I’ve been to Hong Kong (HK) several times in the last decade and although I was raised in New Zealand, there is something that is quite homey about Hong Kong. I can’t call myself an expert of this big city, but here are some tips which I have gathered from my time there.
Octopus Card. This is one nifty card and should be the first thing that you purchase as soon as you arrive. This smart card allows you to quickly *pak* your way through public transport and can also be used to purchase items in convenience stores, vending machines, fast food outlets and more. The card can be topped up and it requires a refundable deposit of $50HKD.
WiFi and 4G: Unlike New Zealand, free wifi can be found at most public spaces in HK including the international airport, some tourist attractions, shopping malls and restaurants. Yet, telecommunication is dirt cheap! You can opt for a Hong Kong Tourism Sim card which you can purchase at most 7-11 stores and at the airport or you can go to telecommunication stores and see what they have that suit your needs and duration.
Hong Kong is a concrete jungle, so familiarise yourself with the area. Apps like MTR Mobile and Discover Hong Kong 720 can help you plan your sightseeing activities and sort out your public transport. I swear by Google Maps to prevent getting completely lost and is a great way to find your nearest MTR station and mall.
Being a foodie, I love to eat and the locals always know the best places. I use Open Rice (both the website and the app) to find highly rated eateries in your proximity and read the reviews by the locals. Some of these reviews are in English.
Citizens in Hong Kong move at a rather fast pace. So from my personal experience, if you’re travelling on an escalator, stand on the right side and leave the left side free for the people who are in a rush to jog up. I’ve been told off before, as well as receive some bad glares, so my advice is to not stand in their way.
If you’re in need to use a restroom, head to shopping malls and restaurants. Seldom are there restrooms inside the MTR stations and small shops are unlikely to lend you their bathrooms. Bring your own tissues! Don’t be caught out because not all restrooms have toilet paper!
If you’re wanting to buy designer clothing and bags, I suggest that you avoid malls like Harbourcity, Langham Place and SOGO because they are very popular with wealthy Chinese tourists and you will find yourself lining up to get into stores like Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci and Prada. Fashion stores like Zara will also have a long queue for the changing room. I personally enjoy shopping at IFC Mall in Central and Pacific Place in Admiralty.
Macau is only a short ferry ride away, so why not take a short trip and experience the Asia’s version of Vegas where the wealthy Chinese business people gamble with minimum bets by the thousands! Ferries are frequent and do not need to be booked in advanced. Just head to the ferry terminal in Sheung Wan or Tsim Sha Tsui and buy your tickets at a proper counter. Don’t be tempted by people trying to sell you tickets as it could be fake.
So these are my tips, care to share some of yours?