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How's this for a Hong Kong itinerary?

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Arrive Hong Kong Sunday 1.40pm
Taxi to Eaton Hotel - rest etc
About 4pm Walk down Nathan Road
Take Star Ferry to Central
Take Peak Tram to arrive at dusk
Head back down and across to TST (MTR or Star Ferry?)
Head for the Peninsula hotel
Drinks and eat (if Felix is not too extortionate

Monday
Morning
Across harbour to Exchange Square
Catch No 6 bus to Stanley
Wander round the market/temples etc
Lunch at a seafood restaurant - any recommendations?
Head back to Causeway bay for a couple of hours' shopping
MTR back to Jordan
Evening
Temple Street Night Market
Dinner somewhere on Knutsford Terrace - anywhere in particular?

Tuesday
Morning
Bird Garden/Flower Market/Ladies Market
Kowloon Park/Kowloon Mosque
Lunch - dim sum somewhere near here?
Afternoon
Escalator/Soho/Hollywood Road/Man Mo Temple
Evening
Dinner somewhere in Soho?

Wednesday
Morning
Museum of History (if we have time)
Check in bags at Kowloon Station (if this is possible)
Head to Lantau
Big Buddha
Head to airport
Flight leaves at 4pm


Is this anywhere near reasonable?! Are we doing too much/not enough? Breakfast isn't included in our hotel so we were thinking of just grabbing something on our way out of the hotel...

Any help would be much appreciated, and critiques welcome too!

Many thanks in advance,
Katie

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    What time of year is your trip? Dates would even be better. There may be a public holiday or special celebration going on that you may want to see or miss (for crowds).

    When I know your dates, I can give some more specific reccos, but mMy basic thoughts are to avoid the night market, you can buy the same stuff in Stanely in a much more enjoyable manner; think about getting tickets to a concert, Chinese opera, play or other cultural activity (even a good Kung Fu movie in one of our nice movie theatres would be a better use of time, IMO). I find the Big Buddha a big yawn personnally, and if you are here on a rainy, cloudy, foggy, hazy day or a day when we have bad air pollution, views are not much. (And we get one or more of the above most days here, esp in summer.) I would head over to the beach at Cheung Sha and hang out at the Stoep restaurant before the flight personally..

    If you have not seen it, please search this board for my very long list of reccos called “Cicerone’s Reccos for What the Locals Do for Fun in Hong Kong (Hint: We DON’T Go to those Awful Night Markets....)” this should give you some ideas for what to do. For suggestions on walks and hikes on Hong Kong Island, see my postings called “Cicerone’s Favourite Hong Kong Walks: Severn Road, the Peak”., “Cicerone’s Favourite Hong Kong Walks II: Paradise Found! From Happy Valley to Stanley in High Heels! (Almost) The Tsz Lo Lan Shan Path” and Cicerone's Favourite Hong Kong Walks III: The Dragon's Back ". Finally, check the Hong Kong Tourism Board website at discoverhongkong.com

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    Hi Cicerone,
    Wow, thanks for your help. We are coming at the beginning of September, sorry, I should have made that clear.
    So no to the Night Market? That's cool by me.
    Would really appreciate your help with restaurant recommendations in the places on our itinerary.
    Many thanks

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    I would go to the Temple Street night market. It's more interesting, with one area you may see people doing small-scale Cantonese opera, and food stalls. Ladies' Market is just junk, and huge crowds.

    I enjoy riding the NP360 and visiting the Big Buddha. Unless weather is really bad with low visibility, you shouldn't skip it.

    You can check-in at the Kowloon Airport Express station if you've bought an AE ticket. The train goes straight to the airport and you need to back track by taxi (blue ones) or the S1 shuttle bus back to Tung Chung to ride the NP360. Or you can just forfeit the AE ticket and ride the regular MTR directly from the Kowloon station to Tung Chung, but that seems a huge waste, as the AE is not cheap.

