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HKG Primer for Extended Business Trips?

HKG Primer for Extended Business Trips?

Old Nov 13, 18, 12:58 pm
  #1  
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HKG Primer for Extended Business Trips?

I am open to any and all information on HKG that y'all want to share. I am a long-time domestic road warrior who was presented a chance to go to HKG this winter/spring and I'm going to do it. I normally prefer 2-3 nights away per week tops, but I've always wanted to go somewhere foreign for a longer time. Last year over the holidays / New Year's my mom was sick and didn't make it so I also wanted to get out of dodge during that time frame, and HKG seems great. The trips are coming upon me quickly, and I just found out about them, so I need as much info as you want to share.

The dates of my trips are 11/30-12/13, then 12/28 to 2/1 and after that it's 3 weeks in HKG / 3 weeks home on rotation through end of April. My employer gives me the time home off, which I'm especially excited about!

Anyway, here are some of my questions:

1. Recommended affordable Marriott properties near Tseung Kwan O Industrial Estate -- looks mostly to be Design Hotels which I'm not familiar with at all. With my other stays I'm at 745 nights and just 5 short of Marriott Lifetime Platinum Premier Elite so I really only need 5 nights in a Marriott. Then I may see if I can get a status match with IHG and stay at the Crowne Plaza my co-workers are staying at -- but am open, especially if you know of good discount codes or convenient subway stop hotels

2. Exercise Places: Namely running paths, tennis (indoor or out) and Pilates. Bonus points for English speaking since German is my only other language.

3. Weekend excursions, even if it means flying somewhere (SkyTeam!)

4. Recommendations on things to pack, where to go if I need urgent health care (I can figure some of this stuff out), best ways to replicate an Uber-like experience for car services, bike rentals, etc.

Anything you want to share!
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Old Nov 13, 18, 2:19 pm
  #2  
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Do you have a visa that allows you to be employed in Hong Kong?

FYI Here is the Immigration Department guidance on what you may and may not do as a visitor:

https://www.immd.gov.hk/eng/faq/visit-transit.html

Last edited by christep; Nov 13, 18 at 2:24 pm
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Old Nov 13, 18, 7:20 pm
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1. Recommended affordable Marriott properties near Tseung Kwan O Industrial Estate -- looks mostly to be Design Hotels which I'm not familiar with at all. With my other stays I'm at 745 nights and just 5 short of Marriott Lifetime Platinum Premier Elite so I really only need 5 nights in a Marriott. Then I may see if I can get a status match with IHG and stay at the Crowne Plaza my co-workers are staying at -- but am open, especially if you know of good discount codes or convenient subway stop hotels
  • Hotel choices are limited at TKO, namely the Crown Plaza and Holiday in (Express?). Maybe stay at the CP with the other workers to make getting around easier and do your 5 Marriott nights at the nice properties in Kowloon and Hong Kong.

2. Exercise Places: Namely running paths, tennis (indoor or out) and Pilates. Bonus points for English speaking since German is my only other language.
  • Not familiar with running trails, but you can get a temporary paid visitor membership at the many fitness clubs around TKO for Pilates. Same goes for tennis clubs but this will be limited in TKO
3. Weekend excursions, even if it means flying somewhere (SkyTeam!)
  • HKG is served by the following airlines for shorthaul Intra-Asia flights: MU CZ CI VN GA. Using a work contract to explore the area is a great perk of work. Besides the weekend HK is very generous with public holiday observance both Chinese and Western.

4. Recommendations on things to pack, where to go if I need urgent health care (I can figure some of this stuff out), best ways to replicate an Uber-like experience for car services, bike rentals, etc.
  • Uber has been declared not in compliance with HK laws but the app is still working and one can get served. Taxis are plentiful except for morning and afternoon rush hours, Taxi shift changes and inclement weather.
  • Healthcare: Where to go would be dependant on what your employer or private plan offers in coverage.

As mentioned before by christep in post #2 , make sure you have the proper visa to do what you are doing.

Last edited by tentseller; Nov 13, 18 at 7:27 pm Reason: Formatting
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Old Nov 13, 18, 9:19 pm
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Buy an Octopus card. You can use it on buses (i.e. those to TKO Industrial Estate, which is not near TKO MTR), MTR including the Airport Express (but it's cheaper to buy from places such as Klook - online & app), minibuses, trams, Peak Tram, ferries, supermarkets, convenience stores... There's a $50 refundable deposit when you buy it (MTR station), and it can be topped up at MTR stations (at counter or machines), 7-11, Circle K, etc. It can also be topped up with a credit card from participating local banks, but you probably don't want the hassle of opening a bank account here, what with US banking regs now applying globally.

To confuse you, Hong Kong uses the international date format (DD/MM/YYYY) and the Chinese date format (YYYY/MM/DD) (since the handover).
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Old Nov 13, 18, 11:25 pm
  #5  
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Originally Posted by bergamini View Post
1. Recommended affordable Marriott properties near Tseung Kwan O Industrial Estate
The only affordable Marriott property in Hong Kong is CY Sha Tin.

