Hong Kong Stopover to Singapore

Old Feb 5th, 2008, 01:54 PM
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Hong Kong Stopover to Singapore

I went to Singapore five times last year on my way to India straight from San Francisco. This time, I've decided to take a break in the middle of the trip with a stopover in Hong Kong for one day with one night's stay, (arrive at 6am on Friday then leave the next day at 1:00 in the afternoon.
I have some simple questions:
What should I do with this much time?
Can anyone recommend a clean & affordable hotel accordingly?

An addtional related question on my on-going flight from Hong Kong to Singapore: my travel agent's preliminary itinerary left me only two hours to transfer at Singapore to continue my trip to India. Is this enough time? I dont think so, but what is a reasonable time...4 hours?
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Old Feb 5th, 2008, 02:08 PM
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2 hours is enough for your transit in SIN.

There isn't a lot of must-sees in Hong Kong, other than riding the Star Ferry and the Peak Tram. Just walk around, eat, shop, relax.
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Old Feb 5th, 2008, 02:12 PM
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Singapore is one of the most efficient airport in the world, a two hour lay over is plenty of time even if you had to change terminal. I once had only 60 minutes to catch the next plane in the budget terminal 3. I made it with time to spare, and this is after going through immigration, collecting my luggage, going through custom and catching the shuttle to terminal 3.
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Old Feb 5th, 2008, 03:15 PM
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Without doubt, the number one thing to do in HK is ride the Star Ferry - but it must be at night and from Kowloon to the island. Agree the Peak is a must, but you could also: ride an old Glasgow tram, take the travelator escalator up to the mid-levels and explore the antique(?) stores along Cat Street, enjoy High Tea in The Peninsula hotel, visit either the Temple Street Night Market or Ladies Market in Kowloon, walk up Nathan Road to Mongkok, the most densely-populated urban area on Earth and, if you have the chance, go to an evening race meeting at Happy Valley. If you know Singapore then you're no stranger to the Far East, but these are singularly Hong Kong experiences.
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Old Feb 5th, 2008, 07:31 PM
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Before getting to Hong Kong, let me ask a few questions bout India. Where are you going in India? There may be a non-stop flight from Hong Kong, or a better routing from Hong Kong via another city than Singapore. I fly from Hong Kong to India about once a month. There are at this point quite a few non-stops and more are being added all the time, so I would first look into that. You can go non-stop to Delhi, Mumbai and Banglaore from Hong Kong, for example. (I will say that you could probably fly Air India non-stop from Hong Kong to even more places, not sure if you want to, I generally don't take them, just my thing as I don't think they are a good airline; however they certainly have non-stops and the best arrival slot times). If there are no non-stops, then you may be able to route via Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur which may be a better layover, or more importantly leave later in the day and give you more time in Hong Kong.

You won't have a lot of time in Hong Kong, so I would probably stick to the highlights, unless you have a particular interest in something. What date are you here, as there may be something going on like a festival which may be worth seeing. Please search my list below, and also search this board for my very long list of reccos called ďCiceroneís Reccos for What the Locals Do for Fun in Hong Kong (Hint: We DONíT Go to those Awful Night Markets....)Ē this should give you some ideas for what to do that might be a bit off the usual tourist track. For suggestions on walks and hikes on Hong Kong Island, see my postings called ďCiceroneís Favourite Hong Kong Walks: Severn Road, the PeakĒ.

The first thing you might want to do when you land in Hong Kong is try to check in for your flight which departs the next day. This would save you a LOT of time in the morning and free up time for sightseeing. Some airlines allow you to check in for a flight up to 24 hours before departure. The website for Hong Kong airport is hongkongairport.com, they have information on early check-in. If you are flying Cathay or Singapore Airlines, you can usually check in on line. Also, to the extent you can organize yourself, I would leave your larger bags AT the airport overnight. There are checked baggage facilities located in the main arrivals hall (called the Meeters and Greeters Hall). It will cost you about US$6 a bag and is well worth not having to drag big bags downtown with you. Info on this can be found at http://www.hongkongairport.com/eng/a...gage.html#left. If you have been able

If you do end up transiting in Singapore, two hours more adequate time to transfer flights in Singapore. I do it with an hour fairly often and no issues. You aren't going through Immigration or Customs, you are literally just changing planes. Your baggage is transferred. If you don't have a boarding pass, you will have to go to the transfer desk, but otherwise it is just one gate to the next (could have to switch terminals, but not a big issue either, note that Terminal 3 is now open and many SQ flights are going into that.)

