From Hong Kong International Arrivals, there’s three key things to do – get a sim card, get an Airport Express ticket, and get an Octopus card. All before heading to the Novotel Century in Wan Chai.
Getting a sim card is easy, I recommend the China Mobile stand between Arrival Hall A and B. There’s a pack that costs $88 HKD, and then allows you to register for 10 days of unlimited 3G (384kbit/sec) data for $40 HKD or so. That leaves some money for a couple of phone calls as well!
You can buy the Airport Express ticket to Hong Kong station for $100 HKD. They accept credit card, so that’s useful. If you want an Octopus card for the MTR, you can get that here as well, but you can only pay in cash, which is well, unhelpful. I’m used to New Zealand where cards and EFTPOS is king, carrying cash is a pain!
First thoughts of the Novotel Century Wan Chai
24 minutes later, and you’ll be at Hong Kong station. There’s also a free shuttle bus to a bunch of hotels, including the Novotel Century in Wan Chai which is where I’m staying, so that was super helpful.
Check in was super smooth, and being air conditioned meant I didn’t have to sweat any more than necessary. Through some credit card shuffling, I was a member of the hotel’s top status tier which offered the perks of free breakfasts, afternoon teas, and cocktails and nibbles, as well as a gym / pool, internet, etc.
The room in the Novotel Century was big and spacious, but plain. I did enjoy the free orange and apple provided. That was nice. When I left the room and came back, I saw that there was a turndown service. This is where someone prepares the bed for you, opens the blankets a little, and provides you with slippers. It’s nice, it just feels a bit weird that someone’s been in your room after you’ve left. I use the bed as a storage space, so don’t judge me hotel person!
Wandering the streets of Wan Chai
I did a bit of walking from Sheung Wan to Wan Chai, about 3km, and took about an hour. Walking through Wan Chai starts with ladies bars, which is not bars just for ladies, but bars that have ladies that dance in them. Well, not normal bars with ladies who dance, but ladies who dance for money. You know what I mean. This then turned into British pubs, that were full of what I assume were British men. The football was on, the pints were flowing, it was like I was in London.
Then finally, Wan Chai turned into a bathroom supply store. Just shops and shops of marble, light fixtures, locks, it was so bizarre. I guess what amused me was how distinct each little area was. It was like 6 ladies bars, 6 English pubs, 6 marble stores, 6 lock stores. However, that’s probably better than if they were all jumbled together.