Silka Far East - A Poor Man's Hotel In Hong Kong

Saturday, September 21, 2013

(Updated May 2017) Can a bad hotel get better over time? Or can it get cheaper at least? Ok, let me clarify here that I am talking about Hong Kong, a city where the government authorities are torn between building housing for the residents and building hotels for tourists. The political response is always to give priority to housing for the people. If that is to be believed, hotel prices in Hong Kong have only one way to go, up. In such a scenario, poor tourists like me have to look for perceptively bad hotels in Hong Kong that get a little better over time. Their poor perception among the tourists would have kept their tariffs under check, or so I hope. And their desire to increase occupancy would have forced them to bring about some improvements in their hotels. Maybe I am being too optimistic here but recently (May 2017) I found this hotel - Silka Far East - offering rooms on internet for as low as 350 HKD a night. In the year 2011 I had stayed there after paying 600 HKD for a night. It did get cheaper. But did it get any better? Let's see...

Hotel Silka Far East Hong Kong

Silka Far East Hotel Hong Kong

Silka Far East (Address: 135-143 Castle Peak Road, Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong. Phone: +852-24069090.) got cheaper for sure. The 350 HKD pricing I mentioned above is actually being offered by Ctrip, a Chinese travel booking site. I have used Ctrip in the past for booking hotels in Hong Kong and Macau. Other travel sites like booking.com are offering prices a little over 400 HKD. Actually at a little over 400 HKD, the hotel itself offers direct bookings and some added benefits. The benefits advertised by the hotel for direct booking are

- Guaranteed late checkout till 3.00pm
- Free in-room Wi-Fi and free breakfast
- Free usage of a smartphone and free one time mini bar setup
- discounts on dining in their restaurant

These benefits at around 400 HKD a night look really good in a city like Hong Kong. I once paid more than 400 HKD a night to a fraud guest house in Chungking Mansions. This one was called "Canada Hotel" and I booked on a hostel booking site by paying a 10% non-refundable advance. Canada Hotel turned out to be a criminal establishment. They gave me a single room when my booking was for a double room, did not change the bed linen during my stay, and I saw the housekeeping boy spreading dirty and used bed linen that some guests had left after checking out, in another room where new guests would be staying. On top of that Canada Hotel's owner tried to deceive me by demanding a 100% payment whereas I was supposed to pay only 90% after deducting the 10% advance given to the booking site. Having seen all this in a 400 HKD+ hotel in Hong Kong, I would equate Silka Far East to a temple.

Silka Far East Is Not A Temple Really

Do not get your hopes too high about Silka. Remember in the beginning of the article I called it a bad hotel. But in 2011, there was no free Wi-Fi and the price was 600 HKD. In 2017 they are offering free in-room Wi-Fi and some other benefits for direct booking at 400 HKD. Before I mention the problems with Silka Far East, let me cover the positives first.

- The hotel is cheap
- It is owned and operated by a professional chain of hotels and not by some thug in Chungking Mansions
- The hotel operates free shuttle buses for travel within Hong Kong
- The rooms are tiny but very clean
- They provide a tea/coffee maker with two 3-in-1 sachets daily but no free water
- There is an electronic safe in the room, a mini bar, and a small cabinet too
- Public bus to the airport is available from across the road.
- The area is lively, with several shops like 7-Eleven and restaurants, etc.

What Is Wrong With Silka Far East


Standard Room in Silka Far East Hotel Hong Kong

Silka Far East Hotel Hong Kong Standard Room Shower

Tiny Beds

Consider this: In their double rooms, the width of the bed is 1.20 metres. So unless you are planning to get really intimate with your room partner, do not consider sharing the room. All their rooms are good only for solo stay.

Location

Although Silka Far East Hotel is well connected by buses, and is very close to an MTR station, it is still located in the new territories of Hong Kong - in Tsuen Wan. For a tourist, this could mean a few extra bucks spent on train rides and a few precious minutes wasted everyday while travelling up and down.

Noisy Rooms

The walls in this hotel are really thin. The housekeeping staff are known to talk loudly in the corridors early in the morning thus disturbing the guests' sleep. Some other guests may also wake you up with the noise of their own.

Tiny Bathrooms

When I stayed there, it was impossible to take shower without continuously staying in touch with the shower curtain. They claim to have done some renovations but their guests say in their reviews that the actual rooms look nothing like the pictures on their website. That is true.

But I Can Still Consider This Hotel

When I cannot find a decent place within my budget, I can still consider Silka Far East by adding an estimated 60 HKD a day for the extra train travel to the tariff before comparing with the other options. A known devil is better than the unknown devil. Otherwise, I would always prefer Mini Hotel Central. I once stayed in a hostel in Fortress Hill HK and even that was not so bad.

Getting There

Take exit B2 from Tsuen Wan MTR Station and follow the sign boards put up there leading to the hotel.

Transport from / to Hong Kong Airport Airbus A31: Airport Terminal Building Station to Tsuen Wan Discovery Park Terminus Station
Operating hours: 05:30 - 00:00 Frequency 12-15 minutes
Journey Time: 40 minutes

Hotel to Airport: After getting out of the hotel, turn left and then cross the road to the opposite side through the foot over bridge. After getting down from the bridge you should be able to see the bus stop with A31 written on it. It took me about 45 minutes in the afternoon when traffic was low. But do account for traffic delays at peak hours. This mode is way cheaper than taking the hotel shuttle to Tsing Yi for Airport Express train.

Free shuttle Bus: The hotel provides free shuttle bus every morning to Tsing Yi Airport Express Station and Mong Kok Langham Place 09:30, 10:30, 11:30, and 12:30pm. Do book in advance. Hotel Website: http://www.silkahotels.com/index.php (copy and paste in your browser)






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Posted by Narinder Singh

 

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I left my day job in October 2013 and became a full time blogger. I love travel and hence a travel blog was the obvious place to start from. The result is desiyatri.com. I currently live in Bengaluru, India. - Narinder Singh.

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