Travelling around Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a modern city with up to date transportation just like other large cities around the world. The city includes undergrounds, trains, buses and taxis, most often used was the MTR which serves stations very near to all the points of interests in Hong Kong.

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Sheung Wan Station

Hong Kong’s rail, subway service or “MTR” serves various routes within Hong Kong and even across mainline china, it also offers connections to and from the international airport (airport express). Just like the London Underground’s Oyster card, Hong Kong has the Octopus Card, and you can use this to top up credit to use on journeys from one place to another. MTR offers Tourist Octopus Card which can be bought at any station, and if there is value still left on the card, the remaining value can be refunded at the airport. The MTR railway network has 10 commuter lines and connects nearly all of Hong Kong. It is comfortable and reliable, I have not experienced any delays. Part of the MTR company the Hong Kong buses looked packed and was difficult to understand so as a tourists I opted not to take them.

Taxis is difficult at times, they operate just like any other taxis around the world but has extra charge for the number of luggage’s and other conditions. Furthermore the language barrier is a little tough as all my experiences in communicating with the drivers have not been easy. However unlike other taxis around the world I think that the drivers are relatively friendly, honest and safe. There was no funny games such as no change for notes (all change was received to the penny). I have used Hong Kong’s taxis and have not had a problem in the slightest, all drivers have been very fast though.

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Tsuen Wan

As Hong Kong was also a territory of Britain in the past, driving is also on the left. So renting a car wouldn’t be too difficult to do. Just keep in mind other road user’s attitudes can differ.

Reference

http://www.mtr.com.hk/en/customer/services/our_network_introduction.html
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Travelling around Cebu

Transport in Cebu city mimics that of Manila, however if you want to escape the city and go to the Cebu countryside it could be a little more difficult. The most popular way for tourist to get around is by hotel transports, taxi or rented vehicles.

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Jeepneys in Cebu have a different appearance than the ones in Manila but still have their colourful artwork and design. Usually they are cheap at 7pesos per person, however for tourists this form of transport can be very dangerous and difficult to find your way around. Unless you familiar or know a local that can accompany you in Cebu ,I advise against using a Jeepney.

The majority of hotels in Cebu do have complimentary hour

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ly drop-off and pick-up transports to the main shopping centres in the city such as the Ayala centre, SM Cebu city and the IT park. Marco Polo is one that has this service and this is a convenient way for hotel guests to get around without needing to find a taxi, I personally find these very convenient however working your shopping or touring plans around the hourly pickups or drop offs can be annoying. Furthermore the services only operate around 8-12 hours a day with the first services being around 7am and last being 9pm (depending on hotels). The vans are very comfortable and air-conditioned and from my memory have about 12-15 seats maybe even more. I’ve never experienced the vans being full and any passengers being left behind.

Taxis in the city are convenient for point to point travel, there are plenty of taxi bays and it is very easy to just get one off the streets. They are affordable and can prevent you from going through the stresses and dangers of other modes of transport in the city. They are safe but there may be a few drivers in the city that takes advantages of tourists so just a bit of common sense is required. Other than those few who do cheat there are many that are genuinely friendly and happy to just take you on your journey.

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Cebu Taxi

There is also a mode of transportation called “Habal habal” where one just gets on the back of someone’s motorcycle, this is illegal and very dangerous, some have no helmets and this is not an approved way of transportation. This form of transportation is still used by locals in Cebu.

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Habal habal

To travel outside Cebu city and into the countryside, mountains and beaches, is a bit more difficult. There are bus services to various points of interest such as Moalboal (where the canyons are situated) or Oslob (where the whales sharks are) however I have never honestly used these, so I wont be able to tell you about them. Obviously if you have entered a tour/ trip they would be more likely to arrange your transportation with/without extra fees, they may be a private car, van or an accompanied bus ride. However if nothing has been planned, I advise to rent a car and driver from one of the many companies that do so, these drivers can drive you to any destination of your choosing, they wait for you wherever you wonder, but it is good manners to just give them a bit of money to eat or invite them to eat with you. They are very friendly and act as a tour guide as well, they will also protect and look after you (your own personal chauffeur for the day).You can also pick the vehicle of your choosing whether a 5 seater Toyota Yaris or a 12 seater Grandia for bigger groups. To rent a car it will cost around 5k pesos for the whole day(£70) with the driver but depending on the vehicle you choose.

