Thursday, January 05, 2012

Hong Kong Tips for those Travelling with Babies and Kids


1. Choose your hotel location with care. Check its proximity to restaurants, groceries and transport stops.

2. Arrange your itinerary by plotting must-visits in the same area. Utilize Google maps for directions and distance/travel time approximations. You might not know it but taxi cabs may be refusing you, not because the drivers do not understand your English but because your destination is too near for them to be bothered.

3. Don’t plan too many things in one day and come up with a flexible IT. Going around with kids will cause delays and you want to really enjoy a place, not just go through it.

4. Don’t schedule a trip to Ocean Park and Disneyland on consecutive days as both amusement parks will require a whole day and lots of walking. Better to also schedule a trip to Ocean Park first, when you’re less tired from all the walking you will be doing in Hong Kong, and so the kids can go home with the last impression of Disneyland.

5. Consider going to free or not-so-expensive attractions in Hong Kong too: Nan Lian Garden, Kowloon Park, Hong Kong Science Museum, etc. (here is a list of parks)

6. Save on ticket purchases by getting them at discounted rates at kiosks near your hotel.


1. Consider bringing a bigger luggage bag to accommodate all your things and your prospective shopping. If you're leaving your luggage at HKIA or Ngong Pin, they will also charge per bag. If you're going to leave your bag in your hotel, it will at least be just one huge bag they need to watch for you (ours just roped off the bags in the lobby, so one bag was still easier to keep an eye on). Just having one huge bag also allows whatever free hand you have to hold onto your child's.

2. Hotels may provide shampoo and soap but if your skin is sensitive, better to bring your own products.

3. Print destination addresses in English and Chinese, if you can, to make it easier to ask for directions. Once you get to Hong Kong, utilize the free maps you can get from HKIA or your hotel to go around and asking for directions.

4. Hong Kong is generally stroller and wheelchair friendly as there are a lot of special lanes/ramps if you can't take the stairs. However, it may mean having to go the long way for elevators. Bringing a stroller may also mean having to fold/unfold it when going down MTR stairs, buses, etc. Read To Bring or not to bring strollers to Hong Kong.

5. Everyone should wear sunscreen when going out, wherever you are, but especially kids in HK... even during cold months. It's easy to get sunburned there without you noticing.

6. Bring the usual medications your child might need (paracetamol, antihistamine). If you didn't, Watson's generally delivers.

7. For families with diaper-wearing kids, it's up to you to bring diapers to HK or just buy there. However, prices may be higher in HK and there may be sensitivity issues with your child. This also covers formula and baby food and baby soap/wash. But if you don't want to bring any of those, HK has enough groceries to provide what you may need.

8. Bring extra clothes for the kids especially if going to Disneyland and Ocean Park. Plan your visit in these parks because most kids get sick after being out in the heat then entering an air conditioned show/attraction. Pack these extra clothes together with other changing implements so you just have to get one bag when needed. And during the summer (which is also their rainy season), bring foldable umbrellas (but make sure the umbrellas are in your checked luggaged at the airport).

9. If you're bringing baby food, either pre-pack in disposable containers or bring all the things you may require for each feeding (water, extra spoons). Typical noodle houses/restaurants don't really give mineral water for free and may serve food that used preservatives, processed ingredients or msg. Some noodle houses may also serve spoons of questionable cleanliness.

10. Extra batteries for your gadgets or your chargers. The humidity in HK reduces battery life to half (or even 1/3).

11. Loaded cellphones, in case we will need to text each other, and roaming instructions depending on your cell network. P25/sms when you text (people from the Philippines can text you at P1/text lang).

12. Money in HK dollars (so you can immediately pay for Octopus card or Airport Express... half of your intended budget) and US Dollars

13. Water bottle for each person. Buy water in gallons at the grocery or replenish your bottles at your hotel. You can easily buy water from 7-11 but it will naturally be more expensive.

1. It helps infants' ears if they're breastfeeding/bottle feeding as the plane takes off and descends. It helps toddlers if they're chewing on something or drinking, or yawning, or you can cover their ears with your hands. If you're flying with a child that has colds, ask your pedia if you can give a decongestant to avoid earache.

2. Depending on your carrier, you might not be offered snacks/meals so bring your own for your kids. You may also want to bring 1-2 toys or books to occupy them during the 2-hour flight. If you can, keep them awake before the flight while at the airport so they'd nap during the flight.

1. Main attractions like Ocean Park and Disneyland have nappy-changing areas but not all establishments in the general HK area all offer a changing room or even toilets. So, don't wait till the last minute to change your child's diaper. Don't wait till the last minute to have your kids pee.

2. Consider having your young child wear diapers even during the day since it’s not always easy to find toilets in the city.

3. For babies, a sling is a lifesaver.

4. You may be tempted to get a harness for your child (and with the crowd in HK, it's logical to be scared you will lose your child). Be prepared to be stared at if you will use one. However, if your child can already walk, the harness might just be a hassle as it gets tangled up with other people when your child starts running around. Hold his hand instead or put him in a stroller. You may also consider putting your hotel's calling/business card in their pockets (or a printed ID with your contact info and temporary address in HK).

5. You can breastfeed anywhere, especially if you have a nursing cover. But you may have to go to the classier hotels if you want to pump. And you would need a cooler with ice pack if you're storing your milk. You need to stay in a hotel with your own ref (with a good freezer) if you're storing your milk to bring back home.

6. There's an Octopus card for kids so avail that. Kids 3 years old and below ride free in some buses so research/ask the driver.

7. You will not go hungry in Hong Kong because there are different types of dining available everywhere, all the time (well, until really late at least). However, although the familar fast food chains are to be seen there, they will taste a little (to a lot) different from what we have here. So, just bring enough snacks as emergency stash but there is no need to panic buy kiddie treats.

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