Hong Kong, Macau and ?

Old Dec 22nd, 2015, 03:37 AM
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Hong Kong, Macau and ?

Am planning trips / booking air mile flights for travel during next 12-18 months.

Currently thinking of a visit to Hong Kong and Macau in the first couple of weeks of January.

Firstly, does anyone have any thoughts on early January as a good/ bad time?

Secondly, I'd be grateful for suggestions for a third destination that could combine well with HK and Macau. I'm thinking possibly Taiwan, or Bangkok... but open to other ideas too.

Extra info:
I've never been to any of these destinations previously (or anywhere in China, for that matter).
I don't enjoy beach destinations.
We are looking to spend 8-14 nights away from home, could stretch that by a couple of more nights if there's a good reason.
Food is a big interest!

Thanks in advance!
Kavey
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Old Dec 22nd, 2015, 03:37 AM
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(January 2017)
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Old Dec 22nd, 2015, 09:12 AM
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Since you are looking at a relatively short time, I'd suggest Taiwan as an addition to Hong Kong and Macau. The Museum In Taipei has an incredible collection. It's also an opportunity to experience the Chinese culture in a less crowded and less polluted place than anywhere in China. There are lovely, natural areas of Taiwan as well not just the big city.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2015, 10:39 AM
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Kathie
I was really drawn to Taiwan, and Taipei in particular, but some of the websites I had a quick browse of suggest that northern Taiwan is in full-on monsoon season in early January, so may not be best time (or even an ok time) to visit? If that's not the case, would be a great fit I think.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2015, 11:36 AM
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Here is the weather site I use: http://www.weatherbase.com/weather/w...aiwan&units=us

I only checked Taipei and it looked pretty good, just 3.6 inches of rain on average in January. But it depends on what you want to do.

I spent a week in Taipei quite a few years ago and very much enjoyed it.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2015, 09:31 PM
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I live in Hong Kong, and here are my thoughts:

1. I assume you mean January 2017, as you talk about 12 – 18 months from now.

2. Weather in January in Hong Kong is fairly good; it can be cool (in the low 50s F) but generally is in the 70s and little rain. (Our weather like many other places is changing, and we seem to have more rain in the winter than in the past.) But no major storms such as typhoons which we get in other months. Air pollution is worse in the winter, so there may be days when visibility is very obscured and you can't see across the harbour. But that will just be luck at the time.

3. Spring Festival (aka Chinese New Year) is Jan 27 -30 in 2017. Being here for that can be fun, as there are special markets and fireworks in the harbour etc. Very little is closed at that time. Major tourist sites are open, and many shops and restaurants are open. Smaller family places may close for those days, but honestly that is becoming more rare and tends to be places like hair dressers, manicurists, etc which you won’t be using anyway. If you want to shop in a mall or eat in most larger restaurants, I do not think you will have any issue. Taiwan also celebrates the Spring Festival; you probably will find more closures there. But you could always go to Taiwan first or afterwards and spend the actual holidays in Hong Kong.

4. Macau is really just a day trip; I would not spend an overnight there. Sorry at this point IMO it is not what it used to be. The casinos have taken over everything and overwhelm it. If you don’t like to gamble, you can spend some time in the colonial parts of Macau city or down in Colone, but you can see all that in a day. The only reason to spend a night there IMO is if you have a good flight going in or coming out of Macau to other paces in Asia. Going to Macau by ferry from Hong Kong over Spring Festival may make for very crowded ferries, so you may have to pick your day carefully and buy ferry tickets in advance.

5. If you only have 8 days, I am not sure I would include Taiwan. While Taipei is interesting and has some great food, you really need to go into the mountain areas to see the countryside. You may not have enough time for that. (Taiwan does not have a monsoon season, they have typhoons but they are generally in June - Oct period. Weather is quite similar to Hong Kong.) Bangkok or Singapore may be good options if you only have 8 days. Bali is also an option; you can concentrate on inland areas as you don’t like beaches. Weather is quite warm and nice in all three at that time. Beijing or Shanghai in the PRC would be good too – quite cold and the air pollution is really awful, but not crowded as long as you do NOT go during Spring Festival, as it will be very crowded and public transport (including esp. airlines) can have big delays.

If you have 14 days, then I think you could do Hong Kong, Taiwan and one other place. Personally if food is an interest, IMO it is hard to leave out Singapore where you can get a wide variety of food in many cuisines which is excellent and generally not expensive - the local cuisine is legendary. But Taiwan also has good food assuming stinky tofu is to your taste.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2015, 06:39 PM
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Disagree about Macau. There is plenty to see, enough to fill a whole day at the historical sites without going anywhere near a casino. And since Macanese hotel rates from Sunday to Thursday is so much cheaper than HK, if I have the time, it's not a bad idea to spend two nights there. Go there late afternoon on Day One, come back morning on Day Three.
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Old Dec 24th, 2015, 12:49 AM
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Thanks Kathie, looks like it's not one of the rainiest months, though we'll get some rain, that's OK... shall keep it on the shortlist.

