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terry&mike

Hong Kong - tips and things to do

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I just returned from taking a group of 29 clients on a Diamond Princess Southeast Asia & Japan cruise. Below is information from a web site I set up for the group, to provide them with information. Now that the trip is over, I wanted to pass this information along, in case it is of help to other travelers. 

 

Visa: Visa not needed for Hong Kong for US citizens.

Money: Hong Kong Dollar HKD and credit cards widely accepted.

Average Temperatures in January: 58-67 degrees.

Special Notes: Tipping is a growing trend, with 10% being the average. Bargaining is the norm in the markets. Keep a watch out for pickpockets in street markets, crowded tourist places, and the metro.

Arrival: Hong Kong is basically 2 land areas separated by a harbor, the Kowloon (mainland) Peninsula and Hong Kong Island. We will port on the Kowloon side, most likely at Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, a 10 minute shuttle or taxi ride (about $13 usd) to the Star Ferry pier and waterfront action of Kowloon. If we port at Ocean Terminal, we can walk directly off the ship into the Kowloon harbor action. Buy MTR Tourist Ticket Day Pass, $65 HKD for 24 hours use on metro system.

Seeing the Sights: Okay, wow, Hong Kong is truly a wow! There are a great many things to see and do here, in addition to being a shopping and foodie wonderland, there is history, culture, arts, nature, and more - did I mention shopping and food? It is a simple city to navigate on your own, but if you prefer an organized tour, your options are many and varied. The tourist board has a great website at Discover Hong Kong with loads of information. You can also book a tour through the cruise ship, or book a tour through a local operator - Tripadvisor, Tours by Locals, and Viator will give you some ideas - this may be the best way to maximize your time. The Big Bus Tour has good reviews in Hong Kong, and is a great way to see the sites, get on and off as you like, and not walk yourself silly.

You may enjoy the Eat Like a Local Whampoa Food Tour by Humid with a Chance of Fishballs at 3:00p. Or take your own food tour and try: bbq ribs, chicken wings, fish balls, Beggar's Chicken, stinky tofu, egg tarts, pineapple buns, wife cake, mini egg puffs, put chai ko (sticky rice pudding), white sugar cake, local beers and milk tea.

Dim Sum: popular items to order are Ha Gau or Har Gau (shrimp dumplings), Siu Mai (open top dumplings with pork or shrimp), Cheung Fan (thin rolled flour wrap with shrimp, beef or pork), Char Siu Bao (bbq pork bun), steamed beef ball (minced), Lai Wong Bao (custard filled bun), Ma Lai Go (yellow fluffy cake), Daan Taat (egg tart). For 2 people order total of 5 dim sum plus dessert, with good Chinese tea; can add a plate of vegetables and fried rice/noodles for filling if need be.

Some other suggestions for your time:  Consider taking a taxi out to visit the Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple, Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Garden, and Kowloon Walled City.  Or, cruise past the Floating Fishing Village at Aberdeen, maybe dine on the famous Jumbo Floating Restaurant docked near there. An organized bike tour out to the New Territories will get you into the woodlands and to see elaborate temples. Or, visit Hong Kong Disneyland on Lantau Island. Macau, "Asia's Las Vegas", is a 1 hour jetfoil boat ride away, and has a large Portuguese influence in architecture and food. Go on a shopping spree. Or, just wander back to places you want to spend more time in.

Nightlife is abundant on both sides of the harbor, but two places that catch my eye are Bao Bei Bar & Restaurant, serving themed food and drinks, in LKF/Soho (Lan Kwai Fong area), and Tung Po Restaurant, a fun, loud place known for serving beer in porcelain bowls and great local seafood.

For you lovers of High Tea, there are two very good options in Hong Kong, the Peninsula Hotel and The Langham Hotel; reservations are required.

