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Old Jan 12, 12, 5:14 am   #1
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Hong Kong First-timer...

Hi Everyone...

I am going to be visiting Hong Kong for the first time later this year.

I managed to take advantage of the lesser milage redemption rate with BA before the changes in November to fly from New York to Bali via Hong Kong, then back to San Francisco and included a stop over in Hong Kong on the way back from Bali to San Francisco.

I am very excited about visiting the city and have elected to stay at the Crowne Plaza on Hong Kong Island. The price difference between Kowloon and the island were jus staggering and I could not justify the extra price. I am slowly getting to grips with the geography of the area and the city, but have a couple of questions if I may?

I land from DPS into HKG at 20:50 (if we are on time) and an trying to decide about transportation between the airport and the hotel. Would the Airport Express and MTR be too much with two cases plus cabin bag? I have looked at the location of the stations and it seems to look like it is a bit of a walk from the MTR to the hotel through tunnels etc...

On the flip side of that, how much, roughly, would a taxi or car be from the airport to the island at that time of night?

Typically, what can immigration be like at that time of night?

Now, please don't "flame me" for asking this, but this is the first time I am going East, all be it via the West... But, in Hong Kong, are most things signed in both Chinese and English? I have started doing some basic Chinese language online, but languages were never my strong point...

Thank you for any advice.

Regards,

BBB
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Old Jan 12, 12, 5:49 am   #2
 
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Can't help you with airport transport options as it's been 10 years since I was last there, but I do recall sufficient English signage to get around and not get into trouble. We were there for 10 days and roamed around quite extensively, and I don't remember language or understanding ever really being an issue for us. We enjoyed our stay there very much, and I hope to get the opportunity to pop there again with work sometime in the not too distant future.

I'm sure some nice people with more recent knowledge will be along soon.

Happy travels.
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Old Jan 12, 12, 6:12 am   #3
 
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First off - welcome (in advance) to Hong Kong! I'll try to answer these things as clearly and concisely as possible, and I hope you find it helpful:

Quote:
Originally Posted by BingBongBoy View Post
I land from DPS into HKG at 20:50 (if we are on time) and an trying to decide about transportation between the airport and the hotel. Would the Airport Express and MTR be too much with two cases plus cabin bag? I have looked at the location of the stations and it seems to look like it is a bit of a walk from the MTR to the hotel through tunnels etc...
Are you traveling alone? Two cases plus a cabin bag will be too much to be moving around in the MTR with it's many escalators and trains not designed to hold luggage, but you will be completely fine on the Airport Express. Of course, I've seen people do it before (on the MTR), but it may be much easier on you to simply take the Airport Express to Hong Kong Station and then cab it to the Crowne Plaza.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BingBongBoy View Post
On the flip side of that, how much, roughly, would a taxi or car be from the airport to the island at that time of night?
You can expect the taxi to be around HK$350.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BingBongBoy View Post
Typically, what can immigration be like at that time of night?
Relatively smooth I would say, probably a 10 minute wait. HK immigration is extremely quick and efficient.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BingBongBoy View Post
Now, please don't "flame me" for asking this, but this is the first time I am going East, all be it via the West... But, in Hong Kong, are most things signed in both Chinese and English? I have started doing some basic Chinese language online, but languages were never my strong point...
Yes, as HK was a former British colony, English is an official language here and virtually all signs, MTR stations, whatever, will have both traditional Chinese and English on them. You will be perfectly fine!

Any questions - feel free to ask or even drop me a PM.
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Old Jan 12, 12, 7:14 am   #4
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Thank you for your reply User Name... It is most helpful.

I am looking forward to seeing Hong Kong for the first time

Quote:
Originally Posted by User Name View Post
Can't help you with airport transport options as it's been 10 years since I was last there, but I do recall sufficient English signage to get around and not get into trouble. We were there for 10 days and roamed around quite extensively, and I don't remember language or understanding ever really being an issue for us. We enjoyed our stay there very much, and I hope to get the opportunity to pop there again with work sometime in the not too distant future.

I'm sure some nice people with more recent knowledge will be along soon.

Happy travels.
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Old Jan 12, 12, 7:31 am   #5
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Quote:
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First off - welcome (in advance) to Hong Kong! I'll try to answer these things as clearly and concisely as possible, and I hope you find it helpful:
I found it VERY helpful... Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. And thank you too for the advanced welcome!

