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My husband and I are travelling to Okinawa in April to visit our daughter and family. On the way there we decided to spend three nights in Hong Kong. We were thinking of staying at the Intercontinental Hotel, near the waterfront. Another few I checked out were the Sheraton Towers and the Grand Hyatt. On the way home we are spending two nights in Tokyo. The Sheraton Miyako seems the best to me. It is centrally located and we don't have much time there. I read there is a shuttle from the airport to the hotel also.Any recommendations or info pro and con regarding those hotels would be greatly appreciated.

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    Thank you rkkwan and rhkkmk for your responses. If you have any other suggestions we'd be interested.At this point, I think we'll probably stay at the Intercontinental. Also, I know someone that highly recommends high tea at the Peninsula Hotel. I thought that would be interesting. Any thoughts on that as well as any other "must see" places would be great.I've been reading about what to see and do in Hong Kong, but with only three nights, really two full days, I am not sure how we should prioritize our itinerary. We fly direct from Newark and arrive in the evening, so I think it will be too late the first night to have the energy to do anything except check in to the hotel and have something to eat. Thanks again.

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    I agree that of the three hotels you have mentioned, the Intercontinental is the best choice, and very much agree that you need a harbour view room or otherwise it is not worth staying on that side of the harbour. One thing to bear in mind is that the building attached to the hotel is in the process of being torn down. It is covered with tarp and scaffolding presently (you would not see this from the hotel unless your room faces the street and not the water). As your trip is in April, you should not have noise issues like pile driving, but you may hear noise during the day from the floors being taken down; I have noticed it from boats in the harbour. By April, all floors may be down and they may just be digging foundations out.

    If you can provide your dates, I may be able to suggest things to do tied to your trip, such as the Ching Ming festival which is on 5 April this year. Also if your trip involves a Sat or Sunday or public holiday (like Good Friday or Easter Monday), you may want to aim to have tea on a weekday, as lines should be far shorter (or go early or late, when lines are shorter as well). There are many nice places to have tea in Hong Kong, the lobby of the Penn is very lovely, but there are other places to enjoy it as well without queuing up.

    Otherwise, if you can give us an idea of your interests, you might get reccos that are more specifically tailored to them. Hong Kong offers a lot to see and do, but some things can be ruled out if they are not your interest. Or if you have a specific interest, like cooking or art, you can explore those. If you are here on a Wednesday night, you might enjoy going to the horse races at Happy Valley, a quintessential Hong Kong activity.

    I assume you are taking the Continental/United non-stop from EWR to Hong Kong. You arrive at 7 pm, so should be at your hotel by 8:30 – 9 pm. If you aren’t tired, you do have time to at least have a walk around the waterfront and/or a nighttime trip across to Hong Kong Island on the Star Ferry; you also could have dinner in the area.

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    <<<If you are here on a Wednesday night, you might enjoy going to the horse races at Happy Valley, a quintessential Hong Kong activity.>>>

    Could you tell me a little more about this? We will be in HK on a Wednesday night in March.

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    Cicerone, thanks for all the info. We arrive in Hong Kong on April 18th, it is the Continental flight. I wasn't so sure how long it took to get out of the airport and how long it took to get to the hotel, so that was nice to hear. A walk after the flight may be perfect. Both of us are marathoners, and hope to start the days out with a run. Any ideas??? Neither of us are treadmill people and we love destination runs. I guess for me, it's mostly the "touristy" sites to visit. I like shopping, but don't want to spend all day doing that. Any pros or cons regarding Sheung Won(spelling)street market, Hollywood Road and Stanley? Def. will go to the Peak. My husband likes anything related to history. Wondering about a temple??? I don't eat fish except for shrimp, but am not sure if we should visit a fishing village.The horse racing on Wednesday night sounds interesting. I'd like to hear more about that. I have an addiction for collecting china, dishes, housewares, so I thought rice bowls from Hong kong would be nice, they don't have to be expensive, but I don't want to buy junk either. Actually, after this trip, they can't be expensive!!! I am still researching, so I'll write more soon.