You can also DIY in Hong Kong, with some serious walking to cover it all, and a bit of public transportation and the occasional taxi thrown in. Below is a route you can follow. Plan is to hit all, or at least most, of this on Day 1, and then use Day 2 to go to Tian Tan Buddha on Lantau Island during the first half of the day, and go back to anything you missed, or to places you want to spend more time, in the 2nd half of the day. Plan on an exhausting 2 days.

Day 1 - Take a taxi or shuttle about 10 minutes from Kai Tak Cruise Terminal to the Star Ferry Pier in the Tsim Sha Tsui area, and take the Star Ferry for the short ride across the harbor to Hong Kong Island. Passing by Exchange Square, walk to The Peak Terminus on Garden Rd. and take the funicular up to Victoria Peak. Take the Peak Circle Walk, about 45 minutes. Take funicular back down and walk through Central to the Mid-Levels Escalators and take a short ride, they run uphill beginning at 10:00a (escalators getting refurbished until 2022). Taking in the shops on Hollywood Rd., visit the Man Mo Temple, and continue walking to Hollywood Road Park/Possession Point. Walk on down to the Western Market, consider have a dim sum lunch, see notes below, in this area (Tim Ho Wan Restaurant, or Tao Heung at Silvercord Mall on Carnavon Rd). Then head back to the pier and ferry back, or take MTR under harbor back, to Kowloon. Take some photos as you stroll past the Clock Tower, 1881 Heritage (the cool Shanghai Tang store is here), and The Peninsula Hotel. Wander up Nathan Road, home of fast and fine custom tailors like Sam's Tailors, and into Kowloon Park to the Sculpture Walk to see local artists (consider visiting this early in the morning on Day 2 to watch locals doing Tai Chi). Next it's up to Yuen Po Street Bird Garden, 8a-6p, (Prince Edward MTR) where locals bring their pet birds for walks. Working back down, it's time for more markets. Wander through the Flower Market, the Goldfish Market, the Fa Yuen Sneaker Street Market, and the Ladies Market which springs up in the afternoon along Tung Choi St. Walk down Nathan Road, or hop on MTR and get off at Jordan, for a walk through the Tin Hau Temple fortune tellers, the Jade Market (lots of fakes, bargain hard; more real stuff is at Chinese Arts & Crafts on Salisbury Rd.), and the Temple Street Night Market. MTR back to Tsim Sha Tsui and find a good viewing spot along the waterfront for the Symphony of Lights show on the buildings of Hong Kong Island at 8:00p. Return to ship exhausted. This may be as much as 9 miles of walking, depending on the use of public transportation. 

Day 2 - go to Kowloon Park early to see locals practicing Tai Chi, then travel over to Lantau Island to climb up the Tian Tan Buddha, the largest sitting Buddha in the world. Take MTR Tung Chung (orange) Line from Kowloon station 6 stops to Tung Chung station, leave via Exit B; or take Tsuen Wan (red) Line from Tsim Sha Tsui station 9 stops to Lai King station, and change to Tung Chung (orange) Line for 3 stops, getting off at Tung Chung station, leave via Exit B, 27 minutes. Take Nyong Ping Cable Car from Tung Chung station to Nyong Ping town, at base of Buddha, 25 minutes. Buy tickets 14 days in advance from np360 for Crystal Car (glass bottom) cable car, round trip 290 HKD, for approx 10:15am. Tour Po Lin Monastery, Grand Hall of 10,000 Buddhas, then climb 268 steps up to Buddha. Check out small town, and return via same route. Allow 4-5 hours total.

 

 

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Thank you for all the info.

 

Are taxis readily available at the cruise port in the morning and in the late afternoon/evening to go to see fireworks? I read they don’t have a lot taxis at the port. Thank you.

Edited by vkb2751

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8 hours ago, vkb2751 said:

Thank you for all the info.

 

Are taxis readily available at the cruise port in the morning and in the late afternoon/evening to go to see fireworks? I read they don’t have a lot taxis at the port. Thank you.

