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Going to Hong Kong and arriving October 1, 2011. I hear that there are fireworks at 9PM. Where is the best place to view them. Is it possible to reserve a (moderate priced) restaurant to watch

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    Fireworks are from barges in the middle of Victoria Harbour, between Tsim Sha Tsui and Wan Chai/Causeway Bay. Good view from both sides of the harbor. Many restaurants will have good views and many will take reservations. Pricing depends.

    Since locals don't care too much about the Chinese National Day, I don't believe restaurants mark up their prices for that night, or at least it won't be like Chinese New Year.

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    Watched the fireworks couple of years back and it was packed everywhere. The newspapers reported 500,000 people watched the fireworks. I'm certain a lot of people would be making reservations at restaurants with the same objective. Make your reservations early.

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    Who knows? It is not promoted at all in the city. If you go discoverhongkong.com, the official site of the HK Tourism Board, you will not see it mentioned at all, unlike Halloween. If you google about fireworks on Oct 1 in HK, you won't find anything either.

    Fact of matter is that Hong Konger still sees themselves as Hong Kongers, who live in Hong Kong. We don't care about PRC stuff, except for the tourists and their money (both positive and negative) that come here twice a year (May 1 and Oct 1).

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    Looks like rain is predicted for that whole day...don't know how good the predictions for that far out is but it looks like a lot of rain coming then...anyway...if it's raining can you see the fireworks/lights of the harbor? We arrive at airport at 7 that night. Does anyone know how long it usually takes to get out of customs,etc and into the city...I.e. Any chance of being there by 9, and have reservations at The Pearl on the Peak for Sunday night...mostly for the view...if raining wondering if its still worth it?

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    Arthroman, if there are going to be fireworks on October 1, your hotel would have that information as well as the start time. As the government does not pay for them, some company has to stump up the money, and this does not always happen. Most years it does (and I think they are on for this year), but check with your hotel. The time for the fireworks varies from 8 or 9 pm depending on the month (my recollection is that the July 1 and October 1 fireworks are at 9 pm because it is summer, and the Lunar New Year fireworks are at 8 pm), but again your hotel would know. They generally last for about 20-25 minutes. See some suggestions below for where to view fireworks.

    Marshacarlin, in my experience, a weather forecast for anything other than the next 24 hors in Hong Kong is completely unreliable, so I would not bother looking for October 1. It may be raining it may be clear, but this will really only be forecastable on September 30. If it is raining, the fireworks are generally still quite visible (unless there is thick fog), you just have to stand in the rain to see them (or be inside a hotel or restaurant with a view).

    Pearl on the Peak is an excellent restaurant and worth the trip for the food alone. If it is raining, you may not see much, but the dining experience is still good. (Thick fog can also be kind of mysteriously beautiful, but I will admit that is more the case during the day than the night.) You may just have to make another trip up on a clear day to enjoy the views. However, if you land at 7 pm, IDIOM you will be very hard pressed to get through Immigration, get to hour hotel, change AND get to Pearl on the Peak by 9. I think you may be staying at the Bishop Lei, which means you may have a good view from your room. You can also walk to Bowen Road from here, or take a taxi up to 26 Magazine Gap (see below) to see the fireworks, and then walk back down to your hotel.

    Fireworks

    The fireworks are shot off from barges in the harbour located roughly between the Hong Kong Performing Arts Centre on the Kowloon side the Convention Centre in Wan Chai on the Hong Kong Island side. You need to be facing south or north to see the fireworks, so restaurants with views facing west (like in the Marco Polo hotel) won’t offer views, and neither will the W Hotel. Restaurants in Causeway Bay are generally too far east to see them. The IFC Mall and Four Seasons may be a bit too far west, it is hard to say. (However, these are good locations for the December 31 fireworks which are generally sponsored by IFC and shot off from in front of the main tower.)

    Private boats are kept well away from the site, so being on a boat is not any great advantage, although it might be a fun way to see them.

    There are numerous good places to view the fireworks, including places on the hills above the harbour on the Hong Kong side, so you do not necessarily have to be down on the waterfront on either side to have a good view. The problem with the outdoor waterfront Esplanade on either side of the harbour is that they will be very, very crowded, and you will need to go out and stand for several hours before the fireworks start if you want a good spot. If you want to avoid this, and if you do not have a hotel room with a harbour view, then having a seat in a restaurant or bar with a view may be preferable. For any restaurant with a view, you will need to book some time in advance for a date on which there will be fireworks.

