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advise on evening cruies/ lei Yui Mun cruise/finishing villages

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my wife would like to see a 'fishing village' but we have 48 hours in hong kong and will see the light show on land the first evening. there are many possible options if one chooses either an evening cruise with or without dinner or the fishing village cruise dinner. Could do other things. Has anyone tried any of these? Do any sail through interesting areas. opinions requested. thank you

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    OK some thoughts on this:

    1. As I mentioned in your other post, the light show may underwhelm you. It really is not that interesting, IMO. I am not sure I would arrange my schedule to see it. It is also quite possible to see it from the Peak as well as waterfront areas on the Hong Kong Island side, so you can fit it in as part of other sightseeing. The best place to see it may be the Star Ferry crossing over at 8 pm from either side. (The second best place is the outdoor bar at SEVVA so you can drink at the same time…) The buildings on both sides of the harbour have lights and lasers, so you don’t have to be on the Kowloon waterfront to see it. Depending on what time the evening cruises depart for Lei Yue Mun, you may also be able to see it from the tour boat.

    2. Lei Yue Mun is actually quite an interesting little place. It is not, however a fishing village. It is a place where you can eat seafood. It used to be a fishing village. It is now a tourist area where you can buy fish displayed in large market area, and also go to a seafood restaurant. That being said, the village has a very ramshackle charm all its own, and a cute little temple out at the end (with a resident ghost). If you like walking, there is a walk from here which will take you up Devils’ Peak for just stunning views offered from a WWII fort ruin. (You have to like walking up some pretty steep hills, but if you do, let me know and I will give directions. You need probably 2 hours for the walk there and back.) I also should point out that LYM is not as frequented by locals as it is by PRC mainland tour groups, so don’t think you are getting the “local” scene; you are more than likely seeing other tourists. They just happen to be Chinese ones. (Listen out for Mandarin and Shanghainese, which are quite distinct from Cantonese.)

    3. A trip out by boat from Central would offer spectacular views, esp on a clear day or night. You would be going the whole length of Hong Kong harbour. Certainly the best harbour views from any water position. It might be the sole reason to take this tour. The downside to a tour is that you probably go the restaurant chosen by the tour. You may also not get much time in Lei Yue Mun, which means you might miss the temple, which is, IMO, one of the reasons to go there. Kind of up to you. If you can send me links to the tours you are thinking of, I can take a look at them and give you my thoughts as to how much time you would get to spend in the “village”.

    4. It is possible to do this trip yourself by a series of ferries. This will take longer than a tourist boat, but will offer the same lovely views. LYM is also quickly walkable from the Yau Tong stop on the MTR, so it is possible to take the MTR one or both ways. However, the trip by water is very scenic and worth the time if you have it. I can provide directions if you are interested. I think the entire trip down to LYM from Central by ferry would take about 1 to 1.5 hours; I have not done in it one go but have done all parts.

    5. The Museum of Coastal Defense is on Hong Kong Island across the harbour from Lei Yue Muen and is really interesting, IMO. It would be easy to combine a ferry trip down the harbour to the museum (a few changes required), then hop over on the ferry to LYM and have a wander through and a seafood meal. You could then either return by ferry for a night view, or take the MTR.

    6. A more working type of fishing village would be Tai O on Lantau, Cheung Chau Island or parts of the New Territories. If you are going to the Big Buddha on Lantau as part of this trip, then Tai O is very easy to include; depending on your time it could also be done before a departing flight from HK Airport. Cheung Chau is very easy to do by yourself via the ferry. So Ku Wan, on Lamma Island, where fish is more cultured than caught these days, might offer a better glimpse at a fishing village than LYM (they also have a nice little temple and again, some opportunities for walks). In that case, with your limited time, you could just take the Rainbow Restaurant boat out and back, see http://www.rainbowrest.com.hk/eng/index.asp. The ride out to Lamma or Cheung Chau would be pretty, although admittedly not much of the city and harbour as these islands are in the other direction. Perfectly fine seafood, virtually none of it local. That is the case with most seafood in Hong Kong. When you see how polluted our waters are, you won’t want local seafood anyway.

