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ebslcc

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About ebslcc

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    Cool Cruiser

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    SF Bay Area CA
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    Gardening
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Oceania, Celebrity
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Europe

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  1. FYI... I had email exchange with Kai Tak Cruise Terminal operation team regarding shuttle and transportation suggestions at Kai Tak. I also asked about mall about mall safety since there were shopping interruptions during the Christmas period by protesters. I have a group of friends coming to Hong Kong this weekend. Chinese New Year is on the 25th. In Hong Kong the celebration is 7 days where people take time to visit friends and family. The Diamond Princess is at Kai Tak on 25th from 7 AM to midnight. The Celebrity Millennium arrives on the 26th 10 AM on a 1 1/2 days stop leaving on 27th at 4 PM. For your Kai Tak stop planning basically the free mall shuttle ends 2 hours before sailing time. I will get clarification if the last shuttle from the mall is the same time as the last shuttle to the mall. Date: Wed, Jan 22, 2020 at 5:52 AM Subject: Re: Email response from the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal To: Justin Tung <jtung@worldwidecruiseterminals.com.hk> Hi Justin, Thank you for your timely response. Knowing when the shuttles run this coming weekend is the most important information my friend needs coming to Kai Tak this weekend. Regarding the mall shuttles I assume that the return shuttle interval will also be every 1/2 hour? Is the last shuttle back to Kai Tak the same as the last shuttle to the mall? For example for 27th January 2020 is the last shuttle from the malls 1400 hours? I will send you additional follow up later. Please let me know when you have additional information that I can pass on to cruise passengers via the online forums. Thanks again. On Wed, Jan 22, 2020 at 2:21 AM Justin Tung <jtung@worldwidecruiseterminals.com.hk> wrote:
  2. The GOOD NEWS: Kai Tak MTR Station will be opened on Feb 14th: https://www.hongkongfp.com/2020/01/17/hong-kong-open-three-new-mtr-stations-connecting-tai-wai-kai-tak-february-14/ https://hongkongbuzz.hk/2020/01/love-from-mtr-phase-one-of-tuen-ma-link-opens-on-valentines-day As noted in my earlier post for cruise passengers going to places of interest you will need to transfer at least once starting at the Diamond Hill MTR station after taking just one stop from Kai Tak MTR. THE BAD NEWS: The Kai Tak MTR Station is NOT a comfortable walking distance from the cruise terminal. It is actually located in the middle of the Kai Tak re-development area about 1.2 miles from the cruise terminal. THE BETTER NEWS: There will be a circular route bus service by CityBus 22M that will run between Kai Tak MTR and Kai Tak Cruise Terminal. It is not known yet how frequent the bus will be. Also it looks like multiple bus routes will be directed to stop at the new Kai Tak MTR Station. So you want a much longer scenic ride to the Star Ferry can take the 22M bus to Kai Tak MTR and transfer to a bus that takes you to the Star Ferry vs. doing your trip on the MTR. If you don't have an Octopus Card you still need to get one from the MTR Station. Hopefully the KTCT will sell the Octopus Card there instead of just at the MTR Station. BTW, the number 22 Citybus already stops at Kai Tak Cruise Terminal. It runs every 30 minutes. Hopefully with the combination of 22 and 22M you will be able to get to the MTR with a much shorter headroom (15 minutes vs. 30 minutes???). Here's the official announcement: https://www.mtr.com.hk/archive/corporate/en/press_release/PR-20-003-E.pdf re: 22, 22M bus - similar to getting the GMB, if you don't have an Octopus Card yet just stuff the fare box with $ over the regular price if you don't have the correct change. At KTCT, here's where you can pick up Bus 22 (likely 22M also will be at the same spot). The bus stop is not far from the taxi stand. Here's where the Kai Tak MTR Station is looking at Google Earth (BTW, it's very fun to fly around your destinations with Google Earth ). Note Google Earth is only supported if you are using Chrome browser! https://earth.google.com/web/@22.33510645,114.20216911,5.85707866a,818.2120896d,35y,-105.0717999h,39.08094302t,0r/data=ClMaURJLCiUweDM0MDQwNmQxZTZiZjkzZWQ6MHg5NTc0NjhjMmZjMWUyMGQxGXU1HhH4VDZAIcM6n0sCjVxAKhBLYWkgQ2hpbmcgRXN0YXRlGAEgAQ If you are on a cruise pass Feb 14th and try out the new Kai Tak MTR please post your experience. Laurence
