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How to Do Hong Kong on a Budget – Cheap Accommodation

how to do hong kong on a budget accommodation thetraveloguer

Hong Kong is expensive, but it is possible to do Hong Kong on a backpacker budget. Seeing the high prices when you arrive can be a little scary, but, as I discovered, you can visit Hong Kong on a tight budget, and you can actually do a lot for a little.

I thought I would put together some tips which helped me not to blow my budget, and allowed me to have a great time, without spending a fortune.

 

This week is all about Hong Kong’s budget accommodation. Next week, I will talk about how to eat in Hong Kong without blowing your budget, and then how to enjoy the city without going broke!

 

Budget Accommodation in Hong Kong

We headed to Hong Kong to get our tourist visa for China. We heard that accommodation in Hong Kong was astronomical, but when we first started to peruse a few hostel websites we thought the prices looked okay. This was because they were showing the lowest price, for the biggest dorm, like a ten bed mixed dorm, for example.

But as soon as we went to look further, we found that the room was either unavailable for the nights we were visiting, or that the price was much higher, and that it was actually the price for a big male dorm. As a couple, we were looking for a private room and so we spent a few stressful moments thinking we were going to be broke after accommodation alone.

wpid-hk-road_wm.jpg.jpeg

We had decided to stay in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, as we knew there was cheapish accommodation to be found there, and it seemed pretty central.

Read more: How to get a tourist visa for China in Hong Kong 

The Chungking Mansions and Mirador Mansions on Nathan Road are definitely not mansions, first of all! They are big high-rises which are home to all the cheap accommodation, lots of currency exchange places and other little businesses. Despite hearing some horror stories about rats and terrible smells, we had little choice in the matter. We went for the Germany Hostel, which was one of the cheapest we could find ($30 AU per night).

Hectic queues for the Chungking Mansion's lifts

Hectic queues for the Chungking Mansion’s lifts

When we arrived in Hong Kong, we braved the chaos of the Chungking Mansions and lifts (more on that later!) and found that the Germany Hostel didn’t have a reception on its floor.

budget hong kong accomm

A tight squeeze

A sign pointed us to another floor where there was a reception shared between a few hostels, and in what turned out to be a stroke of luck, our room wasn’t ready for ages. After hanging around outside for a while, we went back up to see if the room was ready.

At this stage, we were exhausted and sitting there like wilting daisies that had been clutched in a child’s hand all day. The girl must have felt sorry for us because she offered us a different room in another hotel, which looked a lot better than ours. It had a window, something we had been prepared to do without, and there was even a tv and fridge- a major bonus.

Our little room in Hong Kong

Our little room in Hong Kong

The room was tiny. The bed wasn’t full sized and took up most of the room. Luckily, there was space under the bed for our backpacks, and we used the little fridge as a table.

hotel room in hong kong chungking mansions

The other half of the room.

We felt really happy with our little upgrade, but we were scared the price would go up when we asked to extend. However, as often happens in Hong Kong , when you actually speak to the place directly, the price can go down. For the rest of our stay, we ended up paying less than we did the first night. Score!

Chungking Mansions Hong Kong

Chungking Mansions Hong Kong

 

HONG KONG ON A BUDGET

ACCOMMODATION TIPS

  • Do your research early! The night before we left for Hong Kong, Sean and I spent a stressful couple of hours bent over our phones, sweating in the hallway of our Pontianak accommodation as we tried to pick up the slow wi-fi and find somewhere we could afford. Not recommended! I think if you were to be sensible and book it in advance, you would have more choice and less stress!

 

  • Book your chosen accommodation for, say, two nights, and then try your luck bargaining when you need to extend. We heard that this often leads to a far lower price than what is advertised, and in our case, it worked.

 

  • Be aware that on the weekend, rates can shoot up. You will see the difference when you search a hostel website. We got really lucky as we got a low rate when we extended, and didn’t get hit with a higher rate.

 

  • If you can, find out if your place has a fridge. This was so handy and it helped us to keep our food budget down.

 

  • Don’t be put off by the hectic atmosphere as you first enter the mansions. I came to really love the energy of the ground floor, with everyone selling their services and delicious smelling food as they had a laugh all day.

 

  • As for the lifts…be prepared to feel like a Crayola crayon packed tight in a box, and be prepared to wait a little while for the lift to come, and not necessarily be able to fit in the first one when it arrives!

