Taiwan, HK and Macau

Trips to HK, Taiwan and Macau:

– HK, Macau and Kinmen (Taiwan), July-August 2016

– HK and southern Taiwan, February 2012

– HK and Macau, July-August 2007 (in Polish, scroll down to the bottom of the page)


HK, Macau and Kinmen (Taiwan), July-August 2016

As a part of our trip to mainland China we spent 6 days in Hong Kong, 2 days in Macau and 4 days in Kinmen, a small Taiwanese island near Xiamen

Hong Kong

Accomodation: this time we stayed in HK Premium Guesthouse in Mirador Mansion (Tsim Sha Tsui). The price is very variable and depends on current demand. The first time we got our room for a bargain price of HK$ 160/night, another time it was a more standard HK$ 280. Small double room, AC, ensuite bathroom, both times booked via booking.com. A notch above the usual Mirador&Chungking Mansions guesthouse. The room was small but a bit bigger than the beds only, with some space for luggage and a fridge. Bathroom big enough for a comfortable shower. Very clean. Recommended.

Changing money: on the ground floors of Chungking Mansions and Mirador Mansion there are several moneychangers with very good rates. For those travelling to mainland China, it is even a little better to change money from USD (or EUR) to HK$ to CNY there than a simple USD to CNY change in a bank in mainland China. An example of current rates from one of those moneychangers: http://www.ksme.hk/ratetable.pdf


A contactless Octopus card is essential for moving around HK. The best option for a visitor is an on-loan Octopus, to be purchased at the airport train station for HK$ 150 (including HK$ 100 stored value and HK$ 50 refundable deposit, HK$ 9 is deducted if returned earlier than 3 months from purchase),


From/to the airport – A buses are the cheapest option. A21 for Kowloon costs HK$ 33 one way or HK$ 55 return (return ticket to be used within 3 months). A paper coupon is used for the return ticket, while a one way ride can be paid for by Octopus.



Other useful websites:

MTR: http://www.mtr.com.hk/en/customer/tourist/index.php

Links to all public transport websites: http://www.td.gov.hk/en/transport_in_hong_kong/public_transport/index.html

To the mainland: we took the MTR to Lo Wu (ca. HK$ 40) and walked across the border to the Shenhzen train station with frequent departures to Guangzhou (79,5 Y). Considerably cheaper than the direct Kowloon-Guangzhou train.

From Macau – we took a ferry. Schedules and fares: https://www.turbojet.com.hk/en/routing-sailing-schedule/hong-kong-macau/sailing-schedule-fares.aspx A road bridge cum tunnel to Macau is already being constructed and may be ready by 2017 or 2018.

Outlying Islands

We did several trips to the Outlying Islands, probably our favourite places in HK. A useful Transport Department website lists all ferry connections:


We used ferries from Central (within walking distance from the Star Ferry pier) and the very useful inter-islands ferry between Peng Chau, Mui Wo (Lantau) and Cheung Chau for hopping between the islands. On Lantau we used New Lantao buses: http://www.newlantaobus.com/route


We visited a few beaches in HK. Public beaches offer full infrastructure (changing rooms, showers, toilets, lifeguards on duty) completely free of charge. They do get crowded, especially on weekends.

Shek O – nice sand, great landscape, OK water, a lot of shady trees. Good for swimming.

Cheung Chau, Kwun Yam Wan beach (a smaller one behind the Warwick Hotel and helipad) – nice sand, clean water, some shady trees. Good for swimming.

Mui Wo (Silvermine Bay), Lantau island – OK for chilling out on the beach (some shady trees) but not really good for swimming with muddy seabed and dirty water in result.

Pui O Beach, Lantau – extremely dirty with a lot of plastic thrash floating in the water and washed ashore. Maybe it gets better, as this time we visited a short time after a serious garbage crisis with a lot of thrash being brought to HK shores from mainland China.


HK is a great place for hiking as the landscape is extremely variable within its small area – mountains, coast, islands, beaches, great cityscapes, small fishing villages etc. Add a developed and well-maintained hiking trail network, good access by public transport and availability of topographic quality maps and you have a hiker’s paradise. If only the weather in August was a bit less hot…

Because of the heat, we only did hikes without major ascents – Tung Chung to Tai O and Mui Wo via Chi Ma Wan to Pui O on Lantau as well as shorter walks on Cheung Chau and Peng Chau.

There are plenty of websites with hike descriptions – the following should give a good idea:




The excellent Countryside series maps are essential for hiking in HK. Price HK$ 63 per sheet. See http://www.landsd.gov.hk/mapping/en/paper_map/cm.htm for the map list and index.

Official sale points are listed here: http://www.landsd.gov.hk/mapping/en/pro&ser/outlet.htm but they are also available in larger bookshops.


Getting to and from Macau: we arrived from Zhuhai in mainland China crossing the Portas do Cerco border post on foot and taking a city bus to our hotel.

Macau – HK ferry: see https://www.turbojet.com.hk/en/routing-sailing-schedule/hong-kong-macau/sailing-schedule-fares.aspx Fare 153 hkd, departure from Porto Exterior (Outer Harbour), every 15 min, took 1 hr. We had no problem getting a ticket just before departure (it may get tighter on weekends and holidays though).

Accomodation: Home of Macau (http://www.unghotel.com/reservation/aku/macau), ca. HK$ 380/double room (ensuite, AC). Booking via Agoda was cheaper than directly via their website. Surprisingly, paying Agoda in my home currency (PLN) was cheaper than paying in HKD and having the amount converted by my bank. Excellent location overlooking Praça de Ponte e Horta, close to Rua das Lorchas bus stops, walking distance to most sights in the historic centre of Macau, nice walkable district. Good access by public transport. Simple and clean, the room had everything we needed for a short stay.

