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Travel, Teach, Live in China

How to Travel Around Hong Kong on a Budget
By:Kent Ninomiya

Hong Kong is a spectacle of sights, sounds and smells. Everything around you bustles with excitement as 7 million people scurry about on their daily business. It is both ultramodern and devoutly traditional. It can also be very expensive if you don't know where to find the bargains. Follow these steps to travel around Hong Kong on a Budget.

Shop around for airfare. Take a look at the online travel agencies then call the airlines directly to see if they can beat the price. Be flexible with your travel dates. It could save you hundreds of dollars to fly mid-week. Cathay Pacific, the airline of Hong Kong, often has the best prices. They also fly to most destinations around Asia, making it easy to have a stopover in Hong Kong while headed elsewhere.

Use mass transit to get around. Hong Kong has a wonderfully efficient train called the Airport Express that takes you from the Hong Kong International Airport to Hong Kong's central business hub. The MTR subway system is air conditioned and efficient. There is also an intricate network of trams and buses covering the entire Hong Kong area. Be sure to take the Star Ferry from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island. The fare is less than a quarter.

Stay at the YMCA. This is without a doubt the best travel bargain in Hong Kong. It is located right next door to the Peninsula Hotel at the tip of Kowloon. The Peninsula is considered one of the finest and most expensive hotels in the world. The YMCA won't cost you nearly as much. It is much more like a hotel than what you might expect a YMCA to be like. You can't beat the location. Book your reservation online. If you want to pay even less for a bed, look for hostels and budget hotels online before you go. The backpacker.net shows ratings from travelers who stayed there so you know what to expect. There's a link below.

Eat as the people of Hong Kong do. If you are staying at the Hong Kong YMCA try their amazing breakfast buffet. It includes some of the best Dim Sum you will ever have. Also keep expenses down by eating at Chinese bakeries. They serve delicious pastries as well as dishes featuring meat and other hearty fare. There is a Chinese bakery on just about every corner in Hong Kong.

Take in the free and cheap sights. Just being in Hong Kong is a cultural experience. Take a double decker bus around Hong Kong island and watch the scenery change. Stop in Aberdeen and take a free ride on a junk to the famous Jumbo floating restaurant. Climb to the top of Victoria Peak and admire the view. Watch the ships sail into Hong Kong Harbor. Join the elderly ladies as they practice Tai Chi in the park. The best sights of Hong Kong are free.

Head to Lan Kwai Fong for night life. The narrow alleys create a maze of night clubs and restaurants that are crowded throughout the night. If you wander around you can find cheap food and drinks. Much of the fun is on the streets as people crawl from one pub to another.

Get out of town for an inexpensive day trip. The New Territories are sparsely populated outlying islands. It has a completely different feel than the densely populated city of Hong Kong. Take a ferry to Lantau Island and admire the Giant Buddha statue. It's the size of a small mountain. You can also take a ferry to Macau. Just like Hong Kong was ruled by the British until the 90's, Macau was ruled by the Portuguese. Macau is much more laid back than Hong Kong but still very interesting. They also have casinos.

Take pictures for souvenirs. They preserve the best memories and they are cheap to take. If you must buy something, head to the Temple Street Night Market. Hundreds of street vendors will sell you just about anything. All prices are negotiable and competition is fierce. Be ready to bargain.

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