visa question for Hong Kong (kinda basic, sorry!)

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#1
North America
339 Posts
Joined Jan 2018
Hi, I feel like I should already know the answer to this question, but I don't. Please be gentle in your replies.

Next February I'll be on a cruise that ends in Hong Kong. We dock there the day prior for a full day before debarkation. I will stay on an extra day after that, for 3 days total.

The information I've seen suggests that U.S. citizens don't need a visa as long as we stay in Hong Kong and don't go to the mainland. My slightly silly question is this: does that mean only Hong Kong Island, or does Kowloon count? In other words, what is the geographical boundary of what is considered Hong Kong, and what is considered mainland China?

Secondarily, should I just play it safe and get a Chinese visa that covers the 3 days?
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#2
SF Bay Area
1,655 Posts
Joined Jul 2007
Hong Kong includes the Kowloon peninsula and New Territories. HKG airport is on another island, Lantau.

As a US citizen you can also go to Macau without a visa.

The border with mainland China is pretty well marked especially with a barbed wire fence and a small river for most of its length.

IIRC your allowed to stay for 30 days before doing more paperwork.
#3
North America
339 Posts
Joined Jan 2018
Originally posted by Philob
Hong Kong includes the Kowloon peninsula and New Territories. HKG airport is on another island, Lantau.

As a US citizen you can also go to Macau without a visa.

The border with mainland China is pretty well marked especially with a barbed wire fence and a small river for most of its length.

IIRC your allowed to stay for 30 days before doing more paperwork.
Thank you so much, Philob!!
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#4
"Big Apple" NY
7,999 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
This is official HK Gov't tourism promotion & visitor's website - it has everything you'll need, links, tips, and recommended Apps to use ... download & install them ahead of time to use. Both the airport & cruise terminal has free WiFi and there are thousands of hotspots to use all across town, including all the MTR train station concourses, etc.
http://www.discoverhongkong.com/us/index.jsp
There is a tab for the cruise terminal.

One of the nearest & closest border town for crossing is the city of Shenzhen, about 30 km north of Kowloon, HK - that's at least 6 hours on foot, travelers usually take designated trains to/from mainland China, by cross-border buses, by taxi or private car to the border checkpoints, then walk on foot across - it is practically impossible to accidentally get across without being stopped on both side.

There is no such thing as a 3 days China visa for US nationals, or others, for that matter.
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#5
London
22,968 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Originally posted by Unibok
My slightly silly question is this: does that mean only Hong Kong Island, or does Kowloon count? In other words, what is the geographical boundary of what is considered Hong Kong, and what is considered mainland China?
This map, taken from Wikipedia, is a good indication of the extent of "Hong Kong" for these purposes. You'll be able to relate this to other maps of Hong Kong. No need to get a visa if this is all that you want to see. And don't go to the darker-coloured bit at the top of the map: There Be Dragons.

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#6
Lee-on-the-Solent, England
12,627 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
If you want to cross the border to spend a day in "red" China, you can do it without the expense and complication of a Chinese visa.

There are tour operators who offer day-tours from HK to places like Guangzhou (ferry + bus, and back by express train) under a group visa. Google "day tours from hong kong to china"
You need to book a minimum of somewhere around 48 hours out and pay-with-booking, in order to be added to the group visa. If you're uncomfortable with up-front money to an unknown operator half-a-world-away you can book through a reputable international booking agency like Viator - it'll cost pennies more.

Probably not worthwhile if you've already visited China, or mebbe even if you intend to do so sometime in the future. But its a relatively easy and inexpensive way to visit China.

JB
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#7
North America
339 Posts
Joined Jan 2018
Thank you, all, for the detailed and specific replies — complete with links and a map. Now I feel like I have a handle on it.

I’ll likely be spending more time in Asia over the next few years, so I think I’ll focus just on HK this year, and plan more time to explore the Dragons on another trip.

Again, thank you all very much.


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#8
Calabasas, CA, USA
12,190 Posts
Joined Dec 2002
Allow me to summarize and confirm what I've learned from this and other threads:

First off, I am on the December 22 Millennium Hong Kong to Singapore 14 night cruise. American Citizens, US Passports.
We fly into Hong Kong the morning of the 21st. One night in hotel in Hong Kong, board the ship on 22nd, stay one night onboard in Hong Kong, depart December 23. We then travel to Hanoi (2 days), Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam...then off to Bangkok for two days, then Singapore for an overnight...then fly back to US on January 5.

Travel agent told us we need to get visas for China and Vietnam. Probably wrong info.

From info on cruise critic, it appears:

Hong Kong: No visa needed.

Vietnam: Ship processes and arranges visas for token charge. No need to do anything ahead of cruise.

Thailand, Singapore: No visas needed.

So, overall, we have absolutely nothing we need to do on this front ahead of the cruise, correct?
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#9
Denmark
2,308 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
Originally posted by Bruin Steve
Allow me to summarize and confirm what I've learned from this and other threads:



First off, I am on the December 22 Millennium Hong Kong to Singapore 14 night cruise. American Citizens, US Passports.

