Tokyo - Hong Kong 2007

May 23rd, 2006, 04:00 PM
Posts: n/a
Tokyo - Hong Kong 2007

I've just planned my first trip out of the US to London and Paris this year. Next year I want to try something new as well. I've started to think Tokyo and Hong Kong. 10-14 days total, 5/7 days each.

Is this "doable" and/or advisable? Very early thinking stage, not even really planning yet. But I did learn from my L/P trip that planning in advance is most helpful.

I was thinking I would fly to Toyko, then fly to Hong Kong and then fly home.

Does priceline do well for hotels in these areas? What's the best airline to get there from the US? Is there a local airline between them? What would be the best time of year to do a trip like this? I'm going to L/P in September and really like the fall, but wasn't sure what Fall is like in T/HK. Parisians love their language but a lot of them speak some English. What will it be like for T/HK?

Sorry for all the questions, but thank you in advance for any help!
May 23rd, 2006, 10:16 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1,530
Can't answer all your questions but I can say that both Tokyo and Hong Kong will be nice at that time ( October rather than September I would say ). English is spoken quite readily in Hong Kong owing to the history of the place. Some will speak English in Tokyo but not as often as you will experience in HK.
Peteralan is offline  
May 23rd, 2006, 11:02 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
It's very doable.

I have no experience with Priceline in Tokyo. For Hong Kong, it's okay, but the savings won't be as dramatic as some other cities in the world. 5* Tsimshatsui is about $115-120 these days for the Sheraton. One can often find comparable hotels for about $160-180 or less. 4* are around $60 for most zones, and that's pretty good deal, but the hotels are often not the best - poor locations for HK Island East (Harbour Plaza North Point) or West (Cosmopolitan); small room in the Kowloon Hotel for Tsimshatsui.

For airfare, you can easily price the circular route US-NRT-HKG-US or opposite. The ones that make most sense, in terms of itinerary, are a mix of AA/JL/CX, or NH/UA, or CO/NW. These airlines fly non-stop NRT-HKG: UA, NW, CX, JL, NH, KA. [CX is Cathay Pacific, NH is ANA, and KA is Dragonair.]

Best time to go to Hong Kong is November to February. You don't want to go in the summer. I think for Japan, October or March/April are fine. So, if you go in the fall, visit Tokyo first; if you go in the spring, Hong Kong first.

As for language, English is understood in both cities, Hong Kong more so. But you will find the locals' grammar pretty poor in both cases, though they're usually willing to try, and their English mostly understandable.
rkkwan is offline  
May 24th, 2006, 12:49 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,689
1. Much as I love Hong Kong (I live here) IMO you do not need 7 days and even 5 may be a bit long, but if you like outdoor activities like good walking and even strenuous hiking then 5 would give you a chance to get some excellent walks in esp if you come at the right time of year. If not, then I would say 4 days is fine.

2. That gives you a lot of time in Japan which is fine, but IMO you really must get outside of Tokyo or you will not really appreciate Japan. Tokyo is incredibly clean and organized but is a huge, huge city with many shopping malls and tall buildings, you can go any where in the world to shop at Banana Republic and have a Starbucks coffee. It does have some temple complexes but it really does not offer a whole lot in terms of cultural sights at least IMO. (Frommers #1 site recco is the fish market, that may tell you something.) You need to get to Kyoto and maybe Osaka. That is good that you have the time to do it, and hopefully the budget. Do some reading.

3. I would vote for October over September as the weather is much better in Hong Kong than in the spring months. The humidity and temps drop dramatically and the rain basically ceases. Go to I think the fall in Japan would be quite nice as well. If you can, I would opt for the second half of October as the weather is sure to be better and because the PRC (but not Hong Kong ) has a "golden week" which is the first week in October. This is the week when virtually everyone in the PRC has the whole week off, and while people in Hong Kong are working, hotels can be booked and tend to be more expensive and some tourist sites can be more mobbed as PRC nationals come to Hong Kong for holiday. (If you opt to travel to the PRC, as discussed below, you definitely need to avoid doing so during the PRC's two "golden weeks" in the spring and the fall.) If you opt for the spring, you need to avoid Japan's "golden week" which will be the week of April 30 2007, and there is another "golden week" for the PRC the same week. Also Hong Kong starts heating up and gets rainy and humid starting from about the end of March, I would really avoid Hong from that time through October it if you have any flexibility in your schedule.