  3. #86 Green minibus is an interesting option to get to the MTR (Kowloon Bay) from Kai Tak. http://www.16seats.net/eng/gmb/gk_86.html Per Hong Kong transport department's eMobility https://www.hkemobility.gov.hk/index.php?golang=EN it only has 1 possible stop between Kai Tak and Telford Plaza near the Kowloon Bay MTR station. The ride is only 15 minutes between Kai Tak and Telford Plaza. Possible seeing protests aside (unlikely early in the morning or late afternoon and no troubles since Christmas) using the minibus can be a quick way to get on the MTR system if you are lucky. The cost is $6 HKD payable with Octopus Card or cash - you can top up with a $10 HKD bill if you don't have the change. There are some challenges with taking minibus: it is small 16 passenger van. NO standing room. You are packed pretty tightly with other folks on the bus. If there isn't a seat for you you will need to wait for the next bus ... not good if you need to get back to the ship and there is a queue. Also most riders are locals. You will not have much luck getting help where to stop on a regular GMB route. The good thing is this is a simple almost no stop route - just get off at the end of the route at Telford Plaza. BUT... there's another option to consider come Feb 14th!!! The New Kai Tak MTR Station will be opened. See next post.
  4. We only used the Diamond Hill free shuttle while we were in KTCT, there isn't any space for luggage however if you are traveling light you may be able to get on the bus ok. For our day in port the shuttle stop was on Fung Tak Road near the baptist church. It is a short 2-3 minutes walk from the Diamond Hill MTR C2 exit. Just loop left walking up the ramp steps Walk pass Marks and Spencer and a few more stops you will see the bus stop and church https://www.google.com/maps/@22.3408425,114.2032032,3a,40.2y,286.42h,99.49t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sYHyO-8Oz8MBSfPiUC6T6jw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656 Re: NOTE that the shuttle service and shuttle stop may have changed from where you took the shuttle previously or may be it can change day to day? I have read on TripAdvisor people saying that the bus is the location I referenced and also people who has referenced location inside the cover area where the taxi's are. Just check with mall staff if you can't find it. Also with the upcoming opening of the Kai Tak MTR, the free shuttle may stop altogether? Although I doubt the malls will stop the free shuttles, they would still want the foot traffic from cruise passengers. Re: Kowloon Station = Airport Express Station. There has not been any issues with Airport Express since they limited passengers for the AE train to those with same day boarding pass only. Enjoy your cruise and your time in HK! Laurence
  5. ebslcc

    Is Hong Kong safe?

    The updated planned protest list is just published https://hongkongbuzz.hk/2020/01/update-on-planned-protests-17-january It's going to be a very interesting couple of weeks pre-Chinese New Year and the few days after. The planned protest list has the usual warnings re: lunch time "pop up" protests in Central (Chater Garden), Kowloon Bay (CIC Zero Carbon Building, Sheung Yuet Road), Lai Chi Kok & Cheung Sha Wan (Intersection of Cheung Lai Street and Cheung Shun Street), San Po Kong (McDonald’s at Tai Yau Street), and Kwun Tong (InPARK) every lunchtime on weekdays between 12:30 – 3:00 pm. These are usually attended by dozens to hundreds of people and from what I've seen on live streams they are usually just noisy - just walk pass or walk to the other side or avoid walking near or in the staging areas like Charter Garden in Central. Looking