Cicerone
1. Yes, 2017, I did add that in my second post, as I realised just after I posted!
2. Weather sounds perfect, I don't like hot weather, so the Jan temperatures sound ideal.
3. I was deliberately avoiding the festival dates just because it would be so crowded, and I think I'd prefer to avoid that.
4. Definitely no interest in casinos but was looking to spend some time in historical areas, and particularly learn about / experience the food - I have read that Macau has quite a unique food culture, with the influences of colonial past still very clear in the local cuisine. The history, architecture and food culture are what draw me.
5. We are looking to spend 8 to 14 days, so no worries about including Taiwan - if we do that, we'd be looking at the full two weeks, or near that.
6. I do like stinky tofu, actually, the couple of times I've tried! I have been to Singapore before, and whilst it was fun, I found it less interesting than other places, not sterile exactly, and of course still lots to see and do, but just not as vibrant as I'd hoped. Probably a wonderful place to live, I'd think, but less interesting (in my opinion) to visit.

Rkkwan
Glad to hear Macau is worth a little more time, I'd thought to do 3 nights there, 5 in HK and then another 4 or 5 somewhere else. Does that sound reasonable?


A friend at work also suggested looking at Southern China, so I'm trying to investigate. We don't do sporty activities such as hiking, canoeing, cycling, and a lot of what I found on initial googling focused on those activities, but I've not looked into this enough yet to decide.

Thanks, all!
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Old Dec 27th, 2015, 09:13 PM
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I honestly do not know what you would do with 3 nights in Macau if you don’t want to gamble. But to each his own. I agree the cuisine is an interesting mix of Portuguese and Chinese, but not sure it is worth that much time. (Personally I’d go to Goa India if you want Portuguese and Asian fusion. Better weather in those months as well. But India of course is a whole other trip. )

For Southern China, you might want to look into going to Xiamen, in Fujian Province. You can fly from Hong Kong and possibly Macau. They have the “roundhouses” in the countryside area which you may find interesting. It is fairly off the beaten tourist path. I would not suggest any time in Shenzhen. I am not a huge fan of Guangzhou, although it does have some sights. But I would choose Xiamen over it.
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Old Dec 28th, 2015, 12:19 AM
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Thanks Cicerone, perhaps I'll revise the Macau time down to 2 nights... we can always cross early on the arrival day and leave a bit later on departure day, to give us extra time if we need it.

Having looked at Southern China more, I'm not sure it's the best fit, so again considering Taiwan or Bangkok.
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Old Dec 28th, 2015, 12:32 AM
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I can tell you what to do in Macau with 2 full days without going near a casino. But I agree that one full day is probably enough for most.
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Old Dec 28th, 2015, 01:17 AM
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Rkkwan, I'd hugely appreciate your advice and suggestions.

The more I look at it, reading everyone's advice here again and talking to a friend of mine as well, he visits HK regularly, I'm wondering whether best option is to cross from HK late morning, spend one night, and then as much of next day as we feel we need before heading back to HK?

OR cross over early one morning (I'll need to check ferry timetable), spend a single full-on day there and cross back that evening, so no overnight.
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Old Dec 28th, 2015, 01:27 AM
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I always suggest two weeknights because hotels are much cheaper in Macau than HK from Sunday to Thursday. And with two nights you can have one full day and not to worry about luggage or having to head back to hotel to get luggage and go to ferry pier, etc.

In fact, with the trouble of having to check out of your hotel in HK check back in again, might as well just do a long day trip.
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Old Dec 28th, 2015, 01:31 AM
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Thanks, helpful tips, hadn't thought of that at all.
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Old Dec 28th, 2015, 02:59 AM
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I hope I made it clear... If you have the time and have the weeknights to do it, spend 2 nights in Macau. If you have limited time, might as well do a long day trip. Having to check out of a hotel in HK, then spend a night in Macau and then back in HK again doesn't seem to worth it.
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Old Dec 28th, 2015, 06:17 AM
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Thank you again! X
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Old Dec 28th, 2015, 06:11 PM
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If you think you want to stay overnight in Macau, their airport has fairly good connections within Asia, so if you are going on to Taiwan or elsewhere in Asia, you may be able to do it from Macau. That would save one way on the ferry back to Hong Kong.
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Old Dec 28th, 2015, 08:41 PM
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Another vote for Taiwan - Taipei, side trip to Hualien/Taroko, and is much closer than Thailand. Weather wise, it will be cooler, but not wet.

Also agreed that Macau is more than a side trip, minimum two nights.
Southern China is a waste of time.
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Old Dec 29th, 2015, 12:18 AM
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Thanks again everyone.

Next (related) question... when is the best time to go?

I was thinking first two weeks of January? Given that I'm not much into crowds, I think I'd rather avoid New Year's Even and Chinese New Year and spring festival and so on. But scheduling just after Christmas is a good time, work-wise.

Is it a good bet? Would I be better going before Christmas? Or...?

This would likely be for one week in HK / Macau and 3-4 nights in Taipei, not sure which order.
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Old Dec 29th, 2015, 02:47 AM
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Weather is good Dec and Jan. Chinese New Year is Jan 28, 2017. Hong Kong is actually fairly quiet during Chinese New Year, though Macau has plenty of visitors.

You should keep in mind that HK people leave in droves during long holidays, so expect an exodus on Sat, Dec 24. Flying out from HK on that day, whether to Taiwan or back home, or taking ferry to Macau is a bad idea; and don't expect good airfares. 23rd and 25th can be fairly busy too.
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