Hongkong - Macau Trip (5 days and 4 nights) For a Family of 3

Planning on an out of the country break this holiday season? Choosing which country to visit isn't a walk in the park especially if you're travelling on a budget. For us, we chose the one that was more economical although we considered paying Europe a visit. LoL. You might want to try our 5 days and 4 nights wedding anniversary escapade in Hongkong and Macau. I personally think we did the right choice because our daughter who is a super fan of Disney saw her favorite characters came to life.

First off, you can choose as to where to land between Hongkong and Macau. We opted to land in Macau as opposed to Hongkong for economic reason. If I recall correctly the flight from Bangkok to Macau and back, more or less a three hour journey, was a few thousand baht cheaper than the one going to Hongkong. I suggest to check which city offers a cheaper alternative.

We left Bangkok at a little past 3 pm and arrived in Macau at about half past 7 pm on 14th October. By the way, I want to warn you that the immigration in Macau is a little strict compared to Bangkok officers. When my 4-year-old daughter played around the lady officer's cubicle, she told my daughter to stop playing at once, showing a very strict face. The immigration didn't stamp our passports either. She simply scanned our passports to their system and gave us each a piece of paper that states as to when we can stay in their city. That paper should always be in your passport. If you lose it, um, well, good luck with that. Expect another reprimand from the immigration. LoL.

After we were cleared we asked the information on how to get to Hongkong. We were told that Macau has two ferry stations going to Hongkong and back. One is near the airport while the other one is about 20 minutes located on the other side of the island. We chose the one that is a litter farther so we can have a view of Macau at night.

You might ask as to why we didn't stay in Macau. We only used Macau as our point of entry because the ticket was cheaper. Also, we already booked our hotel for 2 nights at Rambler Oasis Hotel in Hongkong via booking.com prior to our departure. Another thing you have to consider is to have your money exchanged to Macau's currency called pataca and have some coins added to your arsenal. Buses running the city only accept coins which you need to drop in a piggy bank looking thing next to the driver. It is imperative to have the exact amount of fare because there is no change. We bought our ticket on the second floor of the station. The trip from Macau to Hongkong was about an hour. There were no big waves so it was really smooth.


Day 1: Arrival

  • Flew from Phitsanulok to Bangkok via Nok Air on 14th October at 8 am. 
  • Left Bangkok to Macau via Air Asia a little past 3 pm and arrived in Macau at about half past 7 pm (more or less three-hour journey). 
  • Took the bus from the airport to Macau-Hongkong Ferry Station (15-20 minutes). 
  • Sailed with Turbo Jet ferry from Macau and arrived in Hongkong after an hour.
  • Took a taxi from Hongkong's ferry station to our hotel. 
  • Went to bed and snore. 
Day 2: Disneyland

  • Woke up, prepared, and left via hotel bus to Disneyland at 9:30 am. 
  • Arrived in Disneyland after 30 minutes.
  • Stayed the whole day, experienced the rides, and waited until the fireworks display at 8 pm. 
  • Took the MTR from Disneyland Resort Line interchange at Sunny Bay Station to Tsing Yi Station 
  • Took the public bus from Tsing Yi Station to our hotel.
Day 3: The Peak (Victoria Peak)

  • Checked out from our hotel and booked a guest house for a night in Kowloon Island. 
  • Took pictures and enjoy the view of Hongkong's Victoria Harbor and the clock tower located near Tsim Sha Tsui Station. 
  • Crossed Victoria Harbor aboard Star Ferry to Central Station in Hongkong Island. 
  • Took bus number 15 from Central Station to The Peak, roughly 20 minutes. 
  • Experienced Hongkong's 3D adventure before climbing the Sky Terrace for a full 360 view of Hongkong. Trust me, the view was breathtaking.
  • Took the tram back to downtown Hongkong Island and took bus number 15 to Central Station.
  • Crossed Victoria Harbor once again aboard Star Ferry to Tsim Sha Tsui Station in Kowloon Island before heading back to the guest house which was just 15 minutes away. 
  • Returned to Tsim Sha Tsui Station to see Hongkong Islands' iconic lights at night.
Day 4: Macau

  • Checked out from the guest house and walked about 15 minutes to Hongkong China Ferry Terminal (not too far).
  • Cruised via Cotai Strip to Macau. 
  • A friend picked us up and took us to Hotel Man Va.
  • Had lunch at a Filipino resturant near Senado Square.
  • Then visit Senado Square and took picures of the area as well as the famous Saint Paul Ruins. 
  • Took a free bus ride headed to Galaxy Macau and was mesmerized with its intricate architecture design as well as the magnificent Diamont Light Show. 
  • Took another shuttle bus to the Venetian, one of Asia's luxurious casino hotel. If you want to experience the opulence of Venice, Italy in Asia - come and visit the Venetian. 
  • We were also planning to see the dancing fountain at the Wynn Palace but it rained, so we took a time off and went to bed.