at the list I think that there will be activities around a few places that tourist should avoid. For example: 17 January: 9:00 – 11:00 pm. Running with You. Hung Hom Promenade β†’ Hong Kong Clock Tower. If I am in HK, I would skip the Lunar New Year fairs 😞 or the times that the protesters planned to show up. For example 18 – 19 January: 3:00 – 6:00 pm. Lunar New Year Fair at Central and Western District. Centre Street/Second Street/High Street, Sai Ying Pun. and for sure 24 – 25 January: 2:00 pm – 1:00 am. Fever Fes. (Off the Ground Lunar New Year Fair). Mong Kok. IMHO any planned protests in Mong Kok late at night should be avoided!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! For some folks in HK New Years is a 3 to 7 days holiday with kids off school => protests will have larger crowds. Laurence
  6. @mking8288 has outlined how to see the Big Buddha and Tai O on the same day. If your ship is doing an overnight in Kai Tak it is an perfect plan for an outing outside the city. It is a excellent "Plan B" in case there's major protest scheduled in town for the day. Since your ship is leaving on the same day you may want to think more about risks and contingencies to make sure you get back to your ship on time. There is a risk that there may be long lines for the cable car. See the video travel YouTube below. The person waited 1 1/2 hours between buying his ticket and getting on the cable car! Although since tourism is way down in Hong Kong there may be no lines at all. If there is a long wait it will really cut into the time you have. You may want to also check the bus schedule and have it printed out before your trip http://www.newlantaobus.com/ in case there are changes. The Website is in Chinese but Google Translate works. The Bus 21 from NP (Big Buddha) to Tai O runs mostly once an hour! There may be taxi's to bring you down to Tai O however others may be waiting also. Uber will not pick up from NP or Tai O!!! The last I heard in Lantau Island there are only 50 to 75 taxis authorized to operate. They are blue color. It may also be very hard to pick up a taxi while you are in Tai O. Even if you get a taxi in Tai O, the taxi can only bring you to Tung Chung and NOT to Kai Tak. The Blue Taxis are restricted to operate in Lantau only. You can take Bus 11 from Tai O to Tung Chung. The latest schedule is it runs ~every 15 minutes http://www.newlantaobus.com/route/routemap/13. You just need to make sure you don't get lost and get back to the Tai O terminus in time. The trip is 45 minutes to an hour. It will be a very long ride as you look at your watch and the bus goes on the scenic drive. Bottom line: I think it is best to skip Tai O for your itinerary. If your primary goal is to see the Big Buddha my suggestion is to get a round trip ticket on the cable car. When you are back to Tung Chung on the cable car and have time left you can go shopping at the Tung Chung CityGate Outlet. There are good restaurants there also. I would get a taxi or Uber no later than 3:30 PM. Google Map estimate is 40 minutes to 1 hour 5 minutes on a Friday afternoon to get back to KTCT. Alternatively if you have interest in Aberdeen it can be easily done via MTR DIY (Wong Chuk Hang MTR Station and walk ~10 minutes http://www.discoverhongkong.com/in/dine-drink/where-to-eat/aberdeen.jsp) but you should combine it with other Hong Kong sites you may want to see for your day. BTW, for the Ngong Ping 360 cable car ticket, you can also get discounted tickets from consolidators like Klook. It will save you time at the regular ticket counter. You will still need to pick up your ticket at the Klook counter near the regular ticket counter but the line will be much shorter. However a disadvantage buying a ticket via consolidators is you have to purchase your ticket ahead. If your plans changed or if the weather is not good you are stuck with a useless ticket. Note the video above has a good segment on Nan Lian Garden and Wong Tai Sin. Wong Tai Sin is another EASY DIY destination from Kai Tak. It is very unlikely that you will be interrupted by protesters at both these destinations. Wong Tai Sin is one MTR stop from Diamond Hill. Laurence
  7. ebslcc

    Is Hong Kong safe?

