Mainland Chinese tourist’s failed budget travel attempt in Hong Kong

Photo for illustration purpose only.

19th May 2024 – (Hong Kong) In recent years, there has been a surge of budget travel guides on platforms like Xiaohongshu, offering tips and tricks for exploring Hong Kong on a shoestring budget. These guides often suggest alternatives to traditional hotel accommodation, such as staying in inexpensive hostels or even avoiding hotels altogether. However, one Mainland Chinese traveller’s recent attempt to challenge the norm by not staying in a hotel overnight proved to be a failure, highlighting the difficulties involved. She ended up spending the night on a park bench, experiencing extreme discomfort. As a result, she concluded her venture as unsuccessful and identified four main reasons for her struggles, ultimately advising future Hong Kong visitors to opt for conventional hotel stays.

One of the primary obstacles the traveller encountered was the unavailability of sauna facilities similar to those found in Northeast China, which allow overnight stays. She spent an entire day searching for legitimate massage parlours that would provide accommodation but found them to be located in rundown buildings, making her feel apprehensive and hesitant to enter. The traveller expressed surprise upon discovering that Hong Kong’s sex industry operates legally, which added to her astonishment and discomfort.

Feeling unsafe, the traveller admitted to avoiding the notorious Chungking Mansions, perceiving it as an unsafe area. Instead, she resorted to sleeping on a bench near the Victoria Harbour, where she endured cold sea breezes and occasional drizzles. She also found the presence of foreign passersby unsettling and even went out of her way to avoid crossing paths with them near Chungking Mansions.

Additionally, the traveller was reluctant to stay in budget hotels, as many of them were situated in dilapidated residential buildings. Peering through the small entrance doors, she found the interiors dimly lit and unsettling. She also discovered that finding a 24-hour McDonald’s, which could serve as an alternative overnight spot, proved challenging, as most outlets closed at midnight.

Acknowledging her failed attempt to forgo hotel accommodation, the traveller urged other tourists to rent formal hotels priced at HKD 1,000 or more. She emphasised that scrimping on expenses was not worth it and advised others to opt for hotels with spacious lobbies situated in bustling areas to ensure a more secure and comfortable experience.

The traveller’s online post garnered significant attention, with many netizens offering alternative options such as budget hostels priced between a couple of hundred Hong Kong dollars and three to five hundred Hong Kong dollars in Tsim Sha Tsui. However, some expressed concern over the traveller’s mindset, deeming her approach too risky. They questioned why she would not consider staying in a hotel during her travels and even labelled her as a homeless person, suggesting that her challenge had transcended the concept of budget travel.