Saturday, July 31, 2010

10 Tips Every Travelers Must Know Before Visiting Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a world-class city and it has high number of tourists visiting from all around the world in all year. Based on the Hong Kong Government statistics, the amount of international tourists came to Hong Kong in 2005 reaches 10.8 million which means 13.1% increase when compared to 2004. Countries such as China, French, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, United Kingdoms, Indonesia, India and United States contributes significant amount of  tourist for Hong Kong. This short article will tell you 10 simple yet important traveler tips for any tourists who want to visit Hong Kong so that you could enjoy your trip there.
1. Personal Safety and Identity
Every tourists must carry legitimate personal identity document such as passport during their visit in Hong Kong. Despite the fact that Hong Kong is a very safe city based to the crime rate that is very low, due to the dense population, it is best to avoid bringing a large amount of cash when take a trips around Hong Kong since most of the shops there accepts credit cards. Any expensive belongings should be put in the locked safe in the hotel. Whenever you meet any problems, you can easily find policemen anywhere on the streets in Hong Kong.

2. Communication Service
Every local telephone call you make in Hong Kong is free except when you use public telephone which will charges you HK$1 for each 5 minutes. The emergency call number is 999 and it is free to call even when using public telephone. You could either choose to use IDD telephone call card or credit card for any long distance call, or simply through the operator for collect call in every public telephone booth.

3. Service Charges
Most of the restaurants in Hong Kong except for fast food restaurants will add 10% service charges to the bill. Because of that you could choose to give out the odd dollars from the changes as a service tips. For bellboy or taxi driver there is no formal norm for the service charges, you may choose to give out any amount of money you think the service is deserved for.

4. Taxi
Every taxi in Hong Kong only accept cash and you could ask them to give you the invoice print out if you want. It is much easier to get a taxi in the taxi stop or on the outside of the hotel where you stayed. Much of the taxi drivers can understand simple English. It is recommended to write down your destination on a paper to reduce any chance of misunderstandings. The taxi charges you based on the meter which is HK$15 for the firs 2 Km and HK$1.4 for the next 0.2 Km. Besides the taxi charges, there are tunnel charges cost you around HK$3-45 depends on which tunnel you take. The price table is clearly shown on the inner side of the taxi doors so you can check it before you pay. If there is any complaints or lost case, you can write down the name of the taxi driver and his license number which is shown on the front seat stand, and report it to the police hotline which is 2527-7177 when you think it is important to do.

5. Drinking Water
Despite the fact that the drinking water in Hong Kong passed the World Health Organization standard, you may choose to buy the bottled water in any supermarkets if you think you are going to need it.

6. Kowloon Canton Railway (KCR)
Kowloon Canton Railway or KCR is the major railway in Hong Kong which links the city of Kowloon and the New Territories. It runs through Tsim Sha Tsui East to Lo Wu which will takes about 40 minutes for the whole route. Lo Wo is the last station in which you could going through to enter Mainland China with legitimate visa. The train will leave at 12:20 p.m. The KCR which take you from Hung Hom to Sheung Shui will cost you HK$18 for the ordinary fair and HK$36 for the first class fair.

7. Mass Transit Railway (MTR)
Despite its small size, Hong Kong has 6 MTR paths, which covers almost every parts of Hong Kong Island, New Territories and Kowloon.
Here are the routes:
Kwun Tong Route: Tiu Keng Leng to Yau Mat Tei
Tsuen Wan Route: Central Hong Kong to Tsuen Wan
Main Route: Chai Wan to Sheung Wan
Tseung Kwan O Route: Po Lam to North Point
Tung Chung Route: Hong Kong to Tung Chung
Airport Route: Hong Kong to Airport
Due to the convenience of MTR and the size of Hong Kong, most tourists find it easier to rent car during their stay in Hong Kong. Besides that, due to the heavy traffic and the complexity of the city roads, it is recommended for any tourists to hire a driver and avoid drive the car by themselves. If you need a car rental, you may ask it to your hotel, mostly what you need is a passport and driving license.

8. Star Ferry
The panorama of Hong Kong harbor is very beautiful, especially at night. Also there is a famous spectacular light show on various commercial buildings in Hong Kong at 8:00 p.m. every night that you must not miss. The Star Ferry has been serving tourists on the harbor for more than 100 years, and they will cost you less than HK$3 per rides. It is recommended that you take the Star Ferry from Central Hong Kong to Tsim Sha Tsui at 8:00 p.m. so you could enjoy both the night panorama of the famous Hong Kong harbor and the spectacular light show.

9. Tram
The tram services has been operating in Hong Kong since 1904 and in fact it is the eldest modern transportation system there. Its only route in Hong Kong Island is from Kennedy Town to Shau Kei Wan and another path to Happy Valley. The soonest tram departed at 6:00 pm and running through until 1:00 p.m. The price for a ride is HK$2 for adult and HK$1 for kids under 12 years old. In fact, tram is the most affordable transportation you could use in Hong Kong, and it is highly recommended that you go to the upper deck of the tram so you can enjoy all the beautiful street view of Hong Kong.

10. Hong Kong International Airport
Easiest way to reach Hong Kong International Airport is by using MTR which will take less than 30 minutes from Central Hong Kong. It will pass through the stations of Kowloon, Olympic and Tsing Yi. The MTR is departed every ten minutes. By using MTR, you will avoid the chance to miss the airplane due to traffic jam that occurs on the Hong Kong main street. Beside MTR, you can use the Airport Bus which started their service from 6:00 a.m. in the morning to 11:00 p.m. in the evening. The bus covers almost every parts of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon that have major hotels.