Hong Kong

Travel Guide Asia China Hong Kong





© Galavantie

Handed back to the government of China by the British in 1997, Hong Kong's thriving capitalist market has in no way been slowed down by the influence of Communist rule. Skyscrapers are packed into a relatively small skyline on Hong Kong Island, as the fast-paced lives of business people tick away at ground level. Hong Kong retains its culture in rather remarkable fashion, with traditional street vendors occupying alleyways between said skyscrapers, floating restaurants operating in the harbor, or fishing families recalling Hong Kong's origins as a fishing village. These emblems of Chinese culture are all but invisible from the heights of Victoria Peak; but the breathtaking spectacle of Hong Kong's skyline, harbour and outer islands leaves no room for disappointment.



Brief History

Human settlement in the area now known as Hong Kong dates back to the late Paleolithic and early Neolithic era. The area's earliest recorded European visitor was Jorge Álvares, a Portuguese explorer who arrived in 1513.
In 1839 the refusal by Qing Dynasty authorities to import opium resulted in the First Opium War between China and Great Britain. Hong Kong Island became occupied by British forces in 1841, and was formally ceded to Britain under the Treaty of Nanking at the end of the war. The British established a crown colony with the founding of Victoria City the following year. In 1860, after China's defeat in the Second Opium War, the Kowloon Peninsula and Stonecutter's Island were ceded to Britain under the Convention of Peking. In 1898, under the terms of the Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory, Britain obtained a 99-year lease of Lantau Island and the adjacent northern lands, which became known as the New Territories. Hong Kong's territory has remained unchanged to the present. During the first half of the 20th century, Hong Kong was a free port of the British Empire.

Japan invaded Hong Kong on 8 December 1941 in the Second World War. The Battle of Hong Kong ended with British and Canadian defenders surrendering to Japan on 25 December. During the occupation, civilians suffered starvation, rationing, and hyper-inflation Hong Kong lost more than half of its population in the war. In 1945 Great Britain regained control of the colony. Many remains from the war can still be found in Hong Kong: such as batteries, tunnels, pill boxes and forts. Hong Kong's population recovered quickly as a wave of migrants from China arrived for refuge from the ongoing Chinese Civil War. When the People's Republic of China was proclaimed in 1949, more migrants fled to Hong Kong in fear of persecution by the Communist Party. Besides the influx of immigrants there was also a flow of businesses mainly from Shanghai and Guangzhou that moved to Hong Kong.

Hong Kong rapidly industrialised, with its economy becoming driven by exports, and living standards rising steadily. The construction of Shek Kip Mei Estate in 1953 marked the beginning of the public housing estate programme, designed to cope with the huge influx of immigrants. Trade in Hong Kong accelerated even further when Shenzhen, immediately north of Hong Kong, became a special economic zone of China, and established Hong Kong as the main source of foreign investment to China. During the 1980’s China took over the role of Hong Kong as a heaven for low cost labour, and Hong Kong’s economy became based on services.

In 1983, Hong Kong was reclassified from a British crown colony to a dependent territory. However with the lease of the New Territories due to expire within two decades, the governments of Britain and China were already discussing the issue of Hong Kong's sovereignty. In 1984 the two countries signed the Sino-British Joint Declaration, agreeing to transfer sovereignty to the People's Republic of China in 1997, and stipulating that Hong Kong would be governed as a special administrative region, retaining its laws and a high degree of autonomy for at least fifty years after the transfer. The Hong Kong Basic Law, which would serve as the constitutional document after the transfer, was ratified in 1990, and the transfer of sovereignty occurred at midnight on 1 July 1997.




