Hong Kong Travel Tips: 11 Things to Know Before You Go

– 11 Things To Know Before
You Go to Hong Kong, I’m Chris, this is Topher,
this is Yellow Productions. We do travel guides that are
fun, informative, entertaining. This is part of our series on Hong Kong. If you wanna see more
videos about Hong Kong, you’ll find links at the end
or in the description below. But in this video, we’re gonna tell you everything you need to know if you’re planning a visit
to this amazing city. Definitely make sure to
stick around with number nine ’cause I’ll be joined with a
guest, Nick, a Hong Kong local. He brought me to a Hong Kong cafe. We’re having some very interesting drinks. We’ll talk about what this is in a moment and what that is too. The first thing you need to know is some general information
about Hong Kong. It was originally founded
as a British colony in 1842 but taken over my China in 1997. Its official title is now the Special Administrative
Region of Hong Kong. Hong Kong is famous for its high rises. There are more high rises in Hong Kong than any other city in the world. It has over 8000 buildings
that are over 14 stories. But Hong Kong, that means
something in Chinese. You know what it means? It means fragrant harbor,
I can smell the harbor. You’ll just have to come to
know what that smells like. But actually, Hong Kong is
made up of a bunch of islands. It has 263 islands in total. Hong Kong has three main sections. There’s Hong Kong Island, which
I’m standing on right here, it’s divided by this
big bay in the middle, Kowloon on the other side, and then beyond is the New Territories. You should know Hong Kong
is a really noisy place. This is not a place to come
for a peaceful vacation. It’s a loud vacation.
(loudly drilling and pounding) They’re doing some construction over there so there’s this rhythmic goong-goong and there’s a guy over
here, he’s jack hammering. There’s horns, there’s sirens. So, maybe bring some earplugs with you. Just be prepared for this, but this is a bit of the
feeling of Hong Kong. Don’t expect Hawaii, relaxing and waves, the sounds of the city. The second thing to know before you go to Hong Kong is about the weather. Hong Kong is classified
as a subtropical climate and if you look it up online you’ll see that like the high’s around 30 celsius and the low’s around in the 10 celsius, which might make it seem okay
except it’s really humid. Like all the time, it’s really humid and so even though it’s maybe in the 20 something celsius today, I’m still melting because of the humidity. And when it’s cloudy, you
have a little bit of relief but when it’s sunny,
it’s gonna be unbearable when you come to Hong Kong. So make sure you wear some
dry, quick-wicking fabrics. The summertime here, like May to October, is typhoon season,
that’s the wettest time. The wettest months in particular,
like June, July, August. But if you wanna come
for the driest months, that’s December and January, which probably has the best weather but also probably some of
the highest room rates. The third thing to know
before you come to Hong Kong is about getting into Hong Kong. Hong Kong has one major
airport, it’s HKG Airport. It’s located on Lantau Island. It’s an artificial thing that they made to build this airport but
it only takes 24 minutes to get into Central Hong Kong
via the Airport Express Train. That’s gonna be your best
way to get into Hong Kong. It leaves Hong Kong
Airport every 10 minutes which is pretty convenient. It makes two stops, it
makes actually three, Tsing Yi, Kowloon, and then
Central for Hong Kong Island. But coming into Hong Kong Airport, there’s over like 100
airlines that fly in there. They operate 1000 daily flights so you can fly from almost
anywhere to Hong Kong. The home airline for Hong Kong Airport is Cathay Pacific Airlines
which is probably one of the best airlines to fly in there if you’ve never flown Cathay Pacific, and I actually never have. But everybody that I know
who has says they love it. So, definitely check out Cathay
Pacific on your way here. You certainly could take taxis and buses and things like that into
the center of the city, but it’s actually kind of a long way if you take a taxi or bus, and those things are prone to traffic. So take that airport train 24 minutes to Central, you’ll appreciate it. And you can buy these
roundtrip tourist cards, which I’ll talk a little
bit more in the next one. But you can buy these at the airport, you can buy a roundtrip when you start and then you don’t have to
worry about tickets going back. And even when you’re
going back to the airport, they have a check-in in the city so you can actually check
your luggage in the city before you get on the
train for certain airlines. Number four, this number has
been omitted, it is unlucky. Actually, you’ll find many hotels in Hong Kong won’t have a fourth floor because four in Chinese sounds
like the word for death, so we’re just gonna move onto number five. The fifth thing you have to know before you come to Hong Kong is about getting around Hong Kong. Simply put, your best way
to get around Hong Kong is to use public transportation. The traffic can be maddening and so use public transportation. The best way to get around is the MTR, also known as the subway,
Metro Transit Rapid, I assume. The first you’ll wanna do
is to buy an Octopus card. It’s a stored value card. The one I’ve got right
