Normally Hong Kong is not perceived as a cheap holiday destination. However, it can be. Budget travellers from around the world come to Hong Kong to get a new stamp in their passport, explore the city and surrounding it hills, get a Chinese visa or to change flights because HK airport offers cheap flights to most destinations around the world. It is a buzzing Asian financial centre, developed by British and then passed over to Chinese. Both cultures, as well as others, have left clearly visible marks in the architecture and culture of this place.
Where to find cheap hotels and hostels
There is one destination every budget traveller should consider as the first point of call – Chungking Mansions in Kowloon. It is also recommended by Lonely Planet, for the diversity, availability and prices. This building, consisting of 5 blocks (A, B, C, D and E), is 17 stories tall with hundreds of very small hostels. Ideal place to look for a deal.
Book the room in advance
Chunking Mansions is located at 36-44 Nathan Road. Nearby MTR stations: Tsim Sha Tsui and Tsim Sha Tsui, are a perfect places to start the search for a good deal on cheap hotel or hostel. Many owners will approach you to offer accomodation.
How to get a room for 100 Hong Kong Dollars or less?
Many people feel uncomfortable when approached by shady characters offering a cheap place to stay. However, you can use this to your advantage. Here’s the few steps you have to follow to arrive at the right price, i.e. HK$100 or less:
- Wait until you’re approached. You will be, there’s so many rooms on offer and there’s always some available. With such a high supply, owners actively look for customers.
- Ask for the good price. They will tell you they have a very good room (will specify few “exclusive” features) for 250-300 HKD.
- Say it’s too expensive. When they ask what price you’re looking for say 70-100 HKD (it’s not gonna be easy to find anything cheaper than this).
- Walk away. After step 3, they will lower their price to around HK$120-150. You need to walk away, saying that someone else will give you room for your price.
- If they follow and agree to your price go to step 6. If they don’t start again from step 1.
- Go with them and check the room. They will find a last minute excuse to get extra HK$20-50, for example the cheap rooms are not available and there is a much better room at discounted rate. Just refuse and go back to step 1. Normally they will say it’s ok and they won’t charge extra (“only for you my friend”).
- Always pay when you get a key and never at the end of your stay. They have a tendency to forget the price you bargained to their advantage.
If you want to stay longer you can get a really good deal, but it will take longer to find. I’ve heard of a guy who stayed in one hostel for a month and had contract in which he paid HK$30 a day.
On the other hand, some owners are reluctant to offer few nights stay at a really low price, just in case they get lucky with customers. After few failures start to say you’re only staying for one night and then extend it the following day or find another deal.
If you travel with someone you should not pay more than HK$150 in total. Remember that they charge per person and the more of you travel, the better the price per person will be. Whatever argument they use to convince you otherwise.
My experience in Hong Kong
I have been in HK twice for few days and never paid more than HK$100 by always following these 7 steps. The standard of rooms vary from one hostel to another and the space in the rooms is limited, but I did not need anything more than a sleep and internet connection, which was always available.