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Best Sightseeing for short visit to Hong Kong?

Best Sightseeing for short visit to Hong Kong?

Old Jan 9th, 2006, 05:04 PM
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Best Sightseeing for short visit to Hong Kong?

We'll be visiting Hong Kong for 1 1/2 days on our way to Thailand. We arrive at 6am and leave the next afternoon. We're staying at the Conrad on HHonors points.

I'd like some suggestions on tourist things to do during this time. Hopefully, we can drop our luggage early and be free to explore. I don't want to do the same things that we could do in Thailand so please suggest something unique to Hong Kong.

Any great restaurant recommendations would also be appreciated. I expect, however, we'll be a bit jet lagged and want to make it an early night.

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Old Jan 9th, 2006, 07:27 PM
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What day will you be in town? Chinese New Year is approaching and there may be special activities on offer that would change my reccos. With only 1 and 1/2 days my reccos would be to stick to the highlights and don't bother with shopping, which is really better in Bangkok anyway (for the most part, especially for unusual handicrafts and jewelry). Hong Kong and Bangkok are completely different places in terms of culture, geography, language, religion, climate, food, etc so don't worry about repeating any experiences.

There is already a TON of information on this site about one and two day itineraries for Hong Kong. Do a search. Also remember that Fodors has done a lot of this for you. Click on "Destinations" above, and then scroll down to Hong Kong. A helpful description and basic itinerary suggestions will come up.

If you want to get a guidebook, the Fodors guidebook on Hong Kong is excellent. (You can get an old copy from a library, most things will not have changed if the edition is only 1-2 years old, some buildings have been torn down, but with your limited time, you will be sticking to the highlights like the Peak, the Star Ferry, etc which have not changed.) The Luxe guide is a very concise but good breakdown of highlights as well.

You might want to ask the Conrad if you can have early check-in. If not, you should at least be able to leave your bags. Also, if they won't let you check in, you might consider having a shower at the airport before heading into the city. For info on that, go to http://www.plaza-ppl.com, or see the link at the hongkongairport.com site.

You might want to consider leaving your larger bags AT the airport and just taking an overnight bag into town. There is a staffed luggage room in the main arrivals hall which will hold your luggage, and the cost is about US$7 per piece per day. Take a look at http://www.hongkongairport.com/eng/aguide/baggage.html

You may also be able to check in for your Thailand flight as soon as you arrive into Hong Kong at 6 am. Many airlines allow early check-in; this will save you a lot of time and hassle the next day. Call you airline to determine if you can check-in for your Thai flight the day before the flight. (As I know you can check in for Thai flights a day early from the Airport Express train station, I would imagine you can also check in a day early at the airport itself. For info on early check-in using the Airport Express train stations, go to http://www.mtr.com.hk/eng/train/ae_compli_e.htm#itci)

There are literally hundreds of good restaurants in Hong Kong, do you have a good preference? A few of my favorites are below. You can also click on Restaurants above, scroll down to Asia, and choose Hong Kong

Expensive, great food and a great view

Intercontinental Hotel
18 Salisbury Road
852 2721 1211

Primarily seafood, both western and Chinese. Excellent, try the huge cold seafood appetizer plate.

Intercontinental Hotel
18 Salisbury Road
852 2721 1211

Alain Ducassse, the French chef, opened this restaurant about 8 months ago. French and Asian-fusion.

The Peninsula Hotel
Salisbury Road, Kowloon
(852) 2920-2888

Top floor of the new wing, design by Philip Stark. Asian-Fusion

One Peking Road
Tel: 852:3427-2288

This is three restaurants at one location, an Italian, a Chinese and a Japanese, all with great views. They are all good, the Chinese is Beijing style food and is very good. This group has several other restaurants in Hong Kong

Expensive, Great Food, No View

M at the Fringe
1/F South Block
2 Lower Albert Road, Central
Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2877-4000

Eclectic décor and menu of European dishes and a little Asian thrown in. Good wine list. They also have an outlet in Shanghai on the Bund which is very good as well.

Hotel Jia
1 - 5 Irving Street
Causeway Bay

Really hip and trendy, these are two restaurants in the new Stark-designed Jia Hotel in Causeway Bay. Both restaurants are Asian fusion, so not strictly Chinese. I have only eaten at Opia, which I thought was very good, if slightly full of itself (but hey, this is Hong Kong.)

Great Views, More Moderate Price

ToTT's Asian Bar and Grill
The Excelsior Hotel
281 Gloucester Rd
Causeway Bay
34th floor

A perennial favorite Asian-fusion that is hip with a great view in Causeway Bay.