The problem is TKO Industrial Estate is not really accessible from the outside. So the best way to get from the CY to the Estate is through MTR (Shek Mun > LOHAS Park) and then minibus to the inside of the Estate.

Originally Posted by bergamini View Post
2. Exercise Places: Namely running paths, tennis (indoor or out) and Pilates. Bonus points for English speaking since German is my only other language.
If you decide on CY Sha Tin, then the runway along the Shing Mun River (behind the real estate development facing the CY) will be perfect. A public tennis court is available about 5-10 minutes walking distance from the hotel (Advance booking should be required) - Siu Lek Yuen Road Playground. While not casual, Pilates is available in HKJC Sha Tin Club house as a series of classes (guests can enroll without membership).

All of them are English capable (at the minimum, written English).

Originally Posted by bergamini View Post
3. Weekend excursions, even if it means flying somewhere (SkyTeam!)
Shenzhen, which means you will need a Chinese visa in advance. A quick train ride. No flying is needed.

Taiwan is good as well (but I would avoid China Airlines at all costs).

Originally Posted by bergamini View Post
4. Recommendations on things to pack, where to go if I need urgent health care (I can figure some of this stuff out), best ways to replicate an Uber-like experience for car services, bike rentals, etc.
- Pack light. Hong Kong's winter is cold, but not that "North America" cold. So whatever you are wearing plus a jacket should be fine. Also - because you will be there in 3 weeks. So I would say replenishing in Hong Kong will be a better choice. The good news is there is a Wellcome (one of the Hong Kong's major supermarket chain) at the ground level of the CY Sha Tin.

- Check with your employer/insurance in term of overseas coverage. Hong Kong's healthcare system is majorly public, which means that while private practices are available, private practices only handle minor issues. So small problems > private practice. Otherwise, public hospital.

While Hong Kong's healthcare cost is not as expensive as the U.S., the system penalizes non-qualifiers, i.e. you. So it is best to make sure that you can ask for reimbursement in some ways because public entities don't take insurance and you have to pay in cash in most of the case.

- Uber (and other ride-sharing) is illegal in Hong Kong. But the police does not penalize the passengers. So use it at your own risk.

- Sha Tin Park has leisure bicycle rental. The Park is 10-minute bus ride away from the CY Sha Tin.


My last comment on this was TKO may be the nearest in term of where you have to go. But staying near TKO may not be the best idea given that the area is pretty much restricted in some ways. While it is your choice to make, if I were you, I would stay at CY Sha Tin entirely for my first trip and evaluate TKO physically to see if it is a better fit or not.
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Old Nov 14, 18, 5:33 am
  #6  
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While you could probably get a ten-year multiple-entry Chinese visa in Hong Kong, there's never a guaranty, so I'd strongly suggest you get this in the U.S. beforehand. You'll find being able to head up to the Mainland whenever very convenient.
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Old Nov 14, 18, 6:04 am
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Don't forget to do a weekend or so in Macau. It's an easy hydrofoil ride from the airport or at least one other pier in Hong Kong. Look for Starriott hotels there.

Would a serviced apartment make sense for your longest stay?

Otherwise, I can't help much with the hotel question as I've only stayed in Kowloon, although in a variety of properties there, including RC, W, HR, and the Pen, and I know a few others such as the IC, Sheraton and the YMCA place.

There are pleasant places to run along the water, although I think most of the walk of stars in Kowloon is still closed for construction. There's a big (and hilly) park with a swimming pool complex near the top (and IIRC still a museum on Hong Kong history) and a smaller part with a big wall across the main road. In Central, I see runners along the water beyond convention center, including around some yacht harbor. Other spots for outdoor exercise would be around the big Buddha (very crowded on weekends) and the peak.

I'd strongly suggest familiarizing yourself with the basics of Hong Kong culture and etiquette before leaving. Little things can be noticed, like always handing someone your business card or credit card (pretty much throughout Asia) with two hands and looking carefully at any business cards that are handed to you before putting them away with reverence (not just shoved into a pocket mindlessly) as a treasured item that you'll keep.

I think I agree with the advice to stay at the same hotel as your colleagues and get those five Starriott nights elsewhere on weekends or whatever before NYE. Splurge on a stay in the center, go to Macau, or stay in a Starriott near the airport on your last night in Hong Kong for the first trip, which seems to include only one weekend in Asia, so you might need to do a couple Starriott nights in the USA too, perhaps using an airport hotel before or after your long flights.
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Old Nov 14, 18, 10:39 am
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Thanks everyone, lots of great information and I've already taken action on a few. Feel free to post any other info. I'm going to follow MSPEconomist advice and just get the 5 "Starriott" nights elsewhere, maybe extend my hotel in PVG for a night since it's only $77 USD and that way I can stay past late check-out. I'm not going to be paying any living expenses for most of the next 4 months so I can afford a mattress run at a Fairfield Inn near me.

