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Archive for the ‘Hong Kong’ Category

Hong Kong Travel Tips

Posted by Heliocentrism on October 25, 2017

2017

You have to bring:

  • Prescription medication.

Just about everything else can be bought in Hong Kong, though ibuprofen can be hard to find. Many pharmacies do not sell it, but if you need it, ask.

Things you can buy here or bring with you:

  1. Luggage:
    • It’s best to use a backpack. Elevators can be hard to find sometimes.
  2. Clothes:
    • Hong Kong is all about shopping!
    • There is no sales tax here.
  3. Towel:
    • Bring your towel if you are staying at a hostel.
  4. Shampoo, conditioner, and body wash:
    • Of course you can buy these here.
    • You can even find your favorite brands… like Dove, Pantene, so on…
  5. Deodorant/ Antiperspirant:
    • You can find it here; no problem.
  6. Sunscreen:
    • You can find it here; no problem.
  7. Over the counter medicine:
    • There are lots of pharmacies where you can buy pain killers, but ibuprofen might be a bit of a treasure hunt.
  8. Other things you should bring:
    • An umbrella:
      • When it’s not raining, it’s too sunny. When it’s neither raining or too sunny, air conditioning units drip on your head.

General Tips:

Transportation:

  • Get an Octopus Card:
    • You can get one at the airport or at any subway station.
    • A refund handling fee will be charged if you return the On-loan Octopus less than 90 days from the date of issue.

Food:

  • Eat as much stuff you can only find in Hong Kong you can find.
  • When you get tired of that, eat everything else.
  • When in Macau, eat the egg tarts.

Shopping:

  • If you need electronics here’s the place to get it.
  • There is no sale tax.

Money:

  • Don’t change money when going to Macau.
    • You can use Hong Kong dollars there, no problem.

Scams:

  • The are no prevalent scams to speak of. Just stay away from weird people on the street.

Hong Kong
(中華人民共和國香港特別行政區)
(Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China )

How to get there:

You can enter Hong Kong by plane, train, or boat. Most likely, unless you are coming in from mainland China, you will enter by plane.

***A entry to Hong Kong is not the same as a visa to China.*** Do not try to enter mainland China without a visa***.

Phone:

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Notes:

  • Hong Kong uses the British style plug.
  • Get an  Octopus Card for public transportation.
    • Get one at the airport
    • Refundable HK$50 deposit
    • You can use it to pay for train, buses, and many other things.
  • If you’re in the market to buy electronics, Hong Kong is the place for you!
    • There is no sales tax, so everything is Duty Free.

Macau
(中華人民共和國澳門特別行政區)
(Macao Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China )

How to get there:

You can enter Macau by plane, train, or boat. Most likely, unless you are coming in from mainland China, you will enter by plane or by boat from Hong Kong.

  • Boats from Hong Kong
    •  TurboJet
      • HK (SHEUNG WAN) <–> MACAU (OUTER HARBOUR)
      • HK (SHEUNG WAN) <–> MACAU (TAIPA)
    •  Cotai Jet
      • HK (SHEUNG WAN) <=> MACAU (OUTER HARBOUR/TAIPA)

***Entry to Macau is not the same as a visa to China.*** Do not try to enter mainland China without a visa***.

Phone:

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Notes:

  • Don’t bother to change your Hong Kong dollars to Macanese pataca.
    • Every where in Macau, from the buses to the shops, take HKD.
  • The best thing to do is the plan out everything you want to see and in what order. Then when you get to Macau go to the tourist information desk and ask them what bus to use.
    • They will tell you the bus number, where to find it, and how much it will cost.
    • Remember to bring a pen and write the information down.

 

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The Horrible No Good Stay

Posted by Heliocentrism on October 15, 2017

Wednesday, July 12th – 19th, 2017

I’ve been to  Hong Kong many times. But, I’ve only ever seen the inside of the airport.  It’s a very nice airport.  For the first time I got to leave the airport and enter Hong Kong. I was very excited.

We would spend a week in Hong Kong. Mark wanted to try out accommodations in two different areas. The first place, was one he found on Airbnb. It was some sort of futuristic capsule hotel thing. It was going to be amazing. We would see Hong Kong for the first time ever and stay in a kitschy space hotel.

Best seat on the bus

We landed in Hong Kong and was first greeted by a staff member of the board of tourism. She handed us a free map. We gave her the address of our accommodations and she told us what bus to catch, what stop to get off, and she recommended getting an Octopus Card. We got the card and easily found our bus. We were the first in line. We got to our stop without any problem. Everything went smoothly.

The address was easy to understand. It was something like 140 ABC Street, ABC building, 24 section. We found ABC street, then 130 ABC street. At 140 ABC street there was supposed to be an ABC building, but there wasn’t.

