Hong Kong "Free" City Tour Tourist Traps, Tips, Warnings
The Hong Kong International Airport is modern and cavernous with its own train ferrying passengers to their terminals or baggage claim counters (but still Tutubi loves Singapore's Changi airport. He's seen airports of Mumbai (India), KL (Malaysia) and Bangkok, by the way).
Immigration was a breeze but the airport transfer to the hotel where Tutubi was billeted at Newton Kowloon Hotel in Mong Kok, used a coach (mini-bus), but had to wait for the others booked by the travel agency to arrive add that to the time the coach had to drop off every passenger to their respective hotel. (lesson learned: the airport express is much faster)
Since the "free" city tour was part of the hotel package (booked flights himself via Cebu Pacific to save on costs), Tutubi availed it to see firsthand what the city has to offer; except the tour was just a ploy by the travel agency to squeeze money out of their guests
anyway, no more talk; just show you the pictures:
Golden Bauhinia Square
The Golden Bauhinia Square near the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on the waterfront of Wan Chai marks the most significant occasion in Hong Kong's history - the return of the former British Colony to the People's Republic of China PRC), and the establishment of the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong in 1997. There's a flag-raising ceremony at 8am daily.
Aberdeen Fish Village
An old fishing village in Aberdeen with Stanley Ho's Jumbo Floating restaurant (incidentally, there's also one near the CCP complex in Manila). They will charge you $50 for a few minutes boat ride.
A visit to a jewelry shop and lunch again with touristy prices inserted here but will not disclose details
Repulse Bay and temple
Repulse Bay: Hong Kong Island's most popular beach. The Life Guard Club's terraces are noteworthy for a pair of large statues of two goddesses, Kwun Yum (Goddess of Eternity & Serenity), and Tin Hau (Goddess of the Sea). Behind in big black letters, it says " Number one bay under the sky". This follows the Ancient Chinese mentality that Imperial China was the middle kingdom, and therefore the best in the world. (simply because ancient Chinese didn't know the world yet while the rest of the world, particularly Europe and central asians, also knew the world was flat bordered by India)
After the tour, the tour guide made a melodramatic ad misericordiam appeal for tip, already stated in the contact sheet to be customary fifty dollars, after telling stories that they receive such low wages that had to be shared with their families (as if Filipinos wages are too high and that Filipinos also share their meager incomes with families. Tutubi found this uncalled for since gratuity is expected of many people. Talking about salaries with other people is unethical)
Things not to do during "free" Hong Kong city tour:
1. eat at your friendly tour guide recommended restaurants; they're just too pricey (since your tour guide/agency gets a commission). Many nearby restaurants offer much lesser price
2. buy souvenirs or jewelry from their itinerary; again tour operators get a commission and the place sells touristy prices bordering on rip-off. Cham Pui they're selling is seedless alright but the ones Tutubi bought at the night market in Mong Kok tastes better at a third of the price
3. The'll have photographers take pictures of you that you have to pay. Shell out $150 for your picture on a plate that you can get elsewhere at much lesser price.
Now, tell Tutubi, was the "free" Hong Kong city tour really free?
another warning, there are ads in newspapers of $99 tour of HK. Tutubi's advice: DON'T. The "cheap" tour will take you to many places where you're required to buy something, you'll end up spending more than you expected!
For a truly free tour of Hong Kong, try the Duk Ling or various tours organized by the Hong Kong Tourism Board
Backpacking Hong Kong
Madame Tussauds Hong Kong
Hong Kong Disneyland
Jose Rizal in Hong Kong
Hong Kong in Philippine History
OFWs in Hong Kong
Duk Ling: A Free Tour of Victoria Harbour
Victoria Harbour Cruise
A Symphony of Lights
Ngong Ping 360, Big Buddha, Po Lin Monastery, Wisdom Path
Tags: 金紫荊廣場, 香港, 홍콩
Labels: Hong Kong
posted by backpacking philippines @ 6:12 PM,
- At Aug 23, 2007, 5:44:00 AM, carlotta said...
some "free" city tour. thanks for the warning, i'll just get lost in hong kong on my own. =)
nice pictures btw. =)
- At Aug 23, 2007, 5:53:00 AM, iskoo said...
nadala na ako sa free tour na ganyan, parang inubos lang nila oras ng mga turista, nakakapg taka marami pa rin silang na de denggoy, kaya ginagawa ko tinatakasan ko ang mga free tour na gnayan at ako nalang umiikot ng mag-isa ko, hehehe.
parang ang dami ng pagbabago ng HK. co sadyang malupit lang si tutubi sa pagkuha ng litrato?
- At Aug 23, 2007, 7:34:00 AM, Gita Asuncion said...
thanks for the warning! been eyeing that $99 trip pa naman...
anyway, just a little kwento, i was watching some pinoy classic movies the other day, and i got to see HongKong Holiday which starred Gloria Romero, Ric Rodrigo, Dolphy and Paraluman in their much younger days. sometime in the 60's ata ang movie. they had a scene exactly at the Floating Restaurant in your photo... i wish we, filipinos, know how to take care of our national landmarks, the way other countries do.
yea, great shots from you, as usual!
- At Aug 23, 2007, 9:47:00 AM, Sidney said...
Lesson learned! Discover th city alone!
- At Aug 23, 2007, 10:23:00 AM, tutubi said...
you won't get lost in hong kong. my later posts will guide you how with tutubi's do-it-yourself (DIY) tours
tipid na, maximized pa oras mo.
iskoo, yep. you won't be able to maximize your time with package tours aside from spending so much more. Didn't take the "free" shenzen tour, btw, been forewarned
at ang lupit din ng comment mo ha
gita, that floating restaurant is an old landmark of HK. the one in manila is said to be restaurant fronting for a casino.
sidney, didn't have a choice there since i'm not alone. the succedding days there were all DIY tours :)
- At Aug 23, 2007, 11:59:00 AM, said...