Now, for Hong Kong, I would agree that saying there are "must dos" in any place is problematic, because we all have our own individual preferences. But my own personal list of things I absolutely never get tired of doing in Hong Kong would be as follows:

1. A ride on the Star ferry, both during the day and at night, as the views are different each time. In addition to the traditional (short) ride from Hong Kong to Tsim Sha Tsui, you can take a longer ride from Hong Kong to Hung Hom, and get a longer time to view and photograph the harbour and city. You can take the ferry right back, or hop a bus or taxi over to Kowloon from there (will take about 5 minutes, taxi costs about HK$35 to someplace like the Peninsula hotel; take any bus which says ďStar FerryĒ).

2. The view from the Peak at dusk and as the lights come up over the city. I chose to live on the Peak because I love this view so much. Have a coffee at the Pacific Coffee Company located hanging over the tram tracks and take in their billion-dollar view for the price of the coffee (and free internet access). Walk the Harlech-Lugard Road loop, about 1.5 miles around, getting a bit overgrown with trees unfortunately, but still affording some very good views. For some excellent views of the western harbour and the outlying islands like Lantau, walk out Harlech Road to High West (this is particularly good at sunset on a clear day or a day with high clouds).

3. A hike/walk almost anywhere either on Hong Kong Island or elsewhere. The Dragonís Back, Sok Ku Wan on Lamma, from the Peak to Stanley, the Twins, Brides Pool in Sai Kung, the list is almost endless, from easy to challenging. There is an excellent flat esplanade walk along the sea between Ocean Park in Deep Water Bay and Repulse Bay of about 1.5 miles that could be done with a stroller (other than one set of stairs) by people of any walking ability and in any weather, even the heat of summer. Some walks are listed in my thread I mentioned above, you don't have a lot of time for a walk, but around the Peak for sure you have time for.

4. A walk in any neighborhood market. Fruit, vegetables, flowers, dried spices, mushrooms, seafood, meat being butchered, fish jumping around in baskets, live chickens and ducks in cages (harder to find these days because of the bird flu). Everyone yelling, old Chinese women hobbling around. Everything from shoes to TVs, to paper money for the dead is on sale. Wan Chai has a very good one, as does the Peel Street area in Central. The "dried fish street" area, which is along Des Veoux Road West in Western/Sheung Wan, is very interesting. The end of the tram line in Chai Wan has a good one, virtually no tourists. There is a market on Reclamation Street next door to the dreaded night market in Kowloon which is pretty good (combine this with a trip to the Jade Market and to the excellent Tin Hau temple on Shanghai Street and that is a good few hours in Kowloon IMO. You can throw in the flower market, the bird market and a visit to the Wong Tai Sin temple too). These are only open during the day, the generally close around 7 pm, and are most active in the mornings and evenings, but places like Wan Chai can be busy all day.

5. A trip to an outlying island by ferry, preferably by the little open wooden double-decker kaido ferry boats rather than the big air-conditioned ferries. You can really see and appreciate the harbour, city and mountain views from the open boats, IMO, plus I just find them incredibly beautiful and there is always at least one little old toothless lady in her pajamas and plastic carrier bag making a trip back from the market. Lamma, Lantau, Cheng Chau are favourites, but there are others even further a field if you want to devote an entire day to a trip. There are some great walks on Lamma and Lantau. Kaidos generally run from Aberdeen harbour, so you can go to see Aberdeen first to see it, and then take a little kaido out to outlying islands.

6. A visit to a temple. Preferably if a festival is going on so you can see Chinese opera or lion dancers, but otherwise just pop in. The Man Mo temple on Hollywood Road is quite atmospheric, and surprisingly not full of tourists although they seem to be all over the antique shops on Hollywood Road. The Tin Hau Temple on Shanghai Street in Kowloon is really good, there are several side temples to other gods, and this seems to be quite an active temple. There is a temple in Western dedicated to god of carpenters, I have been a few times (I like the neighborhood) and have always disturbed the caretaker from his nap when I walk in (not many visitors). There are two temples in Stanley and one in Repulse Bay. The Pak Tai Temple on Stone Nullah Lane in Wan Chai is really peaceful and lovely and has the wonderful hanging incense coils and is very, very good luck to visit esp at this time of year (i.e. Lunar New Year).

7. A visit a museum or to a concert, Chinese Opera or other cultural offering. While Hong Kong is not New York or London, it is not the cultural desert that people seem to think it is. There are several good museums, a very good local symphony and an active arts life. There is lots to do at night here beyond shopping for fake Prada bags and copy DVDs.