We fly into Hong Kong the morning of the 21st. One night in hotel in Hong Kong, board the ship on 22nd, stay one night onboard in Hong Kong, depart December 23. We then travel to Hanoi (2 days), Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam...then off to Bangkok for two days, then Singapore for an overnight...then fly back to US on January 5.



Travel agent told us we need to get visas for China and Vietnam. Probably wrong info.



From info on cruise critic, it appears:



Hong Kong: No visa needed.



Vietnam: Ship processes and arranges visas for token charge. No need to do anything ahead of cruise.



Thailand, Singapore: No visas needed.



So, overall, we have absolutely nothing we need to do on this front ahead of the cruise, correct?


Basically correct but for visa the answer will always depend on nationality/citizenship.
Not going to China, so no need for China visa.
No need for visa for Hong Kong. Vietnam does depend on nationality, but cruise line will issue a visa for a fee once onboard.
No visa required for Thailand and Singapore.


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#10
Gold Coast
10,949 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
Vietnam - you need a visa if you plan to stay off the ship overnight. This is different to the $6 "visa" charged to your account by cruise lines.
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#11
Philippines
880 Posts
Joined Mar 2016
US Passport holders (and most 1st World Countries) do not require a Visa for all of Hong Kong, you can also travel to Macau without a visa, plane or ferry. You are free to travel anywhere within Hong Kong. If you want to go to Main Land China you are required to have a Visa and it must be issued in your home country. Under the new rules if you are from IE the United States, and you try to get a China Visa in any Asian Country they will tell you apply in the Untied States.

But you can travel to Main Land China through a group tour, and the tour company puts everyone on a group tour visa. These visas require a tour guide stay with the group and check them in and out of Main Land China. When you get off the Cruise Ships in Hong Kong you do not even clear Immigration your passport is already stamped. You just walk pass them unless they flag you. Hong Kong is a very easy place with great staff and you will have no issues . I'm in Hong Kong several times a year and never had a single problem.
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#12
LaCenter, Wa
117 Posts
Joined Jul 2016
Originally posted by Bruin Steve
Allow me to summarize and confirm what I've learned from this and other threads:

First off, I am on the December 22 Millennium Hong Kong to Singapore 14 night cruise. American Citizens, US Passports.
We fly into Hong Kong the morning of the 21st. One night in hotel in Hong Kong, board the ship on 22nd, stay one night onboard in Hong Kong, depart December 23. We then travel to Hanoi (2 days), Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam...then off to Bangkok for two days, then Singapore for an overnight...then fly back to US on January 5.

Travel agent told us we need to get visas for China and Vietnam. Probably wrong info.



From info on cruise critic, it appears:

Hong Kong: No visa needed.

Vietnam: Ship processes and arranges visas for token charge. No need to do anything ahead of cruise.

Thailand, Singapore: No visas needed.

So, overall, we have absolutely nothing we need to do on this front ahead of the cruise, correct?
We did this same itinerary on Mille in Feb. Loved the ports. However you definitely want to book with an operator to see Hanoi, Da Nang, Saigon and Bangkok. We did the Hanoi day and it was a 4 hour ride from the port, but worth it to see the sights and eat amazing food. I can highly suggest guides for Da Nang, Saigon and Bangkok, as we don't book through the ship excursions. We loved all the ports. Did an overnight at a hotel in Bangkok since the drive to the city from the port was 3 hours as well. This gave us a lot more time there.
Also, you need to bring 2 copies of your passports for the ship. They handle the visas on board, so don't go to the "tourist visa companies" that charge a fortune. Have a great trip!
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Terri

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#13
Canada
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Joined Jul 2013
Terri, would you share the name of the tour company you used in Bangkok?
Did they provide transfers to and from Bangkok or did you use the ship's transfer.
#14
Honolulu, HI, USA
1,485 Posts
Joined May 2003
Originally posted by Unibok
I’ll likely be spending more time in Asia over the next few years, so I think I’ll focus just on HK this year, and plan more time to explore the Dragons on another trip.
Don't forget that you can get a ten-year visa for China for the same price as a short one.
#15
LaCenter, Wa
117 Posts
Joined Jul 2016
Originally posted by mom says
Terri, would you share the name of the tour company you used in Bangkok?
Did they provide transfers to and from Bangkok or did you use the ship's transfer.
We used Thai Tour guide and the contact person was Mr Chob. See their info on Trip Advisor. We did the 2 day tour. They picked us up at port. After the 1st day tour, they Dropped us off at our hotel, which we booked on our own. All of our group (8) had to stay in same hotel due to traffic. Next day we had 2nd tour, lunch and back to the ship in plenty of time. Our guide was George and he was wonderful!
We used Andy Tran tours in DaNang and we also went to Hoi An! Loved it! In HCMC, we used Xuan Tours! Best ever. We were very happy with each tour and the guides!
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Terri

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#16
Philippines
880 Posts
Joined Mar 2016
I have used Xuan Tours in HCMC and Nha Trang once but They are pricey compared to other companies offering the same thing. Xuan tours is about $120 dollars US for a 8 hour tour. I found Pham Tours (a Local Operator) provided a better package, guide, food, content for half the price at only $60 dollars US. I also liked hour a tour totally controlled by locals.
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