Visiting Hong Kong during National Day week?
June 19, 2014 5:49 AM   Subscribe

I'm planning a trip to China during September, which ends in Hong Kong. I'm arriving in HK on 29 Sept and leaving on 3 Oct - right around the start of the National Day holiday. Is this a bad idea?

Are there issues in getting around and seeing HK during National Day week? Will shops be closed, or alternatively will it be really busy? Looking at hotel rates, they appear to be lower than normal (rather than higher) for that week.

Also I planned perhaps to visit Shenzhen for a day. Are the crossings to mainland China typically very busy during this period?

Thanks in advance!
posted by dave99 to Travel & Transportation around Hong Kong (7 answers total)
Shops will DEFINITELY be open. National Day in China is basically "Shopping and touring day" (s) for the entire nation. It's going to be super crowded. There are usually discounts and deals during that time to try and get people to shop and travel. I'm sure crossings to Shenzhen will be super busy. Basically, the Chinese government promotes National Day and Labor Day (May 1) as traveling and shopping days to promote the economy- everyone has off during these days and everything is open. At the least, it should be exciting for you! Just be prepared for crowds. (caveat: I've spent 9 years in mainland China but only an afternoon in Hong Kong, but going by knowledge I highly doubt Hong Kong will be less crowded during this period)
posted by bearette at 6:02 AM on June 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

just realized I contradicted myself somewhat: "everyone has off and everything is open".

that is,everyone has off, except for staff in shops and restaurants
posted by bearette at 6:04 AM on June 19, 2014

Yes, it's going to be a total clusterfuck as you get closer to the holiday. Shops will be packed full (with many luxury shops having long long long crowd control lines), public transportation will be slammed, restaurants will have massive queues and tourist sites will be the same. The border crossings into SZ will be very busy. Chinese Nationals and Foreigners are channeled through the same space (versus HK residents with 'Return Home Cards') and it will be packed toward the beginning and end of that holiday week.

If hotel costs look cheap and you still plan to come, I'd recommend that you snap them up. Rates tend to skyrocket as we get closer to the holiday.
posted by hellomiss at 6:42 AM on June 19, 2014

Make restaurant bookings for any must-do places that will take bookings well in advance, too.
posted by mdonley at 6:44 AM on June 19, 2014

I went to Hong Kong last year during Golden Week (National Day Week). I had never been there before, so maybe I had no context, but in my opinion it wasn't any busier than tourist season where I live (L.A., where tourist season (a.k.a. the entire summer) feels pretty much the same). I have also been to Tokyo, and I found Hong Kong comparably crowded in some places, but less so in others. We were able to navigate the city with relative ease even in the touristy areas, and trains weren't any more crowded than Bay Area's BART at rush hour, even when we got close to the mainland. Hope that helps!
posted by Temeraria at 9:43 AM on June 19, 2014

In Hong Kong, banks, Post Office, government departments, schools, most commercial offices, are closed on public holidays. In Hong Kong, National Day (1 October) is a public holiday.

Also, this year the Chung Yeung Festival (Double Ninth Festival) falls on 2 October... and that's a public holiday too!
posted by Mister Bijou at 10:03 AM on June 19, 2014

From my experience, Hong Kong will be crowded during the holiday, but it will be bearable. Some of the malls and shopping areas might be nuts though.

I have crossed the border with both a US passport and a Hong Kong ID/Return Home Permit. (I did not have an HK ID for a while despite having right of abode, since I was born in and live in the U.S.) Two things:

1. It sounds like you are going to the mainland first. I can't tell where you're from, but if you use a US/UK passport to enter China, you will need a visa. I'm pretty sure you will need a double entry visa if you go from the mainland to Hong Kong and then back to Shenzhen. Since Hong Kong is administered separately, that counts as two crossings. (Someone correct me if I'm wrong.)

If you do need to apply for another visa while in HK, you can get one pretty easily at one of the China Travel Service locations, but it will take a few days. There is a rush service, but it is super expensive, and I think it still takes 2 days. I don't know if the holiday will affect processing time.

2. I haven't crossed the border during a holiday, but I'll echo hellomiss: it's typically slower for foreigners than Return Home Permit holders, even on non-holidays. (I usually cross at Lo Wu.)
posted by melvinwang at 10:31 PM on June 19, 2014

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