8. Eating. From Swatow to Scandinavian, you can literally get any kind of cuisine here, most of it very good, most of it not too expensive. Most of it on Hong Kong Island, most if it within about a 3-mile radius or less of the Star Ferry Pier. Food is a pretty big topic of conversation here, and asking for restaurant reccos is a good conversation starter (almost like Singapore, where they donít actually bother to talk about the weather because it is the same all the time, they talk about food instead; Hong Kong has weather so we do talk about that. Itís bloody cold now.).

Some things as a tourist you may want to consider as well:

9. Taking the street tram, one of the few (if not only) remaining double decker street cars in the world. This will give you a birds' eye view of the frenetic street life in Hong Kong. The tram runs basically along the waterfront from east to west on Hong Kong Island. The cost is HK$2.20 which is about .50, you need change or an Octupus Card. IMO the slighlty more interesting direction is east, towards Wan Chai and Causeway Bay (or Happy Valley, doesn't matter what the car says really, just get on any car unless you want to go to the end of the line, then take a Chai Wan car), this is to the left as you face Hong Kong Island with the harbour at your back. Just get on, and when you have gone far enough, get off, cross the street and take it back in the same direction. (Or find a cab or the nearest subway station.)

10. Go to Stanley Bay and market. The most picturesque way to get there is to take a bus from the main bus station in Central, as they go up over the mountains with wonderful sea views, the best value in the world for about US$1.) Take bus #6, but check the bus signs, as again you don't want the Aberdeen Tunnel route as you miss the whole point of the trip, IMO. The bus ride takes about an hour. The main bus station in Central is a good place to get the bus, as you can be sure of getting a seat upstairs in front (the very best position), this is in front of the Airport Express station. Along the way our or back, you can stop at Repulse Bay and walk the wide curving beach to the temple at the end. Once at Stanley you can do a little shopping for souvenirs and have a nice meal (not much else to do in Stanley but shop and eat, the ride is really the experience.) My favorite restaurant is the Boathouse right on the water at 86Ė88 Stanley Main Street (Tel: 2813 4467), but there are about half a dozen restaurants along the quay and any of them would be good.

Things I do only when pressed to do so by visiting friends or relatives: go to the Big Buddha on Lantau (sorry itís just not really that interesting, IMO. If you want to see beautiful countryside with sea views there are lots of better places to go than the Buddha which are easier to get to IMO, try the Dragonís Back on Hong Kong Island or Ling Kok Shan on Lamma or even the family walk on Lamma); go to the night market in Kowloon (just go to Stanley, see the same stuff and have a good meal and that great bus ride); go to Ocean Park (fine if you have kids that need amusement, otherwise Hong Kong is a long way to travel to see trained dolphins do tricks or swim in a wave pool). Things I donít spend any appreciable time doing here: clothes shopping (thatís what catalogs are for), shoe shopping (I have them made, but you don't have time). Some things I have not done and donít expect I will ever do: go to Disneyland, go to the Madame Tussaudís wax museum on the Peak.


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Old Feb 6th, 2008, 05:33 PM
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Thanks for the feedback.
Do you have any recommendations on a good basic hotel? I'm not at all familiar with the typical price rates of hotels in China.
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Old Feb 6th, 2008, 07:01 PM
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Hotels are expensive in Hong Kong. Also, rates highly dependent on your date.

4-5* hotels can be $200-500, depending on exact dates. $120-200 for 3*.
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Old Feb 6th, 2008, 10:14 PM
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Hotels in Hong Kong are quite expensive. Although you have not given a range, some perennial budget favourite are below. As with all hotel rooms in Hong Kong, go for the largest room you can, IMO with 2 people you want AT LEAST 30 square meters, even with one person a room of 18 or 22 square meters is tiny. Also try tripadvisor.com where you can search by price and read reccos of guests.

1. The Salisbury, which is a YMCA with the same View which you get for a lot more money at the 5 Star Peninsula next door and the Intercontinental down the street. Website for YMCA hotels in Asia is /www.ymca-hotels.com/. The most popular and probably the nicest is The Salisbury. Itís not really a Y, itís like a good 3 star or possibly 4 star hotel. Canít beat the location really, even if it is in Kowloon. There are other YMCAs to consider as well.

