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ptygrl Oct 28th, 2010 08:35 PM

Hong Kong - where to stay and what is there to do?
We are taking a cruise that leaves from Hong Kong and want to come in a few days early to sight see. Not sure what to do, where to stay and for how long.

We are traveling from Europe and this is our first time.


dogster Oct 28th, 2010 09:00 PM

ptygirl: see the 'view by country' box above? Click on Hong Kong. Read the posts.
Then dial up Google search. Type in 'Hong Kong'.
Then buy a guide book with 'Hong Kong' on the cover.
Go here:

Cicerone Oct 28th, 2010 09:04 PM

As noted above, you can click on "Destinations" above, and then scroll down to Hong Kong. A helpful description and basic itinerary suggestions will come up. The Fodors guide book to Hong Kong is excellent. also has a website with similar info and their guidebook is pretty good. 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 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

Other than that, I would need to know what date you are here, how long you are here, and mostly what your interests are. Some people think that Chinese Opera is a “must see”. Some people think that Bruce Lee movies would be. Some people think eating in a local Michelin-ranked restaurant would be. It’s really a matter of what interests you.

For hotels, a budget would be very helpful before anyone launches into a big list of reccos. Your cruise is most likely going to depart from the Kowloon side of the harbour, but Hong Kong is quite small and compact so it does not make a huge difference where you stay. Some would depend on your interests.

There is always a debate as to whether to stay on the Kowloon side versus Hong Kong Island side. I live in Hong Kong, and here is my two cents on the subject: when you see a picture of Hong Kong it is invariably taken from the Kowloon side and is that wonderful shot of the harbour, the tall buildings on Hong Kong Island with the backdrop of the mountains behind the buildings. There is no doubt that that view is spectacular, both day and night. However, very few people actually have that view from their hotel room. In addition, you are going to do most of your sightseeing, most of your shopping and probably most of your eating on the Hong Kong side. The Hong Kong side has the Peak and the Peak Tram, Central, Stanley, Aberdeen, Wan Chai (Suzie Wong), Causeway Bay (for serious shoppers) the Hollywood Road antique area, some great local “wet” markets, and the bar and restaurant areas of Lan Kwai Fong, Soho, Hollywood Road and Star Street. It is also the starting point for ferries to outlying islands like Lamma an Lantau. Finally, there are also some spectacular and easily-accessible walks, including several from the Peak and in the Stanley area. The Kowloon side has The View, the bird market, the flower market, the Hong Kong History Museum and a few other assorted sights, loads of tourist hotels and loads of tourists. However, other than the View, none of them are any reason to stay on the Kowloon side, as you can easily go over by the very scenic and pleasant Star Ferry. So, what it comes down to for me would be this: <i>if you don’t have a harbour view room on the Kowloon side, then I would stay on the Hong Kong side</i>.

ptygrl Oct 29th, 2010 07:27 AM

Thanks for all the information. Will do more searching.

We are there late March 2011 we think 3 days?

Gpanda Oct 29th, 2010 12:05 PM

Three days will be just an intro to Hong Kong. It is a teeming metropolis with lots of great place to eat and fun things to do. If your budget allows it, stay by the water in Kowloon, Sheraton, Intercontinental or Penisula. If not, stay on the island near central. The MTR will get you anywhere.

Cicerone Oct 31st, 2010 07:57 PM

I have to say that March weather in Hong Kong is less than ideal. It’s my least favourite month, and the month I usually choose to travel to a sunny location elsewhere. It is cool and generally foggy and damp. While in many respects this won’t interfere with your enjoying Hong Kong, if there is any way to move this trip to other months, IMO, that would be preferable. The main problem you may have in March is fog which can make views from the Peak and the Po Lin Buddha quite disappointing. Overall it is just damp in that seep-your-bones way (your mirror does not clear up all day after your morning show, let’s put it that way).

Even just moving the trip to February or April would be better. (Feb can be gray as well, but what I always say about February is that at least is it not March, which is worst of all. And in 2011 Lunar New Year is in early Feb, another good reason to come to Hong Kong in Feb. Feb can also be gorgeous and sunny. March hardly ever is.) Mid-October to December are lovely, dry and sunny at temps about 22 F. January is usually OK, although toward the latter half less so. The summers are hot and humid, but the air is clearer than winter months and you can also enjoy local beaches.

