8 Hours in Hong Kong

Nov 26th, 2005, 07:45 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 10
8 Hours in Hong Kong

Hi folks -

We have a lovely 8hr layover in HK on 1/1/06 and are pretty sure that we're going to want to try and see a few HK sights instead of spending the entire time in the airport. Two questions:

1. Any suggestions for an itinerary or airport-HK-airport tour?

2. Has anyone used the Shower/Relaxation Lounge or the Premium Lounge in the airport? Are they as nice as the website description and should we make reservations?

Thanks in advance.
uhang is offline  
Nov 28th, 2005, 07:45 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
1. There are some posts about this already. See if the search feature works for you or not. But anyways, a simple tour will be:

- Buy a same-day roundtrip Airport Express train ticket for HK$100. Get off at Kowloon, take free shuttle to Star Ferry or one of the hotels in Tsimshatsui - like the Peninsula/Kowloon or New World Renaissance/InterContinental.

- Walk along the waterfront promenade. Then take Star Ferry across Victoria Harbour.

- Walk up to Peak Tram Station (or take bus #15C - NOT #15). Take Peak Tram up to The Peak, walk around and come back down. Take Airport Express from Hong Kong station (inside "ifc" complex) back to airport.

- Or do reverse.

2. Whatever you do, do not pay for the "Nap" room at the Plaza Lounge. It's not worth it, as there's almost no privacy. [If you want to sleep, there are actually some recliners near Gate 32. But they may already been taken.]
rkkwan is offline  
Nov 28th, 2005, 11:50 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,689
Please see some of the recent posts like "8 Days in Hong Kong" and "Hong Kong 1 Night Hotel and Air Transfer" which give suggestions from myself and others for things to do, you can abbreviate this for a short stay.

You don't say what time you are arriving, which would affect my reccos a bit, i.e. if it is dark you might not want to do the loop walk around Lugard Road on the Peak.

I agree with the general suggestion above with taking the Airport Express train into town. For info on the Airport Express, checking your hand luggage at the airport, etc, go to the website for Hong Kong airport at hongkongairport.com. Make sure you have your boarding passes for your onward flight before you head in to the city, and make sure you know what time the gate closes for your connecting flight (generally 45 minutes before departure), so you leave yourself enough time to get back. The trains will be running on a holiday schedule, so do check train times.

I think it is easier to take the Airport Express train to the Hong Kong station and start a tour from there, as you can walk to the Star Ferry in about 5 minutes, or head to the Peak first. If you go to the Kowloon Station, you have to then take a shuttle bus to one of the hotels on the waterfront in Kowloon; if you choose this, get off at the Peninsula as that is the closest to the Esplanade and the Star Ferry piers. From the Star Ferry piers in either Kowloon or on Hong Kong Island, you can do a tour of the harbor by boat, go to http://www.starferry.com.hk/new/en/index.asp for info. If you go to Hong Kong Island first, you can take the short hop across the harbour to Kowloon, walk along the Esplanade and take in the famous view. From the Hong Kong Island side, you could also go first to the Peak, go to http://www.thepeak.com.hk for info.

My main concern is that your layover is on New Year's Day. Things like restaurants are likely to be really jammed. Some stand-alone restaurants in the Lan Kwai Fong and other areas may be closed. I would normally say stop for brunch/lunch or tea at the Peninsula or the Intercontinental but on New Year's Day these and the other hotels generally are running special mid-day meals and are generally packed. If your layover is later in the day you may be better off, but it is hard to know for sure. I would say stop by one of the hotels and see how crowded it looks. The Harbourside restaurant at the Intercontinental has great views and salads, sandwiches and a buffet, and both Western and Asian menus. The lobby of the Penn is beautiful but no views. If you go to the Airport Express Station in Hong Kong, you might try the restaurants in the IFC Mall (Lumiere/Cuisine Cuisine is very good) or the Four Seasons hotel. (The Mandarin in Central will be closed as of December 15, so you can't go there, normally a good choice although no views.) There are two restaurants on the Peak, see my other posts on these, they are very likely to be jammed, esp the Peak Lookout which is an expat favorite.

