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Impacts of demonstrations on travel

Impacts of demonstrations on travel

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Old Nov 18, 19, 1:01 am   -   Wikipost
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A new thread/Wiki has been created to help FTers navigating Hong Kong during the civil unrest:

Hong Kong Civil Unrest - Survival Guide Q&As (Flame Free)

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Old Nov 29, 19, 5:52 am
  #886  
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What's wrong is concluding that the media's been exaggerating the situation based on a short visit during a period of exceptional calm.
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Old Nov 29, 19, 6:42 am
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Originally Posted by helvetic View Post
Both can be true. It's been calm for the past week, and yet the media also sensationalizes everything, They're not mutually exclusive facts.
This pretty sums it up for me.

Far as I'm concerned, when in HK, unless one is in the middle of or near a pocket of civil unrest, it's life as usual everywhere else. The only thing I've noticed is that before someone has an idea where another stands, people are generally much more guarded with their thoughts on the current situation. So far, except for that one afternoon where tear gas made it's way into the Pen's grand foyer, it's been pretty easy to avoid potential pockets of unrest.

As such, I'm going to enjoy the lower hotel rates and take advantage of the lower crowding than I'm used to.
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Old Nov 29, 19, 10:43 am
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My family just returned from three days in HK. We arrived there Monday (day after the HK election) and returned yesterday (US Thanksgiving day). We stayed at Hyatt Regency TST. I've probably been to HK 10 times now. In general, things were pretty normal. I felt like there were fewer tourists and fewer crowds. Some subway station entrances are still closed (i.e. Tsim Sha Tsui). One business owner complained about business being very slow. We avoided HK island and did stuff in Kowloon the whole time. Partly because we were lazy and partly out of caution.
The day we arrived there was a protest in Central and a disturbance in TST. We would never have known if I hadn't read about it online.
I was also there by myself for three days last month. I had a similar experience that time as well. If I hadn't read about it in the news, I really wouldn't have known anything was happening. During that visit, I spent time in Central, Sheung Wan, and Mid Levels. I did see a protest on Nathan Road one night, but quickly walked away from it. I did not witness any conflict of any kind.
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Old Nov 29, 19, 3:10 pm
  #889  
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There are reports of calls for a demonstration this coming Sunday, probably in the Causeway Bay - Central corridor, as well as calls for disrupting transport during the morning commute on Monday. Nothing certain until it happens, though. But given the Government's tepid response to the election results, it wouldn't be surprising if the current calm ends.
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Old Nov 29, 19, 3:22 pm
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I recently completed a 5 day stay in HK. My first ever visit. This was booked well before the troubles started and I was justifiably concerned.

There was no troubles of any kind that I saw or affected my stay. I did see a lot of graffiti!

Stayed in Wanchai at the Dorsett, then on Nathan Road near Chungking Mansions, and finally at the Dorsett Mong Kok.

Am overnight ING in HK next week, again at the MK Dorsett. Loved my stay there! Loved HK too!
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Old Nov 29, 19, 10:44 pm
  #891  
 
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sorry

I didn't want to create controversy in this thread by describing the US news media's coverage of the HK events as "sensationalistic". I clearly should have chosen my words more carefully. My points was just that for those of us in the US, reading the media coverage by US journalists, we would think that the entirety of HK is currently a smoldering pile of rubble with some bricks and tear gas flying around for good measure. However, it seems that even at the worst times of the protests there have been pockets of calm in the city. That was my point . . . that the city was surprisingly normal when I was expecting complete chaos. For instance, I drove by Nathan Road and was amazed that it wasn't a complete disaster area, after seeing other pictures of it.

One thing that's been excellent in this thread is that we've gotten different perspectives on the situation from FTers actually living there: some have been more concerned and cautious, while others have been more encouraging that people visit. Both are valid perspectives and I've been helped a lot by them. I hope that they'll keep weighing in, and I really enjoy reading the trip reports of other visitors. I just today booked my next trip for late January. Looking forward!
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Last edited by NewbieRunner; Nov 30, 19 at 1:30 am Reason: Mod edits to conform to rule 12
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Old Dec 1, 19, 2:19 am
  #892  
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Sunday afternoon, and demonstrations have returned, with a particular focus on TST. Police have pepper sprayed a crowd in front of the Sheraton.
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Old Dec 1, 19, 9:18 am
  #893  
 
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I was in HKG yesterday (Saturday) and the things we did (cable car ride to the Buddha) all seemed quiet for a nice Saturday.

We are back through HKG twice this month and i was hoping we could use the intentional 12-15 hour layovers to hit the city. Fingers crossed that the protests don’t escalate too much. Does seem like the TST location is hard hit, the Sheraton is cheaper than i have ever seen it.
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Old Dec 1, 19, 8:22 pm
  #894  
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Originally Posted by stephem View Post
I was in HKG yesterday (Saturday) and the things we did (cable car ride to the Buddha) all seemed quiet for a nice Saturday.

We are back through HKG twice this month and i was hoping we could use the intentional 12-15 hour layovers to hit the city. Fingers crossed that the protests don’t escalate too much. Does seem like the TST location is hard hit, the Sheraton is cheaper than i have ever seen it.
Sheraton is still asking for $1200 which is an absolute ridiculous amount for how lousy a hotel it is. Nobody should be paying that much for it even if there weren't any protests. Absurd.
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Old Dec 2, 19, 1:04 am
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In HK tomorrow for one night, cant wait!