I don’t know where else you are going on this cruise, but March can be rainy in Singapore and quite rainy along the east coast of Malaysia/Thailand (e.g. Koh Samui). It is also the end of the rainy season in Bali. A cruise would have to be to select places to work in March IMO.

glover Oct 31st, 2010 08:10 PM

Tagging along on this thread. Crappy weather or not, we'll be in Hong Kong at the end of our 2 month Asia trip - in very beginning of March. As I refuse to spend more than $200 a night for hotel, was looking at the Metropark Wanchai. Do you know it, Cicerone? Has good reviews on tripavisor for the most part and can be had for $111 plus plus. Location sounds good..

Cicerone Oct 31st, 2010 11:40 PM

Yes, I like the location of the Metropark Wan Chai a lot, it is literally 5 minutes walk to some interesting market areas (local “wet” meat/fish/veg) like the Wan Chai market, as well as some good restaurants in all price levels. It is near the street tram and several major bus lines; and with a little effort is perfectly walkable to the Peak Tram and Central (about 15-20 minutes to either), the Wan Chai ferry to Kowloon would be about 10 minutes. Rooms can be on the small side, esp the “spacious comfort” room, so check that out especially if you are 2 people in a room, and go for the largest in your budget.

In the same area as the Metropark, but even less expensive, would be the Wesley. I have not seen the rooms, but from the lobby my guess is that they are basic but perfectly comfortable, esp for rates of like US$85. See This is right on the tram line and quite easily walkable to the Peak Tram and Central (this hotel is about 500 yards from the JW Marriott/Shangri-La/Conrad hotels in Pacific Place).

You might also look at the Bishop Lei, another nice little hotel up in mid-levels, for US$110 or just a bit more you could get a Habour View Suite, which would be a good size with a nice view. Hotel is walkable to the escalator, the little zoo/botanic gardens and several good restaurants, and is on good bus lines (the hotel also offers a shuttle to parts of downtown), or a taxi to Central would be about HK$25 (US$3). Could also walk (downhill) to the Peak Tram, or even walk uphill to the actual Peak from that location.

Also try Butterfly on Morrison, they have rates starting at US$112 for a smallish room, esp for 2 people. They have slightly larger rooms for US$130. But in a great a location for shopping in Causeway Bay, which is Ground Zero if you really want to shop a lot, as the more interesting shops, both high and low end, are here. There are a few tourist sites in the neighborhood, and some good restaurants. You would have access to the very colourful and interesting Bowrington Road wet market and to Happy Valley, a pleasant and green residential area (and the racetrack). The area is a mix of traditional local and emerging upscale. See

Finally, you might look at Traders, rates at about US$115. This is run by Shangri-La and is new and should be very nice (rooms are on the small side, esp for 2 people so I would go for as large as you can). This hotel is not in a central location by any means, but if you want an experience in a more traditional local neighborhood, this is a good choice. It is on the tram line and major bus lines. The hotel runs a shuttle to the nearest subway stop and to other points in Central, so transport is not really an issue, but you have to realize that this hotel is not near “guidebook” tourist sites. However, IMO, the local neighborhood is a travel experience in itself, and offers thing like the carpenter’s temple (where no tourists ever go). For the price, I think the quality of the hotel is very good, but the location is not for everyone. See

On the Hong Kong side, with that budget I would look at the Salisbury YMCA, as you should be able to get a harbour view room with that budget.

sf7307 Nov 1st, 2010 09:29 AM

Cicerone, the Salisbury YMCA is on the Kowloon side, isn't it?

mscleo Nov 1st, 2010 09:58 AM

Let me put in a plug for the Salisbury YMCA. I stayed there in January of this year based on the recommendation from someone here on this forum (sorry, can't remember the person right now). Stayed in Room 1441, and when I entered the room, the view from the window took my breath away. Overlooked the Harbor...I could see the boats going to and fro, and I didn't have to leave my room to see the light show. In a word - exquisite!!

The room itself was spotless and quite modern. The bathroom was small, but again, spotless. It's located a couple of blocks from the Star Ferry, and food places and shops are all right there. The outside of the building and the lobby are really nothing to look at, but boy, oh boy, the view from the room was spectacular. I paid around $80.00US/night, and the next time I go to HK, I'm staying right there.

Wherever you decide, enjoy your trip, and yes, the YMCA is located on the Kowloon side.

sf7307 Nov 2nd, 2010 10:38 AM

mscleo, I'm going to request Room 1441!!!!

ptygrl Nov 4th, 2010 08:02 PM

Thanks everyone we appreciate the responses. Still not sure where we are going to there are too many choices!

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