4 HongKong

RMiT staff please see the mini summary of how to get to Tsing Yi campus, maps and phone/data info here

Hong Kong


The densest living on the planet...  the official Government figures here.

Airport to city

No matter whether you use train or bus the cost is still reasonable in HK

Contents

  1. 1 Airport to city
  2. 2 Accommodation - short term
  3. 3 Expats: living & renting for the long term
  4. 4 Setting up place to live:
  5. 5 Healing, complementary medicine
  6. 6 Exploring Hong Kong
  7. 7 Farming, Organic in HK, Permaculture in HK
  8. 8 Hiking in Hong Kong
  9. 9 islands of Hong Kong
  10. 10 Transport
  11. 11 Ferry to Macau from HK Airport
  12. 12 Visa
    1. 12.1 Visa for Hong Kong
    2. 12.2 Visa for Australia: going there from Hong Kong
    3. 12.3 Visa for China for Hong Kong residents 
    4. 12.4 Visa for Vietnam for Hong Kong residents
    5. 12.5 Visa for Taiwan for Hong Kong residents
  13. 13 Silver Jewellery
  14. 14 Sanity Leave
  15. 15 Geek shopping - computer parts, electronics parts
  16. 16 Living in HK
  17. 17 Language learning: Learn Cantonese 
  18. 18 Hardware as in hammer, saw, screwdriver.... 
  19. 19 Cooking gear, kitchen stuff
  20. 20 Motorbike
  21. 21 Dawn markets in HK
  22. 22 Art n Craft supplies
  23. 23 Chinese Traditional Products
  24. 24 Tshermany - Germany - Deutschland
  25. 25 Marriage - registering  it in Hong Kong
  26. 26 Spouse visa, dependent visa
  27. 27 Hang and Paragliding in HK
  28. 28 Restaurants and Cafes
    1. 28.1 Cafes I love:
      1. 28.1.1 MonsiseurChatte.com French cafe and deli, great patries, yoghourt  and bread, coffee....
      2. 28.1.2 I've tried and like these:
      3. 28.1.3 I've not yet tried  these below:
  29. 29 Comedy and Tango: Fun stuff in HK
  30. 30 International Film Festival
  31. 31 Info on HK
  32. 32 Geeky stuff: Mobile broadband options in Hong Kong  - a survey   September 2012 - March 2013
    1. 32.1 Follow up on mobile broadband in Hong Kong, 18Aug2012
      1. 32.1.1 Confession of a naive phone user:
  33. 33 Bicycles in HK
    1. 33.1 Cycling Tsing Yi to mainland (it IS possible)  http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?page_id=70716
    2. 33.2 cycling.org       hong kong    www.cycling.org.hk/
    3. 33.3 Hong Kong Mountain Bike Association   www.hkmba.org/
    4. 33.4 Government of HK: Cycling in Hong Kong   www.gov.hk
So just for the fun of it I set out to find the cheapest and most efficient route from the airport to  downtown Kowloon where all the action, hotel, shopping, restaurants are.
Here is my list of options..  
  • Train - Airport Express about HK $100+   plus you need to either walk, change to subway or take a taxi or take the free shuttle bus  to the hotel you want to get to, because chances are your hotel is not right next to one of the two train stops on the express train service.   Details of fares and tickets here http://www.mtr.com.hk/eng/airport_express/tf_index.html    Free shuttle bus details here http://www.mtr.com.hk/eng/airport_express/complom_free_bus.html   No idea how often they run, but I imagine you would have to wait a bit and then sit on the bus  until your hotel came up.
  • Train - MTR local train about HK $21+   but you need to take a bus to Tung Chung first. Catch the local train at Tung Chung MTR station. There are many busses going to Tung Chung, carrying airport staff, airline staff etc...    
  • Bus about HK $33. The A21 bus from the airport runs all the way from the top end of Nathan road right down to the harbour front (stop number 14, for the Kowloon and Peninsula Hotels).  Details of Busses from the airport to all sorts of destinations here http://www.hongkongairport.com/eng/transport/to-from-airport/bus_from_hkia.html  The only thing you need to do is ask around a bit at the airpor to find the bus stop, its right next to the train station but a little hidden.  For obvious reasons after building an express train service costing HK$100 per trip, the authorities are not going to advertise the bus option for HK$33 per trip  too much. 
  • Bus to Hong Kong Island and the many hotels there: take A11, HK$40/trip/person.
  • Ferry this is for the maverick traveller: you have to get out of the airport. The airport is on Lantau island. See the Google map here, turn on the 'transit' option to see the ferry lines drawn in on the map. It's probably simplest to head for the Discovery Bay end of Lantau island and catch a ferry from there to Central.
So to conclude the challenge: 
- The train is comfortable, but unless your hotel is right next to the station you need to change to another mode of transport anyway.
- The bus is cheaper, and the chances that your hotel is on route are much higher. In fact on biz trips I make sure I book a hotel that IS on Nathan road and close to one of the subways lines from the airport.
NB: of course  taxis are always an option, but I've not mentioned that before because there's no challenge in that and they are expensive compared to Train, Bus, Ferry.

Accommodation - short term

It's so easy to find high end accommodation in HK  I won't even bother to list anything.  The challenge is to find the cheaper and reasonable places.  
One tip re high end accommodation: Breakfast is usally NOT included in high end HK hotels. If you are careful you can find deals which include breakfast. Worth noting because hotel breakfasts are good but expensive HK$100-200). If you go outside then you will find that Honk Kong opens late i.e 10am onwards, so it takes a bit of searching to find a place to have breakfast before 10am.

