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Hard to decide!!Hotel confusion

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I have re posted, so I can get some more opinions. I have read most of Cicerones answers and posts. The sheraton & the intercontinental is out of my range. I am in Hong Kong from Mar. 5 to 8th. I have read that at this time, most likely to be drizzly and foggy. My husband and I like to walk, and have on other trips, liked to stay in more residential neighbourhoods.,but I at first thought that staying near the water would be nice. We hope to spend one day hiring a driver and going to the new territories, I am not interested in Lantau and the Big Buddha, seems way too touristy. Will try to do the peak weather permitting, and want to walk through interesting neighbourhoods, see the Chi Lin Nunnery , Yuen Po St. Bird Garden,the museum of history, a few temples, perhaps the walled garden, stanley market, waterfront and ferry ride. However, now it seems that in Kowloon, it is much more crowded and touristy, and maybe I forget a view because of the time of year. I also cannot stay too high up because my husband can't do very high places. Cicerone suggested the Mercer, the courtyard marriott and the Bishop Lei International if staying on the island. I am concerned about the slow elevators for the Mercer, and the Bishop. although I am not sure if they mean the hotel elevators or the mid level elevators. Also the bishop has a low rate review? If I do stay on Kowloon, I had originally chosen either THe Langham Hotel, the Icon or the Mira, after reading some comments, the Icon is out due to location and height, the Mira seems small. The Langham seems ok if I can live without view. IL don't know why I cannot make up my mind, I am usually not that indecisive. Some more help please!!

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    Looks like you're willing to spend about $300/night. Based on your criteria and your other posts; and looking at rates on Expedia and Asia Hotels, I also think the Mercer and Langham are good choices. If you want some view, the Park Lane in Causeway is also fine, or a partial view room at the Excelsior (though that's a taller building). Or if you're willing to spend a little more, harbour view room at the Marco Polo Hong Kong Hotel is about $350, no view for about $300.

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    Sorry to make you more confused. At the end of the day, Hong Kong is small, public transport is excellent and inexpensive and taxis are not very expensive (although they can be hard to get these days, I blame a too good economy). So it does not matter a whole lot where you stay. As I said on your other post, the Langham is probably the best choice of your original list. Nice luxury hotel. Location is good in terms of getting to places. I agree in March weather is usually so crappy that a view may not be possible anyway. However, walking to “interesting neighborhoods” is not really possible from the Langham, IMO.

    It is quite possible to walk to interesting neighborhoods from the Courtyard Marriott (and even low floors should have a view, as it fronts the water). The Bishop Lei is in an upscale residential neighborhood of high rise towers. You also have the option of walking up or down from the Peak from the Bishop Lei. You can do this from any hotel of course, by first getting to starting points in Central, but from the Bishop Lei you have an advantage in time and location. But as I said, it is not a luxury hotel. The Courtyard is not either, but is much newer and is more of a 4 star hotel.

    Also consider something like Butterfly on Wellington on Hong Kong Island. With that price range you should be able to get one of their larger rooms. This location is wonderful, smack in Central near the Peel Street markets and easy walk to the escalator and then Central. There are some other Butterfly hotels, this has the best location I think, although their Causeway Bay location is quite good too. Not near a subway, but near major bus lines and the street tram. Walkable to Happy Valley and the race track and to the Tai Hang area. See http://www.butterflyhk.com/eng/our-hotels/on-wellington/index.php

    You might look at Hotel LKF. It should be in your price range for a good size room and is in an excellent location. Views are only on high floors, but you don’t care. My one concern there is that on low floors you may have street noise, and you will probably read on tripadvisor about noise issues with the bar/restaurant area that this hotel is in the midst of (hence the good location). However if you are not there from Thurs – Sat, and as you are there in March when people are not quite as much in the streets for carousing due to cool weather, noise may not be as much of an issue as it is in July or December. http://www.hotel-lkf.com.hk/

    I was also thinking of the Park Lane, which is mentioned above. The Excelsior is around the corner and may also work. My issue with Causeway Bay is that it is a bit out of the way for a first time tourist with a short amount of time, who usually wants to be in Central and the southside and parts of the New Territories (all of which the OP clearly wants to do). It also is mostly for shoppers, which the OP poster is not interested in. (Very little discount left there, mostly malls and high end.) However, Victoria Park is across the street, and the interesting and fast gentrifying Tai Hang area is walkable with 2 good temples and many good restaurants. The street tram is a long ride to Central, the MTR can be jammed at rush hours, but its not a bad taxi ride.

