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Hong Kong one day free

Old Mar 31st, 2008, 08:24 PM
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Hong Kong one day free

First time posting on the Asia board so don't be too hard. I am in Hong Kong for work next month, I only have one day to myself so what would people recommend as a must see during this (limited) free time. I am staying on HK Island. My wife is travelling with me but she is free for the three days I am working.

After Hong Kong I have two free days in Macau, any ideas of good sights there?

I am keener on seeing sights and historical/important features rather than retail therapy.

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Old Apr 1st, 2008, 12:08 AM
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Go up to Victoria peek in Hong Kong - a must see - fabulous views...
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Old Apr 1st, 2008, 02:17 AM
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I recommend visiting the Museum of the History of Hong Kong on Kowloon side, a Star Ferry ride across the harbour and definitely a trip up to the Peak. A tram ride is also a great experience there as is the nightime view from Kowloon across the harbour (preferably from the cocktail bar in the foyer of the Intercontinental!).Have fun!
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Old Apr 1st, 2008, 06:36 AM
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For Macau, get an official tourist map with all the UNESCO World Heritage sites listed. You don't have to visit all, but the must sees are:

- St. Paul's ruin
- Monte Fort (Museum of Macau)
- A Ma Temple
- Guia lighthouse and chapel

Of the many churches, I like the interior of this one the most:

- St. Joseph

If you have time, also visit this restored Chinese home:

- Lou Kau Mansion

There are also a few sites that are not on the World Heritage list, but I think they're worth visiting:

- Lou Lim Ioc Garden (traditional Suzhou garden, but without the crowds)
- Kun Iam Temple

If you have time, you can also visit the old village centers of Taipa and Coloane islands (the two islands are now one, with the Cotai Strip casino area between the two).

At night, visit one of the large casinos and check out the gamblers from mainland China, even if you don't gamble.
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Old Apr 1st, 2008, 09:13 AM
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Please search this board for my very long list of 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. For suggestions on walks and hikes on Hong Kong Island, see my postings called “Cicerone’s Favourite Hong Kong Walks: Severn Road, the Peak”., “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 ". Finally, check the Hong Kong Tourism Board website at discoverhongkong.com

I would hope that during your evening while you are working you will have time to do some of the tourist thinks like taking the Peak Tram up to see the view at night, or taking the Star Ferry over to enjoy that trip and take in the view from the Esplanade along the Kowloon waterfront at night. There are good restaurants in many areas to enjoy, and usually concerts you can attend, and sometimes Chinese Opera on offer, see listings in my reccos above. The races at Happy Valley will be on Wed night and if your work days coincide with that, you can do that one night (hint to colleagues and they may take you, although it is easy to do on your own; also hint to colleague to take you to lunch or dinner at the China Club, a nice alternative would be the downtown location of the American Club, esp for lunch as they have a nice view). Things like the Peak Tram and Star Ferry can also be done on a lunch hour, esp have lunch at the Harbourside in the Intercontinental Hotel in Kowloon and you will get the great view, or have it at the Watermark Restaurant in the Star Ferry pier on the Hong Kong side on a nice day (or evening).

If this were MY one day, and if it were sunny, I would spend it walking/hiking, not sure if that is your interest, but you have lots of choices. The Dragon’s Back on Hong Kong Island would be a good one, as it can be combined with a meal in Big Wave Bay or Shek-O or you can bus or taxi over to Stanley. If you want something more strenuous, consider the Twins (Violet Hill). You can also do the Lamma Island walk, a lovely easy walk from Yung Shue Wah where the ferry drops you off, and Sok Kwu Wan, where you can get the ferry back, or take the charming little wooden kaido ferry over to Aberdeen and see that area and then either go back to Central or you can go on to Repulse Bay or Stanley by bus or even up to the Peak by taxi (bus on weekends). if you want some really challenging walks and can commit to pretty much a full day, then consider doing the #2 or #3 sections of the McLehose Trial in Sai Kung in the New Territories, fantastic scenery.