Standard ways to find accommodation listed here.
Guesthouses and Hostels in Hong Kong - a good starting list is couchsurfing's wiki on HongKong

Only if you have no other options: For RRRRRock bottom accommodation try the famous/infamous Chungking Mansions...to find out more: just google   " HK: Chungking mansion accommodation "  or see here - from $300 HKD/night...   A standby option if everything else is booked out.  I stayed there in 1984 for a night or two. 

Mid-to High  range accommodation

AirBnB is an organization where you stay with people who rent out their rooms, appartments, flat, house,...  either the whole lot or just a room. https://www.airbnb.com                 
AirBnB is pretty good for accommodation for anything from a few days to  months  http://www.airbnb.com/
Air BnB is a kind of cross between staying with friends and a hotel.
I think of it as a version of Couchsurfing for older and busier people, who have travelled and want to just get a place to stay but still meet new people.
There are some interesting out of the way places..... where you would never ever find a hotel or hostel... such as close to Tsing Yi station. I ended up renting my long term flat in the same building as my first airbnb accommodation.


Kowloon, Mongkok,

Mei Ho House Youth Hostel dorms for HK$300+ rooms for around US$80+... this is a new hostel, and very nice, close to Tsing  Yi and the older districts of Kowloon, location here.

Ah Shan Hotel approx AUD $60 / night between Prince Edward and Yau Ma Tei MTR stations.

Hong Kong island
Bishop Lei International House  No.4 Robinson Road, Mid-Levels Central, Hong Kong, China - just google the name of the hotel and you will get heaps of hits for this place, I don't know the original website for it. They  seem to want to be found via feeder agencies, and not directly. 

-  
Training Hotel for VTC here (I've found training hotels very good places to stay).


Airport, Lantau island 

Tsing Yi Island -
Rambler Oasis Business hotel www.ramblerhotels.com/oasis/eng 
close to Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education situated on one of the islands adjacent to the Kowloon Peninsula, on Tsing Yi Island.: http://www.vtc.edu.hk/ive/ty/location.htm 
There is also the Garden Hotel, 3 star.  http://www.ramblerhotels.com/garden/Location-en.htm   Usually booked out in advance a long time.

near Tsing Yi around 900 HKD and short bus ride to Tsing Yi
http://www.lhotelgroup.com/en/hotel/lhotel-nina/Home

Movies
List of all Broadway circuit cinemas   my favourite the IFC Palace
Golden Harvest cinemas Hong Kong - all cinemas listed
MovieMovie Arty movie mag, you need to dig to find the info of what, where, emmachisett?. Arty but hard to find the info you want quickly.

Expats: living & renting for the long term

Festivals and facts about HK
Overview of expenses, fees and how the rental market works in HK http://www.squarefoot.com.hk/section/Renting-Property/

A good list of websites for renting a flat / appartment in HK is at http://www.couchsurfing.org/group.html?gid=36058
A list of accommodation sites for HK
http://hongkong.gumtree.com.hk/
http://hongkong.craigslist.hk/
http://hongkong.asiaxpat.com/
http://www.easyroommate.com.hk/
http://cityloft.com.hk/  serviced appt. this one looks like a good place to start, take it for a while and look for something else at your leisure.

Hong Kong expat resources http://hongkong.geoexpat.com/  has  classifieds  -  and   http://hongkong.asiaxpat.com

Square foot: for rental properties - a site, with listings for out of the way places... http://www.squarefoot.com.hk


One expat's advice where to live in HK
Hi Heiko,I definitely recommend living in the outer islands.  I liked being able to escape central HK when finished work. 

I lived in a village called Mui Wo on Lantau Island (20mins taxi to the airport).  It was 25mins by fast ferry to central HK (40 mins if you took the slow, cheap one).  The village itself was a car free village and very bike friendly except for the occasional bike-loving dog.  I had a bike on the island which I left at the ferry terminal for getting back and forth.  A folding bike probably wouldn't be necessary.  Better to get a cheap bike for getting around on the island.  The rest of HK is much easier  by MTR,buses,taxis,ferries etc.  All work very well, are quite cheap.  Besides, I usually cycle a lot wherever I live but I'm not sure I'd like to take my chances with all the taxis in central HK and kowloon.

Mostly locals lived in Mui Wo, the expats tended to congregate in the somewhat fancier Discovery Bay skyscrapers further north or on Lamma island south of the main HK island. Both are  supposed to be quite nice, by I preferred the laid back atmosphere of my small little village.  Although for a bit more expat night life, the latter options are probably better.  I didn't mind, as I went into central HK most of the time to meet friends etc.  Travel to and from was fairly easy and it was quite quick to get off the ferry and straight on the MTR to anywhere else you wanted.  I don't imagine Tsing Yi would be difficult trip.  There may even be a direct ferry there - I can't remember.

Finding an apartment to rent was straight forward enough.  There are two or three real estate agencies right by the ferry when you arrive at Mui Wo.  I just went into one and arranged to view a number of apartments the next day. It took me only 4 days from arriving to have rented an apartment and moved in. I think at times I had more difficultly finding places to live in Australia!

Setting up place to live:

cheap places for furniture:
  • IKEA, Pricerite, DSC 750 Nathan Road,
  • Sham Shui Po:  map   there are other shops around that area that sell furniture. Seems cheaper or similar price but diff designs to IKEA..
  • Hung Hom has a street with just cheap furniture.
  • Tai Kok Tsui
  • AsiaExpat website has second hand furniture.

