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Ciceroneís Reccos for What the Locals Do for Fun in Hong Kong (Hint: We DONíT Go to those Awful Night Markets....) Part I

Ciceroneís Reccos for What the Locals Do for Fun in Hong Kong (Hint: We DONíT Go to those Awful Night Markets....) Part I

Nov 27th, 2006, 10:59 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 144
This is fantastic I've saved and filed as "Cicerone's Definitive Guide to Dining Hong Kong", now printing to take with us next week.
Could I ask for your help, I've tried to phone to book a table at Pearl on the Peak, but I receive a message this number is out of service?
I'm booking most of our dining reservations this week especially for the 15th (birthday) and weekend of 9/10th so your post is especially welcome.
Many many thanks,
twotravel is offline  
Nov 28th, 2006, 01:03 AM
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Hmm, well I just called the restaurant and they answered. Are you sure you are calling the right code to get international dialing, and then 852 for Hong Kong? 852-2849-5123
Cicerone is offline  
Nov 28th, 2006, 02:33 AM
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Hi Cicerone, thank you for helping, I've just tried again, this time, I think it was a recorded message, spoke so quickly and then in Cantonese and then the line goes dead. ? time in HK is + 8 hrs from UK so about 19.30, I would have thought someone would be there now? I'll keep trying.
twotravel is offline  
Nov 28th, 2006, 03:02 AM
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Cicerone, finally, managed to connect, and make a booking! thanks again
twotravel is offline  
Dec 9th, 2006, 06:34 PM
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Cicerone--great info! Thanks! We've lived here 2 1/2 years, but are busy enough (and don't live in Central) that we haven't done as much exploring as you.

If you are coming with kids, I'd add a couple of recommendations. The bird market and flower market are a lot of fun to see. My kids (now 7 and 9) love them both. There is always something new to see.

The science museum is not specifically HK oriented but is a great museum for kids. They often have a special exhibit in the basement that is well worth going to (our favorite was the Optical Illusions, but they've also had Robot Zoo and others).

The Hong Kong history museum that Cicerone mentioned is also great for kids. We went with my good HK friend and her daughter, and the kids loved seeing the way "it used to be" and taking pictures in different places.

Ocean Park is really incredible for all ages of kids. Our kids love it, our students (late secondary school/early college) love it, and we love it. There is something for everyone and it is MUCH better than Disney (don't bother with Disney, please!). The nature exhibits are nicely done and very interesting (my guys really want to go back and see the "new" jellyfish exhibit), and there are the "rides" for the older kids--nobody gets bored there.

Stanley is a great place for kids, too. There are cheap, small, fun things to buy to satisfy them and plenty of different restaurants (both "exotic" and "familiar") to choose from.

The Peak Tram, the peak, hiking around the peak are fun as well. The lighted dancing fountain at night will keep the smaller kids interested for quite a while.

Kowloon park has a fun green maze for little kids to get lost in. My kids still love it, but they're getting tall enough to see over the top. But they still love the flowers, fountains, etc.

The Star Ferry harbor tour is a fun and economical trip to take as a family. My guys like to do it a couple times a year, whether we have company or not. It's especially fun between Christmas season and Lunar New Year in the evening, because you can see all the lights and decorations on the buildings.

Riding on the top in the front seat of a double-decker bus is enough to thrill any kids' soul. My kids love the trip into the TST area (we live near Po Lam/Hang Hau/Clearwater Bay) on the bus. They love the mini-busses as well, though we drive more often than taking one of them.

The Space Museum is a very small but interesting museum, especially if you have a space-crazy kid. There are China-centric displays that are quite fascinating (which you would never see in a "western" space museum). Easily done in about an hour--right next door to the art museum.

There are probably tons of other suggestions, but those are our family's favorites. Kids can have a great time in HK, but younger ones will tire quickly of the noise and crowded conditions of the major tourist spots (my kids really hate going to TST, for example, so if I have to go there for some kind of business, I leave them at home!).

Mom2two is offline  
Dec 9th, 2006, 06:37 PM
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Cicerone--thanks for the info on Jason's Walks. Looks very interesting.

Mom2two is offline  
Dec 9th, 2006, 06:53 PM
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Our kids (7 and 10 yrs old) will follow your suggestions. The maze will be great. I did not think of the bird market but we will go there!
Elainee is offline  
Dec 11th, 2006, 03:50 PM
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I just returned from HK and did almost all of what you recommended and more!! What a wonderful city you live in and what a great time I had. I ate extremely well, walked all over except when I was sitting on the upper deck of a tram or ferry, won at Sha Tin, visited smaller outer islands, gawked at the views and the architecture (and I'm a city girl from NY, SF and DC). Thanks so much for your help. Can't wait to return.
pep is offline  
Jan 7th, 2007, 06:51 PM
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I could kiss you!I have a couple of days in Hong Kong on the way home from SEA in April and want to spend my time wisely.Thanks so much for the work you put into this post!
massagediva is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 06:35 AM
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topping for lima
Cicerone is offline  
Apr 26th, 2007, 07:33 AM
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Loved my 6th time in Hong Kong.
Went to Maxim's for dim sum and it was brilliant! Excellent value for money and friendly service.
Thanks for recommending!
carylspall is offline  
Apr 27th, 2007, 12:51 AM
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what a great thread...thanks for all your valuable info Cicerone!
sydnik is offline  
Apr 27th, 2007, 08:29 AM
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Cicerone: Thanks for all your hard work and your invaluable detailed suggestions!

