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Please critique this Hong Kong itinerary, our first trip

Please critique this Hong Kong itinerary, our first trip

Old Oct 15th, 2009, 08:20 PM
  #1  
kdd
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 337
Please critique this Hong Kong itinerary, our first trip

Our party consists of husband, wife and a 5 yr old.

Day 1 - flight reaches at 1:30 pm. Think we will be ready to explore by 5 pm. We are staying on HK island so plan to ferry across to Kowloon, maybe pop into the Arts museum, walk along Avenue of Stars and then take the Star Ferry harbour cruise for 1 hr at 7 pm. Get back to promenade and watch Symphony of Lights. Return to hotel or visit the night market?

Is it worth stretching ourselves to go see the night market?

Day 2 - Disneyland. Can this be combined with a trip to Giant Buddha or would that be too much for one day especially with a small child?

Day 3 - Ocean Park, not sure how much time is needed for this. Would we have sufficient time in the evening to visit the Peak?

Day 4 - Visit Giant Buddha if not already done, visit Stanley market, Ladies mkt, Jade market, some temples (Man Po, Wong Tai Sin). Also hoping to stop at Peninsula for an afternoon tea. Is this too much for one day?

Day 5 - Flight is at 3:30 pm, so we have the morning to do something nice. What could we do for the morning part of our departure day?

Would greatly appreciate any input on this.

Thanks.
kdd is offline  
Old Oct 15th, 2009, 08:51 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
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I answered your logistical question about Big Buddha and Disney on your other thread.

Ocean Park - well, you can spend 1/2 day, 3/4 day or most of a day there. But you will have time afterwards to go to the Peak.

I question the value of a Star Ferry Harbour cruise that costs HK$100 over just buying yourself a drink and then hop on a regular Star Ferry to cross the harbor for HK$1.8 lower deck or HK$2.3 upper deck? If you feel like you're missing part of the harbor, you can also take it say, Central - Tsimshatsui - Wanchai - Hunghom or something like that for under HK$20 total.
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Old Oct 15th, 2009, 08:57 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Okay, a couple more things. There's usually a line at the Peninsula for afternoon tea unless you're a hotel guest. Are you going for the food or for people watching? If you're going to Stanley anyways, you may want to have tea at the Verandah at The Repulse Bay instead. It is run by the Peninsula Group.

As for the last day, you can do quite a bit. But in the morning, you can go visit the Bird Market, Flower Market and probably also the Gold Fish Market - all in Kowloon.

BTW, the Symphony of Lights is not that spectacular. If you're in the area already, then watch it. But no need to make a special trip.
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Old Oct 15th, 2009, 09:30 PM
  #4  
 
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I think many would agree the night market, a tawdry tourist trap full of tat, is avoidable even if it doesn't come at the end of a tiring day.

And I would question the emphasis on theme parks. Is there any reason to come to Hong Kong only to ignore what makes it different and interesting in order to search out those parts of it pretending (particularly in the Disney case) to be America? I have to admit I think my five-year-old (now only a little older) would be more than happy with all kinds of stimulating corners of Hong Kong without going for these other artificial pleasures. If rides are wanted surely

A ferry ride to an outlying island (e.g. Lamma)

A trip up the Mid-Levels Escalator

The Peak Tram

The Star Ferry (its wooden interior and views of the towers on both sides of the harbour always a treat for children)

A top deck ride on a double decker bus (particularly one going up towards the Peak)

and the cable car to the Big Buddha

and even the MTR, far superior to systems in most of the rest of the world

are all likely to divert and delight while genuinely being part of Hong Kong and while getting you somewhere else you might want to go.

Peter N-H
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Old Oct 15th, 2009, 10:11 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 2,775
I agree with Peter. When my son was young he loved the varieties of Hong Kong transportation -- the Star Ferry (go second class, downstairs), the Peak Tram, the wild rides on the double decker buses (sit up top, up front), the mid-levels escalator is a unique experience.

I'd put the peak tram high on the list. Maybe combine it with a late afternoon going into dusk walk around the peak. It takes about a hour with a 5 year old. Start on the ocean side and end up as the lights are coming on over Hong Kong.

I'd also recommend a walk through Hong Kong park. Kids love to play in the water features and the bird enclosure is spectacular. There's a little zoo nearby.
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Old Oct 16th, 2009, 02:17 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Can you please give us the dates of your trip, as there may be a festival or public holiday which would change my reccos in that you may want to see it or avoid crowds associated with it (like Cheung Yung on October 26 when you do NOT want to go to the Peak as it will be mobbed because it is auspicious on that day to go to high elevations).