Accomodation in Macau gets much more expensive during weekends, so it is a good idea to plan visiting during the week.

Changing money: the official currency is the pataca (MOP) linked by a fixed rate to HK$, with HK$ 100 = 103 MOP. HK$ is equally accepted everywhere in Macau but usually at 1:1 rate, meaning that paying in HK$ adds 3% to the expense. There are many moneychangers around Macau, usually offering decent rates and also exchanging HK$ into MOP at a rate HK$ 100 = 102,90 MOP or so.

Public transport: see bus routes here http://www.transmac.com.mo/?mod=xlfw&type=xlzb&action=picline&lang=en
Macau buses charge exact fare in cash, dropped into a box, 3.20 to 6.40 MOP depending on distance.

Kinmen (a Taiwanese island just off mainland coast near Xiamen)

Getting there: we took a ferry from the Wutong ferry terminal in Xiamen (150 Y from Xiamen to Kinmen, 550 TWD from Kinmen to Xiamen, takes 30 minutes or so). The ferries are fairly frequent, every 30 minutes or so, until 5 or 5.30 p.m. The ferry arrives at Shuitou ferry pier, connected to Jincheng by 7, 7A and 7B bus (every 30 min), cost 12 TWD.

There are no ferries between Kinmen and Taiwan – taking a flight is the only option.

Accomodation: we stayed in OSC (Overseas Chinese) Hotel on Guangqian Rd in Jincheng, booked via Agoda. The hotel was almost empty on weekdays in August and only became full on a weekend, so advance booking was probably not necessary. Location on the northern outskirts of Jincheng, near the exit of the Civil Defense Tunnel, 5 minutes walk to the central area. Large, clean and comfortable AC room with a small balcony for 1450 TWD (paying Agoda in my home currency PLN was cheaper than paying in HKD and having the amount converted by my bank). A simple breakfast was included during the weekend, on weekdays we got a 50 TWD voucher to be spent at a nearby breakfast eatery (not enough to have a full breakfast).

Alternatively, there are a lot of homestays in traditional Fujianese residences in the villages around the island, in the same price range as our hotel. The tourist information should be able to help in booking one of them on arrival to the island. We decided against staying in one as the villages are almost empty and we wanted to stay in a more lively place with restaurants, shops and etc.

Good place to eat: there is an open air seafood restaurant on the nice square with a banyan tree and a temple at the intersection of Minquan Rd and Guanqian Rd in Jincheng, very close to the OSC Hotel. Open in the evenings.

Changing money: there is a money exchange counter in Shuitou terminal building but it exchanges only Chinese yuan, not USD nor any other currency. USD, EUR and other international currencies can be exchanged in some banks in Jincheng but not in all branches and probably on weekdays only. A friendly clerk in one of the banks directed us to Mega Bank on Minsheng Rd, not far from the bus station. Rates are almost the same in all banks – see http://rate.bot.com.tw/Pages/Static/UIP003.en-US.htm

Tourist information: there are helpful tourist information desks in a few places around the island, including at the Shuitou ferry terminal (right on arrival) and at the Jincheng bus station. English is usually spoken – from just a bit to excellent. They have a very useful topographic quality map of Kinmen (free of charge) in Chinese and English language versions. The English one might be hidden under the desk, so ask for it.

Getting around the island: the island has a public bus network. Tickets are 12 TWD for shorter rides and 24 TWD for longer routes. Routes and schedules are listed here: http://www.kcbfa.gov.tw/BusSite/wSite/ct?xItem=3261&ctNode=269&mp=3

There is also a relatively expensive tourist bus around the sights (240 TWD per day).

A nice alternative is exploring the island by bicycle. There is a network of free bicycle rental stations around the island. A bicycle can be rented for up to 3 days completely free of charge (passport needs to be left as a security). The most central station is located in the bus station building in Jincheng. Most stations close quite early at 4 or 5 p.m. but the one located at the exit of the Civil Defense Tunnel (a short walk from the OSC hotel) stays open longer than the other ones – until 8 or even 9 p.m. Bicycles on Kinmen are city bike types with a basket at front and without gears. Those on Little Kinmen are mountain bikes with gears and without a basket.

Little Kinmen (Lieyu)

Little Kinmen, a smaller island yet closer to the mainland, makes an excellent day trip from Jincheng. Reached by bus 7, 7A, 7B to Shuitou ferry pier (12 TWD), then a short ferry ride (60 TWD, every 30 minutes). Schedule: http://www.kcbfa.gov.tw/BusSite/wSite/ct?xItem=3262&ctNode=270&mp=3

Once on little Kinmen, there is a free bicycle rental station at a police station near the national park HQ, a short walk from the ferry terminal. There is a nice bike path all around the island.


HONG KONG and Southern TAIWAN – February 2012


Getting out of the airport – we used the A21 bus directly to Nathan Rd in Kowloon. Cost HK$ 33 one way or HK$ 55 return (return trip can be used for 3 months). More info: http://www.hongkongairport.com/eng/transport/to-from-airport/bus_from_hkia.html; http://www.nwstbus.com.hk/routes/airport-bus/route/index.aspx

Getting money at the airport – as usually, moneychangers operating at the airport have very bad rates. There is an HSBC ATM in the arrivals hall, no fees charged.

