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What else to do with an afternoon and evening in Hong Kong

What else to do with an afternoon and evening in Hong Kong

Old Oct 22nd, 2008, 09:21 AM
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What else to do with an afternoon and evening in Hong Kong

We have one full day in Hong Kong at the end of our China tour. We plan on spending the morning seeing Victoria Peak, Stanley Market and ending at Aberdeen for lunch. We have the rest of the afternoon and evening free for sightseeing. Would you recommend going to Lantau Island to see the Big Buddah, or would our time be better spent doing something else? Our main interest is culture and architecture, not shopping, although I do like visiting interesting markets (I liked the floating market in Thailand). We also like hiking. Any tips on what to do for the afternoon and evening would be appreciated.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2008, 04:41 PM
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If you want to go to Lantau and see the Big Buddha, I'll do that first. While the cable car opens at 10 (9 on weekends and holiday), you can get to Ngong Ping earlier by ferry and bus. Get back to the city early afternoon, then go to Stanley and the Peak. Nothing in Stanley is open in the morning anyways. Also, I really don't find Aberdeen that interesting personally.

If you like interesting markets, you can start early in Kowloon. The bird market and flower market starts early. And you can visit Wong Tai Sin Temple and the Chi Lin Nunnery. The latter is stunning, built in Tang Dynasty architecture style - of course, if you've seen enough temples in China already, you may not find it that interesting anymore.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2008, 05:53 PM
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shelly...good advice above...i agree about aberdeen....the ride to stanley is quite fun however so do that by bus...i forget the bus number....

on the 4th floor of the united building on the HK side is a fantastic restaurant for dim sum lunch....the largest restaurant i have ever been in...

just walking around kowloon in the evening is tons of fun with the lights and all the activity...tons of places to eat....

if you need a hamby you could stop by my neighbors restaurant Dan Ryan's at the star ferry end of ocean city terminal....
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Old Oct 22nd, 2008, 06:37 PM
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Can you tell me the date you will be in Hong Kong, as there may be a festival going on, or some other event you may want to attend that would change my reccos. Also, knowing the time of year you will be here will help with reccos. (Some hikes I would not recommend for August, for example).

May I also suggest that you consider staying longer in Hong Kong if you can, as there is a lot to do and see here, and 1 day really is not sufficient for it. Please see my posts 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 ". Also see “Cicerone’s (Updated) Favourite Hong Kong Restaurants (Part I)”

Also you might want to confirm whether your tour is going to take you to any of the places you have mentioned. It would be very unusual for a tour not to include the Peak, and many usually include Aberdeen. This may make your free day a bit freer. (Although you may of course want to go back to something like the Peak, esp if your tour does not include a tram ride.)

As you like hiking, I will focus much of this post on that. If you want to do the Peak, you could actually walk from the Peak all the way to Stanley (3.5 hours or a bit more, there is an easy, an intermediate-challenging and a very challenging way to walk there), or you could do a shorter walk just to Aberdeen first, and then bus over to Stanley. Or you could do the Severn Walk on the Peak and then bus or taxi to Aberdeen or Stanley. Or you could walk down or up to the Peak from Central (to walk up takes some fortitude). Or you could take the ferry to Lamma Island, and do several nice walks there (with some small villages and temples to be seen along the way), and then take the charming little wooden kaido ferry boat over to Aberdeen, and then bus over to Stanley. Or if you really feel the need to see the Big Buddha (not my favourite thing but I can see where tourists would like it), there are several excellent walks on Lantau, from quite challenging walks up to the Buddha (section #2 of the Lantau Trail) to easier downhill trails from the Buddha (Sections 3 and 4; however a walk and a visit to the Big Buddha would commit you to most of a day, just a visit to the Buddha will commit you to about 5-6 hours in my experience between ferries, buses, MTR, the cable car (including the queue for the cable car) and then time spent at the Buddha). Or you could do something like the Dragon’s Back hike on the Southside of Hong Kong Island, a really beautiful short walk (about 1.5-2 hours), which you could reach by bus or taxi from Stanley and end with a meal in Big Wave Bay, or do via MTR and then end by going to Stanley. Or you could abandon all the above plans and go to Sai Kung in the New Territories which has some spectacular hikes, and end with a seafood meal on the waterfront in Sai Kung.

