Hong Kong Guide
Hong Kong may be considered to be on Chinese land, but it does not have most of the restrictions of China, as it is its own territory. The principle is "One country - two systems"; in practice it's probably "One country - seven systems". For all practical purposes, Hong Kong is "like a country"; it's actually the territory that's most like a country, but isn't. There is even a Hong Kong passport.
Most of you will arrive in Hong Kong at the airport. At immigration, where you fill out your arrival card, you'll get a slip with a date -- keep this in your passport at all times. It will show how long you can stay in Hong Kong. Also you will need to keep the passport on your person at all times when outside.
Yes, get an Octopus card -- it's NOT optional. It's available at the airport in the Arrivals area after immigration. It costs 150 HKD, which includes a 50 HKD deposit (fully refundable upon departure from Hong Kong), and you'll get 100 HKD travel credit, although you will definitely want to add extra credit to your card with an Add Value Machine nearby at this point, especially if you are taking the Airport Express train to Hong Kong station, which costs 110 HKD. If you take a bus, you will need exact change, or you'll just pay more money than if you were using your Octopus. Also, you'll be staying in Tsim Sha Tsui (TST), where there are many tourists, so buying tickets is a nuisance.
The Octopus card makes for speedy transport, and is accepted on the MTR (subway), buses, boats, minibuses. You can also use your Octopus at 7-11 stores and other minimarts, McDonalds (all 24 hours) and sometimes even for beer!
Top-up easily at 7-11.
Travel from Airport
Type in the name of your hotel in Google Maps to get directions from Hong Kong International Airport. You'll need your Octopus card!
Most popular hotels are in TST so take the A22 or E23 bus -- its about 25 HKD! It takes about 1-1.5 hours.
Much faster: On MTR Airport Express, go to Kowloon Station: 100 HKD, take taxi to hotel in TST: ~24 HKD.
To avoid taxis: Go to Hong Kong Station on the MTR Airport Express line (110 HKD), exit the station, then take a nice long subterranean walk to Central Station. Board the train that takes you towards Tsuen Wan. Disembark at TST Station.
Mobile Phone Card
You'll need internet in Hong Kong to get around (Google Maps), as well as to keep in touch with the group for any last minute changes on WeChat. See HTTC_Internet_Tips for info about what SIM cards to get.
Particular, a Hong Kong ONLY card with 5 days unlimited 4G data will cost about 75 HKD.
For China cards: No card should cost more than 150 HKD and should give you at least 1GB and 30 days, and be rechargeable through internet (~100 HKD/1GB add).
Extract (China cards)
Q. What are the SIM cards that you recommend specifically? How much do they cost? If your phone supports TDD-LTE, China Mobile “CMHK 4G/3G Individual traveller Prepaid SIM Card" It costs 68 HKD(8.69 US) for the SIM, and 168 HKD (21.48 USD) for each 2GB data pack. Make sure it matches the picture below: it is likely that the cashier will get confused and try to sell you a HK-only local sim instead!
Before you leave HK and enter China, recharge it online using this website: https://1cm.hk.chinamobile.com/bill/prepaid-refill.html?lang=en and activate a 2GB China & Hong Kong Data Package for 168 HKD.
If your phone doesn’t support TDD-LTE, or you’re just not sure, you can get the China Unicom Cross Border King https://www.cuniq.com/hk_en/data-card/great-china/cross-border-king-hkno.html Sim Costs 138 HKD (17.64 USD) Data packages are 118 HKD (15.09 USD) / 1 GB.
Q. Where to look for these two cards? 7/11, Circle K 👌 and market stalls selling SIM cards. Make sure the photo matches and you are not being given a HK-only-SIM!
- American cellphones may not work.
- European mobile phones will typically work with Unicom.
- iPhones will generally work (especially with China Mobile in China)
- Buy cheap phone in HK: Xiaomi hongmi note 4x 3GB/32GB - 1099HKD, HK phones should have all Google apps working...
