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Short Hong Kong trip - need some help to get me organized

Short Hong Kong trip - need some help to get me organized

Old Jan 11th, 2008, 03:15 PM
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Short Hong Kong trip - need some help to get me organized

I spend most of my holidays in the UK and California but have always wanted to visit Hong Kong. Now I have the chance. Some dear friends are having a celebration party at the Hong Kong club in March. So I'm taking a whirlwind trip and I really need some help/pointers.

I arrive late in the evening March 20 and leave early afternoon on March 25. I got a room at the Salisbury YMCA for the first 4 nights but they are full for March 24 so I need recs for a hotel for my last night. Is priceline a good option for HK?

I'm heading out to the bookshop to get a general guidebook - but I do know I want to take the tram up Victoria Peak and the Star Ferry. Other than those two, I want to hear about favorite sites/things to do. I'll have all day Friday, much of Saturday, and all day Sun/Mon and am open to just about anything. At some point I'll be getting together w/ some other friends coming in for the party - but don't know where/when/what yet.

If you had a clueless friend w/ about 4 days for a first visit, what are the "musts" you'd recommend?

Also - what is the best way to get to the YMCA w/ a 2245 arrival at HKG.

Thanks for any help . . . .
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Old Jan 11th, 2008, 05:05 PM
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Hi Janis-

It's great that you'll get to visit Hong Kong! I am by no means an expert, but husband and I just returned last night from a 10-day trip to Hong Kong.

I can't help with hotels or transportation, but just a few thoughts on sightseeing...

On one day, you can start with Star Ferry across to Central, then walk to the Peak Tram station and take the Tram up the Peak. It won't take all day for the above, so you can then take the bus from the Peak to Stanley in the afternoon.

You can also spend an entire day in Lantau Island. This is what we did:
Ferry from Central to Lantau (Mui Wo), then take the bus from Mui Wo to Tai O. Tai O is one of the remaining fishing villages in HK and famous for the stilt houses.
We then take the bus from Tai O to Ngong Ping where the Po Lin Monastery and Big Buddha is. When you arrive at Tai O, check at the bus stop for the next departure for Ngong Ping. The bus only runs once an hour (at least on a weekday) so you don't want to just miss the bus.

The Po Lin Monastery has an affordable vegeterian lunch (HK$60). After lunch, visit the monastery and up the steps for the Big Buddha. You'll need the receipt for lunch to get inside the 2nd/3rd level of Big Buddha.

Next, walk over to Ngong Ping Village (a new complex with "ancient-looking" buildings) and take the cable car Ngong Ping 360 down to Tung Chung. From Tung Chung, you can take the MTR back to Tsim Sha Tsui.

On our trip, we also visited the Chi Lin Nunnery and its adjacent Nan Lian Garden. Both are manificent and definitely worth a visit (will take about 2-3 hours for both).
http://www.nanliangarden.org/

Lastly, depending on how much you're interested in learning about history of Hong Kong, I can recommend 2 museums:
The Coastal Defense Museum and the Museum of Hong Kong
http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/Museum/Coastal/index.php
http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/Museum/History/index.php

Hope this helps.
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Old Jan 11th, 2008, 07:46 PM
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try priceline HK....
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Old Jan 11th, 2008, 07:47 PM
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i might also wait till i got there and see if there is a waiting list and also ask to be on it now...

renaissance is across the street and often has good deals
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Old Jan 11th, 2008, 11:20 PM
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A few initial thoughts and suggestions:

1. I would get yourself on a waiting list at the Y, as IMO you won't want to move for one night. I agree that the Renaissance Kowloon hotel, virtually across the street from the Y, may be the best second choice as you won't have to move bag and baggage very far. See Marriott.com for info. The Sheraton Hong Kong is also bascially next door and may be an option (see starwood.com), another option would be the Kowloon hotel located behind the Penninsula (which is on the other side of the Y, see http://www.harbour-plaza.com/en/home). I would be careful with priceline as you may end up with a hotel someplace very far from where you are staying and then you may have quite a move with luggage. Note that the Hong Kong Club is on Hong Kong Island, right in downtown Central. While certainly reacable via the Star Ferry and a short walk or the subway and a shorter walk, IMO if your friends who live in Hong Kong actually live on Hong Kong Island, you may want to stay on Hong Kong Island, as this will make it much more convenient for you to get together. (I live on Hong Kong Island and frankly, it would be a pain if one of my friends was staying in Kowloon, as we pretty much would be eating out and doing everything on Hong Kong Island.) The Y has a great view, but in March, it is very likely to be in fog. March is not a great month here weather-wise, but if you are coming for the party, you are obviously tied to this time. It tends to be cool to cold, damp, chilly and foggy. See weatherbase.com for info. I try to go away (I will be in Miami and Key West for part of March myself...)

