Hong Kong Dollars are so colorful

by Jeff McNeil

After a short wait in line at my local Citibank branch, I was able to count my crisp new Hong Kong dollar bills.  They are so colorful and vibrant in their new state.  Why is the US dollar not so colorful?  Why must we have such boring money?  “The greenback” as they say is the international currency.  Why must it be so monotone?  One of the HKDs has a plastic window in it.  How cool!

The main concern of mine is how do I know if something is fake or not.  Vendors may give me back fake money and then I am SOL or the rest of the trip.  I know people take travelers checks, which is all well and good, but we have a… get this…. Capital One card.  They do not charge the 3% conversion fee each time that I make a purchase.  That is great for us because the USD is not the currency it once was.  It has depreciated in value during the recession.  I just hope things don’t get worse while we are there.  The HKD is currently worth $0.12 USD.  So 100 HKD is about $13.00.  Is there anything in Hong Kong that you might want?  Let us know and we can put it on a small list of souvenirs to bring back state-side.

Hong Kong SkyCity Marriott Hotel

by Jeff McNeil
Hong Kong SkyCity Marriott Pool

Hong Kong SkyCity Marriott Pool

The pool at the Hong Kong SkyCity Marriott is amazing!  You can always judge a hotels attention to style by how it’s pool is designed.  When Jenn and I go for a relaxing weekend the pool is our main factor.  Does it have a bar?  Is it indoors in cold weather areas?  Do they have some sort of fun gimick?  Well this pool just looks classy as hell.  I hope that there is a bit of time where Jenn and I can relax in the pool before retiring to bed one night.  The remainder of the hotel looks to be all business class.  It will be nice to stay in such a refined location for our first few nights.  We normally go between the more locally based Courtyard or Springhill Suites for our stays since it is more economical.  However for this this stay we used our Marriott rewards points and got this excellent hotel for free!  I would like to thank all our friends and family who stayed at a Marriott down here during our wedding, you helped to contribute to our rewards points with each night stay.

The upside to the hotel, free…. the downside, it is far from the heart of Hong Kong, especially the Kowloon district.  That means that we will have to find some sort of transportation to and from the hotel each day.  It can get costly but I feel that we will find something that won’t break the bank.  The hotel will be so close to the airport we could walk to the terminals, which is good for our flight from Hong Kong to Tokyo. 

This just in, while looking for more photos of the hotel on the arriott website I have found out there is free shuttle service to the nearest MTR (metro/subway) station & Disneyland!  How awesome is that?!?  I just saved us some $60 USD on fare to and from the hotel and our outlying areas!  I need to write more blogs it seems. 🙂

If you have been to Hong Kong before, please write a comment and suggest your favorite place to visit.  I will read them and comment myself on our thoughts and prospective sights we will see.

2 Weeks to Hong Kong & Tokyo

by Jeff McNeil
Disneyland - Hong Kong

Disneyland - Hong Kong

I am getting excited, we only have 2 weeks until Jenn and I are on our way to Hong Kong and then Tokyo. For those who do not know, Jenn and I are going to all 5 Disneyland parks in 1 year. We began our trip with Disneyland in Paris on December 30th 2010. We later went to Disneyland in Anaheim, CA on April 16th. Our next park is going to be Disneyland Hong Kong on June 23rd.

The more research I have been doing for Hong Kong the more I get excited. Jenn and I will be staying at, where else, the Marriott Sky City in Hong Kong. It is near the airport which is far away from the city center, as a result we will have to learn how to take public transportation and use an Octopus card for payment. It is the size of a credit card and has a RFID chip in it to record when we enter and exit the stations. It will then charge our pre-paid account for the fare. We will change our normal trip to the museum days into walk around town days. From what I have read and heard, there is a lot to be explored in Hong Kong from the mountain top monasteries to the daily farmers markets. One person described Hong Kong to me as Chinese culture with British civility.

Like with our previous trips we will be posting on the blog each night so please stay tuned for our photos and our stories. We enjoy the comments that everyone has posted and welcome input if you have been to Hong Kong or Tokyo.

Honeymoon Trips to Tokyo & Hong Kong

by Jeff McNeil
Courtyard Marriott Tokyo

Courtyard Marriott Tokyo

Thank you to all who have contributed to our Marriott Honeymoon Registry.  Jenn and I have discussed what we wanted to do for a “BIG” trip.  We have decided to go to Tokyo and Hong Kong.  This will be part of a larger overall concept of going to every major Disney Themepark within one year.  During a trip to Disneyland in Anaheim this last month, Jenn and I got to talking about what to do for our year of honeymoons.  The crazy thought came to our mind “What if we traveled to every Disneyland park in the world?”  We laughed it off for a few hours and while on the way out of the park that night, I said “Well we are going to be in Paris and going to Euro Disneyland in December. There are only 3 more parks we have to go to in order for it to happen, Tokyo, Hong Kong & Florida.”  We got excited.  Upon further research, there are some 20+ official “Disney” parks like Epcot, California Adventure, Oceanworld etc.  We narrowed our focus to Disneyland parks with castles, regular Disneylands at leach location.

Hong Kong SkyCity Marriott Hotel

Hong Kong SkyCity Marriott Hotel

That being said, we have now booked out flight & hotel reservations for Tokyo, Japan & Hong Kong, China.  The Tokyo hotel is a few miles from TokyoDisney, however the subway is easily accessible and leads right there.  We will be staying at the Courtyard by Marriott Tokyo Ginza.  We will be staying several days in Tokyo to absorb some tourist sights as well as the Disney park.  We will then fly from Tokyo to Hong Kong.  We discussed making 2 trips, but the long and costly flight meant that we could save money if we made it one long trip instead of 2 trans-pacific crossings.  The second stay will be at the Hong Kong SkyCity Marriott Hotel.  It is located near the airport which is on a man-made island in Hong Kong harbor.  Here again, public transportation will take us directly to the park.  We will have 4 days here including one at the Hong Kong Disney park.  Jenn and I are very excited about this trip and are looking for tips and suggestions for things to do in Tokyo and Hong Kong on our touring days.  Please reply to the post with your comments or e-mail us directly.

If you are asking yourself, what about Disneyworld or Disneyland?  We are in the process of planning Disneyworld, possibly over Thanksgiving 2011.  No booked hotels or airfare yet, but it will happen.  As for Disneyland, we have annual passes and will for sure go to the park in the next year after we return from Paris.  So no worries on those 2 parks just yet.