Hong Kong should be a lot higher up your list of ideal travel destinations than it probably is. There’s no place on Earth quite like it. Hong Kong is a lot like many things but isn’t exactly like anything. You can’t quite call Hong Kong a city, yet it’s not quite a country. Hong Kong isn’t an island, nor is it a cohesive part of the Chinese mainland. Hong Kong is simply Hong Kong, and it’s a place with a strong sense of cultural identity. If you’re considering visiting Hong Kong in Holiday in the near future. We have some handy travel advice and tips that might helpful for you.
Speaking of cultural identity, Hong Kong’s is entirely unique. The Chinese influence is obviously strong, but there’s still a quintessential feel of Britishness about it – a leftover from the territory’s many years of British rule, which ended in 1997. The singularity of Hong Kong’s culture – especially the Hong Kong of the 1960s – have inspired many a film, television show, or work of fiction. You can find it reflected in the strangest of places, like the “Hong Kong 60” game that appears on so many casino networks. That might sound like a strange measure, but if a casino network thinks that the culture of Hong Kong is a compelling draw to its many casino sister sites, it speaks volumes about the powerful allure of Hong Kong as a whole. We’re not here to talk about Hong Kong as a sister site, though – we’re here to talk about it as a viable travel destination.
Pay Attention To Labels In Shops
Some countries put price labels on items in shops, and the price on the label is the price you pay. There’s no space for bartering or negotiation. In other countries, it’s acceptable to barter. The shop or storekeeper might indicate what they’d like you to pay for their goods, and then you work out a price from there. Hong Kong does both, and that can be confusing for tourists. As a rule of thumb, if there’s a label on whatever you’re trying to buy, the price is non-negotiable. Any attempt to negotiate the price could be seen as offensive. If there isn’t a label, you’re free to barter as much as you wish. Unfortunately, some retailers in Hong Kong see tourists coming from a mile away and like to overcharge them. For that reason, it might be easier to stick to stores where prices are clearly marked – especially if you’re not a confident barterer and the idea of haggling over prices makes you nervous.
Get An Octopus Card
Yes, Hong Kong is very small. No, that doesn’t mean that you can or are even likely to want to get around it on foot. Hong Kong has one of the world’s most advanced public transport systems, but if you use it on a “pay as you go” basis, you’ll find it to be very expensive. You’re inevitably going to want to use Hong Kong’s public transport facilities several times during your stay, so get an Octopus card. They’re available in several places, but the easiest place to pick one up is a 7-Eleven store. The cards work on all of the buses, trains, trams, and ferries you’re likely to need and are even accepted as payment for food in some restaurants. The overall saving compared to paying for everything in cash is likely to be ten per cent at least.
Learn The Dining Etiquette
At home, leaving an empty plate behind is a sign that you’ve enjoyed your meal and you loved what the chef provided. In Hong Kong, it’s an insult. This is a cultural trait that Hong Kong shares with China. Eating everything on your plate is viewed as an accusation that your chef wasn’t generous enough with their portions, so bear that in mind when you’re dining in restaurants. While you’re at it, learn a few other nuances about Hong Kong dining etiquette. There are some dos and donts that most westerners are unaware of, including the idea that crossing your chopsticks brings bad luck, but leaving them sticking straight up in your dish might cause offence because it looks like an incense burning ritual associated with funerals. By the way, a lot of restaurants in Hong Kong don’t provide tissues or serviettes, so you may want to bring your own – especially if you’re eating finger food!
Explore Beyond Kowloon
Most of the tourist traps in Hong Kong can be found in Kowloon or on Hong Kong island. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with spending your entire vacation there, but you’re denying yourself the chance to experience a genuine Hong Kong vacation if you do. There are other places to visit while you have the opportunity, and Lantau Island is one of the best of them. You might not be aware that there’s an entire Disneyland on Lantau Island – but you know now! Lamma Island has the most outstanding natural beauty in the region, and Cheung Chau is the best place to go shopping, and in the eyes of many people, it also has the best restaurants. Just make sure you’re back by 8pm to enjoy the Symphony of Lights at Victoria Harbour.
Steer Clear of the Rainy Season
For all but the luckiest of us, budget is a consideration when booking holidays. As you go to book your visit to Hong Kong, you’ll likely notice that it’s far cheaper to book between July and September than it is either side of those months. That might make it tempting to book right in the middle of those dates, but we wouldn’t recommend it. That’s the rainy season in Hong Kong, and by “rainy season,” we don’t mean that there’s likely to be the occasional storm. We’re talking about typhoons. There are typhoon alarms all over Hong Kong, and you don’t want to hear one right in the middle of your vacation. Spend a little more and visit in June, or if you’re going to push the boat out, book your trip to coincide with the vibrant Hong Kong Spring Festival in late February.
There are other pieces of information that would be useful for you to know about Hong, but we don’t want to take all of the mystery out of your visit. Exploring, getting lost, getting things wrong and learning from the experience is all part of a good vacation. The tips we’ve given above should get you off to a good start, and from there, you can learn as you go!