Day 5: Departure

  • Breakfast at the Filipino restaurant before checking out.
  • Took a taxi to Macau Airport, approximately 20 minutes. 
  • Waited for boarding and off we flew back to Bangkok, Thailand. 
  • Finally, flew from Bangkok to our home sweet home in Phitsanulok.
Summary of EXPENSES for Macau-Hongkong trip (4 nights and 5 days)
  • Air ticket both domestic and international - 20,225 baht (27,792 pesos or 575.4 USD)
  • Disneyland ticket purchased via klook.com  - 1,366 HKD
  • Accomodation for 4 nights - 1,786 HKD 
  • Transportation
    1. Ferry (Macau-Hongkong-Macau) 1,047 HKD
    2. Bus 118 HKD
    3. Train 91 HKD
    4. Taxi 266 HKD
    5. Star Ferry (within HK) 12 HKD
    6. Tram 76 HKD                                    
  • The Peak Sky Terrace - 120 HKD
  • Food 896 HKD
  • Souvenir T-shirts  - 895 HKD                                                                Total 6,673 HKD                                                                                                
Total expenses Hongkong-Macau 6,673 HKD  (or 30, 028.5 baht)
+ 20,225 baht air ticket                                                                   
= 50, 253.5 baht (69,057 pesos)                          

Personal thoughts

Whew! I can't believe we only spent a little over 50k baht for a family of three for a Hongkong- Macau getaway considering these two cities are expensive. We were also able to bring home 3 Disney shirts, 4 HK T-shirts and 3 Macau T-shirts as souvenirs as well as Disney toys for our 4-year-old daughter. I'm overwhelmed until today with the joy this trip brought us. This is our first family trip together in another country and certainly won't be the last.

Hotel Review: 4 Nights Stay at Aek-Pailyn River Kwai Hotel

The English camp we had three weeks ago brought me back to Kanchanaburi. Kan (as what locals call this province) is located in the west of Thailand. Its proximity to Bangkok (more or less 128 km) makes it an ideal place to see and experience nature at its best without being too far away from the capital.

During the course of the camp, 4 nights to be exact, Aek-Pailyn Hotel served as our temporary residence. Allow me to give more details of this hotel.

Aek-Pailyn River Kwai Hotel is located on the banks of Kwai Yai River. Its hotel facilities and amenities such as the large swimming pool near the river, restaurant shops, meeting and banquet rooms that can accommodate a large group of people, and the snooker table found next to the reception - are few things guests can enjoy whilst staying at the hotel for the best comfort and memorable experience.

The scenic natural surroundings like the mountains that seem to be touching hands with the sky, as well as the sound of birds greeting you first thing in the morning, are things you won't find in other hotels.

You can also relax around the nice landscape planted with different flowering plants near the river; read a book whilst sitting on the bench under the tree; or simply unwind at the music created by the beautiful splashing of Kwai Yai River down below. 

The only downside in my opinion is when you book during the low season, you might end up having very limited food and with no alcohol. It is also possible that you might be their only guest which could be a little spooky.

Although our room looked a bit old, it was spacious and clean. I liked the place and would recommend it to anyone wishing to have a comfortable stay in Kanchanaburi. 

How much per night?

We didn't pay anything since we were invited to facilitate the camp. Their website doesn't have any pricing either. But upon checking Agoda for November stay (fully booked in October), it was a little over 1,300 baht per night. Well, considering that this hotel is nice and comfy, that rate was actually a bargain.

How to get to Aek-Pailyn River Kwai Hotel

Aek-Pailyn River Kwai Hotel is located at 245 Moo 4, Ladya-Arawan Rd., Muang Kanchanaburi. It is about 151 kms from Bangkok or 31 kms from Kanchanaburi town hall.

Nearby attractions that you can check

Bridge over the River Kwai (23.10 km)
Kanchanaburi War Cemetery (25.72 km)
Thailand-Burma Railway Center (25.15 km)
Jeath War Museum (27.02 km)

Here's the video of the hotel which I got from their website. Enjoy!

Wat Rong Khun (White Temple): Creepy Images with Meanings

One of the most recognizable temples in Thailand is Wat Rung Khun or commonly known to tourists as "the White Temple." It attracts huge number of tourists both Thai and foreigners and considered to be one of Chiang Rai's most visited attractions.