here is actually called the Airport Express Travel Pass. You can buy this one, it’s
350 Hong Kong dollars, it gives you roundtrip on the
Airport Express into Central and then three days of
unlimited subway and bus. The MTR runs the subway, they also run the double-decker bus. The subway is gonna be the
fastest way to get around. It runs all over Hong Kong, Kowloon. If that goes where you wanna
go, definitely take that. Your second best thing to get around are the double-decker buses and this card will work on those too. And they’re really scenic, take some of the ones out
to Stanely on the back side, sit on the top and it’ll be
an amazing tour of Hong Kong. There are plenty of taxis, the
taxis are pretty inexpensive. But I will say that they
do get caught up in traffic and the taxis will charge you
extra if you have luggage. So if you have a lot of luggage, just be prepared to pay a surcharge for every piece of luggage
that you stuff in that taxi. Another good cheap ride in Hong Kong is to ride the Star Ferry,
this ferry right back here. Well, there’s actually
two of them you can see. This ferry goes back and forth from Hong Kong Island to
Kowloon on the other side. They pretty much run continuously. They cost like three Hong Kong dollars, well, give or take a few cents. It’s a little more expensive
if you’re on the top deck, it’s a little cheaper on the lower deck. Just by like 50 cents or
something, little more on weekends. I would say for the best
ride and the best view, definitely take the upper deck. And they leave here from the Central Pier on Hong Kong Island and
it’ll take you to Kowloon, over to where a great place
to see the nighttime show for Hong Kong, for the lights
that go every time at 8 p.m. But I think one of the best
ways to get around Hong Kong is to take the Ding Ding,
what’s the Ding Ding? It’s this thing right here,
known as the Hong Kong Tram. But the reason why it’s
called the Ding Ding is because it has a bell on it and it goes, ding-ding, ding-ding through Central and it
runs on this one street. They go two directions, I mean, they have an endpoint that they go to. It’s like two or three
Hong Kong dollars to ride, and the way you ride it, you just get on. The best place to ride it,
definitely the top floor. Try to get a seat right at the front. You can take it all the way to the end. It’s a great sightseeing cruise almost through Central Hong Kong and then when you wanna get off you get your Oyster card, you
just tap it when you get off and they’ll deduct that two
or three Hong Kong dollars. Same fare, doesn’t
matter how long you ride, just that fare as you ride it. I should point out though that Ding Ding is not the fastest way
to get around Hong Kong, but it is probably the most scenic. Hong Kong is a very walkable city. There’s sidewalks everywhere and there’re staircases everywhere. You should know Hong Kong
Island, it’s built up on a hill and so you will be climbing
a lot of staircases. And if you notice the elevation difference between where I’m standing and down there, it’s quite a ways down right there. If you’re following Google
Maps waking navigation, it won’t always give
you the flattest route. You might be going up
and down and up and down, so if Google Maps says a
10-minute walk, it might be 20 ’cause you might be climbing
a lot of these staircases. If you need to get up Hong Kong Island, there’s the central mid-levels escalator and in the afternoon it’ll take you from Central up to the top of the hill. But it only goes one way
at certain times of the day so make sure it goes the
way you want it to go. And bring your walking shoes
and your stair-climbing legs. As you’re walking around Hong Kong, you’ll notice Hong Kong has a lot of two-story bridges
that go over the cities. A lot of times, the best
way from point A to point B is not down on the street,
but it’s up on these bridges, as you can see with everybody
else who’s here with me. So learn to use these second-story bridges to get you over the roads
and away from the cars. Since they drive crazy,
they’ll run you over. They won’t if you’re up here. The sixth thing to know before you go to Hong Kong is about the money. In Hong Kong, they use
the Hong Kong dollar. The Hong Kong dollar is pegged or fixed to the US dollar, the
exchange rate is between 7.75 and 7.85 Hong Kong dollars to
one US dollar all the time. Many places in Hong Kong
do take Visa, Mastercard, maybe 40% take American Express. The Octopus card that you can use and the MRT, or the MTR, you can use that in a lot of places to pay as well. A lot of places are accepting WEEPAY which is a payment system from China but I think it’s good to get cash. Some of the best places to get cash, ATMs at the airport, Hong Kong
is a major financial center and so you’ll see a
lot of ATMs all around. But I wanna show you this about the money. Something weird about Hong Kong, these are both $100 Hong Kong bills and do you notice that
they look different? This bill right here is issued by the Hong Kong and
Shanghai Banking Corporation, you can see it there at the top. This bill is issued by the Bank
of China Hong Kong Limited. There are actually
three banks in Hong Kong that issue Hong Kong dollars and each one of those banks
has a different design. So for all of the bills, there are three different designs for them issued by the different banks. The currency is still
real and works very well. Just know if you’re looking
