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No Queues, No Cash: How I Enjoyed A 3-Day Holiday In Hong Kong Using Just An App

There are a few things I hate more than the nausea I get on plane rides.

One of these things digging for (often crumpled) booking confirmation papers I printed prior to the trip.

Another is fumbling for notes and coins during payment, while customers behind me tut loudly.

So when the Klook team reached out and challenged me to experience some of the best experiences and eats that Hong Kong has to offer using only their app, I was both skeptical yet intrigued.

Pre-Flight: Booking The Activities

The proposed itinerary leaned towards more ‘touristy’ options (then again, is anything not touristy anymore?), but there were some relatively under the radar choices too.

Finding the items on the Klook app was simple enough – all I needed to do was search for the activities on their app, select the date that I’ll be using it on, add it to my cart, and then check out.

Booking our MTR tickets via the Klook app

But quickly, the devil’s advocate came out to play.

While it’s common practice that tickets to attractions are dated, what about food vouchers, which I might choose to consume on a different day?

Fortunately, Janice from the Klook team assured me that some attractions are open dated (as seen in the screenshot below), meaning that there’s no need to fret if there’s a sudden change of plans.

A summary of an attraction’s conditions

After adding the items to my cart, I saw that I could earn 174 credits from the transaction.

My filled-up Klook shopping cart

What are the credits for, you might ask.

Well, you can think of Klook credits as ‘cashback’ for your next purchase.

For my booking, 10 credits = HK$1 = S$0.18, so that means that I can get around S$3 off when buying tickets to my next destination!

After making payment, I was given the option to be connected to their official business Whatsapp, so that I could keep updated with any changes to my bookings.

After payment is confirmed, tickets were sent to my Whatsapp and email inbox within minutes

Fortunately, after the barrage of texts informing me that my orders were confirmed, I didn’t get any updates of cancellations or timing changes after.

Thus, with the vouchers in my app for the next 3 days and 2 nights, I flew off to Hong Kong, excited to experience a new way of travelling.

*Do note that prices of items indicated are subject to changes in currency rates

Day One

Items #1 and #2: 5 Day 4G SIM Card and Airport Express & 3 Day Unlimited MTR Pass 

Upon arrival, Janice (my travel buddy/human GPS for the next 3 days) and I made a beeline to collect our MTR passes and 4G SIM cards.

Instructions of how to redeem/use items on the Klook app

Directions to the booth were indicated clearly on the Klook vouchers, and the only issue the two of us faced was navigating through the crowds – probably because we were there during China’s Golden Week holiday.

Redemption was extremely efficient, with staff moving like clockwork as they passed us the items and explained the difference between the different transport cards.

SIM card + Airport/MTR pass

As for the SIM card, I was half-expecting the staff to help us activate them, but I quickly understood why all they didn’t.

After switching out my Singapore SIM card, I immediately got connected to local data – no activation needed whatsoever!

Item #3: Tsui Wah Restaurant in Hong Kong 

Hungry, we made a beeline to our very first meal in Hong Kong – and what better way to start it off than with popular chain Tsui Wah?

A Klook voucher gives you HK$50 (~S$8.80) in credits, and can be redeemed at any Tsui Wah outlet in Hong Kong.

Redemption is straightforward enough – just order your food as per normal, and offset your final bill at the counter.

Paying for our meal with Klook vouchers at Tsui Wah

Unfortunately, the cashier that served us wasn’t trained to do Klook redemptions, and thought that the QR code we presented to her was for AliPay.

However, after a call to the Klook team in Hong Kong, the cashier was all smiles again as she swiftly settled our bill without any fuss.

Item #4: Tai Cheong Bakery 

While walking around the Sheung Wan area, we came across the famous Tai Cheong Bakery, and I knew that I needed to grab one.

Getting our Tai Cheong egg tart fix

Upon hearing this, Janice reached for her phone and immediately bought a set of 4 on the Klook app.