As for the Visa, I have a Chinese Visa with 9 years left. My company participates in TechTAS and while our legal department didn't think I required it, I am getting in under our quota. They said since what I'm doing is < 90 days per visit and covered by this regulation, it really wasn't necessary, but I say better safe than sorry (bolded activities are what I do):

A person permitted to enter Hong Kong as a visitor may generally engage in the following business-related activities:
  1. concluding contracts or submitting tenders;
  2. examining or supervising the installation/packaging of goods or equipment;
  3. participating in exhibitions or trade fairs (except selling goods or supplying services direct to the general public, or constructing exhibition booths);
  4. settling compensation or other civil proceedings;
  5. participating in product orientation; and
  6. attending short-term seminars or other business meetings.
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Old Nov 14, 18, 10:40 am
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Don't forget to do a weekend or so in Macau. It's an easy hydrofoil ride from the airport or at least one other pier in Hong Kong. Look for Starriott hotels there.
Macau is especially a great idea!
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Old Nov 15, 18, 12:19 am
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Hong Kong and China are separate* entities when it comes to immigration/visas. A China visa is not valid in Hong Kong, and a Hong Kong visa is not valid in China. So you would need through the TechTAS to get a Hong Kong employment visa. So good for insisting!

About half a dozen years ago an Australian risk management(!) expert came to Hong Kong several times to teach at weekend seminars, which he did without the relevant visa. Someone shopped him. He enjoyed a 2-month stay in one of Hong Kong's prisons before being kicked out (probably "excluded" for 3 years too). Perhaps he got it harsher than others, but it's still not worth the "risk".



* Except, obviously, China can say no to certain people entering Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong government will obey and block them.

Last edited by DragonSoul; Nov 15, 18 at 1:20 am
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Old Nov 15, 18, 2:18 am
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That I do recall. And he isn't the only one. More recently a British snooker player was up in court for giving coaching sessions or similar whilst on a visitor visa.
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Old Nov 15, 18, 9:00 am
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I've read around and it seems both cases are the speaking / doing seminars for a fee which they seem to take very seriously, which seems a bit odd to me.
  1. Besides, a person permitted to enter Hong Kong as a visitor may also attend an event to deliver speech(es)/ presentation(s) subject to the following conditions being met:
    1. he/she will not be remunerated for speaking/presenting at the event (other than provision of accommodation, passage, meals, etc. relating to the event, or the reimbursement of such expenses);
    2. the duration of the whole event should be no longer than seven days; and
    3. he/she can only attend one such event to deliver speech(es)/presentation(s) during each period of permitted stay.
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Old Nov 15, 18, 11:52 am
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It's good that you and your corporate lawyers are getting across this before you get here! As noted above, people have gone to jail in recent times for either getting this wrong or hoping they would get away with it.

Having said that, I guess that for every one that has been up in court 100 have got away with it!
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Old Nov 15, 18, 12:07 pm
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Originally Posted by bergamini View Post
1. Recommended affordable Marriott properties near Tseung Kwan O Industrial Estate -- looks mostly to be Design Hotels which I'm not familiar with at all. With my other stays I'm at 745 nights and just 5 short of Marriott Lifetime Platinum Premier Elite so I really only need 5 nights in a Marriott. Then I may see if I can get a status match with IHG and stay at the Crowne Plaza my co-workers are staying at -- but am open, especially if you know of good discount codes or convenient subway stop hotels
I actually have stayed at the CP Kowloon East in TKO for a couple weeks about 2 years ago, so I do have some opinions about the hotel. It's a good hotel with a mall attached. The CP has a business conference room you can borrow that is good for work meetings or discussing projects with coworkers. The CP also has a rooftop bar. Their breakfast buffet is also decent, but costs a pretty penny if it's not included. The elevators can tend to be slow when they have large Chinese tour groups in the area though - sometimes you have to wait several rounds of elevators to get one you can get on. They also don't really give out upgrades to status holders. I was Spire (IHG highest tier) at the time of my visit and was offered free breakfast for one person (second guest has to pay) and a higher floor as my upgrade. Do not expect a better/nicer room or club lounge access to be complimentary.

2. Exercise Places: Namely running paths, tennis (indoor or out) and Pilates. Bonus points for English speaking since German is my only other language.
There's an outdoor pool (might be too cold during the winter) and an indoor gym in the hotel. I didn't really go offsite for fitness, so cannot help with that.

3. Weekend excursions, even if it means flying somewhere (SkyTeam!)
The MTR is conveniently located inside the attached Popcorn Mall, so you can really get to anywhere in Hong Kong with a couple transfers. Macau is a great option - there is a Sheraton and St. Regis under the Starriott umbrella. Even if you head out to Tsim Sha Tsui or Central area in Hong Kong, there are a few Marriott or Starwood properties too if you wanted to explore the city for a weekend.

4. Recommendations on things to pack, where to go if I need urgent health care (I can figure some of this stuff out), best ways to replicate an Uber-like experience for car services, bike rentals, etc.
Pack light, but bring a raincoat and sturdy umbrella. Good walking shoes. Not sure about health care, but you can use Uber in HK. That is my preferred mode of transportation in HK.
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