Thursday, February 19, 2015

Hong Kong: Highlights Daily Life

Traveling to Hong Kong, in my opinion, gets a little easier each time you visit. For one thing, you get used to being the minority, you get used to using public transportation, you get accustomed to packing a bag before you leave the house and you learn to LOVE the food and convenience of shopping.

Daily Life:

Because you are using public transportation to get everywhere, a BAG is a must when you leave home. You won't have a car to run back to if you need something. Any bag will work, but a great bag will be able to hold a good bit without being too heavy to carry. A great bag will also have an outside pocket to put your OCTOPUS card inside so you can just slide your bag (or wallet) over the NFC (Near Field Communication) sensor at the many public transportation stations. You can also load money on your card and use it for purchasing at most stores (people in Hong Kong really don't use ATM cards or credit - mainly cash or OCTOPUS).

What to pack in your bag:

  • Mini Umbrella
  • Snack
  • Water (most restaurants serve tea or soft drinks only)
  • Packs of tissue (you won't receive a ton of napkins at restaurants)
  • Hand sanitizer (we carried wipes)
  • Scarf that can be used for a wrap or wear a jacket (even on the most humid days, the air conditioning in malls and public transportation is cold - the wind between the buildings can also be cold)
  • Cell Phone/earbuds
  • OCTOPUS card 
Traveling with baby or toddler:

Since we were traveling with a toddler (2 years 4 months), I often used his small backpack as a diaper bag and my bag. You don't know when you might return home or how long a trip might take so plenty of diapers, wipes, a bag to put dirty diapers inside and a change of clothes. There aren't always changing table either!!! We practiced changing his diaper standing up for a couple of weeks before we visited. You can always put the toilet seat down and have him or her stand up for changing (of course if it isn't a messy diaper). Of course, there are stores everywhere so forgetting something isn't an issue. 


Stroller Access:

If you have a busy toddler who doesn't like to sit still (as we do), a stroller is a huge plus. Friends gave us a Maclaren stroller to use on our trip. It was a lifesaver!! Navigating the streets is sometimes difficult at rush hour, but the MTR stations have stroller access, there are lifts everywhere and balancing a stroller up or down the escalator is achievable. Also, a lot of restaurants do not have high chairs so the stroller is used there.

Whatever stroller you choose, it should be one that takes up limited space and can fold really quickly. Our little man spent most of his transportation rides in the stroller until he discovered how cool it was to hold onto the bar and spread his legs for balance on the MTR.

At home, the basket at the bottom of the stroller is used a lot to store items, but Hong Kong streets are quite dusty. Bringing a plastic bag to store an extra jacket or bought items is a plus if you use the basket on the stroller. Our Mommy Hook came in handy as well.

Food: 

"American Food" is scarce in Hong Kong, but there are usually options. If you are a picky eater, buns, Congee, rice and noodles are on every menu. There are always little shops along the way to get items you may want to snack on between meals if you know you are not going to try different foods.

Our families' building had a Starbucks, Spaghetti 360 , Cafe De Coral and California Pizza Kitchen. There are also Japanese and Vietnamese restaurants.  McDonalds isn't hard to find at all as well as KFC and Wendys.

Dim Sum: What to Try Serious Eats

Dim Sum is a must if you visit Hong Kong and the restaurants are everywhere. Dim Sum is a great way to try different foods as it is served family style. You have your own bowl and chopsticks and everyone orders. The food is in the center of the table on a Lazy Susan and you can try everything.

My Favorites:

  • Congee (great for a toddler)
  • Lo Baak Gou
  • Cha Sui Bao
  • Lo Mai Gai
  • Har Gau

Stay tuned for updates on these posts when we return to the states. Pictures will be added then. I can't wait for everyone to see the photos of the foods and of our little man holding his own on the MTR and escalators. 



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