2. Bishop Lei International House. This hotel is in mid-levels on Hong Kong Island which makes it very convenient for things like dinner, exploring Soho and Hollywood Road, and just generally being a tourist. Their room rates are very good. They have standard rooms at about US$100. The rooms tend to be small, so I would go for a suite if you can which will give you two rooms and you won't feel so cramped. The rooms are small but very nice, and the location is good, in a residential neighborhood near the top of the escalator and on a bus route. It is just above the zoo in the botanical gardens and you can hear the orang utans in the morning, quite unusual in the middle of the city. . . Many of the rooms have great views over the city and the harbor. They have a pool and restaurant, and there are other restaurants in the neighborhood. http://www.bishopleihtl.com.hk

3. Next door to the Intercontinental Hotel in TST on Kowloon is the Renaissance New World hotel. This is an older hotel and I donít know that any of the rooms have harbour views, but would be cheaper than the IC for the same location (albeit no views). May be worth a look at marriott.com. This hotel is going to close sometime in 2008 or early 2009 so bear this in mind depending on when your trip is.

4. A budget hotel which I donít know inside but which I pass virtually every day and I think has an excellent location in Wan Chai on Hong Kong Island is The Wesley. (Itís run by the Methodist church, like the Bishop Lei above is run by the Catholic Church.) This hotel is about 300 yards from the Pacific Place complex of the JW Marriott/Conrad and Shangri-La which of course charge hundreds more for their rooms. This is in a great neighborhood of excellent restaurants, both cheap and dear, and near some of my favorite (and fast disappearing) market areas for strolling and people-watching. The Admiralty/Pacific Place subway stop would be very close, and the hotel fronts the tram line and several major bus lines. Itís quite moderately priced, but make sure you get as large a room as you can.

22 Hennessy Road
Wan Chai
Tel (00852) 28666688
Fax 28666633
[email protected]
www.hanglung.com (I don't think this website works too well, you might try http://www.asiatraveltips.com/TheWesleyHotel.htm.)

5 Another thought are the serviced apartments at Two MacDonnell Road in mid-levels on Hong Kong Island. These are available for short-term rentals of one night, and the smallest units are in the US$170 range. All units have small kitchens, which is a nice feature for breakfast (there is a grocery store across the street). I like the location on MacDonnell Road, as it is close to the great walking path on Bowen Road , you can walk down to the Peak Tram station or Hong Kong Park in about 5 minutes or to Central in a bit more. Itís across (a very busy) street from the small zoo and park by the old Governorís mansion. This is a quiet residential neighborhood,. The hotel has a free shuttle bus to Central as well, and a small gym a restaurant. ok at http://www.twomr.com.hk.

6. 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 http://www.thev.hk/. I don't know anything about this group or the quality of the apartments. There are no on-site fitness clubs, but it appears you would have access to private ones in the neighborhood at which you would have temporary membership.

7. There are several hotels in Causeway Bay, which is an area of Hong Kong Island a few miles to the east of Central. This is a primary shopping area, there are a number of good restaurants, a significant Tin Hau temple, a very large public park, and a typhoon shelter/harbour, but not a whole lot else for sightseeing. (there is the Noonday Gun which is fired off every day at Noon from the waterfront in front of the Excelsior Hotel, a colonial naval tradition that carries on.) Itís a very bustling area of shoppers. In previous years, this was an area full of little discount outlet shops and market stalls so it was interesting, however that has really changed and those are fast disappearing (rents are too high) and so the main reason to perhaps stay here is gone. Overall, I am not really a fan of recommending a stay there, esp for a short stay and/or for a first time visitor, as I think you will spend a lot of time of the subway or in taxi going into Central and other places. The subway is really jammed at rush hours, otherwise it is fine (but who wants to spend all that time underground when all the great views are above). In any event, hotels to consider in the budget range would be the Central Hotel (www.centralparkhotel.com.hk), the Metropark (http://www.metroparkhotel.com/) and the Rosedale (http://www.rosedale.com.hk ). At these latter hotels, ask about room size, as rooms tend to be very small (like 220 square feet) and get the largest you can.

A new Courtyard by Marriott is about to open in Sheung Wan to the west of Central on Hong Kong Island, I don't think it will be going for budget prices, but take a look at Marriott.com. This will be brand new so rooms will be plusher for a more "budget" hotel and rooms may have more bells and whistles. I like this interesting quite local neighborhood (Chinese medicine shops and dried fish), it is on a tram line and taxis are easy to get, it is a bit of a walk to the nearest Metro, but there is interesting stuff in the neighborhood, you can get the 973 bus over to Stanley from here (a very pretty ride, not quite the thrill of the mountain ride of the #6 but you can take that back), and you can walk to Soho and Hollywood Road from here with a little effort (and maybe combined with the tram). This area, IMO, is closer and a lot easier to navigate around that Causeway Bay, and is more interesting (as mentioned, Causeway Bay is fast becoming all mobile phone shops and large chain stores). Other budget hotels in the Sheung Wan area are the Central Park Hotel (http://www.centralparkhotel.com.hk/) and the Lan Kwai Fong Hotel, which despite it's name is NOT in Lan Kwai Fong, see http://www.lankwaifonghotel.com.hk/) There is an older Ramada in this neighborhood that I believe is cheaper.

