36 Hours in Hong Kong

Dec 4th, 2007, 01:48 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2007
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36 Hours in Hong Kong

Hi, This is my first time posting. I was hoping to get some advice for an upcoming stopover that my partner and I have in Hong Kong.

We are spending three weeks in New Zealand in Feb, visiting his family, and stopping in Hong Kong on the way back to London. We only have 36 hours but I have always wanted to visit Hong Kong.

My partner has been to Hong Kong briefly and I have spent a good bit of time in Asia so we are hoping not to be too overwhelmed during such a short trip.

I am looking for some sightseeing/restaurant (or street stall) tips. We're keen to go on the Ferry and to go to the Peak but as it is early March, it may be foggy. In the event of a lot of fog, what else is a must-do? We are generally interested in soaking up the atmosphere of a place when we travel and so end up wandering a lot!

Also, previous posts indicate that the Hong Kong side is a better area to stay, does this make it significantly more expensive?

Sorry if this is a bit vague, its my first post! I'd really appreciate any tips. Thanks!
HappyTravelling is offline  
Dec 4th, 2007, 05:42 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Actually, there is a fair amount of disagreement about whether the Hong Kong side or the Kowloon side are better (more convienent) to stay, Personally, I prefer Kowloon, but Cicerone (who lives there) recommends the Hong Kong side. SInce you can get from one side to the other in a matter of minutes on the very inexpensive and scenic Star ferry, you are probably best off to spend your time debating which hotel ather than which side.

Look for posts by Cicerone, who has kindly shared lots of info about sightseeing, shopping and food.
Kathie is offline  
Dec 4th, 2007, 07:13 AM
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I agree that in March you may have fog issues, it will just simply be a matter of luck. Even with fog, AT NIGHT from the Peak you will have a pleasing view, as city lights come through pretty well, so at a minimum plan a trip up for dusk and stay for dark. See sunrusesunset.com for timing. (It's the best time up there IMO anyway.)

For other ideas, including local markets that are good for wandering, please search this board for my 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....)” and “Cicerone’s Favourite Hong Kong Walks II: Paradise Found! From Happy Valley to Stanley in High Heels! (Almost) The Tsz Lo Lan Shan Path”. This should give you some ideas. The Fodors guide here also has some of the more traditional tourist ideas that are good too and is worth looking at to see some choices, e.g. Stanely, the Chin Lin Nunnery. I have also posted some restaurants there, I actually have an updated list which I was going to post soon and may use your thread as an opportunity to do so. I am currently traveling and don't have the list with me. It's more than 30 pages, so if you have a cuisine preference, let me know and I can narrow it down. There are literally hundreds of good restaurants here, and I have not been to them all (yet).

March is horse-racing season, so if you are here on a Wednesday or Sat or Sun and weather is not all great, try to get to Happy Valley (on Hong Kong Island) or Sha Tin (in the New Territories) to see the races, but mostly just to people watch the betters, which is a passion here in Hong Kong. You can have a meal as well, have to say the food is very average, so I would just go and see some of the races and eat elsewhere.

Here is my five cents on which side to stay on: when you see a picture of Hong Kong it is invariably taken from the Kowloon side and is that wonderful shot of the harbour, the tall building on Hong Kong Island on the other side of the harbour, and then the backdrop of the mountains behind the buildings. There is no doubt that that view is spectacular, both day and night. However, very few people actually have that view from their hotel. You can see that view for free from the Esplanade walkway along the waterfront, or pay for it by having a meal at several very good restaurants with fabulous views. In addition, you are going to do most of your sightseeing, most of your shopping and, if you know good food, most of your eating on the Hong Kong side. The Peak and the Peak Tram, Central, Stanley, Aberdeen, Wan Chai (Suzie Wong), the Hollywood Road antique area, some great local markets, and the bar and restaurant areas of Lan Kwai Fong, Soho, Hollywood Road, etc are all on Hong Kong Island. There are also some spectacular and easily-accessible walks, including several from the Peak and in the Stanley area.