Hong Kong is located on China's south coast, 60 kilometres east of Macau on the opposite side of the Pearl River Delta. It is surrounded by the South China Sea on the east, south, and west, and borders the Guangdong city of Shenzhen to the north over the Shenzhen River. The territory's 1,104 km2 area consists of Hong Kong Island, the Kowloon Peninsula, the New Territories, and over 200 offshore islands, of which the largest is Lantau Island. Of the total area, 1,054 km2 is land and 50 km2 is inland water. Hong Kong claims territorial waters to a distance of 3 nautical miles. As much of Hong Kong's terrain is hilly to mountainous with steep slopes, less than 25% of the territory's landmass is developed, and about 40% of the remaining land area is reserved as country parks and nature reserves. Most of the territory's urban development exists on Kowloon peninsula, along the northern edge of Hong Kong Island, and in scattered settlements throughout the New Territories. The highest elevation in the territory is at Tai Mo Shan, 957 metres above sea level. Hong Kong's long and irregular coast provides it with many bays, rivers and beaches. Despite Hong Kong's reputation of being intensely urbanised, the territory has tried to promote a green environment, and recent growing public concern has prompted the severe restriction of further land reclamation from Victoria Harbour. Awareness of the environment is growing as Hong Kong suffers from increasing pollution compounded by its geography and tall buildings.




  • Hong Kong Island - the central southern part, home to its financial district;
  • Kowloon - one of the most densely populated areas in the world and busy day and night;
  • Lantau Island - in the east, home to the airport and a giant buddha!
  • New Territories - mostly everything else, including many islands and the border area with China.



Sights and Activities

Outlying Islands

Although Hong Kong may be best known because of its busy city areas and skyline and markets, there are some great islands to explore, some of which are as quiet as rural China. Lantau is the biggest island which include the Ngong Ping Cable Car to the Ngong Ping village and a large Buddha statue. There are many fishing villages on Lantau Island as well and some great hikes. South of Hong Kong Island are even some more remote islands and on some of them there are no cars, which is a relief after walking in downtown Hong Kong or Kowloon. Many ferries leave from Hong Kong Island and it is easy to do some day trips. Lamma Islands is one of the more popular ones.

Star Ferry

Since many years, the Star Ferry travels between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon across the Victoria Harbour and this is the best way to experience Hong Kong from the water. Check the Star Ferry website for more details and information about history and meaning of this important connections over the waters.


Shopping in Hong Kong is guaranteed to be a great experience as this place is the third biggest diamond trading center in the entire world and also the main export place when it comes to finished jewelry. As a result, the benefits of buying nice jewelry here is substantial. The popularity of Hong Kong jewelry is based mostly on the high purity of the gold and silver but also on the good quality of the finished products. Nathan Road along the Tsim Sha Tui but also Hennessy Road are the places to go to find the finest jewelry.

Spa and Massage

As most of Hong Kong’s finest hotels as well as specialist clinics feature day spa facilities, you can put this experience on the "things to do in Hong Kong" list. You can unwind with a manicure, pedicure, relaxing massage or facial. Combining the Western luxury with the Eastern wisdom, the revitalization and satisfaction are a guarantee. A massage, healing reflexology, acupressure or maybe an aromatherapy bath are the recipe to leave you refreshed and ready to start new.

Symphony of lights

Symphony of lights

© Utrecht

Symphony of Lights

The Symphony of Lights is a daily light and laser show which is best viewed from Kowloon across the Victoria Harbour. Some buildings on Kowloon and many of the highrise buildings on Hong Kong Island join this spectacular activity and it starts at 8:00pm daily and lasts for about 10 minutes or so. The Avenue of the Stars in southern Kowloon is the best place to watch it. For more information check the Symphony of Lights website. The views across Victoria Harbour from Kowloon are beautiful anytime of day by the way.

Tian Tan Buddha

Big Buddha

Big Buddha

© sassy_girl

The Tian Tan Buddha is a huge bronze statue of a sitting Buddha, build on top of a hill, and near to the Po Lin monastery. The name Tian Tan Buddha comes from the base of the statue which is a model of the Altar of Heaven of Tian Tan, the Temple of Heaven found in Beijing. Under the Buddha are three floors containing the The Hall of Universe, The Hall of Benevolent Merit, and The Hall of Remembrance. It is claimed that some of the cremated remains of Buddha are located here. Surrounding the buddha are six statues of other gods, giving praise to Buddha. Visitors can climb the 268 steps that lead up to the statue, free of charge.

