Farthest So Far, 2016

One of my goals for last year was to travel to at least one foreign country, and I’m pleased to report that I accomplished it. My four-day stay in Hong Kong with my family was the farthest travel I’ve had so far.

It all started when the music festival Clockenflap released bits of their lineup in the earlier half of 2016. I was feeling pretty confident about flying out of the country, so I asked my sister, a somewhat seasoned international music festival goer, if she was up to it. Seeing us scour for cheap flights online, my brother (IIRC), suggested that the whole family should join. We found ourselves booked for Hong Kong for November.

One of my brothers has been to Hong Kong, and one of my mom’s childhood friends is a long-time resident, so we planned our itinerary and drafted a budget plan. We also booked tickets to places in advance.

We flew out and arrived at Hong Kong on the evening of November 24.

I have to note this: THEIR AIRPORT IS SO NICE.

We settled in our AirBnB in Yau Ma Tei and we were so lucky that it was near a train station and a major thoroughfare (I forgot what it’s called haha).

It was nearly midnight when we arrived but we decided to walk around a few blocks.

A McDonald’s was also near our AirBnB so we got midnight snacks. It was pretty interesting to note the differences between fast food in the Philippines and everywhere else. Check out what came with my chicken nugs–sweet ‘n sour sauce!

First official day was for Disneyland! But we decided to look for a nice place for breakfast with my mom’s childhood friend.

Our place was near an iconic police station.

My mom’s friend took us to a local market.

We had the usual local’s breakfast of toast and noodles but we ate it at the sidewalk. Then we headed to Yau Ma Tei MTR, bought Octopus cards, and headed to Disneyland.

As an 8-year-old trapped in a 20-something’s body, I was blown away by Disneyland, okay.

A list of Disneyland attractions we went to:

  • Art of Animation
  • Jungle River Cruise

  • Toy Story Land – Parachute Drop

  • Mystic Manor
  • Big Grizzly Runaway Mine Cars (my 69-year-old aunt and 59-year-old mom rode a fricking rollercoaster, WTF.)
  • Festival of Lion King
  • Flights of Fantasy Parade

  • Hyperspace Mountain

  • Mickey and the Wondrous Book
  • Paint the Night Parade

I must note that I haven’t been to any theme park before Disneyland (yep, I haven’t been to Enchanted Kingdom), so I had so much fun. When we left it was almost 9 in the evening. We headed back to Yau Ma Tei and ate a local joint called Eat Together.

Day 2 was for Madame Tussaud’s and The Peak.

Breakfast at McDonald’s because we were too lazy to find someplace else for breakfast, then train to Central,

rode the (crazy) tram, then Madame Tussaud’s (where my brother and uncle duped a couple of tourists into thinking they were wax figures, lelz).

Then we rode lots of escalators to get to The Peak, where strong winds blew my cap off my head and I panicked (but I got my cap back).

We had lunch at Mak’s Noodle where I ate what is probably the best beef noodle soup I’ve ever had in my life. But strong rains coupled with strong winds got us stranded inside a mall so we had to wait it out before we headed back to Central.

We had dinner at Din Tai Fung to see, yet again, the difference between the Hong Kong and the Philippines branches. DTF in Hong Kong does not serve my favorite cold chicken with scallion, sadly.

We rode a ferry

then double decker bus home. Of course we had to sit at the second level.

The third day was for Clockenflap for me and my sister and more leisurely strolling for my family. We had breakfast at McDonald’s (yet again) and walked to Central. Yep, we walked to Central. Which is pretty far. But it was a good walk because the air was cold and the sidewalks are nice.

We had lunch at Silvercord then we split ways–my sister and I to Clockenflap and other family members to find a good coffee place.

We rode a ferry to the festival venue.

And then, Clockenflap! We watched Lucy Rose, Shura, Foals (FOALS!), and The Chemical Brothers.

We rode the ferry back to Central and a double decker bus to Yau Ma Tei.

The next day was our last day in Hong Kong. 😦 We had breakfast at Mido Cafe, one of the oldest cafes in Hong Kong.

Then we went to the Hong Kong Cultural Center where my grabby hands got a hold of a lot of brochures and pamphlets of their plays and concerts.

We also hung out at the Ferry Station Viewing Deck for a bit (so my aunt and mom can rest their tired feet) then walked around

to find Yat Lok, a Michelin-starred joint that served really, really, really good roast pork and roast goose.

Then we went to The Coffee Academics in Causeway Bay. I had hot chocolate which tasted great. The Coffee Academics is listed in Buzzfeed’s 25 Coffee Shops Around the World You Have to See Before You Die.

Then we rode a tram back to Yau Ma Tei, packed our bags, cleaned up our AirBnB, then headed to the airport and flew home.

My mom’s friend found it remarkable that we didn’t sign up for the guided tours. While we did go to the touristy spots, we still got to explore parts of Hong Kong that aren’t usually visited by travelers.

With this trip, I finally understood other people’s obsession (?) with traveling.

I’m saving up to return to Hong Kong. I haven’t been to the Bruce Lee statue and to Kubrick Cafe, which was just behind our AirBnB. My sister says we should go to Hong Kong Biennale.

I also look forward to going to more farther places.

Photos taken with my sister’s Fujifilm X20 and my Samsung J7.

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