    I would like to know how high your husband can go, because I am beginning to worry that given the high rise tower that most every hotel here tends to be in, no hotel may work. Between parking decks, 2-story lobbies, restaurants, gyms, etc. most guest room levels seem to start on about the 6th floor. What is his upper limit?

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    My husband is ok to probably 20 floors. It looks like the nicest room would be at the Langham, and if I wanted to stay on the island, and get a similar quality hotel and room, I am going to have to spend more than $300.00. Of all that has been mentioned, the Mercer Premier room is probably the best bet, but still is pretty basic compare to say a premier Langham room. I guess I just have to decide Kowloon or Island. As you said, everything is pretty close. If I stay on Kowloon, I get to use the ferry, which is nice, but will be cool I guess in March. If I stay on the island, I give up some luxury but get to be less touristy. It is the last leg of a 5 week vacation to Mynmar, Thailand, Cambodia & Vietnam, on our way back to Canada. Everything else is completely settled but this. I guess I will wait for some spark of decision to enter my head. Thank you all for all your help and advice. Any great, local restaurants you might suggest I try to go for? We eat everything, mid range price. One more question, if I go to the New territories, and don't want to book a bus tour, can I hire a car/driver/guide to take us around? Approx how much would that be and do you know of any people who do that?

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    Get the best hotel for your money, as long as it is convenient. Stop worrying about Kowloon vs HK Island. If you don't need a view, just go with the Langham.

    You can go almost anywhere easily by public transportation, including many sites in New Territories. Just need to do a little homew

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    Yes it is hard to believe that US$300 does not get you much and less so on Hong Kong Island. My only thought is whether that would buy you a corner suite at the Courtyard Marriott. That would have a view and they are nice. I also think it would have gotten you a nice room at the JW Marriott, but maybe I sm wrong on that.

    The New Territories are a huge area that includes everything past Boundary Street in Kowloon. When you go to the Chi Lin Nunnery, you will be in the New Territories. There are some walled villages, like rkkwan mentioned. I am asssuming he lives near Kat Wing Hai village, which is quite interesting. There are others. I like the small preserved one at Sheung Yi,because you can include a walk/hike in the area as part of a visit there, and also have a meal in Sai Kung. See http://www.heritagemuseum.gov.hk/eng/museums/sheungyiufolk.asp, and there are links to other museums there as well. Kat Wing Hai is a living village and so offers a contrast.

    IMO you don't want to hire a car and driver, as you can use public transport to get to these areas. A car and driver would probably be in the range of US$300 for the day. There are also some fantastic ferry rides, like the one to Grass Island (Tap Mun). This assumes you get good weather, but even in fog they have a certain beauty. Get a guidebook or do some internet searches. You can also send me an email at Ciceronehongkong@live.hk and I can provide some instructions on getting to these areas.

    One really fun thing to consider is a bike trip in the NT, I did a trip a few months ago with a great outfit. I am in an airport lounge now, and don't have the name with me (and can't remember it), but will look it up and re-post.

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    I am going to do my homework on the territories, and get back to you by tomorrow night. I thought of hiring a car driver so that I can control my time and get to places faster, and if the driver has some knowledge of the area that would also be great. so, Rkkwan, if after my research, you are still interested in taking us there, I should have your e-mail address so I can contact you further.Cicerone, I am not really interested in a bike tour, too much work for us on this trip, but thanks for the suggestion.

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    Sharcal - I have taken some posters here and other forums for short tours of HK. In particular, around Kam Tin and Yuen Long in the New Territories; and/or my half-day loop of Lantau Island. Glad to do it for you, as long as I am available that day. For the N.T., I may use my own car, or we may take public transportation - just depends. I am not doing it for money, though I would expect one to pay for my own transportation (gas and tolls if I'm driving), and my lunch. :)

    You can email me at "rkkwan at earthlink dot net".

