Beef Up Your Stash: A Traveling Pinoy's Budget Rundown to Hongkong

Friday, December 30, 2011

Travelers on a Shoestring Budget
I consider myself as a kuripot traveler -- been to a few places this year (mostly in the Visayas area) in a shoestring budget. This post, however, recounts the expenses I incurred during my first trip outside the country. This is actually the first of the series of my travel posts to Hongkong so if you have comments, suggestions and tips up your sleeve, feel free to leave a comment below.

Having said that, here's a rundown and a few tips on how much your wallet should have (more or less) for your trip. Note that some of the figures in HKD below are converted to Philippine Peso ($1 HDK = approximately PHP 5.90).

Securing your Passport
First things first: you need to have a passport to travel abroad. If you don't have a passport, you need to secure one. I got mine for PHP 1,700 last July through a travel agency but you can go directly to DFA and have it processed for only PHP 900.00 or PHP 1,200.00 (express). Some of the passport requirements are the following:

• NSO Birth Certificate;
• Original Valid ID;
• Other supporting documents like your transcript of records;

Read more about the requirements here.

Look out for Airline Ticket Promos
The second thing you need is, of course, plane tickets. Plan your trip ahead of time and watch out for airline promos all-year round.

I bought my Cebu-Hongkong ticket for only PHP 767 way back in June 2011 -- thanks to Cebu Pacific's Piso Fare promo. My return trip cost PHP 2,931 via Airphil Express.

Tip: You can opt not to have a baggage check-in going to Hongkong to save money. I advise you travel light and only carry the things you really need but going back to the Philippines, you should opt for a baggage check-in since you'll be carrying a lot of pasalubong for Tita Baby, Tito Boy, and Inday (unless Inday already worked in Hongkong).

Philippine Travel Tax and Airport Terminal Fee
Before you check-in at the airport, you need to pay PHP 1,620.00 for the Philippine Travel Tax and PHP 550.00 for the Mactan International Airport terminal fee. If you're leaving via Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), terminal fee is PHP 750.00.

Oceanpark and Disneyland
Your trip will not be complete if you don't plan to visit Oceanpark and Hongkong Disneyland -- definitely a must see in Hongkong! Most hotels or hostels sell tickets at a discounted price but standard rate for Oceanpark is $280 HKD (PHP 1,652) and $350 (PHP 2,065) for Disneyland.

If you want to go to other places, be sure to add a few more bills to your stash.

A Place to Stay
Our group stayed in a budget hostel (Dragon Hostel) located in Argyle Street, Mongkok, Kowloon District, which cost $600 HKD (PHP3,540) per night ($150 HKD per person per night).

The neighborhood is great (near to a bus station, train station, and a few shopping places) but the room is quite small. The staff are very friendly, too, especially Steven.

I'll be writing a separate review for the place but for the meantime, you can check out the reviews of Dragon Hostel from

Pocket Money
The amount of money that you will bring to Hongkong depends on the purpose of you travel. If you're going there to shop, you need to bring a lot of money. Otherwise, a PHP 5,000 pocket money is enough to get you by. This amount will take care of your daily budget for meals and transportation (good for 4 days).

So all in all, I spent at least PHP 15,710.00 (excluding pocket money) for a five-day vacation to Hongkong. Come to think of it, this amount is roughly the same if you're going on a vacation to Boracay or Palawan. Tama?

Now that you have an idea how much you're going to spend on your trip, do you want to know how to survive Hongkong's subway system or how to preserve your chastity in Hongkong? Watch out for these travel tips next month.

Happy new year, guys!

Check out some of my posts about Hongkong:


Quikcilver said...

Hi there! Same here... this coming Jan 14 will be my first ever travel abroad. I really dont like going abroad because I know it will be very costly, Travel Tax pa lang panalo na. I am trying to get an idea on how much pocket money will I bring (just for my pasalubong and other expense since this trip is an incentive to us). My boss wants to have Disney USBs, my cousin wants a bag, etc etc...

Your write-up is informative, btw. It kinda help me in my "dilemma" hehehe. Thanks!

The Lord said...

Thanks, Quick! Enjoy your travel!

Jaz said...

Nice blog! I love this hostel very much. I will definitely visit and stay to that place.

Mareiro Hotel at Meireles Beach

The Lord said...

Thanks, Jaz.

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Arron Cotterell said...

I must remember to show this to my friends who travel on a budget - Oh and I am looking forward to your post "How to Survive Hongkong's Subway System (to be published soon)" - I love the MTR so much and I am excited about my next trip to HK which will be Christmas this year :)

Serviced Flats Hong Kong said...

This is a very nice blog here we get a lot of information regarding hong kong travel.

mina thapa said...