And just as quickly as I could’ve dug out my wallet, the redemption was made and a bag of four freshly-baked egg tarts was in my hands.

Item #5: Hong Kong TramOramic Tour 

We actually booked our tickets for the slot at 3:40pm, but due to delays here and there, we decided to try our luck at the 5:40 pm slot instead.

The TramOramic tram

Not only we were allowed to take the later tram, the lady attending to us was also super friendly!

She even went above and beyond, discussing with the equally friendly driver on where they could drop us off earlier so that we could get to our 7pm dinner appointment.

Redeeming the TramOramic ‘Golden Ticket’

What was also a pleasant surprise was that the ‘Golden Ticket’ we got didn’t just give us access to the tour around Happy Valley – it also gave us unlimited rides for 3 days on the trams that went around the city!

View from the tram

Item #6: Under Bridge Spicy Crab in Wan Chai 

Under Bridge Spicy Crab is a popular haunt for seafood, and its decor is reminiscent of those more atas Chinese restaurants you’d only visit for extended family dinners.

Redeeming the voucher, however, wasn’t as intimidating.

In fact, it felt like second nature to the manager, a friendly older gentleman who nodded his head knowingly when we opened the Klook app.

4 out of 5 dishes we got as part of the set meal

While the voucher stated that it was for 2-4 pax, the portion that came was clearly more appropriate for a hungry family of 3 or 4!

But taste-wise, the hype is definitely real, and we would’ve finished all our food if it wasn’t so much.

Once we were done, we left without the need to even inform the manager! Outside the restaurant was also where I spotted the “Klook Food Picks” decal:

Watch out for these decals!

Item #7: AquaLuna Evening Sail

Ending off the first night in Hong Kong was the AquaLuna Evening Sail, which brought us on a scenic cruise around Victoria Harbour on a beautiful junk boat.

The beautiful AquaLuna junk boat

This tour has a No Cancellation policy, and we needed to mark our attendance with the staff before we could get on board.

Checking off our ‘attendance’ on the list with the app

On board, the ride was both calming and cozy, with just the right amount of tourists on board so it felt neither too empty nor too crowded.

The multimillion dollar view of Hong Kong

It was the perfect end to a long and hectic day, as we sipped on our complimentary drink and took in stunning views of the multimillion dollar view of the Hong Kong skyline.

Thoughts At The End Of Day 1

Other than buying a bottle of lemon tea for HK$10 (~S$1.76), I went to bed with my wallet (and tummy) full.

Will this non-spending spree keep up for the next 2 days?

We’ll see.

Day 2

Item #7: Congteakafe in Sheung Wan, Classic Scrambled Eggs with Toast 

We started Day 2 at Congteakafe, located in the very artsy neighbourhood of Sheung Wan.

After gruelling flights of steps (albeit with a great view, thanks to the very impressive graffiti along the way), we reached the cafe which had decor that was half-Tiong Bahru cafe, half-cha chaan teng.

Our Day 2 breakfast at CONGteakafe

Again, the staff attending to us were familiar with the app, and promptly got to making our orders.

However, we needed to pre-select our meals in advance on the app, so picking off the menu on the day itself wasn’t really an option.

The available options on Klook

Item #8 and #9 – Hong Kong Disneyland Park Ticket and Meal Ticket for Lunch/Dinner and Snack

After brunch, we headed straight to Hong Kong Disneyland, which was an hour’s MTR ride from central Hong Kong.

The MTR station of Disneyland sets the mood

After a 5 minute walk from the station, we reached the main gate where we used our Klook app for entry and to claim our meal tickets.

Most of us would have been used to e-tickets for larger attractions by now, so the process was pretty much the same here.

A friendly Disneyland staff who scanned the QR codes on our app

For those of you worried about queues, I’m glad to share that since we went early on a weekday, we only needed to wait an average of 5 minutes for rides!

But this isn’t a theme park review article, so I’ll just let the photos do the talking.