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    I I think I have a plan, comments please. I arrive in HK at 5:00PM on Tues Feb. 5th. I will stay at the Langham. Tues. evening, walk on the pier & avenue of stars, dinner in that area. Early Wed. morning, ferry to Island. Do Victoria peak, spending at most an hour at top. Not do hike or restaurant there, just view and journey up there by tram, I think I can convince my husband to do tram, definitely NOT cable car. Back down & spend the day and evening walking around Island in the neighbourhoods, Lunch 7 dinner on Island. Thurs. Feb. 7th, early start with car & driver to do territories. With a car We can see more and get there faster.
    1. Sam TunkUK Museum
    2. Ping sham Trail
    3.Yuen Yuen Institute
    4. Tai Mo Shan lookout
    5. sam Mun Tsai village
    6. using luk keng rd ( also nice lookout)get to Fanling for
    7. Lung Yeuk Tau trail
    8. Tai Fu Tai mansion
    quick road back to kowloon for 8:00Pm dinner
    Last day, Fri. Mar. 8 explore the rest of kowloon. leave for airport at 2:00 PM for 4:45 flight.

    Any comments appreciated please.
    Rkkwan, you may feel that the itinerary for the territories is too much for your time and for your car, I understand. Perhaps a suggestion as to someone who might be able to take us by car for that route. If you are still interested, I will contact you through the e-mail you have provided early in the new year, to see what your availability is.

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    Hong Kong is a small place, so with a car you can go to all those places in the N.T. in a day, but what exactly interest you in Sam Mun Chai? Also I know Luk Keng, but not the Luk Keng Tau trail. Are you going bird watching there or just want to do some hiking?

    The reason I ask is that it is tiring to do 8 different things spread out over the N.T. You can consolidate into just one or two areas and cover various interesting things and you can spend more time in each. Like if you are already going to Ping Shan Heritage Trail, then Tai Fu Tai and Sam Tung Uk may seem repetitive unless you really need to know the subtle differences. Just an example.

    But more importantly, you only have 2 full days in HK. Do you really want to spend a whole day in the N.T.? Especially if you haven't been to some parts of Kowloon. Or how about the islands? I know about the issue with heights so Big Buddha may be a problem, but how about a ferry trip to Cheung Chau?

    And since you are coming close to Chinese New Year, the flower market at Victoria Park will be open. You should visit it the night before you leave. Meaning on the 7th.

    Anyways, currently my schedule is open on Feb 7. I will know better closer to the date.

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    I I think I have a plan, comments please. I arrive in HK at 5:00PM on Tues Feb. 5th. I will stay at the Langham.

    I thought your holiday was in March. I see now it is early Feb. Is that correct? That may make a big difference in whether you want a view room, but as you seem to have settled on the Langham, let’s leave that. February can be mixed: sunny and wonderful or gray and cold. But better than March which is almost always terrible (although you can of course get the odd sunny day in March too.)

    The other thing, which rkkwan mentions above is that the Lunar New Year (Chinese New Year) starts the following week, Feb 11. So you will be here for the run-up, which has several events, including things like the flower market in Victoria Park. Other areas have their own flower markets as well, but the one in Victoria Park is the biggest. I would certainly say to include some time there. I like the evenings, when families go together to buy flowers and look at the sights.

    Tues. evening, walk on the pier & avenue of stars, dinner in that area. Early Wed. morning, ferry to Island. Do Victoria peak, spending at most an hour at top. Not do hike or restaurant there, just view and journey up there by tram, I think I can convince my husband to do tram, definitely NOT cable car.

    I would let the weather be your guide. If it is foggy in the morning, then skip the Peak. Also, I think the Peak is better later in the day, esp before sunset, so you can get day and night views in one go. Even on a foggy day, night views are generally OK (and can be better than day views) as the lights cut through the fog.

