Short visit to Hong Kong - "must do/see"?

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ResearchMed
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Short visit to Hong Kong - "must do/see"?

Postby ResearchMed » Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:56 pm

We did it... managed to change our awards plane tickets to add 2 nights in Hong Kong after our Japan trip.
(At first, we weren't going to do this, but... it just didn't make sense not to stay a while once we were all the way out there.)
We'll keep checking, and hope to make it anywhere up to 6 nights (hotel has 3 nights for price of 2).

What are the "must do/see" things/sights?
And what are the overhyped?

We prefer cultural/history/architecture and such, and of course any special visuals (which will definitely be all around us there).

We are staying in Kowloon and will of course go over to the other side of the harbor too.

Thanks!

RM
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Jack56
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Re: Short visit to Hong Kong - "must do/see"?

Postby Jack56 » Mon Mar 20, 2017 8:24 pm

HK has no real sights in terms of what you mention. What is interesting is watching these incredibly industrious people and the city that they and the British built. Walk about Kowloon and Central and reflect on what these people will accomplish over the next hundred years. Enjoy the beauty of the harbor and watch the container ships going up and down the Pearl River. Eat at some of the terrific Chinese restaurants. The few sights are pretty obvious, a few temples, a couple of museums and nature walks, and can be figured out with a quick google search.

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TheGreyingDuke
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Re: Short visit to Hong Kong - "must do/see"?

Postby TheGreyingDuke » Mon Mar 20, 2017 8:38 pm

Lantau Island, the Big Buddha, some great hiking and a nice boat ride from Central. There is also a fishing village on the island (Tai O) worth a visit. Quite rural and a good break from the buzz of Hong Kong.

There is also great Indian restaurants in Hong Kong; when we would spend 6 months in Guangzhou a day trip to HK for Indian was a welcome break (now Guangzhou also has some good Indian).

This is the largest island in Hog Kong and until the development of the new airport and Disneyland, mostly rural. The major points of interest are on the other side of the island from these recent developments.
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FraggleRock
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Things I did

Postby FraggleRock » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:17 pm

Ride the Star Ferry.
Take the hydrofoil to Macau.
Eat only Cantonese food.
Ride the double-decker trolleys.
Walk a few kilometers outside of Central and discover that you are the only gweilo in sight.
Buy a Big Mac and marvel at the low price. Do not eat it. Eat Cantonese.

PNW1
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Re: Short visit to Hong Kong - "must do/see"?

Postby PNW1 » Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:38 pm

I enjoyed visiting Victoria Peak. You can take a funicular tram there from Central (on Hong Kong Island, across Victoria Harbour from Kowloon). There's a very easy walk up there that will take you past multiple beautiful vantages. I remember being struck by the stark line where a city of skyscrapers comes up against nature near the base of the mountain and just... stops.

The Star Ferry across the harbor was an experience for me. I'd recommend taking it around or after sunset and looking up at the skyline.

I really enjoyed Tai O, but I wouldn't go if you only have two nights in HK. If you end up getting six nights, then putting Tai O somewhere in the middle would be a nice break from the never-sleeping World City experience.

The Chi Lin Nunnery is a Buddhist temple that's easily accessible from the HK subway (MTR). It's beautiful, and there's a lovely Chinese garden right there as well. I'm glad I visited.

If you end up with six days, you could order some shirts or a suit on your first day and have a bespoke garment made in one of the world's foremost cities for doing so. The advice given to me was to look for a tailor who is Hong Kong Chinese.

Perhaps walk through the night market. I bought nothing, but it was the closest I've ever come to being in a bazaar.

Look up at buildings and notice that there are skyscrapers with void areas carved out of the middle of them, like donut holes. Realize that those exist because they were specified by feng shui masters, so that dragons could fly through them. The heightened value of the surrounding real estate more than makes up for the opportunity cost of the lost volume.

Other than the wonderful company I was keeping, the thing I most enjoyed about Hong Kong was walking everywhere, experiencing a city that merges East and West. The people there are Chinese, but they're not mainland Chinese. Everyone around you is speaking in Cantonese, but you see a sign for Wellington Street. You pass an extremely high end retail store and a few blocks later you're in an alley lined with vendors, with hunks of meat hanging from hooks and shops full of delicious buns. Central is full of overhead pedestrian walkways, busy with commuters during the weekdays but populated by foreign nannies who stake their claim on a little patch of ground on Sundays, their one day off. You take the world's longest public transit escalator system up to SoHo, which was essentially a Western expat district when I was there several years ago. Suddenly you hear someone speaking in English, but probably with an Australian or British accent. You look up in residential neighborhoods, or look down on rooftops if you find a perch to do so from, and notice that in an extremely high cost of living city clothes are hanging to dry everywhere. You see the English (an official language, along with Chinese!) on official signage and smile at the phrasing. And always, you remember the following: "Do not wail against the flow."

Stay as long as you can. Have a wonderful time.

tagius
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Re: Short visit to Hong Kong - "must do/see"?

Postby tagius » Tue Mar 21, 2017 3:03 am

I have lived there for the past 17 years. Do not stay in or even go to Kowloon except for taking the star ferry trip to and fro. It's for tourists and the hotels over there are crummy except for the penninsula. You won't regret and will require to stay in one of the five stars in central or admiralty.
Things to see on Hong Kong island:
Take a taxi to "the peak". Walk around the peak circular path for fantastic views. Don't take the peak tram as it's long lines and not worth waiting.
Walk all along Hollywood road antique shopping.
Walk all around central and Sheung Wan to see the real HK.
Go to Hong Kong park in admiralty
Visit Stanley on the south side of the island.
Lantau has the big Buddha but again it's a tourist trap and long lines. Don't go.
Don't go to Macau unless you have a day and a half. It's a whole other country, or used to be anyway. Highly recommend but need time.
Have fun. Recommend Indian food at Bombay Dreams.

sjoung
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Re: Short visit to Hong Kong - "must do/see"?