The waiting area for Hyperspace Mountain
On board the Jungle Cruise!
The exterior of the Mystic Manor ride
Disneyland was peppered with Halloween references
The special ‘Halloweentown’ event at Disneyland
The parade that featured popular Disney characters

While Hong Kong Disneyland is definitely smaller than its counterparts around the world (the ones in the US will absolutely DESTROY the others for you – I can vouch for that) one ride that I personally found amazing was Mystic Manor, so go try it if you’re there!

Item #10 and #11 – Pineapple Canteen Food Truck and Lo Come Chinese Pancake

With heavy rain dampening our spirits (and basically everything else), we left Disneyland and headed to the Pineapple Canteen Food Truck located conveniently outside the main gates.

The Pineapple Canteen Food Truck outside Disneyland

Food trucks are extremely rare in Singapore, so getting a bolo bun and hot milk tea from window on a truck was definitely a novel experience.

On the way back to our hotel, we also stopped by Lo Come Chinese Pancake to redeem our Peking duck & char siew pancake.

Getting our Peking Duck and Char Siew pancake from Lo Come

Like the cashier at Tsui Wah, the staff at Lo Come was also unfamiliar with the process of using Klook.

But after a call to the Klook Hong Kong team, she immediately got to work and served us piping hot pancakes with a wide smile. (The pancake was delicious, by the way.)

Day 3

Item #12 – Lin Heung Kui in Sheung Wan 

The last day began with the quintessential Hong Kong food experience – dim sum!

We headed to the famous Lin Heung Kui in Sheung Wan, and once again, spotted the “Klook Food Picks” decal in the lift to the restaurant.

We were greeted by this sign when we entered the lift

Once the lift doors opened, we were thrust into the heat of the breakfast crowd – all engaged in lively conversations over hot tea and baskets of dim sum.

The breakfast buzz at Lin Heung Kui

Just like our experience at Under Bridge Spicy Crab, staff were familiar with the Klook app, and we quickly headed back to our table after doing the redemption at the counter.

If the set’s not enough, you can also pick what you want from the roving trolleys of food

For those unacquainted with how dim sum restaurants work, servers push carts stacked high with baskets of dim sum around the restaurant, and customers can pick what they want when the carts roll by.

To track orders, servers will then mark a white slip (in the photo above) according to what the customers took, and the bill will be calculated from there.

A breakfast set (S$14.60)

Our Klook voucher got us a fixed combination of dim sum (4 siew mai, 4 har gao, 2 lotus buns, 1 massive slab of ma lai gou), but there’s also the option to grab more food off the carts if you’re hungry.

Speaking of hungry, we were far from it after the meal, because while the voucher stated “for 1-2 pax”, a set was really more for 2. (Yes, we over-ordered again.)

In fact, the older gentleman who served us kept checking in to see if we were doing fine with our massive portion of food with a bemused expression!

Overall, the service and entire experience was pretty awesome, and it’s now on my list to go to in Hong Kong for dim sum.

Item #13 – Ngong Ping 360 Crystal Cabin

I have to be honest – I wasn’t looking forward to this initially.

“It’s just a cable car up another mountain – what’s new?”

However, the trip up proved me wrong, and I’m so glad that it did.

Image Credit: Melissa Chan, Vulcan Post

In spite of reaching the ticketing area at a relatively early 10am, there were already steady queues forming!

Signs marking out the special queue for Klook customers

Fortunately, there was a special queue for Klook customers, and I have to admit that walking past other tourists waiting for their turn was pretty shiok.

The ever-growing queue that we didn’t have to wait in

With only 1 customer before us waiting for the Klook VIP counter, we soon got our wristbands and joined the queue (yes, there’s another queue!) to get into the cable cars.

The Klook VIP counter where we redeemed our wristbands

Our tickets gave us access to the glass-bottomed cabins, and while it’s a tad more expensive than the basic one, the gorgeous views made it worth the extra dollars.

