I traveled to Hong Kong for the very first time! Most of my extended family lives in Hong Kong which helps.
My Dad, sister and I, arrived Nov 26, 2009 to Hong Kong international Airport. Family picked us up from the airport. Although traveling from the Airport to downtown HongKong is fairly easy.
We decided to stay at the Salvation Army Booth Lodge just off Nathan Road across from the YauMaTei MTR (subway) station. For the latter part of the trip Dad stayed with his best friend. The hotel location could not be better! We were so close to shopping of all sorts. Markets, department stores, resaurants etc.
http://boothlodge.salvation.org.hk/ENG/index.htm (some locals seem to think this is a hostel) It is most definitely a hotel w/ amenities and services.
My aunt used to work for them, so we got an excellent deal!
The room was quite clean. Much larger than what I had anticipated. There's a TV, mini fridge, laundry service. Closet. Plenty of floor space for the luggage. The Bathroom is larger than most hostels with a separate shower stall and tub.
Now being close to the end of the year....the nights get a bit chilly like 13celsius. There are air conditioners but not all have heat. The hotel does provide extra blankets. They can also provide portable heaters upon request.
The Building does not only house a hotel but a daycare/church/school as well. the Hotel reception desk and restaurant is on the 7th floor.
Each room has a large thermos of hot water, great for instant coffee or for tea. You have to turn on the water heater to get a partially warm shower. You will never get the temperature of hot water in Hong Kong to match the hot water in Toronto....so don't be surprised.
Ultimately I used bottled water for all my mouth rinsing purposes.
Transportation is, without question, the best by far! the MTR is the subway transit system in Hong Kong. Its fantasically easy to use and super inexpensive. Firstly, you need to purchase the MTR pass aka Octopus Pass. There is a Senior Pass for those 65 or over. (Details are on the MTR website) Then you put money on the Octopus Pass like a debit card. When you enter the MTR, you must place your card over the sensor ( at the turnstiles)to note your entry into the station. When exiting your destination station, you place the pass over the sensor again to note you are exiting. The system calculates the distance of travel and deducts it off your Pass automaticaly. Brilliant!
If you are looking for shopping districts....they are not far.
for the cheapest Markets you're looking for Temple Street/Fa yuen street. These are the temporary stalls set up everyday. You'll find tons of souvenirs and cheaps eats too. This area is is a ten min walk North or a one station stop to Mong Kok station.
Department stores you go south about ten minutes and you'll find the Wing On Department store and the Yu Wah Chinese department store.
For finer shopping you can go to the Tsim sha Tsui Area and find great labels. The big brand shopping is not much different than in Toronto...so its not all that great savings however you do save on the taxes.
I did find out where the outlets are though. They're mostly situated at the Tung Chung Station where we got off to go see the Big Buddha on Lantau Island (close the the airport and one stop after the Disneyland connection.
Eating is generally cheap. My cousins each had different opinions of what good eating is.
Near the cheap markets (temple street) are the street vendors. Far from the Hotdogs of Toronto, The street vendors here certainly know how to cook....but be warned, if you think your stomache can handle it all....then by all means. Don't be experimenting if you're not sure. I was open to the suggestion but, having spent so many years in Toronto....my digestion system no longer has the adaptability to perform in other countries....so I stuck with the restaurants with tables located inside the facility versus the tables and benches located on the street. Weekend nights and holidays, expect delays....weeknights definitely an improvement.
You won't find fresh lettuce salads here. Everything in HongKong is cooked. The only place I remember eating fresh lettuce was at the Jockey Club where an amazing Uncle took us for dinner. We were lucky.
Overall, the food did not bother me. We played it safe and enjoyed the restaurants the family recommended.
Five days of the 2 and half weeks trip, the three of us went to Beijing. Through a Hong Kong based travel agency. More on the Beijing trip to come.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC