Sightseeing Tours, Hong Kong
Unless you speak Cantonese well or are with a friend who does, NO!
My mum wanted to take some tours around the harbour, countryside and outlying islands. She went to the tourist office and they gave her ones for English speaking tours for tourists. Later she went to a local place, spoke Cantonese and found the same tours for half the price.
The tourist tours are a rip off!! DO NOT GO!
Unique Suggestions: Most of the sights are VERY easily accessible anyway, because of the excellent transport system in HK. Just work out what you want to see, and how to get there (ask hotel conceirge or tourist office) and you will save a lot of money.
UNLESS - You want to go to particular more hard to get to, remote places that you cannot find out how to get to or things you must join a tour for eg: boat trip round the harbour, remote islands etc.
Fun Alternatives: Get plenty of free leaflets from tourist offices and read them! They explain the best things to see, how to get there and there are sometimes special offers for tourists. We managed to get a free ride in the last junk left in HK!!
They tell you when museums are free (day of week) etc.
Wot ever you do say no to the guys trying to read your palm and other stuff like that,, They aren't good at it and they try really hard to take all your money,, i had a couple of bad moments with then and they just get very angry if you dont pay them alot of your money.. saying no isn't easy but i found you had to be alittle rude,, which is never nice,,
if only i had though about how modern hong kong is and its extensive, efficent and reliable transport system i wouldn't have booked guided tours to Lantau Island (to see the big buddha) or Macau which costed about AU$140 each and lasted for about 2.5 hours excluding all the time wasted in travelling through traffic to get to the ports and exit points to get to these places.
Unique Suggestions: enjoy the refreshing sea breeze of the south china sea and its beautiful surroundings
enjoy the included vegetarian meal at the temple at the valley of the seated big buddha which... IS BIG... the meal was delicious!
enjoy the site of the fishing village at lantau island... even though i'm beginning to think its all just a set up... it was nevertheless pretty on a sunny day.
breath and relax from hong kongs noise, crowd and polution as you wander along (with ur guide) the european style paved paths and enjoy the european architecture...... at least I did, in terms of cash, this is the closest i can be to europe at the moment =)
Fun Alternatives: Macau is easy peasy. go directly to the ferries and purchase a return trip to macau early in the morning so that you can stay longer there as it takes 1.5 hours each way.
once you're there, there is an abundant choice of all modes of transport that can take you anywhere---- grab a free macau guide and you''re set!
its a little trickier on lantau island because it is more remote. after arriving here by ferry, there are buses to all the attractions but the downside is they are less frequent and if you get lost... you'll sometimes be stuck in the middle of a foresty hill with no one in sight-- but that sounds exciting itself !!!
Don't believe everything that the local guide tells you.
1)A half-day city tour was included in our trip. In the morning, the guide offered everyone a Tim Sum breakfast and a lunch for HK$240 for each person. Since there were five of us, we paid HK$1200. The food was lousy so we definitely felt cheated. A few days later, my family ate Tim Sum at the hotel where we were staying and the bills were less than HK$300 each.
2)Our guide brought us to a big jeweller which he had promoted during the journey. The company is famous for their 'fortune' pendant that turns whenever you move. where we spent thousands of HK$ buying the jewelleries there believing that they are unique, happy that they had given us some discounts. But horrors of horrors, when we went to Shenzhen with another guide, we discovered the the pendants were selling at half of what we paid. They claimed that the pendants sold in HK were made in China! Who shall I believe?
3) In Hong Kong, we were also brought to a chinese medical hall where my father was persuaded to buy expensive herbs and medication said to be rare and supplies are limited. Believing that the herbs will help him in his medical conditons, my father spent yet thousands of dollars. Once again over at Shengzhen and some medical halls in Hong Kong itself, the same herbs were sold much cheaper.
Talking about money well spent, just don't buy where your guide brings you.
I was born and raised in Hong Kong. I've never ever seen a single Junk sailing in the harbour!
Unique Suggestions: Tell me if you saw it!!