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    The Mid-Autumn Festival is September 15 and you may either be here for the festival day itself or certainly for the lead-up to it. Check with your hotel to see if the latern display has started in Victoria Park, and if so, I would include a visit to this park in Causeway Bay one evening before or after dinner (at dark) to see it. (This is a paper lantern festival, you will also see them for sale in the markets and they could make a nice souvenir). Also be sure to try some moon cakes (another aspect of the festival) which will be on sale everywhere, try the traditional lotus paste version as well as something like the ice cream version. If you are here on the festival day, a good place to go is the bar on the top floor of the Park Lane hotel so you can see all the people down in Victoria Park with their thousands of lanterns. Very beautiful. Your hotel may have other suggestions for where to see similar displays on the festival evening.

    For a list of restaurants, see my recent post “Cicerone’s (Updated) Favourite Hong Kong Restaurants (Part I)”. That is a new list and a link to my old list as well.

    For the itin, it generally looks fine if quite in the main tourist stream. I think I would switch the Peak to Monday, first of all because Sunday is generally a pretty crowded day up on the Peak as far as lines for the Peak Tram both going up and coming down. (Many people work Saturday here, either full or half day and Sunday is their only day off, it is also a huge family outing day.) Secondly, to go all the way over there for dusk and then head all the way back to Kowloon for dinner is a lot of moving around, I would pick a day where you can stay for dinner on the Peak or someplace else on Hong Kong Island. Finally, if are flying in long-haul from the US or elsewhere, you may not want to try to do too much the first night, esp. a splash-out at Felix, where you may be falling asleep in your (expensive) soup. I would stay on the Kowloon side the first night, go low key (Knutsford Terrace area is fine, or perhaps something with a view like Habitu the Pier down on the waterfront) and try to get to bed early. (Felix IMO is worth it, they don’t “extort” money from you, and the prices are not as exorbitant for example, as Nobu. For a similar view on a lesser price scale, try one of the Aqua group restaurants at One Peking Road see http://www.aqua.com.hk (Including trying their sunset cocktail cruise one night or lunchtime cruise if you get a clear day.)

    You don’t have Aberdeen on the itin, which while touristy is still interesting (and some outlet shopping nearby), nor any ferry trips to outlying islands, or stops at beaches (can easily stop at Repulse Bay Beach on the way to or from Stanley), nor any walks, of which there are several excellent ones. On the way back from Stanley, you could get off at Repulse Bay and walk the very easy flat esplanade along the sea to Deep Water Bay and have an excellent lunch or early dinner at the Copacabana restaurant. If you want a challenging walk, you have more options. If you insist on the Big Buddha there is a fantastic, but difficult, walk up to it, or a good walk down from it, which will afford you the same (and IMO some better) views as the cable car and no lines at all (plus it is free). This may be a logistics trick to do on the same day as your flight perhaps, but could be done on another day. There are also tons of good walks on Hong Kong Island itself (i.e., the Dragon’s Back, Violet Hill/the Twins). You could walk from the Peak to Stanely if you were so inclined, and can walk up or down from the Peak to Central (down is my preferred direction).

    I think Stanley is a great trip and should be on the list, but please don’t go with the idea that you will find a lot of live fresh seafood on offer. Stanley is not a fishing village and is not known for its seafood. There are several good restaurants there, including the Boathouse (see my list) which has seafood, but this will not be live in tubs just brought ashore from the boats at the pier (way too polluted water). There are some fishing villages where you can do this (however lots of that fish is also from somewhere else, like on Lamma most of the fish in the restaurants is not from the local waters). There are good meals at Stanely to be sure (Lucy’s also, but you need a booking most nights), but may not be what you were expecting.

