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Hong Kong vs. Tokyo for 1st time in Asia

Hong Kong vs. Tokyo for 1st time in Asia

Old Mar 18th, 2007, 09:02 PM
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Hong Kong vs. Tokyo for 1st time in Asia

My husband and I love to travel, but have never ventured into Asia. We are looking to take a long weekend trip this fall and are debating between visiting Hong Kong or Tokyo.

Our trip would consist of only 5 days, including travel.

Any advice as to which might be the better spot for us?

Thanks in advance!
mommykar is offline  
Old Mar 18th, 2007, 09:24 PM
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Where are you located? Both Hong Kong and Japan are a long way from the US. And there are more cities in the US with non-stop to Tokyo than Hong Kong, which is often another 4 hour by plane plus transit time.

Both places are extremely interesting for first timer, but transportation time will favor Tokyo, if you're from many parts of the US.
rkkwan is offline  
Old Mar 18th, 2007, 10:16 PM
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For a 1st time visit to Asia I would probably favor visiting Hong Kong. I would say probably 60-70% of the people I've encountered there speak very good english and IMO it's a much more tourist-friendly town.

As far as Tokyo goes, it's a very intimidating city for a 1st timer. I know when I first visited Tokyo in 2002, it was a very scary experience since not many people there speak english whether it's restaurants or shopping plazas. I had to take a english speaking city tour my 1st day there and it helped out alot. Plus, the subway maps (the best and easiest way to travel around town) are very confusing to read for a 1st timer.

Bottom line: Go to Hong Kong if you plan to venture around the city on your own, it's less intimidating and very tourist-friendly. Do not book local city tours in there. Most of them will take you directly to tourist traps.

Go to Tokyo only if you plan to arrange some english speaking city tours. It will save you lots of headaches and getting lost.
DonJ1973 is offline  
Old Mar 18th, 2007, 10:48 PM
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I don’t know that I would go all the way to Asia for 5 days “including travel” because assuming you are coming from the US, about 3 of those days are going to be spent GETTING to and FROM Asia; i.e. if you leave the US on say a Friday morning, because of flight time and the time difference, you won’t arrive in Tokyo or Hong Kong until Saturday afternoon or Saturday night. Because of the return flight schedule (see more below), this will only give you about 2 full days in either place. With jet lag slowing you down, on your first day you may not be able to do or see much after about 6 pm, as you will want to have dinner and get in an early night. For the return flight, from Tokyo, most US-bound flights depart at mid-day or early afternoon, so with getting to the airport (1 hour by train) check-in, security, etc, the most time you probably will have for sightseeing on that third day is a half day in the morning before you have to leave for the airport. US-bound flights from Hong Kong tend to depart in the morning before Noon, so you would most likely have no or very little time on your last day in Hong Kong to do any sightseeing. (If you are coming from Europe, you can do some overnight flights that are a little more workable, i.e. they might give you a half day on your arrival day for sightseeing and a half day or a full day on your departure day, but they also would mean overnight flights both ways, and a 6 am arrival on your return day which means you may have to go to work on the same day as a 6 am arrival on overnight international flight, not a lot of fun either, esp if you have to fly economy....)

IMO you should really only go to Asia when you have about 2 weeks at a minimum.

(I don’t know where you are coming from, but there are some non-stop Cathay Flights from LAX or NY to Hong Kong that leave at like midnight and arrive at 7 am 1 day later, i.e. you leave late Thursday night and arrive at 7:00 am Saturday morning; these might work for 5 days, I still think this is a bad idea and a lot of money to spend on a long flight to go to only one place, and I personally would not want to sightsee all day on that first day after this 20+ hour flight.....I have taken these flights, but I live in Hong Kong and all I do is go home and go back to bed...)

What you mean by “fall” is another question. September is still quite hot and humid in Hong Kong, and its still rainy and is still typhoon season. From the later half of October on, the weather is great. I think Tokyo weather is pretty good all through the fall.

I personally would not go all the way to Japan and just go to Tokyo, as it is a very huge city; IMO you really need to go to Kyoto or Osaka to see a more interesting part of Japanese life. At least with Hong Kong you can get to less populated green areas easily, and with the great walking areas, the harbor and places like the Peak which are green, you won’t feel like you are in a big city all the time, and there are many traditional neighborhoods still left that are easily reachable and with no language issues. The level of English is much, much higher in Hong Kong as well. In terms of getting around on your own by public transport and in restaurants, etc. IMO Hong Kong is much easier. It’s also smaller and the main tourist areas are basically within walking distance or 15-30 minutes by cab or subway or ferry. Tokyo however is very, very clean. Neither are cheap in terms of hotels.
Cicerone is offline  
Old Mar 19th, 2007, 08:15 AM
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I have done a one week trip to Asia a couple of times, but I had a full 8 days including travel so I had enough time. I have to agree with others that a "weekend" trip just doesn't make sense.
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Old Mar 19th, 2007, 06:19 PM
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Thank you so much for all of your advice! I think that we will postpone this trip until we have a bit more time and read up on all the great sites and advice till then.

mommykar is offline  
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