7 Nights in Hong Kong
May 5, 2017 10:19 AM   Subscribe

I'll be in HK from June 1 to 8 with my husband. He will be at a conference for part of the time. Since we just confirmed the trip, we do not have any logistics planned yet. This will be our first time in HK. We are traveling from the US and we have both been to SE Asia before. I looked through some past questions on where to stay and what to eat. Since we will be there for a full week, I am wondering if the lodging recommendations may differ. We would like to be centrally located but I think having a slightly roomier space with easy access to the center would probably suffice. A previous answer said that there isn't really a difference between Air B&B's and hotels. Is that still the case? Our price range would be about $100-150/night. Another question, do you have recommendations on getting local sim cards. We have unlocked iPhones. We are early 30's with no kids. We love spicy foods, street food, flea markets, whiskey, espressos, scenic walks/hikes/bike rides/ferry trips, and trying new makeup & skincare (that one is just me)
posted by allthingsconsidered to Travel & Transportation around Hong Kong (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Your hotel/place you will stay likely will have a free mobile hotspot so you can make wifi FaceTime callsand iMessages
posted by sandmanwv at 10:31 AM on May 5, 2017

This is a pretty good walk that we followed, more or less, on a trip a couple years ago. I second her recommendation of spending time in/possibly staying on the Kowloon side. "roomier space" isn't really a think in HK, we stayed in Mongkok and really liked how busy it was.

Getting around is really pretty easy (and very cheap) compared to many other international cities - public transportation is a great value, well signed and reliable, although cabs were a breeze and coming from NYC also surprisingly cheap.

As far as food/drinks - you MUST get pork buns at Tim Ho Wan (Michellin starred dim sum - not that the star is the reason to go -they have multiple locations and they are just. so. good).

Got a great/very interesting cup of coffee at Unar coffee, but it appears the location we went to is closed, though others exist.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 10:45 AM on May 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

I bought a Discover HK SIM card on arrival at the airport, which worked perfectly well anywhere I went (I was even able to add on a one-day package for Macau when I went there).
posted by invokeuse at 10:46 AM on May 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

It has been a while since I've been there, but the first time I went, the company sending me apologized for putting me up in Tsuen Wan. The next time I ended up down closer to Tsim Sha Tsui, and frankly I preferred the former: Better street food, and either way it was "hop on the MTR after work to go somewhere, hop on the MTR to get back to the hotel". The few extra stops didn't bug me that much.

Though apparently it's been long enough (this would've been about 15 years ago) that the MTR map has expanded significantly...
posted by straw at 11:33 AM on May 5, 2017

The sim card you get at the airport is about $10USD if I remember correctly, and it'll do everything you need.

I do research in Hong Kong and usually need to be in Tsim Sha Tsui. It's kind of like staying in a tiny little room right off of Times Square, i.e. good for some people, but mostly exhausting. Unless there's a specific reason you actually need to be in TST, don't stay there; public transit is excellent and taxis are relatively very affordable. If you're worried about transit times, use Google maps to compare--I think you'll find that most centrally located spots in Kowloon won't add more than a few minutes to your trips, even if you have to transfer.
posted by tapir-whorf at 4:54 PM on May 5, 2017

For hiking and nature, my relatives recommend the HK Geopark. It is a bit hard to get to though, so you'll have to plan ahead (I think tours only run on weekends or holidays).

Locals use OpenRice for restaurant ratings.

If you find yourself in Sai Kung, Little Cove Espresso is great.
posted by airmail at 6:54 PM on May 5, 2017

I spent a little over a week in HK back in 2012. I stayed at a corporate apartment in Sha Tin. Yeah, that was a little far out from the majority of sights, but the trains are so clean, reliable and easy to use! I did a lot of walking around Central (absolutely go to Victoria Peak and the Lantau Buddha) and Kowloon, tried a whole lot of different restaurants, including a sushi conveyor belt place (oh, I thought I had died and gone to heaven!) and Korean and lots of great noodles. I didn't go to any destination restaurants per se, just places that were rated well and not super pricey. I also did a day trip to Macau, but I hate casinos and just walked around the island.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 8:29 PM on May 5, 2017

For a little serenity way from TST, take the train to Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery (near Sha Tin).
It's a good hike up to the monastery and it's pretty amazing/interesting.
Cheap spring rolls & drinks at vendors.

Makes a nice morning venture.
posted by artdrectr at 9:26 PM on May 6, 2017

Seconding the recommendation of the 10,000 Buddhas Monastery. I've been there three times and it never gets old. The Diamond Hill monastery and gardens are more central, but even more serene.

For other walks and excursions in Kowloon, I found the Ping Shan Heritage Trail worth doing, and a visit to the Mai Po Nature Reserve (though you have to book a tour in advance in order to visit the reserve, and there are only one or two a week in English).

For a ferry trip, I particularly recommend going to Chueng Chau island and talking the coastal walk around the southern half. There's also a walk around the northern half, but I've not yet had time to do it, and it doesn't sound nearly as interesting.

On Hong Kong Island, the Dragon's Back Trail is great.
posted by kelper at 2:33 AM on May 8, 2017

Hotel: I recommend the Eaton Hotel (within your budget) - good, spacious rooms, and a short walk to the Wing On Department store (for your makeup and skincare needs). Also try Sasa stores for all the make up and skincare you'll ever need, at excellent prices.

Phone: Visit a 3 store in HK and tell them your needs - the last time I was there, I got a SIM with unlimited local calls and unlimited data for $20 for a week.

Spicy food: Cantonese food is not typically spicy (you should visit a Sichuan restaurant if you want really hot food), but I like the spicy soup noodles at Tsui Wah (many branches throughout HK).

Whiskey: wine and liquors are expensive in HK, so I usually stick with beer, bubble tea and little tetra packs of Vita lemon ice tea available from 7-11s. If you like smoky flavours, visit a TWG tea salon (or any Chinese tea salon) and ask for a pot of their best pu-er tea (fermented black tea shaped like giant flat pancakes).

Street food: I don't think I've had bad street food anywhere in HK (maybe I'm lucky). Just use your common sense - see where the locals go, and look for long queues. This website has a short list of some common street foods (please try the pineapple bun, curry fish balls, egg waffles, and stinky tofu - the latter will literally smell like an open sewer, but if you like fried tofu, it's very tasty).

Scenic walks: Stanley has lost it's charm since they started building it up, but there are some lovely walks in the area. Also visit Tai O, a small fishing village reknown for it's fermented shrimp paste. You can rent a bike and go weaving through the little streets, racks of drying fish, and the nearby forests (you may need to walk that bit unless you have a mountain bike. Also pack high duty mosquito repellant).

Have a lovely trip!
posted by travellingincognito at 4:39 AM on May 8, 2017

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