- Always Use International Credit or Debit Cards
Cash or money in any form is one of the most important things to have when traveling to Hong Kong. The best things to use are international credit or debit cards. Simply clear things with your provider, since there may be surcharges that apply, and to keep your transactions from being blocked. Some cards have no minimum currency requirement while others may have a $5000 HK recommendation. To make good on rates, exchange your native currency at Hong Kong banks.
- Airport Transfer Tips
Always be on time when doing a transfer from the airport. HK International only waits for ten minutes for coach transfers. In private taxi transfers, the driver only waits for twenty minutes. The private transfer is only available between 5 am to 10 pm while the coach transfer happens hourly from 7 am to 9 pm. Don’t forget that your gate number is on your voucher.
For ferry service to Macau from HKIA, use the HKIA SkyPier Service. It’s best to arrive 60 to 30 minutes ahead of your scheduled sail time at the SkyPier desk. There are luggage minimums required. Also, check your documents and arrange it so that you always have your travel documents, including two photos of your face with a light colored background required for your Visa on arrival. Ask your travel agent for more passport requirements specific to the trip to Macau as well as Hong Kong.
- How to Shop Smart
All of Hong Kong is filled with shops. So the making of choices alone can be crucial. Learn how to bargain with goods that have not price tags, because these could be bargained for. Always check the prices in several shops for any item you want to buy, since many shops can overcharge tourists.
Restrict yourself to buying antiques from reliable or established auction houses or shops. When collecting contemporary Asian art, the places to go to are galleries on Hollywood Road, Sheun Wan and Wyndham Street.
Round off your shopping experience with a visit to the small malls at Tsim Sha Tsui — you can find plenty of bargains here. Don’t fail to explore Sham Shui Po and Cheung Sha Wan as well as Granville Road.
- Tips for Business Travelers
Use chargers that can accommodate multiple kinds of devices. Adapters and connectors have different voltages in Hong Kong.
When booking flights, it’s best to study your options well. Don’t rely completely on your booking or travel agent.
If you are a citizen of EU or the US, your passport alone can let you enter and stay in Hong for periods below thirty days.
- Book Your Accommodation In Advance
The quality of your travel or trip is defined by accommodations. The advice you get here is important, since this is the most expensive part of your stay and where you stay will often define comfort and convenience as well as communication. The language barrier plays a large role here. Guesthouses work best for economy, and finding these is easy if you access the list of licensed guest houses from the Home Affairs Department.
There are hotels that ask for a security deposit, refundable upon your check-out when paying in cash. Paying with a card however will entail a refund wait time of a week or more.
- Learn Some Useful Basics in Communication and Cantonese
So many tourists can be daunted by the language barrier, as mentioned earlier. For instance, you can often find yourself the price of goods or fares. Many locals today no longer speak English as before, when the city was a Crown Colony.
You don’ have to speak English fluently, but speak slowly when you do. No fancy terms and learn some actions that are able to help locals understand what you mean.
There’ll be many times during your trip when you’ll have to negotiate for something or ask the way, but the locals may not be well versed with English. Here are a few tips that’ll help you survive in HK:
If you have the time, learn some Cantonese from online websites, like:
How are you doing? – néih hóu ma (pronunciation: Layi Hou Maa)
Hello – Néih hóu (pronunciation: Neyi Hou)
Good Morning – jóusàhn (pronunciation: Sou San)
How much is it? – Géidō chín a (pronunciation: gei cin aa)
I don’t speak Cantonese – ngóh m̀hsìk góng gwóngdùngwá (pronunciation: Wa sihk gwong dung waa)
Are there any discounts? – yau mou zit aa (pronunciation: yau mou zit aa)
- Getting a Tourist Octopus Card Helps a Lot
Hong Kong’s transport network now encompasses private and public modes. Traveling in Hong Kong will be less of a hassle if you follow travel tips here, and this usually involves buying a Tourist Octopus Card. It’s the most convenient way to pay fares in the city. It is a rechargeable smart card to pay for fares on buses, ferries, trams and MTR trains. You can even use it to pay at fast food locations. Fare charges are discounted at 5-10% for the card.
Here’s more: you add more value to your card with Add Value Machines found in MTR stations, Airport Express, MTR customer service centers and more. Avoid using public transport during rush hour (8am to 9:30am and 5:30pm to 7pm). Remember that eating and drinking are not allowed in MTR trains and in buses.
A taxi is often a lifeline when traveling in any country and you should download the taxi app here. If you want to explore extensively, a taxi ride can do the trick in one go. Because a taxi ride is going to be expensive when using the app, a good reason why you need to use it is that there is a translator that goes with the app, so even if you don’t get an English-speaking driver, you can still communicate and assure a safer and more comfortable trip.
- The Airport Express Train is a Good Option
Airport Express trains are great when traveling for any country of origin to Hong Kong. The system is efficient and the connections to various destinations in the metropolitan area is good. You can buy tickets in advance, and you will have free Wi-Fi on your trip.
- Beware of Cons and Store Your IDs Separately
While Hong Kong is very safe for tourists, foreigners attract hustlers or even thieves. The most common con in this place is in foreign currency exchanges and fake goods.
Also, use the hotel safe so as to avoid carrying your valuables during public commutes. It’s best to store IDs in different places on your person besides your wallet, so you might lose one but not all of them.
- Use Chopsticks for Eating or Learn to Use Them
With more than ten thousand food vendors and restaurants specializing in Cantonese cuisine, there are many options in dining. However, you should be aware of some good dining etiquette and convenience connected to the local culture to have the best eating experience here. These rules of etiquette or convenience include:
- Leave a little food on the plate after each meal or course to show you were given enough to eat and were satisfied with the meal.
- Smaller restaurants seldom have forks and Western eating utensils, so knowing or learning to eat using chopsticks will be convenient.
- Keeping tissues handy because many restaurants do not offer them for free.
- Never stick your chopsticks straight up in a food or rice bowl, because they would look like incense sticks burned during a funeral.
- Sweeten tea to your liking. Tea in most cafes is served unsweetened.
- Crossed chopsticks are believed to bring you and the place you are eating in bad luck.