Travel: Our Macau/Hong Kong Getaway (6D/6N)!

Follow our 6 day, 6 night adventure in these lands of amazing food, awesome culture and astounding sights. See how we ate, shopped and laughed our way through Macau and Hong Kong! :)

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Travel: Macau/HK Day #2 (cont.) - Taking the CotaiJet, Wan Chai Apartment

After stuffing ourselves silly with glorious, hot egg tarts in the morning, we went back to Best Western Taipa Hotel to check out and start making our way over to Hong Kong!

Ferry seems to be the preferred mode of transport for locals and tourists alike to get from Macau to Hong Kong and vice versa, judging by the frequency of these ferries. It's definitely cheaper compared to flying, and if you add up immigration and baggage time to the actual time of the flight, I daresay the ferry's heaps faster too! :D

Best Western provides shuttle service to the two terminals in Macau - the Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal (more commonly known as the Taipa Temporary Ferry Terminal) located in Taipa and the Macau Outer Harbour Terminal located in the Peninsula. The hotel shuttle service leaves every hour on the hour in the day, and not as frequent in the evenings.

A bit of caution is necessary whilst taking ferries, because both Macau terminals operate to different stops in Hong Kong respectively. So, take time to research on which ferry terminal you would like to stop at in Hong Kong because there are different locations i.e. to stop on Hong Kong Island itself (the one in purple in the map above), or on the Kowloon side (yellow).

The ferry awaiting its passengers at the docks.
For us, our Hong Kong accommodation was in Wan Chai, which is in Hong Kong Island so we took the CotaiJet ferry from the Taipa Terminal, which would stop us at the Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal at the Shun Tak Commercial Centre in Sheung Wan. From there, the Sheung Wan MTR station is just a few escalator rides down. Really convenient :)

The roomy and comfy CotaiJet interior!
I actually quite enjoyed the ferry ride (costing us MOP 153) - it's very spacious and the seats are pretty plush, making it a far more enjoyable ride than AirAsia (no offense :p)! However, the ride can get a bit choppy, so if you're prone to getting seasick, stock up on those travel sickness pills and maybe try to get some shut-eye on the hour-long ride.

We'd also read on Travel Wiki on how there might be charges for baggage check-in, but we didn't encounter anything like that. The ferry wasn't full (probably due to a CotaiJet ferry leaving every half hour) and it has ample baggage areas as well as overhead compartments like a plane so there was no need for baggage check in of any sort for us. :)

An hour later, we reached Hong Kong, excited and ready for the next part of our adventure! The initial plan was to alight at the terminal and catch a train and walk to the apartment we booked, but there was too much baggage in between the five of us and so we decided to just take a cab from the terminal to our apartment on Wan Chai Road.

Busy midday roads in Hong Kong Island and the cool trams!
Most, if not all cabs in Hong Kong take 5 passengers excluding the driver, but we thought we'd have to take two cabs, no thanks to all the bags we had with us (my bag in particular was very big and heavy :p *shy*). 
To our surprise, the first driver we flagged down agreed to take us all! It was quite a funny sight because the boot wouldn't shut so it was tied down, with one in the front and four of us in the back with all our hand carries on our laps. It's a miracle the cab could move! Definitely a memory for keeps, that one :)

A cramped joyride later, we finally made it to Wan Chai Road, taking about 15-20 minutes in the midday traffic. Finding the apartment was really easy, the cab driver took the address from us and needed no additional directions.

Now, you must be wondering, what apartment?

The exterior of our apartment block, looks old outside, but our unit was awesomely cozy on the inside.
Well, a little after we booked our flights to Macau on quite a whim in the middle of AirAsia's zero fare madness, we spent a lot of time fretting about how much exactly accommodation was going to cost us.

Staying for four nights in the heart of Hong Kong wouldn't have been cheap. In a flash of brilliance by Adam (and his  pal, Google :p) he chanced upon this website run by a friendly American named Bill who lists down short vacation stays all over Hong Kong on his website. Adam even emailed him to ask about the Wan Chai apartment before we booked it, and he promptly replied. (So, thanks Bill! :))

We got a true taste of living in a pigeon-hole. =D
There had been no reviews on this Wan Chai apartment we were interested in, but the pictures of the apartment looked legitimate and clean, albeit being a little small. Adam emailed the owner, Andy, and within the course of a few emails, managed to book the place - costing us only about RM 60-70 per person per night. :)

I grew up watching TVB so I really enjoyed the authentic, old-school charm of our apartment block. The lift had no open/close buttons on the inside! After you get in, the doors will stay open unless you press a floor, or someone else in the building calls for the lift. :p

Each room has enough space for the bed and
not much else!

Just big enough for two, but no blankets!
Although the building exterior looks worn and old, the inside of the unit was very clean and well-lit. A one-time fee of USD50 is charged for professional cleaners to come before the stay, so that keeps everything spick and span!

(P/S - Ample clean towels are provided, but there are NO blankets or quilts! It's definitely advisable to bring your own, or if it's too bulky then buy one in Hong Kong. Trust us - you don't want to endure so many nights of freezing air-con without a blanket!)

Cooking is allowed, but we didn't do any of that during our trip, save for a few bowls of instant noodles at the end of our trip. =D

Although advertised to sleep 6 people, we think 4-5 is the best number for this apartment. That's because each room can only fit 2 people at most, and others will have to sleep outside.The sofa bed is best for 1 person, so anyone else will be on the floor. Not a big deal for those who don't mind roughing it out; just something to be aware of. The best part: free wi-fi! Lots of tweeting / whatsapping / facebooking / googling going on. :D

It worked out great for us; it was a more economical option compared to hotels (which cost quite a bit in Hong Kong) plus, it was nice to be staying together instead of being holed up in individual rooms. Good cheap short term vacation apartment if you're wondering where to stay in Hong Kong during your holiday.

(P/S - This being a private apartment, you won't find it on normal hotel or travel websites. This is actually listed on Craigslist before Bill linked it in his website. If you would like to get in touch with the owner directly, drop us an email and we'll pass you his contact details.

After loitering around the apartment and catching our breath going through the afternoon's itinerary, it was time to begin the great HK adventure! But that's a story for another day... :)


CotaiJet | Site

Visiting Hong Kong Website | Site
Great list of short term vacation apartments

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