How to plan for the Hong Kong Tea Expo?


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How to plan for the Hong Kong Tea Expo?

Postby MEversbergII » Jan 23rd, '14, 12:35

Heyo,

So I think my first overseas destination shall be Hong Kong. It's "China Lite", basically. I think a good time to go would be during a week where the tea expo is being held, probably in 2015.

So, never having traveled overseas before, what's some good things to know when planning a visit to HK, and specifically the tea expo? I did some cursory research last year and the tickets are pretty expensive - 1500/person round trip, if I recall.

I know I'll need:
    Passport
    Airfaire
    Hotel
    Expo Ticketing
    Food Budget

Best I've done is a weekend trip to Baltimore. This is significantly more involved. Where on earth do I begin?

M.
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Re: How to plan for the Hong Kong Tea Expo?

Postby chingwa » Jan 23rd, '14, 20:47

Well if you've never really travelled before, Hong Kong is going to be quite an unforgettable JOURNEY :D I found I enjoyed Hong Kong much more than almost anywhere in mainland China, but that may have more to do with my own tastes etc.

English is pretty common, and you shouldn't have TOO much trouble getting around... the transit system is really great (air-conditioned subways!) and is really convenient. Even the bus system is pretty well maintained and efficient. I found restaurants often are Cantonese-speaking only, but it's pretty easy to point at picture menus, or you could ask for an English speaking waiter sometimes.

I'm not sure if you need a Chinese visa or not... I got one when I went, but I was going to the mainland during the same time and can't remember the specifics anymore. It's something to look into for sure, as you would need to arrange well ahead of your trip.

There's tons of stuff to do in and around Hong Kong. make sure to save at least a few full days for sight seeing outside of the tea expo. Bring comfortable walking shoes :) I recommend getting around to the other side of the island a bit... Stanley, and Repulse Bay area are a nice change from the hectic north side of Hong Kong island and only about 30 minutes via bus.

See Victoria Peak (of course). I'd also highly recommend taking a day-trip out to Lantau island to see the giant buddha, and ride the friggin' awesome glass bottomed cable car! Perhaps stopping at Tai O village to see a rural side of Hong Kong that is almost completely gone. You could also take a day-trip to Macau via hydroplane (if you like gambling) :D

Also... DIM SUM! There's lots of options, and everyone has their own favorite. As bizarre as it sounds I really enjoyed the traditional cart-driven Dim Sum they serve at Hong Kong City Hall... I went back multiple times. :) Just get their right when it opens at 10:30 (or 11?) or you'll need to wait in line.

I didn't do a whole lot of tea-related stuff when I was there. There's an OK tea museum in Hong Kong park, and a great little teahouse next door where you could drink the afternoon away.

You're not likely to run out of things to do in Hong Kong. :D
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Re: How to plan for the Hong Kong Tea Expo?

Postby jayinhk » Jan 23rd, '14, 22:54

If you're flying out of JFK (New York), tickets can be as cheap as $600 roundtrip; try the discount ticket sites. It's way too early to buy tickets for 2015, but $1,500 is way too high IMO.

Americans get six months on arrival in HK without a visa, so that's not something you need to worry about at all.

You won't need to change any money either; it's very easy to exchange USD in HK.

Hotels will be your biggest expense if you're staying for a week or so. There are budget options for as little as $40 a night, but they are surprisingly tiny. Any decent hotel is going to be $100 a night or more, although one possible alternative is to stay out on one of the quaint little (bike-friendly) islands like Cheung Chau and then ferry it in every day. That will mean you get more for your money as far as accomodation goes and if you like seafood, there will be a ton of fresh seafood around!
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Re: How to plan for the Hong Kong Tea Expo?

Postby MEversbergII » Jan 28th, '14, 12:24

Well, not much for sea food, but the other half is. I'm thinking that if the tea expo is three days, I'll try to spend a week in HK. No idea how to account for arrival time / jet lag, but that should give me at least two days to see the city, outside of the Expo's time window.

$40/night sounds fine; as long as the room is at least 6' long by 4' wide I think I'll be fine. I don't intend to bring any luggage or clothing with me (just more money). This'll keep me from loading up on misc. things without reason and if I find something important enough I can always find places to acquire luggage - it's a city.

Speaking of money, is it possible to use U.S. credit cards over there? Also, can foreigners get an Octopus card? If I intend to take the bus, I figure it might be handy. Would also make a neat souvenir on it's own.

How much does food, to use the phrase very openly, cost on the town? The frugal side of me says to bring protein powder and multi's (I call 'em field rations), but not a chance in hell. Also I shall be suspending the Primal Blueprint eating pattern in exchange for just about everything.

I'll probably crash course myself on Cantonese, at least enough to order things.

M.
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Re: How to plan for the Hong Kong Tea Expo?

Postby wyardley » Jan 28th, '14, 20:57

Stay in a guest house if you're not too picky about accommodations.

http://www.sealandhouse.com.hk/ I think is where we stayed. There are some buildings that you may want to stay away from; plenty of reviews on Tripadvisor etc.

I don't think you'll need to know much Cantonese, not to mention that Cantonese has a fairly complex tone structure and some difficult sounds if you're not used to speaking it. Yes, there are some folks who don't speak much English, but overall, you can get around pretty well in HK speaking English only, and by pointing.

Yes, getting an octopus card is no problem. Your credit and debit cards should work, but check with your bank(s) about foreign currency fees etc. ahead of time, as these can vary. Many banks charge 1-2% or so.

You can find a broad range of price ranges for food there, from very low-budget to very high-end. Most HK people eat out all the time, and lots of delicious low-cost options, so I'd take advantage of them. Check out the private kitchens, food courts, night markets, etc.
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Re: How to plan for the Hong Kong Tea Expo?

Postby jayinhk » Jan 29th, '14, 21:23

I would definitely bring a suitcase, clothes, multis and protein powder anyway. I'd never travel without a suitcase since you'll have a weight allowance built into your ticket, so why not use it? You can fill your suitcase up in HK. Bring a minimal amount of stuff so you can buy more tea and fun stuff while in HK, although HK is not as cheap as it used to be and a lot of stuff costs more than in the US.

Guesthouses are fine, but I'd avoid Chungking Mansions and go for Mirador or preferably another building entirely. I like Yes Hostel on HK Island since I'm a HK-Islander and am far more comfortable on HK Island, where I was born and have spent most of my life! :)

Not only will you be able to get an Octopus card, they have special tourist ones that get you certain discounts.

Meals can go from $3 up to $3,000+ depending on how much you want to spend; HK caters for every price range.

As WYardley said, most HK people eat out at least twice a day. Many people don't even have kitchens!
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