Healing, complementary medicine

HeartBeat HongKong, lists a huge range of alternative therapies, Organic, wholistic, alternative, under the slogan "Natural life in the fast lane", they have huge directory listings, marketplace, library and online community.

DK Aromatherapy - has Aromatherapy, massage, various Complementary medicine, Tarot, etc.....    
They also run courses, and rent out space for practitiners to see clients or hold workshops.

The Sanctuary http://www.thesanctuary.com.hk/          Where is it physically located ?  in Central at: http://thesanctuary.com.hk/contact

The New Age Shop       www.newageshop.com.hk/


Aroma DIY Shop, -Little eye dropper bottles for essences and oils where to get them in HK ?
Room 906, Workingbond Commercial Center, 162 Prince Edward Road West Kowloon,    www.aromadiyshop.com  

Portble treatment/massage/therapy tables shop  &  map   there are other shops around that area that sell furniture. Seems cheaper or similar price but diff designs to IKEA..

REFLECTIONS - Spiritual Bookshop, and resource center Sekhem, counselling etc...

Greenconcept HK - nadaChair back support system, pulsed coloured light accupuncture etc...


See the annual Yoga expo, and also: health Expo every June at the HK Exhibition and Expo center

Essential oils list of places:

Exploring Hong Kong

Travel +  things to explore in HK http://www.hongkongextras.com

Farming, Organic in HK, Permaculture in HK

Kadoorie farm,  Organic and permaculture farm in HK
They are huge education center in complementary, green, alternative, and host workshops in things such as 'positive economics without growth' and various ways to deal with the coming environmental issues.

Buying Organic in Hong KONG - Freshhk.com
 
Organic: GreenVitamin HK 403 Bonham commercial center : Wheatgrass, Kambucha, Kefirk Kale, organic food  etc....
 

 What happens if you eat only organic for a month ? One family did.

Hiking in Hong Kong

there is a LOT of hiking going on.... many clubs and organizatioins.
Do your own. A simple hikie is from The Peak down to Central, or up around The Peak

Hiking in Lantau - lots of places to go to, just Google 'Hong Kong Lantau Hiking'  here is the Mui Wo to Chung Tung Trail

the most active hiking groups all have a www.Meetup.com group

islands of Hong Kong

A popular holiday and weekend escape, with beaches, hotels, tennis, hiking, small hills, food, nicknack touristy things etc... . The island has a living little town on it. It's full of bicycles (no cars). It's surprisingly big. Accommodation can be found, from BnB's to hotels. One B&B is http://www.bbcheungchau.com.hk  on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/BBCheungChau
Getting there: Pier 5 at Central HK island ~30mins.


Ma Wan island, (Park island)

Transport

Ferries: 1st Ferry http://www.nwff.com.hk/


Ferry to Macau from HK Airport

No need to enter hong kong, immigration happens in Macau. See http://www.turbojet.com.hk/eng/schedule/airport.asp for more information. Look for the sky pier at hong kong airport. http://www.hongkongairport.com/eng/transport/transport-connection-with-mainland-china/ferry-transfer/service-at-a-glance.html
If you have checked luggage give the staff the luggage code, they will put it on the Macau ferry (ask and doublecheck that is what will happen).
Book your ferry tickets on TurboJet

TiP: if you go to Macau from Hong Kong BOOK YOUR RETURN TICKET as well. I have found that there can be a sudden rush of people who want to return to HK and all ferries are booked out until late at night.  You will then have to take standby. 
However if you book a return ticket for say 22:00 (10PM), and you want to go earlier, you can do that, if they have spare seats, you will be standby.  You have seat for 22:00 hours for sure though.       
More on my Macau page.

Visa

Visa for Hong Kong

--  who needs a visa to HK and how long can they stay ?  http://www.immd.gov.hk/ehtml/hkvisas_4.htm

Note: Myanmar citizens can usually only get 14 days stays at a time (2013), but can apply for multiple entry and each entry will then give them 14 days upon reentry.

Visitor visa: conditions, what work is allowed, FAQ's http://www.immd.gov.hk/en/faq/visit-transit.html

Visa for Australia: going there from Hong Kong

Australian consulate: applying for visa to Australia, from HK http://www.china.embassy.gov.au/hkng/VISMG_ToVisa.html
All forms for Australian Dept of Immigration http://www.immi.gov.au/allforms/application-forms/
What is the differenc between "relative" " close relative" ??? etc.... definition of terms and expressions http://www.immi.gov.au/migrants/family/definitions.htm  useful for filling out those 'lovely' forms.....


Visa for China for Hong Kong residents 

DIY approach: go to the Chinese Consulate in Wan Chai, (see map of HK top of this page, for where)
  • 7th Floor, Lower Block, China Resources Building, No.26, Harbor Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong SAR
  • Monday to Friday   9:00-12:00           14:00-17:00
  • In order to reduce longer waiting time, it is suggested to avoid applying Visa on Mondays and Tuesdays, or the first days after long public holidays, or rush hour from 10:30-11:30am and 14:00-15:30pm, if not necessary.
  • If you don't reside or work in Hong Kong permanently, you are required to apply Chinese visa from the Embassy or Consulate-General of Peoples' Republic of China in your resident country.
I have found the best (cheapest) way is just to go to the Chinese Consulate in  person. Go VERY early as the queues can be long during the day. If your travel to China is to local across the border areas then the amount of questions and paperwork is much less, otherwise you have to show lots of itinerary and bookings etc.... 

The Chinse Consulate in HK gives the visa fees for Bulgarians here, but what about non-Bulgarians ? No other fees are listed (3May2014)


see picture above... puzzling...