Travelling by helicopter

Traveling by helicopter offers a splendid panoramic view over the city and is one of the many things to do in Hong Kong. If this experience is not part of your daily routine, you can call the Hong Kong Helicopter Service Company or Helicopter Co., Ltd for more information. So, if you think it will work for you, then you might also give it a try.

Skyline from Victoria Peak

Skyline from Victoria Peak

© Utrecht

Victoria Peak

Victoria Peak is a 552-metre hill on Hong Kong Island and is mainly visited because it has some tremendous views from the top which can be reached by the Peak Tram. You can also walk up or first take the tram and walk down again which is probably the better option when the weather is hot. For more information about the Peak Tram and other sight in and around the Victoria Peak you can check The Peak website.

Other sights and activities

  • Shopping in the markets of Mong Kok.
  • Viewing ancient Chinese artefacts at the Hong Kong Museum of Art.
  • Try some Dim Sum in one of the many restaurants.
  • Hiking in the Sai Kung area, New Territories.
  • Hong Kong Disneyland - is located in Lantau Island. It has 7 themed areas. Visitors can take MTR to Disneyland Resort Station. There are 2 hotels in the Disneyland. However, it is the smallest Disneyland in the world, so spend 1 day in this theme park is already enough unless you are the super fans of Disneyland. Address: Penny's Bay, Lantau Island
    Man Mo Temple

    Man Mo Temple

    © Utrecht

  • Taking the tram and hitting the bars around Hong Kong Island at night.
  • Man Mo Temple.
  • Stanley Market. Stanley is a peninsula on the southeast side of Hong Kong Island. A partly covered flea market in very narrow streets. It's touristy with a local touch. Nice souvenirs to get here too, and some good food outlets. Close to a couple of beaches. The nearest one if you get off the bus at Stanley Arcade is just at the very end of the narrow alleys of the market. At the end walk left for about 100 metres and you're right there. For a usually more quiet beach, walk the road a little further down Stanley peninsula, to St. Stephen's School. There is another beach right there. From Central bus station there are several buses going to Stanley (they are not always that frequent and it takes quite long). Better, but a little harder to find is to get the GMT minibus #40 from Causeway Bay. It is faster, cheaper and the route to Stanley is nice as it partly follows the coastline and passes the high end Repulse Bay area.
  • The Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastry and Temple in Shatin, New Territories, is an interesting place to visit on a hill. It will take some steep walking, just normal walking shoes are good enough. Very easy to reach by MTR/East Rail Line. Take the East Rail (light blue line on the MTR Network map) direction Lo Wu and leave at Shatin Station. Walk out of the station at the Shatin City Link side. Then on the left side there is a walking bridge down to the minibus station. Once you are at street level just follow the excellent directions (with pictures) on this website.