Changing money in the city – nothing beats moneychangers on the ground floor of Chungking Mansions. Avoid the first two shops in the entrance (rip-off rates). Those deeper inside operate on very low margins, paying nearly interbank mid-market rates for euros cash. Rates are worse on weekends and evenings when the forex markets close.

Sleeping in Kowloon – Mei Lam Guesthouse, Mirador Mansions, 5th floor, Nathan Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui (http://meilamguesthouse.com.hk/). Their rooms are not as bright as pictured on the website and really small but reasonably clean. We paid HK$ 550 for two nights for a double with bathroom and a window (negotiated down from initial offer of HK$ 350 per night).

HK has excellent public transport and some really good hiking, which is easy to reach. As it was our second visit, we opted to do some hikes this time. For some ideas on hiking and places to visit on the Outlying Islands, it is worth having a look at Discover HK website and its free PDF guides on:



Lamma Island – reached by frequent ferries in ca. 30 minutes from Central, good even as a half-day trip. There is a nice leisurely walk between the two villages along the so called Family Trail, taking a bit more than 1 hr. From Sok Kwu Wan we did a loop via Mo Tat Wan and the summit of Ling Kok Shan (ca. 250 m), which took less than 2 hrs.

Excellent hiking maps of the Countryside Maps series (http://www.landsd.gov.hk/mapping/en/paper_map/cm.htm) are available at the Map Publications Office in Yau Ma Tei, 382 Nathan Rd. and some other outlets (http://www.landsd.gov.hk/mapping/en/pro&ser/outlet.htm).

For a few days in HK on our way back we decided to stay in Mui Wo on Lantau island. It turned out to be a very good idea – it’s a quiet village (almost no cars!) directly on the beach, surrounded by lush jungle, with easy access to some of the finest trekking in HK (if only the weather was better…) and some restaurants with affordable seafood. Mui Wo is well linked by ferry or bus with the following places:

– airport – bus S1 or S56 to Tung Chung (3,50 HK$, http://www.nwstbus.com.hk/routes/airport-bus/route/index.aspx), then bus 3M to Mui Wo (10.50 HK$), every 30 minutes or so, schedules on http://www.newlantaobus.com/nlb.html

– Ngong Ping, Tai O and other sights on Lantau – New Lantao buses

– Central – ferry every 30 minutes or so, including late in the night, 14/28 HK$ ordinary/fast (http://www.nwff.com.hk/eng/fare_table/)

– Peng Chau and Cheung Chau – inter-islands ferry, a bit less frequent (every ca. 1-2 hrs), 12.20 HK$ per ride (http://www.nwff.com.hk/eng/fare_table/)

Sleeping – at the time of our visit (February mid-week) there were no kiosks selling private accommodation on the ferry pier, so our choice was narrowed to the guesthouses. We stayed at Seaview Holiday Resort, directly on the beach, some 10 minutes walk from the ferry pier. The building and the rooms are a bit dilapidated (my guess is it would be either upgraded or demolished in near future) but OK for the price, comparable with cheap Kowloon guesthouses and in much more pleasant surroundings. We paid 270 HK$ per double room mid-week (negotiated down from 300 HK$), 300 HK$ for Friday night, Saturday night price was 400 HK$. The room was fairly small, included a bathroom and AC and a sea view from the window. Not particularly clean.

[edit 2016: the Seaview Holiday Resort has been renovated and now costs significantly more, 500 HK$ up.]

Other options in the village include the Silverview Holiday Resort (http://www.silverviewresort.com.hk/eng/), a bit farther from the beach, on the riverbank, which seemed similar to Seaview but a bit more lively; and Mui Wo Inn, on the beach almost next door to Seaview which seemed much more upmarket – apparently recently upgraded. There is also an upmarket resort named Silvermine Beach (http://www.silvermineresort.com/) directly on the beach with prices probably comparable to mid-range hotels in HK or Kowloon, at least mid-week.

There seems to be much more accommodation on Cheung Chau island but we did not enquire about the standard and prices.

TAIWAN  – General

Taiwan turned out to be a really pleasant place to travel around. Exceptionally friendly people, some interesting culture (including Chinese cultural gems untouched by the Cultural Revolution and other catastrophes on the mainland), nice nature and hiking, pleasant seaside. It is definitely a highly developed rich country, but it has retained a lot of character – there are still colorful street markets, temples full of worshipers, some interesting street life etc. The infrastructure is excellent, a lot of things are available for free, entry fees are very reasonable or not charged at all (another positive difference to mainland China). Altogether the costs are still quite reasonable, even surprisingly low for such a rich country. We were spending only marginally more than in Malaysia, definitely less than everywhere in Europe.

Getting there – we took advantage of a Lufthansa special offer to Hong Kong and took a local flight to Kaohsiung from there. It was not as cheap as elsewhere in SE Asia – after monitoring the airfares for some time we booked a China Airlines flight for HK$ 1830. We booked via ZUJI (http://www.zuji.com.hk/) which had better prices than China Airlines website.

Railways – Taiwan Railway Administration has a useful English language version at http://twtraffic.tra.gov.tw/twrail/English/e_index.aspx. For queries, remember to tick “all trains”, as the default option is to show only express trains, omitting slower and cheaper ordinary trains, which are more than enough for short distances. Anyway, we found that the price difference between local trans and Chu-Kuang express trains was not so big, maybe 25%. Tze-Chiang express trains are more expensive, maybe another 20% more than Chu-Kuang. Connections along the main railway were very frequent – every ca. 15 – 30 minutes. We did not use the High Speed Railway which is not very practical with its stations usually way out of town. It was usually possible to buy tickets in English, otherwise there are ticket selling machines with English interface in every station. English language schedules were not always easy to find, so it’s better to check the schedule on the website.

