First time in Hong Kong

Apr 20th, 2011, 03:04 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 279
First time in Hong Kong

hello everyone
My family and I we will be visiting Hong Kong for the first time mid August.

I wanted to get some advice on where the best location to stay with a young family ( we have two boys aged 8 and 6) - we'd prefer a hotel apartment
but im not sure if these are readily available to tourists for short stays - maybe there are hotels that cater for families?

Id also love to hear your 'must see/ must do' for Hong Kong - that way I can start my a bit of a planner and like to gather loads of information before every trip.

Its going to be a short visit 3night/4days and its a stop-over on the way home from Europe ( we live in Sydney)
we enjoy walking around taking in the local atmosphere, night markets, local cuisine, shopping, sightseeing....i enjoy local history...any childhood activities? we dont plan to do Disneyland as we're not there for long...

ac291 is offline  
Apr 20th, 2011, 03:09 PM
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Few hotels in HK are set up for 4 person, but the YMCA Salisbury has a family suite. August price is HK$1,550 (+10%) per night, which is pretty good rate. Excellent location for first timers.
rkkwan is offline  
Apr 20th, 2011, 06:19 PM
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I'd suggest you start with a good guide book.

Next, there is a regular poster here, Cicerone, who lives in Hong Kong and has written a number of extensive posts on things to do in Hong Kong. Use the advanced search function at the top of the page to search for her posts.
Kathie is offline  
Apr 20th, 2011, 06:53 PM
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Here's what we did for our 3+ days in Hong Kong. We walked absolutely everywhere (except to Stanley, and except across the bay LOL), but public transportation is great.


Hong Kong Day 1

Got up around 8:15. Went to Starbucks for free WiFi so I could call DD. Took Star Ferry to Hong Kong Island ($5 HKD for both of us) Walked about 8 miles (possibly not exaggerating ) all over Central -- including Sheung Wan, Li Yuen Street East and West (junky market stuff), mid-level escalator, Hollywood Road (antiques - really), Man Mo Temple (fantastic - loads of people burning incense and paper), Lok Cha Tea Shop, Upper Lascar Road (Cat Street) - lots of junk/secondhand stores Soho, Western Market, Victoria Peak (by tram), lunch at a local busy dim sum place. At the peak, we had tea and shared a piece of marble cake at Pacific Coffee (of which there may be more than Starbuck’s). Walked by well-known buildings such as Jardine House, Bank of China Tower, HSBC, Central Plaza, Legislative Council Building, Governor’s Mansion, Bonham Strand, Deveoux Road West, IFC Mall.Had a drink and a nice chat with the bartenders at Bourbon Street, then dinner at Café de Paris next door.
Took Star Ferry "home" ($5 HKD). Got back a little after 10.
Cold at the peak, not warm, but not as bad “down low”.

Hong Kong Day 2 - all day in Kowloon -- all the markets -- Ladies Market, Bird Market, Jade Market, Flower Market, wet market. Lunch at Aberdeen. Ice cream at Gelare - fabulous. Went back to Hong Kong Island for dinner - pretty unexceptional salad, pizza and pasta. The town is overrun with people there for the Rugby 7s.

Hong Kong Day 3 - took bus 260 to Stanley. Wow, the bus was amazing. Seemed new, exceptionally clean, and the route through Central, Wan Chai, Causeway Bay, Repulse Bay and Stanley is fantastic. Wandered the market, had a nice lunch at Ocean something on the water. Bought some scarves at the market. Back in town, took the ferry back to Kowloon. Ate dinner on Knutsford Terrace. Couldn't decide where, finally picked an Australian bar - pretty bad. Walked back.
sf7307 is online now  
Apr 21st, 2011, 02:26 AM
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Posts: 279
thanks so much for you replies!
so you think Kowloon is the better location?