at it and you’re like, why does this bill look
different than the other one? Is it from a different country
that I forgot to put it away? No, they are all Hong Kong dollars. In addition to bills,
there’s a number of coins. The coins go up to 10 Hong Kong dollars which can be pretty valuable so make sure you don’t
just toss those coins away like some people like me
do at the end of the day. The seventh thing to know before you go to Hong Kong is about the language. Hong Kong has two official languages. The first one is Chinese, written Chinese, spoken Cantonese as the dialect. The second official language is English. And so, you’ll find most
signs are in English, most restaurants have English menus. I feel like it’s kind of like easy Asia for English speakers, certainly
at the five-star hotels, even the middle hotels,
the high-end restaurants, the medium restaurants. Where you won’t find
a lot of English is in like really kind of low-end restaurants, maybe street stalls. But you can use the
point and order method. Now, I will point out, and
OCGirl wanted me to mention this, that Mandarin is not
really spoken here a lot. Actually, I looked up
the official statistics and it was something
like maybe three to 7% of the people that live in
Hong Kong associate Mandarin as their primary language. So when you come here, if you’ve
learned Mandarin in school or you’re a Mandarin speaker, more people might understand English. I mean, they might understand Mandarin, but you might get some strange looks ’cause they’ll look at you and say, don’t you know that we
speak Cantonese here? But chances are if
you’re watching my video, you’re an English
speaker, and so just know that it won’t be that hard
to get around in English. The one caveat is if you’re
taking a lot of taxis, it might be useful to have
the hotel tell the taxi driver where you want to go,
or have your destination at least written out so that
if you’re pronouncing it, you might not be pronouncing it quite the way they’ve heard it said, ’cause the English here does have a bit of a Hong Kong accent. Before you go to Hong Kong you
need to know about shopping. Hong Kong has a lot of shopping, high-end shopping and low-end shopping. Some of the best high-end
shopping is at IFC, the International Financial Center mall. This is the mall right
above Central Station, it’s where the Airport Express comes in. It’s three towers, four
levels, it’s pretty huge and you’ll find almost
everything in there. Another great high-end mall
is called Pacific Place, that’s by the Admiralty MTR stop. If you’re looking for low-end,
more street market stuff, check over the Kowloon side,
the Temple Street Night Market, the Ladies Market, there are
some street markets out there where you can get things a bit cheaper and out on the street. The IFC mall is home to a very impressive three-story Apple store
and up on the fourth floor, if you’re missing hamburgers, there’s a recently opened Shake Shack. But if you’re only gonna visit one street market in Hong Kong, you should visit the
Temple Street Night Market. First of all, it’s at night,
so it’ll be a little cooler. It’s on Temple Street, and
it’s just a couple blocks from the Jordan MTR station. And it’s, I don’t know, six, eight, 10 blocks of street vendors, but there’s a lot street food and particularly popular here
is vendors selling spicy crab. This is a must-do in Hong Kong because it’s something really unique and I’ve never seen it anywhere else. This is the Goldfish
Market, Tung Choi Street, it’s in Kowloon and if
we take a look over here, we look over this way, this shop is all goldfish all the time. Well actually, there’s other fish too but you see all these bags up there? All those bags are
different fish for sale. I’d love to bring one home but I’m not sure that I can
carry that liquid on the plane. So the ninth thing you need to know before you go to Hong
Kong is about the food and the quintessential food to eat in Hong Kong is at a Hong Kong cafe. So I’m here with Nick,
he lives in Hong Kong and he’s brought us to this
place called Christy Cafe. They have seven locations in
Hong Kong and two in Macau. We’ve got some interesting
things here on the table. Nick, tell ’em what we have. – Yes, so we have three very Hong Kong flavored drinks. This is a iced red bean, bathed in evaporated milk. And then we have a raw
egg boiled in hot milk. – Did you say that’s a raw
egg boiled in hot milk? – It is. – [Chris] And what did we just get here? – [Nick] Is some kind of a
smoothie egg and with some beef. – [Chris] So it’s like not
completely cooked egg, right? – [Nick] It is in the
process of completely cooked. – Okay, so it kinda cooks
on the table on the rice. And we’ve got some Hong
Kong milk tea right here and then what have you
got in front of you? – [Nick] Some tomato and chicken rice. – All right, well so, let’s try this one. So this was a egg and hot
milk and they give you a spoon and you can see, can you
see the egg in there? I think you can, there’s
a little egg down there and so we stir this up, and it stirs in this condensed milk and you can see, ooh, here’s
that raw egg in there. Take a look at this, let me
get that up there for ya. Oh, look at that, that
raw egg, ooh, right. And so then, we just, we drink this. – [Nick] Yes. – [Chris] Do we need to wait, Nick? Or do we just drink it now? – [Nick] Well, if it is
myself, I will try to beat it. – Beat it.