Events and Festivals

Cultural and Religious

  • Chinese New Year - No place on Earth celebrates Chinese New Year like Hong Kong! During the three weeks celebrated for New Years, streets are lined with flower markets, food stalls, and vibrant decorations. Visitors can expect to see extravagant parades, traditional Chinese music and dance, along with a first-class fireworks display (after all, China is where fireworks were invented!). Visitors can also tour religious sites and temples who are also celebrating the event. On the third day of the celebrations, Hong Kong hosts a very popular horse race, where participants hope to start the new year with a winning wager. Although dates for the new year vary every year, visitors can expect it to occur late January or early February.
  • Spring Lantern Festival - Trailing the heels of Chinese New Year, the Spring Lantern Festival occurs on day 15 of the first moon of the year (in 2013, this will be February 24th). Popularly referred to as the Chinese Valentines Day, this festival marks the completion of the New Years celebrations. Following old Chinese tradition, lanterns are lit in homes and public areas where singles gather to play matchmaking games.
  • Mid-Autumn Festival - This hugely popular event celebrates the annual harvest under the biggest and brightest moon of the year. During this festival, people eat "moon cakes", which are a small dessert cake filled with ground lotus, sesame seeds, and egg yolk. Along with the dessert, visitors will enjoy colorfully decorated streets and lanterns of many shapes and sizes. Dates of this festival vary every year with the moon, but it typically occurs in September.
  • Cheung Chau Bun - This important festival has deep historical roots in Chinese tradition as has been practiced for more than 100 years. When Cheung Chau was devastated by the plague, the Chinese prayed to their god, Pak Tai, to rid of evil spirits. When the plague was lifted, the Chinese continued with the tradition of giving offerings to Pak Tai each year during this festival. This festival is also a forum where locals can present their talents in the form of art, dance, and music. Elaborate parades with performers in traditional costumes can be seen in the streets during this celebration.
  • Chinese National Day - A national public holiday that marks the beginning of the two Golden Weeks in China. This holiday is celebrated all throughout mainland China, but Hong Kong is home to the biggest and most elaborate fireworks demonstration.
  • Birthday Celebration of Tin Hau - Tin Hau is a Chinese goddess believed to be able to forecast the weather and save sailors from shipwrecks. She is celebrated every year in this water festival that includes multiple parades (one on the land and the water), lion dances, and a Chinese opera performance. This festival occurs on the 23rd day of the 3rd lunar month.
  • Buddha's Birthday - This holiday is celebrated throughout Hong Kong with parties, food, and religious ritual. This Buddhist holiday commemorates Buddha's birth, enlightenment, and death. Some of the local rituals include: "bathing" a statue of Buddha as a symbol of purification, and eating bitter green cookie, with symbolize a sweeter future to come.

Other Festivals and Events

  • Hong Kong Art Fair (17 May 2013 - 20 May 2013) - Heldl at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC), this fair showcases the very best in contemporary art from hundreds of galleries across the globe. This event is internationally known as a great place to network with those in the art community.
  • The Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival (21 Jun 2013 - 23 Jun 2013) - This festival features some of Hong Kong's most celebrated traditional customs, features dynamic entertainment, and carnival games. But the main event is an exhilarating dragon boat competition, which takes place in Victoria Harbour off the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront.
  • Lan Kwai Fong Beer and Music Fest - This outdoor summer beer and music festival is hosted annually by Lan Kwai Fong. Visitors can sample food and beer from all over the globe while listening to a variety of live musical acts. Over 70 local restaurants participate in this event, and there are more than 80 sessions of dance and music to choose from. This event is held every July.
  • Ani-Com and Games Hong Kong - A very popular event for the younger crowd. This event is Asia's answer to the US's infamous Comic-Con. Drawing thousands from all over the world each year, this festival features the latest and greatest in animation, comic-books, and video games.
  • Hong Kong's Wine and Dine Month - A spectacular event gathering the regions best food and wine producers and connoisseurs. An event that any foodie visiting the area should be sure not to miss! This event will feature food and wine pairings, tastings of signature dishes from the best in local cuisine, seafood festivals, street carnivals, and much more! This event occurs in October every year.
  • Hong Kong Winterfest - This Winter extravaganza was nominated by CNN as one of the top ten locations in the world to celebrate the Christmas holiday. During the holiday season, the whole city is illuminated in beautiful Christmas decorations and lights displays. Shopping centers are packed to the brim with shoppers trying to take advantage of the season's best deals. There is also a very popular New Years celebration, complete with a magnificent fireworks display.
  • Hong Kong Halloween Treats - Halloween is a highly celebrated holiday in Hong Kong. More than a month of celebrations include, costumes, haunted houses, scary events, special treats and eats, and tons of parties all take over downtown Hong Kong during this holiday event.




