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View Poll Results: Hong Kong or Taipei for US Tourists?
Hong Kong 13 46.43%
Taipei 15 53.57%
Voters: 28. You may not vote on this poll

Old 02-13-2014, 06:31 AM
Location: Seattle, WA
293 posts, read 932,632 times
Reputation: 225


My wife and I are planning our 3 year wedding anniversary for November and it's going to be Asia this year. We are both US citizens and would like to visit either Hong Kong or Taipei because we don't want to pay the $130 mainland China Tourist Visa.

We went to Hong Kong 4 years ago for a week's vacation and we loved it. However we didn't get to see everything we wanted in such a short time. We have never been to Taipei.

My question is, should we return to Hong Kong or go to Taipei? I heard there is not as much western food or English spoken in Taipei. We love the Hong Kong Octopus card and the convenience of transportation in HK. Can anyone help us out? Thanks!
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Old 02-13-2014, 07:51 AM
10,847 posts, read 11,250,780 times
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It sounds like you just want a westernized Asian city, then go to HK again by all means. Or Singapore... they are pretty much just western cities inhabited by Asian population.

Spending one week in Hong Kong and didn't get to see everything you wanted? HK is 1100 km sq in total and much of it just uninhabited mountains with little to see.

Taiwan is a much more Asian place (that's why you want to go to Asia, right?), at this time probably more Chinese than China. Its food is far more interesting than that in Hong Kong as well. You don't want to visit an Asian city and end up eating hamburges, steaks and salads most of the time, do you?

two comments on the $130 China visa
1) China charges this amount because the US charges Chinese the same amount (it is reciprocal)
2) considering China is a lot cheaper than HK in terms everything, there is really no point in saving $130 in visa fee. Difference in one night's hotel probably is more than enough to make up for it.
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Old 02-13-2014, 10:01 AM
Location: US of A
13 posts, read 18,601 times
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I'd say go back to Hongkong as the poster above stated,there's a lot of beautiful tourist spots in Hongkong,like The Peak,Hongkong park,Stanley market all are located in Hongkong island BTW, there's Disneyland and Big Buddah in Lantau,i've lived in Hongkong for over 9 years and still want to go back for visit someday
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Old 02-13-2014, 12:14 PM
Location: Orange County, CA, USA
451 posts, read 1,078,886 times
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Since you have never been to Taipei, but have been to Hong Kong before, I would say try something different and go to Taipei. Taipei and Hong Kong do have very different vibes. I would say Hong Kong is more Westernized and perhaps maybe more people can speak English because of it being a former British colony. But, Taipei is also a modern and developed city with also convenient transportation systems. It has many conveniences of Western cities but you will also see and get many things that you would not in Western cities. I love the food culture of Taipei and it is very convenient.
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Old 02-13-2014, 12:44 PM
Location: NYC
12,889 posts, read 8,725,709 times
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Taipei is better, HK is so tiny and so westernized there's hardly any culture to see. Taipei while it's a big city it has more cultural places to see and visit.
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Old 02-13-2014, 01:59 PM
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Seeing you've been to Hong Kong before, and for a week...maybe Taipei might be the better choice. However, should you plan to go to HK again, it's not a bad choice either. Though, I can tell you HK hasn't changed all that much in 4 years. Some good spots that you may have missed:

- Stanley - the pier is amazing just to stand around and have a quiet chat at night
- Tsim Sha Tsui Harbour city - again, near the ocean and is a great night spot.
- Hiking - Dragon's Back - choose a sunny day to go, make sure it won't rain because it gets real windy and things aren't so nice when that happens.

If you are into coffee, there are many cool coffee shops in HK with cozy environments - though I'm not from the states, I've been there many times and it seems like these niche coffee shops aren't abundant in the US. Check out openrice.com for the latest hot spots for food.

