For a smooth and worry free vacation, I have compiled tips, do’s and don’ts for people who are traveling to Hong Kong for the first time.
Most of the department stores in HK have price clearly visible on items, which means it’s a fixed price and the attendant is not willing to give any discount. If you don’t see prices clearly visible on good, you have a scope of bargaining.
One of the best travel tips for Hong Kong visitors is to always check prices in a few shops before you buy anything because shopkeepers tend to overcharge tourists.
Make sure your passport is valid for at least next six months with a blank page in it.
Some hotels may ask for a refundable security deposit. If you’ve paid in cash, you’ll get the refund at the time of check-out, but if you’ve paid through card, it’ll reflect in your bank account in a week or so.
Buy an Octopus card at the airport at 7-Eleven store or the On-loan Octopus near the exit for better offers.
Octopus card is the most convenient way to pay for your travel in Hong Kong. The card is a rechargeable smart-card that can be used to pay for most forms of public transport, including Bus, MTR Trains, Ferry, and Trams. You can also use the card to pay for your food at fast food restaurants. The charges are generally 5-10% cheaper than regular fare.
You can add value to your card at any Add Value Machine at all MTR stations, Customer Service Centres of MTR, the Airport Express etc. You can store up to HK$ 1,000 in the card.
MTR or Airport Express Customer Service Centre will refund remaining balance on your card.
Avoid rush hours (8am to 9.30am and 5.30pm to 7pm), for the MTR’s interchange stations are jam packed during at that time.
Drinking and eating on MTR and buses is not allowed.
Always keep tissues with yourself. Because most of the restaurants don’t offer them.
Always bring an eco bag or your own plastic bag when you shop at convenience stores or supermarkets. They don’t provide free plastic bags. You have to pay for them if you didn’t bring your own.
Don’t stick the chopsticks in your rice bowl standing straight up because it resembles the ritual of incense-burning during funeral.
Don’t put your chopsticks across each other, it is thought to bring bad luck.
In most cafes, tea is served unsweetened. You can sweeten it to your own liking.
If you are into city sight seeing and prefer to do walking as a significant way of going around, consider staying at hotels close to the MTR stations. They offer convenience and saves you time but they are also generally more expensive. However, smaller inns and guest houses that offer low rates, such as Chungking Mansions in Tsim Sha Tsui, are also located close to subway stations.
Philippine passport holders have 14 days visa free entry in Hong Kong. This means that you only need your passport and air ticket to Hong Kong.
Processing at the Immigration should be pretty straightforward. But sometimes Immigration officers ask simple questions like your purpose of visit, length of stay or even ask how much pocket money you brought. Make sure to print your itineraries just in case they ask for it.
Those who wish to take the Airport Express can avail of heavily discounted online offer at Klook.com.
If you have your backpack plus luggage, taking the Airport bus is a good option especially if your hotel is close to the bus stop. A bus ride cost ranges between HK$20 to HK$45 one way, depending on the distance from the airport. Fare from the airport to Hong Kong island costs more than to Kowloon.
Hong Kong International Airport is equipped with free wifi connectivity with indefinite access so simply enable your smartphone to avail of the free service.
Hong Kong has plenty of facilities that offer wifi connections. Among them are public libraries, parks, shopping malls and even the airport bus.
Don’t Only Look Left!
It is especially the Americans who get into trouble with this one. The traffic, especially the buses, speed frighteningly fast by new American tourists on the narrow streets, and they GO THE WRONG WAY. It is only when there is a scary near miss that many Americans start to beware of the traffic.
Be safe, stand away from the road, and look both ways before crossing until you get used to the difference. This might take weeks. Because the wide buses have little space to maneuver, they often brush up close to the curb.
Tipping is not common practice in Hong Kong and tourists who try to pay over the odds in restaurants and shops are likely to offend.