Sep 9th, 2005, 04:15 PM
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We have been invited to use the apartment of a business associate to visit Hong Kong. It's too late for this year but maybe 2006. We travelled in China two years ago on a small group tour and enjoyed every minute.

I need some reasons to visit Hong Kong because I have never been interested in going there and still not interested, however, my husband has been twice and wants me to go for the experience. We would visit one other country while there.

We have been to Japan twice, China and Malaysia so at this point I would rather spend our time and money elswhere.

Would anyone like to tell me why you think I should take this opportunity to visit Hong Kong - what makes it so interesting - why missing a trip would be too bad.

If we do go, it would probably be around February. I've been reading some of the climate reports for Hong Kong but would like to hear comments on the climate from people who have travelled around that time.

I will read posts with an open mind. This forum has been very helpful on our various trips.


michi is offline  
Sep 9th, 2005, 06:09 PM
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Well michi , I am biased as I have done lots of travel around the world and Hong Kong is still my favourite place (I've been 8 times and am suffering withdrawal systems at the moment!). It is full of energy and bright lights yet there are many quiet relaxed places one can retreat to. The harbour is great as are the views from on top of the Peak and from the shore at night. Shopping is great and the food is fabulous. Everything is close by and transport is good when you don't walk. You can have the razzle dazzle of the city or you can do ferry trips to the nearby islands and fishing villages or even a day trip across to Macau to experience the Chinese/Portuguese mix. I haven't been in February but in March it was pleasant ( neither hot nor cold). One great reason you should go is that you have "been invited to use the apartment of a business associate". Yikes, its a no brainer! If you decide against it let me know and I will gladly take up the offer!! Seriously michi, do go . I'm sure you will be glad you did. Enjoy!
Peteralan is offline  
Sep 9th, 2005, 06:25 PM
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what are you crazy??? its one of the top places to visit in asia and the world....it is nothing like either china or malaysia or japan...it is unique...

the single most expensive thing in HK is your hotel...so if you have it for free this could even be considered a bargain vacation...the airfare is dear but who cares and there are always great rates...cathy pacific offers good deals...

we call it "upscale NY"....

gon and you will return often...you will look for reasons to stop there to or from other asian trips...
rhkkmk is offline  
Sep 9th, 2005, 06:39 PM
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michi, Hong Kong is one of the world's great international cities. The way people respond to HK has a lot to do with the way they feel about cities in general -- big, noisy, crowded, polluted, get me out of here? Or big, noisy, stimulating, exciting, so much to do and see?

Hong Kong has a definite buzz. Great restaurants -- both Asian and international, shopping at all price points, sparkling views, wide ranging green space, all surrounded by the beautiful South China Sea. The focus is definitely on making money, 24/7. The culture is an overlay of British colonialism and Western consumerism on top of traditional Chinese.

February's a coolish month subject to rain, a good time for walking, especially hill climbing.

As a combination with Hong Kong, you might consider Bali or Bangkok.

marmot is offline  
Sep 9th, 2005, 07:17 PM
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Absolutely go. I also resisted Hong Kong for a long time but I finally went for the first time in 1989 and have been back twice since. It has a terrific energy, fabulous food and an interesting history as well as some nice modern buildings. Good shopping. I have been there in winter and it's cool but not cold. Good walking weather.
glorialf is offline  
Sep 9th, 2005, 08:06 PM
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it's also one of my favorite places in the world, it may be a litle bit too expensive for me but it's a great place lots of energy good transportation easy too get around. especially for english speaking people..
so where do you want too go.?
If you go too HK or anywhere with such a indifrent/negative additude you may end up with a crummy trip.
then again the "GIFT HORSE"" proverb may apply., if you recieve a gift you should not complain.

orgy7 is offline  
Sep 10th, 2005, 03:48 AM
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Reasons to go br />
1.Free accomodation which I hope is on mid levels on The Peak or some other excellent place
2. It is the New York of the East and visually stunning
3.Food - of every type and price
4.Good shopping - in Feb it is the New Year sales still and not too hot
5.Excellent day trips eg Lantau Island
6.You have never been and if you do not go , will never know if you like it or not .
PaulS is offline  
Sep 10th, 2005, 04:23 AM
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In addition to the great information above, listen to your husband. He's been there before and presumably he knows your likes and dislikes. I would trust his opinion foremost.
NoFlyZone is offline  
Sep 10th, 2005, 05:53 AM
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I grew up in Hong Kong. What other reasons do you need?
rkkwan is offline  
Sep 10th, 2005, 05:58 AM
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Well, maybe I'm in the minority, but I have been to HK many times, either on business or a forced stopover when I spent a free day there, and I just don't find it that interesting. Sure, any large city can be fun, but its not in my top 100 cities, and I have been to almost all of the world's major cities in over 100 countries.

