Hong Kong Budget

Hong Kong Budget

We had a great time in Hong Kong even though it was a pricy destination for us. As you read through our budget, remember that the figures reflect the costs for both my husband and I. Each time I’ve written HK$, that is the price in Hong Kong Dollars. USD is the amount in United States Dollars.

Hong Kong
Private Room/Shared Bath Lodging for 2 nights USD $65 ($32.50/night)

Day 1
Bus from Airport to Hotel HK$66
McD HK$59
Snacks HK$42
Water HK$11
Total Day 1 USD $22.93

Day 2
Ferry crossing HK$10 ($2.50×4)
Breakfast at the Flying Pan HK$207
Panda Ornament Souvenir HK$10
Starbucks Espresso Mug Souvenir HK$110
Metro HK$38
Dinner HK$100
Metro HK$50
Total Day 2 USD $66.75

Day 3
Post Office (sent package home) HK$83
McD Food: HK$60
Coffee: HK$28
Bus to Airport: HK$66
Muffin at Airport: HK$17
Total Day 3 USD $32.34

Total USD $187

[3 Days & 2 Nights]
Lodging USD $65 ($32.50/night)
Food USD $66.72 (day/meal $22.24/$3.71)
City Transportation USD $29.28

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Hong Kong in 48 Hours

After China, our next stop was Hong Kong.

First things first… Is Hong Kong in China, or is it it’s own country? I was confused about this, but after brushing up on my Chinese history, I learned that it is both. China describes it as, “one country, two systems.” While Hong Kong has it’s own laws, governing systems, and even currency, it is still somehow a part of China.

We loved the short 48 hours we had in Hong Kong. This bustling city/country was modern, lively, and full of comforts we hadn’t had since being in the States.

Upon arriving in Hong Kong, we were delighted to see that their public transportation uses double decker buses.Hong Kong Hong KongAlthough Hong Kong is big and busy, it was a beautiful place to visit. We stayed in the Tsim Sha Tsui area, and while it was a great location, accommodations were a bit pricey. We opted for the cheapest we could find which meant staying in a room that was barely larger than the “double bed” placed inside. Oh well, at least we had our own space away from the busyness outside.  Hong KongHong KongHong KongWe headed to the Harbor to see one of the most beautiful skylines in the world. Although it was a very misty day, it was still a site to see. Hong Kong Hong KongHong KongThe mist didn’t stop us from returning back to the harbor that evening for the 8 o’clock light show. We are very glad we got to see the skyline at night because it was even more beautiful. Hong KongThe light show was fantastic. All I can say is that I hope you get to see it one day if you haven’t already!DSC_9539Hong KongHong KongHong KongHong KongHong KongHong Kong

The next day, we took the ferry across the harbor to Hong Kong island. If you take the local ferry, it only costs about 30 cents each!Hong Kong Hong Kong Hong Kong Hong Kong Hong KongWe walked around until we found some wifi to look up directions to a breakfast restaurant that had been recommended to us by a friend. Hong Kong Hong KongI’m so glad that Erin recommended the Flying Pan. Not only was for food delicious, but they also have bottomless coffee! In addition, the atmosphere at the restaurant was very pleasant… making it feel as if we were back home in the States. Hong Kong, The Flying Pan Hong Kong, The Flying Pan Hong Kong, The Flying Pan Hong Kong, The Flying Pan Hong Kong, The Flying PanAfter returning to Tsim Sha Tsui, we stopped for a few quick pictures in front of the Art Museum. Hong KongHong Kong

We got to meet up with my friend Jessica while we were in Hong Kong. She is living in Hong Kong, and she was able to show us around. Not only did she take us to eat delicious Nepalese food, but she also introduced us to the mouth-watering Hong Kong coconut buns. Unfortunately, I was so wrapped up in the moment that I didn’t snap a single picture that evening!

On our last day in Hong Kong, we went to the Kowloon Park before heading to the airport… and I’m so glad we did! If I lived in this city, I’d definitely make trips to this beautiful park on a regular basis. It’s free to get into the park, and it’s absolutely beautiful there. Not only are the gardens and pools beaming with color, but they also have wildlife living in the park for onlookers to admire. On a side note, the park also offers free wifi! It was fun to FaceTime my sister in such a peaceful area.  Hong Kong Hong Kong Hong Kong Hong Kong Hong Kong Hong KongI spy a very small McDonalds!Hong Kong Hong Kong Hong Kong Hong KongAfter not enough time in Hong Kong, we found ourselves heading to our next destination. Stay tuned to hear about our adventures in the beautiful country of Vietnam. Hong Kong

Our Beijing Budget

Beijing BudgetWhile we were traveling, we kept track of what we spent, pretty much on the penny. We did this so that we would know the actual cost of our trip, but also to share it with others in the hopes that it can make planning on your part easier.BeijingThese budget posts won’t be extremely fancy, but they’ll include the price we paid for the items we purchased each day.