Public buses – no change is given if tickets are bought from the driver (exact fare should be dropped into a box).

Changing money – rates paid by Bank of Taiwan for cash are shown on http://rate.bot.com.tw/Pages/Static/UIP003.en-US.htm. We also changed money at another bank which had exactly same rates as the BoT. Some paperwork is needed, so it takes ca. 20 minutes. Private moneychangers are quite rare, I have no idea about their rates.

ATMs – there is an ATM in each 7/11 shop but it charges a NT$ 100 fee for every transaction with a foreign card. ATMs in Family Marts do not charge fees, so it’s better to stick to them.

Getting around and communication with locals – it was way easier than in mainland China. Actually quite many people speak English, often with a very strong American accent. Otherwise the Taiwanese are very friendly and took big efforts at understanding us, including at times calling an English-speaking friend or using Google Translate on a laptop.

Visitor offices – there are friendly tourist information desks in most places. Definitely worth visiting – even if the staff does not speak English, they always had English language maps and materials for free distribution.

As regards hiking, we found it a bit strange. On one hand, hiking trails were perfectly marked and maintained and there were plenty of signposts with basic maps on the trails, including English versions. On the other, we did not succeed in finding any hiking maps in bookshops and reliable hiking information was not easy to find on the internet. Mostly blogs and forum posts, in great part covering organized hikes of several days, so rather not our piece of cake. Anyway, we did some nice walks during our stay.

TAIWAN – details

Kaohsiung – we got out of the airport by the comfortable and convenient MRT link for NT$ 35. MRT rides within the city itself are NT$ 20. We stayed at Happy Hotel (http://www.happyhotel.com.tw/) on Nanhua Rd., some 100 m from the train station. A small comfortable double was NT$ 880, same price for weekdays & weekend (discounted from the rack rate of NT$ 980). There are smaller windowless rooms for NT$ 760 as well. Free wi-fi and basic breakfast included. Very limited English spoken. Hotel Shun Yu (http://www.shun-yu.com.tw/) next door is similarly priced, there are also several places seemingly in the same price range nearby.

Kaohsiung – Tainan. Tze Chiang train, 30 minutes, 106 NT$.

Tainan – Ing Wang Hotel, No.26, Lane 233, Sec. 2, Jhongyi Rd. (no website but described here: http://tainanhostel.blogspot.com/), in a back lane very close to the Chihkan tower, ca. 10 minutes walk from the train station. Very recommended – comfortable, spotless double for 800 NT$ on a Friday night. Free wi-fi, free bike hire (very useful for a ride to Anping), a simple breakfast included. Almost no English spoken.

In Tainan it is definitely worth taking a look at English-language leaflets given at some temples. We found those from the City God Temple and from the Official God of War Temple (just across from Chihkan Tower) particularly informative.

Tainan-Chiayi. Chu-Kuang train, 107 NT$, 1 hr

Chiayi – Toong I Hotel, on the Zhongzheng Rd. just across from the train station. NT$ 1000 per double, ensuite (on a Saturday night). A bit more worn out that the previous two but nevertheless comfortable. Free wi-fi, no breakfast. No English spoken. Even if it was quite a challenge to explain it, the lady in charge kindly agreed to store some of our luggage for 3 days during our trip to Alishan.

Chiayi – Fenqihu. Bus no. 7302 from Chiayi train station, 7.10 am, ca. 2 hrs, 161 NT$, there’s also another bus at 3.10 pm (schedule in Chinese only on http://www.cybus.gov.tw/TIMETABLE/Chiayi_NewTimeTable.pdf). Buying the ticket a day before was a good idea – the bus was small and pretty crowded for the first couple of kms.

Fenqihu – Arnold Janssen Activity Center, at the Catholic church, a 10 minutes walk down from the town centre (http://aj-centersvd.myweb.hinet.net/ but there’s no accommodation info on the website). NT$ 1000 per comfy double, ensuite (cheaper rooms with shared bathroom available). No wi-fi. The friendly Swiss nun in charge speaks perfect English and her native German. It turned out that the parish priest was Polish – he was at least as surprised as us suddenly to hear Polish language.

There are sadly no hiking maps of Fenqihu and the surroundings available but the trails are well-marked and maintained and signposted in English. A simplified scheme is available on http://www.fenchihu-hotel.com.tw/en/tourguide/day-tour.asp and that’s about everything we were able to get in Fenqihu.

Hiking up Mt Datongshan (1976 m) turned out to be a half day hike, definitely doable in a leisurely pace in 5 hrs or so from Fenqihu. The trailhead is on the road heading to Laiji, some 4-5 kms from Fenqihu. In order to cut short the road walk from Fenqihu, we bypassed the first part by taking the “Loggers’ Trail” from just across the train station. After 30 minutes or so we emerged on the road and continued for about 15 minutes to a guesthouse-cum-restaurant with Chinese characters for Datongshan (bottled Taiwan beer available for less than in 7/11). From the restaurant we continued up the road for another 2 kms or so to the trailhead at Dulin, a parking and police post. From there everything is obvious – the trails are marked and well kept, there are simple maps at every junction (I have a picture of this map – if you are interested, e-mail me at meczko [at] poczta.onet.pl). Even if we were not extremely fit, our walking times were much shorter than indicated on the signs. The views from the top were splendid – snow-covered main peaks of Yushan range clearly visible, as well as all the closer peaks of Alishan. Unfortunately the longest loop passing by the 18 Arhats Cave was closed because of landslides. It was possible to do a shorter loop by the Lion-Elephant Rock.

