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HONG KONG - THE GUIDE
             

Hong Kong General
 

Mongkok
 

Tsim Sha Tsui

Tsim Sha Tsui East
 

Central

Wanchai

Causeway Way

Sheung Wan
 
INDEX

About Hong Kong

Hong Kong Island
Kowloon
Lamma Island
Lantau Island
New Territories

 
ABOUT HONG KONG

What you must know :

Hong Kong is a pretty expensive city.
One of the only thing worse buying now is the hifi, video, mobiles and photo stuff. Computer stuff is more or less at the same price as in France (except a few particular items). So better compare the price in your own country before buying.
Currency: Hong Kong Dollar HK$ online currency converter by Oanda
Weather: 2 seasons online weather in Hong Kong by Yahoo
- October to March : cool (between 18C and 24C) and dry (60%)
- April to September : hot (between 28C and 34C) and humid (90%)
Transportation :For metro and bus (and 7Eleven shops), buy an Octopus card (50HK$ deposit).
Restaurants : budget around 100 to 300HK$ per person.
Apartment : don't budget below 10,000HK$/month for a decent appartment in town.
Electricity : around 400HK$/month (based on 1person)
Gaz : around 40HK$/month (based on 1person)
Water : around 50HK$/month (based on 1person)
DON'T drink water tap, buy mineral water (7 HK$/bottle)
Phone
: 110HK$/month (unlimited local calls)
Internet 56k : around 100HK$/month (with Pacific SuperNet provider)
Bills payment very easy by ATM machines or autopay.
Bank account : HSBC / Hang Seng (branch of HSBC) (practical because of the ATMs in each MTR station)
Foreigners : 'Gweilos'
Advice when you buy : bargain systematically, try what you buy and check the guaranty (when it's cheap-cheap, there is a reason!), compare with FORTRESS shops (high price standard)
English spoken only in touristic and business areas !
Bring your address written in Chinese when you take the taxi.
Salaries: examples
- maid : around HK$ 3400 / month
- 35 year old consultant : around HK$ 600,000 / year
Income Tax: simplified calculation (no legal value, just a help tool)
Total Taxable Amount : Yearly income + Bonuses + Allowances + 10% of your yearly apartment rental - 100,000HK$
Income Tax : 2% of the first 35,000HK$ + 7% of the second 35,000HK$ + 12% of the third 35,000HK$ + 17% of the balance
NB: if it is your first year working in Hong Kong, you will have to pay also a provisonnal year (Yearly Income Tax X 2 !!!)
Example: for a 300,000HK$ yearly income and 17,000HK$/month apartment rental, your yearly income tax will be around 40,000HK$.
Retirement scheme: MPF, compulsory (you put a maximum of 5% of your salary in a fund, and your employer does the same)

Download 'S'installer a Hong Kong' published by the French Consulate (in French only)


 
 
HONG KONG ISLAND

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CENTRAL

Where to go ?

Victoria Peak, 'The Peak'
MTR Central exit K at Statue Square
Take the tramway near the bottom of the Bank of China
 
CENTRAL 
Happy Valley Race Track
Hong Kong Jockey Club, 2 Sports Road, Happy Valley, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2966 8111
Famous location of the only legalised gambling in Hong Kong.

   
Man Mo Temple
Hollywood Road, Hong Kong
The oldest temple on Hong Kong Island, built in 1847.

   
Exchange Square
1 Exchange Square, Central, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2522 1122
The capitalist heart of Hong Kong where the stock exchange resides.
Open daily
  CENTRAL


WANCHAI

CAUSEWAY BAY

Causeway Bay is probably the most popular shopping district on Hong Kong Island especially for the locals. Centrally located on Hong Kong Island, it is only two MTR stops from Admiralty, the Hong Kong-Kowloon switch-over MTR station.

Where to buy ?

The pedestrian crossing at Yih Woo Street is the heart of it, surrounded by lots of restaurants, shops, cinemas, and a few hotels. On weekends some side streets are actually closed to automobile traffic so as to accommodate the crowds!

