Photo by TheCritics
Hong Kong is one of those special administration regions of china. Technically it is under china but it has its own administration. It is one of those striving business hubs where many companies holds it south east Asian headquarters. And it is one of those very few countries in world where an Indian can travel without a visa! Yes you get the treatment of an European (well not really).
Ok in this article I will bring you some Do’s and Dont’s for an Indian traveller.
- Economic traveller? Back packer? – Well Hong Kong is not the place for you. Daily expenses in Hong Kong will be more than you expect, so do your math before you travel. One Hong Kong dollar = 8.8 Indian rupee.
- One litre bottle around 20 dollars HKD
- A bread packet – 15 dollars
- Tea at local joint – 7 dollars
- Meal in local food court for one – 40 dollars minimum
- Taxi it will costly anywhere between 100 -150 HKD minus tolls for a ten kilometre ride. Under water tunnel toll for taxis alone will cost 60 dollars
- And the sophisticated Disney world and ocean park will cost you somewhere around 60 to 70 HKD each.
If you have decided that you will go to Hong Kong, then these things will help you. Take the trip together with Macau. A five day trip is minimum that is needed.
- Don’t worry about converting currencies and carrying HKD. The world is more sophisticated today, carry your forex card. If you don’t have one, don’t mind using your regular debit/credit card for shopping and withdrawing money as well. The conversion and the money you loose is very less.
- Don’t ever exchange money in HKIA. There will be lot of Travelex outlets there. Believe me their buy rates are very poor and I lost more than 9000 INR just in conversion.
- Stay – Hong Kong is studded with multistar hotels and costly joints for dining. Choose carefully where you want to stay. Internet will offer hotels from 2500 INR/ 280 hkd. But those were not really hotels. They are kind of mansion converted hotels. All that you get for that money is a cramped room. If you are a backpacker and if you are ok in staying there then it is easy to manage.
Read about Chungking mansions, a place where you get those cheap accommodations, good exchange rates for currencies and a place where you will see a lot of south Asians. The first time I stepped foot there I was surprised to see so many Indians and Indian outlets there. (But then i read and understand history of Indians in Hong Kong goes way back to the time the settlement was started by British). They sell everything from briyani to kebab there.
This image is taken from internet.
- Sim card – Buy the one that provides unlimited data or better data. Everywhere you get free Csl connect and Wi-Fi so don’t worry. Skype and wattsap works pretty well for calls and there is no need for voice call. For your research in choosing a Sim read Prepaid SIM Cards at HK Airport .
- Travel by public transport, bus or metro. There are some areas not connected by metro. So plan and find your bus routes before starting.
- Octopus card: get one, it will help you cover most of the things. Read here octopus card.
Let me take you through Hong Kong now.
Things you can do in Hong Kong:
From airport your hotel or the centre of city will be around 30kms. Take the bus service right outside the airport, it is the cheapest and it will take you about a hour travel to reach the city. With a good shower you can probably keep day 1 to stroll through the streets of Hong Kong exploring it’s indigenous cuisine and diverse mixture of culture.
Influenced by a wide variety of cuisine you can find authentic food of Japan, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, India and Europe here.
The foods you should try:
- Chicken dumplings
- Fish balls
- Shrimp dumplings
- The Chinese herbal tea
- Clay pot rice
For more information on food in Hong Kong read these food in Hong Kong Hong Kong cuisines. And where you can find these food?, go for the street shops. The Haiphong Street (in Tsim Sha Tsui), Graham Street (in Central) are some places where I fond the best joints.
Hong Kong do provide a vibrant and colourful nightlife. So if you are looking for some hard core partying then there are lot that you could do here. Other than the pubs and discos there are few night markets which you can explore. Temple street (Kowloon) and the Nathan road are best places to explore Hong Kong in night.
Visit the lantau island and the giant Buddha on day 2. On evening of day 2 you can visit some of the beaches in lantau, slivermine beach (Mui wo) is the one I visited and it was pretty good. Get back to the city and take the light show in late evening at Victoria harbour.
Hong Kong is not a single island. It is a collection of islands. So you have to take the inter-island ferries and visit least one of those secluded island beaches on day 3.
From surfers beach and crowded busy beaches to clean deep water and secluded beaches; Hong Kong has all variety of beaches. Sai kung is the choice of many if you have visit clean water beaches. In Sai kung you can find many deserted beaches. Trekking trail here can be pretty attractive. Tai Wan beach is a perfect destiny.
On day 3 if you can find time spend your evening visiting the Victoria peak. “Travel in the historic tram, have a visual delusion of the leaning buildings, take a breath taking view of entire Hong Kong city and dine your way at the peak food joints.”
Day 4 you can shop and stroll in central, pack your bags and get to Hong Kong -Macau ferry terminal to take your ferry to Macau. Macau is one other place where Indians don’t need visa. So there is absolutely no worries. To travel to Macau you have to go via Hong Kong. But need not worry while coming back, there is airport transfer and direct ferries to Hong Kong international airport, this way you skip emigration process on return. So board your return flight back in Hong Kong and you need not get stamped twice.
Information of the ferries are here Hong Kong to Macau ferry
Hong Kong is not just that cosmopolitan city with studded skyscrapers, majority of Hong Kong is still covered in greenery. If you take time in planning and exploring the virgin side of it you would love it more.
I will leave here with some more pictures of Hong Kong
Separate article on Macau will follow soon…..