There were many taxis in town, but not many taxis out at the port. We used Uber while in Hong Kong to the port and back, and metro system around town and out to Lantau Island/Big Buddha, and were happy with that choice.

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4 hours ago, terry&mike said:

There were many taxis in town, but not many taxis out at the port. We used Uber while in Hong Kong to the port and back, and metro system around town and out to Lantau Island/Big Buddha, and were happy with that choice.

Thank you.

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Now that its confirmed that no one can get into Princess' Vietnam excursions I'm back to hoping I've got the easiest Hong Kong hotel (and I've never stayed west of Hawaii in a hotel). 

 

Late day 1: I reserved a room at Hyatt Centric  Victoria Harbour for the night b4 thinking I'd just get as far as the waterfront & dinner. Think I'll watch fireworks as I crash. Is 1300HK (+10% fee) for a harbor view room a fair rate?

 

Day 2: walk thru Aroma Park or take Victoria Peak funicular and then the ferry to the pier.  I only have 1 carryon but will put my 3 bottles wine into a separate backpack so that it'll be easier to pay the bottle fee when boarding.

 

The ship overnights in Hong Kong so once I drop my bag I plan on  Kowloon Park to the Sculpture Walk to see local artists. 

 

Day 3: no idea what I don't want to miss in Hong Kong so I'll probably take a HOHO

Edited by Ombud

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1 hour ago, Ombud said:

... hoping I've got the easiest Hong Kong hotel (and I've never stayed west of Hawaii in a hotel). 

 

Late day 1: ... room at Hyatt Centric  Victoria Harbour for the night b4 thinking I'd just get as far as the waterfront & dinner ... watch fireworks as I crash. Is 1300HK (+10% fee) for a harbor view room a fair rate?

 

Day 2: walk thru Aroma Park or take Victoria Peak funicular and then the ferry to the pier.  I only have 1 carryon ... ship overnights in Hong Kong so ... plan on  Kowloon Park to the Sculpture Walk to see local artists. 

 

Day 3: no idea what I don't want to miss in Hong Kong so ... take a HOHO

 

Sorry, I must be missing something, fireworks when & where - are you thinking of the nighly laser shows ?  Is that a club level, deluxe harbour view at that updated/best price - dates specific, I don't believe HK is doing nightly fireworks except for select celebrations ?   

 

If you are going to doing HoHo, look into their combo package option - for one that include the Peak Tram.  A bargain/frugal - scenic alternative is to take the double-decker bus at Central, next to the Star Ferry piers & HK Airport Express Station, for a 30-45 minutes ride up thru mid-level to the top of the Peak.  You can then take the Tram ride back downhill ... 

 

From the Hyatt at North Point, it is an easy walk to the pier for transfer to KTCT - here's the posted scheduled, just be sure to reconfirm it ahead, in case of last minute change.  Should not have any issues with a typical carry-on & personal bag, etc. 

https://www.td.gov.hk/en/transport_in_hong_kong/public_transport/ferries/service_details/index.html#i03

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1 hour ago, mking8288 said:

Sorry, I must be missing something, fireworks when & where - are you thinking of the nighly laser shows ?  Is that a club level, deluxe harbour view at that updated/best price - dates specific, I don't believe HK is doing nightly fireworks except for select celebrations ?   

I had booked a regular king room but upgraded to King Room with Harbor view and it's for August 28-29, 2020. I miss spoke ... it is laser shows. I've never seen anything like that. I thought it was just a fireworks show 

1 hour ago, mking8288 said:

If you are going to doing HoHo, look into their combo package option - for one that include the Peak Tram.  A bargain/frugal - scenic alternative is to take the double-decker bus at Central, next to the Star Ferry piers & HK Airport Express Station, for a 30-45 minutes ride up thru mid-level to the top of the Peak.  You can then take the Tram ride back downhill ... 

