Hong Kong

All international airport taxes are included in the airfare.

Hong Kong has a sub-tropical climate with distinct seasons:

  • Spring: March - May Temperature and humidity are rising. Evenings can be cool.
  • Summer: June - August Hot, humid and sunny, with occasional showers and thunderstorms. The temperature can exceed 31°C.
  • Autumn: September - November There are pleasant breezes, plenty of sunshine and comfortable temperatures. Many people regard these as the best months of the year to visit Hong Kong.
  • Winter: December - February Cool, dry and cloudy, with occasional cold fronts. The temperature can drop below 10°C in urban areas.

Winter (December – February)
Despite the usually chilly connotations that are associated with winter, these months are said to be the best time to visit Hong Kong. With pleasant sunshine, cool breezes and comfortable temperatures, the conditions are optimal for exploring the city’s many attractions. Temperatures range between 15-23°C (59-73°F), so bring warm clothing if you get cold easily.

Spring (March – May)
As spring begins, the climate’s humidity increases and remains high until the end of the year. Expect reasonably pleasant weather with the occasional muggy day. Warm temperatures of around 23-30°C (73-86°F) with intermittent breezes are customary, so we suggest packing some light clothing as well as a sweater or two.

Summer (June – August)
Make sure to pack a cardigan if you’re visiting during the summer because despite the hot days and warm nights of 30-35°C (86-95°F), this is the season for seriously frigid thermostat levels. Humidity is at its highest and many find solace from the heat in the air conditioned malls or by chartering a junk boat. This time is also known as ‘typhoon season’, as there is the greatest amount of rainfall thunderstorms from time to time.

Autumn (September – November)
The first sign of autumn is a reduction in humidity. Rainfall decreases too and there are many bright, cloudless days. Generally the conditions are more stable, with temperatures of 23-30°C (73-86°F) being more enjoyable with the addition of cooler, drier winds. A light jacket or cardigan would be advisable if you’re arriving in November.

The legal tender is the Hong Kong dollar (HK$). It is linked to the US dollar at a rate of roughly 7.8 HKD to 1 USD, although exchange rates may fluctuate daily depending on the money market. Hong Kong banknotes are issued by three banks (HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank and Bank of China) and vary in design and colour for each denomination.

You can exchange your currency for Hong Kong dollars at authorised money exchangers. At Hong Kong International Airport, currency exchange counters are conveniently open from early morning to late at night. There are also 24-hour automated teller machines.

All visitors entering Hong Kong must go through customs clearance and declare any dutiable commodities exceeding duty-free quotas. Please find out more about dutiable commodities and latest duty-free concessions.

Also, the import/export of dangerous drugs, arms, animals, plants, endangered species, meat and poultry, etc. into or out of Hong Kong is governed by laws. Any import/export of these items must be accompanied by a valid license or permit issued in advance by the relevant authorities unless otherwise exempted by laws. Some personal protection devices like mace spray, although legal in some countries, are prohibited in Hong Kong. For details, please visit the Customs and Excise Department’s website. To avoid any unnecessary delays, please follow the guidelines from Hong Kong International Airport.

All passengers departing from Hong Kong International Airport are required to show their boarding pass and travel document to airport security personnel at the 'Departure Immigration Hall'.

Tap water conforms to the guidelines as recommended by the World Health Organization for for drinking water. However, most people prefer to drink bottled water. Mineral water including major imported brands is readily available from supermarkets and convenience stores.

220 V, 50 Hz UK plug

How does starting your day with a Cantonese breakfast, followed by Thai for lunch and then end with a Mediterranean dinner sound? Hong Kong’s history, location and role as a centre of international business guarantee a formidable variety of cuisines, with menus and venues spanning from the Himalayas to the Andes, and from Scandinavia to Southeast Asia.

In a city of sizzling woks, tinkling wine glasses, cosy eateries, pungent cooking aromas, celebrated culinary festivals and trend-setting chefs, everywhere you turn there is the temptation to dig in and indulge. Resistance is futile as there are a host of gourmet events, competitions and awards throughout the year.

In Hong Kong there are certain foods that you cannot leave without trying such as dim sum, which means ‘touch your heart.’ With as many as 150 items on a restaurant menu and 2,000 in the entire range, it is a challenge to not find something you love. As Cantonese people tend to avoid fried foods early in the day, steamed dishes dominate most dim sum menus. There are also snack-sized portions of pan-fried, deep-fried and baked items served in bamboo containers, which are designed to be eaten communally and washed down with tea. Hence, going for dim sum is known as yum cha, which literally means ‘drinking tea’. Usually a brunch or lunch affair, it is a common form of family, coworker and other group get togethers.

Dim sum restaurants come in all shapes and sizes. Start with one of the large mid-priced eateries where in the midst of boisterous conversations you will see multiple generations gather around the table for a no-nonsense family feel and office workers enjoying a short but effective break from the daily grind. When you enter, let the waiter know how many people are in your group, be seated, decide on what type of tea you want, order your dim sum, and enjoy a quintessential Hong Kong experience!