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    Some thoughts and suggestions:

    1. Horse Races - The horse races are a lot of fun. There are two racetracks in town: one in Happy Valley on Hong Kong Island quite near the main city area, and the other in Sha Tin which is out in the New Territories and requires a subway trip of about 20-30 minutes or so. I would go to the ones in Happy Valley rather than going all the way out to Sha Tin. Races are held at Happy Valley on Wednesday evenings, I think the first race is 7 pm and there are six races a night, the last race is a about 9:30 pm. The basic admission price is HK$10, which is for standing-room only. You can also buy seats in the lower level stands for about HK$20. However, you can watch from the more exclusive Hong Kong Jockey Club members' enclosure by purchasing a temporary tourist pass" for HK$50 (about US$6.50). It's available upon showing your passport at either the Badge Enquiry Office at the main entrance to the Members' Private Enclosure at Happy Valley, or (even easier) by going to one of the off-track betting centres like the one near the Star Ferry concourse in Central or on Nathan Road in Kowloon where you can buy the badges up to 5 days in advance. See http://entertainment.hkjc.com/entertainment/tourist-corner/tourist-packages-and-promotion/english/tourist-badge.aspx for details. There are package tours offered as well, IMO you don’t need them.

    You can also buy a combo ticket for admission to one of the restaurants which have very good views of the track, like the Stable Bend. The food is rather average, but not expensive and the views and ability to buy a glass of wine or a beer during the races makes the experience more enjoyable IMO. You can make a reservation for the Stable Bend by calling, you can also do so via the website as well. (See http://entertainment.hkjc.com/entertainment/go-racing/english/online-reservation.aspx). For a description of the various dining options, take a look at the website for the Hong Kong Jockey Club at http://www.hkjc.com/english/index.asp. Click on "Race Courses and Entertainment”

    The easiest way to get to the Happy Valley race track is to take a taxi and have him drop you at the Members Enclosure Entrance which is on the east side of the track. Otherwise, you can walk from the MTR or take the street tram, but these options are likely to be crowded. The easiest way to get back is to walk a bit away from the race track and either take a taxi or a bus or walk to the MTR.

    2. Running - The running options on the Kowloon side, where the Intercon is located, are rather limited as Kowloon is quite congested. You can run along the pedestrian esplanade in front of the Intercon which follows the waterfront, I don’t think it is more than 1.5 miles one way, if you go all the way to the ferry pier in Hung Hom it might be 2 miles each way (I think the esplanade goes that whole way, but have not walked it myself). Certainly hard to beat the view from this run. If you run very early in the morning, you can also run up Nathan Road for quite a while, it is flat and straight and you can just turn around when you have had enough. Before like 7:30 am, there should not be too many pedestrians out on the sidewalks, and not a whole lot of traffic. After that, you would have a hard time running on the sidewalks or the streets. (My boss from the US runs at 5 am through downtown Central when he visits, and says it is deserted at that time and he likes running past the skyscrapers.) The hotel probably also has maps and perhaps other ideas for running in the area.

    If you seriously want to run, you might consider hotels on the Hong Kong Island side where you could get quick access to running areas like Bowen Road, which is a flat pedestrian-only tarmaced road which goes for about 2 miles through woods in mid-levels and is green and pleasant and has some nice views. For Bowen Road running, the Bishop Lei hotel would be a good choice (http://www.bishopleihtl.com.hk), it offers some city views and has a great location near the escalator. The serviced apartments at 2 MacDonnel Road (http://www.twomr.com.hk) or the Garden View YMCA are excellently positioned for access to Bowen Road. None of these are nearly as luxurious as the Intercon (although they are cheaper). The quad of hotels in Pacific Place -- the JW Marriott, Conrad, Island Shangri La and Upper House --- would be good choices as well, as with about a 5-10 minute walk uphill you can get to Bowen Road. These hotels are very nice, of them all, the Upper House is probably my favourite as it has huge very modern rooms. From hotels in Central, you also do things like run up to the Peak. (You can do all this from a hotel on Kowloon as well, you will just have a longer trip to get over the Hong Kong Island and back.)

    You can also run inside the Happy Valley Race track on a running track which parallels the horse track. It’s a hoot to be in the green wide open space in the middle of the city surrounded by skyscrapers and mountains. I believe the track is open early on most days; it is generally open to the public any time other than race times. You can access the track from the public entrance on the west side of the track, on Wong Nai Chung Road. For this, staying someplace like the Crowne Plaza Causeway Bay would be ideal, as it is just a few blocks from the grounds entrance to the racetrack. (Happy Valley is one of my favourite neighborhoods, as is the Bowrington Road wet market near the Crowne Plaza.)