Postby sjoung » Tue Mar 21, 2017 3:12 am

I've been to HK couple of times. These are the thing I enjoyed and stood out.

Victoria Peak (Everybody does it. Do it early in the morning to avoid massive crowd)
Hong Kong History Museum (Low cost. Many thing to see and learn about HK)
Ladies Market (My wife really liked the cheap shopping)
Harbor water front (really great for picture taking)
One Dim Sum (its one of the cheapest Michelin star restaurant in HK. Awesome Dim Sum. Went there twice)

asset_chaos
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Re: Short visit to Hong Kong - "must do/see"?

Postby asset_chaos » Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:32 am

Some years back I was in HK for just one night (fly in after dinner, leave early next morning). I asked a long time HK ex-pat resident, given my time constraints, what was the one thing he recommend I do. His recommendation was to have a drink at the rooftop bar of the Peninsula Hotel. I did. It's expensive drinks, but it is a spectacular view as night falls and the city across the bay lights up. Also plenty of worldly, convivial people in the bar to converse with.
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madbrain
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Re: Short visit to Hong Kong - "must do/see"?

Postby madbrain » Tue Mar 21, 2017 9:28 pm

tagius wrote:Take a taxi to "the peak". Walk around the peak circular path for fantastic views. Don't take the peak tram as it's long lines and not worth waiting.


+1 . On my first trip to Hong Kong, I took the tram. I really regretted the very long wait.
Taxi will be cheap, but you will be charged double the rate at the top to go to the terrace if you didn't use the tram to get there.

The view is really worth it from the Peak . I got some beautiful night photos with my DSLR . Bring a good camera if you own one.

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David Jay
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Re: Short visit to Hong Kong - "must do/see"?

Postby David Jay » Tue Mar 21, 2017 9:57 pm

If you want to see the "real" back-street HongKong, the night market is fascinating, they shut down two blocks of a street just west of Austin Road and it is filled with vendors. If I recall it happens 2 nights a week, you will have to ask the concierge.
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youdiditr2
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Re: Short visit to Hong Kong - "must do/see"?

Postby youdiditr2 » Wed Mar 22, 2017 1:31 am

If you go to the Peak, make sure it's on a clear day. I went there when it was misty and couldn't see anything. Just fog the entire time and this was during May.

I actually liked Hong Kong Disneyland. Don't shoot me!

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MossySF
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Re: Short visit to Hong Kong - "must do/see"?

Postby MossySF » Wed Mar 22, 2017 2:29 am

youdiditr2 wrote:I actually liked Hong Kong Disneyland. Don't shoot me!


The lines for HK Disneyland are way shorter than in other Disneylands around the world. There were a bunch of rides where we got off and immediately ran back in and got back on.

GTBuzz
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Re: Short visit to Hong Kong - "must do/see"?

Postby GTBuzz » Wed Mar 22, 2017 4:18 am

MossySF wrote:
youdiditr2 wrote:I actually liked Hong Kong Disneyland. Don't shoot me!


The lines for HK Disneyland are way shorter than in other Disneylands around the world. There were a bunch of rides where we got off and immediately ran back in and got back on.


Agree Hong Kong Disneyland is fun and a unique contrast to the American parks with much shorter lines and fewer crowds (assuming you don't go on a Chinese holiday). But if you only visit one theme park, make it Ocean Park. The views from the cable car and some of the thrill rides are incredible, and there's a much larger variety of attractions in comparison to Disneyland. There's a brand new MTR stop for Ocean Park, so it's easy to get to.

I would also add that I think Victoria Peak is way too crowded to make it worth it. The view is great for sure, but only go if the sky is clear, you take a taxi, and you are prepared for mobs of people.

madbrain
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Re: Short visit to Hong Kong - "must do/see"?

Postby madbrain » Wed Mar 22, 2017 4:37 am

youdiditr2 wrote:If you go to the Peak, make sure it's on a clear day. I went there when it was misty and couldn't see anything. Just fog the entire time and this was during May.

I actually liked Hong Kong Disneyland. Don't shoot me!


Unfortunate. We went twice - first during Christmas 2015. I took some gorgeous pictures from the peak. Then, I lost my camera on new year's day 2016. The camera wasn't a massive loss, but the pictures were.

We went back to Asia at the end of last year, in early December. Our final stop was in Hong Kong, and I went back to the Peak just so I could reshoot. I bracketed freely and came home with about 400 pictures like this one. Now to decide which to print and frame.

Image

barnaclebob
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Re: Short visit to Hong Kong - "must do/see"?

Postby barnaclebob » Wed Mar 22, 2017 12:51 pm

Do not go to the big red boat restaurant. 100% ripoff. All of the markets are great and be sure to get some suckling pig and goose while you are there.

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powermega
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Re: Things I did

Postby powermega » Wed Mar 22, 2017 3:01 pm

FraggleRock wrote:Ride the Star Ferry.
Take the hydrofoil to Macau.
Eat only Cantonese food.
Ride the double-decker trolleys.
Walk a few kilometers outside of Central and discover that you are the only gweilo in sight.
Buy a Big Mac and marvel at the low price. Do not eat it. Eat Cantonese.

+1 on every single one of these. Star Ferry is a must, IMO.

First time I've seen the word "gweilo" on BH! lol... :sharebeer
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ResearchMed
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Re: Short visit to Hong Kong - "must do/see"?

Postby ResearchMed » Wed Mar 22, 2017 3:49 pm

Thanks, all.

We are reading and taking notes!

RM
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