For a truly enjoyable seafood feast, head to the seafood district. Here you will find rows of restaurants with seafood so fresh that you can see it swimming minutes before it’s on your table. In fact, you can pick exactly the meal you want from an aquarium and eat it alfresco while enjoying picturesque sea views on a balmy Hong Kong evening.

True to form, Asia’s 'World City' also offers up seafood in a variety of dining experiences that range from cosmopolitan fusions that would impress the most jaded epicurean all the way down to the best-served-with-beer ‘sampan-style’ concoctions.

Normal office hours in Hong Kong are 9.00 am to 5.00 pm on weekdays and 9.00 am to 1.00 pm on Saturdays, although they can be longer depending on the kind of business. Major banks are open 9.00 am to 4.30 pm on weekdays and 9.00 am to 12.30 pm on Saturdays and are closed on Sundays and public holidays. In 2006, the HKSAR Government started to adopt a five-day workweek for Hong Kong civil servants. Operating standards are being maintained through extended hours for certain weekday counter services and use of alternative means of government dealings. Emergency and essential services are not affected.

Some shops are open every day throughout the year and only close during the Chinese New Year holiday. Generally speaking, opening hours are 10.00 am to 7.00 pm. However, many stores in busy retail areas like Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui stay open until 9.30 pm or even later, particularly on weekends. Shops in Central close as early as 7.00 pm.

Most restaurants stay open until 11.00 pm or later, while some bars and clubs in areas such as Lan Kwai Fong, Wan Chai and Tsim Sha Tsui keep going through the night.

Hong Kong’s raison d’être is its harbour, which historically has connected the city with the rest of the world. Today, this world-class infrastructure offers travellers a host of attractive arrival and departure options.

Hong Kong is a key aviation hub serviced by more than 90 airlines that provide connections to major cities throughout the world. Your gateway to the city is the 24-hour Hong Kong International Airport, which is consistently ranked among the best airports in the world.

Hong Kong is linked to a number of ports in mainland China and Macau by high-speed ferries servicing Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and Hong Kong International Airport (off Lantau Island). There are also two world-class cruise terminals, the Ocean Terminal and the Kaitak Cruise Terminal, servicing a host of major international cruise lines calling in Hong Kong year-round.

Travellers coming from Shenzhen in mainland China can enter via the Lo Wu and Lok Ma Chau checkpoints and will be able to take a local MTR train into town after passing through Hong Kong Immigration. The MTR runs regular through-train intercity services between Hong Kong and Guangdong province, Beijing and Shanghai. The through-train terminus is MTR Hung Hom Station. Located on the Kowloon harbour front, it is where travellers need to pass through Hong Kong Immigration before boarding the train.

Upon arrival in Hong Kong, automatic sensors will take your temperature at the Hong Kong International Airport and boundary control points. If it is high, you will be asked to have a quick health check.

Vaccination certificates are usually not required. However, check with your local carriers because requirements may change.

Free Wi-Fi service
Free Wi-Fi service is available at HK International Airport. There is also Free GovWiFi service in some government buildings and public libraries.

Free Terminals
You can access the Internet for free at many coffee shops in town including Tsim Sha Tsui, Central, Causeway Bay and Wan Chai. The service is also available in some MTR stations and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council' Business InfoCentre. Please check with the hotel concierge for a nearby location.

Broadband Internet Access
Most hotels have broadband Internet access.

Chinese (in which Cantonese is most widely spoken) and English are the official languages of Hong Kong. All official signs are bilingual and are written using traditional characters. Most shops and restaurants also have English signs, though don't expect this from the more local or rural establishments.

Cantonese is the Chinese dialect spoken by more than 88% of the people in Hong Kong. However, English is widely used in the government and by the legal, professional and business sectors as well as within tourist areas. Most taxi drivers and salespeople are able to communicate in English.

Since reunification with China in 1997, Mandarin has gained in prominence and most locals can at least comprehend it to a certain degree. It is more commonly known as Putonghua and is the official dialect of China.

In general, all visitors to Hong Kong must have a passport that is valid for at least 1 month after the period of their intended stay in Hong Kong. However, documents issued to stateless persons must be valid for a minimum of 2 months after the period of the intended stay. Please contact Immigration Department for details.

Nationals of most countries do not require visas and can stay for periods varying from 7 days to 180 days, depending on nationality. If unsure of status, check with any Chinese embassy or consulate.

Professionally operated postal services have been an important factor in facilitating Hong Kong’s development as a leading business, financial and industrial centre. Hong Kong Post aims to provide reliable, efficient and universal postal services at reasonable prices to meet the needs of visitors and local residents as well as fulfilling its international postal obligations.

Telephone
Telecommunications in Hong Kong are efficient and sophisticated. Local private landline calls are free and cost only HK$1 for five minutes from public telephones. Hotels usually make a charge. International Direct Dial (IDD) service to most countries and regions of the world is available at most of the hotels in Hong Kong.

Mobile/Cell phone
Using your mobile phone in Hong Kong is convenient because most of the global wireless systems, such as like GSM 900, PCS 1800, CDMA and WCDMA, operate in Hong Kong.

