If you’re going to Hong Kong this year, there are some basic things you can be aware of to make your trip more enjoyable. Here are some hand-picked tips from our editors and writers courtesy of our recent 1,001 Smart Travel Tips.
Check in with the tourist board to find great deals on activities. Offerings include feng shui tours, tai chi and tea appreciation classes, and even free rides on the fully restored fishing junk the Duk Ling (bring your passport to prove you’re from out of town).
Use the MTR. Not many cities have a metro system as efficient, reliable, spotless, and user-friendly as Hong Kong’s Mass Transit Railway. All signs and maps are in Cantonese and English, and the six train lines take you all across Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula.
Get your bearings through natural landmarks. If you’re on Hong Kong Island and feeling a little disoriented, remember that Victoria Harbour is always north; in Kowloon it’s always south. You can use the Island’s mountains as a guide, too; the Central district backs onto the slopes of Victoria Peak, so the districts south of it—the Midlevels and the Peak—look down on it.
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Know you can go antiquing. Although mainland law forbids that any item more than 120 years old leave China, Hong Kong isn’t held to this rule. It’s perfectly legal to ship your antique treasures home.
Visit a tailor. No trip to Hong Kong would be complete without doing so. In often humble, fabric-cluttered settings, customers on record include such notables as David Bowie, Kate Moss, Jude Law, and Queen Elizabeth II.
Leave enough time to get the suit you want. A fine suit requires six or more days to create. That said, be wary but not dismissive of “24-hour tailors.” Hong Kong’s most famous craftsmen have turned out suits in a day.
Eat dim sum. The city is famous for its near-endless varieties.
Stear clear of shark. Hong Kong accounts for 50% of the world market for shark. The expensive shark’s-fin soup, considered by locals to be an aphrodisiac, is made with the great beast’s pectal, dorsal, and lower tail fins. Not only are there environmental and moral issues involved, but the soup has very little flavor, making it one of the biggest wastes of money in the culinary universe.