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    My flight on friday feb 11 for vietnam leaves 2:30PM vietnma airlines advises me to be there about '2 1/2' hours before!! I dont know if should go to one of these vilages on the way to the airport on friday am? maybe too much. Really to buy round trip airport express tickets. Not going to the big buddha. Tai O is this realistic for that friday am? Other wise other thoughts prior to going to airport... thinking of arriving at airport about noontime, picking up my stored luggage: will use carryons for my 48hrs in hongkong thnak you

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    IMO you do not have to be at the airport in HK 2.5 hours before a non-US flight. It makes me laugh that Vietnam Air, of all airlines, said that, as they have a reputation for being late all the time (which has been fairly true in my experience with them). 1.5 hours is more than enough, and hour is usually perfectly sufficient, but if you don’t know the airport, will have to collect luggage, and on the off chance there are long immigration lines, 1.5 hours is probably best. If you can check-in on-line before the flight (which is generally possible with all non-US flights), then you will save even more time.

    So assuming you need to be at the airport at 1 pm, it is a tough call on whether to try to include Tai O. Door to door from the airport area to Tai O is over an hour each way, could be close to 1.5 hours all in. So let's say 3 hours. You want about an hour or a bit more in Tai O, so let’s say 5 hours all in for the trip. That means you have to leave the JW Marriott at 7- 7:30 am or so, or earlier if you want to give yourself more of a cushion. Otherwise, you could leave the JW Marriott just after Noon. Hard to say whether you want to give up a morning in Hong Kong for Tai O on that basis.

    If you decided to do this, I would say that you NOT take the Airport Express station to the airport. I would just take the MTR to Tung Chung. (This is where you get the bus or ferry to Tai O.) You can store your luggage in storage lockers in the basement of the Citygate Outlet Mall, which is attached to the MTR station, exit Door B and the Mall is opposite you, entry doors are on the right. The bus station is behind the mall toward the left. From Tung Chung, you will take the #11 bus to Tai O. The bus takes about an hour. You can also take a ferry, they don’t run as frequently, but see http://www.fortuneferry.com.hk/timetable.php. The ferry pier is about a 5-10 minute walk from Citygate Outlet Mall. (I have some walking directions if you want them.) The bus rides and ferry trip are worth it in themselves for the views offered. (Sit in the very front of the bus if possible.)

    Another way to get to Tung Chung from the Marriott would be the #E11 bus, which stops at Pacific Place where the JW Marriott is located. From there it stops in Central but then goes non-stop to Tung Chung. Again, a scenic bus as you go over several bridges. The trip to Tung Chung from there is about an hour. You can check your hand luggage at Citygate Outlets as above. This should be cheaper than the MTR. I don’t know how regularly the bus runs, see http://www.citybus.com.hk/eng/main.asp for a typical schedule

    If you do not leave your large luggage at the airport during your stay in Hong Kong, then if you decide to go to Tai O, from the hotel you would go to the Airport Express Station and check-in for the flight, handing over your checked luggage. Then take the Airport Express to the airport. You can either leave your hand luggage here or take it with you and store it in Tung Chung. From the airport, take a taxi to the Citygate Outlet Mall in Tung Chung. (You can take either a red taxi or a blue Lantau Island only taxi, both types of taxies can take you to Tung Chung.) The ride takes about 5-10 minutes and should be about HK$30-40.

    Of coure it is possible to take a taxi directly from the airport to Tung Chung, wghich will save you a good bit of time. You have to take a blue Lantau Island taxi. I am guessing that the fare would be something like HK$300, but you may be able to bargin with the driver. From Tai O, you may not be able to find a taxi to rertun, so you may need to take the bus or ferry to Tung Chung, and then a taxi to the airport. (You can even take a taxi from the Marriott to Tung Chung, and then a blue Lantau taxi to Tai O. This would be very fast, but of course rather expensive.)

    If you are a person who prefers to be at the airport early, or is anxious about missing flights, then perhaps this would not be a good idea. You might not enjoy the trip if you will be constantly looking at your watch. You don’t know the area, so my timings above could be off. Hard to say. IMO it is doable with good planning, but as you have a limited amount of time, you may not want to give up that much of it to Tai O. There are many other things you could do in town which would be eaiser to get to.