Winsor Building - in Causeway Bay; close to the Causeway Bay MTR station.
One of the most pleasant computer centers to look around in.
298 Computer Shopping Center - 298 Hennessy Road, Wanchai; between the Wanchai & Causeway Bay MTR stations. Probably easiest to get to by taking a tram going east towards Wanchai from Causeway Bay MTR. It is on the south side of the street close to Heard Street.
CAUSEWAY BAY
Cityplaza : A nice mall with an ice-skating rink and cinema on Hong Kong Island, linked to the Taikoo MTR station. TAIKOO
Pacific Place : on Hong Kong Island, linked to the Admiralty station of the MTR, complete with a cinema. ADMIRALTY
Time Square : a fairly new mall linked to the Causeway Bay MTR station, complete with a cinema. CAUSEWAY BAY

 

Where to drink ?

The Island is split up in two major entertainment districts, Lan Kwai Fong (Central) and Wanchai, although there are some off shoots such as Causeway Bay. The former has and is traditionally the more "decent" the one frequented by expats and locals alike. It can be found in Central on rising streets that have definitely caused a few injuries to those among us who had a little too much to drink, all the bars are closely located, and there is a great ambiance around with so many people in such close confines. Wanchai on the other hand is the famous Suzy Wong area of Hong Kong. Although there still is a Suzy Wong bar there it is not the original, however there is still an abundance of Neon signs and plenty of scouts trying to attract you in to see the dancing girls that are made up mainly of Thais, Philippinas, Koreans, Chinese and others from around the region. These bars do cost and if you are looking for a reasonable cheap evening then you are better off avoiding these bars. In fact to be perfectly honest, you may even be better catching a flight to Manila, or Bangkok and see the original thing rather than pay the high prices, here. Having said ALL that though ! Wanchai is changing, there are a lot of excellent places in Wanchai, namely Carnegies, Delaneys, Twighlight Zone, Strawberry, New Makati, Big Apple, Neptune and more all of which are reviewed below.

