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Tar Devil
04-05-2011, 12:01 PM
... Hong Kong.

Doubtless, many of you have some advice, suggestions, warnings, etc.

Unfortunately, this trip may interfere with my Canadian fishing trip. Oh well!

Andrew Craig-Bennett
04-05-2011, 12:10 PM
Lucky fellow; you are going to the finest city in the entire known universe, full of delightful people and packed with enjoyable things to do!

How many yards of advice would you like?


1. Fly Cathay Pacific.

2. Take the Airport Express on arrival

Those two apply 100% of the time.

Now, when are you going, how long will be you be staying in HK for, are you on your own or with others, what are your interests, what is your budget?

Meanwhile, read this (said he in a shameless bit of self-promotion):

http://gwulo.com/ACBs-history-of-hong-kong

genglandoh
04-05-2011, 12:11 PM
I have not gone to Hong Kong but I do travel to other countries a lot.
General Advice for traveling to other countries.
1. Photo copy your passport and other ID's keep in a different location.
2. Make a copy of all your credit cards with the 1-800 numbers for cancelling them
3. Make a copy of the US embassy address.
4. Write down what $10 is worth in the local currency, this way you can quickly figure out what things cost.
5. Try to learn some simple words like good morning, hello, bathroom etc.
Do not worry it you do a poor job most people just like it when you try.
6. Only point out things you like about the country you are visiting.
No one like to here bad thinks about their country.
7. Try to eat their food.
People just like it when you try.

Hop you have a good trip

Tar Devil
04-05-2011, 12:14 PM
Business trip, Andrew. I will be flying Cathay... I'll be there doing business with them. An associate from Australia most likely will meet me there, and he has some experience in the city. Budget?? Meals and some entertainment will be business expenses, so I can pretty much eat where I chose. Sight seeing, etc., will be personally funded and those funds are rather limited.

No dates nailed, but good estimate is early to mid May.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
04-05-2011, 12:38 PM
Right - hotels...

Hong Kong has a handful of seriously great hotels - the Peninsula and the Mandarin both spawned their own chains of clones across the globe, but the Conrad is deservedly very popular with many Western visitors too, and is conveniently located in Pacific Place. Asians often prefer the Grand Hyatt. These are seriously expensive, but there are a couple of dozen hotels that are almost as good. I am quite fond of the Excelsior in Causeway Bay, though its a bit old fashioned now.

Munny:

As you already know, there is no purchase tax and the HK$ is linked to the US$ via a currency board system, at around HK$7.73 = US$1.

Public tranport:

Public transport is excellent. On arrival at Chek Lap Kok, buy yourself an Airport Express Travel Pass from the MTR (Mass Transit Railway) desk (round desk in the airport foyer en route to the station) This should cot around HK$300 and gives you travel into the city and return and three days unlimited use of the MTR, which is one of the world's best subway systems.

You certainly should also:

a) Take the Star Ferry across the harbour

b) Take a tram along Hong Kong Island

c) Take the Peak Tram (funicular railway) to the Peak (top of the island) (nb this is touristy and there will be a queue so do it early in the day..)

Taxis come in three varieties:

Hong Kong Island taxis - red with silver roofs.

Kowloon taxis - same but different.

New Territories taxis - green with white roofs.

DO NOT take a taxi across the harbour through one of the tunnels - take the MTR or the ferry and flag a cab on the other side.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
04-05-2011, 12:55 PM
Golf is insanely expensive in HK, but there certainly are golfers, and dropping your handicap into a conversation with your contacts in Cathay may produce an invitation to play a round at Fan Ling or elsewhere.

Same goes for sailing - plenty of it, the RHKYC do a summer evening race series and expressions of interest may result in an invite to join a crew either for one of those or for a weekend day sail. HK is great sailing water, curiously like the Western Isles of Scotland.

Model rocketry is alas frowned upon due to airspace constraints.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
04-05-2011, 01:01 PM
Do pick up a map and a guide book on arrival or shortly thereafter.

Very many people speak English - not all though. Policemen with red tabs under the numbers on their shoulder tabs are fluent in English (this includes those who actually are English, who are equally fluent in Cantonese) Taxi driver's English is variable - the trick is to tip the hotel doorman to tell the driver where you are going and of course to have other addresses written down.

Good Morning - Jo San

Please, and also thank you (for something small) - M'goi

Tar Devil
04-05-2011, 01:02 PM
NO MODEL ROCKETS? I'm done for!!

Culturally, what can I expect? My last trip abroad was to Dubai, and I only THOUGHT I was prepared for that.

carlg
04-05-2011, 01:02 PM
The Shangrai-La hotel on the Kowloon side has a piano bar overloooking the harbor. Get there in the late afternoon and watch the lights come on on Hong Kong island. Spectacular! Well worth the trip.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
04-05-2011, 01:09 PM
Hong Kong has four great passions:

1. The stock market
2. Horse racing
3. Eating
4. Shopping

I do not propose to cover (1)

Cathay people are relatively unlikely to invite you to Happy Valley or Sha Tin for (2) this is for complex reasons of company tradition - they are Swire people and the Great and Ancient Hong frowns on the ponies, for reasons lost in the mists of time (gambling is bad for you...*) But other people probably will, if it's a race night.