Hong Kong generally has warm to hot weather with relatively high humidity. The worst months are from May/June to September when the temperatures are above 30 °C during the day and at night it doesn't get any cooler than 25 °C. On top of that, the humidity can be overwhelming and it is rainy season with serious downpours and occasional hurricanes (typhoons) which can strike Hong Kong. January and February are dry but cool with temperatures just under 20 °C on average and nights below 10 °C common. October to December is warmer and sunny and is the best time for a visit.

The Hong Kong Observatory provides comprehensive information about weather conditions.

Avg Max18.6 °C18.9 °C21.4 °C25 °C28.4 °C30.2 °C31.4 °C31.1 °C30.1 °C27.8 °C24.1 °C20.2 °C
Avg Min14.5 °C15 °C17.2 °C20.8 °C24.1 °C26.2 °C26.8 °C26.6 °C25.8 °C23.7 °C19.8 °C15.9 °C
Rainfall24.7 mm54.4 mm82.2 mm174.7 mm304.7 mm456.1 mm376.5 mm432.2 mm327.6 mm100.9 mm37.6 mm26.8 mm
Rain Days5.49.110.91214.719.117.616.914.



Getting There

By Plane

The Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) on the island of Chep Lap Kok serves all flights to and from Hong Kong, including the ones from mainland China. The national carrier is Cathay Pacific, considered one of the best airlines in the world. Cathay Pacific has flights to many destination throughout the world, including one of the longest direct flights: 16 hours to New York. It also has direct flights to other North American cities, like Los Angeles and Toronto. There are flights to most main airports in the Asian region, with connections to Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and India as well as flights to the Middle East. European destinations include Amsterdam, Paris and London. Several cities in Australia and Auckland in New Zealand have almost daily flights as well. Other airlines based in Hong Kong include Dragonair, Hong Kong Express Airways, Air Hong Kong, and Hong Kong Airlines. Literally dozens of other airlines fly to Hong Kong, including British Airways, Continental Airlines, KLM, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Virgin Atlantic. Even a few budget airlines have flights to and from Hong Kong. Low-cost carrier AirAsia flies to Hong Kong from its hub in Kuala Lumpur.

The Airport Express is a dedicated train service between the airport and the city centre. These trains run every 12 minutes and the 36-kilometre distance to downtown Hong Kong is covered in just 24 minutes. The fare is around 100 Hong Kong dollars, which is expensive when compared to 30-40 dollars being charged by shuttle buses. Special passes are also available to tourists which include tickets of Airport Express plus 3 days of unlimited use of the metro system. There are several shuttle buses linking the airport with Kowloon, Hong Kong Island as well as the New Territories (e.g. Sha Tin). The major companies operating on this route are KMB and City Bus and the fare from airport to city centre ranges between 30-40 HKD. Terminal-to-terminal travel is also quick and simple. Operated by the Airport Authority and maintained by MTR Corporation, there is an automated people mover connecting the East Hall to the West Hall and Terminal 2. Extension to SkyPier was also completed and opened to public in late 2009.

If you are coming from mainland China, it is cheaper to take a plane to Shenzhen than to fly directly to Hong Kong. From Shenzhen Airport, there is a ferry service to Kowloon (about HK$160). A much cheaper alternative is to take the shuttle-bus to the Shenzhen Central Bus Station (about 40 minutes, 20 RMB), then cross the border by foot and get on the MTR East Rail Line (Lo Wu Station).

By Train

MTR operates intercities across the border to Shenzhen and Guangzhou, but also places further afield like Beijing and Shanghai. Most trains to Hong Kong terminate at the Hung Hom station in the east of Kowloon.

By Car

There are six overland border crossings between Hong Kong and China. These are Lo Wu, Lok Ma Chau Spur Line, Lok Ma Chau, Man Kam To, Sha Tau Ko and Shenzhen Bay. Lo Wu is a train and pedestrian crossing; Lok Ma Chau is a pedestrian crossing; Lok Ma Chau and Sha Tau Kok are road, bus and pedestrian crossings, Man Kam To and Shenzhen Bay bridge are road and bus crossings.

