Friday, April 03, 2009

Hong Kong and Macau Visit (When, What and How)

Many may not be aware of the Hong Kong's tourist friendly Visa on Arrival policy. In short you can arrive in Hong Kong with your return ticket within next 14 days and you will get a visa. This makes hong kong a top choice for transit from traveling from India to US.

From Hong Kong and Macau

My visit to Hong Kong was piggybacked on my US trip which I decided to do with Cathy Pacific airlines for visiting HKG. The HKG visit was a 3 day long trip and I found it pretty much enough to travel around. I also found enough time to visit Macau which also has similar immigration policy.

From Hong Kong and Macau

What is there to see in HKG ?
HKG has the image of being one of the financial centers of the world. The city is characterized by the sky scrappers which are lit in fashion. The buildings are indeed beautiful and their lighting does impress as much. Another thing to notice is how the buildings are so well connected to each other via overbridges wherever possible so as to make it easy for people to walk conviniently across long distance without ever needing to hit the road.
Coming to points of interest, Victoria peak is arguably the best point to overlook the city. It makes for a scenic treat in the bright light of the day or the darkness of the evening.
Mind you its pretty windy and its one of the places in HKG where you would miss you jacket or sweater :)

From Hong Kong and Macau

The other famous things to do include the skytrain from Airport to Lantau Island (didn't try), the ferry to go to various Islands across, visiting the 10000 Buddhas Monastry and enjoying the free cultural shows organized by Hong Kong Tourishm daily (for e.g we saw the Kung Fu Performance by Kung Fu Corner in Kowloon park).

Macau which is just 1 hour oneway on a ferry is considered a place to visit when you are in HKG. Macau is considered Vegas of the east for its numerous Casinos. The more interesting fact however is that it was a Portuguese colony. Though I didn't spent enough time to notice the difference from HKG which was occupied by the English but people say they are worth noticing. The casinos themselves are grand and their interior pretty well decorated comparing them to those in Las Vegas wasn't easy for me.
From Hong Kong and Macau

From Hong Kong and Macau

Tips for traveling in HKG
1) You can buy the Octopus card available from the Airport for 220 or 300 HKD, they are pretty useful if you are considering taking the Airport express shuttle to the city (100 HKG oneway). The first gives one ride the second a round trip. + Unlimited Metro train travel for 3 days, 50 HKD is refunded on return. Amazingly this card works for paying almost anywhere including most public modes of transport, the shops etc.
2) Traveling within the city could be done with Metro trains or the local buses both of which are pretty cost effective the trains being cheaper. Bus are good to get a good view of the city while traveling. Taking E11 from airport to city center turned out to be wise advice I got from someone on the internet. The bus stop are pretty well documented in english, grab a map from the tourist desk for convenience. (Airport express takes 20 min, A21 takes around 1 hr, E11 takes more than that but goes through about a full trip of the city).
3) City cabs are pretty good too, note that their isn't much concept of tipping in HKG the money is just rounded to the next dollar mostly.
4) Nearby Islands are connective by quite fast and cheap ferry services.

Traveling within Macau:
1) The casinos arrange free pickups/drops from/to Ferry terminals.
2) Cabs and busses are other way of going around in the city.
Note that the Ferry from HKG Island to Macau are pretty regular during the day time almost 1 per hour but between 2 AM - 6 AM they don't operate that frequently.
From Hong Kong and Macau

1 comment:

  1. Helder Fraguas6/21/2009 02:18:00 PM

    Great insight on two different, but lovely places: Hong Kong and Macau.
    Helder Fraguas