Quote:
Originally Posted by CX HK View Post
Are you traveling alone? Two cases plus a cabin bag will be too much to be moving around in the MTR with it's many escalators and trains not designed to hold luggage, but you will be completely fine on the Airport Express. Of course, I've seen people do it before (on the MTR), but it may be much easier on you to simply take the Airport Express to Hong Kong Station and then cab it to the Crowne Plaza.
Yes, I am traveling alone... I would not usually travel with this much luggage, but it is part of a longer trip so I have no choice but to bring it.

Having looked at maps again, and done some more reading on train tickets and fares, your plan sounds the best. The MTR Airport Express at $180HK plus a taxi each way to Hong Kong station makes a lot more sense than say $700HK+ for a return taxi trip. You talk good sense!

Quote:
Originally Posted by CX HK View Post
You can expect the taxi to be around HK$350.
Whilst not prohibitive, it all adds up!

Quote:
Originally Posted by CX HK View Post
Relatively smooth I would say, probably a 10 minute wait. HK immigration is extremely quick and efficient.
Brilliant... I suppose it makes it easier, not having to have a Visa etc... But, brilliant, I don't want to be too late into the city.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CX HK View Post
Yes, as HK was a former British colony, English is an official language here and virtually all signs, MTR stations, whatever, will have both traditional Chinese and English on them. You will be perfectly fine!
I thought that may be the case, but was not sure if things had changed a lot since Hong Kong being handed back, but that is very encouraging. I will certainly try my best to learn enough to get by, but as I say, languages have never been my strong point, especially one which is very different.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CX HK View Post
Any questions - feel free to ask or even drop me a PM.
That is most kind, you may come to regret that!

Regards,

BBB
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Old Jan 12, 12, 7:29 pm   #6
 
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oh or can/would you store some of your luggage at the airport - there are lockers in between terminal 1 and 2...

a cheaper way to get into town is by taking bus A11.
the walking option: there's a stop at the wrong end of Percival street/Hennessey Road Fire Station if you look at a map. If you arrive late enough (post 11... which isnt too hard if you need maybe 30-45 min to clear customs AND retrieve bags and wait for bus, and another 60-70 mins for the ride), the 15min walk will be easy with no stairs to maneuvoeur.
the taxi option: if you get off the bus at Jardine's House (4th stop after all the highway/tunnel), there are usually taxis readily available to go wherever on your request. 15 minute max(50HKD) to the CP!

Or Airport Express+taxi is the most sensible (but cost 50HKD more than the bus+taxi option... since Jardine House and the train station are just opposite each other)
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Old Jan 13, 12, 4:41 am   #7
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Quote:
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oh or can/would you store some of your luggage at the airport - there are lockers in between terminal 1 and 2...

a cheaper way to get into town is by taking bus A11.
the walking option: there's a stop at the wrong end of Percival street/Hennessey Road Fire Station if you look at a map. If you arrive late enough (post 11... which isnt too hard if you need maybe 30-45 min to clear customs AND retrieve bags and wait for bus, and another 60-70 mins for the ride), the 15min walk will be easy with no stairs to maneuvoeur.
the taxi option: if you get off the bus at Jardine's House (4th stop after all the highway/tunnel), there are usually taxis readily available to go wherever on your request. 15 minute max(50HKD) to the CP!

Or Airport Express+taxi is the most sensible (but cost 50HKD more than the bus+taxi option... since Jardine House and the train station are just opposite each other)
Thanks for the reply...

I would prefer to keep all my bags with me. Knowing my luck, I would leave something I needed in the bag that I left at the airport and get annoyed with myself..

I think, I would probably go for the Airport Express and taxi combination. For an extra 50HKD, which is roughly 5, I would prefer the time saving.

I am very excited about visiting!
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Old Jan 15, 12, 7:10 pm   #8
 
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Indeed, given the Crown is in Happy Valley, just AE it to Central then hop into one of the many, many cabs waiting there for the ride which should as aforementioned be about 50 HKD.

Personally, as a longstanding HK resident, I do not venture that often to the dark side (Kowloon) but it shouldn't be too difficult to get to where you want to go to given there is an MTR station very close to the Crown (Times Square though you have to walk about 300m underground once you enter it). Taxi shift times and X-harbour tunnel traffic nightmares can make that route complicated.