This post must rank among the Top Three Best Posts on Fodors!

Been to Hong Kong numerous times on business, but have filed away your suggestions for the time when I can go there for my personal pleasure!

Thanks again!
easytraveler is offline  
Dec 4th, 2007, 08:20 AM
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Thanks for directing me here....am overwhelmed with options and very excited!
HappyTravelling is offline  
Dec 11th, 2007, 06:23 AM
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I printed this thread and others by Cicerone and took them on our trip. I'd say there were at least as helpful as the guide I specifically bought. So, thanks a lot!

Still, I'd like to amend two pieces of info:
"The Hong Kong Tourist Board has a free guide [...]called ďExploring Hong Kongís Countryside: A Visitorís CompanionĒ
It is now 80 HKD viz the STar Ferry branch where I enquired for it. Whether it is worth it, or one would be better off getting a "professional" book of which there are a few, I wouldn't know.

"You can get hiking maps for free at the Government Publications Office, located in the Murray ..."
Again, not for free, alas. I was there, and they are 50 to 60 HKD each. According to the bloke working there showing me the specimen copies they always have been sold.
These are excellent maps, but there are four or five covering different areas, so you'll have to decide, on which one you want to focus. Personally I'd go either for the Hong Kong Island map, simply because it is the nearest, most accessible place. Or the Sai Kung/ Clearwater Bay area, because it is more remote, less urban and has a wide variety of trails.

On the other hand, the signposting of the trails is so utterly amazingly perfect, that should do fine with just any map better than the tourist office affair. Basically you'll want to get a general idea of the area and how to get there. Once you arrived, you can hardly go amiss with the maps and signs on the trail. I bought a book-type map (think A-Z Streetfinder) and while I almost needed a magnifying glass to make out some details (what with information being given in Roman and Chines type it gets a little crowded.) we managed fine with it.

Finally I'd like to recommend a walk I found here http://www.hkcrystal.com/hiking/Othe...terbaywalk.htm which takes you down the hilly spine of a peninsula in the New Territories. The description may seem sparse, but once you locate the starting point it is quite easy to follow. The hike up High Junk Peak is really steep. It is not really part of the signposted trail, so you may just as well leave it be.

Sheygetz is offline  
Dec 11th, 2007, 07:05 AM
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Thanks for giving the updates, I am shocked that the tourist board is charging for their information, I don't think the guide is worth HK$80, there are better professional walking guides available. One is called "Above the City" and is by Alicia Kershaw and Ginger Thrash, it gives very good suggestions and directions for walks all over Hong Kong Island, and only costs about HK$120. Also try Dymocks which usually has a good selection of titles, see the link above in my original post. Also Roz's hiking pages, which I have given the link for above, and which Hendrick used, is a good source of useful information.

With regard to the detailed maps sold by the Gov't Publications Offices, you are right they have recently started charging; however THOSE maps are excellent and worth the price IMO. (And you can usually also buy them now in Dymocks.) They give you elevation and difficulty ratings, public transport info, and are useful to help suss out whether you need to make a turn at a junction or not. Finally there are very useful as an indication of whether a trail is "difficult, indistinct or seasonally overgrown" -- which I learned over the weekend when hiking Pottinger's Peak that when they say this on the map believe it: the trail was extremely narrow and overgrown and had no stair slabs or paving and the little dirt path that existed was so steep in parts that there were ropes tied to trees to hang onto while descending or ascending to avoid falling down the mountainside. An interesting afternoon to say the least.

Agree on High Junk Peak, a very good walk, I am glad you found it. It's hard to post on walks, there are just so many good ones. Come back in the summer when the skies are really clear and you will really see some great views on that walk.
Cicerone is offline  
Dec 11th, 2007, 10:31 PM
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Yes, it was kind of hazy all last week. So we put off doing The Peak until our last day, but I have to say, hazy or not WOW! it was fantastic. And to imagine these views on a clear day...

My girlfriend insisted on visiting the platform on the Peak Tram Tower (20 HKD, cheaper if bought as a combo with the tram ticket). Afterwards she grudgingly agreed that it delivered no added "value" after you've done the 2k Lugard/Harlech Road loop.

"3. The Hong Kong Tourist Association has a tour by junk every Thursday"
Well, I don't know about Thursdays, but the TA actually has free tours on that junk every Saturday. Afair it leaves at 10 and 12 from the Kowloon side near the Arts Museum, and 11 and 13 from pier #9 (the one to the left as you step off the ferry) on HK Island.

The TA has a leaflet with quite a few free activities. These include the Tai Chi lessons which I mentioned elsewhere, but also lectures on Cantonese Opera (I still think it is "cats' music" as the German expression has it, call me a moron ;-) ) and TCM and tea etc. I think it is a fabulous offer on the whole.

Sheygetz is offline  
Dec 12th, 2007, 04:39 AM
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The free hour-long Duk Ling cruise is on both Thursday and Saturday afternoon. Bring passport to HKTB office to get tickets.
rkkwan is offline  
Nov 5th, 2008, 08:15 AM
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kakijalan is offline  
Dec 28th, 2010, 09:42 AM
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This is so great, Cicerone, thank you, thank you. I'm sorry we'll only have 4 nights in HK at the end of our 2 month SEA trip - but 4 nights is 4 nights. Hope to take advantage of some of your walks and maybe other nature jaunts!
Not to mention restaurants.
glover is offline  

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