Other sites quote fees for Chinese visa obtained in Hong Kong here   - it depends on your nationality. Updates here.  You can   use various agents such as CTS, and many others. Note: some will pick up your passport from where you are. This option is more expensive and not much faster than DIY, but saves you having to go to Wan Chai Chinese Consulate. 


Visa for Vietnam for Hong Kong residents

The Consulate General of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in Hong Kong
visa form is a photo of a form          Fees takes a bit of digging to find them here...
15/F Great Smart Tower, 230 Wan Chai Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 25914517                             Fax: (852) 25914524
Emai: tlsqhk@mofa.gov.vn                   http://www.vietnamconsulate-hongkong.org/en/

Visa for Taiwan for Hong Kong residents

40F Tower 1 Lippo Center, Admiralty

Silver Jewellery

Silver Jewellery custom and ready made HK Silversmith
in Taiwan, a great shop is: Chung's Team

Sanity Leave

Escaping HK: cheap deals by Cathay Pacific "fanfares"
Also try: hong kong airlines, good deals around the area, I use them for flights to Taiwan, all cities in Taiwan.

Geek shopping - computer parts, electronics parts

 The "Akihabara" of Hong Kong, is Apliu Street, check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apliu_Street
RS Components, kits and development board are at:

Living in HK

Language learning: Learn Cantonese 

 (every tuesday & thursday) from 6:45pm to 8:45pm. The HOPE center: The fee for the whole course is HK$100 only. The venue is HOPE Centre: 3/F, Tak Lee Commercial Building, 113-117 Wan Chai Road, Wan Chai. MTR exit A3. If any query, pls call 28363598. 

Hardware as in hammer, saw, screwdriver.... 

Reclamation street, north of Waterloo street. From Yau Ma Tei Station walk along Waterloo Str, to Reclamation Str, then start walking north and enjoy the huge range of stuff, from grinders, drills safety equipment, brass and copper rods and plates and sheets etc.... - the works

Cooking gear, kitchen stuff

Shanghai  street, south of Waterloo street. From Yau Ma Tei Station walk along Waterloo Str, to Shanghai Str, then start walking south.  The shops cater for restaurant outfitting but also have low to high end stuff for small househoulds  - and best of all: you can get cooking gear WITHOUT TEFLON COATING !!! The real cooks don't use trainer wheels or teflon non stick coating

Motorbike

Vehicle ? drive in HK ? am I  nuts ?

  • Motorcycle, Car licences - International Licences etc... go to the Transport Dept in Hong Kong, near Admiralty Station,  http://www.td.gov.hk/en/home/index.html
  • Transport Department forms (such as transfer of ownership) http://www.td.gov.hk/en/public_forms/td_forms/index.html
  • Buying a motorcycle or car  website for HK http://dafhujiqjhu.www.28car.com/sell_ico.php
  • This shop (picture on left) does the lot, register, transfer, insurance, and all the paper work. Bike I bought was good, total inc weather cover, 13,500HKD second hand.                       - click on picture for full sized view, email & website may not work, go in person, I went to the Elm Str shop near Olympic station.
To buy a motorbike you need:
- HK ID card (not sure if passport and employment permit is ok),
- Proof of address (eg. lease, signed)
- HK driving Licence.
- those bits of paper to which consensual reality assigns the non-material abstract property of 'worth '. Also known as 'money ', (for deposit approx 20 to 30% )



Dawn markets in HK

markets of the dawn in hong kong

 dawn markets (“Tin Gwan Hui” in Chinese) – the markets which open from 4.30 to 7.30 every morning, in order to hide away from the Hawkers Management Team.


Internet Cafes
One place I found: Hankow Road, between Nathan Road and Canton Road, close to the park where Hankow Road ends.


Art n Craft supplies

Question:Do you know a place to buy art and craft things, like plaster for making casts, models, and all those small art and craft things  poeple use .
Answer: Yau Ma Tei MTR C, out to Nathan Road left side Chung Nam Book Store, should be 3rd floor
Found it: it's at Facebook: cnsquare503,  Website: www.chungnam.cc   503 Nathan Road Yaumatei Kowloon, HK   
Facebook: CN Square  503 Nathan Road · Yau Ma Tei, Hong Kong
they have Stationary, everything you can imagine, party goods, office supplies, and art and craft: paints, brushes, callibraphy, canvasses, all types of drawing and colouring tools, fabric dyes and so on. A real paradise for fiddlers and art and crafty types.


Chinese Traditional Products

Accupuncture needles, Chinese medical supplies, Wheelchairs, electronic self monitoring devices, sandals, traditional chinese medical stuff, art, food etc.... at
Corner Jordan Road and Natan Road next to Jordan Station MTR.  301-309 Nathan road, Kowloon, Tel 3511 2222 and heaps  of other stores around HK and Singapore.
 www.yuehwa.com 


Tshermany - Germany - Deutschland


Marriage - registering  it in Hong Kong

Addresses of marriage registries in HK   Map of city hall where bookings have to be made
Procedure of how to do get married in HK: (that's my understanding, the reality may yet be surprising.... ) 

Setting a date for getting officially married:
- you can only book marriage registrations to a maximum of 3 months ahead.
- There is a minimum 15 days waiting period, during which your intent to marry is published and the public and anyone may object.
- You can marry in one of the Govt offices (Cottontree Drive office has a great park) or you can ask a minister of religion to do it.

