Since Teaching in China I realized that Traveling on a budget can be a fun experience; when you know where to go and what to do. In my recent travel to Hong Kong, I found many deals to fit anyone's budget. From island hopping to mountain hikes, there were many opportunities to save in a city with a reputation of being one of the most expensive in the world!
Arriving at the airport, I was greeted with a visual treat; the airplane landed on what seemed like an ocean runway. Once inside the airport, I easily found the metro. The metro system was efficient and fast, but unfortunately was not cheap. At 100 Hong Kong Dollars (HKD) one way (equivalent to 12 USD), I quickly learned that it was better to have a metro card. Also known as the Octopus card, these can be purchased in the airport or at any main metro hub in Hong Kong. After the first financial shock, I was on my way to the city center to my hostel, located in Causeway Bay.
Hong Kong is famous for its lack of space, but taking a chance and planning ahead, this was not a huge problem. Even though I chose to stay in the heart of the city, I was still able to find a reasonably priced hostel. Though most lodging is well into the thousands per night, I was able to find deals for 300 HKD (or about 40 USD) per night!
Although the metro was fast and efficient, at almost 60 HKD to 100 HKD (7-12 USD) a journey, taking the bus was a better choice. With 6 days in Hong Kong, I quickly learned why people waited in lines on hot days to take the bus. With dozens of buses going to every corner of the island at a price of 3-15 HKD (0.30-2 USD), the metro could not compare. One of my favorite parts of Hong Kong was the trolley or (Ding Ding Che) in Cantonese. This old style ride was nostalgic, fun, efficient and cheap.
With history, entertainment and adventure all hidden in the city, what to do is up to you! For me, the large amounts of nature in Hong Kong was amazing. With only a third of the island truly covered in buildings, there are many hiking trails that stretch out for hours and lead from one side of the island to the other. At no cost to you, it's an easy way to spend a whole day. However, if this isn't your passion, don't worry, there are many attractions in the city center. Victoria's Peak, one of Hong Kong's most popular sites, is very accessible. At the gate, you will pay around 115 HKD (about 15 USD) per person to enjoy a wonderful round-trip tram ride. At the top, enjoy the view and relax at a 7-story mall on top of the mountain! After taking in the view, head to the bus and take a ride to the ocean. Many beaches are accessible by bus or metro and offer cheap-to-no-cost fun. For a virtually free day, visit the Hong Kong Museum located in Kowloon area of Hong Kong or just enjoy the bay and the busy harbor.
What was most difficult in Hong Kong was to find affordable food. Staying in a Central location, it was easy to get carried away with all the dining options! For budget friendly meals, I chose Dim Sum and various supermarkets. Dim Sum provided great deals with diverse dining options. Hard to put into words, Hong Kong is an amazing city with much to offer. With entertainment, sights, history and diversity; it is easy to fall in love with this city. There are many affordable options and it is not hard to enjoy this lively place. My advice to you is to get out and explore!