    There is no aerial cable car to the Peak. There is just the Peak Tram (which is in fact a cable car as it is pulled by a cable, but it runs on tracks on the ground.) The incline is quite impressive, almost 90 degrees in parts. However, if you don’t’ think your husband would like this, then take the #15 bus to the Peak instead. It is a double decker and you will get good views. Or take the bus down if you want a different experience from the tram.

    Back down & spend the day and evening walking around Island in the neighborhoods, Lunch 7 dinner on Island. Thurs. Feb. 7th, early start with car & driver to do territories. With a car We can see more and get there faster.

    Have you been reading the National Geographic guidebook for Hong Kong? This itin looks like one of theirs. My comments in detail are below. But an overall view is that this is probably too ambitious for 1 day. Between distances, finding the sites (your dirver may not know many of these), parking or locating a place to meet up with your driver, a bit of traffic and just seeing the sights, IMO, this will take you longer than you think. Also, in early Feb in will be dark by just after 6 pm. After that, you won’t be able to see much.

    1. Sam TunkUK Museum

    This is quite interesting. I love the contrast of the village with the skyscrapers around it. This is easy to combine with continuing on to Tai Mo Shan and the Yeun Yeun Institute. I don’t think you need more than an hour here.

    2. Ping sham Trail

    I have not done the whole trail, but I believe it would take you something over 2 hours to do this. I have done the first third or so (with the pagoda). I don’t think you have time to do this and the Lung Yeuk Tai Trail. You need to pick one. This one is much more urban.

    I don’t think it is feasible to go to each place by car. I would arrange to meet the driver somewhere at the end. Otherwise, you will spend a lot of time hunting out the streets, hitting one way streets, etc.

    3.Yuen Yuen Institute

    Again, quite interesting, but seeing all of it takes some time. You need at least 2 hours. If you are including Sam Tun Uk and Tai Mo Shan, I would do Yuen Yuen first. I think it is more direct to go to Route Twisk/Tai Mo Shan from the Sam Tung Uk Museum area.

    4. Tai Mo Shan lookout

    The view from Tai Mo Shan is fantastic in clear weather. So again, let weather be your guide. You will want to walk up beyond where the car has to stop to get some really spectacular views. Wild cattle grazing on the hillsides with the backdrop of Hong Kong skyscrapers in the distance. Weird and wonderful. Only in Hong Kong.

    5. Sam Mun Tsai village

    Again, on a clear day, the Tolo Harbour area is really lovely. I can’t say for sure that chasing down this particular village will be worth the effort. I would just concentrate on the views of the mountain and areas around the water itself. The Pat Sing Len mountain range rises up before you. You can stop at Tai Mei Tuk and walk out along the dam (or rent bikes and ride across it). Really lovely area. There are some restaurants here (no views) or bring a picnic lunch and eat with a view. Or stop in Tai Po for noodles.

    But bear in mind that from Tai Mo Shan, you need about 45 minutes to get to this area. So between that and the morning spent in 1-4, my guess is that you will hit this fairly late in the afternoon.

    Also, if you really go all the way out here and have time, I would go to Restaurant One Thirty One for lunch or dinner. Lunch is better because you can see the pretty water views. http://www.one-thirtyone.com/. But then some other things will have to go.

    6. using luk keng rd ( also nice lookout) get to Fanling for

    You really mean Bride’s Pool Road. That would be a scenic way to get to Fanling from the Sam Mun Tsai/Tolo Harbour area. It does not offer views, but is wooded and pretty. You can stop and go down to the falls assuming you have time.

    Luk Keng Road is a short portion of the trip, it is between Bride’s Pool Road and Shau Tai Kok Road. Luk Keng village itself is pretty in a ramshackle way, and you can often see herons in the marshes around this area. There are views into “mainland” china across the water.

    7. Lung Yeuk Tau trail

    This is a very good heritage trail, and I have done the entire trail. It will take about 2 hours. You can’t just have the driver drive it, you have to get out and see the heritage halls, the walled villages etc. From a car it will mean nothing. I have my doubts that a limo driver would actually be able to figure out how to do this trail by car. Bring the map provided by the Hong Kong Cultural services website.

