Design Summit/Icehouse/Travel Tips
- 1 Disclaimer
- 2 Practical stuff
- 3 Attractions
- 4 Food
- 5 Shopping
- 6 Attractions/shopping/food by location
- 7 Language
These are my personal notes about visiting Hong Kong, so they will be colored by my own preferences and opinions. However, I have posted them here, in case others will find them useful. -- Terri Yu
UTC +8 hours
UK style prongs with 3 square plugs, 220 V / 50 Hz
The Hong Kong subway is reputed to be one of the most reliable in the world. If you can't get there by subway, you can usually take the bus.
It's highly recommended that you obtain an Octopus Card. It can be used for almost all forms of public transportation and even at some retail establishments. You can even use it for the Peak Tram to take you to the top of Victoria Peak!
- General FAQ on Octopus Card
- Where you can buy the Octopus Card - subway stations, light rail stations, ferry stations
- Locations where Octopus Card can be used
- Where the Octopus Card can be reloaded - includes subway stations, convenience stores (e.g. 7-11), McDonalds, Starbucks Coffee
SIM cards in Hong Kong are cheap. If you have a compatible cellphone, you can buy a rechargeable SIM card for about $75-115 HKD and that is enough for local calls and a little long distance time. Some also allow you to do WiFi / roaming. Also, there is no need to register first and no need for a monthly contract.
My friend K recommends this SIM card.
If you don't have a cellphone that accepts SIM cards, Handy rents Android smartphones (Google Nexus or Samsung Galaxy Note) in Hong Kong for $48 - $68 HKD per day.
Clothing / dress
If you plan on going to luxury stores or fancy restaurants, bring a nice outfit. The Hong Kong elite tend to dress well.
If you venture outside the conference venues, there are some restaurants which don't provide napkins and some public restrooms that don't provide toilet paper. If this concerns you, make sure to bring your own.
- Tian Tan Buddha
- Located on Ngong Ping Plateau.
- You can also visit the nearby Po Lin Monastery and Po Lin Vegetarian Restaurant.
- You can take the bus there or the more spectacular route is to take the cable car Ngong Ping 360.
- Horse racing at Happy Valley
- Tsim Sha Tsui promenade / Victoria Harbor
- Dragon's Back hike - the recommended hike to do in Hong Kong if you only have time for one hike
- Monkey Hill trail - a short hike with lots of wild monkeys
- Location - Kowloon Reservoir, Kam Shan County Park
- Cantonese food is the dominant type of Chinese food in North America. (Other regional Chinese styles like Shanghainese and Szechuan are far less common.)
- Open Rice is the equivalent of Yelp (popular American review website) for Hong Kong food establishments.
- Tim Ho Han chain, recommended by my friend LC
- Sai Kung seafood street - fresh seafood off the docks, highly recommended by my friend LC
- Mong Kok - cheap market with lots of knockoff stuff
More expensive shops (but 100% reputable)
- Pacific Mall, Admiralty
- Prince Building, Central
- The Landmark, Central
- IFC, Central
Medium to high price range shops (but need to be careful)
- Element, Jordan
- Sogo, Hong Kong
- iSQUARE, Tsim Sha Tsui
- Miramar Shopping Centre, Tsim Sha Tsui
- Festival Walk, Kowloon Tong
Attractions/shopping/food by location
(*) denotes a highly recommendation attraction
Language spoken in Hong Kong is Cantonese, a dialect of Chinese languages. If you don't speak Cantonese, you can also try English or Mandarin (the standard Chinese dialect).
There is only one written Chinese "language" / script, so you could also try writing Chinese characters and showing it to people to communicate, if you know written Chinese. There are two main written Chinese scripts, 'traditional' and 'simplified'. Traditional Chinese is the one most commonly used in Hong Kong, so if you know written Traditional Chinese (which is very similar to Japanese Kanji) you can try using this to communicate. If you know Simplified Chinese, such as predominantly used in the Mainland, you should also try - many characters are similar enough to be recognised, and at worst will not have conflicting meanings.
Here are some links to pages with common Cantonese phrases (including audio samples):
Note that there are two ways of saying "thank you" in Cantonese. One is for thanking someone when they provide a service (e.g. waiter), the other is for thanking someone if they give you something. See the "Thank You" section of the first link http://www.chinese-lessons.com/cantonese/skillsL1Greetings.htm for more details.