3 and 4 require a couple of pages each.

Before going further, let me know how much of an enthusiast you are for Chinese cuisine.

* edited to add, also perhaps because the man who brought horse racing to Hong Kong was William Jardine...

Hot Air
04-05-2011, 01:10 PM
If time allowed I would recommend getting out to some of the smaller islands that have some pretty little harbor towns. Ferries are cheap and a nice ride.

Tar Devil
04-05-2011, 01:16 PM
Before going further, let me know how much of an enthusiast you are for Chinese cuisine.

I love Asian food and could eat it daily, but my only exposure to REAL Asian cuisine is SFO's China Town. Otherwise, whatever you get in the local "Chinese" restaurants.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
04-05-2011, 01:17 PM
Culturally - there is a resident orchestra or two and a resident ballet company. Check listings.

http://www.discoverhongkong.com/eng/events/arts-culture-hk-performing-companies.html

These are good.

Local TV is absolutely dire and always has been.

There are bookshops but you need to know where to find them. Swindon Book Shop used to be good - was in Ocean Terminal until lately and might still be there.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
04-05-2011, 01:24 PM
I love Asian food and could eat it daily, but my only exposure to REAL Asian cuisine is SFO's China Town. Otherwise, whatever you get in the local "Chinese" restaurants.

OK. You will be in the capital of Chinese cuisine.

One word of warning - unless you are really really keen, stick to Western breakfast. A chicken foot emerging out of your bowl of congee at 7.30 am is not to everyone's taste...

Lunch - dim sum of course. Do not attempt this without a Chinese friend, though. the old rule was that all dishes are the same price and the waitress adds up your bill by counting the steamer baskets.

For more tea, leave the teapot lid at an angle. Tap your fingers three times on the table top to say thanks when someone pours tea for you or offers you food (this is a symbolic kowtow, dating back to the end of the Sung, when the emperor was fleeing in disguise)

More later must read bed time story

wardd
04-05-2011, 01:53 PM
Nam Kok Hotel

Suzie Wong will show you a good time

Andrew Craig-Bennett
04-05-2011, 02:40 PM
The Nam Kok was in reality the Luk Kwok. It's been rebuilt since Mason's day, and is utterly respectable.

See here for the whole film:

http://gwulo.com/node/6188

It has been true for the past thirty years that anyone wandering into Lockhart Road after six pm with the intention of getting laid will probably suceed, but could have saved money by flying to Manila on Cathay, booking into the Manila Mandarin, and paying a bar fine in P Burgos St.

Before six pm you will suceed only in buying tiles and bathroom fittings.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
04-05-2011, 03:18 PM
Back to food:

Let's start with a real great:

The Yung Kee Restaurant, 32-34 Wellington Street, Central, tel 2522 1624 (be sure to book!), is deservedly famous, not least for its amazing roast goose, and any Hong Kong resident will be pleased to be invited there.

This is one for your entertainment budget but look carefully at the menu; the range of prices for dishes is striking and you can eat reasonably there by selecting carefully (NOT the abalone, etc...) I've eaten there within the past couple of months and its as good as ever.

Now for some tradition:

The Luk Yu Teahouse, 24-26 Stanley Street, phone 2523 5463. This is a very traditional dim sum place; it is always packed at lunch time and you wont get a table; I recommend going mid-morning or mid-afternoon. Don't expect friendly service until you have come every day for thirty years... but do go there.

Hope you don't mind if I mention a bakery - do go to the Tai Cheung Bakery, 32 Lyndhurst Terrace, 2544 3745, near the famous escalator. What you go here for is egg tarts, and you do really have to have one. (Chris Patten was a very regular customer.)

If your tastes extend to "1930's American", corned beef and cabbage et al, and mine certainly do, then do make a point of eating at Jimmy's Kitchen, South China Building, 1-3 Wyndham Street, tel 2526 5293. This has been a Hong Kong favourite since 1928 when Jimmy stepped off a USN gunboat and I doubt if they have changed the menu. Another safe choice to take a local to.

More tradition of a different sort - afternoon tea in the Lobby of the Peninsula Hotel. This incidentally was the site of Cathay Pacific's first ever booking office. Whilst there, enquire if Gaddi's (the Peninsula's seriously great French restaurant) still serve a fixed price Sunday lunch - this used to be a great deal provided you stuck religiously to the set menu and did not go "off piste"!

Don't go anywhere near the floating restaurants in Aberdeen.