Anyone know how busy the Peak is during this period and if I am likely to encounter any disruptions to MRT if I want to visit the peak in the evening and then head back to Kowloon (where my hotel is) around 9pm’ish?

Thanks
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Old Dec 2, 19, 6:57 am
  #896  
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You don't mention where in Kowloon you'll be. Certainly whenever there have been problems, there have almost always been problems around Mongkok - Prince Edward, especially in the evening, with Mongkok Station often shut.

But tonight, Monday, all seems calm everywhere, and if that situation holds till Tuesday you won't have a problem.

In any event, there's never been any problem on the Peak, and the lower Peak Tram terminus would be a problem only if there are issues around the American Consulate, which seems unlikely.
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Old Dec 2, 19, 7:58 pm
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Originally Posted by S c 0 TT y View Post
In HK tomorrow for one night, cant wait!

Anyone know how busy the Peak is during this period ...
There was a zero-minute wait on a beautiful Saturday morning when I was there in mid-October. I can't imagine it's gotten any busier since then, especially on a weekday.
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Old Dec 3, 19, 11:32 am
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Don't forget to walk around the trails up at the peak (there are signs to direct you), some spectacular views and a nice walk!
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Old Dec 3, 19, 4:01 pm
  #899  
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Originally Posted by S c 0 TT y View Post
In HK tomorrow for one night, cant wait!

Anyone know how busy the Peak is during this period and if I am likely to encounter any disruptions to MRT if I want to visit the peak in the evening and then head back to Kowloon (where my hotel is) around 9pm’ish?

Thanks
We were just at the Peak a few days ago on Friday. We took the X15 bus from Admiralty bus terminal and it was so fun sitting on the top deck! While it wasn’t packed like sardines, there were quite a few people and tour groups while we were there (around lunchtime). Cannot speak for the evening - MTR closures depend on when/where any protests are happening.
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Old Dec 4, 19, 7:34 am
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After a couple weeks in Japan, I returned to HK. The relative calm of the last couple weeks caused me to book a night at the IC Grand Stanford. This turned out to be ill advised, as my stay happened to coincide with the Sunday protest. I walked out in the early afternoon, and saw a lot of police patrolling and congregating on footbridges, and large numbers of and black clad "protesters" and their "first aid"/"journalist"/whatever supports. Now, even though some of the sympathizers here would have us think that nothing untoward is going on, that it's all fun and we should certainly watch and perhaps participate, none of these folks look like peaceful protesters. They are kitted out with body armor, and are clearly looking for trouble. A march soon started, and clashes broke out. My normal way of getting from IC GS to HK island involves walking the footbridge to the tunnel toll plaza, and then taking a bus from there. Walking that path now, there's clear evidence of the violent clashes of weeks past, and they put up plastic barriers along the entire walkway (to block the view? to block people from throwing things?).

The next day I moved to Crowne Plaza Kowloon East for a night (pursuing IHG's insanely generous stacking promos; 2x, 4x, 3k per IC stay, Accelerate, 15% cashback ... so a 600HKD stay at this CP yields well over 10k points). The CP sits atop Cheung Kwan O station, and it's sad to see the destruction. Basically anything that used to be glass or otherwise breakable (ticket machines, signs, etc) has been destroyed. Staff are manning the gates with handheld Octopus readers. The escalators and elevators are broken and roped off. The MTR and CP connect to a large mall, which has also been subject to massive vandalism. Glass doors, dividers and escalator railings have been broken (and are out of service), maybe a quarter of stores (including all Starbucks, many banks, and bakeries) have been vandalized and have set up temporary metal exteriors. I know this is somehow all the fault of the government, and the vandalized stores have "suspected links to China," but I'm not sure what the escalators and glass doors have done. Made in China, perhaps?

I still don't think there's any appreciable chance of physical harm for a Westerner. Both sides would probably go out of their way to not harm you. But I will say, both witnessing the "protest" and seeing the destruction has left me with an uneasy feeling. I don't scare easily and have no plans to depart early or not come back. But I kept thinking, would I recommend that friends visit right now, especially if they haven't been before and aren't familiar with getting around, or those who have small kids in tow? And the answer is no. I kept avoiding eye contact with the grim-looking police and black-clad thugs, and I kept reminding myself that it's safer not to take any pictures of the mayhem in Cheung Kwan O. I guess if someone wanted a recommendation for a place where they had to worry about looking at someone funny, taking pics of the wrong thing, or saying the wrong thing, I'd recommend, I don't know, maybe China?

Who knows how things will develop, but at present, it's fairly calm, with low hotel rates as a major plus, and more manageable crowds. As I detailed in a post a couple weeks ago, I didn't find any fire sale deals for activities, and at Ocean Park, lots of rides were closed. On the negative side, there's still a high chance of running into some disturbances (MTR closures etc), and seeing the destruction and heavily armed cops and rioters wouldn't be fun for most people. No matter the post-9/11 style "it's patriotic to shop, come and support people, tip generously" rhetoric by some here, the reality is that tourist arrivals are down by 43% in October for a good reason.
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