I thought I would put together a short listing of useful things I learned about making a visit to Hong Kong easier:
- Buy either an Octopus ticket or a 1-day Tourist Pass, whichever is more suited to your sightseeing itinerary.
We were there on business as well as pleasure, so most of our daily travelling could be accomplished on the MTR. That meant we chose the 1-day Tourist Pass each day. (Like all appointments, they were spread far and wide across the island so the ‘all-you-can-travel’ option worked well for us.) If you plan to use a variety of the public transport options, then definitely consider the Octopus card in the first instance. See it’s many and varied uses.
- Pack your umbrella.
Or buy one from a street vendor on arrival. You will probably need one if you are in the city for more than a few days. The price will be around HK$ 15 – 20 for the small pop-up models that can fit snugly in a backpack or biggish bag. At this time of year you will use it, trust me. And when entering some shopping malls and nicer commercial buildings there will be plastic bags for you to put your soggy brollie in – take advantage of these. (They’re free.)
- Take your tripod if you are a photographer.
Hong Kong is a night city and if you are an enthusiastic amateur, you will most probably want to take night shots of the skyline or of the light show.
- Take and wear good quality walking shoes.
Unless you are planning to take a tour bus to every sight you want to visit, you will be walking for a good part of each day. If you are a shopaholic, you will also have the opportunity to spend 8 hours plus on your feet. Cushioning will become very important to you !
- Take regular rest breaks during the day.
If you are not used to the heat and humidity, for your own ability to walk more on your second, third and subsequent days, plan to take a break before you get tired. This also reduces the likelihood of crankiness and domestic incidents when travelling with others. In the main shopping areas there is little or no public street furniture so don’t rely on finding a park bench to plonk your weary body down on. There are corner parks, but you will probably find them slightly off the beaten path and in more “local resident” type areas and not in “tourist” type areas. In the shopping and business precincts you will probably need to resort to Starbucks or the local equivalent, Pacific Coffee, for a comfy seat.
- If going to The Peak, do it so you see the city both in daytime and then after nightfall.
This tip comes directly from the Fodor’s guide to Hong Kong that I used for this trip, and I agree with the recommendation.
It’s great to see the view of the city both during daylight hours and then after dark. There are the obligatory tourist shops and a few restaurants should you choose to dine away the wait for sunset. The Peak Tower is currently closed and undergoing renovation (see weblink above for details).
There will be more tips to follow.