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Sunday in HK: What to do?

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Hi,
Our first full day in HK is a Sunday in mid-Nov., and it seems like everything I want to do that day is best avoided on Sundays (e.g.. tram to Peak (too crowded), walking around Central (too crowded with Filipino's enjoying day off), bus to Stanley (won't get on due to crowds), day trip to Macau (avoid weekends)....Ngong Ping cable car to Big Buddha (lines too long on weekends)....so, what's a tourist to do?

I'm thinking of visiting the Chi Lin Nunnery...or maybe go up the Mid-Levels escalators.
If we went to the Peak early (like 8am) would that be OK?
All suggestions are welcome.

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    Hi simpson, no we won't be jet lagged because we're coming from Sanya. BTW, why do we need to clear customs when we're coming from China?!

    I may want to just wander around Soho.

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    Taking bus early up to the Peak and ride tram down and you won't find any lines.

    Maids only take up a few public squares in Central on Sundays - it's no big deal, though many of the more interesting independent stores and shops in Central, Sheung Wan and Western District where you might want to walk around open late or not open, so not as interesting as weekdays.

    Taking bus to Stanley is okay, if you take it at the terminus under Exchange Square in Central. Buses are frequent, so if one runs out of seats, take next one. Don't stand.

    Macau is no issue, though get your return ticket first. No problem if you get a late sailing ticket and then go standby for earlier return. [But you can't standby for a later ferry.]

    Only place you should avoid is going up to Ngong Ping and Big Buddha on Sunday.

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    The OP should have more than one day in HK, so don't go to Big Buddha, even if early. Ferries and buses are more expensive on Sunday, and there will be more people wanting to have vegetarian meals at Po Lin Monastery than weekdays. Just not worth the hassle unless there's no alternatives.

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    Thanks to all for your suggestions. I think we will take an early bus to the Peak, walk around there for an hour, then go visit the Chi Lin Nunnery and adjacent park...and then take the escalators and look around Soho.

    We'll be in HK for 4 1/2 days, and one of those will be spent going to Macau for a day trip, so we only have 2 other full days there besides Sunday.
    I think we'll go see the Big Buddha, following the itinerary that rkkwan suggested in an earlier thread, which includes taking the ferry to Mui Wo, bus to Tai O, bus to Ngong Ping and cable car back. I think we won't have time for Stanley, unless we do that instead of Big Buddha. Then, that only leaves one day to shop and see Central.
    If anyone has any comments on this or more suggestions, I'd appreciate it.
    P.S. After we arrive Sat. afternoon, we're going to take the Star Ferry to Kowloon and walk around the promenade.

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    You have more than enough time to do all you want with 3 1/2 days in HK. But you should check the map a bit more carefully. Don't go to the Peak and then Chi Lin and back to Soho. Plan to do things that are closer together.

    Soho is just an area you can go up, wander a bit and grab a bite. No need to allocate too much time. It takes only 10 minutes to get from the bottom if the escalators to the Soho area, and less time walking down. Tiny area.

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    Thanks again...if any of you have favorite restaurants that we should try, please let me know. I'm thinking of Hutong and T'ang Court, or perhaps One Harbour Road or Lei Garden. I don't plan to go to the very expensive ones (Spoon, Felix, etc)...but I'd also like to go someplace that's more moderate in price. Thanks!

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    Chi Lin Nunnery has a nice vegetarian restaurant. If that's not to your liking it's next to a giant mall with other food options.
    - Peking Garden in Pacific Place mall is popular and a chance for you to try roast duck.
    - Zuma - high end Japanese, but not as pricey as Felix, etc. I don't eat fish, but I really like their beef.
    - Crystal Jade is cheap, popular and consistent Shanghainese style food. They have also opened Sky Crystal, a fancy Crystal Jade in the ICC in Kowloon Station. I haven't been, but it could be a good choice on a clear day.
    - Ye Shanghai (pacific place and harbor city) and Shanghai Jade (Exchange Square) have good Shanghainese food.
    - If you're wandering through midlevels, Bistro Manchu, on Elgin Street has tasty Manchurian food - it's not expensive.

    Hutong is all about the view. You need to reserve a table in advance, which you can do via their website. Request a window seat.

    Look for Cicerone's old posts for many, many restaurant ideas..