If your trip is between now and about mid-April, the one thing about the Peak in the morning in winter months is that air pollution could make views quite obscured. The sunset and evening may be a better time to visit, as the city lights can cut through the smog, and IMO night views are often better than day views. (I actually think dusk is the prettiest time on the Peak, which is where I live.) It would depend on the luck of the day you are here. Also in late Feb and March the chance of fog on the Peak are very good, again making morning views not as good (although even evening views can be obscured in fog in those months). There is a good walk on the Peak to High West, a place to view sunsets (in easy and harder versions, the harder version having a more spectacular view), that might work well for your interest in hiking and seeing the Peak.

The flower market and bird market mentioned above are both best seen quite early in the morning, esp the flower market which will be done by 10 am or so, and is best earlier. Neither are anything like the floating market in Thailand, although both are interesting. If you want to see local fruit/meat/veg markets then go either to Wan Chai or the Peel Street areas of Hong Kong Island. These are daily markets, they start later (around 9 am) and go until about 7 pm. Lots of interesting stuff on offer and good people-watching. Peel Street is interesting in that is in such a tiny street, but conveniently located in Central, while Wan Chai’s markets are spread over several streets and offers a bit more, and there are numerous good restaurants in the neighborhood (as there would be in Peel Street as well). See my other threads for info on the street markets.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2008, 04:09 AM
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We fly from Guilin to Hong Kong on Nov.15 arriving in the afternoon. We have all day Nov. 16, and fly out early on Nov. 17, so basically we have only one day. We are on a tour, where they go to Victoria Peak by bus, Stanley Market and Aberdeen in the morning. The afternoon is free. I have no objection to doing the whole day on my own if you think that I would get more/better sightseeing in that way. We are staying at the Regal Kowloon Hotel. I have decided not to go to the Big Buddah if that would take 5-6 hours of the day. I guess we will have to make a return trip to HK to see it in depth. I would just like to see the highlights on this trip.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2008, 07:48 AM
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I see. It's up to you whether to skip the tour. If you want to stay with the tour, in the afternoon you can go to Wong Tai Sin and Chi Lin Nunnery, then go back to walk around the Ladies Market in Mong Kok (I won't buy anything there). Get back to Tsimshatsui (where you hotel is) to the waterfront promenade. Take the Star Ferry across the harbour and back if you haven't done so. There's a short laser show at 8pm which you can view from the Tsimshatsui side - not a must see, but if you're in the area, why not.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2008, 03:37 PM
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Thanks so much for your recommendations. I now have a Plan A (for good weather/visibility) and a Plan B (for bad weather/visibility). Just 4 more questions-if the tour goes to Stanley Market from the Peak, is it worth going for the scenic aspect of the drive, even if the shops are not open? Would we miss much if we did not see Aberdeen and Repulse Bay? Can we walk from the Regal Kowloon Hotel to the History Museum? What restaurants would you recommend within a 20 minute walk of the Regal Kowloon Hotel-any kind of food would be acceptable, something with good food that is moderately priced. Again, thanks for your help.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2008, 03:51 PM
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1. Yes. In fact, when I go to Stanley, I don't go to the markets.

2. You'll pass by Repulse Bay on the way to Stanley. The beach itself isn't that pretty, but it's surrounded by luxurious highrises with interesting architecture. The rebuilt Repulse Bay Hotel is also nice. But you won't miss much if you don't actually stop there. Nor is Aberdeen.

3. Yes. Very close.

4. No specific recommendations from me, but there are lots of restaurants within 10 minutes walk of the Regal. 20 minutes will cover most of Tsimshatsui, and there are thousands of eateries.
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Old Oct 24th, 2008, 09:46 AM
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Thank you all for your help. It is very much appreciated.
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Old Oct 27th, 2008, 10:01 PM
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Shelleyk, thanks for the information on your dates and arrival times, that is helpful. The good news is that November is just about our most lovely month here, dry and sunny and no rain and low humidity. Temps should be in the low 70s. Great for outdoor stuff like walks and eating outdoors. Bad news is that air pollution is pretty awful in the winter months, so your visibility will depend on the luck of your days here (today for example you cannot really see across the harbour.) Some people (like the weather service) call it haze, but it simply is air pollution from the PRC and some home-made stuff too.

