With its neon lights, towering skyscrapers, bustling street markets and extreme population density, Hong Kong can be an overwhelming place. This East/West hybrid is both fascinating and frenetic, so it pays to prepare yourself properly before heading into its fray. On one hand, the city offers a unique culture, fabled history, excellent cuisine and world-class attractions. On the other hand, its intense pace, crowds, smells and contrasts can be dizzying to a visitor. There are plenty of websites out there telling you what to see and do in Hong Kong. However, to experience the city at its fullest, you’ll also need to know what to avoid. Here’s a list of things NOT to do in Hong Kong.
1. Don’t Choose the Cheapest Place to Stay
Accommodation in Hong Kong can be extremely expensive. As such, many budget-conscious visitors are tempted to book the cheapest place possible, but this is a mistake. By choosing rock-bottom hotels, hostels and guesthouses, you’ll likely find yourself in a tiny room with substandard conditions. Chungking Mansion, for example, is a legendary magnet for penny-pinching backpackers, but this crowded Nathan Road flea bag is a fire trap rampant with petty crime and drunken patrons. These days, to beef up security, it’s decked out with CCTV cameras so your every move is being watched. You don’t need to splash out for a fancy hotel, but be prepared to spend a bit more to get a room that is safe and comfortable, and do a little research to pick a place with good reviews.
2. Don’t Spit
Anyone who travels in China knows that it’s a spitting culture, where people (especially the older generation) spray saliva on the streets with abandon. It can be a little unsettling for the genteel traveler, especially when the spitter chews red Betal nuts and their sputum looks like blood. Chalk it up to a cultural difference, as it’s just not considered rude there. Some believe it helps ward off evil spirits. However, cross over to Hong Kong and it is prohibited to spit in public. In fact, you can be fined up to HK$5,000 for doing so.