Ok, I'm no HongKong-ners so the post might not cover all the things need to know about Hong Kong, but I do my best to summarize things that I know from all my trips there. Here it goes:
*image taken from Google
- Basically Hong Kong is a country with three big area, HK Island, Kowloon and New Territories. Most of the attractions in HK settled in the part of HK Island. The most famous area in HK Island is Causeway Bay. Kowloon's most famous area is Tsim Sha Tsui, where one of the most famous attractions in HK, Avenue of Stars located. While New Territories is more to island, from the most talked about Lantau to Lamma island famous for the fresh seafood.
- 1 standard meal (rice set or wonton noodle) in a modest diner is around HKD 25.
- Some of HK's must try dishes are dimsum, wonton noodle, instant noodle with pork cutlet and roast meat.
- HK map and MTR map is the important guidance for your holiday in HK. You can get it for free in the airport.
- If you enjoy travel during winter, mid Dec - Feb is the perfect time. Oct - around beginning of Dec is my choice of time to visit Hong Kong because of the perfect weather, not hot and not too cold either. My suggestion is to avoid June - Sep, the weather is very hot and HK is packed with tourist so it will be too crowded.
- HK's language is Cantonese although nowadays most youngster and shop attendants understand English and Mandarin. All road signs and MTR information are in English and HK is one of the safest country on earth so is very easy and safe to travel by ourselves.
- Octopus card is very important. It's a card to access MTR and bus, you can even use it to pay at 7 Eleven and McDonalds. Having Octopus card will definitely makes your trip easier as you will access many places by MTR, and buses in HK doesn't have any change, so either you have a fix amount cash or you use Octopus card to pay. You can buy one at the airport for HKD 50 and top up at any 7 Eleven. Don't worry if you put too much money inside the card as it won't go expired. You can get back your 50 dollars when you return the card.
- Do take universal adaptor as HK's electrical outlets is different with Indonesia. If you forget, you can buy at street markets in HK for a very cheap price, HKD15 but not for the universal one. Only for the 3 plugs suited for HK's electrical outlet.
- There are many Indonesian workers go to HK to work as housemaid because the salary is quite high and they don't have to work every Sunday. Don't be surprised to see massive Indonesian workers on the street of Causeway Bay or Victoria Park every Sunday.
- One of HK's oldest transportation is the tram. I remember back then in my younger age, my dad will always take me and my brother to go for a night tram ride. Only for $2, we can ride it from Causeway Bay up to North Point, the end of HK Island. We will sit on the tram only to enjoy the night view of HK's streets.
- HK is famous for its very expensive land, that's why almost every locals stay at flat. Only very rich people or celebrities can have a place call house and not flat or apartment. With that reason too, most diners in HK have very limited space and have table sharing system (just like in Japan). Don't be surprise to have strangers share a table with you.
- Most diners in HK open quite late around 11 - 12 noon, because they closed quite late as well, around 1am, some even until 2am.
- Please don't expect a polite service like the one we get in Indonesia. HK people are famous for their rudeness, from the restaurant's waiter until the sellers at street market. If you don't intend to buy, better not try to do a bargain as they will totally scold you with their Cantonese dialect.
- All supermarkets and major pharmacy like Watsons, 7 Eleven, etc don't provide plastic bag due to the country Go Green campaign. So if you would like a plastic bag, do tell them and 50 cent will be charged for one.
- Hong Kong is a free tax country hence many things are quite cheaper here compare to Indonesia or Spore.
- Unlike Sogo in Jakarta, HK's Sogo is filled with major high class brands from Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Prada to Hermes.
- Just like Japan, HK people are famous for their addiction to branded items. Women and metrosexual men are well known to save their salary aside for branded items. It is a very normal view to see a woman with her Ferragamo heels standing in the subway with Prada hanging in her shoulder. .
- HK airport is quite far, the journey to city by bus is around 1 hour. The fare to Kowloon area is HKD33, to HK Island area is around HKD45. Besides bus, we can also go by taxi, the fare depends on how far is the destination, from airport to Causeway Bay is around HKD 300. We can also go by airport express train. Personally, I always go by bus because it's cheaper, convenient and a good ride to access HK view.
- In Asia, HK and Japan are in the top list of country with the most expensive hotel, even for the 3 stars. That's why some tourist on budget prefer to stay at serviced apartment. The most expensive hotel in HK mostly located at Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui area. Even the room rates is high, most room in HK's hotel are relative small, even the 5 stars. Rent is very expensive in HK so even the 5 stars hotels' room are not too spacious.
I do hope my babbling can do some help on getting to know HK better before fly away for the trip, which you must. Hong Kong is so much fun! Next post will share about places to stay in Hong Kong, based on personal experience or friend's recommendation. Until then!
*image taken from Google