To book your actual date: you can try internet (when I tried it timed out every second step, slow and confusing, could have just been a one off  problem....)
or you can do it all with an automated voice system on the phone at:   Ph: 3102 3883

That's it.
Of course you need the usual documents: passports, work visa if you work in HK, previous marriage and divorce papers if married/divorced before, (original docs !)

The above procedures are described here on a HK Govt website, but it's too confusing for me, I had to go in person to talk to real human being.

Spouse visa, dependent visa


Hang and Paragliding in HK


Paragliding in HK Steve's school  http://www.paraglide-hk.com/    and http://paraglidehk.homestead.com/  ex-marine teaching style.
The   Hong Kong paragliding association

Hang-gliding movie over HK  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIDIQwNAYBE
Seems to be mainly Paragliding in HK, less for Hang Gliding http://www.lovento.com/en/categories/hong_kong/hong_kong/sports_adventure/hang_gliding/

Good site about paragliding worldwide: http://www.ojovolador.com/eng/version360/   has the industry news + serious sport news + buying your own glider info + what's going in the paragliding community.
Flying car the "maverick" http://www.eaavideo.org/video.aspx?v=635469588001


Restaurants and Cafes

Cafes I love:


I've tried and like these:

French cuisine, Les Fils à Maman  (150 - 300 HKD per head)
LG/F, 75 Hollywood Road, Central (very hard to find - but very worth it)
中環荷李活道75號下層
2871 0045

Italian, Bistecca Italian Steak House (150-200 HKD per head)
2nd Floor, Grand Progress Building,15-16 Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong, China
852-25251308
http://www.diningconcepts.com.hk/bistecca/index.php

French: The one the photo on the right is good CAFE DE PARIS  @  www.cafedecogroup.com 
they have good 2 for 1 specials on some Mondays. small cosy place with reasonable prices.

Roasted Duck  restaurant http://www.yuekee.com.hk/en/p7.htm
location:click on map for full size


Nice Shanghai restaurant in the China Ferry Terminal, Ocean Center, near Star Ferry terminal: www.elite-concepts.com


I've not yet tried  these below:

German cuisine, Biergarten  (100 - 150 HKD per head)
G/F, Continental Orient Commercial Centre, 8 Hanoi Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
尖沙咀河內道8號東銘商業大廈地下
2721 2302

Thai cuisine, Thai Simple Kitchen  (100 - 150 HKD per head)
517 Jaffe Road, President Cinema Roof Floor, Causeway Bay
銅鑼灣謝斐道517號總統戲院頂樓
2838 2896

Belgium/Italian, Okapi Restaurant  (150 - 300 HKD per head)
G/F, 8 Hart Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui
尖沙咀赫德道8號地舖
2368 7299

Spanish cuisine, Fofo by el Willy  (301-500 HKD per head - little pricey but suited to impress)
20/F, M88, 2-8 Wellington Street, Central
中環威靈頓街2-8 M88 20
2900 2009


Local, Peking Garden - Tsim Sha Tsui (200 - 300 HKD per head)
3/F, Star House, Hong Kong, China
852-27358211

French, La Creperie De Hong Kong (100-150 HKD per head)
G/F 69 jervois street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, China
2679 4666

Spanish, 22 Ships (Newly opened, 150-200 HKD per head)
22 Ship St, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, China
    2555 0722<tel:2555%200722>        http://www.22ships.hk/

Local HK food, Maxim's Palace City Hall Dim Sum (50-100 HKD per head) - Lots of people
City Hall Low Block, Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

852-2521 1303<tel:852-2521%201303>


Local HK food, Tim Ho Wan (Local dim sum 50-100 HKD per head) - Lots of people
2-8 Kwong Wah St, Hong Kong, China

852-2332 2896<tel:852-2332%202896>


Open Rice  Address: G/F, 22 Ship Street, Wan ChaiTel: 2555 0722 URL: http://www.openrice.com/english/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=114231


If around central) Hong Kong/Guangdong cuisine, Sing Heung Yuen
勝香園 (<40 HKD - perfect for breakfast/lunch)
2 Mei Lun Street, Central
中環美輪街2號排檔
2544 8368
(try the Peanut Milk Toast, Kaya Crispy Crispy, Salty Seven-up with Lemon)

Desert sweet shop: (this is close to the great German cake places but only 'close' not equal) " Paul Lafayet " which is a very famous french take away dessert shop (Address: Shop G23, K11, 18 Hanoi Road, Tsim Sha Tsui)


Comedy and Tango: Fun stuff in HK

Comedy club venue - http://takeoutcomedy.com 34 Elgin Street, SoHo.
Tuesday night is their English-language “open mic” night, 8pm. Anyone can do a 5-minute presentation - but you have to be there at 8pm to get yourself on the list. No charge to perform, but any audience-members who do not perform pay HK$50.

Comedy & improvisation troupe: http://peoplesliberationimprov.com they often perform at the Take out comedy club above.
HK comedy scene: 34 Elgin Street, SoHo
  1. www.hkcomedyfestival.com
  2. www.hkmprovfestival.com
Dancing - Tango  http://www.argentinetango.hk/


International Film Festival

Info on HK

A very detailed site by a HK enthusiast (HK for a low budget) http://sites.google.com/site/chaskemp/hongkongguide
Where to shop, maid's sunday, and other details http://www.banoffeepie.com/alan/hkg/
see more Hong Kong tips on the Lonely Planet Thorntree
Visitor info on Hong Kong http://www.hongkongextras.com/

The Couchsurfing introduction to HK is good, - if you just pass through or want to stay longer term in HK http://wiki.couchsurfing.com/en/Hong_Kong#Hong_Kong_Guesthouses_and_Hostels.