We asked to people around where the ABC building was. They didn’t know. But they only knew the building they worked in. They said they weren’t too sure about the other buildings. One person even walked with us and concluded that the ABC building should be near here; he pointed to a building which was not the ABC building. We thought that maybe there was a typo.

We went to a Starbucks to use their wifi and call our host. It was a headache talking to him. He spoke no English or Cantonese. All his communications were in Mandarin. We used the google translate app to talk to him. We could understand him well enough, but he seemed not to know what we were trying to ask.

We kept the dialog simple. Instead of asking, “What’s the address,” we wrote, “address?” We would run it through a translator and send it to him. He had no idea what we wanted. “Why would people who paid to stay at my accommodation ask about an ‘address’?” The man seemed to be a bit thick.

After 45 minutes of texting back and forth, Mark got a new address. It was about 5 metro stops down the line and nowhere in the neighborhood we thought we would be in when we got the reservations.

We book the place online expecting it to be in one area. In the conformation email we were given a different address and found out that it was actually on the outskirts of where we wanted to be. That was still okay. Now, we were told that we would be staying in a different area all together.

We went to the new address and found nothing. There was no sign for any capsule hotel or anything that would resemble a capsule place. Once again we asked around, but no one had heard of it.

We found a store that had free wifi and contacted the host again. It took another 30 minutes of texting to get more information out of him. By this time I was convinced that he was too stupid to run a hotel or Airbnb accommodations. Later I would realize that it was a bit more sinister than that.

He was going to meet us at XYZ station exit 1. We sent him messages like, “Man = blue shirt, baseball hat, gray pants. Woman = green shirt, black pants. You = ?” We wanted to be able to find him in the crowd and for him to find us. But he didn’t understand. In the end we just when to the designated spot and waited.

…and waited.

…and waited.

…and waited.

…and waited.

Then we went back to another store with free wifi. Mark texted him again, asking where he was. He claimed he was at XYZ station exit 1. We ran back there. Out of frustration Mark started to yell, “Airbnb guy!” No one answered.

We went back to the store with free wifi. Again he claimed to be at the meeting spot. He said he was there for the past 30 minutes.

I began to wonder why it was so hard for him to understand us, but we could easily understand what he said. No one who is able to put a room on Airbnb is that dumb. Something strange is going on here. “I think this is a scam.”

I told Mark that we should start looking for another place to stay for the night. Mark groaned. His head began to ache in anticipation of the roller coaster ride it would be to get our money back from this fraudster.

During our adventure we passed a Holiday Inn. It was a bit above our budget, but for one night it would do. We headed to the Holiday Inn and got there just in time to see them close up shop. They locked the doors, pulled down the blinds, then they locked themselves behind iron bars. “Holy hell! Is all that necessary?” I thought, from the other side of the street. It looked like they were expecting the Purge to begin in a few minutes. I could hear bottles clanking in the distance.

We looked down the street. As if choreographed, all the shops and businesses in turn pulled similar metal bars down. The whole town was closed for the night. “Yikes,” I thought. “Are we going to have to spend the night at Starbucks?”

I turned to look at Mark. Before I could even ask him what he thought we should do, some shady looking creep approached us. “I have hotel. You need hotel? Yes… I have!” We wanted to tell this slimy guy to get lost, but he was right. We did need a hotel. So, we followed him.

He took us into a dirty building with lots of little shops and dingy looking restaurants. It felt like everyone inside was staring at us and whispering to each other, “Those two are about to be exploited.” The guy we were following was still working the crowd. There were 3 or 4 other tourists he tried to make follow him to his hotel, but they clearly had better option than we did.

The creep took us to a room with no windows and a bathroom that was oddly wet. Mark and I popped our heads in to look inside, but didn’t like what we saw. But, the creep insisted that we enter the room before we made up our minds. “It’s okay,” Mark politely declined, “we don’t need to both go inside.” The creep would not let it go, “Just go inside, please.” So we went in.

There was one single bed and about 1 square foot of space in the room that was neither bed nor bathroom. He quoted a price that Mark thought was way to high for such a dump. I didn’t hear what he said. I was busy thinking about how much I would rather spend the night at Starbucks and how much I needed to get out of the room, but Mark was blocking the way. To go around him, I would have to climb on the bed. I didn’t want to touch the bed. “…And, why was the bathroom wet!? They could not have just cleaned, it’s past midnight,” I thought.

Sensing our hatred for the windowless room with the one twin bed and the mysteriously wet bathroom, the creep remembered another room. The second room, the one in the photo above, was double the size. It had 2 windows and a moldy, but dry bathroom. This room was still terrible, overpriced, and we did not want to stay in it, but it was slightly better than spending the night at Starbucks (which we weren’t completely sure would stay open all night).

We took the room. But we tried not to touch anything. We slept with all our clothes on. We unpacked nothing. And, we left as soon as the sun came up practically running away from the place.