    Non-Restaurant places to view fireworks

    In my personal opinion, the best place to see the fireworks is from a high elevation rather than from the waterfront. The waterfront is not only hugely crowded, it does not give you the broad overview of the harbour and the fireworks which you can get from a high elevation. My two top choices would be:

    26 Magazine Gap Road – this is an apartment building almost up at the top of Mount Cameron which has a long driveway which makes for good viewing. You can see the whole sweep of the harbour and should have an good open view. It also should not be at all crowded. You can also walk up Magazine Gap Road from this building about 20 feet to its intersection with Stubbs Road, where you can get a good view. To get to this building, IMO the best thing to do is take a taxi from Central. This should be about HK$25. If the driver does not speak English, try: “Yee sup lock Magazine Hap Doh?” which should work. He can drop you at the top of the driveway. Other ways to get there would be the #1 minibus or the #15 double decker bus, but you need to know where to get off, so I would not recommend it. You can take the back down after the fireworks if you wanted. (For a return by the #1 bus, cross the street from #26 and flag down any #1 minibus you see. For the #15 bus, with your back to the driveway of #26, turn left, walk uphill about 20 feet, turn left and walk about 40 feet to the sign for bus stop. This can be a bit hard to see as there is no pull-off area for the bus and no sidewalk at parts.) You can also walk up or down from Central to this building. This would take about 40 minutes from Central. If you are interested, write me at ciceronehongkong@live.hk, and I will send directions.

    Bowen Road – this is a mainly pedestrian-only road in mid-levels where there are several open sections which will give you a clear harbor view. There will be some people here, but not anywhere near the crowds at the waterfront. As long as you can see at least part of the Hong Kong Arts Centre on the other side of the harbour (pink concrete windowless low building), you should have a good view of the fireworks. IMO the best thing to do is to take a taxi to the Fairlane Apartment building at 2B Bowen Road. This is the last building before Bowen Road become entirely pedestrian-only. The cab should cost about HK$20. Alight from the cab, and walk along Bowen Road keeping the harbour on your left. You will pass through some wooded areas, but will also come to several areas with open harbour views. The best place IMO is the stretch just past the wooded area after the intersection with Bowen Drive. This is about a 10-15 minute walk from where the taxi will drop you at the Fairlane. At the end of the fireworks, you can n walk downhill on Bowen Drive to the intersection with busy Kennedy Road and get a taxi. It is also a very quick easy to walk to the bar/restaurant area of Star Street from here (literally 3 minutes down hill from Kennedy Road) if you are interested send me an email and I will provide directions. You can also walk to Central or other parts of Wan Chai from here.

    Restaurants Kowloon side for Fireworks
    IMO if you cannot see the Bank of China building clearly from a Kowloon location then you will miss a good bit of the fireworks.

    The Ritz-Carlton Kowloon would offer fantastic views, but unless you have booked a few weeks or even months in advance, you won’t get a table in any view restaurant.

    The Intercontinental hotel has a few options: from the very expensive Nobu and Spoon to the somewhat expensive Yan Toh Heen to the more moderate Habourside Grill; they also have a lobby bar which would probably take reservations for that night (and will have a 2 drink minimum at least). All these have large - -and in some cases like the lobby, enormous - - windows with unobstructed views looking right out onto the harbour and so would be a very good choice.

    The funky and expensive Felix restaurant on top of the Peninsula hotel would be quite memorable for the fireworks, as would the more moderate Hutong or one of the other restaurants in this group at the top of One Peking Road. Nanhai No 1 or one of the view restaurants in the iSQUARE Shopping Centre at 63 Nathan Road should also offer good views. For Hutong, you do not need a window table, really any of the tables offer a nice view (they have made booths out of wooden Chinese wedding beds along the wall which are quite nice for a group IMO), and for the fireworks portion you can always walk over to the window if you want a bit of a better view. The Sheraton has the Oyster Bar which has a nice view. I believe that the Morton’s Steakhouse in the Sheraton also has a harbour view (and one Michelin star), but I have not been there myself so can’t really vouch for it. The Harbourside Grill or the lounge bar in the Intercontinental Hotel would be a very good place to see them. The Wooloomooloo steakhouse outlet near the Shangri-La hotel may also work well, see http://www.wooloo-mooloo.com/. The Italian restaurant in the Shangri-La Kowloon hotel has nice views, and other restaurants there may as well, see the hotel’s website. The Jade Garden Restaurant in Star House, at the foot of the Star Ferry pier, would offer nice views and decent, if not totally memorable, food. The restaurants Ocean Centre/Harbour City mall has some restaurants in with have harbour views, see the mall guide at http://www.harbourcity.com.hk/dining.php (not every restaurant listed there as having a harbour view would be good for the fireworks, but you may have time to check some out and see what you like). However, the proviso here is that there no cruise ships in town that day, as they tie up in front of the restaurants and block views, so you might want to have a second-choice for the fireworks in place if it turns out that there is a cruise ship blocking the views on that day.