The food is excellent, but no better than the great restaurants in Beijing or Shanghai.

Macao, on the other hand, is a worthwhile day trip, and is very historic.

Still, I would visit, especially if I had access to a free apartment, and I'd take advantage of Cathay's frequent flights to also visit elsewhere in Asia, either Thailand, Vietnam or Cambodia, all of which are incredibly interesting.

Two days in HK is enough. You'll hit some great restaurants, ride the Star Ferry, check out a wet market and go to the peak. The shopping is no different than any other major city. The custom made shirts (David's in Mandarin Oriental is great) but the suits stink.

thit_cho is offline  
Sep 10th, 2005, 06:13 AM
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February is a great time to go to HK. The weather is very comfortable at this time of the year. Please check when the Chinese New Year is for that year. It usually falls at the end of January of sometime in February. At that time, a lot of places are closed for a week. HK is a fun place. Food is great and so is the shopping. You have the choice of upscale shopping in the boutiques or go bargain hunting in Stanley or Schenzen. With the free accomodations, I would definitely go.
Martinan is offline  
Sep 10th, 2005, 06:44 AM
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Chinese New Year is 1/29/2006. Some local-owned restaurants and shops are closed for about 3 days, but seldom more. The city is quieter than usual, but in return you get a great fireworks on the night of 1/30, plus some other activities.

No reason to go to HK for CNY, but one doesn't need to avoid it, in my opinion. Biggest problem for the 2 weeks around CNY is that the border crossings to China are extremely busy. Not a good time for visitors for that.
rkkwan is offline  
Sep 10th, 2005, 08:32 AM
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I am listening! I am re-considering my position. What terrific feedback! Nice humour.

I know about Cathay Pacific's special 21-day travel to about 18 different countries so I will post a separate question to those who have taken it.

Keep posting if you feel you can add anything.

Thank you everyone.
michi is offline  
Sep 10th, 2005, 08:41 AM
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I am listening! I am re-considering my position. What terrific feedback! Nice humour.

I know about Cathay Pacific's special 21-day travel to about 18 different countries so I will post a separate question to those who have taken it.

Keep posting if you feel you can add anything. Thank you everyone.
michi is offline  
Sep 11th, 2005, 03:22 AM
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Michi - are you the same Michi from Canada who was in Australia a year or so ago and posted a thread about Sydney which received a record amount of answers?? If so, I feel I know you!

Do take heed of the above postings, except for one. I too have lived there for a few years, if back in 70's is counted and had my first baby there. It still draws me back if only for a few days every couple of years (easier for me, its only a 6hour flight from where I live in Cairns, Australia). Its my favourite Asian city (have also lived in Bangkok) and visited most others. And where do you find better food? So easy to get around, everything works, and if you get fed up with the big city feel its so easy to escape to its nearby islands or for a touch of Portugal, Macao.
pat_woolford is offline  
Sep 11th, 2005, 07:07 PM
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Hong Kong Disneyland!
matnikstym is offline  
Sep 11th, 2005, 07:34 PM
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As a general comment, I would never turn down free accommodation in any of the world's great cities even if I wasn't overly interested in seeing it (e.g. Tokyo).

Secondly, Hong Kong is so much more than shopping; although the shopping is really better here than anywhere else in almost the entire world (more on why below). There is an excellent book by Jan Morris called "Hong Kong" which will give you historical background and an overview of the city and make you see why this city is so important.

Thirdly, the weather is excellent in the winter months, neither hot nor humid and almost no rain. Walking and hiking are wonderful at this time. Much of Hong Kong is actually national park, and there are great beaches as well, esp in the Sai Kung area. There are some wonderful and easy walks and hikes on Hong Kong island itself which will give you great views of the city and harbour and which will take you to green areas right in the city and on the Southside which has some wonderful beaches. You might not want to swim in January or February, but they are still beautiful, esp on a sunny day in the "winter" months. You can take boat trips to outlying islands and to see pink dolphins. A day or two to Macau to see the old bits which are left is also a good side trip.

Fourth, the variety of food available in both restaurants and in supermarkets is excellent and a good value. In addition to every variety of Chinese and Asian food, some of the best European restaurants in the world are here in Hong Kong. You will be quite spoiled for choice.

