I visited Hong Kong mainly to meet & catch up with my close friends Payal & Siddharth and to take a break from being a new mommy. I spent around 12 days in this beautiful ‘Asia’s World City’ and was mighty impressed by many things – safety for travelers, especially solo female travelers, easy public transportation, heritage & culture, great outdoors and ofcourse partying!!
I realised that, though, there are many Indian tourists visiting Hong Kong, most of them opt for Tour Packages (Group or Couple). After coming back from the trip, I did a quick research on the Hong Kong tour packages on offer by major travel companies in India and realized that it makes more financial sense to plan your own Hong Kong Trip – I spent almost the same amount on my solo travel to Hong Kong for 12 days, as the tour packages were charging Indian Travelers for 5 days/4 night Hong Kong Tour Package. So, for the benefit of my Indian travelers, here are my tips to plan your own solo travel to Kong Kong.
1. Book Flights in advance for Cheap Tickets – Flight Tickets to Hong Kong from India are not very expensive anyways. Booking flights in advance (in case you have decided on the dates of travel) makes complete sense. When I started looking at flight options 3 months in advance, return tickets were costing around 32,000 INR. However, when I booked around one and half month in advance, the return flight tickets cost me 36,000+ INR. The flight costs are one of the main heads of travel and for Hong Kong, this will for the bulk of your travel cost.
2. Hong Kong has inexpensive /Cheap Accommodations’ – While I had the advantage of having friends who are Hong Kong Residents and stayed with them (and therefore saved on accommodations costs), there are many cheap or value for money accommodation options, such as hostel, serviced apartments and vacation rentals. Also, you can check out host sharing websites such as couchsurfer, which provide safe hosting with locals worldwide. A good tip for choosing your budget accommodation would be to check out the neighborhood and connectivity to Metro (or MTR as it’s called in Hong Kong). My friends stay in Kennedy Town and its is a nice little suburb well connected with MTR; while strolling in the town, I saw many service apartments for rent, so it is one place I would personally recommend for safe and cheap accommodation.
3. Superb Public Transportation – I traveled everywhere in Hong Kong (even to the outlying Lamma Island) by public transport. Hong Kong has varied public transport modes with excellent multi-modal connectivity. There (you can check out my detailed post on public transportation in Hong Kong). There are apps available to help navigate the public transportation for both locals and travelers; I had loaded MTR app for easy navigation via Hong Kong MTR Metro and it was a valuable guide to travelling in Hong Kong. I also got myself the Octopus Card, which is an integrated card for all public transportation (MTR, Buses, Trams and Ferries), so there was no hassle of buying tickets at the many counters. The Octopus card can also be used at lot of fast joints and department stores for shopping; I used it for grocery & snack shopping in Seven Eleven Stores and
4. Cheap and Varied food options including vegetarian for Travelers – I am a
vegetarian and my husband Hong Kong was constantly teasing me that I won’t get anything to eat except at my friends’ home during my Hong Hong travel. I am so happy to prove him wrong and not only that, I thoroughly enjoyed a wide range of world cuisines in Hong Kong; I would write separate detailed post on Vegetarian Travelers’ Food Guide in Hong Kong. But yes, the best experience was having home made pakoras at my friends’ place over tea! Hong Kong has many cheap but delicious food joints. Moreover, if you are staying in service apartment or vacations rental with kitchenette option, you can buy your own groceries and make yourself a meal. Seven Eleven, Mannings, Marks & Spencer Food and couple of other Departmental Store Chains have variety of pre-cooked, read to eat as well as fresh produce; one can use Octopus Card for payment while shopping at many of these grocery chains.
5. Use Discover Hong Kong Website (www.discoverhongkong.com) for planning travel – The Hong Kong Tourism official website :- www.discoverhongkong.com is a superb website, having a comprehensive and easy to navigate information on Hong Kong. I researched a lot on the website and found precise information. The website not only has information on the attractions but also links and contact numbers on the associated tour/travel experience packages for specific activities (such as if you wish to take star ferries, then there are links and contact numbers for that). What I most liked about the site was it was precise information on how to reach any destination using public transport; in fact I followed their directions on using public transport for most of the destinations I visited in Hong Kong.
If you are solo traveler from India, especially woman solo traveler to Hong Kong, it makes complete financial sense to plan your own trip here. I say chuck the tour packages and Plan your own travel to Hong Kong – it’s definitely value
for money any day!!!