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    OK, so let me see if I have this straight: you think Central and the Peak will be too crowded on a Sunday so you want to go to the Chi Lin Nunnery, which is quite small, and the fairly small Nan Lian Garden, and you think it will be less crowded there because…??? I have only been to the temple and garden on Saturdays, where it can be crowded but livable. Sundays are usually more crowded than Saturdays. Chi Lin and the garden are quite interesting. But going there on a Sunday to avoid crowds may not work.

    Other than Macau, IMO, it's perfectly possible to do any of the things you have mentioned on a Sunday as long as you do a little planning. My thoughts and suggestions on what you have mentioned so far:

    Peak – going at 8 am on a Sunday would be perfectly fine, and you should be in time to catch the morning walkers and people doing Tai Chi. Have a coffee/breakfast on the deck of the Pacific Coffee Company with their great view. Take an hour or so and do the Severn Road walk. Walk up Mt Austin Road to the actual Peak (or as close as you can get to the actual Peak, which is closed to the public). Or walk up or down from Central. Or walk down toward Aberdeen and have lunch outdoors on top of the Jumbo (booking suggested). Or catch a bus to Deep Water Bay or Stanley from there. Or take the little wooden ferry from Aberdeen over to Lamma Island, have a seafood meal there, and ferry back to Central. Lots of options.

    Just be sure to get up to the Peak area at some other point during your trip to see the night view.

    And if you are going to the Peak, take the Peak Tram at least once. A bus is fine, and offers some nice views as well but I would not take it for the first trip up. I would take the Peak Tram.

    Central – to me, the Filipina maids are part of the attraction. To see the knots of them sitting around giving each other home permanents and square dancing in front of the Chanel and Gucci shops while the patrons stream out loaded down with bags of stuff worth more than these maids make in a year is the most absurd study in contrast. Talk about your 1%....the area of Central where the maids tend to congregate is a very a small area, and the streets are often closed to traffic (around the Mandarin hotel) so it can be good for strolling. Otherwise, areas of Central like Lan Kwai Fong, Hollywood Road, the escalator, etc are business as usual. You can have brunch in Soho and hit some of the boutiques, see the Man Mo temple, see the Peel Street "wet" market areas. (The antique stores in the Hollywood Rd area are closed on Sundays.)

    And you can stroll Wan Chai as well. There are wet markets in this area that are good for sightseeing and photos. And some temples as well. Take the street tram. Sundays are good for this as there is not a lot of traffic.

    But Central could be combined with the Star Ferry and the tip of Kowloon. Some will depend on your jet lag. But you may be able to fit a good bit in on Saturday afternoon. And the escalator and Soho could be seen as part of Saturday night dinner. Or have dinner at a view restaurant in Kowloon. (The escalcator may underwhelm you. It is not one long escalator. It's a series of esaclaotrs and some walkways. It's nice to use to aovid the uphills, but after about 10 minutes you will have "seen" all you need to see. Use it to get up the hill. That is the purpose.)

    Ngong Ping – the easy way around the cable car problem is to simply book a cable car ahead of time. Go to http://www.np360.com.hk/html/eng/front/index.asp. You want the “crystal cabin”. A regular reservation allows you to skip the line for tickets, but there is then a line for the cars themselves, which can be just as long as the line for tickets. With the “crystal cabin” you skip both the ticket line and the vast majority of the cable car line. Now I will say that on Sundays the main issue with the Buddha are the crowds you will find at the Buddha itself, mostly milling around the cable car "village", the base before the stairs and on the stairs. Once you get up the stairs to the Buddha, it is generally quite manageable. I have only ever been to the Buddha on weekends and public holidays so have never seen it on a weekday and can't compare. I imagine it would be nice to have it relatively to oneself. But it is mangabealbe on a weekend. I wouldn't have a meal at any restaurant there in any event. The monk's restaurant is pretty average and quite touristy, and the others overpriced and touristy. (If you want good veg made by monks go to Lock Cha Teashop, or walk down hill to the Lo Han Monastery in Shek Mun Kap). And you only need to take the cable car one way. Take a bus down. You either want to go to Tai O and have lunch (the very charming Tai O Heritage Hotel is worth a stop or a local place like the Crossing Boat Restaurant) and then take the ferry to Tung Chung (ferry lovely for sunset) to Tung Chung from where you can get the MTR back to town. Or take to bus to someplace like the Stoep and have lunch on the beach. Or walk down. You can also walk down and then take the bus to the Stoep. Or walk up to the Buddha and bus down. There are lots of options. The good thing about Sundays is that buses run more often than on weekdays, as does the ferry from Tai O back to Tung Chung.