So am I better off just doing the 3rd day if I have time? Maybe just Aroma Park / ferry / Kowloon Park day 2?

1 hour ago, mking8288 said:

From the Hyatt at North Point, it is an easy walk to the pier for transfer to KTCT - here's the posted scheduled, just be sure to reconfirm it ahead, in case of last minute change.  Should not have any issues with a typical carry-on & personal bag, etc. 

https://www.td.gov.hk/en/transport_in_hong_kong/public_transport/ferries/service_details/index.html#i03

👍 now onto your link to plan out ferry from Kai Tak terminal to close enough to Kowloon Park to walk the rest of the way.  

 

Does anyone know for sure if Princess uses Kai Tak terminal? Just need a little confirmation (of course anything can change)

 

 

Edited by Ombud

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31 minutes ago, Ombud said:

I had booked a regular king room but upgraded to King Room with Harbor view and it's for August 28-29, 2020 ... it is laser shows. 

So am I better off just doing the 3rd day if I have time? Maybe just Aroma Park / ferry / Kowloon Park day 2?

👍 now onto your link to plan out ferry from Kai Tak terminal to close enough to Kowloon Park to walk the rest of the way.  

... if Princess uses Kai Tak terminal? 

 

According to KTCT's official schedule here - the Majestic Princess is overnighting there.  Their website has a lot of useful info, make good use of it. 

 

Keep your eyes on those flight schedule, I assumed that you flying non-stop ... SFO to HKG with a midday/afternoon arrival, 1 hotel night on land and 2nd. night onboard the ship, sailing at 18:00 - all abroad 16:00 local time ... probably still dealing with the jetlag - go easy.

 

With the laser show, you can do a # of virtual previews on Youtube on what it's all about.  Most viewers/popular to watch this on Kowloon side of the harbour - along the Tsim Sha Tsui's waterfront promenade (Ave of the Stars)  I am not sure if it is worth the extra upgrade to upgrade to a (deluxe) harbourview just for that ... you can do it free on the harbour - or, even take an evening (dinner options on one of the tourist wooden junk floating) cruise to see it & pocket the money for more sightseeing.  Well, it's your money and I won't think for what's best for you.  They generally sail/leave from the public pier next to the TST Star Ferry, very easy to do.

This is the offical HK tourism website - plenty of resources, recommended/approved free App, etc. - https://www.discoverhongkong.com/us/see-do/tours-walks/guided-tours/victoria-harbour/SOL-harbour-cruise.jsp

 

Or, if you time it correctly as it is nightly 20:00 sharp - take the super bargain Star Ferry across & watch it - for half a US dollar (50 cents) - make sure to grab an empty seat upstairs by the window/railings ... only matter to visiting tourists, locals don't get excited about watching it, often on a warm/hot & humid summer night.  

 

Otherwise, maybe - you want to book a decent hotel in TST on Kowloon side instead - the Salisbury YMCA or the Sheraton Hong Kong & Towers (corner of Nathan & Salisbury Road) - both have harbourviews, priced accordingly - Marriott status ?  for better rates/upgrade.  Viewing from the Hyatt will be off-center and much further out/away ... probably not going to be as nice, IMHO.  

 

If you wanted to do the Peak, perhaps do that on the morning of Day 2 - checkout & leave your luggage with hotel's bellhop.  Go back in the afternoon, get your bags & take the ferry (if staying in North Point's Hyatt) to check-in.  

 

Kowloon Park & the Walk can be done on Day 3, as it is close to Kai Tak, go after breakfast onboard - take an inexpensive taxi ride over.  It's late August, not a good idea to do that long, very long walk unless you are up to coping with hot, humid & tropical climate - get/pack plenty of water for hydration.  

