Travel in and around Hong Kong?

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This topic contains 15 replies, has 15 voices, and was last updated by  IanFromHKG 20 Jun 2018
at 10:13

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  • Johnhighlander

    Mrs H & Daughter are thinking of going to Hong Kong for a short break and I was wondering how easy it is to get around the place – they are thinking of staying out in Kowloon and there is a local Metro station so – how good is the system and any recommendations re places for them to spend my money shopping?


    The metro system seems very good, although I have always had a local business partner with me, so didn’t need to do the navigating myself. Trains a are air-conditioned, but crowded at times.
    I can’t offer too much advice on tourist destinations as I have only been for business, but the “fish market” and “flower market” regions (which were near my hotel) made for a fascinating evening walk.


    There are participants on this forum who have a much greater day to day knowledge of Hong Kong than I do nowadays, but I would like to throw in a random alternative.

    Consider staying in Shenzhen at Hilton Nanhai in what is called SeaWorld. To get to Hilton Shekhou they take the Shekou ferry on arrival at HKIA. Well signed, and tickets purchased before passport control, as they will be in transit. Hand over bag tags and bags are picked up and placed on the ferry for collection after clearing China Passport control. Hilton will arrange the bus to the hotel. A 5 minute walk from the hotel are about 30 restaurants from all corners of the World.

    The Hilton has an excellent Exec lounge and helpful and friendly staff. Mrs H & Daughter can get the ferry to HK from Shekou ferry port, using hotel transfer for the 5 minute journey. Ferries go to Victoria ferry port on Hong Kong Island which is on the MTR (Metro) line. You can also get the metro and train to the Shenzhen border but the journey takes some time, and the ferry is more fun. Shop all day in HK and back to unwind in the Exec lounge.

    If they do this please be aware that they will need multiple entry China Visas as Hong Kong is not part of China. Also bear in mind that HK hotels are generally more expensive at weekends than midweek as very many mainlanders go shopping as they can trust the stores in HK, and there is no VAT in HK.

    Mrs FF & I are attending a wedding in HK end September and we shall do as I am recommending.


    The Hong Kong MTR (Metro) is fantastic, very easy to navigate, clean and cheap. I have used it extensively for business and personal trips and can highly recommend it.

    When you arrive in HK, the easiest thing to do is head to a 7/11 shop (there is one near the arrivals area) and buy an ‘Octopus’ card – which is much like an Oyster Card in London. You can then simply top this up as and when you need to.

    Uber is also a good way to get around if neither you or your destination are near an MTR station.


    Hi Johnhighlander
    It’s easy peasy, the MTR is about the easiest transit system I’ve used.all stations have an English name, some even sound as if you’re in the middle of London.

    Also the map is very much based on the tube design.

    A couple of tips to make life easier ….

    They must get an Octopus card when they arrive at HKG. I’d top up with £250 HK dollars to get started — This will allow them to travel on buses, trams, the Star Ferry and outlying island ferries. It will even allow them to purchase items from 7/11 shops, including topping up the card.

    Tip 2: At the larger stations check the exit maps found on the concourse. Especially applicable at Central/IFC where a wrong turning can lead to a trek. Although getting lost in HK is a wondrous experience.

    As for shopping, lots of markets in Kowloon, the biggest being the Night market, for high end stuff head to the IFC mall

    Lastly, I’d totally encourage them to explore, especially using the ferries — A meal in Discovery Bay ( pier 3) is most pleasant

    Hope they enjoy themselves….


    Absolutely my favorite city to visit. MTR super easy and covers most of the territory – not good for the beaches on south of HK Island
    but all kinds of buses and taxis cheap – these days more non English speakers, so good to get hotel to write things down if using them. Most MTR stations have multiple exits, so good to use a map to make sure you use the right one – they are well marked in Engish.
    Well worth doing some homework before you go what you want to see and how to get around. It has its fair share of touristy things like the floating restaurants in Aberdeen, but they are all good fun. Food choices fantastic and everything imaginable. Be advenurous – dim sum, duck,goose, seafood, Vietnamese – good hotels will give proper recommendations. Also some very fine Western food on offer.
    Hope you enjoy as much as I have for the last 40 years!!


    Take a ride on the old double-decker trams, too. All along the CBD, Hong Kong side.


    If there is a Q for the MRT tickets before you leave the arrivals secure area, just go through and there is another service desk at the front of the terminal by the entrance to the MRT.

    Shopping – HKG is one big shopping centre, I have never seen so many high end watch shops and I have never seen price tags in jewellery shop windows, displaying USD$1,000,000 as if its an everyday occurrence. Whilst some may disagree, HKG for shopping is just one massive Oxford Street going in every direction of the compass, below the ground and above in high rise buildings. Every major brand is represented, probably 10 or 20 times and whilst some may disagree, I can not fathom out why anyone goes shopping for western brands in HKG & its not cheap.

    One thing I do enjoy though is going into the food courts of the multitude of shopping areas. Here is were I generally find value for money. Some excellent restaurants displaying Chinese and Asia cooking, filled mainly with locals. These are not high end branded restaurants, but where locals go and westerners are lacking, you know you will generally get a value and very tasty meal. Best finds for me are those at the top of the high rise shopping centres – where Westerners do not go, so again ‘generally’ prices are more in line with locals…

    I usually stay at the Sheraton in Kowloon, not the best on the Island, but close enough to the shopping and restaurant action. The night market is fun, but quality is not good and prices seem low, but are anything but….

