The start of our journey at Newark airport didn’t start on the right foot, maybe it’s a sign! We need to stay optimistic. Our carry ons were overweight when it’s typically fine for other airlines, Cathay is only 7 kg so okay checked them in. No problem. Our seats weren’t together, bummer. It’s definitely going to be a long 16 hour flight. We went through security check only to find out the priority pass lounge is before the security, so we went out and found it and it was 5 minutes pass their open hours of 11:30 pm. Oh man. Fast forward to end of the flight of four movies and airplane sleeping, we are finally landing!
After that 16 hour flight, of sitting in the middle seat between two strangers, I’m feeling tired, jet lagged, and excited all at the same time. We were in airport walking back and forth to decide on where/how much to exchange currency, whether to take Airport Express or A21/22 bus, and getting octopus transportation card. We decided on A21 (33 HKD per ride), 1 hour on a double decker bus.
We are feeling more energized as we are inspired by the sunrise as we cross Tsing Ma Bridge. The view is stunning! Blue sky, poofy cotton cloud, shadows of high mountain tops, and picturesque tall buildings based on feng shui designs.
Our Airbnb host meets us after noon, and it’s only 7 am. We got a few hours of exploring while rolling with our luggages. We passed by ladies market, where vendors are not set up yet, the few breakfast places that are open, and circle k for SIM card.
If you need wifi and don’t have international roaming or sim yet, McDonald is your friend! Get a matcha latte that looks exactly like ad picture. Charge your phone and spend some time here to do research.
Hong Kong is all about shopping and eating. We spent majority of our time exploring and exploring by foot. I recommend trying what catches your eye and seeing what’s popular if there’s a few customers.
Money exchange is another important topic to cover. At airport, we dealt with the mediocre exchange rate of 1 usd to 7 hkd so we just exchanged $100 to get us off the ground for octopus transportation card and necessities until we got to downtown.
But once you get to populated downtown areas, there’s currency exchange at every corner. We got in a habit of looking at each currency exchange booth we passed. Rates varied from terrible 7 to 7.72! Usually even if it’s right next to each other, the rates are different. We exchanged more money at 7.72 which is very good, on a day where the majority were 7.05-7.6. Below is our choice in Mongkok, no other fees. No receipts either.