Café Deco
Peak Galleria
118 Peak Road
The Peak Hong Kong
Tel: 852.2849 5111

On the Peak in the mall across from the Peak Tram, a more casual place with an extensive menu of Western and Asian dishes. Ask for a window seat. Stunning views of the harbour, esp at night. View is somewhat better than the food.

Top Deck at the Jumbo
Jumbo Kingdom
Shum Wan Pier Drive
Wong Chuk Hang
Tel: 852 2552 3331

A new Asian-fusion seafood restaurant on top of the Jumbo Floating Restaurant in Aberdeen (which I normally would not recco as food is average and very touristy). Has great views of the Aberdeen harbour and the southside of Hong Kong Island. You could hire a little boat to take you around Aberdeen harbour afterwards.

Intercontinental Hotel
18 Salisbury Road
852 2721 1211

This is their casual coffee shop restaurant. Great views. They have Asian and Western dishes, sandwiches, salads, etc and a huge buffet. Can please every taste. Open late. Good for pleasing a crowd. Generally do not need a booking, except if you have a very large group. Good service.

No Views, Good Food, Moderate Price

Peak Lookout
121 Peak Rd
Tel: 852/2849 1000

Although it is on the Peak, the restaurant has virtually no views; you can get some limited views of the southside ocean areas from the outside terraces off the back, but they are a bit hard to see through the trees. Still an outdoor table is extremely pleasant on a nice day, and in the evening very, very nice indeed as they trees are lit up. There are not a lot of outdoor dining venues in Hong Kong and this got to be the nicest. The food is very good and makes up for the lack of views. Much better food than the Café Deco. The Food is a mix of Western and Asian, including Indian tandor. Across the street from the Peak tram. A nice place for lunch after you have done the Lugard Road circuit.

Regional Chinese

Hunan Garden
The Forum (3rd floor)
Exchange Square, Central
Hong Kong
852/2868 2880

Hunan Food. Located in the same building as the stock exchange, close to the Star Ferry and the Airport Express station. Live music in the evenings.

Lumiere/Cuisine Cuisine
IFC Mall
8 Finance Street
Central, Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2393-3933

Lumiere is Sichuan and South American (yes, hard to believe), pretty good harbour views, although only from the third floor. Cuisine Cuisine is their Cantonese restaurant next door, you can make a booking by calling the same number. Nice ambience and décor in both (unusual for Chinese restaurants), good service

Ye Shanghai
88 Queensway
One Pacific Place
Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2918-9833

Marco Polo Hong Kong Hotel
Harbour City, Kowloon
tel: 852- 2376 3322

Shanghainese food. This restaurant has two outlets, one on Hong Kong Island and one on the Kowloon side. The Pacific Place one is sleek and modern, the Marco Polo Hotel one is more pre-war Shanghai. There is no view, although there is a bit of a street view in the Pacific Place one. They also have a branch in the Xiantiandini area in Shanghai.

Shanghai Shanghai
3 Connaught Rd

Good Shanghainese food. No view.


1/F Lyndhurst Tower
1 Lyndhurst Terrace
Central, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2845 2262

North Indian. They have live Indian music in the evenings.

G/F, 57-59 Wyndham Street
Tel: 2524-9623

Great value for money, they have a set lunch that is very good.

103 California Entertainment Building
34 D'Aguilar Street, Central
Tel: 2877-9706

1/F, 3-4 Peninsula Mansion
16C Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Tel: 2368-3065

Two outlets, one on Hong Kong Island in the Lan Kwai Fong bar area, and one in Kowloon.


Wyndham Street Thai
G/F, 38 Wyndham Street
Central Hong Kong
Tel: 2869 6216

Probably the best Thai food in Hong Kong.

Thai Lemongrass
30-32 D'Aguilar St
852/2905 1688

In Lan Kwai Fong, the bar district.

Chili Club
1/F, 88 Lockhart Road
Wanchai, Hong Kong
Tel: 2527 2872

Cheap and cheerful Thai food. Very casual.


Indochine 1929
California Tower
Lan Kwai Fong, 2nd Floor
Phone 2869-7399

Vietnamese-French, nice ambience.

Dim Sum

Wan Loong Court Restaurant
Kowloon Hotel
19-21 Nathan Road

Behind the Peninsula Hotel. Popular with tourists and locals.

Maxim's Palace City Hall Chinese Restaurant
2/F, Low Block
City Hall, Central
Tel: 2521 1303

This restaurant is in the City Hall building, very close to the Star Ferry, and has a nice harbour view. They have carts, and is one of the few places left which uses dim sum carts.

