This is the first post in the Family Affair series. My parents and my sister are also expats, they live in Shanghai. I’m dedicating every 4th Monday of a month to stories about their travelling and expat experiences. They’ve visited Hong Kong on several occasions and always felt amazed by its energy. My sister wrote this post for you, describing a day trip to HK and giving tips on how to make even one day count:
To get the most out of your short trip, plan it in advance. You can use Chinese websites and the best one is Ctrip, because it is a big Chinese company, which runs this website in several languages: English, Russian, Chinese, etc.
Hong-Kong airlines food: sometimes they have both Western and Eastern, sometimes its only Eastern food, if you are travelling with kids, it might be a good idea to pack some food for them in case they don’t feel like experimenting.
This Hong Kong MTR page tells you how to get to the city. You may use Airport express, which takes you to different places. We travelled to Kowloon Station (tip: if you travel as a couple, take a ticket for two, as it saves you money). When you get there, it’s easy to get to many interesting places using a free shuttle bus (K1,K2,K3,etc), they have different routes. We took K3 and stopped at Regal Kowloon Hotel. Advantages of going there are: there is a square at Tsim Sha Tsui area where you can eat whatever you want and it’s just 10 minutes walk from Stars Avenue (Xingguang Avenue). Actually this Avenue is part of Tsim Sha Tsui Area.
Tip: you can use wi-fi anywhere you go – any café or hotel will have its own. Also, don’t forget about metro, airport and express wi-fi. There is even such a thing as city wifi, but we didn’t have time to properly sort it out and failed to connect; in any case, it shouldn’t be too hard as they give you advice on how to do this.
You can find any kind of cuisine you want in Hong Kong. Of course, don’t pass by my favorite shrimp dumplings (it is a local dish, which is also popular in Shanghai). But if you want to choose something affordable and international you can go to Tsim Sha Tsui square and visit one of the cafes or restaurants. We’ve been to Nara Thai, which offers not only Thai Dishes, but also American style food.
Xingguang (Stars Avenue) is one of the most popular places in Hong Kong. It is a must see. Take photos of (or with) hand prints of Jackie Chan, sculpture of Bruce Lee, other funny sculptures showing filming process or with bears painted in colours of various national flags. Take a seat and enjoy this beautiful: other side of Hong Kong with all those tall buildings, world known corporations, calm water, beautiful sky and high mountains (which are not that high in comparison to all the skyscrapers you see).
What else can you see, if you have about 4 hours before your flight? As you’re already at Tsim Sha Tsui just cross the road nearby Grand Theater and you will see 1881 heritage project. It is the spot where Hong Kong was founded. Go into the lighthouse and feel the difference between its hight and skyscrapers. Visit renewed shops, look at the Peninsula Hotel, breathe fresh sea air and walk further from sea to the shopping street with all those trendy places.
Don’t take taxis, which tell you that ‘the driver is finishing the shift, but if you go now you should pay 600 HK dollars’ (it should cost you less that this sum). And still, don’t take a taxi, unless you’re not really tired, as you just have to find a hotel not far from this street to take a shuttle bus back to Kowloon Station. Passing by Valentino shop (there’s a hotel nearby), we asked a guy in yellow uniform where to find a shuttle bus. He helped us to get there and even walked us there! He was really kind.
Once you get back to Kowloon Station, buy express ticket and find where you can Check-in for you flight. You can check-in within 90 minutes before the flight. I’d highly recommend doing this, as in this case you don’t have to worry about time and luggage so much.
One-day Hong Kong trip still leaves an unforgettable impression, as this is a special place that makes you feel strange, move faster and think broader. It has extraordinary high buildings and high mountains; no free space and beautiful nature; fast living rhythm and fresh air. All together it makes you feel like: maybe I wouldn’t live here but I want to feel this city’s atmosphere again.