So what it comes down to for me would be this: if you don’t have a harbour view room on the Kowloon side at either the Peninsula, the Intercon, the Salisbury Y , the Sheraton or possibly the Kowloon Shangri-La (although the location of the latter is just a bit out IMO), then I would not stay on the Kowloon side. I would stay on the Hong Kong side, and go over to Kowloon for a meal at night at one of the harbour view restaurants, and/or during the day for a walk along the Esplanade, a visit to the Jade Market or Flower Market, and a visit to one of the temples. I would take the Star Ferry over and/or whenever I get the chance just for the fun of it and the views.

You will not find much or any price difference between hotels on the Hong Kong and Kowloon sides from what I have seen. Do you have a budget? Of the more budget-type hotels with a view, I would certainly say to try the Salisbury Y, take a look at www.ymca-hotels.com.

Cicerone is offline  
Dec 4th, 2007, 07:32 AM
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Like Cicerone says, similar prices on similar-quality hotels on both side of the harbor. And again, I will emphasize that for a casual visitor, it doesn't matter which side you stay.

From Central to Tsim Sha Tsui is a 5 minute ride on the subway or 8 minutes or so on the Star Ferry.

Get the best hotel within your budget with good transportation. But if you are spending big bucks and want that million-dollar harborview, then you should pick a hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui like the Peninsula or Intercontinental.
rkkwan is offline  
Dec 4th, 2007, 07:40 AM
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Thanks all for your replies.

Our budget is negotiable but as its at the end of the trip, we'll probably try and aim for about £65 a night. Based on what you've said, I think I'll focus on a hotel in our (not huge) budget range rather than on a specific side.

The titles of those posts is particularly useful - I'll get searching right away And the horse racing tip is one I wouldn't have thought of.

In terms of food, really dim sum is what I would like to try (particularly Cha siu) but I've seen some great posts with recommendations on that topic.

Again, thanks!
HappyTravelling is offline  
Dec 4th, 2007, 08:29 AM
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For that budget, you won't find anything in Central, as most hotels there are 5* or close to it.

But the YMCA Salisbury is in that budget, or there are more hotels in the Causeway Bay area on HK Island that will fit you.

"Cha Siu" per se is not a dim sum. It's one form of roasted pork. People often order it as an appetizer for dinner, or just Cha Siu with rice for lunch. However, it can be used in dim sum items, though the pork will not be roasted fresh, but is left over from the day before. "Cha Siu Bou" is the stuff inside a steamed bun. "Cha Siu Cheong Fun" is the stuff wrapped inside rice sheets and steamed.
rkkwan is offline  
Dec 4th, 2007, 08:44 AM
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We're not necessarily looking for a hotel in Central proper. I have found some available hotels (in the North Point area and in mid level). Am more than happy to jump on the MTR - part of the fun! However, do you think this is too far out of the centre?
HappyTravelling is offline  
Dec 4th, 2007, 08:58 AM
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No, not far. You'll still well inside city area. Problem with Mid-Levels is that there's no direct MTR (subway) service.
rkkwan is offline  
Dec 4th, 2007, 09:05 AM
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Thanks for clarifying. Good to know that about midlevels.

Your roasted pork description has made me very hungry!
HappyTravelling is offline  
Dec 4th, 2007, 09:16 AM
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I personally find using the Star ferry A LOT, so prefer to stay not so far from the ferry terminal on the Kowloon side. I would check if you can get a room at Sainsbury Y. Personally I think it's paying a bit more to stay on the harbor view room, esp as you can get to enjoy the 8pm light-up show from your room(and tune into radio music which synchs with the laser beams).

Having said that I won't mind staying in HK side as MTR is quite convenient.

Food--stating the rather obvious, but dimsum is really meant for breakfast/lunch, not for evening meals. My personal favourite is Maxim's at City Hall (nr HK Star ferry). Also another favourite place of mine is a dessert chain called Hui Lau Shan (three red letters on the yellow background). There are branches everyone--one next to Chinese Art & Craft store near Kowloon Star Ferry terminal, as well as the arrival floor at HK Airport. They have incredible mango pudding and other fruit-based stuff.
W9London is offline  
Dec 4th, 2007, 09:55 AM
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Have booked the Salisbury Y room with a harbour view. Thanks again all.
HappyTravelling is offline  
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