Metropol Restaurant
4th Floor, United Centre
95 Queensway, Admiralty
Tel: 2865 1988

Also has the carts. Good food and good value. No views. It is across the street from Pacific Place Mall and easily reached by MTR or the Tram.

Pacific Place Mall
88 Queensway
Tel. 852/2845 4555
In a shopping mall at one end of Hong Kong park, not far from the Peak Tram, a good break for lunch. No carts, no view.
Private Kitchens

There are a number of "private kitchens" where you have to call a day or so ahead to make a booking, and they have a set menu for the day. These have become very popular over the last few years. Some do not have a liquor license so call and ask, if you bring your own wine, some have a corkage fee. Their prices tend to be quite reasonable.

Xi Yan
3/F Hang Wai Commerical Building
231-233 Queens Road East, Wanchai
Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 9020 9196

Started the "private kitchen" trend. Allegedly, they have a 2 month waiting list. Is excellent, mostly Sichuan-based, but other Chinese and even European dishes appear on the menu. It is on a busy road in a fairly boring part of Wanchai, in a run-down building and has absolutely no view. The restaurant itself has a nice ambience and has a nice decor. The food is wonderful. This is a BYOB.

13 Elgin Street

Their prix fixe dinner is HK$380 (about US$48) and is very good value. Mostly European dishes.

43 Gough Street

Mostly European dishes.

Yellow Door Kitchen
38 Cochrane St.
Central Hong Kong
Tel: 852/2858-5555

Spicy Sichuan and Hangzhou food.

Finally, at the Lower-end of the "private kitchen" budget, but also very much the lower-end of the ambience scale would be Mum Chua's. This type of private kitchen used to be illegal, in the sense that they did not have a restaurant license and now do, but it serves great, spicy, cheap food. The one below is one of my favorites. The may or may not be a menu that day, it may or may not be in English. This is right in the heart of the ex-pat bar district, so easy to find, and you can have a drink before or after:

Mum Chau's Sichuan Kitchen
5th Floor, 37 D'Aguilar Street
Lan Kwai Fong HK,
Telephone: 2522 0338

Afternoon Tea

I would go for the lobby of the Peninsula Hotel for the beautiful white marble lobby and the great food and service (but not views), the Clipper Lounge on the first floor of the Mandarin Hotel for the food (but no views), or the lobby of the Intercontinental Hotel for the view. Note that as of January 2006, the Mandarin is about to close or has closed for renovations for 12-18 months, so tea there may no longer be possible.

Increasingly my favorite thing to do for dinner is to wander Elgin Street, Peel Street and that area and pick a restaurant that looks interesting. This area is called "Soho" (for South of Hollywood Road although the street is further up the hill from Hollywood so may feel north) and has become full of little restaurants, private kitchens and boutiques. These are narrow little streets away from the noisy bustle of Hong Kong and the crazed bar scene that is Lan Kwai Fong. You can take the escalator from Queen's Road East in Central, less than a 5 minute walk from the Central MTR stop (or from your hotel have a taxi take you to the Lane Crawford Department Store, Queen's Road East, Central and the escalator is about 100 meters further down on your left). This is also a great place for lunch if you are in Central touring.

On Elgin Street, there are at least a dozen restaurants, you can really just wander and pick one and you could hardly go wrong. None are terribly expensive, esp compared to places like Felix or Hutong or Spoon. I have a group of friends and we are working our way down the street picking one each Friday night. Some we can recco so far are below. (On a Thursday through Saturday night, you may need a booking at any of these.)

Ingredients, Tribute and Yellow Door Kitchen, all mentioned above, are in this area.

47 Elgin Street
Tel 2525-9944

Spanish, great tapas, has a courtyard in back and some table in front with outdoor feeling.

Bistro Manchu
33 Elgin Street
Tel: 25369218

Manchu and Northern Chinese food, with some Russian thrown in as well.

Brasserie Le Fauchon
45 Elign Street
Tel: 2526-8318

Casual French brasserie, more down scale and considerably cheaper version of their sister restaurant in Staunton street. (6 Staunton Street Tel 2526-2136)

Elgin Tastes
38 Elgin Street
Tel: 2810-5183

Australian-Asian fusion, great desserts. Nice ambience.
Cicerone is offline  
Old Jan 9th, 2006, 08:02 PM
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Wow! What alot of information. Thanks so much!

Can you tell me if any of the restaurants are convenient to the Conrad? That might narrow the choices down a bit. After 20 hours of flying, I think we will be tired early that first night.

We will have club access at the airport so will probably take advantage of the showers there. (We're flying first class with AA miles.) I will check to see if our checked luggage can be checked through, although I'm sure we'll have to pick it up for customs.