There are no major festivals going on during your visit, but most likely Christmas decorations will be up on some of the skyscrapers, making for nice viewing at night. Your main day is a Sunday which is good in that more buses are running in areas where you may want to go, although things will be more crowded (like Stanley), but doable still.

I would suggest you get an Octopus card, the tourist one, called the Airport Express Tourist Octopus, which will include round trip transfers on the Airport Express train and unlimited MTR rides for 3 days. By topping it up with cash (which you can do at any MTR station, the airport or any 7-11 or Circle K convenience store), you can also use it on buses, the Peak Tram and in places like 7-11’s and McDonalds to make purchases. You can pick this up at the airport when you arrive, see http://www.octopuscards.com/consumer...s/en/index.jsp for information. It costs HK$300. (If you are planning on taking a taxi from the airport rather than the train, then the card may not be such a bargain, see the website. You may just want to get a regular Octopus stored value card.)

With regard to the tour, I am not a huge fan of tours, as they tend to be long on shopping stops and short on actual touring. Perhaps in countries where English is not spoken, tourist sights are far apart or safety is an issue, a tour would be something to consider, but Hong Kong is not one of those places. The public transportation system is excellent and cheap (and so are taxis for other than quite long distances). Signage is in English and it is widely spoken and crime is virtually non-existent. Plus, going up to the Peak via a little bus is not the same as going via the Peak Tram, IMO, and it appears from your description that your tour does not even allow for a one-way trip on the tram where they would collect you at the top or the bottom to continue the tour. I am also very afraid that they would take you to an average Chinese meal in Aberdeen that could really be missed. All in all, if you feel you can do it, I would skip the tour. (By the way, there is no way that the tour would go to Stanley at a time when the shops are closed, that would be one of the purposes of the tour. They would time they arrival to be there when the shops are open.)

As you have an afternoon and evening when you arrive on Saturday, you might want to consider going up to the Peak and perhaps having dinner there. If you timed it right, you could arrange to be there for the last light and then see the lights come up over the city. (See sunrisesunset.com for sunset and twilight times.) You could go first to the Kowloon side of the harbour and see the view. This is probably a 15-minute walk from your hotel. (You could also take the a hydrofoil from the TST East pier, which would be much closer to your hotel, but views are not the same as you are inside; and it goes to a different pier in Central to the best of my knowledge, but still doable.) From the ferry pier in Central, you can take the Star Ferry over to Hong Kong, and then take the bus to the Peak Tram and go up the tram. Two moderate places on the Peak for dinner would be Café Deco for stupendous views and perfectly fine if TGIF-type food (get a window table, they even have a small terrace, see http://www.cafedecogroup.com/cafed/v_deco.asp), or The Peak Lookout for quite good Asian and western dishes and they have a lovely outdoor terrace under the trees (no views see http://www.thepeaklookout.com.hk/.) On a Saturday night for either you might want a booking, esp for a window table at Café Deco. A quite good but more expensive restaurant there is Pearl on the Peak, this is Australian fusion and has very good views, it is dressier than the other two which are very casual. (Tel: 2849-5123, no website).

On Sunday you could do the bird market and the flower market early in the morning or go to the Wong Tai Sin temple in Kowloon which is the fortune tellers temple. You can do the joss-stick thing or visit one of the dozens of fortune tellers in the "mall" of fortune tellers next to the temple. The temple itself is interesting and almost always full of worshippers. There is a little info on it at http://www.travelchinaguide.com/attr...sin_temple.htm. It is very easy to find, just take the MTR to the Wong Tai Sin stop, take Exit Door B 3 and follow the signs, the temple is right at the stop.

As you have expressed an interest in walking/hiking, I would also highly recommend that you do the Dragon’s Back walk, which would give you a quite a different view of Hong Kong and is a very nice walk with some hills and great views. There will probably be people hang gliding off the hills as the winter thermals are good for this. I have described the walk in my post called “Cicerone's Favourite Hong Kong Walks III: The Dragon's Back ", so read that to see the several options you have to choose from to start the walk. At the end of the walk, you can take a bus or taxi to Stanley for lunch and shopping, or stay in Shek-O or Big Wave Bay for lunch. Then go on to Stanley from either place for a little shopping or just the view, and then take the great #6 bus ride back to Central. If you want to stop in Repulse Bay, you can get off the bus for a while, the beach is quite wide and nice and to the left (as you face the water) at the end of the beach there is a large temple you can visit. To the right at the end of the beach is the start of a nice flat walk along the water around the headland to Deep Water Bay, takes about 20 minutes one way. If you wanted to walk to Big Wave Bay, from there you could then get a bus to Aberdeen if you felt you wanted to see Aberdeen. (Or just take a bus from Stanley or Repulse Bay that stops at Aberdeen; the $6 does not as it goes up and over the mountains after Repulse Bay).