- Buy phone in China: Google Play apps will NOT work, contacts not sync, often cannot install maps correctly etc, only if you know it can be flashed beforehand
- Don't buy iPhone on the streets, they may be stolen, or you'll be part of a bait-and-switch scam and get a non-phone, it happened once in Shanghai, ask us about it...
Buy SIM card in China
- not convenient unless you're staying long time or go to China often.
- you'll need your passport, sellers will take a picture.
- go to Unicom store: 56 RMB/1 month 500MB, average 60 RMB/GB. Suggest pay 100 RMB.
Works fine. See HTTC Internet Tips
Various guides you can find on internet.
- The Peak
- Giant Buddha (near airport)
- Garden of Stars (Bruce Lee statue)
- TST Ferry to Central/Wan Chai
- Beaches (Sai Kung minibus from Dundas)
- Science Museum
See more from official site.
Here are the local fun ones:
- Tin Hau Temple and street night market (MTR: Yau Ma Tei)
- Women's clothing market (MTR: Mong Kok, Prince Edwards)
- Chungking Mansions (TST)
MTR Prince Edwards:
- Gold fish market
- Flower market
- Bird Garden/market
- Dim Sum: Tim Ho Wan (walk from Prince Edwards, in Sham Shui Po)
MTR: Sham Shui Po
- Golden Computer Center - everything new
- Apliu Street electronics market, spy cams, second hand mobile phones
- Capital Building, Un Chau Street - second hand computers/laptops (cheap Thinkpads)
- Computer Center (MTR: Mong Kok) - new computers, mobiles, parallel import
- Sin Tat Center (MTR: Mong Kok) - games, second hand iPhones, iPads
- Wan Chai Computer Center (MTR: Wan Chai)
Hong Kong cluster bars at certain streets in certain neighborhoods, here are the main ones:
- LKF (Lan Kwai Fong, MTR: Central) - western style bars/clubs - a must go once for Fri/Sat
- Wan Chai (MTR: Wan Chai) - "legendary for its exotic night life" (bar district/hostess bars)
- Mong Kong - cafes/late night eating/some local brewery bars
- TST - two bar districts (Hart Street, Ashley Road)
- Sheung Wan (MTR) - 3 gay bars, near DimSumLabs, ask locals
- Tung Choi street, behind Mong Kok Police station (MTR: Prince Edwards)
Bars, Taprooms, Microbreweries
- Tap Room (TST, Ashley Road)
- The Ale Project: Kowloon Tap Room (MTR: Mong Kok)
Hong Kong is known for its diverse range of food. I like to go low-end. Service is fast and expedient. When the wait-staff arrives they'll expect you to order immediately. After two seconds if you're not yet ordering, they'll say "I'll come back later", and they will. Unless it's English food with foreign wait-staff don't expect them to speak English.
I use the Android app: Hanping Chinese (free) + Hanping Chinese Camera (9 USD) Well worth the price as it scans text live and looks up characters.
- Cha Chaan Teng (茶餐廳) - local Chinese
/western food cooked with western ingredientsdiner
- Lai Cha (奶茶) - Hong Kong super strong milk tea! MUST TRY!
- Yuanyang (鴛鴦) - Lai Cha mixed with coffee!
- Dim Sum (點心) - "Chinese tapas", but traditionally for breakfast/lunch.
- Vegetarian -- in Hong Kong the specialty is fake meat!
- Snake soup (蛇羹) (MTR: Sham Shui Po or Central)
List of apps to install BEFORE entering Mainland China
- WeChat: the WhatsApp + blog + Twitter + everything -- we'll use it all the time
- ofo: bicycle share, 199 RMB deposit.
- shadowsocks: bypass VPN limitations.
- Didi: Uber of China.
- hanping: free Chinese dictionary.
- hanping OCR: live scan ORC 2 USD?
- Google Translate: download Chinese for offline translation.
- alternative maps app: "MAPS.ME" have good data, some businesses
- ctrip: buy flight + train tickets + hotel, often have cheapest deal to China, and essential in China.
- Baidu Maps: all in Chinese but it works...
- ditu.google.cn : unblocked Google maps in the browser!