Please search this board for my very long list of 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....)” at http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...l-night-ma.cfm

My thoughts on your itin so far:

Day 1 – the Art Museum closes at 6 pm, so you may not actually have much time to see the exhibits if you are crossing the harbour starting at 5 pm; not sure that a 5 year old would appreciate this museum in any event. It’s closed on Thursdays, I assume your first day is not a Thursday.

I would agree that you could just take the regular ferry from Central to Hung Hom, a longer ride than just going across to Kowloon/TST; the Hung Hom ferry goes up and then across the harbour to Hung Hom (it’s part of the circular Harbour Tour). You can get off in Hung Hom and then just get back on the next ferry, or take a very brief and cheap taxi ride to the tip of Kowloon. This would be far cheaper than spending like HK$300 for 3 people for basically the same ride, but it is up to you whether you want to do that. If you do the Harbour Tour, I actually would stay on the boat through the Symphony of Lights part, and get off back in Central at 8:30 pm as the show starts at 8 pm and only lasts about 15-20 minutes. There is recorded commentary and music on the Kowloon side for it, but I don’t think you really have to listen to it to get the benefit of the light show.

I admire your thinking that you will want to stay up with a 5 year old past about 9 pm on your first day; my general rule when traveling that type of distance is to get to bed as early as possible on the first night. But as for the night market itself, if you are going to Stanley, you do not need to go to the Temple Street night market, which has much the same stuff, minus a lot of the copy watch and fake Prada bag crap (which Stanley has just not so visibly). Stanley will give you a nice bus ride over, the chance to stroll along the waterfront and have a pleasant meal outdoors, and you can even go the beach if you want. There is a WW II cemetery and several temples in Stanley as well.

I am curious as to when you plan to eat dinner on Day 1.

Day 2 - Just an editorial comment, but you are going to Ocean Park, which is fun (they have pandas and a good cable car ride), I wonder if you really need to go to Disney. I know you have a child, but this seems like a lot of parks in a short amount of time. I know from your other posts that you have been you Disneyworld in Florida, so the smaller park here may not be that interesting to you actually. There are many other things you could do, such as take a boat out to look for the pink dolphins which are native to our waters, see http://www.hkdolphinwatch.com, or go to Tai O fishing village where houses sit on stilts in the water (you can do a shorter version of the dolphin tour from there as well, a visit to Tai O is easily combinable with a trip to the Buddha), or go to one of the beaches on Lantau or elsewhere. Even the big Tin Hau temple on Repulse Bay may be interesting to a child, it has some big statues and its very colourful.

I would not go to Disney in any event on a Sunday or a public holiday. I would not go to Ocean Park on a Sunday or public holiday either; so if Day 2 or 3 is a Sunday or PH, then you may want to rearrange things.

I would not combine Disney with the Buddha in any event, and I can’t imagine a 5-year old wanting to do both in one day. In addition to the bit of traipsing around necessary to get from Disney to the Buddha, if you want to see Disney, then make it a worthwhile amount of time. (Disney is quite isolated, even with flawless transport timing IMO it will take at least an hour to get between the two, although the cable car is certainly scenic. Discounting waiting time, by the way, the cable car is quite a bit faster than the bus). The Buddha closes at about 5:30 pm, so you have to bear that in mind too.

Day 3 - Ocean Park can be an all-day affair if you want it to be, or just a morning or afternoon (it’s open until fairly late in the evening) it would be up to you to decide how much time you want to spend there and how much you think your child can take – don’t rule out jet lag messing up the schedule as well.

For the Peak, I think it is most beautiful at dusk, and then if you stay through until darkness you can see the daylight view and then the night view. (With our air pollution, the night view is actually somewhat better.) So you could do it at the end of the day at Ocean Park, but I wonder if with a 5 year old you are going to be able to do this in the same day, I can see the child getting tired. Another option might be to go to the Peak in the morning and then go to Ocean Park. If it is a clear day, morning views are great. The fastest way between the Peak and Ocean Park is going to be a taxi (I am guessing at the fare of about HK$80), as taking a bus will require going back down to Central; but you can actually also take a quite nice and completely easy downhill walk from the Peak down Pok Fu Lam Reservoir Road with its reservoir and lovely country park areas, then take a short bus or taxi ride form there to Ocean Park. I am quite positive that a 5-year old could do this walk, not sure if this interests you. Would take about 40 minutes to an hour. There is also an excellent flat walk around Lugaard/Harlech Roads which circles the Peak and offers nice views; this walk could be done in the evening.