    When going out to Lantau from Hong Kong or Kowloon, please don't bother taking the ferry to Mui Wo. It takes too much time to coordinate the ferry schedule to yours. Especially on weekdays when the ferries don't run that often. And the bus ride is longer. Just take the MTR to Tung Chung and then either the cable car or the bus to the Buddha. The cable car is just about 100 yards from the subway exit in Tung Chung as is the bus stop for buses to the Buddha.

    Stanley – yes this can be crowded. It is not the buses which are bad really, its Stanley itself that can be very crowded, especially the little shopping lanes. That being said, on a sunny November day, brunch at one of the outdoor restaurants along the esplanade is extremely pleasant. As mentioned above, it is quite simple to just go to the bus terminus in Central where the buses originate. You can then be first on the bus (or wait for the next one) to make sure you get a good seat upstairs in front. Easy to do the same on the return, as there are lots of #6 buses; they are generally lined up behind each other at the Stanley Market bus terminal. Another way to do this trip is to take Hutong's wooden junk over or back from Central. Get the water view and then take the bus the other way. The boat departs from Central at like Noon and departs from Stanley at about 3:30 PM. Trip takes 1.5 hours. Finally, there is an excellent walk to Stanley (well not quite to Stanley, but close enough, you take a bus or taxi for the last 10 minutes). Depending on your time and inclination you can start in Central (4 hours) , the Peak (3.5 hours) or near Mt Butler (2.5 hours). There is an easy version of the walk and a more moderately strenuous route.

    Macau – I would agree to avoid Macau on Sundays. Even with a booking for the ferry, it is still going to mean lines for Immigration on both ends. IMO the old town can be overwhelmed on Sundays with tourists. It's hard to figure out ways around that.

    The only thing you probably don't want to do if your Sunday is November 18 is be on any portion of the MacLehose Trail in the New Territories. That is the weekend of the Oxfam charity race. While it will mostly be over by Sunday morning, there will still be stragglers and trash on the trail and cleaning crews, etc. There are lots of other trail options you can take, but I would avoid any stage of the MacLehose on that day.

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    CIcii....So glad you jumped in with your new name and offered wonderfully detailed alternatives. I've already copied your suggested Severn Rd. walk and will do it that morning following your recommended breakfast at the Peak. I'm thinking of going to Stanley after that. if there's time, since now I'm locked into being back for the 5pm ticket admission to see special exhibit at the HK Museum of HIstory on the first Emperor. Can you recommend a good moderate restaurant near the History Museum?

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    It’s a bit of a tough call as to whether you want to do both the Peak and Stanley on the same day. You would not want to give short shrift to either. So I would say to play it by ear. Weather may also be a factor. While it will be sunny and dry and temps are wonderful, the air pollution may be awful (like today) or it may be really clear. If it is clear, you may want to spend more time on the Peak.

    Besides the market at Stanely, there is a nice little Tin Hau Temple and also a charming little Pak Tai temple out on the rocks. If you are interested in WW II history, there is Stanely Cemetery and the remains of the WW II prison camp. There is a nice beach. It's more than just the souvenir shops.

    You could also skip Stanley and after the Peak take the #15 bus down and get off in Wan Chai and walk around the markets there. Then take the street tram over to Kennedy Town and see that area. Then take the Star Ferry over in the afternoon and go to the Museum.

    Or take the 15 C bus from the Peak to the last stop at the Tin Hau station in Causeway Bay and wander around the Tai Hang area to see the Tin Hau temple and also the lovely Lin Fa Kung Temple on Lily Street. Lots of good little restaurants and coffee shops, up and down scale, in Tai Hang. You can see Victoira Park and the crazed shopping of Causeway Bay. Then take the MTR over to Kowloon for the museum.

    If you do go to Stanley, IMO you want to leave by 3 pm to make sure you are at the Hong Kong History Museum in time for your 5 pm entrance. So work backward from there.

