One Jet-lagged Night in Hong Kong

Nov 6th, 2010, 05:57 AM
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One Jet-lagged Night in Hong Kong

On the annual trip home for the holidays, I'll be returning to Cambodia in January via Hong Kong. I've never been there.

I arrive at 6:45 pm and must layover until 9am the next day.

Is it easy to get to the city center on a train/taxi and if so, are there any suggestions for a place to stay where I could stumble around that evening, eat some dinner and just have a gander? I won't need anything fancy; will be in "transit mode". Any particular part of the city one would recommend for someone with virtually no time and that time will be during the night?

Or should I just grab an airport hotel room, call room service, watch bad tv and pretend like I'm not really there?

Thanks, I promise to research on my own with some helpful guidelines...
offwego is offline  
Nov 6th, 2010, 06:06 AM
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It's easy and fast to get from the airport to the city center(s). If you have never been to Hong Kong, you must go into town, jet-lagged or not. I insist.

You would enjoy yourself in either of the two primary central areas (Tsim Sha Tsui(TST) or Central), but for a short, 1st-visit overnight, I'd choose TST for The View from the Promenade and the lights of Nathan Road. A very decent, well-located, and reasonably-priced place to stay would be the Holiday Inn Golden Mile on Nathan Road. (20 other people will chime in about the Salisbury YMCA in the same general area.)
DonTopaz is offline  
Nov 6th, 2010, 06:20 AM
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Like rizzuto says, you can and should visit the city. Doesn't matter if you stay at an airport hotel or in the city. There are only 3 hotels near the airport - Regal, Novotel and Marriott, and can be pricey (Novotel usually cheapest) - but then you can sleep in a little later than otherwise the next morning. Just go into the city for a quick look around and come back. Last train for airport departs around 12:50a.

Apparently, more hotel choices in the city and cheaper. You can use in-town check-in next morning if you use the Airport Express train, but even so, for flights back to the US, you can't be too late getting to HKG.
rkkwan is offline  
Nov 7th, 2010, 04:39 AM
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Even if I didn't hit the street till 9pm that's enough time to at least get it on me

Thanks Rizzuto for the intel, I will check it out.
offwego is offline  
Nov 7th, 2010, 04:14 PM
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Y is a good bet right near action in kowloon... wander around for a few hours...
rhkkmk is offline  
Nov 7th, 2010, 11:51 PM
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Gee, couldn’t you extend 24 hours? Hong Kong is worth a day! My inclination would be to leave your things at a basic room at the airport then head to the city on the airport express. You can get back to the airport on the airport express until around midnight. Taxis are available after that, though it’s not always so easy to hail them on the street. You could ask a hotel doorman to help you.

I’d start at the Intercontinental in Kowloon. Have a drink or an expresso and take in the spectacular view then stroll over to the Star Ferry -- a ten minute walk along the promenade, but you can linger. You could also have a look at Nathan Road, but it may just make your jet lagged head explode.

Take the Star Ferry to Central. There are about 20 million choices of restaurants within a mile radius. If food is your next stop then pick a cuisine and come back for suggestions.

If you’re just interested in snacking then I’d walk up to Lan Kwai Fong – ask as you go; it’s close to the ferry terminal, but not so easy to find. This is a conclave of bars and restaurants that spills out onto the street. LKF attracts a Westernish crowd, though. If you want more of a Chinese mix try Wan Chai.

When you’ve consumed enough and/or wandered enough and need to sit down, take the peak tram up to the peak and soak up the view. The tram runs until midnight.

