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You suggested Hong Kong, is it possible to visit on a budget?

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Thank you all for your suggestions of Asian destinations with 7-10 days from NY. If we were to travel to Asia, Hong Kong sounds like the perfect compromise to satisfy both my husband's and my own travel tastes. My next question is whether it's possible to have a nice Hong Kong (and Macau?) vacation without exorbitant costs (we've heard it's one of the most expensive cities in the world). Our last big trip was to Africa for our honeymoon where we went "all out" and stayed at Oberoi, Singita and Cape Grace. If it is possible to have a nice stay in Hong Kong without paying Singita prices, can you please suggest some hotels, etc. that I can start looking into? Keep in mind that we would be visiting some time between Feb-Apr. Thank you!

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    Hong Kong is very expensive to live in, almost entirely because of housing cost. Similarly, for a traveler, the main expense is hotel. You can eat and travel cheaply.

    4* hotels - and better 3* ones - are asking close to US$200 for a room on many nights this Spring, as economy in the region is booming.

    So, if you have a tight budget, the main thing is to lower your hotel cost. There are several guesthouses (more like 2*/3* hotels) run by non-profits that one can get for <$100. Those are probably better than other budget hotels with tiny rooms.

    Also, hotels in Macau are cheaper than Hong Kong. With that many days, spend at least two nights there.

    But tell us what's your budget for hotels, as what you consider "budget" may be different than mine and ours.

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    i would say that if you choose carefully that you can stay in HK for a modest amount....as stated the hotel is the main expense....food can be reasonable...

    look at the salisbury YMCA...stop laughing, it is decent---like a holiday inn and the location is fantastic...next to the peninsula...,

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    We stayed at the Salisbury YMCA last February in a harbor view room. I think it was about $140 a night without breakfast. The room was nice and clean. It is really a wonderful location.

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    I agree that HK is expensive and it is hard to go on a budget. If you would like to choose a more reasonable hotels yet close to the actions, the hotels recommended on theis site in the Yau Ma Tei area is better than hotels in the Tsuen Wan or Lantau Island. Yau Ma Tei is 2 subway stops away from Tsim Sha tsui, the tourist area where a lot of shopping & restaurants are. YMCA is in the nice location but if the hotel rates in Yau Ma Tei area is lower, this area is very close by.

    If you could tell us what your price range for food & hotel, I could make more suggestions.

    I'm from Hong Kong so I'm very familiar with the city.

    Smiles!

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    I live in Hong Kong and agree that it is primarily housing costs that make it so expensive. Otherwise, things like public transportation is very cheap and you will have many excellent restaurant options in the mid and budget range. (Wine can be expensive, however.) You don’t need guides for anything, and most every tourist attraction is free or dirt cheap like the Star Ferry at 30 cents (US) for a first class ride. Hotels will be your biggest expense. If you can give us a range that would be more helpful, as what is “budget” to one person may not be budget to another. You can spend a lot or a little. Some of the best hotels in the world are here and are certainly worth considering, but then there are places like the YMCA on Salisbury which is very good and a good value, or the Bishop Lei.

    Also, some of the very high-end hotels like the Mandarin Oriental, operate “second tier” 4 star hotels like the Excelsior Hotel which are cheaper but nice as well, take a look at http://www.mandarinoriental. If you are willing to forego a harbour view, you can also sometimes get better rates at higher-end hotels as well, it might be worth checking this. Finally, if you have reward points at Marriott, Sheraton, Hyatt, etc, they are all here and this would be a good time to use them.

    Just watch room size when you are looking at hotels, as rooms can be very small here. You want at LEAST 25 square meters (about 280 square feet) for 2 people and really for as long as you will be here IMO you want 30 square meters. Ask about room size so you can be sure you are comparing apples to apples when you are comparing different hotels and prices.

    If you are planning for February 2008, Chinese New Year will be celebrated from February 7– 9 in 2008. This can be a fun time to be here, there are fireworks, special markets, etc. Some things like restaurants and shops will be closed on certain days (mostly the 7th), but you can work around this. Weather is temperate, sometimes cool, often sunny, and good for walking and hiking (there is a lot of that here, we’re not just all about shopping....). January is also a very good month weather-wise. I don’t like March so much as it is changing over to the hot weather and can be humid and foggy. April starts to get pretty hot, but is OK if you don’t mind heat. Take a look at weatherbase.com for information.

