Dec 7, 2013

HK Guided Tour with Ann's Travel Services

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Manila, Philippines - Nowadays, budget Filipino travelers mostly opt for Do-It-Yourself (DIY) tours in Hong Kong since the place has very efficient transportation system and tourist friendly. However, during the planning stage, Hubby prefers to get guided tour to maximize our time instead of getting lost. So several months ago, I contacted different local agencies here in the country to get quotations for their 3D2N Hong Kong with Macau Package tour for 2 pax. The itinerary are basically the same and the main difference is just the hotel accommodation.  After comparing their prices and getting hotel reviews, I decided to avail the service of GJM Travel & Tour Services. Their travel agent, Mhel, is quite responsive to inquiries and details. They also have several payment options and acceptable terms for the competitive price package.

Mhel Otalla

#122 DSM Arcade (in front of Robinsons Lucky Gold)Ortigas Ext. Pasig City
Contact Numbers: (02)547-5536; Telefax:  (02)625-3175
Mobile Numbers: (0928)3060205; (0927)9808386
Email:| | Skype: gjm_international 
Office Hours: Monday to Friday: 10:00 am to 7:00 pm | Saturday and Sunday: by appointment

Hong Kong, China -- GJM was the one who hooked us up with their HK travel agency counter part which was Ann's Travel Service Co. Ltd. 

What I love about Ann's Travel team was how organized and efficient they were having more than 30s year under their belt, I have to say that their service is highly recommended. They were true to their company statement: to provide one of the widest selection of hotel web sites in Hong Kong with the best rates offered. Composed of teams of experienced travel professionals and its own fleet of private passenger coaches to ensure that all the guests have a memorable journey with us.

We met our assigned tour guide, Frank Chan, at HK International Airport Arrival Hall in our assigned picked up area. Immediately, Frank double checked with us the details of our stay and handed us our daily breakfast voucher for McDonalds. He also provided foreign exhange from Peso to HK Dollar at a lower price compared outside and offered us several optional tours for our Day 1 night activity (which we took since we were already planning to go there anyway). Frank has a good command of English so communication was not a problem. 

Tour Guide, Frank Chan

I believe one of the best benefit of availing guided tour is that you get to learn bits of information regarding the place you are visiting. Frank had a lot of stories and side comments while we were going around. I can't remember him not talking over the mic inside our bus. He points what to do and not to do mostly when shopping and how not to get ripped off as soon as we get off the bus.

Here is the sit-in-coach: clean, new and comfortable. Also, below are the rest of our tour guides and I hope I got their names right from L to R: Kelvin (with Frank) who takes pictures of the guests, Asmi our Victoria Peak tour guide who waves his little flag so we could see him during the night time among the crowd and John our Macau tour guide. John is from another travel agency in the Macau side but was also contacted by Ann's Travel. He has a slight Portuguese accent, loves Filipinos in Macau and even wants to get our natural tan (kayumanggi) color.

When deciding whether you want DIY or guided tour make sure you have a clear objective why you want to go to your destination. Obviously, HK is a shopping haven so if this is your main purpose, you can skip the guided tour. However, in our case we wanted to get familiarize with the other parts of HK so we did not mind going to the Aberdeen Village and the public beach. So learning about how the fishermen lives is quite interesting for us couple. 

Of course, there are also some cons for guided tour especially when you are in a budget because there are certain activities that you need to shell out some more for you to enjoy like $50HKD/head to ride a small boat called sampan to see the Jumbo Restaurant up close, $200HKD Souvenir Plate and Photo but if you are running low in cash just politely decline. Also, the lunch time could be a bit late than what we are used to since Pinoys like to eat especially when on vacation. This is not really a biggie to us but might be an issue for those travelling with kids. Lastly, sharing a bus with other guests could be time consuming for instance we were staying in Hong Kong Island and the others are from Kowloon Island. During arrival pick-up we were the last passenger in the bus and we got stuck in the Saturday traffic jam.

Overall, Ann's Travel Services will give you your money's worth. Licensed, up-front and no shady transactions.

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