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Old 17-06-2014, 09:58   #1
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Singapore to Hong Kong - Northern route?

We are planning a round trip from the Singapore area to Hong Kong and maybe much further beginning this fall.

Has anyone experience with the northern route, ie. Cambodia, Vietnam, South China to Hong Kong? As opposed to Borneo and the Philippines? We would prefer to see new countries if possible.

Duration and season are not a concern, as we are 14 years out of Seattle, and only to SE Asia so far. We keep finding places we like and forget to move on.
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Old 18-06-2014, 05:29   #2
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Re: Singapore to Hong Kong - Northern route?

Vietnam and South China will be difficult because of immigration, immigration procedure in both countries do not cater for cruisers and your vessel will be dealt with like a cargo ship ... Hence with huge costs and only commercial harbours to enter. For Vietnam and China the visa will need to be pre arranged and restricts you to 1 or 2 entries.

The Island of Hainan is also nearly inaccessible because of Chinese Coast guard restrictions and for the reasons stated above. An exception is the yearly Hong Kong to Hainan race.

Not really helpful at present are the disputes of the Chinese / Vietnamese governments about the claims in the South China Sea.

Sailing the northern route will therefore be a long sail without stopping and on top of that, with unfavourable winds.

Your best bet to reach HK is making your way over to the Philippines heading north and crossing over to HK. As you have been cruising in SE Asia extensively, you already know about the Taifun risk during the coming months. Your best bet to sail to HK is at the beginning of the year, anywhere between February and April.

In Hong Kong you will need to arrange your mooring place in advance as space is extremely limited.
If you stay in HK for a while, your boat will need a HK license (this is easy) but you will need a HK pleasure craft license to navigate in HK waters. You can find all regulations on the Hong Kong marine department website.
An other contact for information would be the RHKYC website.
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Old 20-06-2014, 06:02   #3
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Re: Singapore to Hong Kong - Northern route?

Thanks for that. I was hoping for more comments. I thought I had heard something in the past year about Vietnam opening up more to cruisers. I was not interested at the time so I'm not even sure I heard it now.

I spent 2 years in the Philippines before Malaysia, so I am familar with the route as far as Subic Bay.
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Old 28-07-2014, 23:01   #4
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Re: Singapore to Hong Kong - Northern route?

A bit late with this reply. I do Hong Kong to Gulf of Thailand trip twice a year (in May/June) and know many delivery crew who do it much more than me.

Singapore to the Gulf of Thailand is easy and passes some great cruising grounds.

Going north from Gulf of Thailand to just past Nga Trang is just fishing net after fishing net. You will get over most of them, but every 4th or so will hook up. Record held by the boys is 18 hookups in one night. There is over 300 miles of this.

The water off the bottom of Vietnam is shallow and gets really messy in strong SW Monsoon (now). If you stop at any of the islands, your boat will probably be arrested and basically held to ransom by the local authorities. USD10,000 was the last fine I heard being extracted for stopping at Con Son (first hand account from someone who I have sailed over 15,000 miles with).

Ho Chi Mhin and Nga Trang can be entered if you have problems with the boat. But it's a costly business.

Hainan, despite having a magnificent marina and hosting volvo race stopovers and volvo race teams, Hainan still turns away yachts. Including dismasted ones requesting only fuel.

If I was going from Singapore to Hong Kong at this time of the year it would be up the east coast or the Malaysian Peninsula to Terreganu, across to Palawan, up to Coron and then straight to Hong Kong (if i didn't want to cruise in the Philippines).

Or to Palawan via Borneo, but I find that trip a bit dull.

A straight shot from Terrenganu or Singapore to Hong Kong is possible if you can get good weather info on the boat. Typhoons are a real problem and the only real defence is to turn and run back to Singapore. Some have run to KK. Disheartening, but probably a better experience than trying to hide in Vietnam, in bad weather, hemorrhaging cash.

Once you get to Hong Kong, as pointed out earlier, the problem will be moorings. Difficult to find but not impossible.

For a short stay in Hong Kong - arrive August / September and leave October. For a longer stay, leave March / April. You will get 6 months for the boat before you have to start the Hong Kong licencing requirements (boat and skipper).
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Old 29-07-2014, 23:44   #5
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Re: Singapore to Hong Kong - Northern route?

Thank you all for the input. We have decided to take the Borneo/Philippines route.

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