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Wait. Is Now Actually a Good Time to Visit Hong Kong?

Wait. Is Now Actually a Good Time to Visit Hong Kong?
Meg Butler

Earlier in the week, I was scrolling through the FlyerTalk forums for a little first-person POV on what’s really going on in Hong Kong, and I stumbled across this thread on The Impact of the Demonstrations in Hong Kong, a post from a FlyerTalker who doesn’t live in Hong Kong but is a frequent visitor had this to say:

I’m a visitor, but spending about 100 nights a year in Hong Kong in 2019. This includes some time during the initial protests in June, some time in July, and all of August until now. I think there’s a big misconception about how much this affects daily life. To be honest, apart from having a hotel shuttle bus that was stuck in traffic in mid June, I didn’t really experience any negative impacts of the protests. I walk around 10 miles a day, and it is very rare to see any protesters. One of my friends lives two blocks from the Chinese liaison office, and he’s had tear gassing on three days since mid June. I walked through a couple of riot police staging areas, but they’re very friendly and left me alone. I also saw some graffiti. But in day-to-day life, the impact of the protests is zero.

In fact, visiting Hong Kong is much more enjoyable than usual, because there are virtually no mainland tourists. You can visit TST Promenade, which normally has dozens of buses spewing out thousands of visitors, and right now, you’re practically the only person there. Equally important, hotels have crazy prices around 30 to 50% off the usual low season pricing. HK$1100 for Hyatt TST or HK$750 for the new Marriott Ocean Park. Insane deals!

Now, of course, if you for some reason get impacted by any airport closure and you have to be at an important event, that truly sucks. So perhaps don’t fly through Hong Kong if you’re on the way to interview for an amazing job offer. But for tourists, it’s an ideal time to visit.

As far as safety is concerned, if you’re from the US or Europe, unless you live in the most sheltered and safest environments, Hong Kong -even with the protests- will be much better than what you’re used to.

Which seems to suggest that not only is Hong Kong safe for visitors, it is less crowded than usual, and there are good hotel deals to be had. So, if you do find yourself headed to Hong Kong, that should alleviate some of your worries about your immutable travel plans. You may even be able to find cheaper hotel rates than those you previously booked. I recommend checking out the FlyerTalk forums on those hotels where users are posting discounted rates at hotels around Hong Kong like this one for the Marriott Ocean Park.

Image Source: Shutterstock

Having said that, whether now is a good time to make travel plans is something that every traveler has to decide for themselves. While the Hong Kong Tourism Commission has said that the city is still open to travelers and major attractions like the Peak Tram and Kowloon are still open to tourists, I still find it hard to make a recommendation for anyone to go to Hong Kong that doesn’t have to. The airport is open now, after closing briefly, but getting in and out of Hong Kong International Airport is still difficult.

But at least one FlyerTalker has an interesting insight for anyone who wants to witness a historic if tumultuous period in Hong Kong’s history:

From a local’s perspective, the protests force an occasional work-at-home day, but so far everything has been business as usual. There seem to be less mainland tourists, so the crowded areas tend to be more manageable now. The violence and tear gas tend to start flying off at night, and there is usually a decent period of time before the raids come for tourists to escape. Avoid hanging around police stations as they are the main target of protesters, accusing the police for brutality and using excessive force.

I do think visiting one of these peaceful rallies/protests or reading through one of the many Lennon Walls around the city would be an interesting highlight for a tourist.

Do leave some time for your flight out though, in light of increased security measures for departures these days.

And another decided now was just the right time to go:

I just made the decision to return to visit and see what’s going on (and do usual tourist things) because fares have fallen to $500 rt, and I booked Hilton Garden Inn Mongkok at $60/night. ($480 HKD)

 

 

To stay apprised of what’s going on in Hong Kong, check out this thread.

View Comments (12)

12 Comments

  1. OZFLYER86

    August 21, 2019 at 4:36 am

    Cathay pacific seem to be dumping a lot of seats. Have seen incredibly cheap tickets OZ/HKG/USA in January school hols. Yes it’s the long way to USA west coast, but would stopover prob in both directions for at least a few days.

