Quarantine in Hong Kong Day 1 (8/14/22):
-The procedure is actually relatively straightforward. Take a PCR test 48 hours before your final departure flight. I took mine two days before my initial departing flight and because I had over 20 hours of flying on top of layovers I had to reschedule my international flight and take a rapid PCR test like a complete idiot, but you live and learn.
-Additionally, you need to make a health declaration online which gives you a QR code, have proof of vaccination, and have a reservation for a quarantine hotel for 3 nights. Hong Kong is very strict and I even had to redo some of my paperwork because I didn’t have my middle name on all of my documents.
-After getting off the plane you are queued to show your health declaration QR code, take another COVID test, and given a lanyard with your testing information.
-Next, you go through immigration followed by baggage claim – normal procedure.
-By then, your test results should be ready and you must pass another checkpoint where they give you your results.
-After, you are in another long line of queues depending on if you want to pay for a taxi or take a shuttle bus to your quarantine hotel.
-Finally, you get to your quarantine hotel and are given a stack of paperwork during checkin covering all of the procedures which basically tell you that you have to take RAT tests daily, upload them online, and then leave your sealed test outside of your room for collection.
-Overall, it is a lot but Hong Kong is starting to ease up on quarantine and I have to say they are incredibly organized.
Day 3 in Hong Kong (8/17/22):
-I completed my 3 days of mandatory quarantine and am now under medical surveillance. What does this mean? I have to take a daily rapid test for days 4-7, upload the results electronically, as well as take rapid PCR tests on days 4, 7, & 9 at community testing centers.
-Everyone uses an app called LeaveHomeSafe to track their visits and update their COVID status. The issue? I can’t update anything because my CDC card doesn’t have a QR code.
-Everyone wears masks everywhere, even in public. It’s not that big of a deal to me. It’s just a mask.
-It was the best thing to go out and have some real Chinese food! Fungus, spicy pork noodles, and a cold Tsing Tao!
-Besides in Western Europe where it’s ridiculously expensive, I always tell people to get a SIM card in a new country. It’s just so convenient and easy overall. Just make sure your cellphone is unlocked, convert your current SIM into an electronic one, and pop your foreign SIM in.
-Hong Kong dollars! You know what’s weird to me about HK? Is that some places don’t take credit or debit cards. They want cash, Samsung/Apple Pay, or Octopus card which is a smart card that you can use for public transportation as well.
Day 4 in Wan Chai, Hong Kong (8/18/22):
-Hong Kong is a foodie’s paradise. I’m avoiding too much unnecessary contact with people so I’ve been mostly stuffing my face and I regret absolutely nothing.
-I did go to a museum called M+ and although I generally don’t like modern/contemporary art, this place has some very unique and likable exhibits.
-I’m required to take rapid PCR tests at a community testing center 3 times this week. The queues are nuts but if you have a reservation you skip the entire lane. Sometimes it pays to plan ahead.
Days 5-10 in Soho, Hong Kong (8/18/22-8/23/22):
-I never thought I’d like Hong Kong but I love it. In fact, it’s in my top five along with Iceland, Peru, Vietnam, and Japan. HK has incredibly friendly people, expats and locals alike, is a clean, safe city, and has so many things to see and do no matter the weather.
-An Octopus card is everything here. A contactless smart card that is accepted for everything from dining to public transportation and can be topped up with HK dollars at any metro station.
-Uber is widely available in HK and has partnered with taxis who are actually the cheaper option here. Generally, in other countries like South Africa and the US, Ubers and taxis are at each other’s throats for business.
-HK is a foodie haven, albeit expensive, you can eat anything here from vegetarian to Peruvian to Nashville Hot Chicken.
-If you follow me, you know one of my favorite things is trying new flavors of chips in new countries. It absolutely fascinates me. HK has curry Pringles here that are everything.
-I’ve had to take a rapid antigen test everyday, and a rapid PCR test 5 times to enter and stay in HK. Aside from the test to enter HK, all were absolutely free so the inconvenience is minimal. It’s like checking your weight or brushing your teeth in the morning to me now.
-Getting into China is still not easy. For me, the essentials I needed was my company invitation letter, work Z visa, and 3 different declarations for immigration and customs. Additionally, two rapid PCR tests, one within 48 hours of my departure flight time and another one within 8 hours of it.
-Therefore, check-in starts as early as 5 hours before boarding and PCR testing 8 hours before because you’re in the same long lines with your fellow passengers of your flight every step of the way.