Day 4 – it is not possible to see the Buddha, Stanley Market, the Ladies Market, the Jade market, the two temples and have tea at the Penn on the same day, IMO (I assume you mean the Man Mo temple in Hollywood Road, which is on Hong Kong Island and quite a trek from Wong Tai Sin). While physically it’s probably possible (and I am not entirely sure on that one) it certainly would not be fun. It’s way too much. For the Buddha you need about 5 hours including transport, and this does not include doing anything else on Lantau, like stopping at one of the nice beaches, taking one of the many walks or going to Tai O. Stanley also will be about 4-5 hours if you have a meal and shop.

I agree that lines can be long for tea at the Penn, but on weekdays they tend to be better. If you go right at 2 pm you may also find lines not so long. So pick a weekday and then see what the line looks like. The Intercontinental across the street does a nice tea as well, and has the great harbour view, which the Penn’s lobby does not (but it is a lovely lobby). I also have to put in a good word for Sevva in Central which has a large outdoor terrace offering very nice city and harbour views, see http://www.sevvahk.com/, tea is from 2:30-5:30 pm. The Verandah mentioned above is also a good choice, it can be a stop off on the way to or from Stanley and has an wide curving beach with a Tin Hau temple at the end (to the left as you face the water). See http://www.therepulsebay.com/restaurants.html, tea is daily from 3 – 5 pm. There is a very easy and very scenic short flat walk on the sea view promenade which goes from Repulse Bay over to Deep Water Bay which might also be enjoyable after tea. That walk takes less than half an hour, and you can get a bus back to Central from Deep Water Bay. You could even walk FROM Ocean Park through Deep Water Bay and on to Repulse Bay for tea after your day at Ocean Park, that walk would maybe add 15-20 minutes to the walk time.

I try to avoid the Big Buddha on Sundays, esp. if it is nice and if you want to take the cable car, as lines can be long. If you are OK with the bus from Tung Chung or Mui Wo (either of which are a great ride by the way), then the Buddha is manageable on a Sunday.

You have not included Aberdeen, which can actually be fun to take a little bum boat around the harbour, or even just the boat to and from the Jumbo Restaurant. Aberdeen can be included as part of a trip to Stanley or Ocean Park (not sure of all this with a 5 year old, adults could do it, you know your child best). You can also take the charming kaido ferry from Aberdeen over to Sok Ku Wan on Lamma Island and do something like the easy Family Walk to Yung Shue Wan on the other side, which takes about an hour and offers nice views of water and mountains, and you can stop off at one or two beaches. There is a small Tin Hau temple in Sok Ku Wan, and one in Yung Shue Wan as well. You could have a seafood meal along the waterfront in either village, or go someplace like the Bookworm Café in Yung Shue Wan, see http://www.bookwormcafe.com.hk/. From Yung Shue Wan you can take the larger regular ferry back to Central.

Day 5 – I would include some of the things you had planned to do on Day 4 here. I would also include the bird market and flower market, the bird market esp. may be interesting to your child; this can easily be combined with a trip to the Jade Market and the Wong Tai Sin Temple, all not to far from each other in Kowloon, and reachable by MTR. You can watch or participate in tai chi groups in the mornings in many parks, including Victoria Park and along the waterfront in Kowloon. I would also include a ride on the tram on Hong Kong Island, this could be done on other days too. I don’t know where your hotel is, but it may be near the tram, and you may be able to use that to get to and from some places.

I agree with Hong Kong Park, which has the aviary and is very near the base stop for the Peak Tram. The zoo mentioend above is actually part of the Botanic Gardens further up the hill in Mid-Levels; it is also a nice spot. You can walk between the two, it's a bit of uphill but doable. The zoo could also be included as part of the escalator trip, go to the exit at Mosque Street and walk east to Robinson Road(east is to the right as you face the harbour) and continue along to the intersection with Albany Road/Old Peak Road (you may need to use pedestrian walkways over roads for part of this walk). There is an entrance to the park/zoo on the left.
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Old Oct 17th, 2009, 02:21 AM
  #7  
kdd
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Hi All,

Lots of good info. I have printed out this thread to take with us.

We are reaching on Sunday and staying Mon-Thurs so hopefully will not encounter massive tourist crowds during the weekdays.

It appears that there is enough to see and do in HK for 2 trips so we will have to pick and choose our activities this trip so that we don't end up feeling rushed!

Thanks for your help.
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Old Oct 21st, 2009, 06:01 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 71
I agree with the comment about doing 2 amusement parks as overkill a bit. Consider adding Stanley Market - a beautiful scenic location and a great public bus ride with lots to see there and back.

Another don't miss IMHO is the Gray Line "New Teritories" Mini Bus tour. Half-day I think. Not expensive and a highlight of our 5 days in HK.
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