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Old Jan 9th, 2006, 08:43 PM
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Hong Kong Island is tiny, you could take a cab to any of the restaurants on Hong Kong Island mentioned above in 10 minutes or less. (The ones on the Kowloon side would take longer and a cab would be expensive.) Xi Yan mentioned above would be walkable right down Queens Road East in about 10-15 minutes. Shanghai Shanghai at the Ritz Carlton Hotel would be walkable via pedestrian walkways. M at the Fringe is walkable through Hong Kong Park and then Upper Albert Road, but you really have to know how to do it, you would be better off taking a cab IMO. Cabs are very cheap in Hong Kong, and should not cost you more than US$4 each way at most (no tipping expected), except if you go to ToTTs it would be a bit more.

Zen and Ye Shanghai are located in Pacific Place, the shopping/hotel complex where the Conrad is located so both would be very convenient, albeit you can't have the dim sum for dinner.

Another very good Thai place in Pacific Place is below, no views but great food:

Thai Basil
Shop 005
Pacific Place, lower ground floor
Phone: 2537-4682

Also, Cafe Too in the Shangri La hotel next door to the Conrad is also very good, they have a huge buffet of every type of Asian cuisine and some continental cuisine, this might be a good, quick choice for an early dinner. Take a look at http://www.shangri-la.com/hongkong/i...x.aspx?ID=1391.

If this were my trip, what I would do is aim to be up at the Peak around 4:30 or 5 pm, take the 2 mile flat walk around Lugard Road for great views and exercise, and stay for an early dinner so you can see it in full daylight and then at night. The sun sets at about 6:15 each night, twilight is quite beautiful. Cafe Deco would be great for views, the Peak Lookout has better food but no real views. You don't have to dress up for either place, but reservations would be a good idea, esp for a window table at Cafe Deco.

With regard to early check-in for your Thai flight, I was assuming that you will of course have to first go through Immigration and Customs in Hong Kong. You will first go through Immigration, then collect your luggage and go through Customs, which is really a formality as they do not inspect any luggage. It is after that point that you may be able to go upstairs to Departures and check-in for your Thai flight. I can't imagine that you will be able to check your luggage all the way through from the US to Thailand, you would have to check with your airline about this.

With regard to Club Access for AA, the lounges are located inside the restricted area for Depatures (i.e for outward bound passengers only). From what I just read on the plaza website, you cannot access this area unless you have an outward boarding pass (sorry I did not read this before). Please check with AA to confirm that arriving passengers in their flights are allowed to use the AA lounge and can get access to the restricted Depatures area. Even if you can get access, you would not have your checked luggage with you when you go to the louunges, as you would not have been through Immigration and Customs yet. You will need to have a change of clothing with you in your carry on. After you get off the plane, ask the gate agent, andor follow signs and make sure you don't head out through Immigration, or you will miss your chance to use the lounge.
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Old Jan 10th, 2006, 05:00 AM
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The Conrad is one of my favorite places to stay in Hong Kong. Some time ago (and for another forum), I put together a list of 10 Things To Do When Staying at the Conrad; I think they're all still valid:

1. Get a harbor-view room. No, itís not as spectacular as a harbor-view from the Kowloon side, but you do get a great sense of the constant motion: Star Ferries criss-crossing endlessly, the jetfoils racing off to Macau, the lumbering barges, the tiny water taxis looking like ants among elephants, the helicopters swooping down to Central or the Penís roof, the hawks constantly circling, autos and people and trams moving from one side of the island to the other. If youíve reserved a ďcity view,Ē do yourself a favor and ask upon checking in how much more a harbor view would cost. Then take it. You canít afford your kidsí tuition anyway, so you might as well enjoy your time in Hong Kong.

2. Have an egg custard tart from the bakery in Seibu. You might have read about egg custard tarts elsewhere in this forum, and Iím sure the bakeries theyíve mentioned produce delicious ones. But this has the advantage of being both warm and delicious, and you donít have to leave the building to get it. Go down to the 1st floor of the mall on the Seibu side, take the escalation down to the Seibu food area (called grEAT), and head to the bakery. The tart is sweet, warm, and wonderful; enjoy it on the spot or take-away to your room.

3. Enjoy Hong Kong Park. A perfect way to balance the frenzy of the city is to spend some time in Hong Kong Park, just a few steps away from the Conrad. Go out the front door and turn right, walk past the Shangri-La, and the park appears in front of you. Go early in the morning to watch (or do) Tai Chíi, go later in the morning to enjoy the gardens and the trails, go in the afternoon to see couple after couple getting married and having the wedding pictures taken, go in the evening to experience the day ending and the sun disappearing. This is a jewel of a place.