Overview of HK, good info on budget accommodation:
Couchsurfing Wiki on HK
Couchsurfing's social group, in HK, social get-to-gethers.


Geeky stuff: Mobile broadband options in Hong Kong  - a survey   September 2012 - March 2013

The mission was this: Find JUST mobile data ! ( in lieu of fixed line broadband internet at home i.e. heavy use,  not light use).
  1. Find it for the absolute minimum contract period
  2. Get network independent, i.e. unlocked equipment, so it can  used by any carrier, even overseas, any country, just insert SiM.
  3. Check out prepaid options.

Given those mission specs: - it was immediately clear that the BYO (Bring Your Own)  wifi modem was the best option.
All carriers who supplied wifi modems  or USB dongles, locked them to THEIR network, asked for long contracts, so there was only  one option left: Get your own wifi  modem
(Wifi modems are also  called: "wifif routers", or "pocket wifi", or "wireless modem", etc... they all do one thing: accept a SiM card and spit out a wifi signal. They are not wifi receivers, they receive  the data from a mobile phone company and give you broadband that way. They then send that data out as as wiif signal so you can use it for laptop, phone etc... )
USB  modems for laptops are also an option but  it means  you have to use them on a laptop only, and you have to plug them into a USB port. Plugging it in and out for years at least twice daily wears out your USB ports physically, for those reasons:  a 'wifi modem' was  my choice)

Wifi  modems can be  found  at: the Golden Shopping Center   close to the famous electronics street:  Aplieu street
There are 3 shops that have USB and wifi modems (unlocked) the one that has the best range was:
  1.  - Century Computer company, Shop 38, Basement, Golden  Computer Arcade, 146-152 Fuk Wah St, Sham Shui Po, Phone 2725 6980
  2.  - Same  building at the next level up, on the North east entrance is a tiny shop called "SOFTHARD COMPUTER" ph: 2386 6448, mainly USB dongles
  3.  - and  more wifi modems at the shop immediately as you come into the basement entrance at the South  East corner, closest to the MTR station. Go down the stairs and turn sharp left
The plans below assume you bring your own wifi modem or USB Dongle and buy just a SiM card for (mainly) data.

Be careful about "unlimited" data broadband. - It isn't really, well sort of not really.... . Read on why:
Tethering and Mobile phone data: 
Tethering allows you to share your data, internet connection with other phones and computers using wifi. Your phone (or wifi modem) becomes a wifi hotspot, i.e. a wifi internet access point. Mobile phone companies don't like that if their mobile phone services provides unlimted broadband data because you could (in theory) use your phone to supply 10 or more other people with internet, all for the price of one unlimted data service. (if you supply 10 people the data speed would be so slow as to be useless)
For that reason if you buy a SIM card with unlimited data, (prepaid of plan) it is likely to be restricted to ONLY YOUR DEVICE, and you can't use it to tether your laptop or ipad to internet using that connection.
For that reason also: so called "unlimted" data, starts to slow down to a very low speed after you used your 'fast" unlimted data. Some start to slow it down at about 3GB

So if you want tethering (i.e. run your laptop or ipad internet from your phone)  make sure you when you buy data plans or prepaid that is is allows tethering ! If the company offers you "unlimted" data, it will very likely restrict tethering. And they will likely slow you down after a certain amount of data. Find out what that limit is. 

If the company has a data limit, then they will very likely ALLOW tethering because once you hit the limit you either cough up more money or get slowed down to a trickle or cut off, so there is no issue for THEM if you share your connection with others.

I personally use PCCW's 10GB/month mobile broadband plan, for 13months, about HKD$285 or so (supposed to be less but they getcha with other small charges you never thought of). It allows tethering, - it is my only home internet connection.


 Who        what  how long    
 emmachissett? (HKD $)
 blaaahhh blaaah  ...blaah....
 China mobile
 3G HSPA plan    
 12 months contract
 230/ month      5GB hi  speed, more at 128KB/sec, pluse voice thrown in,  and unused  data can be used for roaming etc.... blaa blaa blaa
 Smartone      3G  18 months contract    
 220/ month
 - they didn't have any pamphlet, save on paper, no more details I know of... contract  too long anyway
 Three "3"
 4G lte
 12 months contract
 358/ month
They say unlimited data, but then after 5GB fair use policy kicks in, not clear if they cut, or reduce speed or what happens after 5GB, need to ask. My Chinese =  0.
 PCCW         
 4G 12 months contract, + 2 months free at start
 238/ month unlimited
 unlimited means 10GB,
  3000 mins voice included. I found the data speed very low, never got more than 600MB out of the connection per month. 
 PCCW  Prepaid
 3G HSPA  monthly prepaid    
 $198 for SiM with credit.
 $68/day
up to max of $598/ month,
 After spending max of $598 you get data till end of  the month   - use top up prepaid credit to recharge.
-
 PCCW prepaid  
 3G HSPA     
 monthly  prepaid
 $980 Prepaid Pack includes USB Dongle
 I'm guessing here: after first month: you  pay  daily rate to a max of $600 then free till end of month (or end of 30 days ? )  - needs  more investigation of details.
 one2free  4G (max .100MB/sec)
$387/month 12months
$367/month  24months

 unlimited data (NB: prob means 5GB with fair use policy, is my guess)
 one2free
 3G
$287/month 12months
$267/month 24months
   unlimited data (NB: prob means 5GB with fair use policy, is my guess)
 one2free Prepay
 3G  Prepaid  $100 Credit with new SiM
 choose $8/hour,         or   $28/ day
 one2free Prepay
 3G  Prepaid  $100 Credit with new SiM  choose $78/ seven (7) days. - click on picture for full size
check their website for latest deals

Friends tell me this one2free service is faster than the other prepaid data services they tried in HK
,
- PS: I tried it, & I also find One2Free much faster :-) Their prepaid options are:, 1hour, 1 day, 7 days, 30 days

Best deal is: HK$148 per 30 days, 3GB data. Speed is much higher than contracts why ? because people can change after 30 days if it's too slow :-)

Multidevice plans  get 3 SIM cards and share the voice and data over all of them - POST-paid NOT prepaid !!!
 China mobile
   Prepaid     $78 per week for data, internet.
 