The hike from Fenqihu to Ruili along the “historical trail” took us 4 hours, with an additional hour or so along the road to reach Ruili. The trail is very well signposted and marked. There are no maps available on the internet, so again – if you are interested, e-mail me at meczko [at] poczta.onet.pl for a picture of the map from the signposts. The trailhead is on the main road in Fenqihu at the first curve above the train station. The first and the last parts of the trail were the best, with small paths in bamboo forests, while the middle part was somewhat less interesting, partly along concrete forest roads. There were some splendid views of Yushan and several other lower mountains in the Alishan area from the trail.

Near the end of the Fenqihu-Ruili trail a signposted path branches off to the right (east) to the tourist information office (Ruitai Visitors Center) on the road, where we got a useful map of Ruili and surroundings. From there, we walked an hour or so down along the road to Ruili proper. We slept in Mingyuan Tea Leaf B&B (sign only in Chinese, distinguishable by a big “Y” on a big white building), a few steps from the first village “center” with a temple and a convenience store. Weekend rate NT$ 2000, weekdays NT$ 1200 per double room (we negotiated it down to 1000). Website: http://www.mingyuan.com.tw/ Absolutely no English spoken, free wi-fi near the reception. Very friendly owner offered us some local green tea with very specific scent, a bit like butter. A kilometer or so further down the road there is a proper center, with more hotels and some restaurants. There is also another grocery shop at the roadside between the two “centers”, where the owner offered us a double room for NT$ 600 (didn’t check it out, as we were already lodged at Mingyuan).

We found Ruili even more picturesque and enjoyable than Fenqihu, surrounded by beautiful slopes covered by tea plantations and bamboo forests.

Getting out of Ruili – there were two buses daily, at 6.00 a.m. and 1.00 p.m. to Meishan, with a quick transfer to a next bus to Chiayi. Fare: 113 NT$ to Meishan, 68 NT$ for the Meishan-Chiayi ride (no change given).

Chiayi – Changhua – ca. 140 NT$ by a local train, ca. 180 NT$ by Chu-Kuang.

Changhua – Rich Royal Hotel on Changan Str. very near the trains station, 1000 NT$ per double with a small balcony. Internet by wire (available at the reception), no breakfast. Very limited English.

Changhua – Lukang – 53 NT$, bus from a bus station across and a few steps from the train station. We visited Lukang day trip from Changhua.

Jiji Branch Line – another nice day trip from Changhua was a hop-on hop-off rail trip along the Jiji branch line. Regular ticket is needed for the main rail line up to Ershui, a day pass for unlimited rides on the line beyond Ershui costs NT$ 78. We first visited Ershui for some monkey-watching and a walk up the macaque protection area to the Shoutian temple, situated on mountaintop, surrounded by a quite interesting small-town bazaar. The trail starts on Fongbo Square, some 15 minutes walk from the Ershui railway station – people from the visitor centre explained us the way. Then we made a break in Jiji where we rent bicycles for a ride around the surroundings (at the cost of NT$ 100 for more than 2 hrs). There are very nice surroundings there and the most interesting sight is definitely the Wuchang Temple destroyed in the 921 earthquake in 1999. Again, maps of the bike paths were available at the visitor centre.

Changhua – Kaohsiung – Tze-Chiang ca. 430 NT$. Chu-Kuang ca. 330 NT$, would take almost an hour longer.

Kaohsiung – we did a very enjoyable hike in the Shoushan hills right above the city. There is an incredibly diverse and well-maintained network of walking trails there, with some very picturesque spots, nice tropical flora and virtually hundreds of Formosan rock macaques – a pack of monkeys were hanging out at almost every trail intersection. As usually, it seems that there are no hiking maps available until you get there and then there are quite useful plans on signs at every intersection (you can e-mail me on meczko [at] poczta.onet.pl for a picture of such plan). We started from near the zoo (not very exciting itself, available by bus no. 56 from the railway station or Yanchengpu metro station) and hiked all the way to the other trailhead near the Yongquan temple (linked by bus no. 219 to both the center and Zuoying). It seems that it was the right direction to do it, as starting from Yongquan there would be a much longer ascent. The walk took us some 4-5 hours, in a very leisurely pace with many stops. A word of warning  – don’t try to bring any food there, the monkeys would snatch it.

Kaohsiung – Kenting – bus, 306 NT$, 2,5 hrs, from a station across the street from the train station (other stations around also serve Kenting).

Kenting – Seaview House, with direct sea view on a quiet street (Dawan Str.) parallel to the main street (http://tw.myblog.yahoo.com/kt-262, https://www.facebook.com/kt262). From 800 NT$ per nice double without sea view to 1200 NT$ per “VIP room” with big sea-facing terrace (on Sunday night, Friday and Saturday nights would be way more expensive). There are similar guesthouses all along Dawan Str. We were also shown a cheaper room for 600 NT$ on a back lane off main street.

Kenting – Eluanbi – by bus from Kaohsiung, ca. 30 NT$

Eluanbi – the park with the lighthouse (entry 50 NT$) is quite nice and has some very interesting walks along rugged coral rocks covered by jungle and coast views but it does not include the southernmost point of Taiwan. For the cape itself, we headed half a kilometer or so beyond Eluanbi along the main road, then another kilometer or so along a paved path on the left (signposted).

