Well, I always start with research,then book, then research, buy a map, then research, and more research. So yes, you got it right, the secret is to research. Start off with viewing websites such as virtuatourist and lonely planet. These two offer tips for going about your destination and you can book online with them. But I don't book with either one. With VT, I am able to save my travel guides to a certain folder which is exclusive for a particular destination. You'll have to be a member to do that. Anyway, membership is free. I read travel guides and ask questions in the forum. The guys at vt (I'm a member too you know) are really accommodating and will try to help in anyway they can.
After I have made my temporary IT, I try to check out the prices. I won't expound on this as I have written a blog about it so do read the other posts. the resources I have for booking flights include Trip Advisor, Booking.com, cheaperthanhotels.com, Expedia.com, Asiatravel, ctrip.com, and Hostelworld.com. Hostelworld and booking.com have hostels listed for the budget conscious travellers which we are.
Next, I read more on the places of interest. For Hong Kong, I found THKA and the Hong Kong tourism Board to be of so much use. THKA offers a local's way to go around hong kong, saving the traveller money from taking cabs and suggests walks that can be done by themselves. The Hong Kong Tourism Board gives you more options to include in your IT attractions that you can visit for free such as the museums that are free on wednesdays and tuesdays, heritage walks, free chinese junk ride, free visit to a theater, and the MTR-Ocean park package (which gives you a free ride).
I don't find Hong Kong cheap at all. So, because we have 8 days and 7 nights to spend for our holiday, I've decided to include both Macau and Zhuhai in our IT too. These two places are also interesting because they give another perspective of the modern China - Macau for the Portuguese-cantonese culture and Zhuhai for the beach, the chinese palace and shopping! Well, Shopping mainly because according to my sources, Zhuhai is the place where you can get cheap goods (mostly unbranded and imitations though). Cheaper than Shenzhen and way way lower than Hong Kong.
We need a visa to go to zhuhai. So, instead of getting a chinese visa from here which will cost us 1,500 php each, I've discovered that we can actually get them at either Macau or Hong Kong. It only takes a few hours to secure the visa and is good for single entry and exit at zhuhai only. This costs about 750 php which will save us 50%. Also, Zhuhai hotels cost only about 30 to 50% of the hotel prices in HK and Macau for the same hotel star rating. Jumbo Hotel costs only 30 USD per night and it's even a 4 star hotel (5 star even according to some).
If you've been following my blog you'd know that I gave myself a 25k challenge for the whole Macau, HK and Zhuhai trip. So far so good. I've still managed to keep the costs to 21k including the ferry trip which costs around 4,500 php for all 3 of us, and the chinese visa. It is a good thing that the main purpose of the trip is to orient my daughter with chinese history and culture so we can actually stay out of Disneyland. Well, quite frankly, she's not so interested in going because she says it's too small when compared to the disneyland parks she's been to. That saves me at least 180 USD. plus, the places she wants to see are either free or cheap with the exception of the Ocean park which is not that expensive either.
I guess that's that for now. I'll let you know my final IT before I leave. Check back in when you can.
For more info, please visit:
Travel Hong Kong Attractions
This site offers you an ultimate virtual guide on how to get there, to the Hong Kong attractions and where else you can go from there. Save your time and money to your Hong Kong journey, know before you go.