Personally with one night, I might go for the Salisbury YMCA if you can get in.
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Old Feb 12th, 2008, 06:34 AM
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Cicerone- You have offered some great advice. I have a couple of questions. In Sep 08, we only have one night in HK on our way home from China. We have reservations with the YMCA Salsibury. We will come to HK via Shenzhen turbojet. We will need to go from the Shun Tak bldg (after I find an ATM)to either the Star Ferry or the subway(which ever is more clearly marked and/or closer), cross to Kowloon, check in , then either go to Aberdeen or to Victoria Peak. Are there enough boats left in Aberdeen harbor to make the trip worthwhile? My husband has never seen this. I read that I can take a bus from Kowloon (900 something) to Aberdeen. I haven't figured out where to catch the bus, yet.
If Aberdeen is a good choice, then I want to return to central and take the bus to Victoria Peak and tram down. Of course, we then need to return to the Y. With this in mind, how much should I put on a oyster card and can both of us use one card?
The next morning we will go to the airport via the airport express. I understand this route is not on the oyster card. Will we get on the express at Kowloon station? Is that walkable from the Y?
Whe I was there eons ago, I ate at the Boston Restaurant, I think on Nathan Road. It was a huge place several stories high and they brought carts around to our table. Although I have no idea what I ate, it was a lot of fun. Does this place sound familiar to you?
I will read your restaurant suggestions. Thank you for any help.
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Old Feb 12th, 2008, 08:00 AM
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lynclarke - The stored value card in Hong Kong is called the Octopus.

From Shun Tak Center to the YMCA Salisbury, I'll take the MTR. You need to switch at Sheung Wan, but overall walk is shorter than using the Star Ferry.

Theoretically, you can take a taxi from Shun Tak Center to the Star Ferry, but the cab driver will hate you for that super-short fare.

You will find ATMs inside Shun Tak Center or inside the Sheung Wan MTR station. MTR: Sheung Wan to Tsimshatsui - $7.7.

[Let me remind you that there's a direct bus from the Shenzhen Airport to the Elements Mall in Kowloon now. $90, which is half the cost of the Turbojet. Every 30 minutes, so it's much more frequent, and overall time is similar. From the Elements Mall, just take a quick taxi ride to the YMCA Salisbury.]

There's no direct bus from Tsimshatsui to Aberdeen. I'd take the Star Ferry back across the harbor and then take either Bus 7 ($5.3) or 91 ($5.5) right at the pier.

The bus from Central to the Peak, #15, cost $9.2. The Peak Tram is $22 one-way or $33 roundtrip.

From the YMCA Salisbury to the airport, you can take the free Airport Express shuttle from the Peninsula next door. It takes you to the Kowloon station, and then the train. You can check in for your flight at the Kowloon station, and 2 people or more traveling can get discount fares from the manned ticket counter.

The Octopus card costs $150 to issue, with $100 of stored value on it, and you'll get $43 back when you turn it in. And you can use it for anything, including buying stuff at 7-Eleven or coke machines, and to purchase the Airport Express ticket. However, since you only get the deposit after you turn it in, I wouldn't use it to buy the AE ticket for your trip to the airport.

Instead, I'll start a card with the $150 minimum. The $100 on it is more than enough for your short stay. Then after you get back to the Kowloon AE station next morning, refund the cards, and then buy the AE tickets with cash (or credit card).
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Old Feb 12th, 2008, 10:47 AM
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Sorry if my last part was somewhat confusing. When you turn in the Octopus, you'll get $43 PLUS whatever part of the $100 value you didn't use.
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Old Feb 12th, 2008, 04:14 PM
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Or you could keep the Octopus. It's still good for 2 years from last top up. Assuming you are going to HK within that period.
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Old Feb 14th, 2008, 03:01 AM
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It is my understanding that there are ferries from Shenzhen Airport which go to both the Kowloon side and the Hong Kong side. You obviously want to go to the Kowloon side. The website for Shenzhen Airport is
http://eng.szairport.com/, see if you can find more info on the ferries. If I am wrong and you canít get a ferry to the Kowloon side, I would agree that you should look into getting transport directly to the Kowloon side if you can, as with luggage, etc this will be far easier than getting to Kowloon either by subway or the ferry from the Sun Tak Building. The Shun Tak Building is not close to either a subway stop or the ferry, your best bet is probably the 973 bus directly to Kowloon or a taxi to the ferry. (If you have luggage those public buses are not great, they only have luggage room on the airport buses.) If you donít have a lot of luggage, the walk to the subway from Shun Tak is OK, but personally I think that the whole trip would be a pain with having to walk the street with luggage, the stairs for getting down to the subway, having to switch, etc and itís again a sort of walk from the subway on the Kowloon side to the hotel, albeit a good bit is underground. But otherwise the bus to the Elements Mall sounds like the best option if a ferry to the Kowloon piers is not available. Elements Mall would be less than 10 minutes by taxi from the Y, or you could take the subway from the Elements Mall. The ferry piers in Kowloon, however, are walkable to the Y, itís about 3 blocks.

