Hong Kong Logistics

Hong Kong Logistics

Minutes from one of the densest cities on earth are quiet hiking trails.  Just one of many unexpected things to see and do in Hong Kong.

Over the past 150 years visitors, colonizers and businessmen have left their mark on Hong Kong.  What they combined to make is one of the greatest cities on earth that deserves your visit.  From the spectacular skyline, extravagant shopping, delicious foods, to the hiking trails, Hong Kong has something to offer everyone.  Best of all, it can be visited affordably.

Getting There

Probably one of the most accessible places on earth, almost all major airlines fly there, often direct.  Winter isn’t very harsh, so off-season travel deals can be easily had.

Visas are not required for citizens of the Western world.  Always check for specifics on your own situation though…

Time Requirements

Three to four days.

Money Matters

ATMs are everywhere, credit cards are well accepted and moneychangers are easy to find.  It will cost $40+ dollars a day, per person.  There is really no limit to what you could spend.

Getting Around

Hong Kong is tiny by most standards.  Taxis are cheap, but buses, subways and trams are cheaper and often more efficient.  Go ahead and buy an “Octopus Card” which gives you discounted rides on public transit and can be used/recharged at convenience stores.  There is a $50 HKD deposit on the card which I will show you how to get back in “Cheap Tricks” at the bottom of the page.

The best way to get around Hong Kong Island is the tram, at a ridiculous $0.30 USD per ride, the top floor provides a slow-motion, free view of the city.  The double decker buses also provide a great view of what the city has to offer, ride one around for a while to see different slices of town, you can always hop back on a subway to get back to where you started.

Lodging

Accomodations vary by budget.  Rooms start at $30 USD a night for a “compact” space and top out at $5,000 USD for the Peninsula suite, which costs $5,000 a night.

Small, but in the heart of Hong Kong, our room in Chungking Mansion.

Stay in the Chunking Mansions for at least a night for about $40/night.  It isn’t the glamourous choice, but is the authentic, “World City” choice, ranked by Time magazine as the Best Example of Globalization in Action.  It also offers an excellent location, for which Chungking’s neighbors charge hundreds of dollars a night for.

Sights to See

  1. Luxury shopping. Especially the jewelry stores.  You probably can’t afford anything from the luxury boutiques near Nathan Road or Central, but looking is free.  See what a five carat diamond looks like.  Price out that new Rolex.  Check out the latest Louis Vuitton clothing.  Get introduced to brands you’ve never seen before, because, well, you can’t afford them.
  2. Parks and green space. You wouldn’t expect it in one of the densest cities on earth, but there is a lot of green space to be explored, including full day hikes where the city is mentally far away.  See this article by LOCAVORista about the parks of Hong Kong.
  3. Eat, anytime, anywhere. Renowned as a foodie paradise, it won’t disappoint.  It has some of the best food on earth, including the least expensive Michelin-starred restaurant, Tim Ho Wan, and any genre of food you may want.  OK, there is one thing you want, but can’t get: Chipotle.  See this article by LOCAVORista about the gourmet choices of Hong Kong.
  4. Rooftop bars. It gets spendy, but worth it.  See CNN or Forbes article for recommendations.
  5. Drink in a taxi. Apparently this is possible in many cities of Asia, but I hadn’t experienced it until my friend asked, “want to grab a beer for the cab ride?”  Yes, yes I do.  A cab ride will never be the same.

Dim sum, at 3 AM?  Sweet, I died and slipped past Saint Peter to get into heaven.  Better eat quickly.

Cheap Tricks

Water, free water and bathrooms almost everywhere.  Yes, you can drink the water in Hong Kong, so refill your bottle or drink from fountains.

Walk. Since Hong Kong is tiny, you can walk many places, one or two subway stops is not very far.

The Octopus Card is so useful, but the local authorities want to sell you the higher priced tourist cards instead.  They do this by not refunding your $50 HKD (~$6.50 USD) deposit within three months of purchase.  There is a loophole though, you can go to negative $35 HKD on your card, which on your last day is the goal.  You can only go negative on one transaction, that is, you can’t buy anything if you are even a dollar negative.

Here’s the game, get your balance as close to zero as you can, say $5 HKD.  All terminals in public transit will tell you your balance upon exit.  Then go to 7-11, McDonalds, or another store that accepts the Octopus Card, add $35 HKD to your balance, and buy things equal to this amount.  We bought a bunch of beers on our last day.

If you spend your card into the negative, you can get your deposit back.

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About the Author

thinkCHUA: Photographing and documenting the world on a 3 year round-the-world trip to help future travelers discover new places, travel longer and enjoy the world's great experiences.

About the Author
thinkCHUA: Photographing and documenting the world on a 3 year round-the-world trip to help future travelers discover new places, travel longer and enjoy the world's great experiences.
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