 

  • Do not look out the window if you’re claustrophobic, or queasy about seeing a stream of toilet paper with questionable brown streaks on it.
Windown view in Hong Kong accommodation

Disturbing View from Chungking Mansion window!

  • Oh, you may not even get a window, but that’s okay, really. It’s all part of the experience!

 

 

Next week I’ll talk about how to eat in Hong Kong on a budget, as part of my little ‘How to do Hong Kong on a Budget’ series.

 

If you have any tips of your own, please pop them in the comments below! 🙂

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38 Comments

  • Reply
    How to Do Hong Kong on a Budget - Cheap Food | The Traveloguer Travel Blog
    July 26, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    […] helped me not to blow my budget, and allowed me to have a great time, without spending a fortune. Last week was all about Hong Kong’s budget accommodation. This week, I’m talking about the very […]

  • Reply
    Beth Niebuhr
    July 28, 2014 at 10:32 am

    It sounds like you were able to cope with the idea that you weren’t visiting for the hotel and that a cheap room was doable so that you could enjoy the vacation without breaking the bank. Good attitude.
    Beth Niebuhr recently posted…Vacation and BusinessMy Profile

  • Reply
    Patricia Weber
    July 28, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Even though for me the backpacker days are long gone, your tips are still useful. These days, most of our traveling is planned sometimes months in advance. Thanks for the insights from your experiences.
    Patricia Weber recently posted…Top BS Facts about Introvert Experiences You Might Think Are TrueMy Profile

  • Reply
    Jacqueline Gum (Jacquie)
    July 28, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    I’m impressed with your can do attitude!!! Hong Kong is very pricey, even when I was traveling there in the late 1990’s and early 2000. I didn’t have to adhere to a budget so much (company trip) but these are great tips.
    Jacqueline Gum (Jacquie) recently posted…Time…Where’s The Justice?My Profile

  • Reply
    William Rusho
    July 28, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    I am unsure now about vacationing there. After reading your blog is it worth going to Hong Kong?

    • Reply
      Christine
      July 29, 2014 at 4:41 pm

      I’m not sure William, I guess it depends on whether or not you wanted to go before you read this! It was never high on my list of places to go, but I did have a great time there, and I’m glad I got to see such a modern and busy Asian city. I was able to do a lot there, and many of the sights are free, so I hope I haven’t put you off visiting! It did remind me of New York, if that helps your decision?
      Christine recently posted…Monochrome Monday – School Tour, Ubud.My Profile

  • Reply
    Ken Dowell
    July 28, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    It is indeed expensive, crowded and sometimes chaotic. But Hong Kong is a great place to visit.
    Ken Dowell recently posted…Digital Deception: AstroturfersMy Profile

  • Reply
    Tim
    July 29, 2014 at 12:53 am

    This reminds me a lot of Singapore in the 90’s. All the hostels packed into a couple of high rises blocks. Reception areas concentrated, no windows, hustle and bustle. It is another world and am glad you enjoyed your time there. This kind of craziness is just another layer that makes traveling so enjoyable.
    Tim recently posted…Bring on the SlumdogMy Profile

  • Reply
    Michele LoBosco
    July 29, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    Great read…and super helpful information. I’ve heard that Hong Kong was expensive but didn’t realize just how expensive it was. It sounds like despite the prices and the difficulties (but ultimate success) in finding a reasonable place to stay, that you had a lovely time!
    Michele
    Michele LoBosco recently posted…Fifty Shades of Grey: A Fashion RoundupMy Profile

  • Reply
    William Butler
    July 30, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    Hi Christine,
    As I have not been to Hong Kong yet, I had no idea that the currency was so dear. I am definitely drawn to crowded places full of lingusitic and taste experiences, full of cultural sights, so I think it will still be worth the investment of my time.