4. There are many airlines flying between the two. The flight time is just under 5 hours, but you need to build in the fact that it is about an hour by train from Tokyo to Tokyo airport so the trip will take about half a day overall. I think your best bet is to get an "open jaw" ticket from your home to Tokyo and out of Hong Kong back home or vice versa. That would probably be overall cheaper than buying point to point tickets. A travel agent may be able to put together a package with airfare and hotels and you do the sightseeing on your own as IMO you do not need an organized tour even for Japan where English (or the lack of it) is more of an issue.

5. Priceline I think does well in terms of prices, but you really have to know your areas, esp of Tokyo to make sure you are getting a hotel in an area which would be convenient. Hong Kong is quite small and you can pretty much get where you want to get cheaply and quickly by subway or taxi (also very cheap) so it would not really matter too much where you stay (well it would to me because I would want a view), but Tokyo is huge and I think you would want to be in certain districts, near certain subway lines, etc. I don't know Tokyo and the Priceline districts well enough to advise, but I believe there are whole websites devoted to figuring out what specific hotels are being referenced on Priceline. Others here may be able to give clues as well.

6. English is widely and well spoken in Hong Kong, signage is in English, restaurant menus are in English, taxi drivers and shop keepers speak English, basically it is all very easy to get around by yourself. I find Japan more of an issue, mostly in terms of the Tokyo subway where English signage is quite limited, taxi drivers and smaller restaurants and sake bars (which can be a fun albeit expensive experience as I can only understand the lower Japanese characters for numbers but have found some great sakes without any English). This is not any reason IMO to take a tour, but you just need some time and patience and have to expect to get lost on the subway from time to time. I have only been to Kyoto once, and found it much easier to navigate than Tokyo, mostly as I stayed near the main tourist area and walked using a good map. Tokyo is just too big for this.

7. Because of the relative distance between Hong Kong and Tokyo, many people do not actually do trips between the two, but rather concentrate just on Japan or just on SE Asia combining Hong Kong with either China (Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, etc) or Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore. Train trips within Japan and flights from Hong Kong to SE Asia are shorter than going between the two and this makes for a somewhat easier itinerary. There is no reason you could not combine them if you wanted. However, realize that if you are in Hong Kong, you are on the doorstep of China and if you combine it with Japan you are most likely passing up the opportunity to go there. If you don't think you will ever go back, you may want to include it. That being said, you may then be giving up Japan. It is a huge area geographically, so some choices have to be made of course.

Cicerone is offline  
May 24th, 2006, 05:03 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,019
Tokyo and Hong Kong are excellent choices. They are very different cities -- different in character, history, and all sorts of other ways -- and each is a pleasure to visit.

For the length of time you mention, you might consider addint Kyoto, which is a lovely city, rich with history and culture, and very different in feel from Tokyo. It is extremely easy to go from Tokyo to Kyoto by train, and you can also fly directly from Kyoto (Kansai Airport) to Hong Kong.
DonTopaz is online now  
May 24th, 2006, 01:21 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,663
You can get a ticket to Hong Kong with a stopover in Tokyo for about the same price as the roundtrip to Hong Kong, maybe a bit more.

I used priceline for Tokyo and got the Holiday Inn Metropolitan in Ikebukuro. Was not worth it using p/l because the rate at the HI webpage was not much higher than my bid. Also, didn't care much for the hotel or it's location.

November is a great time to go to Japan. You would see fall colors in Kyoto around the 18th.
mrwunrfl is offline  
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