Share Tips for 24 Hours in Hong Kong - and Maybe Win a Prize....

Discussion in 'Travel Tips & Strategies' started by JoeD, Sep 13, 2018.

  1. JoeD

    JoeD Well-Known Member

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    As explained in more detail here, here and here, each week for 8 weeks, I'll be starting a forum thread asking readers to share their tips/suggestions/anecdotes about a destination I'll be visiting in the next couple of months.

    The author of the best comment (most useful, funniest, etc - as judged by me) will win a small prize and will also be entered into the Grand Prize draw with the other weekly winners, where you could win 2,000 Norwegian Reward CashPoints (worth ~£185).

    All contributions are very welcome - particularly things like:
    • Recommendations on what to see/do/eat/drink
    • Thoughts on the best hotels (particularly sweetspots using points!)
    • Tips on how to get around
    • Best airport lounges and other airport info
    • Best ways to fly there using points/miles
    • Amusing/interesting stories about the destination/travelling there
    This week's destination is Hong Kong, where I'll be spending about 24 hours from mid afternoon on a Friday until roughly the same time on the Saturday.

    Where are the best places to eat and drink on a Friday night? Any suggestions for good value well-located hotels (using Points or cash) greatly appreciated!

    Share your knowledge, help me out, and maybe win a prize!
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018
  2. Imacky

    Imacky New Member

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    I'm for hong kong myself in Feb. Research has told me that the JW Marriott has by far the best hotel club lounge of any chain HK hotel. As I recall you hit the marriott event planner trick, to get you to platinum. If so, and you have some marriott, I'd suggest you book into the JW to experience the lounge.

    The JW is apparently very handy to get to from the airport, and is built above/beside a major shopping centre, and is on the hong kong island, and so best placed (I hear).

    Unfortunately I don't have plat but have still booked the JW for the other factors in its favour.

    Ian
     
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  3. jcpeden

    jcpeden New Member

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    As you've probably seen from my lengthy post about my brother's wedding, Hong Kong was the third and final stop before our flight home on our trip and it didn't disappoint. My friend is Catonese and spent the first half of her life in HK so she was only too happy to give me a big list of things to do. Let me hit you with the highlights...

    Like Madrid, the best part of our stay in HK was the secret food tour. As I cannot post links, you'll just have to search 'secret food tour Hong Kong' but remember to use the discount code SFT15 when booking.

    We've explored Berlin, Rome, Madrid and HK through their food and each tour has been incredibly tasty, enlightening and good fun!

    The tour focuses on the Tin Hau district, which is a really authentic part of town. You won't find many Western restaurants and bars around there so it's really helpful to have a guide to help you find tasty treats in places with no English menu. The dumplings were simply fabulous and we came back the following day for a second portion!

    In terms of getting around, the Metro was fantastic and very, very cheap. We rode the Ding Ding for novelty and went up the funiculaire to get to the peak. This is definitely worth the trip as the view was amazing, as was the ride back to TST on the Red Star Ferry (also very cheap) but be warned, the top of the peak is basically a massive shopping mall!

    In retrospect, I'd stay on Hong Kong Island as TST felt a little bit less upmarket. The bars and restaurants around Central are expensive and cater to expats but they weren't crazy and I felt like the experience was balanced by the price. Again, if I could post links I'd share my saved locations with you all but you'll just have to snoop around and find your own!

    There are also loads of immersive VR experiences (escape rooms/multiplayer games) that I really regret not doing. Take a look!

    The markets were a bit...meh. I wouldn't go out of my way for them and after you've visited the first 5 or 6 stalls, you'll have seen it all.

    My family explored further south towards Stanley and said it was really pretty, but I think it's a bit harder to get out that way.
     
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  4. lMartin

    lMartin New Member

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    Hong Kong, one my favourite cities. There's so too much to see and experience for a 24 hours stay, but here are my opinions.

    Unlike the other two posters I always stay on the Kowloon side. It feels a little less crowded and the view is spectacular. It all comes down to your standards, but I would almost any of the harbour front hotels will do. If price or points isn't an issue, then Ritz-Carlton or Peninsula is for you (not by first hand experience unfortunantly, at least not yet). ICON, W and InterContinental are also great, and if you want something that's a bit lett expensive you could also check out Royal Garden or IC Grand Stanford. If a harbour view isn't required The Mira is also nice. For my next stay I'm considering Harbour Grand Kowloon which is a a bit further away from the ferry terminal, but still within walking distance. Seems to be great bang for the buck.

