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help with Hong Kong stop over

We will be staying in Hong Kong in June for 4 nights what should we see and do? and where is the best place to stay ( medium priced accommodation) to look around. generally sight see, shop and enjoy. not night life.
we have heard about day trips to china ( to shop etc) any information regarding this would be good also.

we actually stop in Hong Kong in May also, but only for one day.

any suggestions greatly appreciated

Posted by
14925 posts

Stay at the Salisbury YMCA! It sounds crazy, but it is really a 3-star plus hotel in a prime location - just a block from the Peninsula Hotel (the posh hotel in HK). It's in Kowloon (more interesting that the Hong Kong side), a short walk to the ferries to the Hong Kong side and Macau and to the boardwalk to watch the laser light show every evening.

I liked the HOHO buses. If you have time, take a day trip by ferry to Macau - very different with its Portuguese/Catholic background. It's an experience - you have to go through passport control and customs and duty-free!

I couldn't believe how lively HK is in the evenings. I was on the subway in Kowloon at 10 p.m. on a weeknight and it was packed, mostly with young people. Shopping on the main drag - Nathan Road (around the corner from the Salsburty YMCA) - wall-to-wall stores, all open until 10-11 or maybe later. The flower market is beautiful. The pearl market is pretty good for souvenirs, but don't buy real pearls unless you are an expert!

Posted by
1350 posts

Hong Kong is wonderful. You will find the subway very easy to use. We spent two days there and wish to go back for a week in the future.

We did some of the self-directed walking tours in the Frommer's guide to Hong Kong. I would suggest following a few of those. We very much enjoyed the Ladies' Market, the Night Market, the Flower Market and the Bird Garden.

There's a light show every night on the harbour. We went, and although it isn't as spectacular as I had been told to expect, the area was a hive of activity for all ages and it was certainly fun to be there.

We also went up the Peak and walked the entire path around (about one hour, if I recall). Had a lovely (overpriced) meal at the restaurant up there.

I can't recommend where to stay since we were about a 30 minute subway ride to the main tourist area at the L'Hotel Nina. I didn't find the location a problem with the excellent subway system. But in future, I'd prefer to be a bit closer to the main sights.

I think if you arrange your visas accordingly you can take a ferry to Macau. I liked the Portuguese area very much, and also had an interesting evening at the Venetian casino. DH won HK$160. That was enough to go upstairs and buy me a burger from "Fat Burger".

We deliberately opted out of a tour (Hong Kong was part of a 22-day tour of China, but the only place during that tour where all touring was not included). Everyone in our group except us and one other couple paid for the add-on tour and all felt that was a mistake after hearing how much we did on our own.

Posted by
8987 posts

Hong Kong is a wonderful place! Even though you asked about mid-range hotels, it's the one place you may want to consider splurging for a luxury hotel. They all try to out do each other with amazing amenities and services. My favorite is the Langham Place Hotel Mongkok. The top attraction is the ride up to the peak and hike around top. Shopping is the number one activity, amazing high-end malls, and lots of neighborhood street markets. My favorite were the micro-malls in the Kowloon neighborhood each specializing in one genre like vintage clothing, computer accessories, toy models, action figures etc.
Another must is a trip to the Happy Valley race course. Typically open on Wednesday evenings, it's an amazing experience in in the heart of Hong Kong Island, it's the place to seen, and very tourist friendly.

If you want to get out of the city scene you can take a day trips to Stanley beach or the Wetland Park wild wife reserve.
Also check out www.hkticketing.com to see if there are any West End/Broadway shows or concerts in town during your stay.

Posted by
8293 posts

It is a long time since we were there (just before the hand over, actually) but we found the tourist office helpful. We were advised to join a "heritage tour" which was extremely interesting, (as well as exciting when the van got a flat tire on a busy highway). We visited a recreation of an ancient Chinese village and if I remember correctly, the Happy something-or-other race course. We also experienced a typhoon one day so that was fun in a scary kind of way. I would love to return to see how it has changed.

Posted by
703 posts

thanks everyone, so far for the great information, we are looking forward to our visit there.

Posted by
843 posts

My very favourite sight in Hong Kong (Kowloon side) was the Chi Lin nunnery and Nan Lian gardens (these are connected). On the Hong Kong side, I liked Victoria Peak (accessed via the Peak Tram).

I also liked taking the Duk Ling (a "junk") across the harbour (touristy, but, you know, I was a tourist), and seeing the harbour light show from the Walk of Fame. You can take the Star Ferry across the harbour, also (or the MTR beneath it).

I also really enjoyed our day in Macau (about a 1 hour hydrofoil ride from Hong Kong). We walked up the Rua de S. Paulo to the ruins, having traditional pork on a ciabatta bun on the way. I also spent the afternoon in the Venetian with my daughters while my husband gave a presentation at a school nearby. Wow! It's amazing. We didn't go into the casino, but shopped along the canals.

We stayed in a vacation apartment in the Causeway Bay (aka Wan Chai) area. We loved it. Every time we went over to the Kowloon side, we were happy we were not staying there. There are some decent hotels in the area around Causeway Bay and near Victoria Park, also. A friend of mine recommended the Rosedale.

