Is it worth to go to Hong Kong too?

Old Jan 11th, 2012, 06:35 PM
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Is it worth to go to Hong Kong too?

This might sound like an odd question, but we are wondering if it is really worth the extra time and expense to go to Hong Kong after our tour of Bejing, Xian and Shanghai.We have travelled extensive through Europe and the US so are wondering if it really that unique as a city.
We would really appreciate people's thoughts and feedback.
Bluelark is offline  
Old Jan 11th, 2012, 07:26 PM
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Hong Kong is an amazing city and well worth visiting. Having traveled extensively also, I would have to say that few cities are on par with HK. In terms of the combo of natural magnificence with mountains and sea combined with amazing architecture, there are only two cities that even come close - San Francisco and Rio. And HK surpasses both, plus it is far safer than either. You won't regret the time spent.
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Old Jan 11th, 2012, 07:30 PM
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i am going to shanghai and xian also and am including HK too. we have been there several times and find it a great busy city to visit... i always refer to it as upscale NY...

hotels are very expensive, just like shanghai... its a great place to use hotel points if you have any
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Old Jan 12th, 2012, 05:51 AM
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Yes, yes, yes. Include HK!!
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Old Jan 12th, 2012, 06:35 AM
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I'd definitely include Hong Kong. It's very different from the other cities you are visiting.
Kathie is offline  
Old Jan 17th, 2012, 02:07 AM
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Here are my thoughts and suggestions on your question:

1. Every city is unique, and I am prejudiced as I live here, but IMO to skip Hong Kong would really be something of a shame. The view of the skyline from the Kowloon waterfront alone is worth the trip as far as I am concerned. Add to that world-class restaurants as well as some great street food, lovely countryside for walks/hikes or boat trips, active temples and monasteries (both of which are thin on the ground in the PRC), interesting local neighborhoods, all tied together by the ability to get around on your own using the excellent public transportation, and its hard to understand why anyone would have to give this more than a moment’s thought. There are several non-stop flight options to/from SFA, so again a no-brainer as far as an add-on to a trip; and may make the return more pleasant. (There are only 2 non-stop options from Beijing and 1 from Shanghai as far as I know, and those involve United/CO. I would so rather take a non-stop on lovely Cathay Pacific or Singapore Air….).

2. I believe you are taking a tour for the mainland PRC portion of your trip, but hopefully you will not be on a tour for Hong Kong. You do not need a tour for Hong Kong, and in fact I think a tour would limit you to very routine sights. So you may end up enjoying Hong Kong even more as you can set your own itinerary and pick your own restaurants.

3. I believe your trip is in the Fall, if you can provide exact dates, I may have some specific suggestions. October 1 is National Day here and there are fireworks in the harbour which are spectacular. (That week, FYI is not a great week to travel in the PRC mainland as most of the nation has at least the first part s a holiday, so I would avoid travel that week. It is fine to be in Hong Kong during that week as only October 1 and 2 are public holidays and crowds are quite manageable.)

4. To be perfectly frank, I don’t really understand the attraction of Shanghai to the tourist. It is a city of 20 million people and does not offer a whole lot in the way of tourist sights. It does have some very modern skyscrapers and the bit along the Bund is nice, but otherwise I don’t really get what tourists do there. There are few historical sights, and no real museums of note, (for both you need to go to Beijing). The air pollution is truly epic and the traffic can be pretty bad as well. (Beijing has both of course, but for your trouble you do get the Forbidden City, the Great Wall and the Summer Palace.) I know you can go to Suzhou and most people do, but I think a lot of those day trips are quite canned and touristy. I think Hong Kong actually offers a lot more to do and see than Shanghai. If you want small villages, there are many to be found here, although I will say that our villages do not have the double arched bridges of the water villages near Shanghai. They do, however, have old ladies sitting around playing Mahjong on a Sunday afternoon, fish paste drying in the sun, and no one chasing after you trying to sell you anything (which will be a relief after much of the mainland). Perhaps I am missing something, but in all my trips to Shanghai, mostly for business, but a few for pleasure, I don’t get the attraction. It is a city I am OK with travelling 3 hours by plane to see, but I am not sure I would include it as a once-in-a-lifetime place. Hong Kong, IMO, would qualify for that.

I think Guilin or Lijiang (or other parts of Yunnan Province) are to be preferred to Shanghai if you have a limited time and want to see something interesting.
Cicerone is offline  
Old Jan 17th, 2012, 08:06 AM
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As always, a great and thoughtful post from Cicerone.
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