    Getting around is cheap, fast and efficient with MTR. Where there are no trains there are buses or the ding dings. Crossing to the island with the Star Ferry is also a must do. Uber is also widely available and not very expensive.

    As I have only flown Star Alliance to HKG I find the Singapore Airlines lounge to be the best option, even if it has no windows. There's also a Thai and United lounge, but I haven't tried those yet. As for the best way to fly using points, again only having flown Star Alliance, you have direct flights from Franktfurt and Munich with Lufthansa, Zurich with SWISS and Copenhagen with SAS. Business class award with SAS is almost impossible to come by, while Lufthansa is easier. First class award tickets to HKG with Lufthansa are rare.

    If you cannot find anything directly to HKG, both Lufthansa and Air China has great availability with a stop in PEK, even in First Class.

    As for see/do/eat/drink I don't even know where to begin. For slow paced activities I realy enjoyed Nan Lian gardens, seeing the sun set from Victoria Peak, the Kowloon Park and just walking around in the city. I agree that Stanley is nice, but I wouldn't consider for a 24 hour stay as it's a bit of a hassle to get there.

    If you enjoy partying Lan Kwai Fong on a Friday night won't disappoint you. If you don't mind spending €20 on a coktail or €60 on a glass of Champagne The Ozone Bar is also worth a visit. There are a lot of great dining options in all price ranges in Hong Kong, but for cheap eats you probably can't beat Tim Ho Wan which I believe still is the cheapest Michelin Star restaurant out there.
     
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  5. JoeD

    JoeD Well-Known Member

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    Cheers Ian! - JW Marriott looks great, but a little outside my budget on this one I think. Didn't bother getting Plat status in the end (I'm pretty sure Craig used the events trick to good effect though).

    We're there for such a short time that I doubt we'll be spending too much time in the hotel, however nice. I'm thinking maybe something like the Courtyard or the HIX Soho at the moment. I'd rather stick to Points, but would obviously pay cash if there was a really good deal somewhere.
     
  6. JoeD

    JoeD Well-Known Member

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    Really good tips - thanks again jc!

    Yeah, I think we'll stay on the island and get the ferry across to TST so long as time allows. Got to head up Victoria Peak.

    Food tour should be excellent in HK - maybe even better than Madrid!
     
  7. JoeD

    JoeD Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Imartin - about how long does the ferry take (including queuing/boarding/disembarking/etc?).

    I'll live without the 60 Euro champagne, but 20 Euros for a cocktail at Ozone doesn't sound too outrageous, so we'll head up there at some point I think.

    I'll take a look at the hotel suggestions now!
     
  8. lMartin

    lMartin New Member

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    Not long, probably around 10 minutes.
     
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  9. JoeD

    JoeD Well-Known Member

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    Cheers - perfect!
     
  10. jkpc

    jkpc New Member

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    Having travelled to Hong Kong previously by far the best thing we did was download, from discoverhongkong.com the self guided walking tours onto a tablet. When we return in January we will do those walks we didn't get the chance to do last time. We discovered places we would never have seen just walking around on our own. We visited the bird and flower markets, viewed superb historical buidings, small temples only large enough to hold 2 people and the fascinating Coastal defence museum in Shau Kei Wan where you get a great view of the harbour and city.
     
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  11. JoeD

    JoeD Well-Known Member

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    Awesome tip - will definitely check it out!
     
  12. BrianT

    BrianT New Member

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    Hi JoeD,

    Having been to HK twice now, both for 1 month each time. I can say this is truly a GREAT experience.
    The most important rule of all, even before leaving the airport, is to get an Octopus card. This is a one-swipe card for all public transport.
    From the airport, take the airport express train to Central Station. On returning you can also book your bags in at Central Station for the flight out.
    For flights from MAD to HKG I would suggest Qatar Airlines. Great to use your points, with 5* lounges at Doha and Hong Kong.
    As a thrifty person,I found one of the best hotels was the IBIS at North Point ( within 50 metres of North Point Station).
    This hotel has one of the BEST views over the Harbour (remember to book harbour view) and 100 metres away from the ferry pier which , of course, travels to Kowloon City.