    8. Tai Fu Tai mansion

    Again, quite interesting. I wonder if your driver will be able to find it.

    quick road back to Kowloon for 8:00Pm dinner

    Without traffic, this will take you about 45 minutes from Fanling. Traffic should be moving, but once you get to Kowloon may be a bit slow.

    Last day, Fri. Mar. 8 explore the rest of Kowloon. leave for airport at 2:00 PM for 4:45 flight.

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    I am so so sorry I made a mistake on the date, Yes I did mean March 5th -8th. My purpose in visiting the NT, was to see a walled village, and to see some of the countryside in hong kong. It looks to me that I have overloaded that day, and perhaps am too repetitive. Both the Lung Yeuk and the Pim sham trails looked different from the descriptions. I wasn't intending to drive through them,just have someone drive us to them. THe Sam Tunk uk museum, seems to be an active representation of the walled villages where as the other two trails will show us just what is left of them? The two lookouts, I thought were not far away, and interesting to see the rural landscape. As you see, I have two full days and 1 half days, I am interested in culture, hitory, temples, and landscape. Not shopping, but walking and taking in an ambiance. I want to see a couple of temple/pagoda, but not too many,I will have seen a great deal in the other countries i am going to. I thought that taking transportation would be slower because it would be here, but what do I know? I don't want to go to Lantau and the big Buddha, way too touristy. If my time permitted, I would go to the museum of history. THe mansion seemed interesting in a historical perspective, and the institute just seemed pretty.
    So I guess I have to rethink again, UGh!!

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    Sam Tung Uk is a tiny museum while the Ping Shan and Lung Yeuk Tau are trails through actual villages where people still live in it and the ancestral halls are still used by the inhabitants.

    I haven't been to the Lung Yeuk Tau one, but I live close enough to Ping Shan I can ride a bicycle there, and it is easily accessible by trains. The actual trail is very short, but you get to visit about 5-6 historical buildings plus a few other less significant ones. There is also a small walled village there. It is the type of place you would like to visit.

    I am free on the mornings of your days in HK in March, but I need to teach in the afternoon on HK Island. We can still arrange something.

    But realistically, you can see and do plenty for about half a day in the N.T. No need to spend whole day. The rest can be spent at Wong Tai Sin Temple and Chi Lin Nunnery/Nan Lian Gardens, and the Museum of History.

    For the N.T. part, it is actually doable by public transportation on your own. I'll post some details later on.

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    Sam Tung Uk, as I mentioned, is a museum. Nobody lives there. But no harm visiting, as it's just steps from the Tsuen Wan MTR. From Tsuen Wan, you can get to Yuen Yuen Institute by green minibus #81. Frequent, and short ride to Yuen Yuen Institute. Also visit the Sai Fong Monastery next door - most of the building at Sai Fong is new, but still quite nice. Good contrast of the Tao and Buddhist symbolisms between the two places.

    Back in Tsuen Wan, you can get up to Tai Mo Shan by bus #51. It is an interesting ride, but it's only every 30 minutes. Supposedly at :00 and :30, but they are not required to leave right at those times. The bus stops at one Tai Mo Shan Road, where you can hike up to the higher lookouts with views to both sides of the mountain. And stops again a bit further down (no hiking necessary) for another lookout for the Kam Tin plains. You can assume the next bus will come in about 30 minutes to take you down to Kam Tin.

    In Kam Tin, the #51 stops right outside Kat Hing Wai, the largest and best known walled village in all of HK. After that, you can take any bus or minibus towards the Yuen Long Town. Lots of restaurants, busy wet markets, etc in Yuen Long.

    From Yuen Long, take the Light Rail to Ping Shan. Walk through the Heritage Trail and then you'll be at Tin Shui Wai MTR for the West Rail, which will take you back to Kowloon in 30 minutes.

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    thank you rkkwan. I think you simplified it for me. I will take your advice, and Cicerone's advice about letting the weather determine my itinerary when I am there. I will note your e-mail, and perhaps contact you in February. Again, I appreciate all the time and effort both you and Cicerone have taken to help me identify how I will enjoy these 2 1/2 days in HK.

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