– Maybe with a fork. – With a fork, okay, let’s do that then. So Nick is now beating the egg. The egg has been bad, apparently. So he’s breaking up the yolk. – Yeah, so the egg becomes a little bit well cooked because I am, myself, afraid of
just eating a raw egg. – That’s good, I appreciate
you keeping my safe. I don’t wanna get sick. – Yes. – We just came back from a week in Bangkok and so I’m pretty happy
we didn’t get sick there. – Yeah, so, just–
– Now look at this, it’s now taking like
a yellow color, right? That was the yolk being stirred in it. Nick, I’m glad I have you ’cause I don’t think I woulda done this and I would have swallowed
like a huge raw egg. – You know what? I haven’t seen anybody
order any for 30 years. – [Kid] Dad, stop, stop. – So, I’m apparently really adventuresome. – It is, very adventurous. – All right, so do you
think this is drinkable now? – I think it is. – Okay, as drinkable as it’s gonna be. So it’s yellow, you can see
some of the egg floating on top. I’m gonna give this a go. (patrons chattering) Wow, it’s actually, it’s
actually pretty good, believe it or not, I mean it tastes– (child softly chattering) I’ll say kind of like an eggnog without the alcohol in it. It’s got this sweet, milky taste. Really like eggnog without
that alcohol flavor. So, I like it, this was
a good choice, thank you. I would have never, I would
have looked at this on the menu and said (gasps) boiled egg in milk! So you can get it and
stir it up, all right. And Hong Kong milk tea,
this, Hong Kong classic. – Hong Kong classic, definitely. – But what makes Hong
Kong milk tea special? – Well, the tea itself, it’s not just one type of tea leaves. They mix different blend, they kind of blend the leaves together. So it is the blending, becomes
every shop’s own specialty. – And I feel like it has
like a stronger taste than most milk teas. – They start with the Ceylon, Sri Lanka tea base, and then they mix it
with some Chinese tea, maybe some Pu’er, no, I don’t know because everybody keep that a secret. But it’s the different blends of tea. I heard that it can go up to like seven or nine different blends. – Wow, and so that’s what
makes it this strong. So, you can get–
– Papa! (mumbling) – The Hong Kong milk tea hot or cold. Hong Kong cafe is in a
lot of different places. So you saw OCGirl’s and Nick’s dish. We’ve got my dish now, this
is stir-fried spaghetti with barbecue pork and pork chop. Smells good, smells kind
of like, like a yakisoba, if you’ve ever had Japanese yakisoba, ’cause I think it’s a
pretty similar thing. So let’s go ahead and try the noodles. It’s pretty good, and let’s try the pork. This looks like the pork chop. Nice porky flavor.
(speaks in foreign language) And then, Nick, he opted for
something a little different. He opted for the spaghetti with
what meat do you have there? – That’s just beef.
– Just beef, all right. And then, what did you say
you’re eating here, this red one? – [Nick] Oh, it’s tomato and chicken rice. So it’s a rice dish. – [Chris] And what do you
like about that rice dish? – Oh, it has lots of gravy. – [Chris] All right, the gravy’s the best. – [Nick] Yes. Well, I’m a big sauce person, so, so that’s why I ordered this. – All right, thanks for joining us, Nick. – You’re welcome. – If you want to know more
about food in Hong Kong, then you’ll want to
check out my video titled Hong Kong Food Guide: 17 Things To Know Before You Eat In Hong Kong. In that video, we take a deeper dive into everything you need to know before you eat out in Hong Kong, including why when you go
out to eat and you order tea, that there might actually
be two teapots on the table. And we take a deeper dive into dim sum, one of my favorite Hong Kong meals, talk about what to expect
when you go to dim sum and what some of my
favorite dim sum items are. Check that out, you’ll find a
link in the description below or at the end of this video. The tenth thing to know before you come to Hong Kong is about feng shui. The mystical art of feng
shui is alive and well and practiced quite a bit in Hong Kong. Feng shui, it’s kind of the art of making sure that the energy flows well through buildings and spaces. And so if you look at certain buildings and the skyline for example, the Hong Kong Shanghai
Banking Corporation, the HSBC building, is
that tall one right there and you look at it and you’re like, that building looks kind of
weird, it looks kind of off from what you’d think is
a traditional skyscraper. Well, that’s likely because it’s designed with feng shui in mind. That’s the same reason why when
you go in your hotel lobby, there might be a water feature, there might be some koi fish in there, there might be some trees in there. That’s all to keep the positive energy going through that space
that you’re occupying. And the 11th thing to know
before you go to Hong Kong is that we’re got more videos. If you’d like to know more
information about Hong Kong, you’ll find links in the description or you can click one of these videos to watch more about Hong Kong. So, I won’t say good
bye because I’ll see you in the next video, see you.

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