    I found this news feed https://hongkongbuzz.hk/ with ~weekly updates of planned protests in the coming ~2 weeks. The January 11th update is on the front page right now. Search on "Protest" to see the latest and past updates. I think most of these listed are small peaceful protests which are not newsworthy unless there are arrests and violence. If you happen to run into them (e.g. the lunch time ones in Central Chater Garden overpass walkways) it's common sense to walk away, don't take photos of protesters. It's the bigger protests like the New Year's Day one that are more disruptive and you may have to change your touring plan. See the pinned TripAdvisor Hong Kong Forum posting "Is HK save to travel?" for good recent postings from folks who were staying in Hong Kong during the Christmas and New Year and what they encountered and how they stay away from troubles. They are good reads in case you are staying pre or post cruise. Laurence
  8. Agree re: low number of English speaking tourist industry personnel in Macau. It was a real struggle trying to tell our taxi driver where we needed to go without written destination name in Chinese. We almost had to pull over until I found my Google doc notes to show the driver. Also a LARGE percentage of tourist are from China. There was a huge increase this past year. I heard that tourist from China are no longer going to Hong Kong due to the protests against mainland folks. I am sure you experience how mainland Chinese tourist are in general much more louder and not as courteous as those from other nations. Laurence
  9. May be it's "wag the dog" type reaction by the HK government hyping up this virus in China? What I read is so far people who thought to have this in HK just have the regular flu. I read the post on TA re: what killed the people on SARS ... it wasn't the virus but the excessive medication and over-reaction by the authorities. Amazing and sad! They are being more cautious and adding extra screenings etc. which is a good thing. Laurence
  10. Those guys are GREAT on TA. Thanks for the compliment. I am no where near how dedicated and knowledgeable they are. We don't gamble either. I am sure you will have a great time in Macau. We spent 3 nights and was not enough for what we want to do. I will post some of our experiences soon. e.g. sounds like crimlaw really wants to see the pandas. It's quite a deal $7 MOP entry for adults, free for seniors 65 and above. Laurence
  11. GOOD INFO. Thanks! Likely too many people abuse the online ticket purchase. It is harder for them to check everyone that passes through the gate with an eticket. buying onsite will allow them to check your ID for the senior rate.
  12. You are welcome. As I mentioned getting into more details on your itinerary may help others plans theirs! Here's my understanding of your itinerary and some quick suggestions, questions, comments: Day 1 Monday - Guide will pick you up when you disembark, luggage will be in the trunk. Tour for 8 hours and return to check in at the Intercontinental TST. " He will pick us up at the ship and take us to the Peak. There is a police museum up there that sounds interesting - my friend who is traveling with us is a detective so I thought he might enjoy that. It discusses the Triads among other things. Then we will go to Aberdeen and Stanley, I would like to see some of the buildings in the CBD if possible. There is a place called Tai Kwun that is now an arts/bars/restaurants area that was converted from a police building with jail cells that is supposed to be great." Definitely do the Police Museum with your guide since he will be driving you up to The Peak. However the Police Museum closes on Mondays and hours are limited to later in the afternoon on Tuesdays https://www.police.gov.hk/museum/en/. You may want to swap your Monday / Wednesday schedule with your guide. Your guide will be driving you up to The Peak. Is riding the Peak Tram funicular important to you? He will save you some time driving you up to The Peak vs. you having to queue up for the funicular. However you miss the experience. To me the cost is minimal and secondary. A possibility is for him to drop you off at the Peak Lower Terminus and you and your party can ride the Peak Tram and meet him up top at a designated place e.g. McDonald's at the Peak Galleria. He will need to park there anyways. Will you have a phone with internet access while in Hong Kong so that you can keep in touch with him in case you are separated? Are you much of a shopper for souvenirs? If you take the Peak Tram as you get off there are good souvenir shops with lots of options. They will be much more pricey than what's in Stanley but you may not have the same selection. After The Peak, he can drive you to the Police Museum. Driving down from the Peak is better than taking the Tram down which can have a line up. You may want to consider having lunch at the Peak Tower or the Peak Galleria. Check out TA for suggestions (or your guide can suggest). Then on to Aberdeen If you have