    I am a follower of the late GREAT Anthony Bourdain. Google him in HKG…


    Johnhighlander, we spent many, many years in Hong Kong, leaving only recently. I echo others that the subway (MTR) is excellent and easy to use. You will need an Octopus card each as soon as you arrive – there’s a desk selling them after security in the arrivals area. Buses, except for airport buses, are not so easy. Taxis are not so expensive BUT drivers usually speak little English, so it’s essential always to have your destination written down in Chinese with you every time you take a taxi. ***Shopping: good everywhere and the malls are good, e.g. New Town Plaza at Shatin in the New Territories. AVOID Nathan Road completely for shopping, though you might walk down it to have a look.

    *FaroFlyer, thanks and I understand your rationale but personally I would never stay in Shenzhen for a trip to Hong Kong.


    MTR is very simple to use and the trains run very regularly. As others say, definitely get an Octopus card.
    As your family might be doing some sightseeing, these can also be used on the Star Ferry and Tram as well. I seem to remember some coffee shops also accept Octopus.
    I wouldn’t generally take a taxi from Kowloon to the Island, traffic can be terrible at certain times of the day going under the harbour.
    I’ve not used them regularly, but there is a good bus service as well. I’d recommend this if you want to go over to Stanley on the far side of the Island.

    On the Kowloon side places to visit include:
    Kowloon Park (not huge, but could easily spend an hour or two wandering around the different paths, viewing the small lake and the aviary)
    Night Market on Temple Street
    Goldfish Market & Ladies Market on Tung Choi Street
    The Markets are a good experience, though for air conditioned higher end shopping, Pacific Place Mall in Admiralty is easy to reach, one stop on the MTR from TST. HK Park is behind it, so a place for them to relax and reflect once they’ve maxed out the cards.

    If you all have some some time together and fancy a detox there is a nice, paved walk along the Tai Tam Reservoir. (Island side). Or take the ferry to one end of Lamma Island, walk the path to the other side, and stop for a meal en-route.

    What Canucklad says about MTR stations is spot on, particularly with some of the well known stations like TST, Central etc. There are a number of different exits, so try to make a note which one you need to use, it will save a good deal of time etc.


    I would go over to Stanley Market in the morning and stop there and have lunch. If you go on the bus sit at the top and you get a great view as you drive up the windy roads. Takes about 30 mins from Central , just off star ferry on Hong Kong side. There is a nice beach on the way. Think it is called Repulse Bay.

    A must is the peak tram as you get an amazing view over Hong Kong. It is a funicular railway that goes up to the peak.

    If you have time go and see the Tian Tan Buddha, also known as the Big Buddha, is a large bronze statue. It is huge.

    Definitely go to Temple Street night market. Lots of shops at side of market are seafood restaurants. You just choose what you want and they cook freshly there and then. You sit on a rickety old table and chairs but food is great , very cheap, locals eat there and you can soak up the atmosphere of the evening. Enjoy your trip. One of my favourite places.


    I absolutely love HK and if its touristy you are after, then head to Happy Valley if there is a race meeting on (Thursday nights I think), its very cheap to get in and the setting is stunning. Also, I inevitably levitate for a few drinks in Lan Kwai Fong for some expat relaxation and of course the peak tram is also well worth a visit and is a great way for newbies to get their bearings.

    Once did the fast boat to Maccau but needs a full day really.


    To add to handbags suggestion, take funicular railway up to the peak, and take the bus down , sitting on the top deck and at the front, is certainly an experience. also whilst up there, your 2 ladies can head to the Shrimp /Louisiana restaurant (can’t recall its name) and indulge themselves with one of the best views (weather permitting) of the harbour whilst sharing a relatively cheap bottle of wine.

    Also , if they choose to go to the Buddha (Lantau island) they can kill 2 birds with one stone and do a bit of shopping as well . Tung Chung has a big shopping centre, off the tourist track (trap) as well as being the starting point of the cable car to the Buddha. I’d also encourage them to take the MTR from Kowloon to Tung Chung, visit the Buddha and get the bus from the Buddha to Mui Wo and then catch the slow ferry back to Central. Sorry, don’t know the times.

    And , I’m not suggesting their alkies, but another option is to head for the Aqua Bar to see the Symphony of Lights. IMO has the best views over the harbour whilst sharing a bottle of (more expensive) wine.

    And almost forgot -if they still have time to spare, and they like cute cuddly things, head to Ocean Park– their Panda’s are definitely more active than our own 2 sloths at Edinburgh zoo.


    I second the Octopus card recommendation and will ditto the recommendation to do the funicular railway (you can use your MTR card on it as a bargain) and do the White Star ferry at night – you get a fantastic view of the harbour and the lights. If they want some respite from shopping the 1997 museum is worth a look – I learnt a lot about the history of the region (although it does stop rather abruptly in 1997). I’d also recommend doing a trip to see The Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastry, which is stunning to walk around.

    Hope you all have a good time.



    At the airport, buy a MTR tourist card for HK$350 – this gives you 3 days MTR unlimited travel plus 1 return airport express journey. Hand back the car and get a HK$50 refund

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