4. Have an amazing buffet dinner at Café Too, on the mezzanine floor of the Shangri-La Hotel, part of the same complex as the Conrad. This is the most incredible buffet Iíve ever seen, with superbly-prepared foods of Cantonese, Thai, American, Indian, Japanese, and Italian cuisines, including a fantastic dessert table. The food is excellent and the dining casual; it is also an ideal place for a single diner (as long as s/heís hungry). You can get to the Shang either at street level (turn right after exiting the Conradís front door) or at the Lower Lobby level of the Conrad (go to the pool and keep following the corridor).

5. Take a street tram. It doesnít really matter where, though the trip down Hennessey Road (for example, the Happy Valley tram) is a good choice. It costs HK$2 (pay as you leave), and, along with the Star Ferry, is just about the best travel bargain you can find. From the Conrad, go to the mall and head to the Queensway footbridge. Take the steps halfway across the footbridge, and youíre at the tram stop.

6. Self-service Room Service. If you want to have a meal or snack in your room, thereís an excellent alternative to room service, the previously-mentioned grEAT area of Seibu, in the basement level of the mall. You can get all sorts of hot and cold foods to go (sandwiches, pizza, Korean dishes, sushi and other Japanese dishes, drinks, desserts, and on and on), and you never have to leave the building. Iíd have to say that the Conradís food is generally undistinguished by Hong Kong standards, and not in any way inexpensive, and Iíve found the Seibu take-away to be an excellent option when I donít want to sit in a restaurant.

7. Take a walk through the streets and alleys of Wan Chai. The interesting parts of any good city are its neighborhoods where people actually live, the places that arenít part of the standard tourist route. Wan Chai is one of those neighborhoods, and itís just a short walk or tram ride (or 1 stop on the subway) from the Conrad. Explore the streets and try to keep your eyes in your head as you pass the food markets and stalls. Youíll see why food is fresh: at some of the markets, you can buy a chicken for dinner, and the chicken is still very much alive. Peek down the alley next to the market stall, and you can see the butcher slaughter and gut the chicken, if you donít want to do this yourself at home. No, this is not for the weak of stomach.

8. Dan Ryanís to satisfy a burger and fries craving. The cuisines of Hong Kong are superb, but after a few days I start to hear a voice chanting ďburger and fries, burger and fries.Ē As is often the case, the answer is found without leaving the building: Dan Ryanís bar and restaurant, on level 1 of the mall just above the food court and entrance to the JW Marriott.

9. Get an octopus card. This has been described elsewhere, but itís the key to easy transportation everywhere in the city. No more buying tickets for the subway, no more fishing for the right change for the ferry or the tram, just pull out your octopus and go.

10. Rent, or better yet, buy, the Noble House video. This was a 6-hour TV miniseries made in the late 80s based on the James Clavell novel, and it was filmed entirely in Hong Kong and Macau. The story has become a bit obsolete (much of it based on political tensions between the British-controlled government of Hong Kong and the Chinese government), but the pictures of place after place in Hong Kong wil bring warm memories. Itís also amazing to see how the HK skyline and waterfront has changed in just 15 years: the Jardine House (the porthole building) was then one of the tallest buildings in HK.
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Old Jan 10th, 2006, 05:06 AM
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First time when I was in HK I had also 1 3/4 days. I was at Victoria Peak, I took a tour to Lantau Island. You can walk near the sea - very nice view, go to Nathan street to see the biggest commercial street there. A lunch at Jumbo can be an experience.
You can take a boat (sampran) to see the flaoting homes (boats) and the city.
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Old Jan 10th, 2006, 05:44 AM
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Thank you all. This is more info then I could have hoped for!

Regarding club access at the airport, we're actually flying on Cathay Pacific. I was told we could use showers when we arrived but I'll double check. If not, I'll just hope for an early hotel checkin.

Thanks again!
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Old Jan 10th, 2006, 06:09 AM
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1. Walk through Hong Kong Park to get to the Peak Tram station.

2. If you take the HK Tramway, climb to the upper level. Much more to see, and more seats up there.

3. Do not miss the CX First Class lounges at HKG. Never been inside, but they (there are two) are widely considered the best airport lounges in the world.
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Old Jan 10th, 2006, 06:36 PM
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Nice info from Rizuto, but I am sad to report that the food hall at GrEAT is closed. There is only a restaurant now. You can get some take away sushi and some prepared foods like pasta in the grocery portion of the supermarket, but the wonderful individual stalls are gone. There is a sort of food hall in Pacific Place next to the McDonalds, which might be OK in a pinch.
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