Nice post and what I learned from this post is that we ought to discover the city alone!
I love the photos!
- At Aug 23, 2007, 11:46:00 PM, Gita Asuncion said...
ooops sorry for the misunderstanding.. when i said landmarks natin, i didnt mean the floating restau sa may CCP, no, not that at all! .. i meant the other landmarks that we take for granted... some, we just transfer and move around.. some others, we just totally demolish.. others, we even leave to rot... sayang kasi... parang walang pagpapahalaga sa history natin... sad lang...
- At Aug 24, 2007, 2:34:00 AM, banggigay said...
ei! No1 city ko ang HK! 30mins you're in the beach...30 minutes you're on the mountains! ..and it's so vibrant anytime of the day! :) ganda ng photos mo!
- At Aug 24, 2007, 10:24:00 PM, mousey said...
wow! astig ng galaan.
may tag ako sa iyo.
- At Aug 24, 2007, 10:45:00 PM, pieterbie said...
Thanks for the advice, Hong-Kong looks like a terrific place, but I guess you can really get screwed.
- At Aug 25, 2007, 5:02:00 AM, said...
GEEZ! Some people can be so brazen talaga. Thanks for the tip, Tutubi! I've read so much about them scalpers in HK and China.
- At Aug 25, 2007, 10:25:00 AM, dodongflores said...
Interesting trip out there, Tutubi!
I like the straightforward captions and the photos. I agree with Iskoo, malupit si Tutubi kumuha ng mga photos :)
I was also in Hongkong 7 years ago and all my films were exposed to the X-ray machines, Huhuhuhu...
By the way, we have the same grade in Lakbayan, B-. ;)
- At Aug 25, 2007, 10:26:00 AM, dodongflores said...
Looking forward for more of this series :)
- At Aug 25, 2007, 10:27:00 PM, Abaniko said...
When I go to a new place, I usually explore the place on my own. It's cheaper and more exciting this way. Of course, I get tips from the internet and friends.
- At Aug 26, 2007, 1:03:00 AM, tin-tin said...
hahaha. ganyan din nangyari sa amin, lalo na sa mom ko nung pumunta kme sa hongkong dati for the first time :)
- At Aug 26, 2007, 9:42:00 AM, Mari said...
Wonderful pictures Tutubi. Thanks for sharing with us.
I did hear about those places recommended by tour guides, that they get commission from those places. Thanks for reminding us.
- At Aug 26, 2007, 1:36:00 PM, SexyMom said...
sometimes free tours are just a waste of time, might as well go to the places i want to go to, even if i spend more. one free tour i like is that given by the Singapore Airport, like if you have spare time of 5(?) hours in the airport, you can join the tour that goes to the city.
my last trip to hongkong was several years ago, it must be very different now.
- At Aug 27, 2007, 2:29:00 PM, said...
kainggit naman escapedes mo tutubi!keep us updated
- At Aug 27, 2007, 4:23:00 PM, Alternati said...
Great Pics tutubi.
And thanks for the tips. :D
- At Aug 27, 2007, 7:07:00 PM, Bill Bilig said...
Thanks for the advice. I can't imagine people asking for tips. Tips should depend on the generosity of the customer and whether the guide delivered more than satisfactory service :-)
- At Aug 28, 2007, 7:26:00 PM, tutubi said...
kyels, my next posts of this HK series will detail them all
gita, hong kong also do not value their architectural heritage. much of the old buildings already got the ire of the wrecking ball
banggigay, that's hong kong's edge over singapore, they have nature trips
mousey, naku, meron na naman tag. sa paetechie blog ko reply dyan if ever ;)
pieterbie, lots of tourist traps there :(
dylan, next posts puro backpacking hong kong na talaga
dodong, salamat sa compliments. visit ka na lang uli dun at least digital na :)
abaniko, ganun na nga...susunod iba na puro DIY trips na talaga
tin-tin, waste of time and money, the "free" city tours
mari, that's the same almost everywhere but the level in Hong Kong is really astounding :(
sexymom, yes they have tours by the tourism authorities even short shopping tours to Citygate outlets
che, already posted a new one ;)
alternati, dami pa susunod :P
bill, the guides on meeting them at the airport will hand you a piece of paper that states "it is customary to give tips of $50 for every tour availed" plus the plea for mercy to give more since they have a family to feed
- At Aug 30, 2007, 4:24:00 PM, Toe said...
$50???!!! That's not US Dollars, is it? I think the best tourist guide would be a friend who has lived in the place for a long time... no long-winded explanations of things you don't understand either. And if the friend is filipino, he or she would surely bring you to the cheapest and most delicious restaurants. :) Still, you took great pictures Tutubi! And now, I want to go to Hongkong! :)
- At Sep 3, 2007, 12:48:00 PM, Belle said...
pictures are awesome. the last time i was there was in 1986, about 21 years ago so HK is totally different now.
like iskoo, i prefer to explore places alone as opposed to being with the group.
- At Sep 8, 2007, 7:10:00 AM, ivan man dy said...
One of the best free tours Ive taken is by the Hong Kong Tourism Board near the Ritz (across the HSBC) in Central. We were provided with high-tech frequency head sets so we could still hear the guides from a distance (deposit of HK&100 but returnable), the one i took was a walking tour of central where we even went up the iconic Bank of China building. It was great!