If you have access to a “junk”or other boat from your office I would again hint heavily as to your interest in that and either go along on a weekend day trip or if you can get the boat to yourself on a weekday, even better, you will have beaches and harbours to yourself. Get out to some of the really beautiful and remote beach areas. (If this is a possibility, re-post and I can make suggestions and I am sure your office can as well. You can hire boats, it is fairly expensive, but if this is an interest it is possible. You can also do kayak trips in the New Territories, and combine with a short hike, a great day.)

Another alternative is to do a walking tour of the market areas of Peel Street in Central and/or Spring Garden Lane in Wan Chai, and include the Pak Tai Temple in Wan Chai and the Man Mo Temple on Hollywood Road in Central (and the escalator area of Soho). I like the Temple Street area of Kowloon which has a very nice Tin Hau Temple and little shops selling home altars and gods, and this is easy to combine with a trip to the Jade Market, and early morning visit to the Flower Market and a trip to the Wong Tai Sin temple which is the fortune tellers temple. You can do the joss-stick thing or visit one of the dozens of fortune tellers in the "mall" of fortune tellers next to the temple.

If your day is rainy, there are several good museums, esp the History Museum and the art museum in Kowloon, see my list above. Tea at the Peninsula or the Mandarin is a good rainy day activity as well. You can still walk the markets in the rain, and the escalator is covered, so you can do sections of that as well.

There are two public holidays in May: May 1 (Labour Day) and May 12 (Buddha’s Birthday). Both will be days when banks, schools and most offices are closed. Shops and restaurants will be open. Buses and ferries run more frequently, which is good for getting to hikes. Places like the Peak Tram and Peak will be a bit more crowded, so you might want to avoid that (or go early or use alternative transport like the #15 bus to the Peak to avoid line for the Tram), but generally you should not find things overly crowded. There may be fireworks in the harbour on May 1, ask your hotel. May 12 would be a good day to visit a Buddhist temple.

As for Macua, I personally would spend my spare 2 days in Hong KOng, as IMO Macau has lost most of its charm with the advent of the huge casinos (and more under construction at Cotai which is just a huge building site); however do see the historic core which is worth a wander for a few hours and then also head down to the waterside villages in Coloane which will be deserted and will be more like old Macau. However, if you want to see little villages with fields and temples, then you need to stay in Hong Kong and go to the New Territories, esp around Luk Keng, but even in Sai Kung you will find some. (There is even one on Hong Kong Island with a lovely yellow temple, its near the Dragon’s Back walk, but it’s a hike in and out.)
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Old Apr 1st, 2008, 06:25 PM
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A big thank you to those who have posted recommendataions. There are some great ideas there.

It is a pity I do not have longer as the New Teritories sounds like an interesting place to visit and a total contrast to Hong Kong city itself.

I do however like walking so some of the walking ideas on HK Island will get a look in too.

I am tied into the two days in Macaua, but I will be looking for the older Portugese heritage buildings (or at least what is left of them).

It does look like the Peak and the Star Ferry will be two things to check out as well as Kowloon. Good thing is my hotel is next to HK ferry wharf.

It will be good to see Hong Kong as I have not been there since I was a child in 1973. I have a funny feeling things have changed a bit LOL.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2008, 12:19 AM
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You will find that things have changed yet have not changed at all, at least that is my impression having first visited here in 1986, then on and off from then until I moved here 10 years ago. You will find, however, that your hotel is no longer “next to” the Hong Kong ferry pier from where you may remember it in 1973 (if you are referring to the Mandarin, as that is the only hotel left in Central that was near the piers at that time.) The new pier opened about 3-4 months ago. It’s about 500 yards further out into the water from the old one. If you mean the Four Seasons, that is a nice location, although a bit further walk to the Star Ferry piers, but no really far in any sense.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2008, 08:46 AM
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Compare to 1973:

The Star Ferries themselves are about the same, though several of the ferries are newer and slightly bigger.

