Why Hongkong?

Oct 13th, 2002, 03:08 AM
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Why Hongkong?

Just curious why people travel to Hongkong. I've been there twice in the 80's and haven't found a reason to go back. It seems that people go there to shop, is there any other reason?
Oct 13th, 2002, 03:31 AM
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Hm.... it's a good and convenient stopover place on one's way to Australia, New Zealand or any other place in Asia for Europeans. Been there three times so far and wouldn't mind spending another day or two there, be it just for the breathtaking skyline.
Oct 13th, 2002, 03:56 AM
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so why did you go TWICE!!!!!
Oct 13th, 2002, 07:24 AM
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Perhaps one visit is more impressive than twice or more.So in my opinion,you needn¡¯t go to any place more than once.
Oct 13th, 2002, 08:42 AM
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Toream. Your point is well taken.

I am just trying to find out why some Fodorites seem so excited planning their repeat trips to Hongkong. It made me wonder if I'm missing out on something in Hongkong since it was taken over by China.

I'm considering a stopover in Hongkong on my next trip if I can find a compelling reason to make it worth the long drive from the new airport to the city.
Oct 13th, 2002, 08:23 PM
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Long drive from the new airport? What are you talking about? The airport is closer to Kowloon than JFK to midtown Manhattan.
Oct 13th, 2002, 11:02 PM
Peter N-H
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I'm rather fond of Hong Kong, and have been there perhaps 30 times altogether, sometimes for business, and sometimes for pleasure. But even when it's for business I always look forward to getting there.

I think shopping is the last reason to go there. While it depends on what you are shopping for exactly, and just how good your preparation is, it's a very long time since HK has been a shopping paradise. For me, it's the mixture of the familiar and the alien which appeals. It's got more of an edge than Singapore, and works better than any city in mainland China. It also has some of my favourite hotels.

And I wonder if you've seen all the variety it manages to pack in to a tiny area? How about a walk on the Dragon's Back looking down to two sides of the west end of the island, and dodging the hang gliders? Or a trip to one of the outlying islands to eat fresh seafood and go for a trek on winding paths over the hills. Or a trip out on a boat to see the pink dolphins unique to the Pearl River Delta? Or up to the New Territories to see various ancestral halls? Much of this kind of thing is far better preserved than it is on the mainland.

From the visitor's point of view, short of painting the letter boxes green and removing a few coats of arms from public buildings, there's little change except that there are now hordes of mainland tourists to add to the push and shove. So except for fairly substantial changes to the skyline, you may not find it so different. There are several new restaurant areas (SoHo, BoHo, SoHo East, etc. etc) worth having a look at, and a superb new museum.

And Ruthy is quite right about access. The Airport Express, directly opposite as you emerge from customs, will take you into town in 20 mins. But if you have a chance to stopover in somewhere you haven't been before, I'd take that. If it's merely a question of whether to get off the plane for two or three days or not, I'd say do it. The eighties were a very long time ago, and no doubt your tastes have changed, as well as Hong Kong.

Peter N-H
Oct 14th, 2002, 07:21 AM
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Chep Lak Kok airport is on Lantau island where as the old airport was right in the centre on Kowloon side. That is perhaps why Curious was unwilling to travel in. Mind you the train is very efficient and you can check in on HK island so it is not exactly a hastle to get to the new airport, unlike JFK which is a nightmare to get to and has little in the way of facilities when you do eventually get there.
Oct 15th, 2002, 02:53 AM
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I'm a local in HK, a few months back, a friend from the UK was stopping over for a few days before heading to Australia.

I was so worried about taking her round, as a local, I've always thought there's not much to do here, shopping is over rated, air is polluted, streets are crowded etc.

But having done a bit of research, I found many interesting places to take her, places I had never been to. Just pop into the tourist office and you'll find a wealth of information.

Here're some suggestions:

Hong Kong History Museum has a wonderful permanant exhibition about the History of Hong Kong. I have found in recent years, there's an increase of museums and galleries that are worth a visit. Also try the Heritage Museum and Coastal Defense Museum.

A day trip to one of the many outlying Island is relaxing and you'll see another side of HK that you don't see in town.

New Territories is also a fun day out, see old Chinese Walled City, one of the many Ancestral Homes, temples, old villages etc.

Get on a bus to Stanley, Shek O, Repulse Bay etc for a visit to the beach and some pretty decent food. Or to the Peak for a great view.

I also went to a Chinese Opera performance for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed it. Check at the City Hall, they have loads of info on upcoming shows, some have English subtitles.

As with shopping, visit one of the many shopping malls in Causeway Bay, Tsim Sha Tsui etc for general shopping. But the more interesting shopping locations in HK are the "specialist" and more local streets. There're streets lined with shops that specialize in trainers/sneakers, computer and electronic goods, second hand odds and ends, antiques, birds (!), toys etc. Just check out any guidebooks.

If you're like outdoor activities, HK with it's many hills and mountains is an ideal place for hiking, trekking and mountain biking. Amazing views can be found on top of many mountains where one side is a densely populated city filled with skyscrapers, and the other side is massive green hills, forest and sea.

As with the airport, just as the other replies, Airport Express can get you into the centre of town in 20mins. Driving takes about an hour depending on where you're heading of course.

I don't think you'll notice much difference on the streets of HK before and after the hand over, but it has certainly changed a lot since the 80s.

Well worth a visit!

Have fun!

Oct 15th, 2002, 06:46 AM
Michael From New York
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I will visit HK again in five weeks. This will be my firfth year in a row using HK as my gateway to Asia. I like to go in and out of the city on the way to other destinations in Asia. My first trip was 1998...and I saw the Peak, and several other of the tourist spots.

But I've gone back every year since. Going to the outlying islands like Lamma, and having fresh seafood by the Harborside restaurants there is fun...as is hiking over the trails down to the beach on Lamma. As well as the hour by boat to get there.

Or the busride out to Stanley on the south side of the island. There are a number of different buses that go there...but riding the 973 bus from Kowloon as it hugs the western coast of HK island is exhilirating.

Or you can go up to Sai Kung for the fresh air and the sea food.

I live in Manhattan in New York. And although Manhattan is an island, most of the time I do not see the water. And there are no mountains in Manhattan either. So Hong Kong has it's physical appeal.

As far as the getting into the city from the airport - JFK is only 18 miles from Manhattan but you can't get into JFK in 20 minutes from 5 miles away much less 18.

The New HK airport is a terrific place for accessability either to or from. Generally, I arrive in HK early in the AM...and have never had to deal with severe traffic. I generally take an airport bus into Kowloon side. But the MTR airport express is a terrific deal. A cab ride from JFK to Manhattan is flat-rated at US $35 plus tolls plus tip. The MTR Airport Express is what $100 HK which is only about $12 US.

Its a wonderful place to visit.

Oct 15th, 2002, 08:19 AM
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To Curious:
I don¡¯t think the drive from the HK new airport to the city is boring.If you go by bus,you will as well have a comfortable and worth-while trip,for you can see different scenry(sea,new highway,new bridge) all the way which might interest you.For my part,I enjoy such an experience.
Oct 22nd, 2002, 03:54 AM
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Must be the food and the shopping especially July-Aug. , but now more and more tourists go to shenzhen or other china provinces because of its proximity to HK and a lot cheaper prices for food and shopping, though not many items for shop is yet comparable to signature brands found in HK
Oct 22nd, 2002, 05:34 PM
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Because it is more exciting than Singapore!

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