Departure for Hong Kong

Trip Start Dec 28, 2011
Trip End Dec 31, 2011

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I first went to Hong Kong in 2008 during which a massive typhoon hit. This caused everything to shut down for a day and a half and I was unable to goto Macau. Now I have 30,000 OneWorld air miles expiring with Cathay/American Airlines, so I cashed them for a return flight Busan to Hong Kong as all the Cathay flights goto their hub in Hong Kong.

Cathay uses local regional airline Dragonair for flights from Busan. As I was using airmiles dates were blocked off for new years so I had to fly on the 28th and return on the 31st, so unable to stay for new years celebrations. Also my departure time from Busan was 8am which meant a 6am check in. This would also mean I would have to goto Busan the night before as there was no mode of transport from Daegu to arrive for the early morning check in.

Wednesday night I took a train from Daegu to Busan Gupo station for 6000w ($5.50). My plan was to meet my friend for dinner then find a cheap motel nearby. He asked me to walk over one stop from Gupo to Daekcheon which is the interchange of two lines and has more restaurants. 

We ended up at Han's Deli where we had a seafood rice after they mixed up our tomatoe spagettis, and they found it quite funny that I could talk korean. I then needed to find a motel for my early morning flight. The first one we walked into said 25,000w ($22) which is the cheapest I've ever seen so didnt see the need to shop around as the room was nice enough for one night.

This was in the bar area of this neighbourhood and the motel had a pink light in the room for a romantic feel. There were also complimentary condoms and another condom vending machine inside the room. Thats funny since the motel was run by two sweet old ladies.

The mattress had a heating pad which made it quite hot during the night, I needed a drink, and had to keep adjusting to lower settings. Luckily this kept me from a deep sleep so I was able to get up for the early train to the station. 

The first train from Daekcheon subway was 5.47am for 1200w ($1). This got me to the transfer station to the Gimhae Light Rail elevated line which goes to the airport, where I got the 6.05am train for 1300w ($1.10). This was a driverless automated train and I was at the airport at 6.15, plenty of time for check in which I had also done online.

Here is an earlier entry with description and pics of Busan Gimhae Airport

It was a 3.30 min flight to Hong Kong and I was able to get some more sleep. There was also a stern warning about smoking in washrooms would be a $50,000 HKD fine ($6000). The descent was over the ocean so I didnt get to see any of the city skyline.

At the airport I wanted to buy a topup octopus card like my last trip to use on the buses and trains. The information desks were gone from last time and they just had kiosks to buy train tickets. Eventually I was able to find the right desk. 

The octopus card was $150 HKD ($18) but I didnt realize that $50 was a card deposit and cant be used as a fare, so only a $100 balance. Outside were the double decker buses to take me downtown, for cheaper than the airport train.

I was able to get the front seat at the top of the double decker. Bus fare was $33 HKD ($4) and took about 45 mins. It was a nice feeling of being back in england with the double decker bus, road markings, roundabouts, and yellow lines. I also had my warm clothes from Korea which is near zero while Hong Kong was about 22 degrees.

My hostel was at chung king mansions which is where I stayed in 2008. This is four apartment towers connected by a street level shopping arcade. This complex has a very bad reputation for some terrible guesthouses, although the one I stayed at in 2008 was nice and this one was also nice from the photos and reviews.

Another thing to be careful of is the touts hanging about the lobby trying to take you to the wrong guesthouse. I thought they would ignore me as I dont look western, but they were waiting at the bus stop for people with luggage. They even tried to call me over in urdu but I just continued to ignore them and keep walking.

The hostel was easy to get to if you follow their directions and dont talk to anyone. The room was very clean and modern but your first impression is that its a prison cell as its so small. There was barely enough room to swing the door open, the room was only 2m wide by 3m long, the bed was an ironing table with room to put your luggage below.

This sounds quite bad but its actually one of the nicer ones in the building. All rooms in Hong Kong are quite small and thats part of the charm. It had a flat screen tv, A/C, celing fan, smoke and fire alarms, hot water boiler and ensuite bathroom (which was actually the size of an airplane toilet stripped to the walls with a shower hose included). There were three air pumps to ventilate the room as no windows.

Now I could strip out my winter clothes, drop my backpack, and go exploring.

Free counters!

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