    Without knowing your range, some budget hotels to try and/or were mentioned above:

    1. YMCA Salisbury Road
    41 Salisbury Road Tsim Sha Tsui
    Kowloon

    This is a great place, fantastic location, it gets good reviews on this site. It really is a nice 4* hotel disguised as a YMCA. They are very popular and often fully booked, so if you are interested, make a reservation soon (you can always cancel). They have standard rooms from $90 a night, and have suites from US$129. The standard rooms tend to be small so I would opt for a suite if possible. Website for YMCA hotels in Asia is /www.ymca-hotels.com/. There are several other YMCA’s in Hong Kong, see some of them below.

    2. Bishop Lei International House
    4 Robinson Rd
    Mid-levels, Hong Kong Island
    Tel: 852-2868-0828
    fax: 852-2525-1551.
    http://www.bishopleihtl.com.hk

    The hotel is in mid-levels which makes it very convenient. The rooms are small but very nice, and the location is good, in a residential neighborhood near the top of the escalator and on a bus route. It is just above the zoo in the botanical gardens and you can hear the orang utans in the morning, quite unusual in the middle of the city. . . Many of the rooms have great views over the city and the harbor. They have a pool and restaurant, and there are other restaurants in the neighborhood. They have standard rooms from US$77 and suites from $100. The rooms tend to be small, so I would go for a suite if you can which will give you two rooms and you won't feel so cramped.

    3. YWCA Garden View International House
    1 Macdonnell Road
    Mid-levels, Hong Kong Island
    http://www.ywca.org.hk/hotel/Eng/home2.htm

    Well located in midlevels on Hong Kong Island. This is a YWCA hotel. They are located near Bowen Road, an excellent flat pedestrian-only road in Hong Kong good for walking and jogging, with wonderful views. This hotel would be my second choice after the Salisbury Road Y as the Salisbury Road Y has more facilities, however it is still a good choice. They have a rooftop pool which is also a plus. They have standard double rooms starting at $85. There are a few other YWCA’s in Hong Kong, check the website.

    3. YMCA Harbour View
    International House
    4 Harbour Road
    Wan Chai, Hong Kong

    Nice location in Wan Chai near some interesting local markets and shopping and not far from central. I have not stayed in the rooms in more than 10 years, and they have substantially redone them, I do recall they were somewhat small. They have standard rooms starting at about US$85.

    4. YMCA International House
    23 Waterloo Road
    Kowloon

    There is the third Y in Hong Kong, the which was just rebuilt and I have not been inside since it re-opened. It is in Kowloon. As it is new, the facilities should be good. Worth a look. They have standard doubles starting at US$91. As it is the same price as the Salisbury Road Y, I am guessing the facilities are very good and they can charge more even though their location is secondary, IMO. Website for YMCA hotels in Asia is /www.ymca-hotels.com/

    5. The Helena May
    35 Garden Road
    Central, Hong Kong
    Tel: 852-2522-6766
    Fax: 852-2522-5258
    Go to http://www.helenamay.com/, click on “room tarriff”

    This is a private woman’s club that has been in existence for almost 100 years. They are in Central right at the base of the Peak Tram in a lovely early 20th century colonial-era building. Location is very good, you can walk the Central in one direction and Wan Chai in the other, the nice little Hong Kong Park is at your back and the Peak Tram entrance is about 100 feet away (in fact the tracks go by the Club). The whole club including the apartments were redone about two years ago and they did a great job. Note that some of the rooms in the main building have a shared bathroom, but those room prices include breakfast). . Although some of the rooms are small, there is a library and reading rooms, a lovely garden and other facilities of the club which are quite homey and may make your small room more bearable. The studios are a pretty good size, esp the largest ones, and include a kitchen. The website does not list the daily cost of studios, but they are HK$450 to $520 (US$58-67) depending on size. This place is almost always fully booked many months in advance, but since you know you dates so far ahead, you might try them.

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