Few travellers get here with their own or rental car, as driving to/from China usually means a lot of hassle as you need a special Chinese driver's licence.

By Bus

There are various Cross Boundary Coach operators going to several destinations in China, including Shenzhen and Guangzhou and its airports.

For going from Hong Kong to Macau over the new bridge first take the A21 bus (if staying close to Nathan road, one stop after the airport, from several other Hong Kong areas there are also buses to the border control) to the Hong Kong HZMB border control island for HK$33. From there to the Macau HZMB border control island by shuttle bus for HK$65 and then bus 101X to Praca Ferreira Amaral (close to the Casino Lisboa) for 6 Macau Pataca (exact change only, you can use also HK$ but not cent coins and the Octopus card is not valid). From there you can take bus MT1 to the airport, also 6 Macau Pataca. There are also direct buses from Hong Kong to Macau, 160 to 200 HK$, but you have to leave the bus with all your luggage at both border controls.

By Boat

There are several companies operating ferry services between Hong Kong, Macau, and neighbouring cities in Guangdong at different terminals. China Ferry Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong - Macau Ferry Terminal in Sheung Wan .


  • Hong Kong - Macau
  • Hong Kong International Airport - Macau
  • Hong Kong International Airport – Nansha, Guangzhou

New World First Ferry

  • Hong Kong (Tsim Sha Tsui) - Macau

Chu Kong Passenger Transport Co

  • Hong Kong (Tsim Sha Tsui) - several Guangzhou cities and towns
  • Hong Kong International Airport - several Guangzhou cities and towns



Getting Around

Public Transport
There are numerous ways of getting around by public transport. If you spend some time in Hong Kong and decide to use the public transport often, be sure to get a Octopus Card, which generally is more convenient and gives you unlimited access to almost all of the buses, ferries, trams and the underground system. You just have to make sure you have money on the card at all times, which can be automatically deducted from your card. There are also Airport Express Octopus cards and 3-day Octopus cards, usually only valid on MTR lines (see below).

By Bus

Public double-decker buses ply all the main routes. Companies include Kowloon Motor Bus, Citybus, New World First Bus and New Lantao Bus.
There are also smaller minibus vans, the red minibuses and green minibuses. Using these buses can be confusing, as some might accept the Octopus card, while others don't. Also, some give change, other won't.
Kowloon Canton Railway has some feeder buses as well.

By Boat

The Star Ferry probably is a landmark of its own in Hong Kong. It's very cheap and a great way to view both Hong Kong Island as well as Kowloon from the water of the Hong Kong Harbor. But there are numerous other ferries travelling between almost all islands, closeby and further away. Ferries to Lamma and Lantau are the most popular and convenient.

Other public transport

The Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway (MTR) is a very fast, comfortable and convenient way of getting around most of the area. Lines include the Tung Chung Line to the Lantau Island, the Tsuen Wan Line between Central, Tsim Sha Tsui and Mongkok and the Island Line which runs along the north of Hong Kong Island. The Airport Express is not a MTR line but stops at several of the stations along the Tung Chung Line as well, making it possible to switch between them.

Hong Kong Tramways offers a great way of getting around cheaply, albeit slowly as well. These city trams run along the north of Hong Kong Island. And of course there is the Victoria Peak Tram which probably is one of the highlights of Hong Kong in itself. Take MTR to Tung Chung MTR station and take Ngong Ping Cable Car to Po Lin Monastery, Ngong Ping, where the Tian Tan Big Buddha Statue located.