sf7307 - sounds like you did a lot!! thanks for sharing...
ac291 is offline  
Apr 21st, 2011, 02:46 AM
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The transport system is so good in Hong Kong that you can get anywhere quickly. For three days, I would recommend a trip on the Star Ferry , a shopping expedition on Hong Kong side with a tram trip up to the Peak as a definite and then another day on Kowloon side looking at the various markets and , time permitting, a visit to the Museum of the History of Hong Kong. I am not a museum sort of person normally but this one is exceptional. By night or day the view from the promenade in front of Intercontinental Hotel is worth seeing. You may not have time but a trip on the ferry to one of the outlying islands is an interesting thing to do. I also agree that Cicerone's suggestions are invaluable. Enjoy that wonderful city!
Peteralan is offline  
Apr 21st, 2011, 04:05 AM
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As long as you stay in the southern part of the Kowloon Peninsula (from Tsimshatsui to Mongkok), or northern part of HK Island, it's fine. Like Peterlan says, transportation is so good, location isn't really that important.
rkkwan is offline  
Apr 28th, 2011, 07:54 PM
Join Date: Mar 2011
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Hong Kong is really a good place for a city break Especially if you are with your family there, it might be a helpful suggestion to rent a mobile guide called "ask Ting Ting". It is a rental smartphone with a preinstalled software. It works like a travel guide, navigation system and phone/internet. So the good thing is the content of the guide contains many videos, so the children of my sister loved to watch them and to decide what to do then, which sight to see. It also has the "take me there"-button, by which you get directions including public transport and taxi prices... so children don't have to walk to long distances and you never get lost. Calls and internet are unlimited for free, one hour IDD calls daily too. Calming is also the emergency button, so I don't have to think about numbers if something happens. Our personal highlight with the children was the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery. To find the entrance is a bit tricky but it was explained in one of those videos. The way up to the temple is lined with golden buddha statues and you have a nice view. Children loved to send virtual postcards with pics of them in front of the different statues, a funny tool on the phone So I am sure there is a lot to discover in Hong Kong with children without things like Disneyland!
Kassandra is offline  
Apr 29th, 2011, 12:38 AM
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Hotels in Hong Kong can be expensive, so if you have a budget in mind, it would be helpful to know it. If you have hotel points like Marriott or Starwood, this is a great place to redeem them in. Save the money for other items.

In August with kids, you absolutely will want a hotel with a pool. August is very hot and very humid. So make sure all hotels you are looking at have pools. The Salisbury YMCA, mentioned above only has an indoor pool, which may not be quite as attractive in the summer, but it is large and any pool is better than not having a pool.

I live in Hong Kong, and think that the Kowloon side is not as attractive for many reasons. If you have a hotel with a harbour view, then this is fantastic and the ONLY reason to stay on the Kowloon side, as far as I am concerned. The Salisbury YMCA mentioned is a great choice if you can get a room there (they are often booked close to a year in advance, so book ASAP.) Otherwise Kowloon has few tourist sites, is not well served by ferries, has rather mediocre restaurants (with a few exceptions) rather boring shopping and is chock full of other tourists. However, Hong Kong is small and public transport is excellent, so it does not matte hugely where you stay. So if you get a good deal on a hotel in Kowloon, then take it. But do some looking around,.

There are serviced apartments in Hong Kong. Many only rent for a month at a minimum. But others rent by the day or week. In sort of descending order of price, on Hong Kong Island, try the Four Seasons Place at, the Pacific Place Apartments at Parkside, go to I am not sure either will rent for such a short period. I believe that the Parkview apartments, which is a very nice luxury flat complex up on top of the hill above Happy Valley has some serviced apartments which they let on a short-term basis, go to Some of the best walking and hiking in Hong Kong would literally be out the front door, there is a pool, kids play area and grocery store in the complex, and a free shuttle bus to Central. There is also the Convention Plaza in the Grand Hyatt Hotel complex which has a great pool, (go to, again I am not sure they would rent for very short term like a few days or a week). Try Oakwood, which is a US operator of serviced apartments which has several serviced facilities in Hong Kong, see There is a chain of serviced apartments with various location on Hong Kong Island, some are small studios and some are 1800 square foot 2-bedrooms priced accordingly, take a look at I don't know anything about this group or the quality of the apartments, and I don’t believe many, if any, have pools.

On the Kowloon side, the only service apartment I know of in the main tourist area is The Gateway, which is at the Star Ferry Pier and would be a nice location, I have never seen the rooms so don't know anything about them. See Again, I don’t know if they would let for only a week. The Langham Place Hotel has serviced apartments, see, not sure of your price range, it’s a very densely populated busy area, but overall might be OK. Close to a subway.

For ideas on what to do in Hong Kong, Click on "Destinations" above, and then scroll down to Hong Kong. A helpful description and basic itinerary suggestions will come up. also has a website with similar info and their guidebook is pretty good. The Fodors guide book to Hong Kong is excellent, and I think the National Geographic guide is quite good for unusual ideas. You can get the 6-page fold-out paper Luxe Guide, see; however there is very little sightseeing advice in it, it is mostly shopping and restaurants. Also check the Hong Kong Tourism Board website at for other ideas, as well as the Leisure and Cultural Services Department website at to see all events and museums offered by the government.

