The K Family's Hong Kong (Mis)Adventures

(Note:  I wrote this on our second night in Hong Kong during our family trip in 2011.)

After the disastrous two days of our three-day, first ever overseas family trip, I am forced to look back and see what I could have done differently.

I admit that I am never your laid-back, spur-of-the-moment kind of person.  I like having things planned, itineraries drawn out and costs mapped out.  My recently-discovered pregnancy however had me handing the controls to my husband, who is my exact opposite, so we left Manila with nothing fixed in our itineraries. Later we ended up guessing and second-guessing, taking chances and making mistakes, which cost us big deal in terms of money and time. (Which I sooooo hate, for which I am kicking myself.) 

Mistake #1. HOTEL CHOICE. Being undecided about where to go, we booked ourselves at Traders Hotel, which is near the city center but far away from the airport, HK Disneyland and Ngong Ping Cable Car.  If we had decided on the itinerary, we would have booked ourselves at Novotel City Gate (15 mins from the airport, and only two stations away from HK Disneyland).  That would have allowed us to go to Disneyland or Ngong Ping on our first day (instead of staying holed up and wasting time in the hotel), and would have meant less train ticket and taxi cab fares.

Mistake #2.  HOTEL TRANSFER.  Having enjoyed airport transfers in our last trip, we arranged for some in this trip, thinking it would be as stress-free and fast as before.  We were very wrong.  As the shuttle took other tourists to hotels at the Kowloon side first (which was nearer to the airport) and we were the last to be dropped off, we didn't get to the hotel until THREE HOURS after our arrival in HK. By then we were all very tired and hungry. (Makes me think if taking the Airport Express train was the better option despite our numerous luggage and having 3 kids in tow.)

Mistake #3. FOOD AND RESTO CHOICES. The restos near the hotel serve decent Chinese food, but they're not exactly appealing to kids.  On our first night my daughter wanted some soup and rice so we went out to buy some, but after shelling out about P300 for the food, she took only a few bites and insisted on going back to the hotel. (So sayang na naman.)

The following morning, after finding out that our rooms didn't come with complimentary breakfast, and not wanting to have to scour for kid-friendly restos, we had buffet breakfast at the hotel, which was again, a big mistake.  Mika had only congee (good thing her meal was free of charge), and the boys concentrated on Yang Chow Fried Rice and Siomai, which could have been had for only a fraction of what we paid at the hotel. Hay na naman!

Mistake #4: DISNEYLAND ON A PEAK DAY.  Having missed the chance to do something worthwhile and exciting for the kids on the first day, we took the chance and went to Disneyland on our second day, a Sunday, not to mention the last weekend before Holy Week. There were about a thousand people with us in the park, and it was very hard if not impossible to get good pictures. It looked like you had to be in line for at least an hour under the sun before you can ride, and we were only able to take the Buzz Lightyear ride. (Yes, only ONE RIDE from the entire park!) We had a very expensive lunch of Burgers and Fries at the Starliner Diner (which cost P2,000 for the five of us), bought a key chain and two ref magnets for souvenirs (which set me back another P1k), and walked out of the park because my husband has no patience with lines, Mika was cranky and had foot sores from the walking, and I was just exhausted. Which meant we basically threw away money spent on admission and the train and taxi rides that took us there. Ouch!

Perhaps we should have gone to The Peak instead? Or to Macau?

Mistake #5: NOT ENOUGH CLOTHES.  Getting back to the hotel from Disneyland an hour after, the boys wanted to swim but had no swimwear, so we went out to buy some.  We found fur jackets, shirts, jeans, slacks, bags, shoes, etc. but no swimwear.  Which is not a surprise because Hong Kong is not a swimming country.  Second, Hong Kong is not a swimming country. Third, Hong Kong is not a swimming country. People do not go to Hong Kong to swim, or buy swimwear! So there.  By 3:30 pm the sky has darkened and it has began to rain, with a thunderstorm alert issued.  So, the rest of Day 2 was spent holed up in the hotel again.  What a bummer!

In summary, NOT HAVING A PLAN is the biggest mistake I did. When you don't plan, things happen to you, and more often than not, these things are not the pleasant kind.  When you plan, you somehow make things happen for you, and you have better control of how they turn out.

I am such a control freak.

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