    I think that the restaurants in the hotels behind the behind the Ocean Terminal/Harbour City Mall may not be so good for viewing, as I think they would be orientated too much to the west, but two restaurants there with harbour views would be are Cucina in the Marco Polo Hotel and Pierside in the Royal Pacific Hotel & Towers. You might make a booking and then take a look at them while you are there to see what you think.

    Restaurants Hong Kong Side for Fireworks
    IMO if you cannot see the clock tower and the Hong Kong Performing Arts Centre on the Kowloon side (the low curving pinkish building on the waterfront), then IMO you will miss a good bit of the fireworks.

    I think the Café Gray Deluxe recco on the website noted above is a good one, but bear in mind that the restaurant is probably already fully booked. They have a bar, but you would need to be there several hours before hand to get a seat. Also, the windows in that building have a weird reflective film which reflects interior light onto the glass which interferes with good night views, IMO (I worked in that building for about 10 years). It is however a great place to watch sunset. I would not bother with SEVVA, as it will be far, far too crowded to enjoy the fireworks (and you can’t book a table outdoors.)

    On the Hong Kong side, the Watermark restaurant right on top of the Star Ferry Building would be a good place to see the fireworks. The Quarterdeck Restaurant on the waterfront in Wan Chai is also a good choice, they have a nice outdoor deck with a prime view, and good casual food, on the moderate side (great deserts). The Vero Lounge upstairs for chocolate and wine paring along with the fireworks would also be a good choice. (Note that walking to the Star Ferry and Fenwick Pier building on firework nights will entail wading through some crowds lining the waterside areas.) The restaurants in Citic Tower which have harbour views would all be good choices, in particular I like San San Trois, there is also an outlet of Victoria City Seafood here. Another possibility is the Fish Bar in the JW Marriott which is outdoors by their pool, you would have to step outside to the pool area to see the fireworks, but this may work; they also have a lobby lounge with huge windows and they may be offering a special meal that night (normally the lounge is only open for lunch). The expensive Petrus at the Conrad would have a quite nice view. In the Grand Hyatt, Grissini’s Italian, the Grand Café (continental coffee shop) or One Harbour Road (Cantonese restaurant) would have good harbour views, another place to consider would be The Grill, their poolside restaurant on their huge outdoor pool deck, which would have very good views for the fireworks and has a BBQ buffet most nights, casual although not necessarily cheap. In the Convention Centre itself a possible would be the Golden Bauhinia Cantonese Restaurant, which has huge windows and a very nice view (I am a little concerned that the windows face too much to the east to get a view of the full fireworks but should be OK), see http://www.hkcec.com/catering-and-dining/dining-hkcec for all restaurant listings in the Convention Centre. Finally, there are a number of quite casual restaurants, many with outdoor seating, on the elevated walkways leading to the Convention Centre which may also work, IMO these will tend to be mobbed on firework nights. I can’t recco one in particular, but you could do a recci a few days before and see what appeals.
    As mentioned, I think that the restaurants in the IFC Mall may just be a tad too far west to appreciate the fireworks, but I could be wrong on that, having never actually been there for any of the fireworks, so you could consider would be the wonderful Cuisine Cuisine or the quite good ISOLA, there are also several restaurants on the top floor (like H Boxas well as large public outdoor space which could work (although the public space may be crowded). Inagaku may work as well.

    Up on the Peak, where firework views are actually quite nice (as you gaze down on them from above), Pearl on the Peak would offer a very good perspective. Another possibility is Café Deco, but a window table here would be quite important and views are a little oblique and to the west. They have a tiny outdoor terrace which would probably be the best choice if you can get a table there.

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