interest I would ask your guide to park and see if you can take the free boat to the Jumbo Kingdom floating restaurant. You do not need to eat at the restaurant to walk around. https://www.jumbokingdom.com/en/transportation.html There is also a very low cost boat ride between Aberdeen and Ap Lei Chau (Duck Tongue Island) $2.50 HKD. 10 minutes ride. https://www.google.com/maps/uv?hl=en&pb=!1s0x34040002999bdc2d:0xb69264cff3dc5137!3m1!7e115!4shttps://lh5.googleusercontent.com/p/AF1QipN6wA5aeqvi7XybEMILgTaNzFELtFusIFqPUvA3%3Dw662-h440-k-no!5sAp+Lei+Chau+ferry+pier+-+Google+Search&imagekey=!1e10!2sAF1QipN6wA5aeqvi7XybEMILgTaNzFELtFusIFqPUvA3&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjT-u-j-PXmAhVNnp4KHR2RAdIQoiowEnoECA8QBg With these rides you cover most of what a Sampan ride would cover. If you snack at The Peak you can have a very late seafood lunch in Aberdeen or Ap Lei Chau. Alternatively go to Stanley first and then Aberdeen / Ap Lei Chau for early dinner before heading back. Stanley To me this is more of the same as Mong Kok markets. I heard that it has reduced in size. Day 2 Tuesday - on your own in Mong Kok with suggestions from your guide the day before. Do you plan to sleep in after a long day Monday? Mongkok markets don't open until after 11 AM. Which markets are you most interested in? Is the Hong Kong Museum on your to do list? This is a good time to get oriented with the MTR. After a few rides you will be zipping around town like a local πŸ™‚ I am pretty sure you will be sold on how good a subway system Hong Kong has. Is doing Dim Sum on your list? Early morning as a restaurant opens is the time to go. Are you interested in high quality 3 Michelin Star restaurant (and the price comes with it!!!) or more budget but good quality restaurant? Day 2 Tuesday evening: Guide will pick you up for Mongkok food tour (dinner). "I am not sure how Jacky will handle the night food tour, which is supposed to be in Mongkok. It will be on a Tuesday so hopefully no protests that day but you never know." What type of food are you interested in? Street Food? "Da Pai Dong" experience? How long is the tour? If there is any signs of trouble for the area I am sure your guide would know and will get you out of the way. If you are not comfortable to be in Mong Kok area at night (you should be ok with a guide) there are MANY other places that he can bring you to for a food tour. Ask him for the name of the places that he typically bring people to. Are there choices of type of food? Approximate price? Question is does he get commission for the places he takes you to? Day 3 Wednesday Guide pick up at hotel, Lantau Island tour 8 hours? Ask him what his plan is for lunch. What are the choices? Day 3 Wednesday Evening: "We also plan to go to the Happy Valley races on Wednesday night on our own" It's pretty easy after you are oriented with the MTR. Walk to Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Station (underground) from your hotel (15-20 minutes walking slow). Take the MTR to Central to Central (6 minutes). Walk 3-5 minutes to Peddler Street. Take the Happy Valley Tram all the way to the terminus. Taking the tram ride is an experience on its' own! Get to the top deck and enjoy the 30 minutes ride. If you want faster on the way back. Take an Uber to Central then MTR back to TST. https://www.hktramways.com/en/schedules-fares/ ($2.60 adult or $1.20 on your Octopus Card if you are 65+) Day 4 Thursday: Macau on your own. Day 5 Friday: In-Town checkin then more places on your to do list. Day 5 Friday Evening Airport Express to airport. Possible DIY to do / wishlist: Wong Tai Sin 10,000 Budda ??? what else ??? Laurence
  13. I agree. The motorcycle stunts were amazing!!! It was a nice surprise, so was the Christmas theme extras at the end of the show. I think the show was the best Cirque type shows we've seen. An extra tip buying tickets online: it appears that if you select the lower price seats the system will offer you badly located seats to encourage you to bump up to the next level. If you login again later better seats may be offered. I tried it on different laptops and I think my theory is true. We opt to buy the ticket right at the box office since we were unsure when we want to see the show. I think the online reviews are right, I don't think there is a bad seat in the house!
  14. Yes cash only for Octopus Card for initial purchase and top up. It's $150 minimum for Adults $70 minimum for Elders for initial purchase. If you are traveling with more than one person, it is cheaper to buy the group Airport Express Pass separately and not use your Octopus Card for the Airport Express. For example if you have 2 people and your pre cruise hotel is in Kowloon, AE to Kowloon for 2 people is HKD $150 total, $75 per person. You can also use your credit card to purchase the AE Pass. Single person price is $105 to Kowloon Station ($115 to Hong Kong Station) http://www.mtr.com.hk/en/customer/tickets/promotions_4persons.html
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