Now that I am back, with a more open mind, more knowledge and experience, I was excited to be back. I’ve been to Hong Kong for work a couple of times last year and I couldn’t be more excited to travel with Vina this time around. We were with the Enciso sisters (a.k.a. my favorite bloggers) and the Aranaz family (can someone say family goals?).
Since I live in Quezon City (very far from the airport + traffic combined), I always have to make an extra effort to leave earlier than normal, just to be sure that I will make it to my flight on time. Vina and I booked a 10am flight to Hong Kong to get the most out of our weekend trip. Needless to say, I arrived at the airport as early as 7am. Since Vina lives in Cavite (which is very near NAIA), I forced her to go early as well. I knew at the back of her mind, she was more than willing to go early too so that we can both enjoy the newly built Cathay Pacific Manila Lounge at NAIA 3!
I think everyone can agree with me when I say that we all look forward to traveling, except the part of actually going to the destination. We all have to line up for check-in, security check, immigration, stay in the airport for hours because of a delayed flight—it’s a tedious process. Cathay Pacific believes that travelling well is an important part of living well. When you travel well, your trip can become more memorable, more meaningful, more rewarding.
The Cathay Pacific Manila Lounge is designed to make passengers feel right at home as if they were in their own living room instead of an airport lounge. The warm colors, cozy interiors, the extensive use of plants, designer furniture and natural lighting makes it feel so home-y. What stood out for me was the Noodle Bar (located both at NAIA and HKIA) wherein guests can enjoy a variety of Asian noodles such as dandan mien and wonton noodle soup, all freshly prepared by a chef. You can also enjoy unlimited dim sum! It was definitely the perfect way to kick off a trip to Hong Kong. More than that, you have a huge area for coffee and cocktails (make sure you try their signature smoothie), cheese, cold cuts, bread, etc! There’s also a variety of lounge chairs for you to choose from. Go ahead and choose your own nook, your own little corner. Trust me, you wouldn’t want to leave.
Touchdown Hong Kong! Since the airport is very near Disneyland Resort, we were excited to settle in and get our day started. First, we checked-in at the newly opened Disney Explorers Lodge. When Cathay Pacific told us that we’ll be staying there, I immediately googled it and searched for the hashtag on Instagram (like a true millennial). To my surprise, I could only find scale models and 3D renders of the hotel! Apparently it just opened! I think it’s safe to say that we were the first Filipinos (and bloggers) to check-in at the hotel! Woot!
Disney Explorers Lodge is set up to look like huge lodge filled with artifacts and trinkets collected by a well-travelled man (a.k.a. Mickey Mouse lol). This seven-story hotel celebrates the age of exploration in the early 1920s with artefacts and memorabilia on display both indoors and outdoors. These reflect the cultures of Asia, Oceania, South America and Africa. Disney Explorers Lodge has 750 guest rooms that face either the garden or sea. While you’re checking-in or waiting for your room to be ready, you can start finding hidden Mickeys scattered around the hotel (hint: a ton of them are on the carpet and reception area). The hotel has a safari/outdoorsy feel to it, and you can see that in their four gardens scattered around the hotel. Each garden has a different theme with one main character each (such as the giant bird from the movie Up, the sea turtle from Finding Nemo, the elephant in The Jungle Book and the mandrill in The Lion King).
Here’s another cool thing, when you check-in at Disney Explorers Lodge (or any Disney hotel), you will receive a priority admission pass (fast pass) to selected attractions and seat reservations in Hong Kong Disneyland! This depends on the guests’ hotel room type. Of course, I went a little crazy with the Disney-themed shampoo/conditioner/shower gel and key card (all are free for guests to bring home). Book your stay at Disney Explorers Lodge here.
Just a few tips:
-If you forgot to have your money exchanged to Hong Kong dollars at the airport, you can do it at the hotel lobby, they’re open 24 hours a day.
-Complimentary shuttle service is available between the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel, Disney’s Hollywood Hotel, Disney Explorers Lodge and the Hong Kong Disneyland Park. It departs every 10 to 20 minutes.
-Make sure you check out the gift shop and take advantage of it. There’s a section full of explorer-themed merchandise that’s exclusive to the hotel.
Vina and I are such theme park fans that our first official date was at a local amusement park! Haha! It was only fitting that we make Disneyland the first agenda on our quick Hong Kong escapade. Fun fact: I was invited by Hong Kong Disneyland to stay at the Disneyland Hollywood Hotel and review the newly opened Toy Story-themed attractions in the park back in 2013 (see the blog post here)! 4 years later, I am back along with The Enciso sisters!