By this time you’re either up for getting a few hours of sleep or something livelier. If the latter, you’ll need someone more energetic than I to advise you.
marmot is offline  
Nov 8th, 2010, 01:51 AM
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My thoughts and suggestions:

1. I agree that if you can extend your time in Hong Kong, it may be worthwhile. As your flight arrives when it will already be dark, and things like temples and wet markets are closed (and will be closed still before you leave the next day), the most you will really be able do is take in the night View from Kowloon, ride the Star Ferry, perhaps get to the Peak, and have a meal. All certainly worth doing, but the daytime views and sights are quite interesting as well. Also, on top of a long haul flight and with jet lag, your interest in doing ALL of the above in one night starting at about 8 pm may not be as great as you think. Finally, bear in mind that it can be a bit nippy in the evenings in Jan in Hong Kong, in the mid to low 50s F. Dress accordingly (it ain’t going be hot like Cambodia).

2. The very first thing you should do when you land, and before you leave the airport, is check in for your flight to Cambodia. (You may be able to check in on line before you board your flight from the US, most airlines allow on-line check-in 24 hours before departure.) This will save you a bit chunk of time in the morning. If organized, this will also include checking in larger pieces of luggage and just having a small bag that you need to bring into Hong Kong. (You can also check luggage the next day if necessary, but can skip check-in lines). If not organized, then perhaps consider leaving larger luggage pieces 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. The website for Hong Kong airport is, for left baggage see If you are departing from Terminal 2 the next day, there are lockers in Terminal 2, so it may be worth it to leave them in Terminal 2 rather than Terminal 1 (I believe all flights from the US land in Terminal 1. But check the airport website and it should be able to tell you the arrival terminal for your inbound and outbound flight. They are walkable from each other.)

3. With a 9 am departure, assuming you have already checked in on-line, IMO you need to be at the airport at 7:30 am to complete Immigration and get to the gate. This means being in a taxi or on the Airport Express train at 7 am. (An hour before the flight would probably work too, but there can be lines at Immigration so I would stick with 1.5 hours.) If you are at an airport hotel, you probably need 10-20 minutes to get to the airport, unless you are at the Regal which is attached to Terminal 1.

4. It’s kind of a toss up to me whether to stay at an airport hotel or one in the city. Staying at the airport will save you a bit of time in the morning, and will make arrival a bit easier as you won't have to go far or figure out trains or taxis with luggage. Unless you are a really early riser, you probably won’t have time to see anything of Hong Kong in the morning (and very little is open that early anyway), so there no great advantage to staying there, IMO. But if you can get a harbour view room, that might be something to consider. And then you don’t have to trek back to the airport late at night. But look at prices and see what you think. You don’t give a budget so it’s hard to make reccos. I agree that the YMCA Salisbury is great if you can get it for a view room. Novotel has a perfectly fine location for Kolwoon side.

5. If you are thinking of going to the Peak, and your layover is on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday evening, there may well be lines for the Peak Tram going up or coming down. If lines are very long, consider taking the #15 bus. Offers nice views from the upper deck (although these are better during the day, IMO as glare from bus lights can obscure views a bit.)
Cicerone is offline  
Nov 8th, 2010, 02:00 AM
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Another hotel you might try is on the Kowloon side and is called the Panorama Hotel. See They have very nice views from their rooms. The cheapest rooms are the silver rooms which are quite small, but for less than 10 hours you won’t care, IMO. This is near an MTR entrance (although it is a far walk underground to the trains, but would work for getting to and from the Airport Express station in Kowloon).

If you can spring for a taxi, the cost to/from the airport and most any Kowloon hotel will be about HK$300-350 (US$40), which may be worth it to not have to deal with figuring out trains and/or switching to the subway to reach your hotel. A taxi from the Kowloon Airport Express station to most Kowloon hotels would be between HK$30-50, so that may be a good compromise. (Yes, there are free shuttle buses to many hotels from the Airport Express station, but IMO you don’t have time to waste on them.)
Cicerone is offline  
Dec 11th, 2010, 06:46 PM
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Thanks for these recos. My current plan involves a harbour view room at the Harbour Grand Kowloon which I chose because I got it free with some old points I had laying around. Looks like the airport express + Taxi to hotel is a good option. Since this is a scheduled layover on Cathay, my bags will be on their merry way to Phnom Penh and not in my possession so I'll be traveling light.