I’d say travelling in Cebu is fairly easy, it is very tourist focused.

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Travelling around Paris

Paris use comparable modes of transport as London, the Metro or RER Réseau Express Régionale (Regional Express Network) are Paris’s equivalent of the London Underground/ Overground and are very similar by approach. A one day travel card can be purchased from the many machines in nearly all the stations.  RER connects central  Paris with the outer regions and is the easiest way to and from the airport, it has 5 lines RER A,B,C,D and E. The Metro or Metropolitan on the other hand has 16 lines. In my experience the train systems are quick and convenient and relatively cheap, it gets you from A to B in ordinary fashion and although most of the times there are no seats, it is not as busy as other countries I have been to. On the plus side there is plenty performers or buskers inside the trains, it is something different and although the locals careless about them it is good for tourism.

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There are buses and taxis however I mostly just used their Metro or RER because like London many points of interests are not far from stations. So I cannot really write about them.

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Alternatively if you are fit enough walking around parts of Paris is not such a bad idea, as long as you know where your going and can navigate the city is not far apart.

Overall for me roaming the city was easy to do just by using the rail systems and by walking. However if you have a bit more money to spend then taxi’s would be your obvious choice for comfort.

Reference

Photos

metro map (https://www.flickr.com/photos/deepakg/6148932631)

National Express

Brief

National express is (in my opinion) Britain’s most powerful coach operator. Based in Birmingham coach station the operators travel to nearly everywhere in the country and even internationally such as Amsterdam, Paris and Brussels. In London, Victoria Coach Station is its main hub and a CenterPoint to many of their destinations.

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Cost

The cost of riding a national express bus depends on you’re destination, date, time and also when you book you’re ticket as they vary depending on how full the buses are. A trip from Heathrow airport to London (Victoria) and vice versa costs around £5 – £15. Other Airports also have similar costs and below are more locations and single ‘one way’ rates (as of  March 2018)

 

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prices according to http://www.nationalexpress.com

 

  • London to Cornwall around £30 – £80
  • London to Oxford around £15 – £45
  • London to Bath around £5 – £30
  • London to Edinburgh around £20 – £70
  • London to Cardiff  around £9 – £30
  • London to Manchester around £7.50 – £30
  • London to Liverpool around £6 – £30

Upon booking National express does have a booking fee of £1 and add-ons like insurance, seat priority and even luggage can be purchased.

Experience

I usually use ‘National Express’ when trains are too expensive and I am in no particular rush. Coaches has its positives and negatives, the downsides are the unreliable schedules as it is all dependant on traffic whilst comfort is also limited, the positives are its prices which are cheaper in comparison to trains and flights.

‘National Express’ does not apply seat allocations although you can purchase a ticket to do so. Seats are comfortable, some newer coaches have leather and a generous recline. The seats have a coat tag, a table, a charging point and excellent leg room, furthermore all coaches have a small toilet either at the back or in the middle which has weak running water. The temperature in the coach varies but I believe you can request desired a temperature (keeping in mind there are many other passengers). However there are cool air blowers in each seat (just like aircrafts) which you can operate at your own accord. There is limited room for carry on baggage but the luggage hold underneath the coach is huge. Lastly at night journeys the driver does tend to turn off the lights due to his/ her visibility but each seats have their own personal lights again replicating that of an aircraft. I have never in any of my travels with the company experienced a stopover, maybe this would be for longer journeys.

Overall National Express is your standard coach ride going from A to B around the UK and to some parts of Europe. It is comfortable in comparison with other coach companies around the world. It is a cheaper option to taking trains and flights across the United Kingdom but could take much longer.

 

References

www.nationalexpress.com

Photos

All photos are my own (except for price screenshot)