    The back side of Hong Kong Island as well as outlying islands like Lantau and areas of the New Territories like Sai Kung would offer running opportunities as well. On the Southside of Hong Kong Island, a run on Shek-O Road from the beginning all the way out to Big Wave Bay or Sheik O beaches would, IMO, be a fantastic run with some great water views, and mostly flat except for minor uphills and a longish downhill section coming in (uphill going back). This is about 7 km one way. IMO this run would be far better done on a weekday when traffic is very light. There are no sidewalks at all on this road, and so you have to run on the road, which has a few narrow parts where encounters with cars and buses could be unpleasant. (There is a way to run a good part of this on a flat paved trail through the woods, however this route offers very few views and will require a climb of about 200 stairs at the end.) In Big Wave Bay or Shek O, you could have a meal, poke around (little Tin Hau temple out on the rocks in Shek-O) and then hop a bus or taxi out or run out again if you were so inclined. I don’t know how far you are willig to travel to do a run, if you want to include a long run each day, let me know and I can perhaps give you some ideas. I can post details or you can send me an e-mail at ciceronehongkong@live.hk and I can send photos and directions for this and other walks (some of which could be done as runs). Much of Hong Kong involves hills, so if you only want flat runs, let me know that as well. I could provide ideas for mostly flat running routes around the Peak and surrounding areas of between 4- 10 km or so.

    3. Markets – the Sheung Wan market area is quite interesting, there are also good market areas on Peel and Graham Streets in Central and the wonderful Wan Chai street markets. Sheung Wan is more medicine shops and dried fish, the Central and Wan Chai markets are more live seafood, street butchers and produce. Any would be good for a wander, it depends on how far you want to travel and how long you want to spend. You could go to all three areas in one day easily by tram and walking.

    4. History – your husband might enjoy the Hong Kong History Museum, it is not far from the Intercon. You might want to buy copies of Jason Wordie's books "Streets Hong Kong" and/or "Streets Kowloon". Both would offer interesting walks around various neighborhoods, most off the beaten tourist track. Jason offers very good, if not cheap, walking tours as well including of WWII cemeteries, see www.jasonswalks.com. Peter Spurrier has a wonderful new book called "Heritage Hikers Guide to Hong Kong" which has great suggestions for historical walks on Hong Kong Island. You should be able to order these on amazon.com or through your local bookshop, if not, local bookstores here like Dymocks stock them. There are numerous WWII defensive remains here, Mt Davis in particular is good for this and offers lovely views, and the Pinewood Battery just downhill from the Peak is another. There are several WWII cemeteries, including one at Stanley which was an internment camp for the British during WWII. The Museum of Coastal Defense offers WWII fortifications as well as interesting exhibits, and is in a lovely position overlooking the eastern end of the harbour. There are the “walled village” museums in several areas, there is one in Sai Kung which could be combined with a run out along the huge High Island Reservoir, and then a visit to Sai Kung for a meal. See http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/Museum for a link to all the government museums.

    The Asia Society and the Royal Geographic Society offer evening lectures on a myriad of topics, many are history-related, and non-members are generally welcome to attend (there is a small fee for most events, usually around US$10-15 which includes wine/soft drinks at most lectures given by both). See http://www.asiasociety.org/visit/hongkong/, click on "Calendar" and http://www.rgshk.org.hk for the Royal Geographic Society.

    5. Temples – there are something like 200 active temples in Hong Kong which are administered by the Temples Committee, plus a myriad of small shrines and temples all over town. Guidebooks highlight the main ones, but you will find others tucked into corners in some unlikely places (like the Lan Kwai Fong bar area). The Big Buddha on Lantau has a temple and monastery, there is the Man Mo Temple on Hollywood Road, and the Pak Tai temple in the Wan Chai market area. There is a Tin Hau Temple not too far a walk up and then west of Nathan Road at Public Square Street. Won Tai Sing is very popular with worshippers and the Chi Lin Nunnery offers Tang gardens and serene surroundings. You usually run across at least one temple, shrine or monastery on most every walk or hike here. Temples do not have a dress code, shoes can be worn inside. Most temples close around 6-7 pm at night.

