Episode 002 Show Notes – Hong Kong with Kids
With your hosts Keri Hedrick, Marta Correale and Marianne Rogerson.
Our guest in this episode is long-term Hong Kong resident Carolynne Dear, Editor of Hong Kong Family Traveller magazine who guides us through tackling a Hong Kong city trip with kids.
Reminder if you missed our introductory episode, pop back to Episode 1 of the City Travel with Kids Podcast to read all about Rome with Kids!
We covered a community question “Should I take a compact stroller with me for a short stopover in Singapore, or just a carrier?”
- If you only have one child, it can make sense to take a compact stroller that you can use in both the airport and in Singapore which is quite stroller-friendly
- Click here to read our pick of the best compact strollers
- Note that Singapore is humid and you might het hot and sweaty using a baby carrier the whole time
- We will be covering a lot more on the best travel products in Episode 3
[5.46] Interview with Carolynne Dear
Marianne, a previous Hong Kong resident herself interviewed Carolynne Dear, editor at Hong Kong Family Traveller, mum of 4 and Hong Kong resident since 2010.
Hong Kong can be portrayed as a work-hard play-hard city, and a bit of a concrete jungle. Whilst some of it is true, Hong Kong is actually very green, packed full of hiking opportunities and beaches. Their “backyard” runs all the way to the Chinese border and is not promoted enough.
[ 10.10] Important things to note about planning a trip to Hong Kong
- A very safe place to live and visit
- Main languages are Cantonese and English – English is widely spoken though you may want an app for talking with taxi drivers
- Hong Kong is quite seasonal and there are better times to visit:
- The best time is autumn September through to December
- Hottest and most humid is June to August with typhoon season July to Sept/Oct
- Rain season lasts March through to Jun/Jul.
- Winter months can be quite cold and grey Jan/Feb.
[13.42] Hong Kong family itinerary
Lantau Island (where you’ll find Hong Kong International Airport)
- Hong Kong Disneyland – close to airport do in a day
- Visit Big Buddha from Tung Chung, taking the Ngong Ping Cable Car
Hong Kong Island
- Ocean Park on the south side, a great alternative to Disneyland
- The Peak – very touristy but amazing views and wonderful stroller-friendly walk
- New Gordon Ramsey restaurant Bread Street Kitchen
- Peak tram shut currently for renovations (expect re-open later 2019). Catch a taxi or bus from Central, or older children can manage the Lugard Rd walk
- New restaurants and attractions opening on the Peak summer 2019
[19.00] Getting around in Hong Kong
- Public transit system called MTR is clean and efficient, very punctual and very cheap
- Octopus Card top it up at convenience stores or stations
[20.12] Getting tickets for attractions
- To avoid queues and get discounts try ticketing app Klook
- Disneyland tickets can also be purchased at Central Station, highly recommended you get here before opening time
- Get in early anywhere to avoid queues
- Travelling mid-week and outside of local school holidays really helps
[20.12] Get ideas to fill a 3 day itinerary
- Stanley Market – more fixed shops than a traditional market but under cover so still good in the rain. Stanley has a pirate ship play area and some family-friendly restaurants on the waterfront.
- Catch the Aqua Luna (Chinese Junk) from Central or TST will drop you off at Stanley Pier
- Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens – better to get a taxi.
- Cross from HK Island to Kowloon taking the Star Ferry – very cheap and great skyline views (do it at night for best views).
- Look at the markets on the Kowloon side. The Ladies Market operates during the day and Temple St Market at night.
- The Jade Market in Yau Ma Tei is also good fun.
[25.10] More attractions to visit if you have longer in Hong Kong
- Look at the outlying islands – Lantau Island is the biggest, but there are 100s of smaller Hong Kong islands to try too.
- Go to the Central ferry piers, you can go out to any of the islands.
- Take the Discovery Bay ferry – play park and beaches.
- Lamma Island – a nice walk you can do, Chinese seafood restaurants and calm beaches.
- Best beaches – Big Wave Bay at the south end of Hong Kong island. Here you can hire body boards from the shacks and lots of little eating places.
- Shek O is a larger beach – check out Cococabana
- In Stanley – avoid the main beach, go to St Stephens Beach.
- The New Territories – Clear Water Bay 1 & 2, MTR to Hang Hau then get a taxi, here you will find kiosks on the beach.
- Fishing town Sai Kung seafront walk, hire a sampan lady to take you out to beaches on the little islands
- Chi Lin nunnery on Diamond Hill is a hidden gem
- Cheung Chau outlying island with pirate caves an hour away
[30.49] Best areas to stay in Hong Kong and suggested hotels
- Hong Kong Disneyland has 3 hotels – Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel, Disney’s Hollywood Hotel and Disney’s Explorer Lodge.
- The Ritz on TST side or newer luxury offerings the Rosewood or The St Regis Hong Kong
- Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong is surprisingly great with children, probably one of the city’s best pool decks.
- Auberge Discovery Bay is close to Disney and the airport
- Le Meridien Cyberport includes greenspace and adjacent to Cyberport Park
- Hotel Purple Hong Kong, close to Causeway Bay
- Ocean Park Marriott Hotel is brand new with 4 pools, kids pack, kids activities and overlooking Ocean Park.
[36.00] Favourite places to eat in Hong Kong with kids
- Hong Kong is famous for its Cantonese cuisine and there are plenty of options that should suit most children’s pallets but make sure you try the local specialty Dim Sum.
- Cococabana in Shek O
- Areas to try: Stanley, Repulse Bay, Discovery Bay, all have a selection of really family-friendly restaurants.
- The Diner at Midlevels if you want more western style food
- Maxims Palace at City Hall – A great Dim Sum experience
- Din Tai Fung – several branches over the city
- Mak’s Noodle – now expanded to a chain
- Brunches are good, a special one to try is Hutong in One Peking with amazing views of Hong Kong harbour and family entertainment
- Walk around Soho – a lot you cannot book so go early you should have no problem with getting tables
[39.40] Resources and items you will need to pack for Hong Kong
- Pack good walking shoes
- With young children look to bring stroller alternatives
- Check time of year, if it’s cold you need layers
- In summer you need light, loose clothing but also a light cardigan to deal with the inside air conditioning.
- See our complete packing list for Hong Kong
[40.45] Our Fast 5 Questions on Hong Kong
- Hidden Gem: Yau Lei Island
- Splurge: Get yourself a babysitter and grab an extravagant meal or cocktail at the Ritz
- Save: Take the MTR to save on transport
- App: HK Taxi App
- Playground: Stanley Pirate Ship; Repulse Bay – the Pulse.
Remember you can jump over to our City Travel with Kids Facebook Group to chat more and don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss an episode!
About our City Expert – Carolynne Dear
Carolynne is mum of four Australian-born children, aged from ten to 16 years. She has lived in Hong Kong for nine years, arriving from Sydney in 2010 when her children were aged one, three, five and seven years. Carolynne has worked as a journalist for 25 years on newspapers and magazines in London, Sydney and Hong Kong.
She is currently the editor of bimonthly print and e-magazine Hong Kong Family Traveller, and also runs Facebook Group, Hong Kong Travelling Mums. She lives in Hong Kong’s Clearwater Bay district in the New Territories area of Hong Kong.
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