Thursday, November 14, 2013

The one on travelling Hong Kong with small children

Since I came back from Hong Kong, I've received several request to do a short review of my trip and to share travel "tips". Since several of my mates is planning a trip down to HK in December and early 2014, I shall do some community service (like real) and share my 5 days 4 nights travel experience with 3 children in tow.....

1. Check the weather 
Hong Kong is affected by the four seasons. Winter (Dec-Feb), Spring (March-May), Summer (June to August) and Autumn (September- Nov). According to the travel blogs, autumn is the best time to visit Hong Kong as it is not hot or cold with sunshine. I can attest to that as I find the weather very comfortable to travel in and despite the sun, it was not to humid. Typhoons seasons is in May - November so keep that in mind before booking your tickets.

2. Pre book/buy your tickets online
I bought my Ocean Park and Disneyland tickets at a discount from this site Hotel in Hong Kong, not only did we save some money on the purchases we also save a lot of queuing time, especially if you plan to travel during the weekends.

3. Octopus Card
You can buy purchase octopus card/ airport express card package at the counter right outside the Arrival Hall, the staff speaks English so they can help you choose the perfect package for your needs. We depended a lot on the MTR to get from one place to another. Even if you're traveling with children, the public transportation system is very comfortable and trains usually pass each station frequently (every 3-5 minutes). They don't accept credit card so make sure you have enough HKD to cover the expenses.

Make sure you do not dispose the card and return it to the Airport Express Counter at the end of your trip and collect your HKD 50 deposit refunds. For more information check out this link MTR Tickets

Ranya enjoying her train ride with daddy :)

4. Traveller's Sim Card
I did not subscribe to Celcom roaming, so I bought myself a broadband sim card from Smart Tone to ensure that I'm connected to the people back home (Actually I did not care much about the people back home, I'm just hooked to the internet haha) The sim card is HKD80 (around RM40), and the maximum charge per day is  HKD 24 (around RM 8 per day). There are other brands offering the same packages for consumption.

5. Halal Food
I won't say that halal food is easily found in Hong Kong but it is available. There's halal restaurant in Disneyland (Tahitian Terrace and Explorer's Club), Ocean Park (Lakeside Restaurant) and Airport T1 (Popeyes). Anyway while restaurant hunting and if you fail to find the venue, just remember to look up, based on my experience some of the restaurants is situated in 1-2 floor and may not be accessible to strollers.

Since out hotel suite has a small kitchenette we brought food from home like packets rendang, curry, cereals, soups etc.  If you have small children do remember to bring an extra packet or two of milk formula if needed and do bring some of their favorite snacks like cookies or treats for them to munch in between rides since we can't just readily buy anything we see in the cafe's or stalls (this is mostly to minimize temper tantrums due to hunger :p) Chocs like MnMs sold in 7Eleven do have halal signs so that is mostly safe to feed the kiddies (though not advisable because they'll be on sugar rush haha)

Check out this page for more info : Halal Restaurant List

p/s: mineral water in Hong Kong is crazy expensive (around HKD 20 per bottle =RM8). My advice is to bring empty water bottle from home and fill it up in the hotel. Most restaurants don't mind you bringing in your own water.

6. Travelling with small children
There's no such thing as "traveling light" when you have a pre-schooler and 2 toddlers tagging along. We practically brought everything but the kitchen sink with us :p You don't have to actually bring EVERYTHING with you as you can buy things like diapers in case you run out but just keep in mind most things in HK is a tad more pricey than in Malaysia.

Anyway I find Hong Kong to be a pretty child friendly place. They have "family restrooms" in the malls, airports and theme parks which means daddy's can come in and help change diapers too which I find very handy (imagine going in and out of the toilet 3 times.. horror to horror). You should bring your own strollers to ensure your child comfort but I suggest a small umbrella stroller because most of the streets and doorways are quite narrow for bulky double strollers.

If you plan to visit Disneyland I strongly suggest that you opt for the 2 days tickets instead of 1. Reason being the park is quite big and it would be very tiring and rushed if you plan to do a one day tour (especially if you want to go on the rides and since 80% of the rides are kid friendly I'm sure you would want your little darling to go on all of them) Anyway it is just an additional of RM50 so I say it is truly worth it :) 

If possible plan your visit to the theme parks on weekdays. At least you can avoid the crowd and minimize queuing time which can take up to 30 minutes or more. We were so lucky that we only waited up to a maximum of 10 minutes in both Ocean Park and Disneyland because we were there on work days.

First in line for the Disneyland Express Tour :)
Be flexible and be ready to change your perfectly scheduled itinerary on short notice. Alhamdullilah our trip went smoothly despite some minor temper tantrums due to overtiring and over excitedness :p I also found out on this trip that the twins especially Ranya are nervous fliers. I'm so spoil by Ryan being an awesome traveler that I expected the same experience from the girls. Thank god for 3 Tabs, smart phones and an Ipod for distractions during the 4 hours flight.

For more pictures and some commentaries on our trip, please check out the following links:
Hong Kong Day 1
Hong Kong Day 2
Hong Kong Day 3
Hong Kong Day 4&5


Sha said...

You guys looked like you had so much fun. Didn't go shopping ke? where's the pictures of the loots?

~f@R~ said...

Shopping was mostly done in Disneyland,I end up not going to the Factory Outlet :( which was a waste and since most brands can be found in Malaysia at around the same price, I didn't bother laaaa....