha Tsui?
Guy: @#*&&@ (grrr, he don't understand English)

Ohh no!

Yes! Someone sat beside me.

Me: Sir, how far is Tsim Sha Tsui?
Guy: From here, about 30mins more. When you see Citibank beside HSBC, that's the place.
Me: Will you call my attention if its time for me to get out of the bus?
Guy: Sure! You travelling alone?
Me: Yes. It's my first time here.
Guy: Brave girl, huh!
Me: Just adventurous.
Guy: (Pressed the buzzer) Ok, gotta get out.
Wahhh, he said he'll tell me if its my turn to get out. How?

Ok, look right, look left. There's Citibank, 1,2,3... uhhh HSBC. Buzzzzz. Door opens and off I go.
Where am I? Whew! Yau Ma Tei! Not yet my destination. Gotta hop on another bus huhuhu. Prayers, prayers, prayers! Is this TST? Yes! Buzzzz... Off I go. Now where's the hotel. Trust your instinct sweetie... I was able to pass by the exit D of  TST station. I'm on the right track baby!

Ohhh there's my hotel. Lalalala♫♪♫ hahah!

Ok now, I'm inside my hotel room, need to hurry unpacking because I wanna go to the ladies night market. Uh-ohh! Need to check my internet first. Got my map and look at which route to take. From Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Station (red line) you'll pass by Jordon then Yau Ma Tei. Transfer to green line then the next station will be Mongkok. that's were the ladies market is located. I just roam around, bought some good bargains then went back to hotel to rest. Need to get up early to catch the ferry going to Macau.

Sorry, i wasn't able to take pictures of the ladies' market.

I woke up early the next morning. Asked the housekeeping staff of the hotel where I can find the ferry port to Macau. He said its just across the street. Ok then, thanks for the direction, hahahah. So I crossed the street and head towards the crossroad. Again, left or right? I've asked the two girls for the direction. I felt good because they seemed very eager to help me. They told me to turn left then at the end of the road i'll see the ferry station.

Uhmm, I've been walking for like, 10mins and no ferry station so I asked the street sweeper for direction. The biggest mistake of my life! he said lots of things but all I understand was, "no english". Okay! Then I asked a cop and wallah, I'm on the wrong way, wahhhhh!

Can't do anything but to go back, ayt? Walk, walk, walk! I saw this girl giving free newspaper. I asked for a copy then take the opportunity to ask for direction. Walk, walk, walk! The girl said it's near the Esprit stall. There's the Esprit stall. I'll bear to mind that I'll dropby that stall when I got back in the afternoon. Okay so there I go. The ticket station is atop a mall.

Btw, the newspaper I got from the girl is still with me and I'm so stupid to get one coz I can't understand Chinese LOL. So I gave it to the girl at the ticket booth heheheh.

Time for me to go on-board.

video
These were taken at the ferry station:






video


Here I come Macau:

Grand Lisboa:


Grand Emperor Hotel:


Jackie Chan's gold bars inside Grand Emperor Hotel:




Lunch time. Nice foods from the building near Grand Emperor:

My fave white chicken and egg tofu. Yum!



Around Macau:








The famour Ruins of St. Paul:







Remains from the Ruins:







to be continued:

There must have been some problem with the site.