    I don’t know your age or interests, but there is kayaking here and some biking (on a limited scale) which would get you to very different parts of Hong Kong, including mountain country areas on the backside of Hong Kong Island which is 10 minutes by taxi from the sprawling city areas at the end of the subway line. This place is not just about the shopping, which IMO is way overrated and living on the past when goods were made here and were cheap compared to elsewhere, neither of which is the case any more for the most part. I would say get out and see other things, don’t focus a lot of time shopping, as you can really find the same stuff at home, and spending hours looking at discount bins to save $20 on a blouse when you could be walking the Dragon's Back with stunning ocean views is something I just don't get. (Unless you want handmade bags or shoes, in which case you need to start off first day with that so you can have at least one shoe fitting.) Souvenir shopping as a fun morning in Stanely or at the ARts and Craft shop in TST is fine, but really there is so much else. See the antique shops on Hollywood Road for some really beautiful things, even if you aren’t buying.



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    Cicerone,
    Thank you so much for taking the time to write such detailed advice. We are certainly not coming all the way to Hong Kong to shop (we can go to NYC for that). We are from London and it is our first time in Hong Kong so we want to strike the right balance between doing all the typical highlights and doing something different. We are definitely up for walking and will look into some of the walks you suggest.
    I did wonder whether we were trying to do too much on our first evening. We are flying in from London so I'm guessing the jet lag will be bad? What would you suggest as a first night activity instead of going to the peak?
    Many thanks once again, your advice is invaluable

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    We went to Knutsford Terrace in April this year and were not overly impressed, it is buzzy, nice place for drinks but meal was mediocre. We had much better meals following Cicerone's reccos! Just on this particular evening we were picking up visa for China in that area.

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    I think everything you have listed up to but not including going across the harbour is fine. I just don’t think you would feel like getting dressed up (Felix is dressy for women IMO) on that first night, esp. having to go across by ferry and up to the Peak to walk around. Also with the plan of going to the Peak for dusk (which is going to be around 7 pm), by time you get back to the Kowloon side it could easily be 8:30 pm (assuming there are no huge lines for going down on the Tram on Sunday evening). Having drinks and then dinner at that point will be a late first evening indeed. Instead, I would stay in casual clothes, and stick to your plan of walking down Nathan Road until you get to the water, then take the stroll along the Esplanade there (also quite nice at dusk too) and see The View as the lights come up over the city. You can go into the Intercontinental hotel and have a drink in their lobby bar which has a really really fabulous view and/or you could eat there at the quite casual but good Harbourside (they have some other expensive restaurants, but this is like their coffee shop, but still quite nice, and really lovely huge windows onto the harbour ). The lobby bar has some silly drink minimum, but I don’t think it comes into effect into later in the evening, just ask if you don’t want to get caught up in that. Otherwise, the Knutsford Terrace area, back towards your hotel is fine, there are no views, but many of the restaurants have outdoor dining which can be pleasant as it is a car-free little enclave there. Staying down along the TST waterfront, I like Café Habitu as it has a fairly good view and there are outdoor tables too (see my restaurant list) and there are others in the Ocean Terminal Building as well which have views.

    There is the “laser light show” at 8 pm each night, I personally would not make a special trip to be on the waterfront or elsewhere to see it, but if you are at a restaurant that night with a water view it is fun to see. You can see it from any part of Hong Kong which affords a view of the waterfront (i.e. the Peak, Felix, etc) but along the Esplanade in Kowloon there is the good cheesy music and narrative accompaniment that just completes the whole thing.

    Be sure to go have drinks/tea or a meal at Sevva, on top of the Prince’s Building in Central on Hong Kong Island. This is really my new favourite place, they have a very large outdoor terrace with sofas and really nice views. They serve tea as well, and this may be the best time to do it, as the bar can get very crowded at night, but it is really lovely at sunset too. See my new restaurant list or ask your hotel for the address. The restaurant is quite good too (there are two, a more casual harbourside and more expensive bank side, price difference is really only about HK$100-150 or so on entrees), so you can stay for a meal as well. I just would not do it the first night. You could have drinks here before dinner in Soho, which is a short walk away (via the escalator) or a quicker taxi ride.

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