View from the glass-bottomed cabin
Image Credit: Melissa Chan, Vulcan Post

Upon reaching the summit, we were greeted by (mostly tourist trap-y) shops and even a Starbucks!

Image Credit: Melissa Chan, Vulcan Post
Spot something familiar?

However, beyond the rather commercial area was where the magic is.

A quaint village with free-roaming dogs (and the random cow), the place oozed chill vibes – a welcome respite from the rather overwhelming hustle and bustle of the city.

It walked towards us, plopped itself down and let us pat it as it had a short shut-eye
The cow stood so still that we wondered if it was actually a statue!

There, you can choose to brave a long flight of steps to visit the famous Tian Tan Buddha, or just take a leisurely stroll around the shops selling local crafts.

The long flight of steps leading to Tian Tan Buddha
A shop selling soya beancurd made with water from the mountain

When it was time to leave for our next stop, I actually felt a pang of sadness, knowing that my ‘escape’ was over.

This was further enhanced by the fact that we were the only passengers in our cabin, and we sat in a comfortable silence, soaking in the last bits of the serenity before heading back to the city (and back to reality).

Item #14 – Yung Kee Restaurant

What’s a trip to Hong Kong without Roasted Goose, right?

Yung Kee at Central

We popped by the famous Yung Kee Roasted Goose, and the place was still considerably full in spite of us being there slightly after lunch hour.

Using the HKD500 (S$88) voucher was simple enough – we ordered whatever we wanted from the menu, and top up the amount that the voucher couldn’t cover.

Our orders at Yung Kee

As expected, the food was amazing.

Service was also brisk, and counter staff were well-acquainted with the app.

Item #15 – 65 Peel

Best known for its locally brewed craft beers, 65 Peel is a spot that’s hip yet cosy.

Sadly, we didn’t get to try any of the local brews because: 1. our time was pretty tight, 2. I didn’t think my stomach would agree with me if I drank before a flight.

Lemon Lime Bitter for the one (aka me) who didn’t want to drink before a flight

What we did manage to try were 3 dishes, all of which were extremely delicious!

A unbelievably tasty combination of slow cooked char siew, poached foie gras, onsen egg, and rice coated in pork fat

My favourite by far was the rice dish, and it was so memorable that I can still recall the taste and textures in my mouth with each morsel…even until now.

Gigantic poached clams in a delicious coconut gravy

The portions here are pretty small for the price, so budget-watchers who have a huge appetite might find themselves purchasing more vouchers from the Klook app while having their meal.

Verdict: Booking Confirmation Printouts Are So 2017.

It was definitely one of the most liberating trips I’ve had in a long time.

Without the need to dig my wallet for cash, I breezed in and out of eateries truly #likeaboss.

Without the need to stand in line just to purchase tickets, I had more time to enjoy the attractions.

And the best part is that prices of vouchers on Klook are slightly cheaper than if you got them offline, so yay for the discounts! #auntie

But that’s not to say that there wasn’t anything I’d like to see improvements on.

For example, a few staff (especially at eateries) we interacted with weren’t acquainted with the redemption process, and attempting to explain it to them in very broken Cantonese and Mandarin didn’t really help either.

Of course, there was the hotline that we could call and get help from, but it would definitely have been better if all staff were trained for a more seamless process.

Next, while Klook currently covers a good number of attractions, eateries, and necessities like SIM cards, the offerings aren’t extensive enough for those looking for very specific stores and attractions.

Then again, this is going to be an issue regardless of how many vendors Klook gets on board, so just keep your fingers crossed for your favourites.

In all, the trip definitely changed my initial impression of Klook and its app, which I never knew offered things like SIM cards and food vouchers!

So to the Klook team: I (gladly) admit defeat in this challenge.

Have you used the Klook app for your holidays? Let us know!

P.S.: From now until 31 December 2018, Klook has two promo codes for travellers booking via their app, so #dontsaybojio!

Image Credit: Klook

Disclaimer: The trip was sponsored by Klook, but opinions of the author are of her own.

 

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