Special discount for Chinese New year
Poon Hill trek is Nepal’s most popular easy-trek destination. It is situated north of the lake city of Pokhara and just below the mighty Annapurna Range in central Nepal. From this summit, at 3210m, over 60 peaks higher than 6000m can be seen at a glance: including the three giants of Dhaulagiri (8167m), Annapurna I (8091m) and Manaslu (8163m) – ranked 7th, 10th and 8th of the world’s highest peaks. The sacred mountain of Machhapuchhare (the fish tail, 6997m) stands guard in front of the range.
Our circular 5 days Poon hill trek leads you through the Himalayan foothills on ancient paths linking ridge villages carved by the waters pouring from the glaciers above. Terraced farmland is interspersed with ancient forests of rhododendron, oak, maple, pine and bamboo. The peoples of this region have embraced tourism and always offer a warm welcome, clean accommodation and a variety of tasty dishes to satisfy both local and ‘foreign’ palates.
From Kathmandu, a 25m flight or a 6-7 hour bus ride takes you to Pokhara, a thriving commercial and industrial centre with a wide range of hotels and enticing shops. A short drive through the foothills takes you to the start of the trek at 1070m. Two fairly easy days of trekking lead to the large village of Ghorepani. An early morning climb to the summit of Poon Hill (3210m) should be rewarded by a magnificent sunrise highlighting the peaks to the north.
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Two more days of walking, with plenty of chances to admire the mountains from different vantage points, lead to the second large village of Ghandruk. The route on the final day follows the major Modi Khola that carries melt water from the ring of peaks in the Annapurna Sanctuary that eventually pour into the Ganges River in India.
Spring (March - May) and autumn (September- November) are the most popular seasons, but we offer this trek throughout the year. All you need is a good pair of boots, a day pack, warm clothing, sleeping bag and camera. Our Poon hill trekking includes transport, accommodation, meals, drinking water and showers.

mina thapa said...

Annapurna Base Camp Trek is scenically the most spectacular trek we offer in the Annapurna region. The view of the range from Pokhara is the view that will tower above you from the base camp. It follows the course of the Modi Khola up the gorge cut by river from the Annapurna South glacier and leads to a spectacular basin whose walls are formed by the ring of glacial peaks of the main range with the dramatic Machhapuchhare on the right flank.
This Annapurna Base Camp trekking begins north of the central city of Pokhara which is reached by a 6-7 hour bus ride of a 20 minute flight from Kathmandu. It begins at the village of Nayapul at just 1090m (1½ hours drive from Pokhara) and climbs gradually up the Modi Khola Valley through natural forests of oak, rhododendron, pine and bamboo. Villages are sited on ridges high above the river where slopes are gentle enough for terraced farming.
The climax of the ABC trek is reached in the spectacular Annapurna Sanctuary amphitheatre where you will first pass the Machhapuchhare (Fish Tail) Base Camp (3700m) en route to ABC (4130m). Here you are surrounded by an immense and breathtaking wall of rock and ice reaching heights from 6500 – 8091m and dramatised by closer rocky outcrops rising above the U-shaped valley gouged out by glacier. Cloud frequently forms in the late morning making for enticing glimpses of an ever changing landscape: at sunrise it is frequently still and clear offering viewers / photographers a surfeit of possibilities.
The downward journey only requires two or three nights with one spent at Jhinu Danda for a visit to the hot springs. The last morning requires a short trek to Phedi and a half hour drive back to your hotel in Pokhara.
Spring (March - May) and autumn (September - November) are the most popular seasons, but we can offer this trek throughout the year;Teahouse accommodation is plentiful and a variety of Nepali, Tibetan, Indian and Continental dishes are readily available. This 7 days Annapurna Base Camp Trek is thus suitable for anyone who is moderately fit and adventurous. All you will need is a good pair of boots, warm clothing, a sleeping bag and your camera. Our trek includes all accommodation, meals, drinking water and Hot howers.
Annapurna base camp trek
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Outline Itinerary
Day 01: Arrive Kathmandu (1,300m/4,264 ft)
Day 02: Kathmandu valley sightseeing & trek preparation (1,300m/4,264 ft)
Day 03: Drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara (9,10m/2,986ft), 5-6 hrs drive
Day 04: Drive to Nayapul and Trek to Ghandruk (1,950m/6,398ft) 1½ hrs bus 5-6 hrs. trek
Day 05: Ghandruk – Chhomrong (2,210m/ 7,249ft) 5-6 hrs.
Day 06: Chhomrong - Himalaya Hotel (2,920m/9,578 ft) 6-7 hrs walk
Day 07: Himalaya Hotel – Annapurna Base Camp (4,130m/13,546ft) 6-7 hrs.
Day 08: Annapurna Base Camp - Sinuwa (2,360m/7,740 ft) 6-7 hrs.
Day 09: Sinuwa - Jhinu Danda (1,780m/5,859 ft) – Landruk (1,565m/5,133ft) 6-7 hrs
Day 10: Landruk – Phedi and drive to Pokhara (9,10m/2,986ft) 5-6 hrs trek and 30 minutes drive.
Day 11: Pokhara - Kathmandu 5-6 hrs drive.
All flights Kathmandu/Pokhara/Kathmandu also offered
Day 12: Departure
Transfer to international airport and fly onward destination.
For more fantastic ideal trip to extend your valued holiday in Nepal, from riding elephant in Chitwan to tours in Tibet and Bhutan, please follow the link.

mina thapa said...

