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!!!


Karla said...

Wow! It's so brave of you to venture from Hongkong to Shenzhen by yourself. I would like to have that kind of solo adventure one day. :) When we went to Shenzhen, we were in a group tour so we did not have much time to shop. I do agree that there are lots of good bargains there! ^__^

Vallarfax said...

Making an adventure like that for yourself takes a lot of courage. You amuse me, lady. :)

The last part still puzzles me. The card won't work coz of overstaying? Hmm. I don't get it. Management policy, it must be.

Stay safe, okay? :)

The Average Jane said...

I love travelling in HK because of their MTR. Hubby and I actually did our own itinerary with a just a few tips from the web. =)

Ms. A said...

@Karla - Lots of research and courage really :))

@Vallarfax - Thanks! I think it's their policy not to overstay in any station. I'm just unaware LOL. Maybe its because they avoid overcrowding in the area. As per one article I've read, millions of people uses MTR everyday. It's the primary mode of transportation. Anyway, lesson learned! :P

@Jane - You're right sis. Their MTR is very user-friendly.

skulgirltrx said...

Hongkong is my first love! I won't get tired of it. :)

thanks for the visit! following you now. will come back and read your posts extensively. :)

Ms. A said...

^hi! Thanks for visiting. Enjoy reading! Muahh

anney said...

I was here last May. We really enjoyed our trip!

coyski said...

next time you visit HK.. Inform me ha? :-)

Great travel pics!

coyski said...

next time you visit HK.. Inform me ha? :-)

Great travel pics!

Ms. A said...

Hi Anney! Thanks for dropping by. I also enjoyed my adventure. :)

Ms. A said...

Coy masyado ka yatang excited sa HK talagang doble post pa hahahah. sure i'll inform you 'pre! :P

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Mrs. Kolca said...

Good idea huh! I think I can do that too but hubby will never allow it. Haha. Sana pala noon ko pa ginawa while I was still working in HK. Hihi.

nomadwayoflife said...

Heh, well you certainly know how to bargain don't you. Love the slide show. Sunsets are my favorite.