National Geographic Traveler: Hong Kong, 3rd Edition Paperback – Mar 3 2009
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About the Author
PHIL MACDONALD, who wrote the 1st edition and updated the 2nd edition, moved to Hong Kong from Sydney in 1989 to continue his adventures in journalism that began eight years earlier in the west coast city of Perth. He worked for the Hong Kong Standard and South China Morning Post for a number of years before settling-by way of Laos and Singapore-in Phuket, Thailand. He now lives in Bangkok working as a freelance journalist and editor, contributing to a number of regional publications. His interests include Southeast Asian politics and history, and the beaches of Southern Thailand. TREVOR RANGES updated and wrote new features and sidebars for the 3rd and 4th editions. Ranges is a Bangkok-based travel writer whose work includes serving as principal writer for www.tourismthailand.com, the official website of the Tourism Authority of Thailand; contributing to National Geographic Traveler magazine; and writing the National Geographic Traveler: Cambodia guidebook.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This book had some good practical information. They seem to concentrate on what you do in Hong Kong rather than where you stay and eat. They have a lot of walks which are easy to follow. They helped us appreciate the places we went. We will definitly use their guides again.
In general, we do not use hotel and restaurant listings in a guide. Once a restaurant is in a guide, its prices go up and quality goes down. There are much better places, on the internet, to get this information.
I expected a bit of a picture book, frankly, but National Geo surprised me. There are enough pics to show the neat stuff, but it is not the focus of the book. The details provided for most topics are thorough and insightful. Readers will not be left wondering how to get to the destinations, how much they cost, etc. That info is all provided.
My favorite part of this book, especially for people traveling outside of their norm, is the section in the back which covers the basics. It is called "Travelwise" and covers the following:
1. Trip planning - how to get there, what to take, climate, entry requirements, travel to different cities nearby
2. Getting around - transit system, car rental, trains, ferries, taxis, etc.
3. Practical advice - phones/communications, electricity, holidays, opening times, time zone, tipping
4. Emergencies - emergency phone #'s, medical services, disabilities, health/vaccine info, safety
5. Hotels & Restuarants - overview of what to expect in hotels/restuarants, and a listing of recommendations by region (with price range and payment method). Each recommendation has a description of why you might want to visit that establishment.
6. Shopping - overview of bargaining and market times, descriptions of malls and markets, specific areas to shop for books, cameras, clothing, etc.
7. Entertainment & Activites - harbor cruises, night life, dance, cinema, golf, etc.
Also, in the body of the book are focus boxes (usually with a colored background) that give the most pertinent information about a spot. This info can range from a history snippet, to how to obtain tickets. This info is usually something that is helpful and interesting. There are also a lot of map illustrations throughout the text to show an overview of the area being covered. I find it helpful to get the layout of the places I am going.
There is one thing I don't agree with in this book and it involves the taxis. I believe the book states most taxi drivers may know a tad of English, but we didn't encounter that at all. NO ENGLISH. Plus, even though we had our hotel write, in some form of Chinese, where we were going (plus the bellman telling them verbally), we were dropped off at all sorts of random locations. Most of them were "near" our location but it took some maneuvering to figure out how to get to each point from where we were dropped off. We probably took over 20 cab rides, and they were pretty consistent in the level of destination confusion. Make sure you have 2-3 cards with your hotel name/address written in Chinese (bring these with you everywhere, the hotel front desk will make them for you). That way you can just hand one to the taxi driver who can then get you back to the hotel.
Left out of this book is info on the Big Bus Tour. The buses are the red, double decker type like the ones seen in London. They are a fantastic way to see the city. They give riders earbuds to plug into an audio tour. You listen while the bus drives around, and you can hop on and off at the stops. It was really neat to do the Hong Kong Island tour in the evening as the lights were coming on. Quite a sight and neat to watch the crowds from the height of the bus top.
I definitely recommend this book as it has all the info you will need to outline your trip. My last tip is to bring snack foods that you like. Asian food is so incredibly different that we craved some basic American snack foods.