Finally, please search this board for my list of personal 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....)” this should give you some ideas for what to do, including a list of walks and some sources for more walks. For a quick photo of one walk, click on my name above and see my profile. For a description of some of other favourite walks on Hong Kong Island, see my posts called “Cicerone’s Favourite Hong Kong Walks II: Paradise Found! From Happy Valley to Stanley in High Heels! (Almost) The Tsz Lo Lan Shan Path” and “Cicerone's Favourite Hong Kong Walks III: The Dragon's Back” and “Cicerone's Favourite Hong Kong Walks: Severn Road, The Peak “. You can find all of these posts by clicking on these links: and at
Cicerone is offline  
Apr 30th, 2011, 07:19 AM
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I was just in Hong Kong this week, from Monday 25th, for 3 nights. I'm really glad we stayed on the Kowloon side. HKG was too business oriented (first impression) for my taste, and Kowloon had lots of interesting streets to walk, in the evening and daytime as well.

My Thai friend and I were in HKG (her first time, my second) and we enjoyed the shopping in Kowloon. You mentioned markets, and Kowloon has lots of shopping activity at night. Keep in mind, HKG is not about handmade items in the markets. It's all about the big name brands (copies). You will see the same sort of items time after time after time.

If I were returning to HKG, I'd be staying on the Kowloon side, for sure.
simpsonc510 is offline  
May 4th, 2011, 06:17 PM
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Wow thanks for all the great info and links
will have a read tonight when I get home from work...

i never thought of the swimming pool - it must be super humid but ive heard it is!!

im not interested in markets that offer ' designer 'copies' thats not my thing at all...the bird markets sound intersesting and if they have grocer markets or flowers - love to see local beauty!!
i do love to check out local designers and interesting quirky shops
also if anyone knows where I can find cute paper good shops
that offer pretty papers and japanse style tapes and 'cute' stuff...that more my thing haha
ac291 is offline  
May 4th, 2011, 06:51 PM
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There is a terrific flower "area" - not exactly a market, because the flower stalls are actually in shops, but it's really great, and it happens to be adjacent to the bird market, too.
sf7307 is online now  
May 4th, 2011, 08:23 PM
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 9
I must agree with rkkwan,transportation system in Hongkong is magnificent and the location to which hotel you're staying doens't really matter.
But there are location that you must avoid when choosing hotel ,since you're travelling with family, avoid Wanchai area( personal reason).
With tranportation:
You can buy Octupus card and load it up,you can use it on almost all kinds of transpo and acts as debit card in establishments,fastfood and convenient store.
Entertainment for Children:
Ocean Theme park,Hongkong space museum, HK Zoo,Victoria peak ,Stanley beach if you got time.
For Shopping:
Central area caters a lot of boutiques and high end store.You can check Mongkok Night Market (this is a bit touristy and quiet often they charged too much).Last stop of Island Line which is Chaiwan got a lot of cheap buys you might want to try.
Tip:When bargaining bargain half of the actual price first
I love the mid level area( theres something about that place hmmm) Mongkok,Tsim sha tsui...
Hope this helps.

Liv77 is offline  
May 5th, 2011, 12:39 AM
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Wan Chai is a quite a large area geographically (about 2 miles from one end to another), and I believe the above poster is referring to a rather small, minor “red light” district of about 4-5 blocks at the western end of Lockhart Road which may be a bit much for families. That being said, other than perhpas around 4 am in the morning it is quite safe there; although a bit depressing to see the lovely young girls with the fat old men drinking at 10 am in the morning. There are several good restaurants in this area of Lockhart Road (Chili Club, Khana Khazana, American Peking Restaurant and the wonderful breakfasts at the Flying Pan to name a few) as well as a few good hotels. But there are many other very nice areas of Wan Chai (which includes Causeway Bay) if you want to avoid the hookers. But there is absolutely no reason to avoid Wan Chai as a whole, IMO.
Cicerone is offline  
Aug 17th, 2011, 03:22 PM
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We had a wonderful time in Hong Kong - we ended up with only 2.5days as our boys were so tired we had a good sleep in (we were flying from Europe)

Wow! what an amazing city - we loved it and will defn be visiting again.
We stayed at Marco Polo Hotel, Kowloon right near Star Ferry and Harbour city shopping centre - great location, great hotel, amazing views.

i loved that its so busy and all the shops and markets are open to late at night - this is so great when you are a tourist.

We took the bus to Stanley - the double decker top level was great for the views - stunning!!, We caught the ferry many times, we caught the bus to The Peak - we wanted to catch the tram but realised our bus went all the way - again stunning drive up. We then caught the tram down - so steep! we walked around Harbour island and found the long escalator to the midlevels - got off at Soho and walked around. walked back down....
we spent half a day at the Big Budda - amazing!!!
ac291 is offline  

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