Kenting was the only place on our Taiwan route where there was some touting, quite moderate by Asian standards.


Hong Kong – Kanton – Macau, lipiec-sierpień 2007

czas: w sumie ok. 2 tygodnie na początku i na końcu podróży po Chinach

Hong Kong

przydatne strony:

http://chaskemp.googlepages.com/hongkongguide – przewodnik dla budżetowego turysty

http://www.hongkongairport.com/eng/aguide/transport.html – transport z lotniska

http://www.nwff.com.hk/english/schedule/brs000000.asp – promy na Macau i wyspy wokół HK

http://www.citybus.com.hk/eng/main.asp – autobusy miejskie i podmiejskie

http://www.kcrc.com/html/eng/index.asp – kolej KCR, jeździ m.in. do granicy w Lo Wu i bezpośrednio do Kantonu, Szanghaju i Pekinu

http://www.mtr.com.hk/eng/homepage/e_customer_index.php – metro (MTR)

http://www.discoverhongkong.com/eng/index.jsp – HKTB, bardzo dobrze działająca informacja turystyczna

http://hongkong.fateback.com/HongKong-PoradyPraktyczne.html – strona o HK po polsku

http://www.walkhongkong.com/ – pomysły na piesze wycieczki

http://www.hkoutdoors.com/ – też pomysły na wycieczki

i mnóstwo innych…

wydostanie się z lotniska: najtańszy jest autobus A21 do Kowloon (przystanek kilka kroków od Chungking i Mirador Mansions, wysiąść na Nathan Road w okolicach dużego meczetu po prawej). Cena: 33 HK$ w jedną stronę, 55 w obie (powrót ważny 3 miesiące).

Przed wyjechaniem z lotniska warto wziąć darmową mapę i ulotki ze stoiska HKTB (informacji turystycznej) – razem z opisami na miejscu wystarczą spokojnie zamiast przewodnika. Stoisko HKTB jest też na przejściu granicznym z Chinami w Lo Wu i przystani promowej w Kowloon.

Nocleg: najtańsze hoteliki i hostele są w dwóch olbrzymich budynkach przy Nathan Road: Mirador Mansions i Chungking Mansions – jest ich mnóstwo (na prawie każdym piętrze), od brudnych nor do całkiem sympatycznych, przeważnie pokoje są bardzo ciasne. Spaliśmy w Payless Guesthouse, Chungking Mansions, klatka A, 7 p. – czysty, ale bardzo ciasny pokój z łazienką i klimatyzacją kosztował 140 HK$ po targowaniu. W powrotnej drodze było już ciężko uzyskać tę cenę – udało się tylko dlatego, że spaliśmy za tyle kilka tygodni wcześniej.

Na dole w Chungking Mansions jest kilka kantorów, które dają najlepsze kursy w okolicy. Można też tam kupić juany po lepszym kursie niż w Bank of China we właściwych Chinach, ale uwaga: w grubym pliku banknotów, który od tam dostałem trafiła się jedna fałszywka 100 Y.

Najtańszy internet w Chungking Mansions jest w Travellers Hostel, klatka A, 16 p. – po 10 HK$/gdoz.

Ceny w HK są sporo wyższe niż we właściwych Chinach, porównywalne z polskimi, np.:

obiad w taniej hinduskiej restauracji 40 HK$ na osobę,

drobna przekąska (dim sum) 10-15 HK$

piwo w sklepie 5-10 HK$ , w knajpie 15-25 HK$

Komunikacja miejska jest świetnie zorganizowana (połączenia są bardzo często i do późna w nocy) i dość tania: bilet na metro (MTR) od 3,8 HK$ w zależności od odległości, tramwaj 2 HK$, prom z Kowloon do Central 1,7 albo 2,2 HK$. Warto zaopatrzyć się w kartę płatniczą Octopus (http://www.octopuscards.com/consumer/en/index.jsp) – przy jej nabyciu płaci się 50 HK$ depozytu i trzeba doładować minimalnie 100 HK$, przy zwrocie przed 3 miesiącami z depozytu jest potrącana opłata 7 HK$. Jest bardzo wygodna w obsłudze, można nią płacić za komunikację miejską (w MTR i kolei KCR daje zniżki) i w wielu sklepach. Doładować można na każdej stacji MTR i KCR. Bez Octopusa za komunikację trzeba z reguły płacić odliczonymi drobnymi.

Hong Kong jest bardzo różnorodnym miejscem – wbrew pozorom to nie tylko wieżowce, w odległości nie więcej niż godziny drogi są tropikalne plaże, spore i ładne góry (ponad 900 m), ciekawe wyspy z częstymi połączeniami promowymi. Jest sporo ciekawych świątyń. Niestety ze względów klimatycznych chodzenie po górach w lecie przerosło nasze możliwości (gorąco i wilgotno:-) i ograniczyliśmy się do mniej ambitnych wycieczek.

Plaże są zagospodarowane i strzeżone, z prysznicami i przebieralniami (dostępne za darmo) i siatką zabezpieczającą przed rekinami.


– Peak Tram (na Victoria Peak nad HK) – w jedną stronę 22 HK$, w obie 33 HK$. Na piechotę nie jest specjalnie daleko, ale temperatura skutecznie nas zniechęciła do spaceru.

