So on my recent trip to Hong Kong came the top questions on my mind:
- Is smoking allowed indoors?
- Are there cigar terraces or parlours?
- Cigars and customs, what is there to know?
Hong Kong might not strike you as a place where you expect cigars to be consumed in huge quantities, but as in most major cities, Hong Kong shares it's own piece of the cigar pie.
So a smoking ban in public spaces came into effect on the island, just like in the United Kingdom so a couple of cigar rooms have emerged where you can sit back and choose from the cigars offered.
The 5 top, as chosen by businesstraveller are given below:
- Red Chamber Cigar Divan - Shop 405-406A, Pedder Building, 12 Pedder Street, Central; +852 2537 0977
- La Casa Del Habano - Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel & Towers, 20 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui; +852 2123 9952
- The Humidor@ L'Etage - 22/F Macau Yat Yuen Centre, 525 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay; +852 2522 5300
- Cohiba Cigar Divan - Mandarin Oriental, 5 Connaught Road, Central; +852 2825 4074
- Davidoff Shop - Shop L9, The Peninsula Hong Kong, Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui; +852 2368 5774
If you feel going to a cigar room is not for you, or you want to find a local area, then there are many bars with an outdoor space that allows you to smoke your cigar without you having to leave the premises. All you have to do is just venture out to a bar, around you.
On my visit, I spent most of my time in the Financial district of Central, Hong Kong Island at the 2FC building.
The Liberty Exchange bar captures the view of what to expect of any modern City, being surrounded by a couple of the famous landmarks.
The entrance to the bar is made entirely of glass doors which is fully opened to the traffic flowing in and out of the bar, with little smoking hubs outside. This, as you can now see, formed the perfect place to smoke whatever is of pleasure to you, whilst making conversation with friends and colleagues, and the friendly bartenders. This bar comes alive around 5pm local time, when people start to drift out of work, so expect to see 'suits ', and I mean loads of them.
Really good music pumps out of the speakers, and if you're a dancer like myself, your body already begins to move before you're aware of what is going on.
My favourite bartender at the Liberty Exchange bar is Ash. He is a Hong Kong native, and if you want to find out about other places to go, clubs, the usual tourist attractions, and the path less trodden, he is your man.
The Tazmania club at LKF has small terrace for smokers, with a glass door, so you still get to see inside the club and hear the music while you puff away. The whole point of these terraces is to keep the smoker within the premises, as compared to leaving the premises for their smoke. So if enjoying your favourite Cuban cigar is of utmost importance to you, you can be rest assured that you won't have to sacrifice the good time you're having by the indoor smoking ban.
So, cigars and customs. This was something I found out after I was already in Hong Kong. I came for my bestfriend's wedding as his English bestman, and because of my love for Cuban cigars, I did bring 12 cigars into the country: Montecristo Petit Edmundo 3-pack, Montecristo No. 4 5-pack, and Montecristo No 5 x 4.
Only after doing some research whilst over there did I learn that you are only allowed to bring a single cigar, as in one cigar into the country. I know, shocking!!
If you bring more, then you are to declare this and pay the necessary taxes, or risk some unpleasantness.
So there you go, do read up on a country's guides in relation to tobacco products and taxes before travelling there, as ignorance is a poor defense.