    6. Stanley – I love the bus ride over and the waterfront restaurants. The shopping is fun but not the main point. There are two temples, including a Tin Hau temple worth a stop. There would be quite a nice way to hike/run to Stanley, the first half could be done via hills with excellent views, or on a flat path through woods (most of which could be run), and the last half would be flat following a storm run-off concourse through the woods and can be run. (There are also options to continue via the hills if you want.) You could then shop, have a meal and bus back.

    7. China/Porcelain/Housewares - you could devote your entire trip to looking at and/or buying china and porcelain here. You can even have china made to your own pattern. Some ideas are below, I don’t know how much time you want to (or should) devote to this.

    You can see very expensive antique porcelain in antique shops along Hollywood for inspiration, and the Hong Kong Museum of Art, next door to the Intercon, usually has some porcelain on display as part of their permanent collection. The Museum of Tea Ware, near the bottom station of the Peak Tram, would probably be of interest to you, they have a very nice exhibit of tea pots and tea ware (and some for sale in their shop). Can be “done” in about an hour, and could be included as part of a trip to the Wan Chai market area.

    Most of the shops mentioned below also have housewares. I like G.O.D. Design which has some kitschy Chinese-themed stuff, see http://www.god.com.hk/. for locations. I also like Homeless in SOHO which has some hilarious quirky stuff (see (see http://www.homeless.hk/, the also have outlets on the Kowloon side and in other parts of Hong Kong). SOHO in general is a good place to wander for whimsical and good quality (if not cheap) housewares. On the other end, the small family run shops in Sheung Wan and Wan Chai which sell bamboo brooms and steamers etc are also a good place to hunt around for bargain items and things you would not get in the US.

    Stanley Market has some shops which sell dishes, you can usually also find dishes and blue and white ceramic jars, etc in the street stall areas of Hollywood Road and Cat Street/Ladder Streetand in shops along the mid-levels escalator .

    The Sogo Department Stores and the Wing On Department stores have a good selection of every day dishes as well as more expensive porcelain and fine china (esp Sogo). Sogo’s main store is in Causeway Bay and can be a trip in itself just to see the hordes of shoppers in this area and in the store. There are two quite interesting temples in the area of the main Sogo store. For Sogo locations, see http://www.sogo.com.hk/tc/home.html and see http://www.wingonet.com/index/index.php for locations for Wing On.

    Chinese Arts and Crafts Department Store
    Star House, 3 Salisbury Rd. (Tsimshatsui)
    (at the Star Ferry Pier)
    Website for all stores: http://www.chineseartsandcrafts.com.hk (click on “E” for English)

    This is a fixed-price shop with just a myriad of goods on offer from bolts of cloth to tablecloths to clothing to porcelain to all kinds of souvenirs to wall hangings to jewelry. The main outlet is right at the Star Ferry pier in Kowloon about 2 blocks from the Intercon. It is a good place to do shopping for gifts (up on the second floor),and to get an idea of prices for when you go to other places where bargaining is the rule but you will see many of the same goods. They will ship as well.

    Yue Hwa Chinese Products Emporium
    301-309 Nathan Road
    Kowloon (at the Jordan MTR, Door A)
    Tel: 3511 2222
    http://www.yuehwa.com/yh/english/hkallstore/p2_2k4.html

    This is a slightly down-market version of Chinese Arts and Crafts This main branch on Nathan Road is quite near the Jade Market (and the dreaded Temple Street Market). They have a small branch at 55 Des Veoux Road in Central that has more gifty-souvenier type items.

    King Tak Hong Porcelain Co Ltd
    128 Queens Road East
    Wan Chai
    tel: 3118-2422

    This is what I would have known as a “dime store” in my youth: it is an inexpensive houseware shop. They have basic sturdy china at very good prices. They also have excellent old-fashioned steel woks and wok implements like bamboo wok cleaners. Dirt cheap. This is a nice stop if you are wandering the Wan Chai market areas. Closed on Sundays.