    As you know, Accorhotels do regular promotions so a great deal will be had. One tip I will give is their breakfast buffet. An all-you-can-eat style. A great way to save money on food during the daytime and very tasty.
    I also found the manager, Mr.Choi, to be extremely helpful on both my visits and even remembered me after an 18 month hiatus.
    Within your views from this hotel, between the hotel and the ferry pier, is the North point bus terminus. Again, excellent if you want to see a bit of HK going to/from airport or anywhere else.
    So, as far as interior travel is concerned, this hotel is within 100 metres of the ferry pier, a bus terminus, old-tram stops and the rail/underground system.
    From the hotel there are many stops for the quaint old trams that run on the island. This is a total must. Although they travel at about 15-20kph on average, they can be quicker than cars or buses at peak times and a flat fare of 2.60HKD this certainly won't break the bank.

    I feel it is pretty pointless to advice someone of somewhere to eat as many different people have different tastes. In HK, a very foodie city, tastes and styles can change daily. Best way to decide is where YOU fancy eating and what you want to eat at that specific time. There are always plenty to choose from, from the incredibly cheap to the downright crazy prices.

    This is truly an ideal place to base yourself on this visit with the "Peak" an obvious tourist spot. So, after travelling on state-of-the-art aircraft, you can take a 100+ year old tram(system) to the 100+ year old funicular to "Victoria Peak". The contrast in styles and technology is wonderful.
    Take in the Man Mo Temple, the oldest in HK, or just sample some nightlife around the bars and clubs of Causeway Bay or Wan Chai.
    At night from the hotel, overlooking the bay, you can see a nightly light show from across the harbour. Lasers and such illuminating the night sky.

    HK is truly a treasure trove of undiscovered places for most of HK visitors. From the "Big Buddha" via the cable-car with many countryside walks or a walk up to the "1000 Buddhas". The quaint fishing village of Aberdeen to the HK Observation Wheel for a different slant on the skyline.
    I bought a museum pass for quicker and cheaper entry to various musems.
    I also took in a local football match which was a very pleasant experience. NO crushing crowds or violence.
    Beware the rail/underground at rush-hour times. I don't call it the "Sardine run" for nothing.
    There are MANY, MANY outdoor markets to find "quality" goods in the "Grey" market.
    As a guy, I generally don't spend too much time shopping in this duty-free city but with HK I come with one change of clothes and fill 2 suitcases before leaving. I never need to buy any expensive clothing at home.
    I bought a new camera, camcorder and laptop in HK, saving 1000's of £/$ on prices at home.

    As this is a MAJOR crossover point in Asia. Flights are numerous with Multiple airlines doing multiple deals. I really don't need to advise you on hotels. Personally, unless I find a truly exceptional offer, I find hotels a complete waste of money for tourists/travellers to HK. £/$200+ a night to always be out and seeing an amazing city!!
    The IBIS North Point has amazing views with excellent land travel connections at a fraction of the prices. Which can ultimately be reduced using their rewards card.

    Ask a Phillippines girl about where to exchange money, they generally know all the best places for the best rates. Generally found in shopping malls in Central Area.

    Only two bad points about HK are:- the "Sardine run" previously mentioned ( think Tokyo trains) and the SMOG. Choking fumes from very old autos with no emission regulations.

    I truly hope you enjoy your HK visit
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2018
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  13. luckykids

    luckykids New Member

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    I would recommend the Cordis hotel on Kowloon side. (Formerly Langham). This hotel is by far the best value of the 5 star hotels in Hong Kong. It’s attached to a huge mall with everything. You can eat in the decent food hall there and also it has a supermarket and also m&s food shop if you felt like an egg sandwich!!


    So gives you an option to not pay through the nose for meals and also it’s air conditioned and also it’s right near the Mong Kok mtr and you can get to the markets. This is a very authentic area of town. I feel that staying in central is like staying in the cbd.


    I noticed the cordis has some quite good cancellable rates on their site but depends when you are going. It could range from $1160hkd to $2000hkd per night.


    If you join the 1865 club you maybe able to get up to the next tier with just three stays. Need to research whether your parents room stay would count for your 1865 account.


    Anyway there aren’t too many hacks I could discover for HK. It’s an expensive place no matter how you plan it.


    For harbour view someone recommended YMCA Salisbury but still not cheap. Also we went to have a look at it today and the area doesn’t look as convenient as the Cordis for amenities.


    CX premium awards for EUR-HKG via AS USED to be a sweet spot but they have been totally clamped with CX not releasing anything at all since mid June.
     