    Kind Regards,
    Bill
    William Butler recently posted…Numbers, Large and Small, and the Secret of LifeMy Profile

    • Reply
      Christine
      August 1, 2014 at 9:29 pm

      Hi Bill, yes, I didn’t really know either until I started to look into it. I’m the same, so I think you would enjoy it. Thanks for your comment 🙂
      Christine recently posted…Israeli Embassy Incites HatredMy Profile

  • Reply
    Susan Cooper
    July 30, 2014 at 10:50 pm

    WOW your can-do attitude is so impressive. Hong Kong is on my list of places to visit. I can see how adhere to a budget is very beneficial especially when the location is so expensive. These are really great tips to help you do that. 🙂
    Susan Cooper recently posted…Bolshoi – Banana Sandwiches: #StoryMy Profile

    • Reply
      Christine
      August 1, 2014 at 9:30 pm

      Thank you Susan! Yeah, I really had to stick to the budget, or I was at risk of running out of money by the end of my trip! 🙂
      Christine recently posted…Israeli Embassy Incites HatredMy Profile

  • Reply
    Jeri
    July 30, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    Yikes, the view out of the window is a bit horrific! When I went to NYC a couple of years ago, I ended up staying at one of the Pod hotels. It was affordable, clean, and very small. The beds were comfy and that’s all that mattered since we didn’t spend much time at all in our rooms.
    Jeri recently posted…#CoverDesign: 5 Expert Tips on Creating a Winning Book CoverMy Profile

    • Reply
      Christine
      August 1, 2014 at 9:51 pm

      I know, it was a little disturbing, especially that questionable toilet paper! I think that sounds like an ideal place to stay in New York, there’s no point spending any time in a hotel when you’re in such a great city! 🙂
      Christine recently posted…Israeli Embassy Incites HatredMy Profile

  • Reply
    Lorraine Reguly
    July 31, 2014 at 5:46 am

    Wow! What a small room! Good thing you were able to handle your accommodations with a smile. 🙂

    I’ve no plans to go to Hong Kong, but your budgeting tips were great and I’m sure they will help Susan when she goes. 😉
    Lorraine Reguly recently posted…Being an Author Is Depressing (+ I desperately need your help)My Profile

  • Reply
    Carl
    August 1, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Pretty solid roundup here of what to look out for.. Research is something you can’t do enough of before traveling. Really surprised that Hong Kong wasn’t cleaner than the pics you posted, though this is common in SE Asia. Thanks for sharing. Great post.
    Carl recently posted…Summer Petals in Yeosu, ExploringMy Profile

    • Reply
      Christine
      August 1, 2014 at 9:58 pm

      Yes you’re right Carl, research also makes looking forward to a trip more exciting! Hong Kong was actually clean enough compared to other Asian cities I’ve been to. My next post will have more pictures taken out and about, rather than inside my budget room and building! 🙂
      Christine recently posted…Israeli Embassy Incites HatredMy Profile

  • Reply
    Jason B
    August 1, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    I’m glad you were able to go to Hong Kong on a budget. That room looked a little too small for me though.
    Jason B recently posted…August UpdateMy Profile

  • Reply
    Pamela Heady
    August 1, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    Talk about an adventure! What an interesting experience and you have learned by living it the best way to prepare for budget travel!

  • Reply
    Erica
    August 2, 2014 at 1:00 am

    Wow! Look like these really worked out. That is a good tip about just booking the first couple of nights and trying to bargain from there. Then again, I’m not sure I have your adventurers spirit where I might feel a bit insecure being in a foreign country without a secure destination. I guess the best deals come to those who take chances.

  • Reply
    Mina Joshi
    August 2, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    Backpacking in new cities is the best way t experience the local culture.
    Mina Joshi recently posted…Vegetarian cottage pie with dauphinoise potatoMy Profile

  • Reply
    Anna
    March 9, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    Hi,
    Can I ask for the name of the hostel you stayed? I believe, Chungking Mansion housed various hostel/ guesthouses.. And on what floor did you stay?

  • Reply
    jenniferkurtz
    June 4, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    This article is very helpful for us or those who want to visit Hong Kong because the people want to achieve Hong Kong Cheap Service Apartments for long or short term stay at affordable prices. Most of the hotels in Hong Kong are five-star also luxurious and too much costly.

  • Reply
    Jana
    July 12, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    Hi Christine!

    Around how much was the difference between room price quoted in the website and with directly asking the owner?

    Jana

  • Reply
    How to get a China visa in Hong Kong - The Traveloguer Travel Blog
    October 8, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    […] Read more: How to do Hong Kong on a Budget – Cheap Accomodation […]

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    November 7, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    Asking questions are truly pleasant thing if you are not understanding anything entirely, except this paragraph provides good understanding yet.
    range multimeter recently posted…range multimeterMy Profile

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    Sharmilabanu
    December 31, 2016 at 10:27 am

    This blog is really detailed and helpful! Thank you for all those great suggestions.

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