Personally, if you your only option from Shenzhen is really only to go to Shun Tak, I would take a taxi from Shun Tak to the Airport Express station in Hong Kong (3 minutes, US$2-3), then take the Airport Express train one stop to the Kowloon station, then take the free hotel shuttle from the Kowloon train station to your hotel or close to it, or take a taxi from the station to your hotel, less than 10 minutes, about US$4-5. This will save you the palaver of the subway and changing and stairs and the crowds.

A completely different thing you might want to consider is taking the ferry from Shenzhen Airport directly to Hong Kong Airport and immediately checking-in for your flight the next day, assuming you can do early check-in. Most airlines allow check-in up to 18 hours before departure. You could check in your big luggage and just bring a small overnight bag with you into Hong Kong. This would save you the long check-in lines in the morning, get you between Shenzhen and Hong Kong quickly and easily, and then you could get into Hong Kong from the airport very easily. You could take the Airport Express Train to Kowloon, zip over to your hotel and leave the small bag and then go on to see Hong Kong. The website for Hong Kong Airport is hongkongairport.com, they have info on early check-in, or check with your airline. (You could also do this by taking the bus to Elements, or the ferry from Shenzhen Airport to Kowloon (assuming that is possible) or Shun Tak, taking a taxi over to the Airport Express train station in Kowloon/ Hong Kong, as applicable, and checking in there. If you choose Sun Tak and the Airport Express train station on Hong Kong Island, after check-in you could either walk to the Star Ferry in about a minute from there and go over to your hotel, or leave you small bags at the train station (there are still luggage lockers to the best of my knowledge) and go directly to Aberdeen and spend the day on Hong Kong Island returning to collect your bag and going over to Kowloon to check into the hotel later in the day or evening.)

As for Aberdeen, there are still plenty of boats in Aberdeen harbour, it may be harder these days to find as many people living on them, but itís still a bustling crowded harbour with little boats running around, and the backdrop of the huge apartment blocks and mountains surrounding it make for a dramatic setting. I think itís a nice trip actually. You can hire a little bumboat to take you around. Be sure to go out to see the Jumbo, where they have shops now, and which is quite a sight in itself, you donít have to eat at the just OK Chinese place (although the Top Deck of the Jumbo restaurant is quite nice, continental with some Asian and nice views, see http://www.cafedecogroup.com/TOP_DECK/v_TOP_DECK.asp.)

There is a bus from Kowloon that will take you to Aberdeen, itís the 973, officially the bus to Stanley, but it stops at Aberdeen and many other places along its route. It gives some great sea and city views along the way. You can pick the bus up almost in front of your hotel, there is a stop at the New World Centre on Salisbury Road where the Intercontinental Hotel is located, just ask your hotel to point it out to you (you want to be at the stop on the side of the street where the New World Centre and Intercontinental hotel are, i.e. the other side of Salisbury from the Y, the east bound lanes). Itís hard to count stops, and Aberdeen is fairly far along the route, but you will have gone through the harbour tunnel over to Hong Kong Island, through the city parts of Hong Kong Island, up along the hillsides of Pokfulam with the lovely sea views, and downhill a bit to reach Aberdeen; the stop for Aberdeen will be the bus pulling off the road and into a bus parking lot area rather than just a stop along the road, so that is an easy way to know, also ask a fellow passenger. These are double decker buses, so sit up top for the best view, the right side of the bus will give you a slightly better vantage point, but on a Monday it wonít be crowded. I think the bus trip to Aberdeen should take about 45 minutes from where you pick it up in Kowloon, could be a little bit more.

However, going over to Hong Kong via the Star Ferry and then taking a bus from there is certainly fine and scenic too as you get the great ferry ride into the bargain. (You can also take the ferry back of course.)