Links with similar info:  http://www.hongkongshuttle.com/prepaid-sim-card-3g-data/


Useful fact I found out the hard way: A data SIM card used in a mobile phone to do tethering (i.e. create a wifi hotspot) is very slow. The SAME SIM card in a wifi modem is very fast ! So that means: my phone is not a very efficient wifi hotspot.... I suspect others phones too, are not so good at being wifi hotspots -  (of course it may vary with phones....)

NOTE:
wifi modems come in different speeds, 7.2MB/sec  $620 HKD,      21.6MB/sex $890 HKD,     42MB/sec $1560 HKD
I didn't find any wifi modems that had 4G printed on the box just these various speeds. Perhaps the network locked modems from the phone companies are faster and have better specs ? It would suprise me but who knows....  :-)   
The speeds written on the box are all ideal top spec values, in real life you will get half to a third of officially quoted speed - which is still pretty good in practice.

Some sales assistants judge 4G simply by the price, or the speed on the box (anything faster than 7.2MB/sex was called "4G"). Others told me that while the wifi moden was '4G' it would not work on 4G networks outside HK. This makes sense from my own experience where 4G seems to have varying standards and does not translated into the same thing in different countries. In Australia Apple was forced to refund people who bought ipads with 4G enabled stickers because while the ipads were in fact 4G enabled (in the USA) , they did not work on Australia's 4G network (Apple didn't tell people about this 'small minor' detail upfront...)  kinda sneaky...and underhanded which why they were forced to refund customers.:-)


So it seems to me that 4G is not really standardized enough yet, it seems more of a gimmick and advertising trick to get people to upgrade. I'm sure it is faster but by how much  faster in real life ?
                If you want 4G better go for a full plan that includes a long contract and 4G equipment (wifi modem or dongle) supplied. I would be interested in the engineering specifications of that supplied equipment to see if it really faster or better than what can be found in the open market.
For all these above reasons I bought a 21.5MB/sec wifi modem. - it's a good compromise between speed and price. 


Prepaid low data SiM cards:
Both PCCW and People's choice (China mobile) offer SiM cards with voice and data, prepaid for about $48 to 78 HKD,   but this is only really  useful for the occasional low data use not as a home internet replacement - these prepaid SiM's can be bought at "Circle K" and  "7/11"  and  other similar kinds of  convenience stores.

I used to believe that data of more than 1 GB / month required a landline. But not so: 
one2Free has a great prepaid data package that costs $148 for 30 days 3GB ($248 for 5GB). I  put the SIM card into a wifi modem and use it for my home wifi. It is as fast as my work LAN internet connection ! More here.  The SIM card in the wifi modem gives much greater data speeds than using my phone in tethering mode. 

You really have to dig to get this information, all the companies want to sell you LONG Contracts, pricey phones and modems and never mention these other options. Funny that... I wonder why ? duhh.... More about that  here.

For comparison: PCCW landline internet, 24 month contract, no phone, $238/month unlimited data.  30 month contract for extra benefits (not sure exactly what benefits).

Survey date: 11 August 2012

Follow up on mobile broadband in Hong Kong, 18Aug2012

I arrived  in HK 2 weeks ago, and got myself a plug in prepaid SIM that did only voice and I could not get data chat and Instant messages going  on it . That became the
1 phone for voice
But I needed chat and instant messaging so I bought a PCCW prepaid SIM, on my second phone. That became:
1 phone for chat and data, internet (voice phone could not do instant message chat )
but the above were all prepaid and expensive so I bought
1 wifi router for data big time, 14 month contract, PCCW BYO phone plan (see above) 10GB/month.

Then I realized: OMG,  I have to keep 3 things going. = Expensive. VERY expensive, over USD $100/month

So I went out and bought a new phone (dual SIM Samsung DUOS phone) that does all the above
for an average  price of HKD $207/month for 14 months, (the sales rep said 207, the actual cost is usually 290/month, all sorts of hidden extras got piled on... surprise surprise ? not really )
The phone can do 'tethering' which is the same thing a wifi modem does, ie  spit out a wifi signal, and receive a mobile data stream as input, and of course it is a normal phone with its own phone number. so all the three functions above in ONE. .

Now I have 2 spare phones and a wifi modem data router, all are unlocked...

plus a new phone that DOES IT ALL and has two sims - the second SIM is for those people who have my phone number when  I first arrived  in HK. It's the phone number my bank and  landlord have.

I  really understand what "learning  curve" means  now. ;-)

Confession of a naive phone user:

Once I signed a 14 months PCCW phone/data plan I found that the internet data speed was really low.
I tried a prepaid data SIM card, and surprise surprise it was much faster (double or more the speed)
Was that just because it was a different company ?
Maybe.
Then it suddenly came clear: people on pre-paid data will change provider if the speed is too low.
People on contracts can't.
So if I was a phone provider I would have to make sure my pre-paid speed was good, otherwise I would lose customers. People can switch easily.
The power in pre-paid is with the consumer.
The phones are unlocked, the service quality is what matters, changing provider is easy.