Fifth, while not New York Paris or London, there are a number of good museums and theatre/music venues, and a legion of private art galleries, esp along Hollywood Road and in the Soho area. There are two interesting folk museums in the New Territories where you can see how life was lived in a typical walled Chinese village; something that is hard to find even in the PRC itself these days.

I also disagree with the above poster that two days here is enough. I have lived here for about 6 years, and am always finding something new. If you like getting lost in cities, then Hong Kong is a great place. There are numerous neighborhoods to wander in where you can see the "old" Hong Kong, esp the areas around Wan Chai, Causeway Bay and Kennedy Town, and the evening and weekend markets make for especially great people watching. For little boutiques which remind me of Milan, there is Soho (also has great restaurants). For real estate worth tens of millions, take a walk around Plunket's Path or other areas on The Peak.

If you can, I would suggest that you go around Chinese New Year (January 28 30 2006), so you can see and experience this important holiday. There are great fireworks in the harbour, the skyscrapers are all decorated, and there is a really festive feeling in the air. Yes, shops are closed for about 3 days, but you will find many other activities, and as long as you avoid places like going into Shenzhen and other border crossings, you will not find things overly crowded. Also, as you will have your own apartment, you won't be affected by restaurant closures (which in fact aren't numerous in terms of non-Chinese restaurants). There is a wonderful and huge flower market in Victoria park which lasts for the week leading up to the new year, there is a parade in Kowloon, and a host of other stuff going on.

OK the shopping. While not cheap anymore in terms of things like tailoring, and while things like Asian handicrafts may be more plentiful in places like Bangkok and India, in terms of the breadth of what you can buy and the quality of goods on offer you will be absolutely amazed. You can virtually buy or have made any item at all, full stop. Without exaggeration, every brand in the world is sold here, so if there is some obscure brand you want, do some research and you can stock up here. It won't necessarily be any cheaper (but no tax), but you will be able to find it. You can have shoes and bags made, you can have clothes made (I disagree with the above poster, you can have good tailoring done, just not cheaply). You can have curtains made for nothing, and framing done for an absolute song (hey, you are not paying for accommodation, so bring along all that artwork and bring or ship it home). Rugs are an excellent buy, as is Asian furniture, both antique and reproduction. You can get spare parts for your favorite mobile phone (I just moved back here from Switzerland, where Noika said they couldn't fix mine, but the little man in Wan Chai did for $22). There is even a guy who will repair your umbrella, where else can you get the spokes on your umbrella repaired for $3?

As noted by a poster above, IMO, a trip to Hong Kong with free accommodation is a no-brainer. If you know where the flat is located, I can suggest activities/shopping in the neighborhood as well.

Cicerone is offline  
Sep 12th, 2005, 06:03 PM
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I'm going to agree with everybody else and say a trip to HK with FREE accomodations is a no-brainer!! BUT, I will also say that HK in many ways is no different than most big cities. Just because it's on the other side of the world doesn't make it all that different than say, New York. Most of the restaurants aren't that unique anymore. There are tons of non-Chinese restaurants now. Starbucks is everywhere! Malls and name-brand stuff is everywhere. Yes, some stuff IS cheaper to buy there, but not much. We found that clothes, electronics (cameras), and accessories are the same price if not more. Sure, you can get custom-made suits, but they're not really that cheap anymore either. You can't really, truly experience the "Chinese ways" because pretty much everybody there speaks English. In a sense, it's pretty commercialized now. Every time I go, I really feel like I'm still in the U.S. And now, they have Disneyland there too!!

Now if you take a side-trip somewhere else, maybe to one of the other islands or to Macau, then it might be different.
BigJim is offline  
Sep 13th, 2005, 09:07 AM
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But I would still go back there in a heartbeat if I had the chance!
BigJim is offline  
Sep 14th, 2005, 04:43 AM
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Well HK isn't on the other side of the world for me, its quite convenient from Australia and I don't think it matters that it offers cuisine from just about everywhere in the world. To me that's a plus, not that there's anything wrong with the local Cantonese food. Commercialisms like Starbucks are easily avoidable. Certainly consumer items are more expensive these days, but there's still some pretty good bargains. Linen suits I bought about 15 months ago are still like new, stuff I had made in Vietnam a week or so later at almost same cost has fallen apart. And I've still got a houseful of solid teak and rattan furniture I had made in HK nearly 30 years ago. Its survived children, teenagers and grandkids, almost indestructible.

It would be well worthwhile to read Jan Morris's book on Hong Kong, also hers on Sydney. Far more depth than the Bill Bryson piece of facile but amusing entertainment which seems to have become a bible for some visitors to Australia.
pat_woolford is offline  

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