Friday, March 30, 2007

stay in hong kong for a song

Ever since I found out that this year’s Chinese New Year falls on my birthday, I immediately made plans to go someplace where the Lunar New Year is celebrated with a bang. I settled on Hong Kong: airfare’s affordable, people speak English, and it’s only two hours away. I decided to drag a friend along to make the trip more enjoyable.

Our only problem was finding a place to stay. Hong Kong has become such a tourist’s paradise that hotel prices are pretty exorbitant. Thankfully, affordable accommodations are available for people who’d rather spend their moolah on visiting tourist spots than in expensive and lavish rooms.

A friend suggested checking out the different hostels online. So I did. After checking out ratings in various hostel sites, I learned that Wang Fat Hostel ranked pretty high in most criteria. So I contacted them and asked about reservations.

Booking a room was a breeze. I only had to provide them our details, the type of room we were getting (we got a room with two single beds and private bathroom), and the credit card number for the 10% deposit that is required to secure a room. The general manager replied to my email a few minutes later, confirming my reservation. I was told to print out a copy of the email so I can present it when we get to the hostel.

Fast forward to our trip. We left the airport via the Airport Express, got off at the Hong Kong station, then changed to the MTR Island Line. We got off at Causeway Bay, and followed the directions to Exit E. When we finally got to the street, we were surprised to find a bustling area, surrounded by clothes stores left and right. It wasn’t long before we found Paterson Building, where Wang Fat is housed.

The general manager greeted us warmly. I whipped out the printed copy of the email, and in a few minutes, we were being ushered into our tiny room on the sixth floor. The room was big enough to fit the two of us and our luggage. No other space for anything else, really. We were so happy to find that it was clean. The walls were wallpapered (there weren’t even any unpeeled portions!), no cobwebs and dust were in sight. The floor was squeaky clean, not sticky. The beds were covered with clean, home-style bedsheets, and they came complete with pillows and comforters.

After being mesmerized by the room’s pristine condition, we were able to take a closer look at everything else. We had a dresser, with drawers to put our things in. By the door of the room were a lot of hooks to hang our clothes and towels on. A tiny but serviceable TV was placed atop a tv stand-slash-closet (which we didn’t use).

Finally, it was time to face our fears: the bathroom. It was tiny (the entire bathroom would get wet when we took a shower), but it was clean, and that's what mattered. The toilet flush was working well, the water heats up, there was a mirror, and again, lots of hooks to hang your things on (I say most accommodation places do not understand this as well as Wang Fat does). I did have one night when the water suddenly turned cold, and I had to shower with freezing water, but that only happened once in our five-day stay.

Aside from giving us a clean bed every night, Wang Fat Hostel has a receptionist that’s pretty knowledgeable in the Causeway Bay area. Ask him anything, from tourist spots to money changers, and he’ll point you in the right direction. He speaks great English, which makes things a lot easier.

Being the Internet nut (Internut?) that I am, I was so delighted to make use of the hostel’s free Wi-Fi connection. Their signal strength reaches “excellent” heights, even. I find it ironic that this service is free in a “mere” hostel,while you're charged for the same service in most hotels. All guests are also entitled to free local calls, and some rooms, such as ours, even have phones installed in them.

This hostel earns another star from me for the daily room make-up service. They cleaned the room well, made the beds, and changed the towels, without touching our things. They left it just the way we did.

So next time we invade Hong Kong, we’re definitely staying in Wang Fat again. The location’s accessible, area is safe, the rooms are clean, and the service topnotch.

Wang Fat Hostel details:
Room Prices (per night):
Single room with private bath: HK $270
Single room with shared bath: HK $220
Twin sharing with private bath: HK $260
Twin sharing with shared bath: HK $202
Triple sharing with private bath: HK $350
Triple sharing with shared bath: HK $300
Dormitory: HK $98

Contact Information:
Address: Apartment no. A2, 3/F block A, Paterson Building, 47 Paterson St., Causeway Bay, Hong Kong.
Website: or
Phone: (852) 23926868
Skype: hkhostel

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