If you don’t want to do the Dragon’s Back walk, then just take the #6 bus over to Stanley at some point during the day. I would recco the later morning and then have a late lunch there, but on Sunday it will be fairly crowded most of the day anyway. On the bus, the upstairs front seat is best for views, if you can’t get the front seat, then upstairs on the right side going out and left coming back is my preference. Get the bus at its starting point in Exchange Square in Central as you can be assured of the seat you want; i.e. if the bus fills up, then just wait for the next one right behind it and get on that first. (Even if the bus says “Stanley Market” or “Stanley”, you don’t want #6A or 6X or 260 or any variant thereof (horrors, 260 is not even a double decker!), as these go through the tunnel and you will miss, IMO, the point of the ride which is the trip up and over the mountains. You want plain #6. Same with the return.)

Once in Central, you can take a walk up the Graham Street/Peel Street areas to see the local markets and perhaps go up the escalator to Hollywood Road to see the Man Mo Temple and explore that area. Most of the antique shops and art galleries will be closed on Sunday, but there are tons of bars and restaurants in that area which will be open for a drink or tea or even an early dinner (see my restaurant list for suggestions, but really the area is chock-a-block with restaurants). Or you could get off the bus from Stanley earlier in Wan Chai (the Hopewell Centre is a landmark to look for in Wan Chai, it is a round white concrete skyscraper, this would be the 2nd stop or so after your steep descent down Stubbs Road and a hard left turn) and explore the market areas of Wan Chai and the Pak Tai temple (about a block from the Hopewell Centre).

I am not a huge fan of the majority of the restaurants on the Kowloon side, and there is not a lot within the vicinity of your hotel. I do like Woodlands, which is an Indian vegetarian restaurant about a block from your hotel (61 Moody Road, Mirror Tower Tel 852-2369-3718) but I cannot stress enough how casual this place is. No atmosphere or views, but good food and not expensive. If you don’t want to spend a bit of money at a place like Hutong (which I do think is good and worth the money for views and the experience, see www.aqua.com.hk, I would call it moderate and not really expensive like Felix), you might want to consider someplace like Habitu the Pier which has a nice outdoor terrace. It is at the Star Ferry pier (Habitu -The Pier, Shop 63, Ground Floor, Ocean Terminal Tel: 3101-0901). The Harbourside restaurant at the Intercontinental is actually quite good and has really excellent views, prices are OK, its really their coffee shop but it is quite nice actually. Otherwise, see my restaurant list. There are a number of somewhat average restaurants in a pedestrian-only area called Knutsford Terrace, which would be maybe a 15-minute walk from your hotel. If you feel you can’t go too far for dinner, then one of these would be OK, I would just walk over and pick one that looks interesting to you. However, if you can get yourself out and moving again that night, I would go back to the Hong Kong side for dinner and maybe go to the Star Street area or other places in Wan Chai. After dinner, you can wander around Wan Chai and/or take go over to the Kowloon side, see the night view from the esplanade along Kowloon, and go to some of the markets there (like the dreaded Ladies Market!!)


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Old Oct 28th, 2008, 07:55 AM
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With just one full day in HK, don't get the tourist AE card. You won't, and shouldn't be, taking HK$50 worth of MTR. And sounds like the tour company will provide transport to/from airport anyways.
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Old Oct 28th, 2008, 10:11 AM
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Ciccerone-Thanks so much for taking the time to write such an extensive
post. I really appreciate your advice and will be combining what I've learned from you and from rkkwan to make the most of my day and a half in Hong Kong. Thanks again to you both. One last question, can either of you, or anyone else, answer my post on planning my day in Shanghai. I posted it yesterday, but have not received any replies. I leave for my trip on Thursday.
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Old Nov 5th, 2008, 08:08 AM
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