Beijing:
3 nights private room lodging: $54 ($18/night)

Day 1
Metro from airport to hotel stop: Y54
Fruit: Y32
Noodles: Y18
Hiking Food/Water: Y28.60
Total Day 1 USD: $21.57

Day 2
Subway: Y4
Bus 980: Y30
Taxi: Y270
Great Wall: Y40
Hired Car: $80 USD (We got lost and had to hire a private car to return us back to Beijing!)
Bus: Y4
Metro:4
McD Food: Y31
Total Day 2 USD: $62.34 (+$80 for the hired car)

Day 3
Breakfast: Y38
Metro: Y20 (all day, 5x
Lunch: Y46
Fresh Fruit at Market: Y35
Souvenirs: Y53
Dinner: Y12
Snacks: Y26
Total Day 3 USD: $37.43

Day 4
Metro to Airport: Y54 ($8.79)

[3 Days & 3 Nights]
Total Food $37.70 (Average per meal/per person $2.09 including snacks)
Local Transport $71.62
Lodging $54 (avg/day $18)

Total China (3 days in Beijing) = $183 
(+$80 for hiring a car after getting lost on the Great Wall)

Exploring Beijing

After our Great Wall experience, we were ready for something a little laid-back. A relaxing day strolling around China’s capital city sounded quite nice.

We started out by heading to the Silk Street, a huge shopping mall where one can find any and every souvenir. Beijing, China Beijing, ChinaOur next stop was Tinanmen Square… famous for the June Fourth Incident. For some reason, the security going into the square was quite intense. Guards were checking ID’s, patting people down, and going through their bags. As we were getting our Passports ready for the inspection, we were waived through without them even glancing at our ID’s. For some reason the security measures were only for the Chinese, or Asians. Beijing, ChinaBeijing, China Beijing, China Beijing, China Beijing, ChinaBeijing, China Beijing, China Beijing, China, The Forbidden City Beijing, China Beijing, ChinaI had visited the Forbidden City on another trip, so we decided to skip going inside and just admire the outer view. Beijing, ChinaBeijing, ChinaBeijing, ChinaCell phones are getting bigger and bigger these days…Beijing, ChinaWe soon headed over to the Hutong Area (very near to our hotel) to admire the narrow ancient streets of Beijing. Beijing, China Beijing, China Beijing, China Beijing, China Beijing, ChinaWe stepped off the main road to find a place to eat that might be a bit less touristy, and thus cheaper. We found this quaint little restaurant that filled our bellies with delicious Chinese food. Beijing Hutong, ChinaBeijing, ChinaBeijing, ChinaBeijing Hutong, ChinaBeijing, ChinaAlthough the main Hutong area was quite crowded, it was fun to walk around and enjoy the scenery. Beijing, China Beijing, ChinaIt was Jared’s turn to decide what to do next… and he chose to head to the Donghuamen Night Market. Unlike other markets, this one is famous for serving everything from snakes on a stick, to fried scorpion. Beijing, ChinaBeijing, China Beijing, China Beijing, China Beijing, China Beijing, China Beijing, China Beijing, China Beijing, China Beijing, ChinaBeijing, China Beijing, ChinaJared couldn’t resist the opportunity to try one of these delicacies. He chose three nicely squirming scorpions which were cooked in the fryer after being chosen. Beijing, China Beijing, ChinaDelicious? You’ll have to confirm that with him. But in his own words, “they tasted like popcorn.” Hmmm… Beijing, China Beijing, ChinaBeijing, ChinaJared snapped a few more photos of the lovely area we were staying in on our way back to the hotel. Beijing, ChinaBeijing, ChinaSuper 8 Motel… Chinese style!Beijing, ChinaOver all, we had a great time in Beijing. We headed out the next day to catch our flight to our next destination–Hong Kong!

Stay tuned to hear about the wonderful time with had in the bustling city of Hong Kong. 

