Hong Kong on Business: Top Tips

Topping the lists of the best cities in Asia for business travel, Hong Kong is a sparkling, vibrant metropolis that attracts business and leisure travellers alike. Like Singapore, the city manages to perfectly balance the east-meets-west vibe, maintaining its Chinese cultural heritage while combining it with glossy modern hotels and state-of-the-art shopping malls. With a very efficient public transport system, which includes the world-famous Star Ferry, as well as a selection of top-quality hotels and a glittering skyline, this city is the perfect Asia business destination.

Getting there

Connecting Hong Kong to most major cities in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia, Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) has frequently been voted the World’s Best Airport. It’s also the origin of one of the longest flights in the world: Cathay Pacific’s 14,500km flight to New York. As airports go, HKG is pretty efficient, with short immigration queues and minimal delays.

The quickest way to reach the city from HKG is by Airport Express train, which takes 24 minutes to Central Station and costs HK $100, with trains running every 10-12 minutes. A taxi, which is easily booked or hailed from outside the airport, will cost HK $250-350 plus any toll fees. For something a little flashier (and more environmentally friendly), you could take a Tesla Airport Transfer for HK $299.

If you’re trying to save money, you may fly into Shenzen Airport in mainland China, as the airfares from Europe are cheaper. This option can get quite tricky though, as not only is the public transport route into Hong Kong rather complicated, but you will need a Chinese visa, or a double entry visa if you intend coming back the same way. Macau International Airport is another option if you’re looking for cheaper flights. This has the advantage of the Express Link, which transfers you by ferry to Hong Kong without the need to go through Macau Immigration.

Getting around

Hong Kong boasts one of the world’s best public transport systems. It’s clean; it’s safe; it’s efficient and it’s easy, and better yet, all modes of transport can be conveniently paid for by Octopus Card, similar to London’s Oyster card. The islands are connected by MTR (underground), bus, ferry and tram, plus there’s always a taxi about should you wish. Taxis are also cheap and plentiful, with prices around $22 for the first 2km then $1.60 for every 200m after. In Hong Kong, travel is often an attraction in itself, with the tram and train rides offering fabulous skyline views, with the Star Ferry from Tsim Sha Tsui to Central being perhaps the most route famous of all. Furthermore, the Peak Tram, which whisks travellers to the top of Victoria Peak, is especially stunning at night. Although Uber is available here, the MTR and taxis are so cheap you probably won’t bother, although some say Uber drivers are less likely to overcharge than taxi drivers.

Where to stay

Most of Hong Kong’s 257 hotels are concentrated around Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, meaning that harbour views are pretty common (although you will pay more for them). For a great panorama try the Lan Kwai Fong Hotel @ Kau U Fong in Central Hong Kong, which offers a choice of city, harbour or mountain view rooms as well as an Intimate Michelin-starred Celebrity Cuisine Cantonese restaurant, Celebrity Cuisine. If you like Cantonese food, then The Langham Hotel Hong Kong is another good option, just a stone’s throw from Victoria Harbour and offering a choice of restaurants including the three Michelin-starred Tang Court.

If you want to wear off all the dim sum, many of Hong Kong’s hotels, and therefore gyms, are found in skyscrapers, meaning that you can work out with a view. Try the Mandarin Oriental, where the gym is on the 24th floor and offers great views across Victoria Harbour. Or try the Health Club at the Hotel ICON, where the 9th floor gym has sweeping views of the skyline. Come in the evening to watch the nightly Symphony of Lights fireworks while you pound the treadmill.

Getting down to business

Many of the larger and chain hotels in Hong Kong have meeting rooms. Particular ones to seek out include the Ritz-Carlton, which offers a choice of 13 opulent function rooms, many with harbour views and all with top of the range facilities, and the Grand Hyatt, which offers 22 event venues right next door to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, including a 1,600-seater ballroom.

The city’s conference centres include the aforementioned Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre as well as the AsiaWorld-Expo, both of which are in walking distance of an MTR station.

Keep an eye out for the Chinese-influenced business etiquette you will see displayed in Hong Kong, a city where politeness will get you everywhere. For example, tea is often served at meetings, but it is polite not to drink any until your host has had some. When the meeting is over, delegates will leave their cups full. Also, business cards are frequently given; always receive them with two hands.

What to do in your free time

Whether it’s your first time in Hong Kong or you’ve been here myriad times before, if you’re lucky enough to find yourself with some free time then Hong Kong has plenty of attractions to keep you entertained. Recommended restaurants and bars include the European and Middle Eastern fusion food at Amber at the Landmark Mandarin Oriental, and the international all-day buffet at PLAYT at the Park Lane. For a bird’s-eye view of the city, ride the historic tram to the pinnacle of Victoria Peak. Go at sunset to see Hong Kong light up before your eyes. For something more unusual, ride the world’s longest outdoor covered escalator in the central mid-levels or go on a pink dolphin watching trip off the coast of Lantau Island, where just 200 of these rare creatures reside.

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