Notes of the Author:
I suggest if you've been to HK, read no further because there's nothing for you to read a new. If you're a newbie, well I suggest you read along! I've been reading a lot of articles online prior the trip that are just too snob for newbies like us so I thought it best for me to put up my own experience too so you won't be much scared and naive as I was :-D
Who knew that my second batch of posts will be a trip abroad! This is my first time out of the country and it's going to be HK.
A month ago...
I took the initiative, out of the blue, to search around for the best deals for my first flight out. I initially planned to bring my parents with me so I looked for the best travel agency I can get my hands on and I ended up with Reliable Travel Agency. It's also my first time out so I don't have the courage yet to do a DIY trip. Besides, I think it's best for me to do that when my future travel partner* gets a passport because I need have all the support I can get. I booked with them a typical IT for HK:
Day1: Arrived hongkong. Meet and transfer to hotel. Overnight Rambler hotel (Later on we'll have Ocean Park as well)
Day2: Breakfast. Pick up for compulsory hongkong city tour to visit Avenue of stars, Aberdeen fishing village, Passby mid levels of Victoria peak, Jewellry factory and factory outlet + open top bus tour. After, transfer to Disneyland for Disneyland tour. After tour, transfer to Shenzhen by train. Overnight Green Tree Inn or similar class
Day3: Breakfast. Pick up for Shenzhen compulsory tour. After tour, transfer to Hongkong international airport by coach for return airport transfers
I took the option of having my mom pay everything (well, I AM paying but I had her go to the agency's office and pay for it) and I'm glad I left it out for her to arrange. For one, my mom saw my reckless yeses to everything the agent said that I never noticed the dates we were previously 'booked'. Originally, we would be arriving at HK almost in the evening, leaving us nothing to do for the 'day' which is already a loss. So we ended up getting a 7am flight, ETA at 9 am, giving us another day to roam around. With that, we were able to arrange land arrangements to Ocean Park as well before checking in on our hotel. I find it awesome because initially the agency's promo is supposed to be Disneyland OR Ocean Park, and we got both. It is much expensive though, but never mind, at least we have more place in our IT.
Tip: Check your flight schedules, estimated time of arrival, departure hours, etc. You wouldn't like to miss your flight don't you?
The night before...
I still needed to go to the office. I need to stay until 6 pm so it's just right. Even though our flight is yet for tomorrow, we have unanimously decided to go to Clark on the 27th and spend the night out rather than cram for tomorrow's compulsory 4 hr check in before flight.
My father will NOT drive us to Clark because our car is coding on a Tuesday. Other than that, I heard he didn't like driving to Subic at all so this is all so convenient for him. So we took one of the only option I considered in going. The Philtranco bus at Megamall. Office is like a stone's throw away from Megamall and the knowledge of getting out of the office and hop to the Philtranco terminal right away (at the back of Megamall) is irresistable.
I believe in Philtranco...
Since none of my parents believed it so good to be true that the bus we need to take is that easy, (I myself am skeptical), we took the 7pm schedule just so we can still remedy the situation once no bus arrives. Earlier this week though, I stumbled upon a blog saying that no matter what the phone girl says, you can in fact, reserve seats for the bus via email. It was a long shot, but someone from Philtranco replied and a few emails later, we are finally reserved for 3 chairs.
Tip: To reserve seats, email your names to: email@example.com
Don't forget to indicate your flight so he can check when it's best for you to go to Clark.
We went to the waiting station around 630. To pass time my sister and I were doing what we do best, annoy each other out (oh my Father tapped out and had my youngest sister come with). My heart is slowly being bored out and I was beginning to worry that no bus will come. By 7:08, a bus came but it was for Arrivals only. Some bus guy ill advised us that what I read was wrong and the site is not updated and a lot of people have been fooled by this already. However the stewardess (if bus ladies are called by that too) said a 7pm bus is on the way and is probably just stuck in traffic.
An hour later, a bus arrived to my relief. There were only 3 passengers on board, making us 6 all in all.
Tip: Per head fare costs 400 php and it goes from Megamall up to Clark Airport. No need to take any bus or jeep after.
There was no traffic, the weather is ok and we arrived at Dau after an hour. A few minutes later, we have finally reached the airport.
The long wait starts here...
I was already craving for rice when we came and it's quite disappointing to see how there are just a few shops open for food items. We had dinner at MiniStop (at Clark Airport) and right after we just went out and started our long wait. It is a good call that I brought my IPad around and was able to type all of this while we wait. Much better than just bringing paperback if you ask me.
Tip: Yes, it is a must to bring something you can do to pass time so you won't die of boredom while at the airport or at the bus. I would have loved paperback (I do, I love books!!) but the extra weight in my bag, my curse of reading something too fast (nyahaha) is an option I just can't take.
Shock starts here...
It's a first for me to take a nap outside the confines of a roofed closed space (Clark's departure waiting area is outside the terminal) because I was just exhausted. I haven't had sleep on the bus and I badly need rest. We were already called around 3. As soon as my bags are out of the scanning machine, I was shocked by the chaos.
Everyone was rushing, papers are flying and people are scrambling and piling up in counters in lines and in clumps.
First the papers. I didn't know what that meant, only that my mom told me about the form we need to fill up.
Tip: As soon as you get in, grab yourself that small paper (departure) everyone was getting and write as fast as you can. Do not forget to bring your own pen as you will need it every pass of border.
Once that's okay, go to counter 3 pay for the terminal fee. When we came there is no dedicated line so remember who you are giving your passports to. You need to pay 1620 per head.
If you have someone travelling with you, have them line up on the counter where you have your luggage weighed while you get your turn to pay for the terminal fee. Only those you want to check in should be weighed and your hand carry (backpacks, laptop etc) have no need for this. What you need to line up here for though, is to get your boarding pass. Just present your e-tickets.
Now for the airport fee or whatever fee that is worth 400 pesos, pay for that as well and after you pass that, make sure you still have your departure paper with you together with your passport as next step is immigration.
Sometimes the person at the other side of the counter will have you tuck your ears in so they can study if the face in the passport is the same as the one going in. They'd sometimes ask you something, like where are you staying, what's your work or birthday. It was my first time inspected so I was kind of nervous (well we've passed so many immigration counters already after the trip so you get used to it after). I can't even hear the guy on the counter because I was so stressed. Next step is the checking of bags. 100ml is max for every liquid and liquid type items, 1 liter in total per person in a plastic resealable bag. I followed this although they haven't checked each item that I have. I followed the rules, but what made me worried is that no one checks each item separately. I just realized how dangerous it would be if someone sneaks in much more than that especially if it's in your hand carry. I do hope though that the scanner detects that.
The waiting line beside the gate is ridiculously packed that we have no chairs anymore. So we went upstairs to pass time and wait. A few minutes later we've taken up queue so we can go out and walk to our plane. They don't have those high tech bridges so you really must go out of the terminal just so you can board the plane.
Tip: We didn't hear them call us to approach the plane so we were shocked to learn that our flight is already boarding! I guess you really must guard your gate!
When we came, it is annoying that the seat directly on our left used our compartment for their things. Lucky for them that our stuff still fitted in or my mom (and I) would truly do something inexplicably embarrassing hehe.
Our province didn't need a plane to go to so, yes, this is my first time on a plane. I hope I'll never get used to the feeling of being lifted off the ground, which is both scary and exciting at the same time :-D
In less than 2 hours, we have now landed.
Hongkong: EP02 Bye Philippines, Hello Hongkong! (coming soon)
*I am hoping my bf reads this :-P
** All entries have tags named hongkong.