Not gonna lie, we had way too much fun at Disney Explorers Lodge that we only made it to the “Disney Paint the Night” parade and the fireworks show (both you should never miss when you’re at Hong Kong Disneyland). Since we’re checked-in at one of the Disney hotels, we made sure to go back first thing in the morning to ride all our favorite attractions! Purchase your Disneyland tickets online here.
Rides/attractions you shouldn’t miss:
Hyperspace Mountain, Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars, RC Racer, Flights of Fantasy Parade, Disney Paint the Night Parade, Fireworks Display, Iron Man Experience and Tech Showcase (new).
As much as we love Disneyland, it was time to go back to the real world (lol). Vina and I extended our stay in Hong Kong for one more night then we took the last flight out the next day. We wanted to spend the next few days in the city. We missed the busy streets, the billboards we couldn’t understand, the smell of street food and so on. Mong Kok was the perfect choice to get all of that. Yes, it is one of Hong Kong’s most congested shopping and residential districts, but don’t let that dishearten you. After all, traveling well is all about discovery. The excitement of finding what’s round the next corner, new faces, new places, new tastes, sounds and smells. This was exactly what Vina and I wanted to experience once we left for the city. Mong Kok is one of the best places to go for bargain hunting and amazing food, and that’s exactly what we were after. We stayed in a cozy boutique hotel, just a few minutes away from Jordan train station. (P.S. Apologies as I decided not to take any more photos while shopping)
Where to go:
Langham Place, Sneaker Street, Ladies Market, Sim City, CMTA Centre, Sai Yeung Choi Street, Temple Street Night Market
I’m so happy Vina and I share the same interests. If I’m her Instagram husband, she’s my Instagram wife (lol). We usually wake up earlier than usual to shoot content for our respective blogs and other social media platforms. After that, we put our cameras down and just live in the moment. For our last day in Hong Kong, we headed to Tsim Sha Tsui because duh, when you’re in Hong Kong, it feels so necessary to immerse yourself in this major tourist hub. TST houses many high-end shops, hotels, cafes and restaurants. Vina and I reserved a lunch date at The Peninsula Hong Kong. After eating their salmon, escargot and puffer fish, I died and went straight to food heaven. It was absolutely one of the best meals of my life. No one could ever compare. Do yourself a favor and try their lunch buffet! (P.S. Again, I apologize for not taking a lot of photos of the food, I had an intimate moment with the salmon that it totally slipped my mind lol)
It’s our last day in Hong Kong and guess what we did? More shopping! Don’t get us wrong, we’re the kind of travellers who love doing as many things as we can in a day and really maximizing our trip. But since we feel like we’ve done all the touristy things in our previous Hong Kong trips already, it was time to sit in coffee shops, walk at our own pace (okay that seems impossible in Hong Kong) and shop till we drop.
Fa Yuen Street is a retail street with shops and hawker stalls selling bargain-priced fashion and casual wear for men and women. Vina was able to buy a lot of cheap and stylish pieces while I spent my remaining travel budget on more street food, gifts for my niece and scored a cheap external hard drive (crossing my fingers that I didn’t buy a fake one lol).
Every great trip must come to an end—but it doesn’t have to stop there. Cathay Pacific makes sure that their first class and business lounges will make you end your trip on high note. Cathay has five (5) business class lounges (The Wing, The Bridge, The Cabin, The Arrival and The Pier) and two (2) First Class lounges. Vina and I arrived in the airport and finished with check-in and security at 7pm (our flight was at 10pm). Since we had a lot of time to spare, we went to the biggest (also the farthest from our gate) lounge which was The Pier.
The Pier is located in Terminal 1, Level 6, near Gate 63, about a 15-20 minute walk from security. The Pier allows for an experience of Hong Kong, with a street-like concept wherein passengers can dine from The Food Hall’s food cart-inspired stalls and the Noodle Bar’s Asian dishes in the “fast lane,” or relax on the bespoke solo chairs in the “slow lane.” There’s even a wide selection of teas served by a tea specialist at the Tea House, and fourteen shower suites and a relaxation room! Vina grabbed her favorite noodles and dim sum while I headed straight to one of the shower rooms. Upon entering the shower room, I was greeted with a sink full of amenities from Aesop. The shower was immaculate and definitely what I needed after a full day of walking the streets of Hong Kong. After a refreshing shower, I ordered an iced coffee and joined Vina for dinner. I wanted to do so many things at the lounge, work on my pending blog posts (I’m sure I would be so productive with that kind of space), stay at the relaxation room, try all the desserts, etc! Yes, I am secretly hoping for a delayed flight.
Time for boarding. Can I stay for a few more minutes?
Book a trip via Cathay Pacific here.