I arrive HK at 6:45 pm so I'm thinking that by 8 I should be on the street since I don't have to mess with luggage and hopefully I can see the light thingy as I make my way to the ferry? (trying to understand the ferry sched and looks like they don't traverse very late into the night, so maybe I take the last one over and the MRT or taxi back I'm thinking?) More research required.

What are the suggestions for food in this "20 million restaurants in a one-mile radius?" I would want to want some chinese I reckon. What is the Hong Kong "thing to eat" ?

I'd like to go up to the Peak but we'll see how stupid I am by then...I'm more of a street walker than a view stalker anyway. It's a 15 hour flight from SFO and I am a very good plane sleeper. I can usually hit the ground running, we'll see how I do.

I can't extend the stay without creating a bunch of ruckus with my tickets, but I have a feeling I'll be back to HK.

Thanks so much for the detailed help.
offwego is offline  
Dec 11th, 2010, 08:11 PM
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I believe that both the Star Ferry and the MTR run till about 11:30 p.m. to midnight. After that taxis are available, but not all will be willing to go to Kowloon. You have to ask before you get in. This is where hotel doormen can be helpful.

I'm sure the Hung Hom neighborhood has changed a lot since I lived in Hong Kong, but I don't think there will be a lot of activity at night in the area.

It's rather too far to walk from the hotel to the Star Ferry so you may want to take a taxi to the Kowloon Shangri-La then walk along the esplanade to the ferry.

For food, I'd say go for Cantonese, but my restaurant list is woefully out of date, so I'll defer. Many of the best are in hotels or shopping malls, which seems kind of counterintuitive. Lately there's been a revival of retro noodle shops which are good for dining alone. Hong Kong is densely populated and people eat 24/7 so just look in the windows and plunge in if it appeals.

For drinks or coffee/tea I like the Intercontinental or the Peninsula lobbies.
marmot is offline  
Dec 12th, 2010, 03:10 AM
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Don't waste your time on the 8pm light show. Of the top 500 things to enjoy in HK, the light show ranks 500, if that.

Saying "Cantonese" food doesn't help much, coz that's more or less like suggestinf French food while in Paris. Also, most proper Cantonese restaurants are challenging for solo diners, as they're more geard to multiple people sharing dishes. As marmot says, however, noodle shops, especially street-side ones, will give you a good sense of the place. You will have no trouble fiding places that serve food -- it's an obsession in HK. Also, look for bakeries and try a custard pie. They're best when they're warm, they're a delicious pick-me-up, and they cost less than a US$.

The Star Ferry isn't a bad idea, nut don't fret if your time or energy doesn't allow it. There's plenty to enjoy on the Kowloon/TST side. Get a map from your hotel (they all have the same ones), and from the TST promenade make your way up to Carnarvon and Kimberly streets, and wander around. If you find a little alley, take it.
DonTopaz is offline  
Dec 12th, 2010, 04:15 AM
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The Harbour Grand Kowloon is in Hung Hom, and is not walkable to TST. It does provide a shuttle to get there.

The Star Ferry has a Hung Hom - Central route that's just steps from the Harbour Grand Kowloon, but service ends at around 8pm, so it's of no use for you. Regular TST-Central service ends at 11:30p.

MTR (Subway lines) end at around 1am. No stops near the Harbour Grand. Just take a taxi from TST back to the hotel if
the shuttle isn't available.

If you don't want to go far for food, there's a food plaza with lots of good Chinese restaurants. It's on Tak On Street across from the stern of the "ship" in Whampoa Gardens, a few minutes' walk from your hotel.
rkkwan is offline  
Dec 12th, 2010, 04:17 AM
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As for the Peak, the Peak Tram runs till midnight. Main issue is weather and air quality. Go up there only if it's relatively clear.
rkkwan is offline  
Dec 31st, 2010, 07:11 AM
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Bookmarking this - as I have a 23 hour layover in HK.

sharmon is offline  

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