The Peak Tram track is the same, though the trams themselves are newer, and both terminals are new.

You'll see many more highrises. A lot of historical buildings are gone - including the train terminal in Tsimshatsui, the Central post office in Central, and so on. Even the Peninsula now has a highrise tower attached to the original building.

MTR started running in 1979. Buses are much nicer than before. Large scale shopping malls are everywhere, when there was only the Ocean Terminal in 1973.

You'll find air-conditioning everywhere.

The harbor is narrower now, and much fewer ocean going ships in the harbor. Nowadays, most are container ships that berth at the terminals to the NW of the harbor (you'll see them to/from the airport).

Of course, the airport is new. No more of that unique landing path into Kai Tak.

Prices of stuff are much much higher than in 1973.

I think the thing that's changed the least is the Hong Kong Tramways. The trams are the same as 1973, without very minor upgrade. Still no A/C, still enter from the rear and exit in the front. The track is basically the same, except for two short sections having straightened - one on Queensway in Admiralty, and one at City Plaza in Quarry Bay.
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Old Apr 5th, 2008, 09:40 PM
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On my last trip to Hong Kong, I used my “free day” to go to Lantau Island and the Po Lin Monastery. It will be a nice trip if the weather is cooperating. It was cloudy and overcast on the day I went over. The Big Buddha was hiding in the fog. It cleared up late in the day but I probably wouldn’t go back without sunshine.

I toured Macau on a day trip. I hired a driver to take me around to the Heritage Sites. Well worth the $$ spent. The casinos were a visual treat. They are bigger and more outlandish than Las Vegas. That in itself is worth the visit.
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Old Apr 6th, 2008, 10:18 PM
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Bookmarking
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Old Apr 6th, 2008, 10:43 PM
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Well, at night the obvious thing to do is the Peak. I am not a big fan of the light show, tbh, but if you have time its worth seeing. You get the music if you stay by the water, but I enjoyed it more dining at a restaurant with a view (Hutong).

Cicerone pretty much covered everything.

But I love Stanley when its nice out so I'd definitely go there.
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Old Apr 7th, 2008, 10:33 AM
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Many of the other posts have recommended Victoria Peak, but I was just up there a week ago and I would tell you to skip this tourist trap. The peak is covered in cheap restaurants and a shopping mall. If you are trying to avoid retail therapy then don't bother.Also, if it is a foggy, hazy day then you will have no lovely view to see either.
If you are looking for a pieceful hike I would recommend the Ngong Ping Skyrail which in 24 minutes will breeze you up to the Po Lin Buddhist Monastery and there is a beautiful long trail that winds its way all the way back down the mountain. Also, the HK Science Museum in Kowloon in the Tsim Sha Tsui district is having a photo show that could be worth seeing.
PS: Don't bother with a heavy warm coat, the only thing you need in Hong Kong is a rain jacket!
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Old Apr 8th, 2008, 06:10 PM
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Like Bubba I think a day trip to Lantau is wonderful. We took the ferry over,(We walked there from our hotel on the island), had a wonderful seafood meal at one of the many restaurants at the Lantau terminal just past the enormous bicycle parking lot, then took a local bus to Tai-O village, a fascinating little fishing village with an amazing market full of weird and wonderful things, most of which we had no idea what they were.(there was even a full shark skin, salted and hanging on a stall) Depending on your time, you can take a boat trip from there around the stilt houses, apparently the last of their type in Hong Kong. Then take a bus to Po Lin monastery, check it out,(the flowers are incredible), climb up to the Big Buddha,magnificent views, and take the chairlift back to the coast where you can take the MTR directly back to Hong Kong.If you haven't already eaten, you can get a very nice vegetarian meal at the monastery and this allows you access to the top layers at the Buddha, but you don't miss much by not doing that bit. We got back in plenty of time to the go to the Temple St markets afterwards, they don't close until midnight! Just one tip though, I hope your free day is not a Sunday as the bus fares are almost double on Sunday and the queues for the chairlift are enormous. If you do find the queues too long, as we did, you can take a bus back to catch the MTR and it is a delightful trip across the very hilly interior of Lantau.We will go back for that chairlift ride on another trip,as it looked amazing, though not on a Sunday!
Have a wonderful day!
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Old Apr 9th, 2008, 01:30 AM
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Just to add a little clarification to sunromancer’s post (who came in April) for people who may be planning trips at other times of year:

If you come from November through mid March, you will indeed want a jacket up on the Peak and elsewhere in Hong Kong. Winter temps, while not cold by standards of other places, can get down into the 50s in those months, esp in the evenings or early mornings. Just about a week before Sunromancer's trip, it was quite cool indeed and people were still in winter clothes. He/she was in town for the first week of the start of the warm weather. It’s bloody hot from about mid-April through the first week in October. It also rains a lot, so an umbrella is handy.

As for crowds, as I have mentioned a few times, if you walk away from the Peak Galleria and the Peak Tram shopping malls where are the tourists are gathered, you can quickly be by yourself. The Lugard/Harlech Road loop is great for this, or even better go down to Barker Road and then up and over to Severn Road, where you will have the place to yourself and have some really, really lovely city and southside views as you loop back to the Peak Tram station. Or, go up to the actual Peak, which is anther 20 minutes or so uphill from where the Peak Tram station lets you off (which is Victoria Gap, not Victoria Peak proper).

There are actually some good restaurants in the Peak area (Pearl on the Peak esp), but I agree lots of mediocre ones to. However, on a good day, the view from the little balcony of the Pacific Coffee Company is hard to beat, or the back terrace of the Burger King on the first floor of the Peak Tram station (for the price of a Coke).

Haze and pollution are for sure an issue, generally it is better starting in late May and through about mid-September, as the winds shift and keep the pollution from the PRC out of the city. Night views are better for this reason and you won’t notice the haze and the lights burn through a good bit of it. It is a big drawback for sure on really hazy days, which are quite often in the winter and early summer like now.



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Old May 12th, 2008, 09:31 PM
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Just thought I would thank those who provided me with tips on what to do with one day in Hong Kong (and Macau for a short visit).

It turned out to be too warm and hazy for much trekking around but we did get up the Peak, not that we could see much further down than Mid Levels when we were up there. The ride was great though, The restaurants at the top a bit hit and miss, but OK. The Star ferry trip to Kowloon was great as was a night trip out on Victoria Harbour on the Friday we were there. the light show is amazing.

Macau was certainly different. Casinos everywhere with big glistening surfaces, right next to very old buildings. The new Lisboa casino must be one of the most ostentatious buildings I have ever seen. The area around St Pauls and the Fort was great (Thanks for the tip) the old streets round there were definately worth a bit of a wander too. Discovered that Macau is a very convenient way of getting into mainland China, easier than from Hong Kong.

We stayed at the Venetian resort in Macau, don't know if I would do that again, but certainly was an experience to be staying in one of ther largest hotels in the world fake canals included. (Its modellled on the Las Vegas one I think).

By the way Rkkwan, I get what you mean about watching the Chinese gamblers from the mainland. The hotel we stayed in has a gaming floor that covers several acres and it was solidly packed.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 08:27 AM
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Kiwi -- could you please expand a bit on your comment of
a very convenient way of getting into China from Macau?
Transportation (no need to take a ferry)? Is the bordertown Zhuhai, and is it close to Shenzheng? Passport/visa checkpoint for US travelers? Thank you.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 08:30 AM
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You can just walk into China from Macau. No need to use a train, ferry, or bus; like you do from Hong Kong. So, if you have a multiple-entry visa, you can go back and worth many many times without paying anything.

However, my experience with the China/Macau border at Gongbei is that it's crowded and the lines for foreigners can be pretty long at times.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 12:51 PM
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I have to agree with sunromancer about the Peak! The whole experience felt a bit like being in an airport lounge. Will post my trip report soon!
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