  2. txlflyer

    August 21, 2019 at 4:40 am

    I totally agree with the FlyerTalker as I just have been a week in Hong Kong for work and did not feel unsafe or bothered. He must be a US-American as he compares the safety of the US and Europe. I live in Berlin and travel also all over Europe and have never felt less safe than in Hong Kong. That is completely different from the US where aggressive police and ordinary citizens carrying huge guns in bars, super markets and in their cars make me feel highly unsafe and uncomfortable. The daily mass shootings show why.

  3. soloflyer21

    August 21, 2019 at 8:44 am

    I’m here now and echo the sentiments of noted above. So far, it really hasn’t impacted my travel or seeing the city (though the tourism board at the airport seemed concerned about my flight on Saturday, as they believe more protests are planned that will impact airport travel). I’ve never been to HKG before so I can’t speak to the “less crowded” aspect, and had already pre-paid my hotel stay months ago so didn’t get to take advantage of lower hotel pricing either unfortunately.

  4. Dubiox

    August 21, 2019 at 9:01 am

    But if they put on a silly blue suit then you feel comfortable? That makes sense.

  5. Haaienvoer

    August 21, 2019 at 9:06 am

    Having lived in HK for a few years and just returned from a few days stopover in HK, i would not hesitate to visit HK again as safety is not a concern imho. Costwise It may be a good time to visit HK now, but i would not recommend to visit HK in August, simply because of the weather, HK (and especially the rooftops) are more enjoyable in October / November.

  6. TWCLAM

    August 21, 2019 at 9:44 am

    We are off to HKG in exactly one week from today as the 1st leg of a month long tour of SE Asia. Our hotel is right on the middle of the CBD and pretty much halfway between the 2 main protest locations.

    We are seasoned travellers though and are’t put off lightly. That said the dispersal of tear gas has been a concern but we were pragmatic about it and last week I brought two respirators( gas masks). They will go in my day pack and if we walk around the corner and its being fired off or if things are happening outside our hotel and we have no choice but to pass through then we can simply don them and carry on. We dont worry in the slightest in being directly targeted by either the protestors or the authorities but due to location of the hotel there is a high chance of it not being avoidable at some point.

  7. mbgaskins

    August 21, 2019 at 9:58 am

    Txlflyer.

    You really need to stop listening to and reading the propaganda.

    The US does not have ordinary citizens carrying huge guns in bars, super markets, and in their cars on a normal daily basis. Might you see it occasionally? Yes. But I have yet to see it.

    And just so you know guns are banned where alcohol is served and consumed.

    And there are not daily mass shootings. Mass shootings are not any more prevalent today than they have ever been. They just get a lot more attention and hype which actual has the effect and causing additional shootings.

    And they even happen in a gun free nation like Australia.

  8. RealityBites

    August 21, 2019 at 1:36 pm

    Hong Kong right now is a tinder box which could flame up at any moment. There simply nothing else to say.

  9. davidrnz

    August 21, 2019 at 2:25 pm

    My wife and I were in HK last Saturday en route to a business trip in China. Simply, unless you are where the protests are, you wouldn’t know anything was happening. Being the adventurous sort, we were in Central MTR Station on Saturday morning when we heard about a protest which was about to happen and went to check it out. Interesting experience!

    It was of note that entering Shenzhen on Sunday via the port at Shekou (from the ferry) Chinese Police had set up a check point before immigration and were checking passports and searching bags. We were on New Zealand and Australian passports, so they let us through but. everyone else was stopped and searched.

    Also noticed it was much easier to get airline tickets (we booked at short notice) and upgrades to business class.

  10. bloomz

    August 21, 2019 at 4:07 pm

    mbgaskins

    You must live in a different America than I do.

    We’ve had more mass shootings this year than we’ve had days. And they so rarely happen in Australia as to be non existant.

  11. Long Zhiren

    August 22, 2019 at 1:09 pm

    In the US, shootings mostly happen in the gun-free zones, which are all completely run by a single political party, and where public safety is the worst. Everywhere else is quite fine, unless you let that one political party run the rest. Thank you.

  12. GetSetJetSet

    August 22, 2019 at 1:30 pm

    Going to HKG in Sept., my hotels haven’t slashed prices 🙁

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