10 HK$ = 1.3 US$
During my last summer vacations, I had the chance to join two friends in their visit to Hong Kong. I took the cheapest airline company in the far east region, Air Asia, and arrived to ‘The Pearl of the Orient’ on August 18th for 4 days. For the housing, I have arranged a 3-bedroom cheap apartment in Kowloon through Airbnb.com. So let’s get into the best practices.
- The airport:
HKIA is the biggest airport I have visited ever. It is built on a whole island and has 2 giant terminals with 120 gates. It is so big that we transit from gate to another by a metro.
- Before leaving the airport
I have taken the 4GB data SIM card for 118 HK$. Also, before leaving to the meeting area, you will find a telephone to call for free, and a lot of vouchers to be used during your stay.
- The transport from the airport
There are 2 means: a taxi (will cost you 300 HK$) or the ‘Airport Express’ metro (the cheapest pass is about 80 HK$). The metro arrives every 20 minutes and the trip from Hong Kong (the island) to the airport takes 30 minutes, and from Kowloon to the Airport 20 minutes.
- The transport between the lands:
The district of Hong Kong has 2 major lands: Hong Kong (the island) and Kowloon (the mainland). Hong Kong is city of business and parties when Kowloon is residential and more ‘Chinese’. There are 2 subways linking both lands, the tollgate for the eastern costs 20 HK$, and 70 HK$ for the western. The Ferry works until 11pm of you want to move between lands through the ocean, and it costs 2 HK$ only.
- The means of transport in the land:
- Metro: covers all the district (all lands)
- Tram: only in HK island in the busy streets. Small and has 2 floors, a must use.
- Bus: covers all lands. Has 2 floors and the price is 8HK$.
- Ferry: between lands.
- Express: a metro linking HongKong-Kowloon-Ying-Airport-AsiaWorldExpo
- Taxi: a bit disappointing. Sometimes the drivers refused to transport us.
- Hong Kong people and the English language:
I found very strange that 90% of the taxi drivers don’t speak English (not a single word). If we don’t count the few places full of expats, we will have only ‘Cantonese’ (and not mandarin) language. It was almost impossible to communicate with whoever, especially the taxi drivers with whom I used a combination of Google maps and Google translator to tell them where we want to go.
- The food:
Changing the food and trying the local things is not my thing. I stayed on an American or French breakfast and an Italian lunch. By the way, the food is tasty, and they really know how to do a good pizza.
- Is it expensive?
Yes, mainly for the transportation and food. I can give you some tips:
- Avoid taxis. You will save at least 50 HK$ at least on each trip (they are rude sometimes also)
- Take a 7-day pass for the metro, and not a one pass.
- Use the bus and enjoy the view from the 2nd floor. It is not expensive
- Things to do?
- ‘Star Ferry’ between the islands (HK, Kowloon, Macao)
- Take the tram to ‘Victoria Peak’ (in operation since 1888) and spend 4 hours there
- Have a drink in ‘Lan Kwal Fong’, Hong Kong’s bar area and the favorite place for expats’ evenings
- Visit ‘Expo Asia World’ (the metro station after the airport)
- Take the boat to ‘The Big Buddha’ and spend 4 hours there
- Thing not to do
- Don’t spit: this will cost you 5,000 HK$
- Don’t buy without haggling: never accept the first price they offer you. You can save at least 50% of it
- Don’t forget your phone, charged and with 4G should help you to travel between sights and talk to people