– wyspa Cheung Chau – prom z Central 11,3 HK$

– wyspa Lantau – z Central do Mui Wo prom za 22 HK$ (fast) albo 11,3 HK$ (ordinary), z Mui Wo do Ngong Ping (wioska pod Wielkim Buddą i klasztorem Po Lin) autobus za 16 HK$. Wstęp pod figurę Buddy i klasztoru za darmo (płatna jest tylko ekspozycja w pomieszczeniu pod figurą). Klasztor Po Lin jest dobrym punktem wyjścia na ładną górę Lantau Peak (ponad 900 m) znakowanym szlakiem.

Z Ngong Ping pojechaliśmy autobusem do ciekawej wioski Tai O (6 albo 8 HK$), a w powrotnej drodze zrobiliśmy sobie przerwę na plaży w Tong Fuk po południowej stronie wyspy. Autobus z Tai O na plażę 7,5 HK$ (do Mui Wo 10 HK$).

– plażowa wioska Shek O na wschodnim krańcu Hong Kong Island: z Central tramwaj do Shau Kei Wan (ostatnia pętla) za 2 HK$ albo trochę drożej metrem. W Shau Kei Wan można obejrzeć kilka ciekawych świątynek. Od stacji metra do Shek O jeździ autobus nr 9 za 6,5 HK$.

– pozostałości warownych wiosek (walled villages) na Nowych Terytoriach: Kowloon do Tsuen Wan MTR za 5 albo 7 HK$. W Tsuen Wan jest wioska zrekonstruowana jako Sam Tung Uk Museum (wstęp za darmo). Z Tsuen Wan można złapać autobus nr 51 (z drogi nad stacją MTR, wejść schodami, ok. 8 HK$) do Kam Tin, gdzie jest warowna wioska zamieszkała do tej pory (wstęp 3 HK$). Na trasie autobusu jest dobry punkt wyjściowy na najwyższy szczyt Hong Kongu – Tai Mo Shan. Wrócić z Kam Tin do Kowloon można przez Yuen Long (minibus 5 HK$ + KCR 11 HK$ + MTR 5 HK$).

Przedostawanie się do właściwych Chin:

najtańsza jest kolej KCR z Kowloon Tsim Sha Tsui (wejście przy stacji metra obok Chungking Mansions) do Lo Wu na granicy – 34,8 HK$ (z Octopusem). Stacja jest bezpośrednio na przejściu granicznym, a zaraz za nim jest dworzec w Shenzhen z częstymi pociągami do Kantonu (Guangzhou) za 75 Y. Część pociągów jedzie tylko do stacji Guangzhou Dong dalej od centrum. Bilety w automacie. Cała operacja razem z przekraczaniem granicy nie powinna zająć więcej niż 5 godz., a można się wyrobić i szybciej.

Szybszą, ale droższą alternatywą jest bezpośredni pociąg KCR do Kantonu z dworca Hung Hom w Kowloon.

Kanton (Guangzhou)

nocleg: hostel przy dworcu kolejowym okazał się zamknięty, ale przy dworcu kręciło się trochę naganiaczy proponujących hotele. Pójście za jednym z nich okazało się strzałem w dziesiątkę – zaprowadził nas do bardzo komfortowego hotelu Huada College Business Hotel, w którym wielki i czysty pokój z klimatyzacją (standard spokojnie trzygwiazdkowy) kosztował 150 Y, czyli tyle, co miała kosztować dwójka w hostelu na dworcu, a mniej niż dwójka w hostelu na wyspie Shamian. Są też mniejsze pokoje za 130 Y, ale wszystkie były akurat pełne. Adres: Gunhua Lu 5, 10-15 min spaceru od dworca.

Jak trafić: z dworca wzdłuż głównej Huanshi Lu na wschód ok. 100 m do skrzyżowania z Jiefang Bei Lu. Przejść przez Jiefang Bei Lu i wzdłuż niej w lewo czyli na północ (pod wiaduktem kolejowym) jakieś 200 m. Gunhua Lu to pierwsza większa ulica odchodząca z Jiefang Bei Lu na prawo (wschód), przyjemnie zacieniona przez drzewa, bez dużego ruchu, z kilkoma sklepami i cukierniami. Wzdłuż Gunhua Lu jakieś 100 m do poczty po lewej (północnej stronie), kawałek przed dużym „Guangzhou University Exchange Center”. Zaraz za pocztą jest boczna uliczka prowadząca między bloki (szyld z nazwą hotelu po angielsku jest już przy wejściu w uliczkę), wzdłuż której jeszcze ok. 50 m.

Komunikacja miejska w Guangzhou – korzystaliśmy z metra: bilety w zależności od ilości przejechanych stacji od 2 Y, w granicach centrum nie więcej niż 4 Y. Uwaga: żetony są ważne tylko w dniu zakupu, nie należy kupować na zapas (a szkoda, bo kolejki do automatów spore).

Zwiedzanie: wstęp do świątyń w centrum Kantonu jest albo za darmo, albo stosunkowo niedrogi.

Kanton okazał się „wąskim gardłem” komunikacyjnym – okazało się, że bilety do Kunmingu można dostać najprędzej na pociąg za 8 dni (pociąg K 365, 14:07, 341 Y za hard sleeper) i żadne biuro pośrednictwa nie było w stanie tego przyspieszyć. W międzyczasie pojechaliśmy do Macau – na szczęście mieliśmy wizę dwukrotnego wjazdu. Jeśli ktoś spędza wcześniej kilka dni w Hong Kongu, to warto rozważyć wcześniejsze zorganizowanie biletów na pociąg z Kantonu jeszcze stamtąd – podobno jest zajmująca się tym budka na dworcu Hung Hom w Kowloon, ceny wysokie (100 Y prowizji za sleeper, 80 Y za seat), ale mimo wszystko może się opłacać.