  Wanchai would be our first choice for an evening out there are some excellent restaurants, great bars, good discos all in the vicinity, and is only a hop away from Lan Kwai Fong or Causeway Bay.
Carnegies : One of the first Irish bars to import draught Guiness into Hong Kong, It is a very nice bar with a split level. Frequented by expats and locals alike it is a good place to meet if not a little cramped at the busy times. They also tend to show live football and other sporting events.
Delaneys : Another Irish bar, with a great atmosphere. This bar is big it even has one of those gigantic tv sets to show live sporting events. In fact if you are a sports fanatic they even show different events on different tvs when there is a clash in the time table. That way you won't miss the rugby while you watch the football or whatever. They serve very healthy portions food in good Irish tradition. Try the Nachos but unless you have the appetite of a horse we don't recommend a main course. Great bar. They have many beers on tap but they even have Ruddles on tap ! yummy !
Twighlight Zone : (we'll check on the name) This bar does not have any tvs so music, a lively atmosphere and lots of beautiful people are the order of the day. It is a reasonable bar and very much in favour with all the expats, locals, and other visitors. There live band is excellent, and it really gets going on a Friday and Saturday night in fact if you don't arrive early enough you'll have to queue up so BE Warned. They have many beers on tap two we want to mention though is Tetley and Boddingtons.
Chinatown : A popular place to meet after work with drinks priced around HK$ 34 for a pint of Tetley. The decor is rather loud, but it has a good atmosphere, and has table and chairs outside.
Coyote : On the main Lockhart Road, close to the Wanchai MTR station. Again this is a very poular haunt for after work gatherings. They play good music in the evenings.
Dusk Till Dawn : Previously Rick Cafe, this is very popular with expats, and some Philippina, and Thai women. The happy hour is excellent and runs from 5:30 to 8:30, with a pint of Tetleys only costing 35 HK$. Later on though the crowd can be very mixed, and it really very much depends on the quality of the band that are playing. The quality does vary, but it is definitely worth popping in to check it out.
Joe Bananas : Still there and doing a lot of food promotions of late. A good venue.
The Jump : in Causeway Bay is a great location and has a wild atmosphere. The bartenders are well trained and help with the nights enjoyment and entertainment. They have the infamous Dentist Chair (which only the crazy, brave or drunk try) and they convert a part if the restaurant into a dance floor, from around 10:30 onwards. It is a great evening out, but it is not very busy early on although they do have a very reasonable happy hour from 6-8pm where it will only cost 30 HK$ for a pint of Fosters.
The Viceroy : in the Sun Hung Kai Centre is a hot stop if you are into Latin.
La Placita : in Times Square (not far from Causeway Bay) is also a great place to go for Latin music.
ING : is the just renovated Manhattan Club which is in the New World Renaissance View Hotel. It opened after enormous renovations 18 December 1999, and now is much more spacious, and has a great feel to it. The music is good, and they are very popular with locals and expats alike. They have excellent Karaoke facilities if you are into that.
Amnesia : not too far from Lan Kwai Fong in Hollywood Road is a great place to go if you enjoy trance, techno etc. Go Late. This is where a lot of people go after the traditional bars in Lan Kwai Fong close. It has been known to shut its doors at 6 am. It is relatively expensive but has a great atmopshere and a great decor.
CENTRAL
The Jazz Club : next to Lan Kwai Fong in the California Entertainment Building caters well to the jazz loving crowd.
CENTRAL
  These bars above are considered the best bars in Wanchai, or Causeway Bay. Below we review disco/bars that are a much different crowd. Generally at these bars the women will be Philippina (possibly maids working in Hong Kong, possibly not) and a few Thai and mainland Chinese. I want to be very clear here these (or at least the majority) women are NOT prostitutes, most work VERY hard in Hong Kong, and hence deserve respect. A great time is generally assured at all these places, however the atmosphere may appear a little strange on the first visit. There are though in the same area lots of Go-Go bars, where the girls are working. These are expensive but if that is what you are looking for then just remember that it is probably cheaper to fly to Manila, or Bangkok. Enjoy !
Big Apple : Once THE late scene in Hong Kong, it still does get very busy, this is one disco though that has attracted more than its fare share of prostitutes. In its hey day this disco/bar would close at 9 or 10 am Sunday mornings after a very long Saturday night. They play excellent music, live DJ and band.
New Makati : Highly recommendable. This disco/bar is a great place to come and is always one of the first of its bunch to get busy early. They play great music and the women are very friendly .
Neptune II : Neptune one has closed for refurbishment we are told so most people from there moved here. Get's busy late and is a great place.
  All of the above bars are very busy on a Sunday afternoon believe it or not so if you have nothing else to do, go and check it out from 3 pm onwards. You won't regret it !
  Strawberry : Is now supposed to be THE late spot taking over from the Big Apple, here everybody from everywhere in Hong Kong would converge for late night dancing, after everywhere else has closed. Great place.
 

 

KOWLOON
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What and where to buy

Ladies Market
Clothes, fake watches ...
MTR Mongkok exit E2
MONGKOK
exit E2
SINO CENTER
582-592 Nathan Street, Kowloon
MTR Mongkok exit E2
What to buy : DVD, CD-ROMs, ...
The lower floor has 2 shops selling very cheap latest original DVDs (around 60HK$)!!
(recommended by Philippe)
MONGKOK
exit E2

