Travel Tips

Discover Hong Kong

The Discover Hong Kong website is the Hong Kong Tourism Board's official website and, to be honest, it's a very good place to start, if you're thinking about visiting or, indeed, have a visit planned. There's lots of information for travellers, focussing on almost every aspect of visiting Hong Kong and I'll probably echo some of it with what I write on this page. Still, rather than simply link to every possible part of the site, I'm just going to point out a few of, what I think are, the highlights.

Event Search - This is a simple search engine, providing a list of all events which are taking place in the city in a given date range.

Things To Do - It may seem like I'm stating the obvious, but this is really something you should look at. Hong Kong can be overwhelming and knowing where to start can be a a daunting prospect; it is actually quite easy to spend a decent amount of time in Hong Kong and not stray very far and explore what is on offer.

For me, the Hong Kong City Walks page provides an excellent selection of guides for visitors, who want a little help making their way round, taking in a really good selection of what Hong Kong has to offer.

The Cultural Kaleidoscope page provides some suggestions for activities to undertake, a lot of which are free, showcasing some interesting aspects of Hong Kong culture. There's also the 'Ding Ding' Hong Kong Tram Guide and Discover Hong Kong by Rail which give you good ideas of how to spend your time exploring.

Oh, and on Wednesdays, the admission fee for almost all museums in Hong Kong is waived. Nice.

Octopus Cards

Octopus cards are very handy. Essentially Octopus cards are used as travel cards and instead of small change; they can be used to pay on almost all modes of public transport, many shops, services and, at present, there is a trial to use them in taxis. A full list of where they can be used is available here. The facts that 11 million transactions are carried out using them each day and 95% of Hong Kong residents (aged 16-65) own one, should illustrate their handiness.

They can be 'bought' or 'loaned'. From the Octopus website;

"Sold vs On-Loan Octopus

A Sold Octopus is a specially designed Octopus sold to you. It holds no deposit. Any remaining value on the Sold Octopus is refundable.

An On-loan Octopus is a card lent by Octopus Cards Limited to you. You are required to pay a refundable deposit that covers the card cost and possible negative value."

When you arrive at Hong Kong International Airport, after travelling through Passport Control, there is a desk where you can purchase an Octopus card. Many people do this and add value to it in order to take the Airport Express to take them to where they will be staying during their visit.

I have a loaned card which cost HK$150. That's a deposit of HK$50, which covers the HK$30 cost of the card, HK$20 to cover possible negative value and HK$100 of initial value on the card. I will then use the "Add Value" machines, which are located at every MTR (rail) station, and other locations across Hong Kong, to top up the money I have on my card during my stay.

Being able to swipe my Octopus card across a scanner, in order to get on a bus / train or to pay for a drink / snack, makes life a lot easier.

Open Rice

Open Rice is an excellent resource, for both English and Chinese speakers. It is an almost obsessive guide to restaurants, caf├ęs and eateries around Hong Kong. You can search by district, MTR station, type of food and a whole host of other criteria. There are reviews and photographs aplenty...