Poon Hill Sunrise Trek to view the spectacular peaks of the Annapurna Himal in central Nepal will offer you the perfect ‘first adventure’ and taste of the magnificent Himalayan trekking-world that Nepal offers. While not climbing higher than 3210m, the views from Poon Hill, and other high ridges along this circular route, will create unforgettable memories of this fascinating region.

Beginning at the comfortable altitude of 1100m the trail follows the ridges created by the Bhurungdi Khola and takes you through terraced farmlands and bamboo forests – along with friendly local people as they move from village to village on their daily tasks.

This Poon Hill Sunrise trekking, second day passes through ancient bird-filled forests of rhododendron, oak, maple and pine as you climb to the prosperous village of Ghorepani. From here, an early morning climb to the summit of Poon Hill offers breathtaking views of some of Nepal’s highest and most dramatic peaks, including three of the world’s 14 8000m peaks: Dhaulagiri, Annapurna 1 and Manaslu.

The ridges between Ghorepani and Ghandruk offer yet more views of the high peaks in addition to your experience of the green middle hills and terraced farmlands. The trail from Ghandruk back to Nayapul and your bus to Kathmandu follows the rushing Modi Khola that carries glacial waters from the Annapurna Base Camp to the Ganges.

Spring (March - May) and autumn (September - November) are the most popular seasons, but we offer this trek throughout the year. All you need is a good pair of boots, a day pack, warm clothing, sleeping bag and camera. Our Annapurna Sunrise trek includes transport, accommodation, meals, drinking water and showers.

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Nepal trekking and tour
mustang trek
Evererest Trek
langtang valley trek
Annapurna base camp trek

Few people come to Nepal once: if you have enjoyed this trek, enquire about further routes that would suit your degree of fitness before you leave.

Outline Itinerary:

Day 01: Arrive Kathmandu (1,300m/4,264 ft)

Day 02: Kathmandu valley sightseeing & trek preparation (1,300m/4,264 ft)

Day 03: Drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara (910m/2,986ft), 5-6 hrs drive

Day 04: Drive to Nayapul and trek to Tikhedhunga (1,495m/4,905 ft), 3-4 hrs.

Day 05: Trek to Ghorepani (2,850m/9,350ft). 5-6 hrs.

Day 06: Hike Poon hill (3210m/10528ft), and trek to Tadapani (2,520m/8268ft), 6-7 hrs.

Day 07: Trek to Ghandruk (1,950m/6,398ft), 3-4 hrs

Day 08: Ghandruk to Pokhara (910m/2,986ft), 5 hrs walk & 1 hrs drive

Day 09: Pokhara - Kathmandu (1300m/4264ft), 5-6 hrs drive

All flights Kathmandu/Pokhara/Kathmandu are offered

Day 10: Departure

Transfer to international airport and fly to onward destination


For more fantastic ideal trip to extend your valued holiday in Nepal with white water rafting, from riding elephant in Chitwan to tours in Tibet and Bhutan please, follow the link.

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Mera Peak (6654m) Mera Peak is one of the well-known and the uppermost trekking peaks in Nepal. It rises from the south of Everest and leads the turning tip between the natural and profoundly woody valleys of the Hongu Drangkas as well as Hinku. It is a straightforward snow ascends on the way to beautiful Mera Peak but at times big cracks on the way hurdles. As we go up to Mera Peak keeps ascend up to High Base Camp set at 5385m and higher one at 5800m. Nepal Planet Treks & Expedition GPO 4453, Pakanajol, Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal Phone: +977-1- 4252196 Hotline: +977-9841278579 (NJ) & 9841613822 (Sanjib) Email:

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Nepal Planet Trek and Expedition said...

The Gokyo Chola Pass trek is a travel to land of Everest Himalayas where the tourist witness the Gokyo valley and the Cho-La Pass which are the unspoiled and untamed nature of the world. The Gokyo valley is the highest valley of the globe and Cho-La Pass is the highest pass of the world used to cross Himalayas to reach another village in the borders of Nepal and China. These regions are the last place where human - See more at:

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