The line for the Peak Tram could also be quite long; if so consider taking the bus. The bus is the #15, you can get it at the main bus terminus at Exchange Square which is in front of the Airport Express station in Hong Kong, you can also pick it up at any bus stop showing a #15 sign along Connaught Road (esp near the Ritz-Carlton Hotel) or Queens Road East, in either case not far from the bottom of the Peak Tram station in Central, but you need a map or someone to point you in the correct direction from the Peak Tram station. If you take the Airport Express train to the Hong Kong station and want to go to the Peak first thing, then I would say don't bother going to the Tram as you may end up in a long line, just walk about 3 minutes over to the main bus terminus and get on the #15 bus. Sit upstairs, right side is slightly better, front is best. You can take the tram down on the return trip if the lines don't look too bad. The bus ride is pretty thrilling in itself, esp once you get up onto the hills.

For an interactive map of Hong Kong, go to http://www.hot-maps.de/asia/china/hongkong/homeen.html, this may be somewhat helpful.

You can get a map of Hong Kong at the Hong Kong Tourist Association, there is supposed to be a desk at the airport just past baggage claim and near the exit doors at Customs, if not there are branches at the Star Ferry on the Kowloon side and at 99 Queens Road in Central (this is up the street from the Airport Express Station). You may also be able to get something via their website, go to http://www.discoverhongkong.com/eng/index.jsp
Cicerone is offline  
Nov 29th, 2005, 04:23 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Good point about possible long line for the Peak Tram on 1/1. I think you'll be okay if you go early, but like cicerone says, we don't know what time you're arriving.
rkkwan is offline  
Dec 5th, 2005, 09:15 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 10
rkkwan and cicerone: thanks so much for the advice, it's definitely enough to fill an 8-hr layover (we arrive in HK just before 11am). A definite thanks for the notes on New Year's Day queues at restaurants and the tram for The Peak, we weren't sure if the city would be extra quiet or extra busy that day. I totally blanked on doing a search for similar posts but will do so before we go.

Thanks again.
uhang is offline  
Dec 5th, 2005, 09:29 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Let me think what I did for 1/1/05.

Got up kind of late. City was quiet in the morning. My aunt and cousin asked me to go to dim sum with them at a middle-of-the-road restaurant in Kowloon (on top of Diamond Hill MTR). By the time I got there, which was around noon, the place was packed. We had to get a number and waited like half an hour for a table for dim sum.

[I then went to a rehersal concert of some Boy Scouts. My buddy was music director there. Well that was irrelevant to this post.]

Then another friend called and asked me to go to a famous and popular restaurant in Yuen Long in the NT. Buses were quiet full from Kowloon, and the Yuen Long town center was very very crowded. I got to that restaurant at around 6pm, and got the last number for a table for the nigth! Really, I'm not kidding. We didn't get seated until like 8pm, but the food was GOOD.

So, I have to say it'll be quiet early in the morning; but by the time you get into the city, it's going to be extra busy.
rkkwan is offline  
Dec 26th, 2005, 03:53 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 40
I just spent 8 hrs in HK during a layover there and want to thank everyone for the tips and advice on spending the time there. I arrived at 7am, cleared customs and took the airport express to HK central. I walked around the Star Ferry, had a relaxing breakfast at a local restaurant before catching the #25 bus from the exchange plaza ($9.20HK each way; exact change is required) and went up to the Peak. The road up was pretty windy and I had to take a walk around once we reached the Peak to get rid of the nauseau that I experience with windy auto rides. The view was nice, I took some pictures before heading back to the city. I check out the Peddar building (thanks to the suggestions of stores on floor 7 and 4- the Fur store was awesome although the prices were pretty comparable to the US). Perfumes and cosmetics in the stores around Peddar building are quite reasonalble (I bought a bottle of issy Mikayi for US$35- compared to $80 at Macys). I checked out the Li Yeung (east and west) streets although there wasn't anything spectacular- the only thing that caught my eye was the belly dancing clothes that one of the stalls sold for a pretty reasonable price.
I took the train back to the airport and tried to check out the premium lounge only to find out that its located on gate 40. The airport is quite good size and since my departure was from gate 2, I never made it there. I'll try and check out Kowloon on my layover back as well and try and head to the premium lounge to provide some feedback to all ye future travellers. Till then! Feliz Navidad! Sarah
sarahh_sf is offline  
Dec 26th, 2005, 03:55 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 40
Apologies, its bus #15 and not 25 that takes you to the peak.
sarahh_sf is offline  
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