W powrotnej drodze z Chengdu do Kantonu też nie obeszło się bez problemów – mimo kupowania biletu na 6 dni naprzód były już miejsca tylko na soft sleeper (pociąg K 194, 22:36, 770 Y).


z Kantonu autobus do Gongbei w SEZ Zhuhai (dworzec przy samym przejściu granicznym Portas do Cerco) – co 15 min. z głównego dworca autobusowego koło kolejowego, klimatyzowany, 65 Y, jedzie ok. 3 h. Autobus powrotny kosztował 70 Y i jechał ponad 4 h (korek). Granicę z Macau przeszliśmy na piechotę. Na przejściu granicznym w punkcie informacji turystycznej można dostać darmową mapę. Zaraz po drugiej stronie autobus nr 3 do centrum, 2,5 MOP (zamiast MOP można też płacić w HK$ i chyba też w juanach, po kursie 1:1).

Do szukania taniego noclegu najlepiej wysiąść w samym centrum, na Avenida Almeida Ribeiro, najtańsze miejsca są w promieniu kilku minut spacerem. Niestety wybór jest pomiędzy brudnymi norami albo hotelami w cenach ok. 200 MOP za dwójkę. W weekendy jest znacznie drożej.

Spaliśmy w końcu w dużym Hotelu Central na samej Avenida Almeida Ribeiro za 180 MOP/dwójka z łazienką i klimatyzacją, w standardzie chińskiego hotelu za 80-100 Y.

Tańsza opcja: Hospedaria San Va na Rua de Felicidade (http://www.sanvahotel.com/), 80 MOP/dwójka bez klimatyzacji i ze wspólną łazienką, pokoi z klimatyzacją i z łazienkami nie było. Nie należy wierzyć w ani słowo (ani w zdjęcia) na ich stronie internetowej – w rzeczywistości było tam bardzo brudno, a na forum thorntree ktoś się uskarżał na „pracujące” tam prostytutki. Innym tanim (i podobnie brudnym) miejscem jest Hospedaria Vong Kong na Rua das Lorchas. Blisko jest też hostel Augusters (http://www.augusters.de/, 60 HK$ za dorm, 150 HK$ za dwójkę) –  na oko o wiele przyjemniejsze miejsce, ale bardzo małe, jak byliśmy się spytać, to nie mieli miejsca.

Ceny w Macau są niższe niż w Hong Kongu, ale wyższe niż w kontynentalnych Chinach. Atrakcją są portugalskie wina w cenie niewiele wyższej od sklepowej w samej Portugalii – od 30 MOP za butelkę przyzwoitego wina, od 55 MOP za porto. Piwo tańsze niż w HK – 10 MOP w knajpie, ok. 5 MOP w sklepie. Obiad w restauracji 40-50 MOP/2 os. Internet 5 MOP/godz.

Kantory podają kursy walut w HK$, więc chcąc wymienić walutę na pataki (MOP) trzeba o to poprosić. Opłaca się to, bo za 100 HK$ dostaje się ok. 103 MOP, a przy płaceniu wszędzie stosowany jest kurs 1:1.

Zwiedzanie Macau: oprócz „podstawowych” atrakcji warto polecić ciekawą świątynię Kun Iam na północy półwyspu i malowniczą kolonialną wioskę Coloane na samym południu (dawniej na wyspie). We wiosce Hac Sa dalej na tej samej wyspie jest plaża. Po samym Macau można się spokojnie poruszać na piechotę, do Taipa i Coloane jeżdżą miejskie autobusy (poniżej 5 MOP). Wstępy do atrakcji turystycznych są tanie albo darmowe.


6 thoughts on “Taiwan, HK and Macau

  1. david mak

    Hi, I from Singapore. Going on a trip to Fencihu-Ruili this coming May. Spending 3 nites.

    I read your blog and very helpful to me. Appreciate you can help me to these few questions.
    1 how many nites should I spend in these 2 places.
    2 can email me the maps if you have.

    I still think. To stay 2 nites at F n 1 nite at R or vice verse. I going with my wife. Trekking n exploring is our aim.

    Appreciate your great help.

    Thank you

    1. meczko Post author

      Hi David! We spent just one night in Fenqihu and one in Ruili but our time was very limited. I would say that 2 nights in one place plus 2 nights in another would be better. There are several interesting places to explore in the surroundings.
      I am sending you the pictures with maps by e-mail.
      Enjoy your trip!

  2. matej

    Fajne wpisy i pożyteczne linki!
    … ale ciągle nie mogę zrozumieć dlaczego wszystko jest pod znakiem ‘tani/tańszy/najtańszy’… po co jeździć do azjatyckich tygrysów i w ogóle rozwiniętych i drogich krajów, nie mając pieniędzy aby się nimi nacieszyć … jest na świecie masa fantastycznych biednych miejsc gdzie pieniądze nie są faktycznie potrzebne … wydaje mi się, że aby w pełni zwiedzać cywilizowany świat to jednak lepiej dozbierać pieniążków 😉
    no offence!

    1. meczko Post author

      No właśnie jednym z celów tego bloga jest pokazanie, że podróżowanie (w tym do “azjatyckich tygrysów”) wcale nie musi być kosmicznie drogie i można zwiedzać świat za rozsądne pieniądze 🙂

  3. Pingback: South China, July-August 2016 – Guizhou, Guangxi, Fujian | meczko

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