    As mentioned, you might want to go to Lamma Island via the Rainbow's boat, for lunch or dinner, which would be a quick way to get there and back. Lei Yue Mun is certainly possible for one of your evenings as well. Even just Aberdeen harbour may be sufficiently interesting.

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    Since I am an anxious person: the complexity of the trip mention is not practical. I think you may have an idea regarding our likes: my wife does have some knee issues and hiking cannot nor probably walks of more than 45min may be out. Since we arrive about 2:30PM I thought the peak after checking into the hotel, followed by going to the ferry to TST , light show, the already reservations at hutong for 9pm. Think the tram to causeway/victoria park (my wife would like to do the entire tram first then go back and wander around. The areas for wandering I thought was east of the Marriott as well as west of Central to see local color. My wife did want to do the tram upon our arrival (possibly too crowded in early evening) to get some orientation. Can you suggest a senario? I know there are 6 tram lines-some confusion. We are not museum people--like wandering streets. thaqnk you.

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    Stop thinking about the 6 tram lines. Ask 100 local HK people on the trams and 99 of them will not know there are 6 tram lines.

    Write or draw this out:

    The main line from West to East has these "terminals", and a tram will display one of these spots where it turns around

    Kennedy Town - Shek Tong Tsui - Western Market - Causeway Bay - North Point - Shau Kei Wan

    Plus, just west of Causeway Bay, there's a loop that goes south to Happy Valley.

    The JWMarriott is located between the Western Market and Causeway Bay. So, if you look at trams going west from the JWM, they will show Kennedy Town, Shek Tong Tsui or Western Market. If you are just going to Central or Western Market, you can ride any of the trams. But if you want to go further west - like going to the "Salty Fish Street" area, you have to take one that says Kennedy Town or Shek Tong Tsui.

    If look at trams going east from the JWM, you'll see signs that say Happy Valley, Causeway Bay, North Point or Shau Kei Wan. Take only the one that says Happy Valley if you want to go to Happy Valley. If you want to get to Causeway Bay, you can take any except that for Happy Valley. If you want to go further east than Causeway Bay, then you take one that says North Point or Shau Kei Wan, depends on how far you want to go.

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    I have never been to Tai Pak, I know it is one of the floating restaurants which is part of the Jumbo. I have not eaten at the Cantonese seafood restaurant at the Jumbo in almost 20 years, although I do like the fusion restaurant on the roof of Jumbo, called Top Deck. However if you want traditional Cantonese seafood on a floating restaurant, then Tai Pak is probably fine. Will be quite touristy, but what the heck, you are a tourist.

    If you do a sampan tour, IMO you will want to do it before dinner in the light of day; otherwise you won’t see much. The people living on boats is kind of interesting. You have to bargain with the sampan ladies (they are almost all women), I would think that you could get it for US$20 for a half hour tour, maybe ea bit more or a bit less depending on how hard you bargain and how many other people are out that night looking for tours.

    Easiest way to get there from the Marriott is to take a cab, he will go through the Aberdeen tunnel, and the trip should take about 15-20 minutes, the website estimates HK$100, which frankly I think is too low, but should not be more than HK$200. (Apparently you can also get a refund for the taxi fare if your dinner bill is more than $HK600, which is about US$80.) The taxi will take you to the Aberdeen Promenade where you can hire sampans for the tour. The sampan can drop you at the retardant, or go back to the pier and take on of the restaurant’s boats (I believe you take the Jumbo boat for Tai Pak. but check the website). Next easiest way is to take the #70 or 75 bus from the Admiralty bus station which is across the street from the hotel. The trip will probably take about half an hour. The #70 ends at the Aberdeen Promenade pier, the #75 ends at the Shum Wan pier. There are boats to the restaurants from either. The boat ride from the Aberdeen Promenade pier would be longer and possibly more scenic, there are probably fewer Western tourists at the Shum Wan pier and you may get a better price on the sampan tour.

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