    Having your Own Porcelain Made

    In addition to buying ready-made dishes, there are places where you can have a custom-made design put onto dishes. This takes time and you would then have to ship the pieces home, but prices are good. A reputable place is:

    Overjoy Porcelain
    10-18 Chun Pin St. Fleet Arcade, Fenwick Pier
    1st floor, Kwai Chung 1 Lung King Street
    New Territories Wan Chai
    Tel: 2487-0615 Tel: 2511 2763
    Monday to Saturday from 10am to 6pm

    They have hundreds of stock designs or you can make your own pattern. Sets are available for either 6, 8, or 12 place settings and take 4 - 6 weeks to complete. For the New Territories shop, take the MTR to the Kwai Hing station, then a taxi. The Fleet Arcade shop is on Hong Kong Island, it is smaller but has pictures of designs; it is walkable from the Admiralty MTR/Pacific Place Mall via an elevated pedestrian walkway.

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    To add one more bit to my overally anal-retentive post, there is one other area on Hong Kong Island which IMO would be quite good for a long run: Victoria Road on the far western end of Hong Kong harbour. Most of this is a quiet road with sidewalk on virtually all of it. You can run this from where it begins in Kennedy Town, just west of Sheung Wan. It’s mostly flat, some gentle inclines and downhill portions and offers really lovely water views and mountain views, and includes things like the winter swimming club where intrepid/insane Hong Kongers swim in the harbour, the enormous cemetery on the hillside at Sandy Bay, and some interesting and pricey real estate, like Sassoon Road where there is what is basically a small Scottish castle, and the colonial gorgeousness of Felix Villas. This could include a detour for some uphill running/walking up Mt Davis with WWII fortifications and great views. You could run all the way to the end of Victoria Road where it intersects with Pok Fulam Road (about 8 km in total from the start of Victoria Road), and then either run down hill on busy Pok Fulam Road toward Aberdeen (10 km all in), or get a bus back toward Central from here.

    To get to the start of the run, take the #10 bus from Central to what is --- literally and figuratively --- the end of the line (it ends at the city morgue), where Victoria Road begins. The #10 from Central is an interesting ride as it winds through the Sheung Wan and Kennedy Town areas. You could also take the tram to the last stop in Kennedy Town and walk from there, it would not be more than 10 minutes or so.

    A good hotel for runs in this area would be the Courtyard Marriott in Sheung Wan, which has a wonderful location in this traditional Hong Kong neighborhood. This would be about ½ a mile from the start of Victoria Road, and you could include a short run on the harbourfront here to the beginning of Victoria Road. The hotel offers some nice views of the waterfront and harbour areas (not the classic Intercon views but still quite pretty). The Traders Hotel further west would be even closer to Victoria Road, but IMO is just a bit too much out of range to be a good location for a tourist.

    Finally (I will try to stop myself now), a run you might enjoy is to go to Lamma Island via the ferry from Central, and do the Lamma Family Island Walk. This runs from Yung Shue Wan to Sok Kwu Wan. This offers good views and passes a few beaches. It is only 3 km, but you could add about another 3 km or more to it by continuing on past Sok Kwu Wan (which has a nice Tin Hau temple) around to Mo Tat New Village and Mo Tat Old Village and then on to Yung Shue Ha on the coast and then briefly inland to Tung O (where Chow Yung Fat was born). This walk is all paved and mostly on the flat, there are a few uphill and downhill sections but easily handled by a marathoner, I would think. (Families go on this walk with babies in strollers). The tiny villages are quite charming (esp Mo Tat Old Village) and the water views are lovely, there is a rocky, empty beach at Yung Shue Ha with a petite temple at the end of the sand. From Tung O, you would then have to decide whether to go up and over the hill (which rewards with great views) and then down hill through a Buddhist cemetery back to Yung Shue Wan, or just turn around in Tung O and head back on the flat to either Mo Tat Wan, where there is a perfectly serviceable little Mediterranean restaurant on the beach with great views (the Bay, see http://www.thebayhk.com/) or go to Yung Shue Wan for a seafood meal on the waterfront. From either Mo Tat Wan or Yung Sheu Wan you can take the charming scenic wooden kaido ferry to Aberdeen (from where, to complete the cycle, you could run back to Central via Victoria Road in the reverse of what is described above).