Full speed but not full speed. - the tricky ways of Telecom Companies
How come all the telecom companies promise great data speeds but in reality the actual speed on your phone is still pretty slow ?
Answer: Your speed may be 3G or 4G but your PRIORITY may be low.
This means that the network puts your PRIORITY low, but when and if you get on the network then for those few seconds of minutes you might get the full speed, if you are lucky.

This is from a website of a Telecom company:

#After you have reached the monthly fair usage level of 5GB, you can continue to use the service without speed throttling or data capping. Your priority to access the network will be lowe
red and your experience may be affected when the network is busy.

- from  one2free's site here, but almost all the Telecom companies use the same system.

So yes, your speed may be high in theory, but your PRIORITY may be low.
You could have 100Mbs speed, but be PRIORITY = very low.
So they can promise you high speeds, and great technology, but your might very far down the priority queue.
You could even have someone come out to your house, check the speed, and tell you, "See the speed is great, look at my instrument !"
And it would be true, - sort of. What was not said was what PRIORITY your phone has compared to the speed testing instrument.
The devil is in the detail.
I wonder: when I enter a contract for great data rates and high speeds, what is my priority ?
Since I can't leave the company, the company has me tied to them. I wonder, will they put my priority low ? What would I do if I was after money, customers ?

If you find that your speed varies a lot, depending  on the time of day, then you can be sure you are being prioritized down. After all, if you suddenly have 20 times the number of people using the network, you can't provide full speed to everyone can you ? It's like rush hour on the freeway, too many cars, too many users on the network, someone has to slow down.



Bicycles in HK

"Forget cycling in HKong", People told me. I didn't believe them. I researched all the info below.
Now I believe them, "forget commuter cycling in Hong kong" it's not ready for that yet. Sports and recreational cycling, sure, that you can do.


Cycling Tsing Yi to mainland (it IS possible)  http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?page_id=70716


cycling.org       hong kong    www.cycling.org.hk/


Hong Kong Mountain Bike Association   www.hkmba.org/


Government of HK: Cycling in Hong Kong   www.gov.hk


Bikemaps for all around the world, including Hong Kong http://www.bikemap.net/

Cycle racing governing body http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Kong_Cycling_Association

Most of the cycle groups are specialist groups, I'm still looking for the groups that just want to get bike paths for commuting cyclists, to get around HK.
My interest is to see cycling as a healthy cheap and natural transport alternative to around town.

More links for cycling in HK below:
Businesses

cycle chic in HK http://i-brompton.blogspot.com.au/2011/05/hong-kong-cycle-chic.html

Hong Kong Cycling Association 
http://www.cycling.org.hk

Hong Kong Cyclist Information Net
http://www.hkci.net 
http://www.hkci.net/forum/ 61

http://www.facebook.com/groups/140030719417124/ 139

Hong Kong Cycling Alliance Facebook Group
http://www.facebook.com/groups/122876654393209/ 553

aCweb Forum
http://forum.acw-eb.com/index.php?gid=65 62

Cycling Forum
http://www.discuss.com.hk/forumdisplay.php?fid=92

Cycling Forum
http://forum.hkspf.net/forumdisplay.php?fid=80

HK Cycling Tour Association
http://www.hkcta.org.hk 77
http://www.facebook.com/groups/hkcta/ 229

China Cyclist Forum
http://www.cyclist.cn/bbs/
 
http://bbs.champ-sys.net:88/

Hong Kong Cycling Tour Association
http://www.hkcta.org.hk

Hong Kong Bicycle Shop Addresses
http://www.hkci.net/www/index.php?pg=shop&region=nt

Flying Ball Bicycle Company
http://www.flyingball.com

Chung Yung Cycle Co. 
http://hkbicycle.com.hk

Hong Kong Cyclist Club
http://www.cyclistclub.org.hk

Hong Kong Mountain Bike Association 
http://www.hkmba.org

Hong Kong Cyclist 
http://www.hkcyclist.com 
http://www.hkcyclist.com/localshops.html Local Bicycle Shop
Promoting cycling as a sport, a healthy and environmental friendly way of life, for the purpose of sharing information and thoughts related to cycling, and to get back the respect that we HK cyclist deserve.

Macro Polo Cycling Club - CMC Cycling
http://www.cmscycling.com

28Bike.com Classifieds - Buy & Sell
http://www.28bike.com/classifieds/index.php 62

http://timway.com/hk/Sports/Outdoors/Cycling/

Chinese Cycling Association
http://www.chncycling.com

International Bicycle Fund 
http://www.ibike.org
Promote sustainable transport

Bicyclinglife.com 
Bicycling as a means of transportation and recreation in everyday life

Online Bookstores 
Cycling Online Stores 
Hong Kong Cycling 
Hong Kong Running 
Hong Kong Swimming 
Hong Kong Hiking 
Hong Kong Triathlon 
Hong Kong Water Sports

Folding bicycles:
Taiwanese manufacturer: http://taiwanincycles.blogspot.com/2011/06/tern-for-better-new-folding-bike.html
In HK: try Fa Yuen Street in Mongkok.
Folding bikes are allowed on MTR/Trains in H.K. - folded of course.
taking out a wheel from a normal bike is also ok



Bike trails - bike paths

Bike related general sites that have HK info as well



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