Honestly, I would skip the shopping unless there's something that you really think you can't get in the states. Hong Kong fashion is so ugly these days, and the western brands are very overpriced - seeing that you come from the US you could buy stuff for a fraction of the price, no matter what the exchange rate is. Electronics are also grossly overpriced with poor return and warranty policies.
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Old 02-13-2014, 05:32 PM
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I would say Taiwan. You didn't say what else you want to see in HK and how long this trip will be, but a week in HK is more than enough. OP didn't say what you are looking for. While the level of English is lower in Taiwan, that's not the only criteria for any vacation destination. Taipei is pretty easy to navigate. They finally have a new subway stop at Taipei 101 and you can get around the city pretty easily. Comparing HK and Taiwan is like comparing New York City with the whole state of Pennsylvania. Which one you want to visit, for how long, and which one you enjoy more is a matter of personal choice.
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Old 02-13-2014, 08:39 PM
Location: Seattle, WA
293 posts, read 932,632 times
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Default !

Many great responses so far. Thank you!! The trip we are planning will be 9 days (including the travel/airport days)

A little background, my wife and I are just under 40 years old so we are not old or young. The first time we went to Hong Kong 4 years ago we saw the normal sights. We went to the Peak, Stanley Market, took a Harbour Cruise and saw the Symphony of Lights. We spent one full day at Ocean Park riding roller coasters. Looking back that may not have been the best use of our time because we have amusement parks like that in the U.S. We also did a very quick trip to Macau, saw the ruins, went to Lisboa Casino, and then took the boat back to HK. That same day we went to the Temple Street Night Market, but we were very tired by that time.

We never saw the big Buddah on Lantau Island or took the ferry to Lamma Island. We also wanted to see the Causeway Bay area but never got to do that.

Like rchan said, HK hasn't changed much in 4 years, but there are some things. There is now the new Ritz Carlton and Sky 100 Observation Deck which seems really cool. It seems like the trip 4 years ago was incomplete and there is more stuff to do.

On the other hand, Taipei offers numerous night markets, Ximending, Taipei 101 and a really cool bullet train down the island. We have Taiwanese friends and co-workers who would be very happy if we chose Taipei.

We are just very conflicted. Trips like these cost a lot of money and we would like to maximize our pleasure in every way. The English speaking is not important but it gives us a little anxiety when say, a taxi driver can not get us to our destination. Would that be a big problem in a city outside Taipei, such as Tainan?
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Old 02-13-2014, 10:53 PM
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If you have 9 days, I recommend you visit both. HKG to/from TPE is one of the world's busiest routes, competition is fierce and prices are low. You can check with Cathay Pacific, EVA Air or China Airlines. The indirect flight with a stopover at their hub can sometimes be priced lower than just the direct flight to one destination. The airlines will also let you get out of their airport hub (mostly on the return flight) for very minimal security/immigration/customs charge, so the stopover does not really cost you much more.

It's always good to have your destination written in Chinese in both places. To have more peace of mind, you can get a prepaid mobile phone SIM pretty easily in either places that can give you affordable Internet access (Google Translate works wonders BTW) and also allow you to call your friends to help you do the translations. Or your US mobile phone may be able to provide affordable roaming rates for you.

Trains in both places make announcements in English in addition to the English signs. In HK, it should be Cantonese, Mandarin and English. In Taiwan, it's Mandarin, Taiwanese, Hakka and English.
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Old 02-13-2014, 11:41 PM
Location: State of Transition
78,526 posts, read 70,430,585 times
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Originally Posted by vision33r View Post
Taipei is better, HK is so tiny and so westernized there's hardly any culture to see. Taipei while it's a big city it has more cultural places to see and visit.
I vote for Taipei. The Chinese food there is somewhat Westernized, in that the standards are much higher than in the PRC and some other parts of Asia. Westerners who have grown up in Hong Kong and elsewhere in Asia say that Taiwan has the best Chinese food in all of Asia. Try a couple of the vegetarian restaurants for something new and different. (Imitation meat dishes made of taro root, an Austronesian staple, very tasty!) It's hard to go wrong in Taipei.

Also, if you can rent a car or take a bus, a trip out of town down the east or west coasts would be beautiful. There's so much beautiful scenery in Taiwan! And the National Palace Museum is worth a couple of visits, there's so much to see.
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