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November holiday.

I'm off to Hong Kong for a couple of weeks in November, although my excitement's a little muted by the dread of a 13-hour flight on the way out, and 12 hours on the way back. Long-haul flights drive me nuts - being obese and tall in economy class is extremely uncomfortable, and tends to prevent one from actually getting any sleep.

Thankfully we touch down in HK at about 5pm local time, so won't reach the hotel until 6ish. After a good 30-is hours awake it'll be good to be able to collapse into bed for the night, and hopefully won't be too jet-lagged when we get up in the morning. The downside, of course, is it means that leaving the UK on a Friday, landing in HK late on a Saturday, the holiday doesn't start proper until the Sunday.

Someone invent a teleporter, please? :D
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Have a great time. I'm very jealous .... but not that jealous having undertaken a 9.5hr flight from Montego Bay on Monday - not quite over my jet-lag yet. I'm 5'9 and about your weight.

Enjoy enjoy! :D


running strictly on fat!
OMG! I am going to HK later this year as well.
I'll be on a look out on all the tips from you.
Have a fabulous time sweetie xxx
Crikey! Well, I'm back, and I've brought a cold with me! A parting gift from some charming little child on the plane home who sneezed regularly and never once covered her mouth. Lovely! :D

Avoid walking Nathan Road unless you have to. The endless stream of harassment from tailors or vendors of fake goods will drive you mad. There are plenty of streets which run parallel to Nathan Road which will enable you to get where you need to go without running across these reprehensible little oiks.

Fake goods. Do try not to buy them. It's hard, as even "proper" shops are filled with fakes. Don't assume that because there's a roof and four walls that the goods within are kosher. If you get caught trying to take fake goods out of the country, the HK police will happily arrest you for it :D

If your hotel has it, get yourself a free copy of the A-O-A tourist map. It was far more useful to me than the rubbish one which came with the guide book I'd taken with me.

Don't accept "help" from Indian guys in tourist areas if they catch you looking a bit lost. I suspect you'll just end up at their shop buying a damn suit. Don't be afraid to tell them where to stick it if they keep harassing you, either. English politeness will not help you with these guys.

Get an Octopus card from the airport. They're available from the MTR desk just after Immigration. These little babies cost about 150HKD (about £12), and transport in HK is so cheap that it'll last at least a week before you need to top it up. Much of the cost is a refundable deposit, but I couldn't find where at the airport to hand my card back in and reclaim my deposit. No great loss, but I'd suggest that if you're going to get a free airport shuttle bus to the airport on your day of departure, walk to your nearest MTR station the day before and hand the Octopus card in there. See here for info: Octopus card - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Shop at the Temple Street Night Market once, for the experience, but be willing to barter hard, and don't make pricey purchases. Do it for the fun, but the exact same souvenirs and gifts are available from shops in the Peak Galleria for a fraction of the price, and without the hassle of "Copy watch? Copy handbag?"

Definitely go up to Victoria Peak. Take the number 15 bus from Exchange Square, or get on the Peak Tram funicular (get to the Peak Tram funicular by getting on the 15C bus at Exchange Square). Be careful at the Exchange Square bus terminus, as there are no pedestrian crossings, yet there's a huge bus terminus to traverse ;)

Don't try to rush anywhere. It's just not possible. The population is largely moronic, and will wander both very slowly and in very random directions. Attempting to rush will result in collision.

Avoid attractions such as the Peak, Bridal Falls, Ngong Ping 360, or monasteries at the weekends - particularly Sundays. They will be rammed with locals enjoying a day off, and you'll be faced with queues the like of which usually only seen at Disneyland in August :D

If you're staying in Kowloon anywhere near Nathan Road, Woosung Street has some great restaurants, including the "Delicious Cafe" (which actually was), and the Jordan Curry House (whose Chicken Madras was utterly divine). Bubba Gump's at the Peak is pricey, but the food is just... amazing.