Every detail of Wat Rong Khun carries deep religious symbolism that may shock even Buddhist followers, unless they've studied deeply the mysteries of Buddhism. The temple's color being white represents Lord Buddha's purity while the pieces of glass sparkling under the sun symbolize the Buddha's wisdom shining out across the earth and the universe; even the creepy statues and images outside have meanings as well.

History of Wat Rong Khun (White Temple) 

Wat Rung Khun was built by Chiang Rai born visual artist Chalermchai Kositpipat as a center of learning and meditation and for people to gain benefit from the Buddhist teachings.

Before the end of the 20th century, the temple was in a very bad condition. Chalermchai Kositpipat  decided to fund the project using his own money to have the temple restored to its former glory and make it more beautiful in the process. 

In May 2014, a strong earthquake badly damaged the temple. Thanks to the support of international community who urged Chalermchai to not let the temple crumble. The artist answered the support by rebuilding some of the damaged areas.

Getting there

The White Temple is located more or less 14 km outside downtown Chiang Rai. Taxi is the most comfortable mode of transportation. The ride is about 20 minutes and cost between 250 to 300 baht. 

Using a public bus isn't that difficult either. Busses from platform 7 and 8 leave from the old bus station close to the night bazaar in downtown Chiang Rai. Just simply inform the driver or the conductor to drop you off at Wat Rong Khun. The cost is 20 baht each way.

Cost | Opening hours

The White Temple opens daily from 8 am to 6 pm. There is no admission fee but donations are welcome.

Things to remember when visiting the White Temple

Despite the White Temple's unique appearance it's still a sacred place for worship among Thais. Therefore, dressing appropriately is encouraged. Avoid short skirts or shorts for women, and no tank tops for both genders. Refrain from touching sculptures as well.

You can take photos of the things in the temple grounds but doing so within the walls of the temple itself is forbidden. 

Phuket Adventure Part 1 - Karon Viewpoint

The beginning of time

I've heard so much of Phuket, the "Land of Smiles" biggest island and one of the country's most famous tourist attractions before coming to Thailand seven years ago. With its picturesque view, Phuket was undoubtedly an eye-candy of travel magazines and travel websites at the time. Phuket was all over the news as well when it was hit by tsunami in 2004. But its economy was able to bounced back immediately and is now back to its former glory.

I've been to Phuket for the first time three years ago but never had the chance to explore the beauty of the island much. I was a part of my university's sports team aiming for the gold, so the purpose of seeing more of the island didn't transpire. 

So, in July this year, the much-awaited long weekend, I took my wife and my daughter and we were joined by three of our friends in Phuket. Since we booked our flights a month before the scheduled trip via Nok Air, we got a very nice deal. It was about 1,500 baht only per pax from BKK to HKT and back. Our hotel was also nice and comfortable - paying only 1,600 baht for a three-bedroom suite for two nights. And of course, we all chipped in for the cost of our temporary abode.

Detailed Journey (Arriving in Phuket)

The trip from Bangkok to Phuket was nice albeit no cooperation from the weather. It was raining! If it didn't rain we probably had some nice photos of the view down below. Anyhow, we were picked up at Phuket International Airport by the van driver of Phuket Travel and Tours holding a sign that bore my wife's name. A little while later, we were in the van admiring the view of Phuket in the morning.

After our breakfast at a local restaurant by the road, we then headed to our hotel/condominium in Kamala to take an hour rest before the scheduled island hopping. I was impressed by the modernity and design of our accommodation even from afar. It looks elegant and classy, like the ones in movies where the rich antagonist reprimands his/her goons. I will make a dedicated post about our accommodation next time.

After admiring the beauty of our temporary abode and chose which room each of us will occupy, we rested for an hour and waited for the van for our Phuket city tour. We were so excited to see more of the island's beauty and take selfies. Haha.

Our first stop was Karon Viewpoint, the mot popular and most visited viewpoint in Phuket. Our driver told me that the name should be "Kata Viewpoint," but the sign by the road says Karon Viewpoint. Why is that? I did a little research and found out that Karon Viewpoint offers  spectacular views of both Karon and Kata beaches on the south side of Phuket island.

Anyway, the place doesn't only offer nature's beauty as it has some stalls selling food, drinks and the like - dedicated for those people whose tummies aren't cooperating (talking about the lesser evil). Smirk.

Looks like our driver was holding an already existing photo
And because there were people from different parts of the world, we heard different languages too. I heard Spanish, French, German, and of course Thai. There were also other languages I wasn't familiar with.

The view from the top was indeed stunning. If we were already impressed of its beauty despite the somewhat not clear sky brought by the rain, I reckon sunset here will absolutely take our breath away.

To be continued...