If you have any other questions I'd be happy to answer them as a Gweilo who has had many friends come over as well

Chehk.
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Old Jan 15, 12, 7:20 pm   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chehk View Post
Indeed, given the Crown is in Happy Valley, just AE it to Central then hop into one of the many, many cabs waiting there for the ride which should as aforementioned be about 50 HKD.

Personally, as a longstanding HK resident, I do not venture that often to the dark side (Kowloon) but it shouldn't be too difficult to get to where you want to go to given there is an MTR station very close to the Crown (Times Square though you have to walk about 300m underground once you enter it). Taxi shift times and X-harbour tunnel traffic nightmares can make that route complicated.

If you have any other questions I'd be happy to answer them as a Gweilo who has had many friends come over as well

Chehk.
Also, if one didn't want to venture out all the way to Kowloon, Happy Valley provides lots of good places for massages and local treats one of my personal favorite spots.
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Old Jan 15, 12, 8:09 pm   #10
 
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Also, if one didn't want to venture out all the way to Kowloon, Happy Valley provides lots of good places for massages and local treats one of my personal favorite spots.
I was fortunate to spend almost every lunch-time of the past four years (I went to 法國國際學校) on 成和道 and my favourite dai pai dong is there (next to the HSBC premier) though one foot massage place I'd been to a couple of times is closing . I can't wait to be back soon though, I've been itching to get back to Asia and luckily am headed to HKG via BKK and HKT.

On topic: There are many, many little niche spots both on HK Island and in Kowloon where you can experience the 'real' Hong Kong. Keep an open mind, HK is comprised of many architectural styles as well as subcultures and it might not all be what you expect :P
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Old Jan 15, 12, 9:06 pm   #11
 
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I'm also going to be staying in that hotel soon, after taking the Airport Express train to (I believe) Hong Kong Station (end of the line?) and then taking a cab to the hotel. Do I need to have the name of the hotel printed in Chinese characters, or will the cab driver understand English?

And, can cab fares be paid with the Octopus card?

Can the AE fare be paid on the train with the Octopus, or do you need to obtain a ticket?

Last edited by Middle_Seat; Jan 15, 12 at 9:30 pm.
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Old Jan 15, 12, 9:08 pm   #12
 
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I'm not sure how to interpret this. Is the Crowne Plaza located in a disreputable area of the city?
After re-reading this, I can see (hilariously) how this message can be interpreted...

- Happy Valley is a legit and well-respected place. The massages will not have any... extra services.

- Local treats refers to nothing else but food!
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Old Jan 15, 12, 10:31 pm   #13
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Originally Posted by Middle_Seat View Post
I'm also going to be staying in that hotel soon, after taking the Airport Express train to (I believe) Hong Kong Station (end of the line?) and then taking a cab to the hotel. Do I need to have the name of the hotel printed in Chinese characters, or will the cab driver understand English?

And, can cab fares be paid with the Octopus card?

Can the AE fare be paid on the train with the Octopus, or do you need to obtain a ticket?
Have name and address in Traditional Chinese printed out for the cab driver. No second guessing.

Only a handful of taxis take Octopus or credit card. Literally. You need cash.

AE rides can be paid with Octopus. But you need to buy separate tickets to get round trip deals or group fares.
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Old Jan 16, 12, 6:51 am   #14
 
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To BBB: Crowne Plaza is actually more in Causeway Bay than in Happy Valley, just walked past it today after walking away from Times Square... but good news for you: more snacks and local street food!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by chehk View Post
I was fortunate to spend almost every lunch-time of the past four years (I went to 法國國際學校) on 成和道 and my favourite dai pai dong is there (next to the HSBC premier) though one foot massage place I'd been to a couple of times is closing . I can't wait to be back soon though, I've been itching to get back to Asia and luckily am headed to HKG via BKK and HKT.

On topic: There are many, many little niche spots both on HK Island and in Kowloon where you can experience the 'real' Hong Kong. Keep an open mind, HK is comprised of many architectural styles as well as subcultures and it might not all be what you expect :P
Ahh, I went to 香港國際學校, so I would see your backdoor entrance when going to school to Red Hill. HK has whatever you're looking for essentially :P
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Old Jan 16, 12, 12:25 pm   #15
 
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Another tip - cheaper to buy the airport express round trip.

You can also pack your luggage and check it in 24 hours ahead
esp if you have 2 suitcases. The trip to the Kowloon (not sure
about HK side check-in) station is (or was the times I used this feature)
free on the roundtrip ticket.
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