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There are plenty of websites out there telling you what to see and do in Hong Kong. However, to experience the city at its fullest, you’ll also need to know what to avoid. Here’s a list of things NOT to do in Hong Kong.
1. Don’t Spit
Spitting is just not considered rude in China. Some believe it helps ward off evil spirits. However, cross over to Hong Kong and it is prohibited to spit in public. In fact, you can be fined up to HK$5,000 for doing so.
2. Don’t Assume Hong Kong is as Free and Open as the West
Despite it embraces more legal freedoms than the People’s Republic, some believe that e-mails are being monitored and Internet censorship is happening. Travelers should be aware of these rising tensions and be cautious about engaging in politically charged communications.
3. Don’t Overpay at Street Markets
Hong Kong offers a vast range of exciting street markets where you can buy just about any type of consumer good imaginable. Learn the art of haggling, you will often be able to buy things for little over half the asking price.
4. Don’t Take Taxis
It is an unnecessarily expensive way to get around, and it can take a long time to get anywhere through the gridlock. Instead, try using the efficient and affordable Mass Transit Railway, buy an Oyster Card if you’re going to use this several times.
5. Don’t Bother With the Sky Terrace
Instead of going to popular and overpriced tourist traps such as the Sky Terrace, consider the top of The Peak Galleria mall, it is free and the crowds are nil, also try Central Plaza, the Bank of China, Two IFC and One Island East.
6. Don’t Take the Peak Tram
The Peak is undoubtedly one of the best vantage points in Hong Kong, but taking the overpriced, over-crowded tourist tram up to the top isn’t the only way up there. Instead, if you’re fit, consider hiking up the hill using the designated footpaths.
7. Don’t Underestimate the Language Barrier
If you need to ask anyone for directions, try to find younger people to help, since they’re more likely to speak English. Taxi drivers rarely speak English, so have a map or written address on hand to convey where you want to go.
8. Don’t Forget about the Entry Requirements
Hong Kong has its own entry requirements. Citizens of the US and most western nations do not need any visa to visit Hong Kong for a period of less than 90 days. However, if you want to go to Shenzhen or other parts of mainland China, you will need a separate visa.
9. Don’t Bring Chinese Currency
While China uses the Yuan, Hong Kong still uses its own currency; the Hong Kong dollar. Although you shouldn’t have any problem changing money anywhere in the region. If you’re arriving via mainland China, you’ll need to withdraw or change some money as soon as you get to Hong Kong.
10. Don’t Neglect the Rest of Hong Kong
Venture into the New Territories and you’ll find traditional walled towns like Kat Hing Wa, fishing villages on Lamma Island, beaches in Lantau. Surf in Big Wave Bay, markets in Stanley and Repulse Bay. Visit Cheung Chau island and its Cheung Po Tsai pirate caves. There are lots of places to visit. Don’t miss them!
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