During my first solo trip to Hong Kong last August 2013, my Mom suggested I get a tour package which would include hotel accommodation and airport transfers. When I inquired to a couple of travel agencies, they all gave me a pretty good deal. However, with the kind of person I am, I knew I didn’t need so much.
So, I did my own research online and came across Couchsurfing two months before my trip. I signed up after reading what it’s all about. It does sound a good idea to stay with someone and get to know the new place through a local’s eyes. Since I signed up, I also joined local CS meet ups in Cebu and met a bunch of amazing people.
As I was searching for a host in Hong Kong, I carefully read through their profiles and their Couchsurfing conditions. One of the common ones was to leave the house before 8AM when the host leaves for work and had to come back on or before midnight before they go to sleep. I knew it was going to be hard for me to follow because I had my own plans and needed allowance for some spontaneous activities I might do.
Then I came across this newly-opened hostel at the time called Urban Pack online. It does have very similar concept to Couchsurfing except you’ll have to pay for your bed which was totally fine. Because that meant I own my time in leaving and coming to the hostel plus the rate wasn’t so bad at all. I’d be able to meet some other travelers, Wifi was available and you could also use their iMac if you needed to plus free coffee/tea, use of their refrigerator and a massage chair. The hostel was at a prime location, right across the Tsim Sha Tsui station.
It was a bit more expensive than staying in Chungking Mansion but you definitely get what you pay for — safety, friendly English-speaking staff, very clean and decent place and a homey experience.
Whenever I exchanged Hong Kong travel stories with my friends, I proudly tell them I only spent around P15,000 for my 7D-6N stay in HK including my hostel, food, beers, train and bus expenses, Disneyland and my trip to Macau. I only had to make sure I got a nice hostel to stay in and the rest can easily be managed.