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It’s hot, humid and heavenly for bargain hunters in Hong Kong, according to our Best Travel Designer, Toni Pailthorpe.

Toni went on a fact-finding mission to Hong Kong so she could offer the latest tips and information for those heading to the thriving former British colony.

If you can’t stand the prospect of being among the bustle of a big city in hot temperatures then you should probably look elsewhere. But Toni says Hong Kong can be the ideal stopover location for those who want to get a taste of this fascinating island’s culture and score a few fantastic bargains at the same time.

English is widely spoken in Hong Kong and Toni says she always felt secure out in the city, even at night. That contrasted with a wariness she felt during a day-trip over to the Chinese mainland city of Shenzhen where she was warned about pickpockets and men trying to entice female travellers back to their homes.

That said, Toni thoroughly enjoyed a visit to the Shenzhen museum where some of the famous Terracotta Warrior figures are on display.

Back in Hong Kong, Toni took a cable car to Victoria Peak where visitors can overlook the urban sprawl of Hong Kong and Kowloon. And Toni could certainly appreciate the view after a visit to a Hong Kong optician saw her secure an eye test, new spectacles and lenses all for the equivalent of $130NZ.

“You get good value for your money and I was surprised at the bargains on offer; everything from clothing to electronics,” says Toni. “You’ve got to be prepared to barter in the buzzing market places. The city really can be a shock to the system when you come from somewhere like Hawke’s Bay. But it’s a fascinating place, easy to communicate and I always felt safe there.”

Toni checked out most of the hotels that Best Travel clients use when in Hong Kong and was impressed with the standards and facilities.

“The staff will do anything for you and really look after you. I can see why it’s such a popular stopover choice. But I would definitely recommend you book a hotel with a pool because the temperature hovers around 35 degrees at just about 100 percent humidity.”

A new Hong Kong airport also makes life easier for nervous passengers who previously had to endure a descent to a runway squeezed in between two large buildings!

Published in Best’s Summer 07 newsletter

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