 

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3 hours ago, mking8288 said:

From the Hyatt at North Point, it is an easy walk to the pier for transfer to KTCT - here's the posted scheduled, just be sure to reconfirm it ahead, in case of last minute change.  Should not have any issues with a typical carry-on & personal bag, etc. 

https://www.td.gov.hk/en/transport_in_hong_kong/public_transport/ferries/service_details/index.html#i03

 

Is this still available?  We asked about it 2 years when in HK trying to get to the cruise terminal and we were told "no".  We tried again last year when we arrived in HK from another cruise and were still told "no"

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55 minutes ago, Betty in Cozumel said:

 

Is this still available?  We asked about it 2 years when in HK trying to get to the cruise terminal and we were told "no".  We tried again last year when we arrived in HK from another cruise and were still told "no"

 

According to the latest/live HK Transport website, it is / should be - schedules posted on the link.  They were using "older" ferries that were reconditioned, restored & put back into service for this route.  I remembered seeing YT videos about it, will try to find one & post it here.  Hyatt's front desk team should know - or call them a day prior, just to make sure.  It's a scenic trip acros the harbour ...  Not all of the trips stop at Kai Tak when they initially started this service - perhaps, that was why ?

 

Edit - I found one of the video of the "Fortune Ferry" leaving from Kung Tong pier, making a stop at Kai Tak (10 minutes into the video) on the way to North Point.

 

Edited by mking8288

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Kind of a change:

Arrival day #1: dinner cruise

Day 2: Kowloon Park and Sculpture Park via ferry, return & pickup luggage, ferry to ship, poke around that area (I might still be dragging)

Day 3: TBD

 

Hyatt says ferries are running. But dinner cruise is a separate company

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You really got me thinking that I booked on the wrong side of the river so I've changed to a hotel between Ocean Terminal and Kowloon Park. At least I'm not going until August so plenty of time to research. Is that area safe?

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8 hours ago, Ombud said:

... got me thinking that I booked on the wrong side ... so I've changed to a hotel between Ocean Terminal and Kowloon Park. At least I'm not going until August so plenty of time to research ... 

 

Good, don't think of either side of the Victoria Harbour as the wrong side or not as good, and lately - it is fine on either side. 

 

Mong Kok / Nathan Road & Prince Edward Rd (MTR Station/Police Station) is the hotspot/area to avoid, especially if "things" flare up with protests.  TST area by Ocean Terminal is fine and perfectly safe from what I can see ... besides, I don't think "they" are willing to gather in masses & risk their own health in large crowds.  

 

As long as you continue to watch & monitor trends, hotel pricing while locked into a fully refundable overnight rate - you are good.  Meanwhile, check out those YT videos ... plenty of them.  Taxi from hotels in that area to Kai Tak is under $15 USD and much, much less if you use the MTR for part of the way & perhaps just a short taxi ride from Kowloon Bay or Diamond Hills station, or even the bus connection from there since you are doing only carry-on.  Plenty of time to research & think it over - keep in mind August is tropical summer, hot & humid ... nothing like SFO, think Nassau - Bahamas.   Victoria Peak is even prettier & nice at night/evening (weather permitting) ... maybe, you can work that into your schedule on Day 2 - the Walk & Kowloon Park, and checking in for the ship, dropping your bags & heading back out to town isn't impossible to enjoy the evening.  Or, do that on the morning of Day 3.  

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On 1/28/2020 at 6:49 AM, mking8288 said:

nothing like SFO, think Nassau - Bahamas.   Victoria Peak is even prettier & nice at night/evening (weather permitting) ... maybe, you can work that into your schedule on Day 2 - the Walk & Kowloon Park, and checking in for the ship, dropping your bags & heading back out to town isn't impossible to enjoy the evening.  Or, do that on the morning of Day 3

I haven't been to the Bahamas in decades but was in Texas years ago. Way WAY to hot to do anything after 11am so I guess I'm hunting out air conditioned tour buses. Will do Victoria Peak morning Day 3. 

 

Thanks -- off to read about Vietnam (even though I'm hoping to do ship's shore excursions there)

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