Lost on the Great Wall of China

After spending time with our friends in Seoul, we headed to the airport and flew to our first destination–Beijing China.Beijing, ChinaIt’s a bit expensive for a U.S. citizen to obtain a Chinese tourist visa, so we decided to go with the free 72 hour layover visa China offers to tourists passing through China to another country (or in our case, Hong Kong). Of course, when visiting China, one must see the Great Wall. Since I had already been to the Great Wall, we wanted to do something a little different this time. We decided it would be spectacular to hike a portion of the wall. After doing (very little) research, we found out that many people hire a guide to take them on a one-day hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu. The hike is supposed to be about 10 kilometers (7 miles), and it should only take about four hours. Hiring a guide sounded dull and expensive, so Jared and I decided to do the hike solo. I mean, how hard could following a huge wall be? We hopped on a bus, and then hired a taxi to take us the rest of the way to the Jiankou Park entrance gate. We had read that it took about an hour to hike to the great wall from the gate. What we didn’t know was that there was no marked trail leading to the wall. No signs, nothing. Lost on the Great WallBig Trip 313 Big Trip 315We had a general idea of the direction, and headed off in search for this big old wall. We would occasionally catch a glimpse of it in the distance, and take the trail that looked as if it were going in the same direction. At one point we came to a sign that read, “This section of the Great Wall is closed to the public.” What does that mean? We didn’t know, but because it indicated the wall was ahead, we bypassed the sign and kept going. Big Trip 312We finally made it.Big Trip 377Big Trip 320 Big Trip 322 And that was when we first realized we were in trouble. You see, we left our hotel when it was dark, and we had no idea the sun would never come out. It was so hazy that we couldn’t even tell which part of the sky was slightly brighter than another. Why would that matter? Well, we needed to hike east. But without the sun, we had no idea which direction was east. Big Trip 326 Big Trip 328Big Trip 346It was freezing cold, literally. After huddling together to avoid freezing to death, we put our thoughts together and decided that we thought the taxi driver had dropped us off on the south side of the wall. If that were the case, we needed to head right. Who knows, maybe we will see someone along the way, or see a sign, or something.Big Trip 349 Big Trip 347We hiked/rock climbed for a few hours on the steep mountain ridge of Jiankou. There were many sections that were so steep, that we could face backwards and rock climb down. If we would have had on harasses, it would have been a breeze. However, free climbing in the freezing cold (with no gloves) was not as glamorous. Big Trip 350Lost on the Great Wall of ChinaLost on the Great Wall of ChinaLost on the Great Wall of ChinaAfter we had hiked for about 2.5 hours, we caught a glimpse of a group of people in the distance. We were thrilled. When we finally caught up to the group of 4 hikers, one of them introduced himself in broken English as a local guide. We asked if we were going in the right direction, and he affirmed that we were. Relieved, we passed them hiked on….Big Trip 375And on…Lost on the Great Wall of ChinaAnd on…Lost on the Great Wall of ChinaAnd around this corner, down that cliff, over that mountain, around that curve… And continued on…Lost on the Great Wall of China(Yes, we had to climb down that!) And on….  After we had been hiking for about 6 hours with no sign of the tourist section of Mutainyu in the distance, we began to doubt our Chinese friends we met along the way. By this time, we had no choice to press on. (By the way, we were too worried for our lives to take any more pictures for the remainder of this so-called adventure.) With our food and water nearly gone, and sunset on it’s way we knew we were in trouble. We had been hiking for almost the whole day, and the entire time, we hadn’t even seen a village in any of the valleys. We came to a section where the wall split, and we took a left because it looked as if it were heading down, and we knew we needed to get off the freezing mountain ridge before dark. After another hour of rough climbing, we finally caught a glimpse of a trail that lead down from the wall and a small village in the distance. We had never been more relieved. With aching feet and knees, we finally reached the trail and followed it to the village. We only saw one car in the village, so we approached the home with the car and begged the owners to drive us back to Beijing (a 2.5 hour drive). After using some google translate on their computer, we were able to communicate our need, and they agreed to let us hire them to drive us back. Wow, after our first day on our “big trip,” we were already ready to go home! Hoping that the worst was behind us, we stuck to our plan and explored the city of Beijing the following day. When we finally made it back to our hotel, we researched the area we were hiking, and found that the taxi driver had dropped us off on the north side of the wall, meaning we were hiking west the whole time. We hiked for over 10 miles in the wrong direction. We also discovered that the section we were hiking is considered to be one of the most dangerous sections of the Great Wall. In fact, at the bottom of one of the “cliffs” we climbed down, we found a large spot of dried blood (where someone had evidently fallen) with a blood trail leading off the wall and down a hiking trail It wasn’t exactly comforting. Anyway, the moral of this story is this… If you are going to hike a deserted section of the Great Wall, bring one, or all of the following:

  • A guide!
  • A map
  • A compass
  • Warm clothes (for winter and early spring)
  • Extra food and water… just in case!

Stay tuned as we slowly post the rest of our adventures. We didn’t bring a laptop with us, so we can only post when we have access to a computer and internet. Next Up: Exploring the City of Beijing!