YAU SHING COMMERCIAL CENTER
at the intersection of Nelson Street and Sai Yeung Choi Street South
MTR Mongkok exit E2 (10 meters straight away, on the left corner)
What to buy : everything related to hi-fi, video, speakers, ...
NOTE: 20 to 30 % cheaper, but no Manufacturer Guaranty;
be aware that the salesmen are not your friends and try to trick you most of the time! When it's cheap, there is a reason !
Advice when you buy : bargain systematically, try what you buy and check the guaranty (when it's cheap-cheap, there is a reason!), check the voltage, compare with FORTRESS shops (high price standard).
Take the elevator to access the shops from the 6th floor to the 16th floor of the building
(there is a 'secret' backdoor elevator in the street behind; you will avoid the queue of the main elevator).
Go at the 16th floor and go down using the stairs.
(recommended by Philippe)
MONGKOK
exit E2
MONGKOK COMPUTER CENTER
Nelson Street, Mongkok
MTR Mongkok exit E2, walk straight 300m, cross 2 streets.
What to buy : computer parts, software (a bit expensive, better go to Sino Center)
MONGKOK
exit E2
  Corner Dundas Street and Fa Yuen Street (near the 'Restaurant qui pue', see below)
MTR Mongkok exit E2
What to buy : softs, models (planes, ...)
 
MONGKOK
exit E2
Corner Argyle Street and Tung Shoi Street
MTR Mongkok exit D2, walk straight 50m

What to buy : mobiles
 
MONGKOK
exit D2
  Snikers, sport shoes : the whole Nelson Street !
MTR Mongkok exit E2
 
MONGKOK
exit E2
WING SHING PHOTO SUPPLIES CO.
57, Sai Yeung Choi Street, Mongkok
MTR Mongkok exit E2
What to buy : cameras, zooms and accessories
 
MONGKOK
exit E2

GOLDEN CENTER
Sham Shui Po
MTR Sham Shui Po
What to buy : computer parts, software, consoles (cheapest stuff, 2 levels: ground and lowerground)

+
Same building, corner in front of the MacDonalds, find the entrance
What to buy : computer parts (1st and 2nd floor)
SHAM SHUI PO
KWAI FONG shopping centers
MTR Kwai Fong, 2 shooping centers
In the ugliest one, at the right, where there is no MacDonalds, many softs.
 
SHAM SHUI PO
TSUEN WAN
MTR Tsuen Wan last exit North, take the pedestrian flyover, in front of the commercial center where there is the CRC store
After passing over the road, turn right near the small building, just at the beginning of the descent of the pedestrian high-path.
Explore all the shops
What to buy : softs, CDs, VCDs, ...
+
Another address in Tsuen Wan: take this time southward and walk trough the pedestrain path which crosses several small shopping centers and continue toward the Panda Hotel (wall painted with giant pandas); when you cross the small shopping arcade, take escalator which goes down to the right underground.
Many shops to explore.
What to buy : softs, CDs, VCDs, ...
 
SHAM SHUI PO
     
SHAM SHUI PO

 



DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME WITH:
- the computer center in WANCHAI
- the computer center in TSIM SHA TSUI

 

TSIM SHA TSUI

Star Ferry

TSIM SHA TSUI area
MTR Tsim Sha Tsui
What to buy : souvenirs, handicraft ONLY
DON'T buy video in this expensive tourist area !

 

 

 

Where to eat ?

STAR CAFE
Tsim Sha Tsui area
Western food, quite cheap and very ok
(recommended by Philippe)

Where to stay ?

CHUNG KING MANSIONS (budget)
Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Rhine Guest House
Madam Cheung
A1 (first lift when entering), 13/F
MTR Tsim Sha Tsui exit E
Fax :+852 2316 2428
Tel : +852 2367 1991
Famous enough to be mentionned. Doesn't look good but vey ok and safe for 140HK$/night

Where to go ?

 

 


     
  Experience the Hong Kong crowd in Mongkok area
MTR Mongkok exit E2
Note the brothels everywhere, signaled by the green and pink neons. They are managed by the Hong Kong Triads.
 
