Saturday, 27 July 2013

How to be the perfect visitor

 Following on from my last post about arranging for visitors to come more often, here are my top tips for anyone travelling to Hong Kong to visit friends for their holiday. 

1. Visitors should not stay for more than 10 days if they will be in your apartment. There are NO exceptions to this rule - trust me.

2. The best visitors strike the perfect balance between easy-going "we'll come along with you to this random party / BBQ" and organised "we're heading to the Big Buddha today". I am more than happy to point you in the direction of the bus stop, write down bus numbers and lend you a mobile phone, but I don't want to plan every hour of every day for you. I already do that every day for 4 members of my family, I call it "cat-herding".



3. Visitors should be open to new experiences and new food, within reason; I won't make you eat chicken feet, but it'd be great if you'd try Crystal Jade's awesome xiao long bao. (Note to my children: this applies to you too)



4. Visitors should not expect to be met at the airport - anyway, they will be all bed-heady and tired and dehydrated after a bit of shut-eye on the flight. You can have the "how was your flight?" conversation later.


5. Visitors and hosts are not obliged to eat every single meal together, it's nice for both parties to have a little alone time.

6. It is highly appreciated when visitors are generous with hotel facilities that their hosts might otherwise not have access to! I'm thinking swimming pools here, with the odd spa thrown in if your visitors have a big hotel budget. My parents usually stay at the Metropark, which has a great rooftop pool.

7. Visitors should do some of the leg-work themselves when it comes to finding a place to stay. There are some great looking B&Bs on AirBnB, but I haven’t tried any of them. Obviously, as we live in the Bay, hotels in Causeway Bay are best, and quite a few have sprung up nearby recently. There’s a new place called the Mini Hotel (“an upscale mini brand”, WTF?!), the Lanson Place is just over the road, and Hotel Pennington Rhombus looks like it’ll be opening soon. Anyway, there are hundreds of hotels in Causeway Bay, so it’s probably easiest just to search them all on HotelClub or similar.

8. Care packages from home are always appreciated (in my case, anyone crossing my threshold with a big slab of British Dairy Milk) can come back any time.


9. Don't wait to be invited! If you are friends and fancy heading to Hong Kong, get onto Trailfinders or Expedia or whatever your preferred engine-jobby is, and check out flights! By all means ask where you can stay, your friend may or may not have space to put you up, and can recommend a hotel or serviced apartment nearby.

It’s as easy as that! We decided a while ago that in future we will only go on holiday to visit people – we are lucky enough to know people in a few places around the world, and to have friends who want to explore the same places as us! Holidays are SO much more enjoyable and rewarding when you get a glimpse of life in the country you’re visiting, even if it’s not 100% indigenous life!

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