Once you have seen Aberdeen, to get to the Peak (which is basically almost directly above and behind you), I would not go back to Central, but would from Aberdeen to the Peak. On a weekday, your choices are more limited and will require three changes, but you can do it this way: Take either the #73 or the #973 bus from Aberdeen to Repulse Bay (you cannot miss this stop, it is a huge curving bay and beach surrounded by high apartment buildings; you could also take a taxi, this would be about 10 minutes and cost about US$5-7). Get off the bus, cross the street and take any of the following buses: #6, #61, or #66 (Do not take the 6A, 6X or 260 as these go through the Aberdeen Tunnel and not the mountain route, and you will miss your connecting bus). These buses will be heading back in the direction you just came, but will soon veer off to take you up and over the big hill, on the way down the other side but while still pretty above the city, get off at the Stubbs Road/Bowen Road/Adventist Hospital stop, you may have to ask for help as to the correct stop, it is at a roundabout (the stop is about 5 feet after the roundabout) and right near (basically under) some highway flyovers. Alight, walk up the concrete stairs, cross the street, turn right, walk past the hospital entrance and on about 3-5 yards and you will come to a bus stop. Take the #15 bus which will take you right to the Peak. This route will give you some really great views, these are some of the best bus views in Hong Kong, IMO. The #6, and #15 buses are double deckers so again sit on top, on the #15 bus itís a toss up as to which side is better as you get views on both sides at different points, but the bus wonít be crowded so it probably doesnít matter as long as you sit upstairs. On the 6 bus, the left is slightly better. A front seat is great on any. This three bus route will take about an hour probably, but IMO is the same length as if you went back to Central. You could also take a taxi which would only take about 20 minutes from Aberdeen, but will cost about US$20-30.

My personal preference is to be on the Peak just before dusk and stay for darkness as the lights coming up over the city so you can get both day and night views in one trip (as the views are very different); that means getting there at like 5:30 pm and staying for about an hour or so, there are walks around Lugard Road/Harlech Road for views. (You could also stay for dinner here.) If you are looking for something to do between Aberdeen and the Peak at 5:30 pm, then when you get to Repulse Bay on the 973 bus, stop here for a while and see lovely large curving beach there, and the temple at the end of the beach, and then if there is time take the walk out and back along the very nice flat esplanade from there back to Deep Water Bay. (To do this walk, on Repulse Bay Beach, facing the ocean, turn right and walk all the way to the end, you will see a sidewalk running along the rocks at the shoreline below the apartment buildings, just follow this for as long as you want or about 30 minutes to Deep Water Bay. You could also get off the 973 bus in Deep Water Bay first and then walk over to Repulse Bay, as Deep Water Bay is a stop or two before Repulse Bay, but the walking path is harder to find from this direction, you have to look for some stairs past the toilet blocks and barbeque area on your left as you face the water.)

The Boston Restaurant is still around, I have never been so donít really have any info. If you remember carts, I am pretty sure you were there for dim sum, which is not going to be available much past about 4 pm, so if you are intending to go to Boston for dinner donít expect carts or dim sum (they go together and dim sum is breakfast/brunch/lunch fare and sometimes tea, but not dinner). Is it Cantonese you want, do you want a view, do you have a budget? I can give some reccos if you can tell me what you might want in terms of cuisine, price, ambience/view.

You cannot walk from the Y to the Kowloon train station for the Airport Express. You can take a bus, subway or taxi, taxi would be about 10 minutes, cost about US$4-5, ask at the hotel about bus options, including the free airport shuttle bus to the train station. There are also direct bus connections to the airport, if money is an issue buses are generally a few dollars cheaper than the Airport Express train. See the website for Hong Kong Airport at hongkongairport.com or ask at your hotel.

The Octopus card estimate above seems about right, the bus fares I would estimate at about HK$9 per person each way, some are less, I donít think any are more than that. So with roughly maybe 10 rides need @ HK$9 a pop, maybe a Star Ferry ride thrown in @ HK$2.20 each, a stored value of HK$150 is more than sufficient, IMO. Yes, two people can use the same card, you just have to swipe it once, let it deduct the fare, then swipe it again. I was under the impression there was some kind of tourist Octopus card which does include the Airport Express, check the airport website or the website for the MTR at mtr.com.hk.

Cicerone is offline  
Old Feb 14th, 2008, 05:04 AM
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1. Turbojet only runs one ferry from SZX to Kowloon each day. The rest goes to Shun Tak Center. Here's the schedule:

www.turbojet.com.hk/eng/schedule/prd_2.html

2. I don't understannd the recommendation of taking a taxi from Shun Tak Center to the AE station, then take the train for one stop, then switch to another taxi. That just seems cumbersome, going up and down the stations.