  Experience the 'Restaurant qui pue'
Corner of Dundas Street and Ladies Market Street (follow the smell, good luck)
MTR Mongkok exit E2
 
  Overlooking the harbour and Islands , this famous hill translated into Chinese is Tai Ping Shan (Mountain of Great Peace). The view from here is widely accepted as one of the most spectacular in the world.  
  Temple Street night market
MTR Jordan
 
Hong Kong Museum Of Art (Museum, view map)
14 Salisbury Road, Tsimshatsui, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 7342 167
Temporary exhibitions of Chinese and other Asian art.
 
Cultural Centre
10 Salisbury Road, Tsimshatsui, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 7342 009
Home to the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and the local City Contemporary Ballet.
 
Lei Cheng Uk (Heritage)
41 Tonkin Street, Lei Cheng Uk Resettlement Estate, Shamshuipo, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 3862 863
A Han-dynasty tomb, dating back 1, 900 years, set in four barrel-vaulted brick chambers. Hong Kong's oldest historical monument.
 
Kansu Street Jade Market
Kansu Sreet, Off Nathan Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong
The best time to visit is between 10:00 am and noon when it is less busy.
 

 

Where to drink ?

Kowloon is basically the name for the mainland in other words not the Island of Hong Kong, only a short strip of water in the harbour separates the two and this gap seems to be getting smaller all the time. Most of the best bars on this side are in Tsimshatsui which is the first MTR stop of you are coming from the Island. Their are really some great bars on this side, and you should not miss out on giving them a try. There is even a smaller version of Lan Kwai Fong (in Central), at Knutsford terrace, although it is difficult to get much smaller than that splatter of assorted yet very good bars. There are some good restaurants and bars that can be found there though such as Bahama Mama's, the Whale Pub and Chaser's. There are still some of the old "Wanchai/Suzie Wong" style bars in TST on Ashley Road, such as the Red Lion Inn, and Ned Kelly's Last Stand but to be honest you are better off trying your chances in one of the regular bars featured here.

   
Delaneys : is always a safe option, and has proved very popular with locals and expats alike. They have a good choice of beer on tap, and they always cover the live sporting events.
Someplace Else : Can be found in the basement of the Sheraton and is a very "hot" or "in" place of late. They have the busiest happy hour we have ever seen in Hong Kong, which offers you buy one get one from 5 pm until 8 pm, if you ask the waiter he will even bring the second when you finish the first, which is nice so it does not get warm. They even have live music during this time. The disco music starts at around 11 pm, and is very popular with locals, expats and tourists. They do serve food and it is of a quality you would expect from a Sheraton, the menu is a laugh (literally) and will keep you busy for quite some time. Most of the food is Tex-Mex.
Felix : This modern style restaurant/bar is found atop the Peninsula Hotel, as you can expect it is a little pricey but for those that aren't paying for a room at the hotel with Harbour View, you have to visit. The view is simply stunning 28 floors up you look over the harbour and over the rest of Kowloon to the other. It attracts different crowds, tourists, local yuppies, and those that enjoy the food but mainly the view. You HAVE to try the toilets here, don't ask why, just do it.
   

 

 

LAMMA ISLAND
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Where to eat ?

To go to Lamma Island, take the Ferry from Central or Kowloon.

Rainbow Seafood Restaurant

Where to go ?

Follow the path for the walk across the island (from one harbour to the other)

 

LANTAU ISLAND
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Where to go?

To go to Lantau Island, take the Ferry from Central or Kowloon.

The Big Budha
Impressive.

Tai O Fishing Village
Crowded with tourists during week-ends visiting this tiny traditional fishing village.
Experience the fishermen politness: try to ask the fishermen info about what they sell ... obviously they don't like tourists that much ... it's a choice.

 

NEW TERRITORIES
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SAI KUNG

To go to Sai Kung, go to MTR Choi Hung and take a minibus from there (20min)

Where to eat ?

CHUENKEE SEAFOOD RESTAURANT

Where to go ?

Sai Kung Country Parc
Just have a walk, beatiful sightseeing

 

 

FOOD Serie

Egg tarts - you must try these. They are my favorite. Available at most bakery (the cake shop at just about every MTR station usually has them in the morning), they smell great and taste great! In Cantonese, it is "daan tard".