2. You are here for Easter weekend. Friday, March 21 is a public holiday here (Good Friday) as is the following Monday (Easter Monday). That may make things like the tram to the Peak more crowded. You may want to leave that for another day (not Sunday), or just be prepared for it. I personally prefer the Peak in the late afternoon towards dusk so you can see it if full daylight and then with all the lights of the city, both are fabulous views and very different. The bus noted above that goes from the Peak to Stanley (#315) ONLY runs on Sundays and public holidays, so you may in fact be able to do this trip, which is a good way to get to Stanley OR to get up to the Peak after an afternoon in Stanley for dusk and darkness on the Peak. Some buses will be a bit more crowded too, but the good thing is that buses to popular places like Stanley run on a more frequent scheduled on Sundays and public holidays so that does alleviate some pressure.

3. Please speak with your friends as to what they may want to do and see, as they may have already been making different plans like hiring a boat with all of you to go to other areas, taking hikes in the New Territories or on Hong Kong Island that may affect your itin. March is a good month for this as temps are cool, even if views can sometimes be a little foggy.

4. Please do get a guidebook and do some reading, as you have lots of options for things to do and see. 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....)” this should give you some ideas for what to do. For suggestions on walks and hikes on Hong Kong Island, see my postings called “Cicerone’s Favourite Hong Kong Walks: Severn Road, the Peak”., “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 ". Finally, check the Hong Kong Tourism Board website at discoverhongkong.com

5. The easiest way to get to the hotel from the airport is by taxi, this will cost about US$40 with a small luggage charge and take about 25 minutes. No tip is expected. The other options are the train or a bus. The Airport Express train to the Kowloon station and then either the free shuttle bus or a taxi to the hotel. Train fare is about US$11 one-way (without the slight US$1 round trip discount), and then the taxi from the train station in Kowloon to your hotel will be about US$5 give or take a bit. (There is a free shuttle bus that you can use with your Airport Express train ticket which runs a route between various hotels and the Kowloon train station. One of the hotels on the route is the Salisbury Y. You would board the bus at the Kowloon Station after you have taken the train in from the airport. The ride would be maybe 10 minutes.) The "Hotelink Bus" is a bus which makes a loop of various hotels, this costs about US$15 per person. The advantage of the bus is that it will take you right to your hotel. Disadvantage of both the train and the bus is that you have to deal with your own luggage, on the train you essentially have to do it twice: getting on to the train (although you can roll the luggage cart onto the train almost to put luggage on the train), then again off the train and into the taxi. For info on all transport options from the airport see the website for the airport at hongkongairport.com



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Old Jan 12th, 2008, 12:00 AM
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If I were going from airport to the YMCA Salisbury with limited amount of luggage, I would do it a way few travelers do, and you'll only hear it from me. Up to you whether to try it.

It's to take the A22 Cityflyer bus (HK$39) heading to Nam Tin MTR. Every 15 minutes till 23:30, and then 23:50 and last bus at 00:10. The very first stop in the city is on Jordan Road before Shanghai Street.

At that time of the day, immediately after you get off the bus, you can wave for a taxi to pull up to the bus stop. You do not have to move a single step.

It's then a <10 minute and <HK$30 taxi ride to the YMCA.
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Old Jan 12th, 2008, 12:13 AM
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I personally think that it would be hard for a person who has never been in Hong Kong to do the above local bus trip. It's easy for someone who lives here (or like the above poster, grew up here), to know where "the first stop in the city" is, but very hard really, for the average tourist, for which ALL of the road in from the airport looks like a city......If the OP were coming to see me, I of course would pick her up AT the airport....you need to lean on your dear friends perhpas...
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Old Jan 12th, 2008, 12:27 AM
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Cicerone - The A22 bus is extremely easy. There's no mistake where the "first stop in the city" is for this bus. It's the very first stop off the expressway, and only previous stop being at the toll plaza before the bridges, which cannot be "the city".

There can be confusion for some other "A" buses, but not the A22.
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Old Jan 12th, 2008, 02:10 AM
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That's a much better explantion than your first one to someone not familiar with the city at all. I still believe that the average tourist really does not need to get invovled in this. While it is perfectly safe to take the bus, this is like telling someone who has never been to NYC to take a regular city commuter bus from the airport and get off in Brooklyn...just too much room for error. If they are really trying to save money, they can either take the hotelink bus for US$15, or take the airport express and then the MTR to the stop nearest their hotel and walk. That would cost about US$13. Even your way costs about US$8, IMO for peace of mind I would spend a bit more and get there directly. Your way may work for the way back once someone knows a city, but sending a jet lagged foreigner onto a city bus is just crazy, IMO. There are some limits to how "local" a first-time tourist can get.
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Old Jan 12th, 2008, 06:19 AM
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A22 is an airport bus. With digital display of stop names in Chinese and English, and announcement of stop names (e.g. Shanghai Street for the stop in question) in English, Cantonese and Putonghua.

It's definitely not crazy to send a first time visitor on this bus. And this is one of the fastest, cheapest and easiest ways to get from the airport to the YMCA.

