If so, which was the biggest culture shock to you? I have never been to Asia or the Middle East so one of those are likely to be my 2012 destination.
Seeing as I don't do 'big' trips very often, I want it to me memorable.
Which was the greatest experience for you? I am attracted to being able to communicate effectively with most people in Hong Kong, due to it being a former British colony, other than that I am open minded...
This is probably a tall order, finding somebody who has been to both, but hey.... you never know right?
ps. Technically I have been on the Asian continent, whilst in Istanbul, but that doesn't count!
I have been to Hong Kong four times, the first time it was a real culture shock. At that time it was still under the British and I was so fascinated with the tall buildings and endless shopping malls and side streets filled with small stores.
I visited Dubai for the first time in Feburary - to take a cruise - and again my amazement was how tall the buildings were (only this time much higher than Hong Kong) and the Malls, again more eleborate than Hong Kong. In the malls in Dubai you can go skiing, toboganing, ice skate, vist an underwater aquarium and lots more activities than found in malls anywhere else in the world. Then there is the Souks - gold, silver, spices etc.
In both cities English is widely spoken (it was in Hong Kong) when I was there before going back to China; and in Dubai USdollars are acccepted and it is one of the cleanest cities I visited.
I would Dubai was the greatest experience, actually I visited other Emirates cities on my trip, and the entire experience was GREAT, I hope to return for another visit soon
I have passed through Bahrain on the way to England a few times. I have close freinds a couple of them from Hong Kong they visit there about 4 times a year. I feel sure you will enjoy a trip to Hong Kong
Cheers Barry, I'm sure that either would be a great experience. Another thing which puts me off Dubai is the need to get taxis everywhere if drinking (from hotel to hotel). I enjoy a tipple, and can envisage getting locked up for 'forgetting' to get a taxi or my wife getting wipped for showing her legs or something.
Neither of these will happen. In the old town centre of Bur Dubai there are many hotel bars and people walk freely between them. Unless you're actually staggering, there's no problem. As for showing legs, again it's not an issue, within reason. Shortish skirts or knee shorts are accepted. Dubai is not Saudi or Kuwait.
Dubai is pretty spread out - you will get cabs anyway - I don't recall any public transportation - but they may have changed. Booze will definitely be cheaper in HK than Dubai - but there was no shortage of booze in either location.
BTW what time of the year? mid-year Dubai is VERY hot 40C and humid - not nice!
The dress standards are no different than most other places in Asia - don't have your boobs hanging out or short,short shorts (male or female!)
In fact, Dubai now has a fantastic metro, opened about 2 years ago, that runs end to end, from Deira to Jebel Ali, more or less along the line of the main Sheikh Zayed Road. At 5 riyalls a ride (anywhere to anywhere) it's the second best bargain in town. (The best is crossing the creek by abra, for half a riyall).
40C is moderate by Dubai summer standards - in July and August 48 is not uncommon; officially outdoor work must stop above 49C, so of course the official temperature never exceeds 49, even when it does!
I lived in Dubai for a few years and am now in Qatar. If you visit Dubai as a tourist, there's very little culture shock. It will simply appear over-the-top, manically consumerist and fairly western. (And extremely hot, of course). But if you work here for a time, or try to interact in any way with authority, that's when you'll be aware of the culture change.
Can't help with Hong Kong though
I lived in Dubai and Muscat. As Paraglider said, there wont be any culture shock for you if you visit as a tourist. Currently I am based at Singapore. If at all you are visiting Singapore, please let me know. We can meet.
I've lived in Hong Kong and Taipei and visited Dubai several times. None was a difficult adjustment. In fact they are all great places! Of course as Paraglider says, I didn't have to deal with authority. And I'm not a big drinker.
I mean I left my little Cape Cod village of 2,500 people and went to UPenn in the middle of West Philadelphia. Wharton was much scarier for me than these places. After that I could handle anything. And that I believe was my father's reasoning for wanting me to go there.
Hong Kong is a nice place for commercial, high and tall buildings, nice restaurants, shopping centers and cheap electronics plus it is two hours away from Macau - home of the biggest casino. It is almost similar to Singapore. Bangkok has more cultural things to offer.
Well, haven't been there, but I do want to hear about it when you go. I just found out that I am going on a cruise to Alaska this summer with my family. I am pretty excited about that.
I lived in Alaska for many years, and I think it's a place everyone should go at least once in their lives. Great place to raise kids and get some different culture. The wildlife is amazing and the scenery can't be beat. Enjoy your time there!
I've been a tourist in both for a few days each - though HK it was back in 99 before the Chinese got it back.
There is effectively little language barrier in either - nor is there anywhere much in the world even vaguely on the tourist trail.
for exotic - HK - by a country mile -I've travelled a LOT in Asia - but HK brings congestion and shopping to a whole new level - if you suffer from claustrophobia you might want to give it a miss but I loved it!
Mind you hanging in the Dubai malls watching women in cut-offs and in abayas is pretty amazing too - and Wild Wadi is fun. HK has a lot more geograhpic variety - I wish I'd got to the New Territories - I didn't but I did get to Macau which is quite different again (great portugese food).
Just my 2c - I'd go both back to both but HK would be my pick
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