Plus, I think you mean taking the Tung Chung Line MTR ($8) , not the AE ($100).

3. Thanks for the clarification about bus #973. Yes, it does go from Tsimshatsui to Aberdeen.

4. For the Star Ferry, I always recommend taking the lower level. Not to save 4 US pennies, but because it's more interesting. You can walk around the ferry to take pictures, you can see the crew throw and receive the ropes. You are not supposed to walk around the upper level during the trip, and the seats are set up upstairs so you can't walk near the railings.
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Old Feb 14th, 2008, 05:07 AM
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Let me emphasize again - I'd use the direct bus from SZX to the Elements Mall (Kowloon AE/MTR) instead. It's frequent, the border crossing is easy, and you just take a taxi to the Salisbury. Turbojet is not the best way in this case, unless lynclarke can use the 4:30p ferry to Kowloon.
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Old Feb 14th, 2008, 06:32 AM
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Cicerone- You are wonderful. A couple of notes. First, the turbojet goes to Kowloon at 1630hrs. My flight should get in at 1000hrs! So that is why I was thinking of going to HK.

I saw a page on the Shenzhen Airport website for buses but it is in Chinese even when I am on the English version. So I could not figure out anything. I have not seen any discussion about the bus. This is a great idea. Where would I go through customs? On the bus?Where is the Elements Mall? I am assuming there will be a bus desk in the arrival hall at Shenzhen. If I do the bus trip, will I be able to find an ATM at the Elements Mall? I will not have any HK$ in my pockets! (I don't think I can buy HK$ any where before I actually get into HK). What is the nearest subway?

I can't do the remote site check-in with United but I have written United.HK and asked if I can check my luggage in at the airport the day before. Leaving the luggage behind is another great idea if they will allow that!

We are pretty light travelers a 21" bag apiece for 3 weeks and one small backpack each. But, getting to carry just the backpack would be lovely.

I think we will do Aberdeen. I was somewhat discouraged when everyone said all the locals had gone ashore. And I really appreciate the routes to get from Aberdeen to Victoria Peak without retracing my path to Central. If we take the tram down to Central after dark, is the signage pretty good to find the Star ferry or the subway to get back to Kowloon?

I am delighted that the Boston Restaurant is still there. I had asked at a shop where the young clerk would go for lunch. She said, "the Boston Restaurant". I said-"not a tourist restaurant but where you would go". She insisted the Boston. I said ok. Well, when we got there the restaurant felt like a warehouse. It was huge! We went up and through three full floors and only saw one other Caucasian! They sat us with a bunch of school girls who practiced their English on us. It was a lot of fun. We ended up with the strange collection of dim sum, soup, and dessert- all in the wrong order but it didn't matter!

I did see a poster on one of the boards who had a photo of enormous shrimp. I mean hand size! She had stopped at a local place in TST but she didn't remember where. Any ideas? My husband would be in heaven! (and don't tell him, but he is a bit picky and always worried about one thing or another. I would love to wow him!).

Cicerone, you have been a font of knowledge. I have printed out everything and I will start to sift through all the options. I know it will be a while (SEP 08) but I will be back with a trip report.
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Old Feb 14th, 2008, 07:22 AM
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lynclarke -

There are several buses that call itself "direct to Hong Kong" at SZX, but you want to get on this one:

www.chinalink.hk/co_service_routes17.html

The webpage is in Chinese, but the times are there. If your flight arrives at Terminal A, go to Desk A08 in the arrivals hall. If Terminal B, go to Desk B04. Their desks have that dragon logo. There is a dedicated sitting area, and they'll give you a sticker to put on your shirt for them to call you when the bus arrives.

You go through China and HK immigration in the same building at the new Shenzhen Bay crossing. So, you only get off the bus once. The walk is very short and there's hardly any line at either desk. After you go through both immigration desk, the bus company's rep will recognize you from the sticker and get you back on the bus to Kowloon.

I've been in and out of China numerous times, and this crossing is the best I've used.

The Elements Mall is in West Kowloon, above the MTR and Airport Express' "Kowloon" station. Plenty of taxicabs there. I don't know about specific ATMs location inside the mall, but there will be some at the AE/MTR station in the basement, for sure. But you want a taxi to the YMCA Salisbury, because the Kowloon Station is on a separate line than Tsimshatsui, and connection is long and cumbersome. Taxi is the answer.

Also, the Turbojet to HKG option will never work, as it's designed for those directly boarding a flight from HKG same day.
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