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    I see that the addresses of the two locations of Overjoy Porcelain got mixed up above. They are as follows:

    10-18 Chun Pin St.
    1st floor, Kwai Chung
    New Territories
    Tel: 2487-0615
    Monday to Saturday from 10am to 6pm

    Fleet Arcade, Fenwick Pier
    1 Lung King Street
    Wan Chai
    Tel: 2511 2763

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    And I am sneaking in here and grabbing this information too! This is GREAT information and will be so helpful in planning out our 4 days in Hong Kong. Thanks so much Cicerone. And thanks for asking your question, sf7307!

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    WOW!!! Thank you so much Cicerone. I am printing all of this wonderful information out tonight. We are so impressed. We love long runs and hills. This is just great. All the info is so helpful. Going to read through it again in great detail, I think we may be changing hotels. Don't know where to begin to thank you for taking the time to send this. Looking forward to shopping now that I have more specific info and the history info for my husband is also great. I feel like I'm blabbing, so I'll stop now and be back after we go through this in detail. Def. going to enjoy the horse races with a glass of wine!

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    The IC is NOT attached to the New World Center that's being demolished. They were built at the same time in the same development, but the buildings were detached, about 150ft apart at the closest points.

    Here's a picture I took yesterday from a bus on Salisbury Rd. New World Center being demolished on center right. IC on far right:

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=6511573&l=ca397778e2&id=643747086

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    As one who has stayed in the IC and been to restaurants there numerous times, I would point out that there was a connecting door from the IC to the New World Centre, and you could access the shopping mall from the hotel. The entrance was near the Harbourside Restaurant on the ground floor. You did not have to walk 150 feet from the hotel to get into the mall. Technically they may have not be physically connected. However, my sincere apologies if my post possibly mislead people into thinking that buildings shared a common wall. This seems to be an imporatnt distinction for rkkwan to make. It would not be for me. A building being demolished next door to my hotel would be something to consdier when choosing where to stay. When they start driving piles for the foundation it would be a very big concern.

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    OK, good to know you like long runs. For an entirely flat, virtually all paved running path to Stanley from the top of Happy Valley, see http://www.fodors.com/community/asia/cicerones-favourite-hong-kong-walks-ii-paradise-found-from-happy-valley-to-stanley-in-high-heels-alm-1.cfm. If you want to consider doing this as a walk/run fully or partially via hills, let me know or send me an e-mail and I can provide options. (If you like punishing stairs going straight up hill, then there is one option that will give it to you in spades. It’s a Stairmaster on steroids with views.) It’s also quite easy to run from the Peak to the trailhead above Happy Valley, which would add 6 km or so to the overall run and affords some of the best views Hong Kong has to offer.

    In thinking about this today, I think a really good long “destination” run for you would be on Lantau Island, from Mui Wu town to the fishing village of Tai O and/or the Big Buddha up at Po Lin Monastery. These would be runs of 16-30 km depending on how long you want to run. You would also get to see some of the prettiest parts of Hong Kong and tourist sighs like the big Buddha.

    To do any of these runs, you would take the ferry from the pier in Central to Mui O on Lantau Island. See http://www.nwff.com.hk/eng/fare_table/central-mui_wo/ for the schedule. The ferry takes between 30-60 minutes depending on whether you take a fast or regular ferry. Once off the ferry, with the ferry pier at your back, walk across the parking lot/bus station here. Turn right and keeping the buildings on this side of the lot on your left, walk to the end of the parking lot. You are looking for South Lantau Road which begins here at a circle and heads off to the left. It’s the only major road in the area and you should not be able to miss it. There should be road signage, you may also see a small brown wooden sign at near to ground level which says Lantau Trail (Stage 1), which goes along the road here for a few kilometers before heading off into the woods.

    The first part of the run is the same no matter your final destination, and is about 16 km along the really lovely southern coastline of Lantau passing some of our prettiest beaches and then the Shek Pik reservoir. You will run along the road which follows the coast, you run on sidewalks, there may be the odd few yards without them but there are grassy edges which are fine. Sidewalks may only be on one side of the road and may switch, so you may have to cross over from time to time. The first 3 km or so are going uphill through the woods, but after that you are on the flat along the coast. On weekdays it is virtually deserted except for the occasional bus and the wild cattle which roam the island, legacy of former dairy farms, and if you are lucky, you will see the water buffalo on Pui O beach as well. (When people talk about the cows in the streets in India, I like to remind them that we have them in Hong Kong, too. They are also found in Sai Kung. They are harmless, but freaky to come across.) Even on weekends there is little traffic and that is mostly buses.