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  14. JoeD

    JoeD Well-Known Member

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    More brilliant tips - Ibis North Point looks decent but everything (inc the Ibis) is pretty expensive the night we're staying, so I think I'll try to use hotel points this time (not entirely sure where yet though!).

    Thanks Brian!
     
  15. JoeD

    JoeD Well-Known Member

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    Cheers - Cordis looks great actually, but is £200+ per room for the date we're staying, which is more than I generally like to pay (particularly as we'll be out most of the time) - time to raid my hotel points stashes I think.

    Yes, the curious death of the CX Alaska awards almost put an end to this trip before planning had even really begun, but I managed to sort some nice flights out at excellent prices thanks to AA on Etihad and the absurdly generous Iberia Avios deal. Is the CX award space between Europe and HKG still as bad as it was a few months ago?
     
  16. KyleR

    KyleR New Member

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    A bit late to the party, but having visited HK many times over the years, here's my guide of things to consider doing for people without much time:

    The Hong Kong Tourist Office has a stall before you exit arrivals at the HK airport; stop by and pick up free brochures and maps (there’s a good HK Tourist Office at the Star Ferry Pier, Kowloon side, if you forget)

    Travel
    Use the MTR (Mass Transit Railway; cheap, fast, efficient, goes almost everywhere, buy a stored value ticket (special tourist tickets available; check details at ticket office). The stored value tickets are highly recommended, they can be used in the MTR, buses, trams, ferries, Peak Tram – even in many small shops like Seven11 or supermarkets.

    Take a tram for a couple of stops (dead cheap – HK$3 for adults, about 20p – very basic, bone-rattling, no air conditioning, good fun!)

    Things to do
    Take the Peak Tram to the top of The Peak mountain overlooking HK harbour (360° view of HK Island from Peak Tower); sit on right side going up, left side coming down

    Take the Star Ferry from HK Island to Kowloon (or vice versa). As more and more waterfront land is reclaimed the journey gets shorter and shorter - currently it’s only five minutes!

    Walk along Hollywood Road viewing the antique/junk shops and pop into Man Mo Temple (clouds of incense! If temples are your thing, visit busy Wong Tai Sin temple in Kowloon, it’s next to its own MTR stop)

    Temple Street Night Market in Kowloon (go after 7.00 pm) or Ladies Market in Kowloon (go between 2.00 and 10.00 pm). Clothing, electronics, curios and lots and lots of tourist tat (remember to bargain, that’s half the fun!)

    View lights and laser show from Tsim Tsua Shui waterfront (faces HK island; be there for 8.00 pm)

    Visit Lantau island with its huge bronze outdoor Buddha and adjoining Po Lin temple/monastery (try the great vegetarian lunch in the monastery – enquire at Reception) or visit Tai O traditional fishing village on same island). Or, take the MTR to the Ngong Ping 360 in Lantau Island that links to the above attractions via a cable car journey.

    Food
    Everyone's tastes will be different, but here's a couple of well known places to try:

    Try Dim Sum, only eaten for breakfast/ lunch (Tim Ho Wan is one of the cheapest Michelin starred restaurants in the world, and a meal will set you back £10-15

    Mak’s Noodle, 77 Wellington Street, Central for the best wonton noodles in HK

    Try Yung Kee or Kam’s roast goose for roast goose/ roast meat

    Egg custard tarts at Tai Cheong bakery

    If you’re adventurous, try eating at a Dai Pai Dong (street food stall). If not, there are a huge variety of restaurants at which you can try different types of cuisine from all over China e.g. try Sichuanese (hot and spicy) or Shanghainanese (try beggar’s chicken). There are over 11,000 restaurants and Hong Kong truly is a food lover’s paradise.

    Lounges
    If you are an emerald/ sapphire member, the Pier lounge at HKG is probably your best option (be aware though that they are located around gate 60, so it could be a fair walk to your gate, though it's a fantastic lounge and better than the other CX ones)
     
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  17. Imacky

    Imacky New Member

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    I'll definitely be reviewing this thread closer to my HKG trip in Feb, some fantastic ideas in here for someone like me that hasn't the foggiest what to do in HKG.
     
  18. JoeD

    JoeD Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Kyle - really brilliant stuff!!
     
  19. JoeD

    JoeD Well-Known Member

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    Most of the food places look like they are about 5-10 minutes walk from the hotel currently booked, so hugely convenient too!
     
  20. KyleR

    KyleR New Member

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    Which hotel are you staying at? Let us know how it goes as if it's good, I'll recommend friends to stay there when they visit!
     
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