Will see what more I can come up with.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
04-05-2011, 03:35 PM
I should have mentioned earlier - Hong Kong is a place where people dress formally. Overlook this at your extreme social peril. Suit, tie, well polished shoes, 8am to 6pm and if invited to dine at a Club (which you may well be). More casual (but never scruffy) at the weekends.

I'm happy to recommend a formal shirt maker: Ideal Tailor, Prince's Building Central (they take a bit of finding) I've had my shirts made there for thirty years, currently HK$750 for a shirt which is what you would pay in Jermyn Street, London, for a less satisfactory product. They will measure you and deliver to your hotel two days later. Do not allow them to talk you into making you a suit, however.

Nearby you will find one of the best tailors anywhere - A-Man Hin Cheong, in the Mandarin Hotel lobby, are very firmly in the English tradition - the Saville Row tradition to be precise - and you may expect to pay say HK$20K for a three piece with spare trousers, two fittings. You will find half the House of Lords in their fittings book.

Do not buy shoes in Hong Kong.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
04-05-2011, 03:38 PM
If you wear glasses, Hong Kong is a very good place to get a pair made; most of the population is myopic so demand is always high. Will dig out the name and address of the people I go to. Don't know how good opticians are in the States but HK is way better than the UK.

Tar Devil
04-05-2011, 03:42 PM
Andrew, you are now venturing well out of my budget! The residents of Hong Kong will have to be content with my company supplied, embroidered shirts. I think I own ONE suit! I WILL keep a list of the restaurants!

Andrew Craig-Bennett
04-05-2011, 03:53 PM
I was just teasing about Ah Man Hin Cheong - now here is a very different HK clothing recommendation:

Giordano.

http://www.giordano.com.hk/web/hk/ourcompany.html

Giordano is not even remotely Italian - it is a chain founded by Jimmy Lai

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Lai

who is one of my heroes. He named the company after Jordan Road, Kowloon, Italianizing it for salesmanship.

DO call into one or four of their branches - hard to miss - amazingly good quality and value in smart casual clothing.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
04-05-2011, 03:58 PM
It is customary to recommend one or both of Stanley Market (Stanley village, Hong Kong Island) and / or Temple Street Night Market (Kowloon) for production overruns, etc in clothing and suchlike. Frankly, bargains take a bit of finding, but you may strike lucky. Hong Kong does not deal in fakes if it can avoid it - for those, do as the locals do and nip over the border into Shenzhen.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
04-05-2011, 04:18 PM
For Chinese antiques - Hollywood Road, but bring a big cheque book. For more everyday Chinoiserie, try one of the big |Mainland department stores like China Arts and Crafts.

More tomorrow - bedtime.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
04-06-2011, 01:26 AM
It will be pleasantly warm and not too sticky. It is OK to take your jacket off when leaving a building and to put it back on when entering the next one. The MTR is air conditioned.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
04-06-2011, 01:27 AM
Don't wander round Mong Kok late at night. Other than that, you will be safer than you are at home.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
04-06-2011, 04:29 AM
Things to see:

Museums - Hong Kong Museum, Science Museum, Maritime Museum, Flagstaff Museum (its a small museum of tea ware)

Buildings - very few old buildings survive. St John's Cathedral, the Legislative Council building, Government House, the Wan Chai Post Office and after that I'm really having to think!

Country walks - many more than you might think - Hong Kong does not have suburbs - the countryside comes up to the city.. Even on the island if you walk along one of the higher paths on the Peak you will see amazing butterflies.

Take the Peak Tram up to Peak Station and walk round the Peak, or up to the Governor's Garden right at the top.

Tar Devil
04-06-2011, 12:56 PM
You're serious about suits/ties/jackets? I'm gonna need a complete wardrobe!!

Gary Davis
04-06-2011, 03:15 PM
Thanks for the info as well. We're off to China and Hong Kong May 2012. Any advice for the mainland?

Tar Devil - I spent my first 23 years in Wilson NC with many trips to the mountains. Love the SW area. Where are you?

Gary Davis

Andrew Craig-Bennett
04-06-2011, 06:48 PM
You're serious about suits/ties/jackets? I'm gonna need a complete wardrobe!!

Yes, perfectly serious. Hong Kong is a conservative place; many companies still work Saturday mornings. IT people get a certain amount of licence, but not that much. A great friend of mine is CIO of a prominent HK company and very well regarded in his specialist field (he also sails, and may be reading this). His office appearance is buttoned down to say the least.

Gary - the Mainland is a whole different thing - probably best on another thread - it is not much like Hong Kong, but having lived for five years in Beijing I'm happy to offer some thoughts.

Tar Devil
04-06-2011, 09:40 PM
Tar Devil - I spent my first 23 years in Wilson NC with many trips to the mountains. Love the SW area. Where are you?

I'm a good drive from Wilson... near the foothills of the Appalachians. Would love to be closer to the coast.