Cicerone - If you don't like this recommendation, fine. Don't call me crazy for recommending this. I don't agree with all the things you've said in this forum, but I don't think I've ever called your stuff crazy.

I hate this kind of posts on this forum. janisj - If you need further clarification, you can email me directly at rkkwan at earthlink dot net.

I don't have patience for this non-sense.
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Old Jan 12th, 2008, 06:25 AM
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Wow - I knew I could count on all of you. Thanks.

Just a bit of clarification - many of us, including the happy couple, are flying in long haul from the UK, US, South Africa, Ireland and so on. The party is being hosted by the parents and the honoree couple will be in Hong Kong even less time than I am. So there likely won't be any organized activities other than the big do. I'm in the YMCA at my friend's suggestion.

"I'm going to Hong Kong for a party!" sounds pretty swish - but it is really the case. A party w/ seeing some of Hong Kong thrown in as a bonus. I know I won't have time to see/do everything -- just want to get a good introduction/overview w/ some variety.

That A22 bus + taxi suggestion seems amazingly cheap.-- w/ a 10:45 p.m. arrival, what time might I expect to get through the airport formalities and to the bus stop? (And no need for any more talk about schlepping luggage. I'm the queen of packing light . I'll be taking some fancy clothes for the party - but still will probably only have a 19 inch rollaboard.)

I'm reading up and got a map so I can see better where thing are and then I'll ask some more questions.

Thanks again.

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Old Jan 12th, 2008, 06:31 AM
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rjjwan: our posts crossed - you've all given me some great info.
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Old Jan 12th, 2008, 06:44 AM
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janisj -

On 12/17/07, my plane touched down at 8:09p and came to gate at 8:18p. I managed to get on a 8:45p airport bus, with checked luggage and topping off my Octopus store-value transportation card at a machine.

On 10/29/06, my plane touched down at 7:06p and came to gate at 7:11p. I managed to get on a 7:50p bus, again after getting luggage.

Didn't write down my time for April 07 trip.

However, I had a HK smart ID which cuts quite a few minute with immigration. If you're lucky, you may be able to get the 11:30p bus; but the 11:50p should not be a problem.

I'll add that to save some more money, you can even take the A21 airport bus to Nathan Road, to the stop between the Holiday Inn Golden Mile and the Sheraton. But this bus is slower, and you need to cross Nathan Road and walk past the Peninsula to YMCA. The A22/taxi way is better.

Another reason why I always prefer the bus is that you get a very nice view the whole way, including going over the Tsing Ma Bridge, one of the longer suspension bridges of the world. The train goes inside the bridge, and you don't get a good view. The walk to the train at the airport is slightly shorter than to the bus, but the transfer to the taxi is longer than on Jordan Road, where you really do not need to move a step.

The free AE hotel shuttle stops at 23:10, so you have to use a taxi if you take the train.

One time, my dad (with HK ID and no checked luggage) got to a hotel in Kowloon with the A22/taxi method in exactly an hour from the time the plane touched down at HKG. I don't expect most people to manage that, but it's possible.
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Old Jan 13th, 2008, 02:13 PM
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OK - guidebook and map in hand and you've given me a lot to study.

I'm sort of looking at spending Friday exploring Central and the tram up Victoria Peak. Saturday sticking to Tsim Sha Tsui/Kowloon so I won't have far to go back to the YMCA to dress for the party Sat night. Sunday (Easter) to the south side of the island/Aberdeen/Stanley or maybe Lamma island (?). And Monday open for whatever I missed the first 3 days. I know it isn't long enough to see evrything.

yk: If I decide not to climb up to the Po Lin Buddha, would you still recommend a day trip to Lantau island?

rkkwan: Looking at my map, it looks like it isn't that far from the Holiday Inn to the YMCA - maybe .3 km. Since I'll just have a small rolling bag would the A21 bus be just as good as the A22/taxi route. I'm not asking because of the money savings - just simplicity. I'm assuming there will be lots of people out and about and it will be safe to walk - right?

Also - does anyone recommend trying to fit in a visit to Macau?


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Old Jan 13th, 2008, 02:40 PM
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janisj - With minimal luggage you can definitely walk from the A21 stop on Nathan Road to the YMCA Salisbury. The A21 bus is quite a bit slower than A22 because it gets off the expressway early and there are quite a few stops on Nathan Road before getting to Tsimshatsui. It's up to you.

Lantau is worth a trip even if you don't climb the steps up to the Big Buddha itself. You can get a pretty view of it from underneath the steps, and the NP360 cable car is worth a ride as well, especially if you get a relatively smog-free day.

You can go to Macau for a day trip, or you can spend a night there. If you go on a weekday, the savings from the hotel compared to Hong Kong, is enough to cover the ferry tickets or more.

yk and her DH, my parents, and I stayed at the Royal in Macau early this month, and the room plus two sets of ferry tickets cost just over HK$1,000. Cheaper than her hotel room at Metropark in Causeway, and the Royal is nicer with a much bigger room.

But rates are significantly higher during holidays.
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