    At the end of 13 km or so, you will head away from the coast and will come to the very large Shek Pik Reservoir on your right; this is the only body of water you will pass on your right and it is impossible to miss. There are nice views from here towards the sea and also of the mountains. You will run across the bridge which is the retaining wall for the reservoir (in about in the middle of the bridge, if you look to the right and uphill you will get a very nice view of the Buddha on top of the mountain). When you come to the end of the bridge, the road starts heading uphill; and you have some options as to what to do. Depending on your time and inclination, you can do all of them:

    1.Qing Dynasty Fort at Fan Lau. Roughly 24 km of running from Mui Wo. For this, when you get to the end of the reservoir bridge, go left down Wang Pui Raod. You do not want Shek Pik Reservoir Road which heads downhill. Once on Wang Pui Road, you will encounter 2-3 intersections with roads forking off, you don’t want any road going up or downhill, you want to stay on a basically level road which follows a storm water runoff catchment. (At the 2nd or 3rd intersection, Wang Pui Road goes rifgt and heads downhill to Wang Pui Village, but you want to continue straight on the now un-named road. Wang Pui Village is, however, worth the detour, as it is a pretty little village that I have on my short-list as a retirement location. I have seen village women here making fertilizer by roasting clam shells in big woks by the roadside; there are also a number of expats who have homes here, so it’s a mix of old and new. They also have a very nice beach. Otherwise, continue straight ahead on the unnamed road following the water catchment, this which will take you for 6 km or so along a mostly pedestrian-only road, and then via a dirt trail to the wide beach at Fan Lau where there is a restored Qing dynasty fort (at the end of the beach up and over a little hill). Once you have seen the fort and beach, you can head back out to South Lantau Road. Once you get back to South Lantau Road, you can either run back to Mui Wo, or cross the street and look for the bus station, where you can the #23 to #11 bus to Tung Chung, and then the subway to Hong Kong. You could also continue to other parts of Lantau, see below.

    2. Run or bus up the hill to the Big Buddha. Roughly 20 km of running from Mui Wo. From the reservoir, start heading uphill. This is a rather steep hill for about 2 km, you will be climbing from sea level to about 300 meters/900 feet. To the best of my recollection there is a sidewalk or a grass edge for the entire length, but I have not walked much of this portion of the road so can’t say for sure. There are some sheer drop offs with no fences by the edge of the road, and very visible evidence of landslides; so if you don’t like heights, running this may not be a great option. On a weekday, even if you have to run on the road in parts you should be fine, as there will only be a few busses on the road from time to time. When you get to the crest of the hill, a road will intersect on the right, take this right (Sham Wat Road). It will take you to the Buddha in about 2.5 km. There is a sidewalk for all of this portion. It is mostly a gentle but steady incline and one big switchback turn where Sham Wat Road veers off to the left, but you continue uphill on what is now Ngong Ping Road. Views are quite spectacular from parts of this, be sure to stop at the little pavilion on the right for some especially good ones. After you have seen the Buddha, you can take bus #23 to Tung Chung and then the MTR to Hong Kong, or you can take the cable car down the hill to Tung Chung. Both are quite scenic, although lines for the cable car can be quite long on weekends, esp Sundays.

    If you don’t want to run up the hill to the Buddha, then after you finish at the fort and have come back down to the intersection with South Lantau Road, don’t cross the street, but look left and uphill and you should see a bus station where the public restrooms are located. You can take the #2 or the #23 bus from here up to the Buddha. If you want to instead continue the run to the Buddha or Tai O, see below.

