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Getting around HK with a stroller

  1. #1
    swedishmum is offline Registered User
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    Getting around HK with a stroller

    Hi
    Im moving to HK in the end of sept and I have never been there before. I am wondering if it is difficult to get around HK with a stroller? Is it difficult usng the public transportation with a stroller? Are there any taxis with carseats? What do you do with your kids if there is none, do you try to have them sitting in your lap? Do taxidrivers drive ok?

    Just a few of the thousends of questions I have :)

  2. #2
    MLBW Guest
    Hi SwedishMum,

    As to your first question: Is getting around HK with a stroller difficult? I think the answer depends on how you define "difficult." There is a thread currently going on describing some of the difficulties women in HK with strollers have/don't have while using the MTR and public transportation.

    It can be found here:

    Mtr

    Personally, I think that if you plan on using the public transportation system it's best to have a very narrow stroller as often the gates in and out of the system are narrow. Some of the stations are old and not updated and include lots of stairs and no escalators/ elevators (especially from the inside down into the station) or if they do have elevators/escalators they are often oddly placed and hard to access. I think it's best to read the above thread as you'll get the opinion of other women on this subject. Overall, I would say that using the MTR/public transport system with a stoller in HK is not easy, though the difficulty level is up for interpretation.

    I have never seen a taxi with a carseat. I don't think these exist in Hong Kong. Sometimes we use a taxi for short trips from the train station to our house (10 minutes) and we either just hold our son (8 1/2 months old) in our arms in the back seat or sometimes strap him into the seat with us. Often taxi drivers in Hong Kong are not really willing to wait for you to set up a CAR seat as they are sitting in line. They want you to get in, put your stuff in and get going. And sometimes they don't much care if you have a baby with you or not. You'll find that this city runs at a breakneck pace and time really does mean money to most people--especially taxi drivers. It's not safe to not have your child in a carseat but if you need to use one, don't depend on the taxis to provide it for you. I always tell the taxi driver to drive more slowly (they drive a little crazy usually) when we have our son in the car--they don't think to do this so I always have to tell them.

    I think that taxi drivers in Hong Kong are trying to survive and it's a tough job to have--there are a lot of them. So they are thinking about money and time so they drive "okay" but depending on what you're used to, that can be a harrowing experience.

    Hope this gives you a starting place to learn more from.

  3. #3
    Lucylou is offline Registered User
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    I dread taking my daughter out in her pushchair. When I do go out I always make sure that I am going somewhere that is vaguely pushchair friendly. You will find that you will need to use escalators and lifts an awful lot. Some of the roads around Central have stairs, so you do need to plan in advance where you are heading to, in order to minimise using these roads. I also find that a lot of shops in HK are up steps or down in the basement. Where we live, I can get a lift to the ground floor but then need to take a flight of stairs down in to the car park!! I invariably have to ask for help if on my own.
    We arrived in HK in January with a pushchair which I loved using back in the UK - here..it was a nightmare - too wide/bulky/heavy, so we went out and bought a Maclaren Quest which is light, easy to fold one handedly and can be manouevered around HK with ease. Do be aware that Central can be extremely busy and using a pushchair can drive you mad - don't expect doors to be held open for you and expect that others who are quite capable to use stairs/escalators will use the lift too and are not courteous in waiting for you to get in the lift - as soon as the door opens it is a mad dash to get in the damn thing!!
    I do use taxis, but ensure that my daughter is strapped inside the seatbelt on my lap. We have a car and in that she has a carseat. I would choose to use the car anyday. As the thread above mentions - taxi drivers do not take in to account that there are children in the car. They want to get from A-B as soon as they can, weaving in and out of traffic etc.. I too have had to ask a taxi driver to slow down.
    This all sounds very daunting to you, I am sure!! but HK is not the most child-friendly place! Something I didn't realise until I got here - coming from the UK it was a shock!

  4. #4
    LeahH is offline Registered User
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    Hi, not sure how expensive taxis are where you are living, but they are at least very cheap here compared to Europe and especially the UK. Public transport is even cheaper, but it depends on where you live as to which will be best for convenience. I live in the mid levels and almost never take public transport with the baby - taxi is just easier.

    Yes, the taxi drivers go fast and can be crazy drivers (I would not limit to just taxi drivers here..) but at least typical journey's / distances in HK are quite short. It's as MLBW says, it's what you are used to. Driving in Italy and Paris - very similar! Otherwise, yes HK taxis may be a harrowing experience..

    if you have a younger baby with a stroller / maxi cosi then getting those strapped into and out of taxis is not bad and the safe option. On occaision, some taxi belts are not quite long enough to work properly with a maxi cosi so you need to improvise.

    Starting off from your home is generally fine as you can take you time to get sorted and get the baby in etc.

    Most importantly you will eventually develop strategies for getting to different places e.g. getting out at nice hotels as the bellmen are always happy to help you in/out and find a taxi, getting dropped off places where lifts are close to avoid stairs.

    Once bub is bigger it get's more tricky. Not absoutely ideal, but you can wear the baby in a bjorn/baby carrier and put the safety belt between you and the baby for some degree of protection (never around you and the baby together - this is more dangerous than not wearing one at all).

    My baby is a year and although really too big for the bjorn, I can still get her into it for taxis. Always prefer to use our car and a proper car seat where possible, but as only my husband drives when it's her and I, or the helper, we still have to taxi.

    There are other options online for portable car seats for older children, I will need to look into this soon I think.

    HK is not brilliant for prams, but once you are used to it things become second nature. There are so many other great things about having kids here (plentiful, cost effective help etc.) that outweigh. Sadly air quality is not one of them!

    Second Lucylou on the Maclaren, we have a bugaboo which lives in the car and is great for long walks (of which there are many in HK), the beach and and if she will be in the pram for a long time. I have a Maclaren Quest that I use when I'm on my own in town or taxis as it's easier to put up/down with one hand. The bjorn allows me to get out of the taxi wearing the baby and then get/open the pram up.

  5. #5
    Neha is offline Banned
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    www.prampushers.com gives u alot of information about pram friendly exits on MTR and roads

  6. #6
    mumto2 is offline Registered User
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    cabs are cheap here and/or otherwise just ensure you don't bring a big pram but rather a nice narrow maclaren or something similar to that and you'll be fine!

  7. #7
    MLBW Guest

    Depends

    Quote Originally Posted by mumto2 View Post
    cabs are cheap here and/or otherwise just ensure you don't bring a big pram but rather a nice narrow maclaren or something similar to that and you'll be fine!
    Whether or not cabs are cheap here really does depend on your income level and what you're used to in your home country. The bill can add up if you get stuck in traffic--which happens a lot on HK Island especially. It just depends. But totally, a narrow stroller is the way to go in HK. Sometimes I see people pushing strollers in HK that look like they could go "offroad" they are so big and the tires so thick! They must not be using the public transport system, I think. :0)

  8. #8
    mumto2 is offline Registered User
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    thanks MLBW as i was basing it on the fact that the original poster might actually be from Sweden...

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