Mobile operators in Hong Kong also have roaming agreements with most overseas operators, enabling visitors to use their own mobile phone when they come to Hong Kong. Before leaving home check with your network provider to make sure they have a roaming service to the various destinations you will be visiting and be sure to check pricing.

You can also purchase local SIM cards or rent mobile phones once you arrive in Hong Kong, whether at the airport or in town.

Religious freedom is one of the fundamental rights enjoyed by both Hong Kong residents and visitors. There is a large variety of religious groups in the Hong Kong including Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and Judaism. All of these groups have a considerable number of adherents.

Smoking Restrictions
Smoking is prohibited in all indoor public places including restaurants, karaokes, malls and bars. The smoking ban is also implemented on public transport carriers and public transport facilities as well as in both indoor and outdoor areas such as public beaches, swimming pools, escalators and the Hong Kong Wetland Park. No person shall smoke or carry a lighted cigarette, cigar or pipe in designated ‘No Smoking’ areas or else will be liable to a fixed penalty of HK$1,500.

Hygiene & Cleanliness
Eating and drinking are not allowed on most public transport in Hong Kong. Hong Kong also maintains a high standard of hygiene facilities to better protect public health. Public washrooms and hand sanitisers can be commonly found at attractions and shopping malls to raise personal hygiene awareness. Hong Kong has strict laws to maintain environmental hygiene and implements fixed penalty fines of HK$1,500 for littering or spitting.

Hong Kong is a remarkably safe city by day or night, and friendly police officers patrol frequently. To ensure that your stay is pleasant and hassle free, please pay attention to the following points:

  • Keep your money, valuables and travel documents in a safe place like the hotel room safe.
  • Attend to your belongings especially when you are in a crowded place.
  • Beware of people making dubious offers and those who may try to distract you and take away your belongings.
  • Be wary of people offering gambling or investment opportunities.

Carry-on Baggage

  • Departing visitors and those in transit should note that enhanced security measures are now in effect at Hong Kong International Airport.
  • Visitors are reminded not to include any sharp objects with points or blades in carry-on luggage such as knives, cutters, scissors, razor blades or household cutlery. Pack these items in your check-in luggage.
  • Restrictions also apply to carry-on liquids, gels and aerosols, which must be in containers no bigger than 100ml and placed in a single transparent re-sealable bag with a capacity not exceeding one litre (maximum one bag per passenger).

Hot Deals in Honk Kong
A shopper’s paradise, Hong Kong is well known for its impressive shopping districts, high-end malls, colourful shopping streets and numerous department stores. Additionally, many imported goods have lower tax duties than the international standard, making many items in Hong Kong more affordable to take back home.

Whether you’re a mall rat or a market hound, there’s plenty to choose from in Asia’s world city.

Shopping Areas
Wondering where to start? Map out your plan of attack by focusing on the city’s main shopping districts including Central, Causeway Bay, Tsimshatsui, Mongkok, Wanchai and Stanley. Each area is relatively compact and has its own unique feel and atmosphere.

Malls & Department Stores
Lavish shopping malls dot the city filled with a variety of stores, restaurants, bars, entertainment centres and more. Check out ELEMENTS, ifc mall and Harbour City.

Markets & Shopping Streets
The South China practice of grouping similar businesses on one street means you can easily find anything you need – if you know the right place to go! From goldfish, birds and plants, to makeup, clothing and electronics, there’s a street for it. Head to Cat Street for antiques and curiosities, the Jade Market, Cheung Sha Wan Road for casual fashion items, or the famous Ladies Street in Mongkok.

The bustling city of Hong Kong was just a collection of fishing villages before being claimed by Britain in 1842 following the First Opium War with China. This failed attempt by the Ching Dynasty to stop the British trading in opium led to Hong Kong being ceded to Britain under the Treaty of Nanking that year. The Kowloon Peninsula was handed over in 1860 and a 99-year lease on the New Territories, comprising the area north of Kowloon up to the Shenzhen River plus 235 outlying islands, was granted in 1898.

Under the unique principle of 'One Country, Two Systems', Hong Kong returned to Chinese sovereignty on 1 July 1997 as a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China. This arrangement allowed Hong Kong to enjoy a high degree of autonomy, retaining its capitalist system, independent judiciary and rule of law, free trade and freedom of speech.

Hong Kong's magnificent harbour has been the key to its development as a trading port and entrepôt for China, progressing through an industrial era to become a leading financial and services centre in Asia. The unique blend of eastern and western influences matched by diverse attractions and stunning countryside have also made Hong Kong Asia's prime tourist destination also known as ‘Asia's World City’.

Tipping etiquette in China is different than it is in Hong Kong. Although most of China does not expect tips, it is customary to tip in Hong Kong. How much to give depends on where you are, what you received and the quality of service.

In hotels, staff may expect you to tip. The porter or bellboy may expect a small tip for carrying your luggage and an amount between USD 2 - 5 should be sufficient. At high-end restaurants it is safe to tip between USD 10 - 20 per person for excellent service unless a service charge (typically 10% of the bill) is already included in the bill. Taxi fares are extremely reasonable; even so, the taxi driver will not expect you to tip. They may however round up the fare, or you can chose to do this yourself if you are happy with the service.