Travel Tips Hong Kong
will find here some advices on :
to get the most of HK ?
HK during a festival, around Christmas or the Chinese New Year
the HKTA's offices (Airport, Star Ferry in TST or Central) for the latest information
on how to visit
Visit Central on Sunday, when the Philippina have their day off
Visit the outlying islands or Macau on weekday to avoid the crowd
Do not visit the Peak during poor weather
Use the Tram to visit most of HK Island's urban area
Use the lower desk of the Star Ferry
between Central & TST
Do not miss the 9pm
The Center Building (the one with the
changing lights) from TST's Waterfront
If in the area,
the New World
Center's clock in TST becomes animated and play music every half an hour
On weekday, from
9am to 5pm, go to
the observatory floor (46F) of Central Plaza in Wanchai, the tallest building
in Wanchai, thrill yourself at Hopewell Center with the outside lift going
to Revolving 66, an expensive restaurant
Aw Boo Wan Garden (Tiger Balm Garden) before it disappears
How to keep your
budget under control ?
Do not buy any guide book specific to HK but visit
one of the Hong Kong Tourist
Association's offices to get free maps and information booklets about the
attractions and safe shops
Bargain hard for your room and do not hesitate to walk away to
Plenty of guesthouses are now half empty and the price war is fierce. You should
get a discount if you stay more than 2 nights. Off course, it helps if you
visit during the off season, which means any time except July to September.
you wish to stay in an Hotel, book via travel agencies as they have
negotiated deals : prices for
mid-range hotels start at around $360 (YMCA
Waterloo Rd, Imperial Hotel, New Cathay).
Buy basic necessities at
the supermarkets Wellcome or Park'n shop and cook in your guesthouse.
Drink water from the tap (usually OK but check the color and ask other
travelers if you need to boil it)
Call home by using prepaid call cards instead of public telephones.
Visit the outlying islands or Macau during week days, when transportation is
Check your email
or surf the web free of charge
at the public libraries.
feet instead of taxi
the Star Ferry instead of the MTR to cross the Harbor (much more romantic)
As long as you have white skin, have fun in
Wanchai discos for free (or the
cost of a drink if dancing makes you thirsty)
Visit bar and pubs during Happy Hours (usually 4 to 8pm) to get either reduced
prices or a "2-4-1" deal
VCD or DVD are usually cheaper in small shops than in big complex like HMV
magazines, buy only if interested by checking them first at Time
Magazine on Nathan road
For souvenirs, go to Stanley Market or
walk the night markets
possible, do not change money at the border or at the airport
Banks have better
exchange rates but they usually charge an handling fee. According to the
amount you want to change, it might be therefore more interesting to use one of the numerous money changer around
Chung King Mansion : no commission & long working hours. But compare the
Chinese visa, go to travel agents ($130, 2 working days) but for bus,
train or boat tickets to China, patronize CTS (China Travel Service)
identity photos in photos shops (20 for
in automatic machines (4 for
Buy only what you really
Follow the addresses of this guide but bear in mind that information is
volatile and that good places can turn bad with a change of wind or a
Backpacker's Tips :
Daniel Cooper, Australia (Jan 02)
«There is heaps of work being an extra for TV, etc in HK. Best
place to find out is walk into the Garden Hostel (Mirador Arcade, Kowloon) and ask the crew there.»
But remember that enjoying a trip is sometimes or from time to time worth a little bit more... Backpacking is more about the bag than the money !
to shop safely in HK ?
knowledgeable & cautious :
Know your product & its accessories : read magazines, visit the showroom
of the distributor, check on internet,...
Be very careful with the various international standard (PAL or NTSC
for video camera for example). Never let a
salesman make you change your mind for a product you never heard about.
If this happen, go back to your studies...
Know the price : call the TST
Consumer Advice Center (2926 1088) for Agent's price list (usually 15 to 20%
more than the market prices), check at Fortress (a safe but slightly more
expensive place to buy), then compare in different shops. Worry about
shops quoting you a very low price. This smell like there is a "Bait &
Switch Tactic" waiting for you at the corner...
Check the warranty : a lot of goods are directly
imported and therefore not
covered by the HK official agent. For the usual 3 months labor international
warranty, you may have to go to the distributor yourself.
Test the product before you buy it. If you realize back in your room that it
is broken, the shop might tell you to go to the manufacturer directly. After
sale service is not to be expected in HK (although it is more and more possible)
Inspect the box carefully : serial
number, accessories, electrical connection (you
may need an adaptator), etc.
Check carefully the
receipt : make sure that anything you have agreed on is stated on it
you pay by credit card, check that the voucher is properly entered.
that smuggling goods back home could mean trouble and that paying the
additional tax would probably make your shopping experience more expensive
than at home. Check the import rules of your country. You may be
allowed for a small amount of goods tax free.
Are not affiliated with the HKTA (check for the red logo), in particular in
TST area (Mongkok is a relatively safer place to shop as all the products have
price tags). HKTA's members are also trying to make money but are supposed to
follow a code of discipline. In case of dispute, you could lodge a complaint
with the association.
wrapped in plastic : those are used products
Have a lot of staff doing nothing : if you are conned, you can be sure that by
the time you come back with the police, the dishonest seller will have walked
Are not answering seriously your technical questions or make only vague
to hand you the product for inspection.
you a very cheap price. This smell like a bail & switch tactic...
Are urging you to buy. Shops which do not let you spend the night on a deal
have something in their mind...
Never say that you are a tourist leaving tomorrow morning by the first plane.
Better to say that you are working in HK.
Do not buy
last minute, just before leaving HK !
Negotiate for a discount or a gift
If you pay by credit card, expect to pay up to 3% more. This is supposed to be
illegal but very common in HK as most of the price are "cash only"
Take one night to think it over... Do you really need that product after all ?
In case of
If the shop try a "switch product" tactic, resist & walk away.
If they refuse to give you back your credit card, call the police (it is very
common to see Police in TST's shops)
In case of dispute, always try to get some proof that you have been dealing
with the shop (the receipt is good, the name card is bad)
Call the Consumer Council Hotline (2929 2222)
Remember that HK Consumer Law does very little in protecting the customer once
the product has been sold and if the product description and the invoice are
appropriate. If you agree to pay 3 times the normal price, this is your
problem. Shops are just making business...
HK Counsumer Council
Backpacker's Tips : Paul
Taylor, UK (August 07)
« A good place to buy cheap camera accessories is the flee market in
Apliu Street, just outside the Sham Shiu Po MTR. A good place for free internet
access, you still have to buy something to drink or eat is Cafe O, 284 Queens
Road Central, Hong Kong island, Central MTR »
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