5 hours at HKG, what to do?

Discussion in 'Asia' started by unavaca, Feb 11, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. unavaca
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    unavaca Gold Member

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    So I have a 5 hour connection at HKG (DragonAir to DragonAir). I have been to HK before and have explored Kowloon pretty extensively and have no real interest in HK Island. I have the "priority" clearance sticker thing for my passport, so I should be able to get through pretty fast.

    What would you do during this time? Is there much to see on Lantou Island? I like hiking and nature, if that makes a difference. I arrive around 12p-1p and leave again at 6pm.
     
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  2. work2fly
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    Depending on the day of the week and time of day, you could possibly take the cable car up the hill at Ngong Ping.

    I thought the stuff at the top was pretty boring, though I was with a 2 year old in a stroller so we couldn't walk up to the Buddha.

    For us, however, the ride up and back down was worth the ticket price.

    We waited in line about 15 mins just after opening time on a Sat am - but when we came back down at noon, the line was at least an hour long. If lines aren't too bad, I bet you could do it and return to the airport in 2.5 - 3 hours.
     
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  3. There is the Big Buddha on Lantau and plenty of other hiking (as well as Hong Kong Disneyland, although that doesn't necessarily seem to be your scene!) Given the time limitations, if finances aren't an obstacle, it might be best to take a taxi to where you want to go since although efficient, public transportation does take up time.
     
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  4. unavaca
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    unavaca Gold Member

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    The Big Buddha sounds like my perfect scene.

    It sounds like the Cable Car is worth it just for the views. If the lines are bad, can I grab a cab from there? I recall HK cabs were fairly inexpensive...
     
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  5. kwai
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    kwai Gold Member

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    We took the cable car for Ngong Ping 2 years ago. The views of HKG are awesome, especially seeing some big birds land. The buddha was quite nice, but as others have said, the ride to the top was the best.
     
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  6. savydog
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    I posted my big budda photo here if you would like a look. http://milepoint.com/forums/threads/hong-kong-photos-all-the-best-the-harbour-city-can-offer.3589/ I enjoyed it up there. Good view and nice breeze.

    My friend took me for a hike in the hills of Kowloon, lots of wild monkeys. We got off at a bus stop and walked in decent for about an hour before coming out on the streets of Hong Kong below. Great fun. Not sure where that bus stop was, my friend had been living in HK for 4 years and had great local knowledge.
     
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  7. kwai
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    kwai Gold Member

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    Among other things you can get this view. IMG_4383sm.jpg :
     
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  8. kwai
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    kwai Gold Member

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    and this:
    IMG_4384sm.jpg
     
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  9. kwai
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    kwai Gold Member

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    And this:
    IMG_4385sm.jpg
     
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  10. MrAOK
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    I dislike being a spoil sport, but if you really have only a 5 hour connection (as opposed to a longer connection but 5 hours besides the time you need), you are really pushing the envelope to take the cable car and have time to see anything, especially if there is a line.

    You might be able to take a cab ride somewhere or have possibly at early high tea at the Peninsula
     
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  11. unavaca
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    No worries; I appreciate the realistic assessment. Is it easy to skip the line by taking the "crystal" car instead?

    If the cable car idea fizzles, is there anything to see nearby at the base?
     
  12. MrAOK
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    I'm trying to figure your time.

    Assuming you arrive on time, go thru the quick customs procedure and have to be back like 2 hours before your flight, your 5 hours translates into roughly about 2 hours of play time maybe 2 1/2. While the train to downtown is fast, that just doesnt give you much flexibility. Hopefully someone from Hong Kong could answer, but short of rushing to have a quick tea or lunch somewhere, I just don't think you'd have adequate time.

    the hong kong tourist association runs some tours from the airport, but they are 3 hours and require you to get back on your own, (and appear to take place in the morning). They are here
     
  13. unavaca
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    I didn't know I had to be back 2 hours before the flight. It's a short hop on Dragonair. Can I get back an hour in advance? I have no bags to check (they're being checked through) and I have eChannel access.

    Also, I thought the cablecar was on Lantau Island, so I wouldn't have to worry about getting into the city, right?
     
  14. work2fly
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    Yes, Ngong Ping is very close to the airport. 10 minute ride, tops.

    Look at Google Maps, the cable car terminal is right beside the Tung Chung MTR station.
     
  15. unavaca
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    unavaca Gold Member

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    Following up on this...

    I did end up doing this in my 5 hour layover. You can take any of the S buses (not necessarily S1), as they all go to Tung Chung Station eventually. See http://www.hongkongairport.com/eng/transport/to-from-airport/bus_from_hkia.html and scroll down to the section for Shuttle Busses. I forgot which one I took, but I took the first one to leave the terminal and happened to do a tour of Cathay City.

    The advice to buy the Crystal Car is only sort-of useful. They push the "crystal car up/economy car down" ticket quite hard over there. It turned out the line for the crystal car was longer than the line for the economy cars... and the ratio between economy and crystals cars is 2:1! It took me forever to get up there via the crystal line. On the way back down, the crystal car line was super short and the economy line was a disaster. I'm glad I bought the crystal car round-trip ticket.

    If I were doing this again, I'd recommend doing economy up and crystal down, though this works out to more than crystal round-trip, since it prices out as two one-way tickets, which adds up to a lot more (sounds like airline pricing at work...).

    After pissing away a ton of time in the crystal line going up, I only had about 45 minutes to visit the Tien Tan Buddha, which was still worth it, IMO. There's not much to do on the buddha itself other than to walk up the stairs, take some pictures and come back down. Everything inside requires an entrance fee (weak!). The rest of the "city" is very touristy and isn't very interesting IMO. I might do it again just to do the vegetarian meal at the monastery. Alas, I had to settle for the Ebi (fried shrimp patty) Burger at the HKG McDonalds...

    Thanks for all your help, guys.
     
  16. DesertRose
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    It took us nearly an hour to get to Lantau from the city using the subway system, so I was shocked you would even attempt this. Then kwai's photos triggered my memory and I remembered than Lantau is right next to the airport. :D

    I agree about the 'crystal' car - we bought a crystal ticket but the lines were so long we took the regular car. We waited in line to buy our tickets and then waited in line for the cable cars. It looked like the smart people had bought their tickets in advance and that saved a lot of time.

    We had the set course vegetarian meal (for two people) at the monastery. Since they base the number of courses/dishes on the number of people in your group, we had soup and two or three other dishes, and tea. It was the blandest food I had in Hong Kong. The monastery also had a 'snack bar/cafeteria' type food line, where you could pick individual dishes. Next time I would try that, in hopes I could find food that was more interesting to me.

    But it was a fun trip, and the monastery was definitely interesting. It had a couple of temples and some peaceful quiet meditation gardens, well worth a visit on your next layover.
     
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  17. unavaca
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    Oh yeah, one more thing -- the website lets you buy tickets, but not for the current day. The earliest you can buy it for is "tomorrow." Boo.

    One more one more thing -- eChannel helps a LOT. There was a long line at regular immigration around noon time, but there was no one at the eChannel gates.
     

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