However, if you don't mind staying on the Kowloon side (where the area with lots of hotels attracts a lot of beggars and hawkers), then I second the recommendation of the Y. There's a huge mall nearby. I forget the name. In Causeway Bay, Times Square is another big mall, and it has some designer stores (Fred Perry, Burberry, etc.) and Island Beverly is more trendy, with dozens of teeny-tiny boutiques spiralling around the different floors. The Pedder (sp?) was recommended as a good place to get designer stuff for cheap, but I wasn't that impressed, and you need to watch for knockoffs there. At the Ladies Market in Mon Kok, there are blocks and blocks of knockoffs for sale (I was constantly greeted with cries such as, "Hello, missy! You buy copy watch?"), along with souvenirs, clothing, etc. It's fun to bargain via calculator there. There are also places in the Kowloon side where you can get custom-made clothing, and they'll even keep your measurements so you can order from home in the future, but I can't recommend any, since I didn't try them.

There is shopping everywhere in Hong Kong. I didn't go anyplace where there wasn't plenty of shopping nearby.

A tip: get an Octopus pass for transit. You can get it at the airport right after you exit customs. It's good for MTR (subway), ferry, bus, tram, airport train, and others (8 modes of transportation in all--thus the name). (Note: The airport train meets up with the MTR at at least 3 points, if I recall correctly. When you return to the airport, you can actually check your luggage directly through to your flight before you board the airport train. So civilized!)

Posted by
14925 posts

I did not need to arrange a visa in advance to visit Macau. Like Hong Kong, it was automatic on a U.S. passport. I would imagine it's the same with an Australian one. Usually you need to apply well in advance for a Chinese visa.

Posted by
843 posts

We also did not need to get visas in advance to visit Macau (or for Hong Kong, itself). I understand that those who wish to cross into mainland China do need to get visas in advance, but they can also be obtained in Hong Kong a few days ahead.

I forgot to mention that a couple of places I wanted to see but missed, because my daughter and I got the flu, were Aberdeen and the Great Buddha. We did see a Great Buddha in Kamakura, Japan, the following week, but I think the one near Hong Kong is much larger.

Posted by
703 posts

thanks, does anyone know about visiting mainland china on shopping trips? I have heard ' third hand' that you can visit there for say a day trip?

Posted by
8987 posts

If you want to go to neighboring Schenzen you'll need a visa. China does have a new 72 hour visa-free transit program, but it's only available at some airports within China.

Posted by
3 posts

I wouldn't suggest going to Shenzhen for shopping, it is true that it's cheaper than HK but you need to know the right placesto go and above all, you need to speak a bit of Chinese to avoid getting ripped off - even though it's very close to HK, it's very unlikely to find someone who can speak English in Shenzhen. I would just enjoy HK, its lovely islans and Macau. Have a great trip!

Posted by
18 posts

I wouldn't bother with Shenzhen for shopping as anything you can find there will be found in HK. Plus, people from Shenzhen actually cross the border to do their shopping.

Make sure to visit Kowloon City. It's a historic part of HK and you'll get to experience the less touristy and 'local' feel of the city. It also means that a lot less English is spoken.

Lantau island might be interesting if you want to see the buddha. Take the cable car up (if it doesn't look like it will rain), there's also a bus available from Tung Chung. It's quite far from the city though but close to the airport.

Tai O fishing village is another traditional piece of HK that is becoming gentrified but still retains some authentic feel as there are fishing boats and houses floating about. I think the ferry ride is roughly 1 hour. There's also Cheung chau if you want to visit another island off of HK. Well known for its seafood but it won't be cheap.

Be sure to eat HK street food! If you don't think your stomach can handle it, just go with something safe like "HK style egg waffles". Also highly recommend 'Tim Ho wan" for dim sum, Cheapest michelin star restaurant in the world. Order the pineapple bbq buns. Don't go at prime dim sum hours (11am-1pm) unless you want to wait in line for 1-2 hours. Go at an off hour (3pm-6pm).

If you want to get a feel for how busy HK can be, just visit Mongkok but watch your wallets. You'll be shoulder to shoulder with people.

Some shopping tips:
If you plan to buy some souvenirs or trinkets at an open-air market, always bargain down the price. Just walk away if it's not what you want to pay.

Whatever you do, do not buy electronics (like cameras) at Nathan road! Avoid anything with a 'neon' sign (you'll know what i mean when you get there). They're scammers. You won't get a good deal on cameras here unless you know the market well. They often use the "Bait and switch" tactic.

If you make a large purchase in a department store (like cosmetics), ask if there is a 10% discount.

In general, Causeway Bay and Tsim Tsa Tsui (TST as locals like to call it) will probably be your best bet for shopping. The sizes cater to the locals so i'm not sure what the fit will be like for you if you're not asian.

Oh and make sure to carry tissues! Some toilets in HK do not always have toilet paper...and not all restaurants will provide napkins either.

Any other questions, I'll be happy to answer. I was born there and have been back quite often since i immigrated.