    3. Run or bus up and then down the hill to Tai O - Roughly 22 km of running from Mui Wo. Again, a rather steep uphill and then about an equally as steep downhill dotted with temples and monasteries. From the reservoir, start heading uphill. At the crest of the hill, keep going straight, this road will take you downhill and into Tai O in 4.5 km or so. Tai O has a good bit of laid back charm, the old town has many houses on stilts and two temples, the Hung Shing temple out on the water is in a very nice setting. On weekdays, you may have this virtually to yourself . You can try the dried or barbeque fish, see the little museum, take a quick motor boat ride out to see the pink dolphins. Then you can either take the #11 bus to Tung Chung, from where you can get the subway back to Hong Kong, or you can take the little ferry to go to Tung Chung. Sunsets are quite pretty here, but watch the time, as the last buses and ferries leave around sunset. See http://www.td.gov.hk/transport_in_hong_kong/public_transport/ferries/service_details/index.htm#o07 for ferry schedules.

    4. Have a meal or a drink on the beach at the Stoep, which is a very nice casual beach-side South African restaurant on the beautiful Upper Cheng Sha beach. It has lovely sunsets. Great breads, hummus and barbeque fish plus western fare and cold beer. Not expensive, and sweaty running clothes will not be noticed or out of place. You will pass this restaurant on the way back by bus from the Ming fort, the Buddha or Tai O, so it is easy to include at the end of a trip to any or all of these.

    The Stoep
    32 Lower Cheung Sha Village
    Tel: 2980-2699
    They open at 11 am and last order is 9:30 pm.

    To get to Lower Cheng Sha Village when coming by bus from the Ming Fort, Shek Pik Reservoir, the Buddha or Tai O, after you have passed the reservoir on the left, you will go through woods for a few miles, and you will go through the village of Tung Fuk, which is a small gaggle of 3-4 story apartment buildings. You will start passing beaches on the right for a few miles and a few condo complexes on the left. You will then pass some one-storey concrete bungalows with a lawn on your left which is the police station, and just past this a very small firehouse on your left (small white garage with fire trucks). Get off at the next stop after the firehouse, which is Lower Cheng Sha Village (the bus driver may not speak English, other passengers may be able to help, the stop in Chinese is 長沙下村). Cross the street, walk back in the direction you just came for about 10 yards, and look for a road leading off to the left downhill, take this and follow it down to the water.

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    Thank you once again Cicerone! At this point I just want to get in as many runs with your suggested routes as possible. I'll be in touch regarding this. Also, the info regarding the construction by the hotel and the running info makes me think we are def. changing hotels. Will go through that in detail, with your suggestions, this weekend. I would like to book this week, April 18th is getting close.

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    The Intercon is a very nice hotel with really excellent harbour views. On my first visit to Hong Kong in 1986 I stayed there and it was – and remains – a very memorable place. Staying there would certainly add to the enjoyment of a holiday in Hong Kong. My point is that if you intend to make running in the city a big part of your day, then you might be better off on the Hong Kong Island side which would offer easier access to wider variety of runs, as well as offering runs in some greener, less congested areas. You can of course get to any of the runs I have mentioned from a hotel in Kowloon, it will just add travel time.

    The construction won't be visible from your hotel room. I can't speak to any noise issues. They are still taking down floors, which may create some noise.

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    Cicerone
    I want to thank you for all your wonderful and patient advice on Hong Kong. We spent an amazing 5 days there (way too short) and stayed at the Bishop Lei in a suite on the upper floors and just loved the locaton and the price was very reasonable. We loved being able to walk to the escalators and the Botanical Gardens too. Thanks for all you do!

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    Cicerone, I'm bookmarking this for a 2-day visit to HK at the end of the month. What wonderful suggestions and information. And I'm a distance runner too - I'll definitely be studying your routes. We're staying at the Upper House, so maybe I'll have a go at running up the peak!

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    Txtree – I walk to my house (near the Peak) 2-3 times a week from my office which is next to your hotel, so I know the route well. There are several alternatives. A good alternative rather than going all the way up to the Peak would be to go up to Bowen Road, which is flat and pedestrian-only for about 2 miles. (When you see the uphill gradient to the Peak you may rethink the running part; although in the current great temps and low humidity it’s easier now than in July). If you send me an email at ciceronehongkong@live.hk I can send some directions for various alternatives. The Upper House I believe would also have suggestions. It’s a great hotel. Hopefully you will have some clear days as views are very good from there, esp at sunset looking west over the water and city. If you are here for NY Eve, there are fireworks at midnight from the IFC building to the west, and you should be in a position to have a good view from the hotel, if not from your room then from elsewhere in the hotel.

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