Mostly you can eat well for about a tenner a day. I don't speak Cantonese, so was limited to restaurants and cafes either with English or picture menus, but got along just fine. We even found one place in Mong Kok where the food was lovely and it cost 30HKD for lunch for two people (not each). That's about £2.50.

Avoid buying drinks in restaurants and cafes where possible. It's where they make the majority of their money (just like most restaurants, really). So where you can spend ten dollars on a main course, you could spend an extra 15-25 on the drink accompanying it. I got most of my fluid from the 7-11 over the road, but if you stumble across a proper supermarket (such as at Langham Place) the drinks are naturally cheaper still than a convenience store's.

The city's fairly safe. Keep an eye on your belongings, keep your purse safe, don't flash your cash, and stay out of unknown and unpopulated areas late at night. All the usual inner-city precautions. Market stall traders will haggle like demons, but once you agree on a price they're bang-on honest when it comes to counting out the change. Most markets have a visible police presence after dark, and the occasional plain-clothes officer who the locals all know even if you can't spot them ;)

Hong Kong is filled with shops and markets which all sell the same tourist tat, and it can get a bit numbing trying to find something unique in amidst all the samey goods. Even tourist attractions (monasteries, etc) tend to sell just more of the same stuff. Try not to go mad and overdose on shopping too soon or you'll be sick of it by the time you leave :jelous:

Do not eat or drink on public transport or in the paid areas of train stations - both carry hefty fines. Don't feel tempted by the fact that the locals ignore the rules, either. You never know if it's going to be your unlucky day.

Similarly, smoking is banned in many areas including public transport, paid areas of stations, and public toilets. This carries an even heftier fine. If there's a smoker in your party, make sure they're aware of this.

If you're a non-smoker, be prepared to get a LOT of secondhand smoke. Smoking is hugely popular in Hong Kong, as evidenced by how badly you'll smell after a day outside, and how many varieties of lighters and ashtrays are available in shops and markets.

Carry tissue paper in your bag, just in case you use a public loo which doesn't have paper.

Some public toilets are such low water pressure that a vat of water and some buckets are supplied should you need to toss a bucket full of water down there to flush more convincingly. You'll spot these loos easily - they're the ones with water all over the floor.

Many police officers and mall employees speak excellent English. If you get stuck, don't be afraid to ask someone. If you get stuck in one of the more upmarket malls it's likely that one of the helpers will find you before you make it as far as the information desk :D

By all means visit the Jumbo Kingdom floating restaurant, but don't expect the food to be up to much. It's a fun experience, but it costs a fortune and the food is bland. Watch out for the pushy sampan handlers along the promenade who'll want to charge you lovely, lovely money for a boat tour of Aberdeen bay.

Hong Kong was a great experience, but it's not a city that a foreigner can really relax in unless they remain in the confines of their hotel (which I never do). Being white (or, indeed, anything other than Chinese) singles you out very easily and acts like a magnet to attract every single person with something to sell. In many ways it's very similar to Egypt, where everyone expects you're there purely to give them your hard-earned cash. So long as you remain alert and refuse to allow yourself to be bullied into buying things you don't want you'll be absolutely fine :)


running strictly on fat!
Welcome back!!! Bet you had a fabulous time!!!!
Thank you a million for all the useful tips above

Contrary to my grumpy tone, I did actually have a brilliant time, thanks :D

Illness makes me grouchy ;)

What hotel will you be staying at? Is it in Kowloon or on Hong Kong island?


running strictly on fat!
Don't really know any details yet as I am going in June so plenty of time to organise everything.
But yeah, I bet you had a smashing time - any pics worth putting up?
Hopefuly you'll feel better soon - wish you well hun xxxx
The air pollution was pretty high the whole fortnight, so I didn't get any spectacular pictures. I'll have a look through what I did take sometime this week (I shoot RAW rather than jpg, so some processing is required before I can upload anything). If there's owt worth showing, I shall :)


running strictly on fat!
Fab, will be looking out for any updates xxx

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