Roast pork - also a must! Available at Chinese fast food places and local restaurants. If you see cooked chickens and slices of cooked meat hanging in the window, you can probably find it there. You can get roast pork with rice for US$3 or so. Roast pork in Cantonese is "char siu".

Cha Siu Bao - roast pork buns... yum, yum! There are two kinds, steamed and baked. The baked ones are available in the morning at all the little cake shops in the MTR stations.
The steamed ones are available at many Chinese restaurants that sell "dim sum" (i.e. snacks) during morning and lunch hours.


Exotic foods - you should try these and then tell your friends about it!

Jelly fish - known as "hoi jit" in Chinese restaurants
Thousand-year egg - eggs black inside, but not really that old!
Pork brains - kind of like toufoo, with slightly more texture and body
Frog - often cooked together with rice, tastes and feels like chicken
Snake - a delicacy, very rich, not recommended in large amount unless you know what you are doing. Also tastes and feels like chicken.
Ox whip - you can guess what this is! (hint: it is in the same category as mountain oysters)
Chicken "forget" - you might call them molehill oysters!
Duck's feet / Chicken feet - quite common and you can always find them in dim-sum restaurantsD
og - in Hong Kong, they usually come hot. There is no specific restaurant that sell them, but you can find the raw material in any bigger supermarkets, canned or refrigerated. Now of course I am talking about hotdogs, since dog eating had been made illegal years ago!




BUSINESS : what to know

 

A city perpetually in motion, Hong Kong is a feast for the senses. A vibrant high-tech metropolis, it’s also a place where traditions are deeply ingrained. The fusing of the old and the new in Hong Kong has reached artful perfection; so much so that things that may seem anachronistic or archaic to the outsider are vital elements of what makes Hong Kong and its business community tick.

Take a walk through the streets of Hong Kong and you’ll see numerous signs of Hong Kong’s association with the spiritual world, and the religious. From the small shrines set up in stores to the way a high-rise building is oriented, it’s all about connections to ancestors, deities, and, perhaps most important, feng shui — the art of manipulating the environment to harmonize the spirits and ensure good fortune.

Ignore feng shui and you may not have the luckiest time in Hong Kong. If you’re doing business there and fail to observe feng shui’s essential elements, don’t be surprised if profits fail to materialize and your relationships go sour. Even if you don’t believe in all this, those around you most certainly do. Eschew the spirits at your will, but just remember, your Hong Kong associates will be courting good fortune at every turn. More often than not, it works out well for them. Locals will tell you it’s more than just random luck that Hong Kong is one of the richest places on earth.

Spirits lurk in every nook and cranny in Hong Kong and people will go to a lot of trouble to ensure only good ones get to see the light of day. The fish tank is not just there for decoration, it’s designed to deflect evil spirits; mirrors strategically placed can do the same thing. Greenery and lucky objects placed in rooms — often referred to as money corners — are there to encourage prosperity. Sit in your office with your back facing the door and you’ll likely be the target of some nasty attacks on your authority — and that may not be all. Aligning windows and doors in a certain way will invite good luck.

Feng Shui’s not the only thing to worry about either. Numbers also carry a great deal of significance. You may want to embrace 8 as your lucky one. Or even 88; it’ll bring double luck! But forget 4. In Cantonese it sounds like “death.” And then there are colors too. Red is the color of choice as it symbolizes happiness, while white is the color of mourning. Never ever wear a green cap — if you’re a man it means you’re cheating on your wife!

Doing business in Hong Kong involves much more than just familiarity with dim sum and banqueting etiquette. Never be lulled into thinking that skyscrapers, sleek subways, cell-phones, and designer goods have pushed the spirits into retirement in this busy metropolis. They are lurking everywhere and you’d be wise to take note of them. Most important, understand and respect the values and beliefs of those around you. Spirits or no spirits, a dose of cultural awareness will always enhance your prosperity.