    Peak to Stanely

    The quickest way to get from the Peak to Stanley is to take a taxi. This will take about 25 minutes and will cost about US$25 (this is a rough guess, could be a bit more or less.) It frankly is not as scenic as the buses because the buses are double decker.

    In the old days there was a bus that ran between the Peak and Stanely on Sundays. Now you have to change buses as follows: Take the #15 bus from the Peak to the intersection of Stubbs Road and Wong Nai Chung Gap Road. The stop you want to change at is stop number #17 -Bowen Road/Stubbs Road. It is a bit hard to count as the bus will not stop at every stop. On the very new buses, the stops are shown on a screen on both levels and also announced. You can also ask someone. This is a fairly popular interchange. This is about a 15-20 minute ride from the Peak. As you are approaching the stop, you will pass a wide-open lookout area on your left with good views of the city (and lots of parked tour buses), and will then pass the Adventist Hospital on your right, you will immediately make a very sharp left turn at a roundabout/circle. Hit the stop button and get off at the stop which is at the edge of the roundabout. Once you get out, stay on this same side of the street, walkup hill (i.e. keep the roundabout on your left) and continue for maybe 10 yards until you get past the roundabout to a cross walk area, then cross the street, turn right and look for the bus stop which will be up the hill a bit. From that stop, you can get the #6 bus to Stanley. The entire trip will take you about 45 minutes give or take.

    If you miss the stop at the roundabout, then just hit the stop button and get off at the next stop, cross the road and walk uphill until you find the next bus stop.

    You could also take a taxi from the Peak to the Bowen Road/Stubbs Road stop, it would be about HK$50 I think, give or take a bit. Tell the driver Adventist Hospital, and then have him stop in the driveway. Follow the directions above as if you had alighted at the # 17 bus stop which is just below you.

    Stanely to Kowloon

    Once in Stanely, if you want to get from Stanley to the Museum of History, a good way to go back is to take the #973 bus. This will give you a quite pretty route and is a no-change bus all the way to Mody Road in Kowloon. You will go all along the west coast of Hong Kong Island, along Deep Water Bay, Aberdeen, Pok Folum and then under the Western Tunnel. It is quite a pretty ride. It is also a double decker, so sit upstairs, left side and you will get a good view. The journey takes about an hour. The last stop is on Mody Road near the Grand Stanford Intercontinental where you can walk to the Museum in about 5-10 minutes.

    The other option of course is to take Hutong's boat back from Stanely, which should put you at the TST pier at about 4:30 PM. You would have to take a taxi from there, and that might be a bit rushed, but should be doable. (Getting a taxi at that hour can be a little problematic as the shift change is at 5 pm and it can be tough to get taxis, but 4:30 should still be OK. Anything around 5 pm, esp on a weekend is a pain.)

    You can see pictures of all the stops and get route information for the #15 and #973 buses at http://www.nwstbus.com.hk/routes/routesearch, click on English and then
    "Interactive Route Search” and then put in the bus number.

    Restaurant Ideas

    One of my favourite restaurants is about a 10 minute walk from the History Museum, but it is Indian vegetarian, so if that does not appeal, it may not work for you:

    Woodlands
    Upper Ground Floor 16-17
    Wing On Plaza
    62 Mody Road
    Tsim Sha Tsui East
    Kowloon
    Tel: 2369-3718

    This is just across the street from the Kowloon Shangri La. You could do the esplanade walk back along the waterfront from there to the Star Ferry. Or pop into the Shangri-La or Intercon for a drink and the view. (Will cost you as much as dinner at Woodlands of course.) Or have coffee at the Starbucks on the esplanade.

    You could also go someplace like The One shopping mall at 100 Nathan Road, which has lots of casual Asian restaurant outlets, mostly on the 4th floor. They have some good expensive view restaurants on the upper floors as well. This would be about a 10 minute walk. You could also take in the frenetic Nathan Road night scene.

    Otherwise, the Knutsford Terrace "restaurant row" area is pretty close and has numerous restaurants. It's rather touristy, but should be fine. It's a little like Soho, but IMO the restaurants are not as good. There are all moderately priced. That would be about a 5 minute walk from the Museum.

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