We paid in cash, giving the money to the creep before he left. The creep showed us the light switch, there was only one, and how to use the faucet. Then he said, “People usually give tip now.” Then he stuck his grubby hand out at us moving it from Mark to me then back as if he didn’t know whether he or I or both would give him money.

I stood there shocked at the creep’s audacity. This was not the type of hotel where tipping happened. Plus, it’s not like he carried our bags or anything. Mark looked at him and told him, “Well, usually people give tips in the morning, depending on how nice the room is.” The creep looked at the room and whined, “I’m not here in the morning, can I have my tip now?”

Mark gently escorted the creep out the room and started to shut the door as he said, “That’s not how things are done. Tomorrow… maybe… it depends…”

There’s no one around to tip…

The next day we found a hostel and met some really nice people who we explored Hong Kong with. They were the bit of sunshine in the rainy cloud that was our time in Hong Kong. But we still had to deal with the Airbnb host we could not find.

The guy went ahead and charged Mark for 3 nights stay, even though he was not smart enough to give us directions. Mark asked him to refund the money, but the host claimed that we cancelled at the last minute. With Airbnb we can cancel and get a full refund, only if it is more than 3 days before the time of our stay. Since, we supposedly cancelled on the night we were to arrive, he just charged us for the whole 3 nights’ stay.

But we didn’t cancel at all. If we did, he would have been able to keep our money. Mark wrote a letter to the higher-ups at Airbnb and explained our situation. After a few weeks, Airbnb refunded all our money back. But by then we were out of Hong Kong. While in Hong Kong this was hanging over our heads. It wasn’t about the money. It was this feeling of being taken advantaged of. This was our first day in Hong Kong and it was a very bad experience.

But, luckily we met some really great guys from Holland. We would go out to eat with them a lot. We did some sight seeing with them too, but mostly we ate. We had a great time with them and it helped us forget the horrible first day in Hong Kong.


Hong Kong
(中華人民共和國香港特別行政區)
(Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China )

How to get there:

You can enter Hong Kong by plane, train, or boat. Most likely, unless you are coming in from mainland China, you will enter by plane.

***Entry to Hong Kong is not the same as a visa to China.*** Do not try to enter mainland China without a visa***.

Phone:

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Notes:

  • Hong Kong uses the British style plug.
  • Get an  Octopus Card for public transportation.
    • Get one at the airport
    • Refundable HK$50 deposit
    • You can use it to pay for train, buses, and many other things.
  • If you’re in the market to buy electronics, Hong Kong is the place for you!
    • There is no sales tax, so everything is Duty Free.

Australia Dairy Company

Basic Information

Websites:

Cost:

  • 26 – 30 Yuan for a set meal

Hours:

  • 7:30 – 23:00

Notes:

  • I highly recommend the scrambled eggs.
    • They are the best thing on the menu and the best scrambled eggs I have ever tasted.
  • Go early and prepare to stand in line.
    • The bigger the group you go with the longer you will wait.
    • You might be placed at a table with people you’ve never met before.
    • The restaurant will be crowded with waiters wizzing by you.
      • Don’t make sudden moves.
      • Don’t bring big bags with you.
    • The wait staff might come off as being a bit rude.
      • They can be a little rude if they like; the food is legit!

Central–Mid-Levels escalator and walkway system

Basic Information

Websites:

Cost:

  • free

Hours:

  • Downhill direction: Mid-Levels – Central 6am to 10am daily
  • Uphill direction: Central – Mid-Levels 10am to midnight daily

Notes:

  • This is the longest covered outdoor escalator in the world.
  • There are many stops along the way.
  • Be careful when going from the top of one escalator to the bottom of another (or visa versa). Sometimes, you will needed to cross the street, so watch out for traffic.

Noon Day Gun

Basic information

Website

Cost:

  • Free

Hours:

  • everyday at noon

Notes:

  • There are other “Noon Day” guns throughout the world, though many have been discontinued.
    • The one in Edinburgh, is fired at 13:00 and is called the 1 O’clock gun.
  • Be careful when trying to cross the street near the gun. There is an underground walkway that goes from the nearby mall to the gun.

Hong Kong Museum of History

Basic Information

Website

Cost:

  • Free

Hours:

  • Closed Tuesdays
  • 7:00 – 22:00

Notes:

  • There are no audio guides, but there are many short films throughout the museum.
    • They are played in 3 languages, English, Cantonese, and Mandarin.
  • Bring a light jacket or a long sleeved t-shirt; it can get chilly.

Tim Ho Wan

Basic Information

Website

Cost:

Hours:

  • 10:00 – 22:00

Notes:

  • There is usually a line of people waiting to get in.
  • You might be placed at a table with strangers.

Tian Tan Buddha

Basic Information

Website

Cost:

  • Free to see the outside
  • There is a small charge to enter the Buddha

Hours:

  • 10:00 – 17:30

Notes:

Map:

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