Oct 24, 2011

Staying in Hong Kong and Shenzhen

Alisan Guest House and some seedy hotel

So the cheap way for us to get to HK is to fly to Shenzhen, the Chinese city that borders Hong Kong, and cross the border over land. On the way there, we took a bus from the Shenzhen airport to the center of the city. For those of you who don’t know (and two weeks ago, we didn’t), Hong Kong is a series of islands, one of them being Hong Kong Island. This is where we stayed, which along with Kowloon - the neighborhood north across the harbor - is what’s considered the city center.

We stayed in the Alisan Guest House, an establishment about which I cannot say enough good things. It was on the order of hostel living, so no frills, but super cheap and the staff was incredibly helpful. (And free wi-fi.) Would stay again!

Alisan Guest House

This was our room, bathroom and view. As you can see, quite small. But, here’s where service, service, service counts: They couldn’t accommodate us for the whole weekend, so they put us up in their monthly rentals at the same (quite cheap) rates.

Alisan 2

The room was much bigger, and the bathroom, specifically the shower, was the most western (and therefore most comfortable) experience we’ve had - including our own Luzhou bathroom situation. We just had to not be loud jerks, which we managed.

Our last night, we had to go back to Shenzhen because our flight left early the next morning. We actually took light rail from the Alisan to the China border in a neighborhood called Luoho, where we went through customs. From there, we walked to our hotel. We were two of very few non-Chinese making that boarder crossing, which worked in our favor, line-wise. The major travel groups cross at a different point, so my guess is that only savvy travelers try it on their own at Luoho. But it’s really so easy to figure out, and way cheaper than paying for the bus or ferry which walk you through the process.

Our hotel in Shenzhen was a little on the seedy side - it didn’t even occur to me to ask for a non-smoking room, but now I know that’s important

Seedy shenzhen hotel

Is that a round bed? Yes it is! Both the booking agent and the check-in person were sure to emphasize, “It’s a room with a round bed!” Sure! Whatever!