By Car

Roads in Hong Kong are in a good condition and so are road signs and even the driving skills of the locals. Still, it is not recommended to rent a car, basically because it is just not necessary. It will cost at least US$50-60 for the smallest car and with public transport so extensive around all of Hong Kong, you would be fooling yourself. If you insist, most international companies offer cars at the international airport and several places downtown. Traffic drives on the left and a national or international driving permit is required.
However, if you plan to visit the New Territories (for example to try one of the fantastic sea food restaurants) you might need a car. There are some bus lines, but they are not very frequent.

By Foot

Of course, walking around Hong Kong is still one of the best ways to experience the hustle and bustle of this city balancing on modernity and eastern values. Still, it is best combined with the occasional trip by tram, metro, bus or ferry. Taking the peak tram and walking back down to Central is great (and better than walking uphill in the humid heat), but other walks worth the effort include a combined walk and elevator route taking the longest elevator in the world, going up and down the steep hills of Central Hong Kong Island.
If you are more into hiking, there are great walks in the mountains of Lantau and further afield there are fantastic coastal walks on one of the many almost inhabited islands.

By Bike

Biking is less popular than walking and best done in the New Territories or on one of the flatter islands or islands where traffic (read cars) is less crowded and thus safer and more enjoyable. There are many places to rent bikes, including major transport hubs, but also at some hotels and downtown places. Biking in the city itself is best avoided and not that enjoyable.



Red Tape

Hong Kong maintains a separate and independent immigration system from that of mainland China. Citizens of most Western countries do not need a visa to visit Hong Kong. If required, the Hong Kong visa can be applied for at a Chinese diplomatic mission, but must be done so separately from the mainland Chinese one, and there is no single visa that serves both areas. A visa is still required to enter mainland China from Hong Kong and vice versa. Macau is also a separate country with regards to visas. As leaving mainland China for Hong Kong is considered to be leaving China, if you wish to re-enter mainland China after visiting Hong Kong, make sure you have a multiple-entry Chinese visa.

See Entry requirements to Hong Kong for a list of visa requirements or visa-free stays by country of citizenship. All holders of an APEC Business Travel Card can use the counters for Hong Kong residents at immigration control and can stay for up to 60 days in Hong Kong visa-free if their card has 'HKG' printed on the reverse.

Foreign nationals who require visas for Hong Kong (if they cannot enter visa-free, want to remain for longer than permitted by their visa exemption, or want to work, study or establish/join a business) can either apply for one at a Chinese embassy or consulate, or directly through the Hong Kong Immigration Department. Foreign nationals living in Macau who require visas for Hong Kong can apply for one at the Office of the Commissioner of the Chinese Foreign Ministry. Foreign nationals living in mainland China may apply for a Hong Kong visa at the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Guangzhou, or at the Office of the Government of the Hong Kong SAR in Beijing.

Holders of Chinese passports need to apply for a appropriate entry permit (往來港澳通行證)to enter Hong Kong, except when transiting through Hong Kong, whereby visa-free access is granted for up to seven days.

Holders of Macau permanent identity cards or Visit Permits with permanent resident status can enter Hong Kong visa-free for up to 180 days. Holders of Macao Visit Permits without permanent resident status can enter Hong Kong visa-free for up to 30 days. See Visit/Transit Arrangements to Hong Kong for Macao Residents for more details.

Residents of Taiwan are granted visa-free access to Hong Kong for 30 days if they have a Mainland Travel Permit/Taiwan Compatriot Pass (Taibaozheng, 台胞證). Otherwise, a pre-arrival registration is required which can be applied for through the Immigration Department. See Arrangements for Entry to Hong Kong for Overseas Chinese and Chinese residents of Taiwan for more details. "Chinese residents of Taiwan" refers to citizens of Taiwan, as a result of complex political relations.

Expiry of the limit of stay is counted from the day after the date of entry. For example, if you have a 7 day visa and arrive on January 1, you are allowed to stay until January 8. If you are arriving late at night, you may want to wait until after midnight to clear immigration. Likewise, you may be able to clear immigration just before midnight on the last day that your visa is valid and then take a flight or boat in the middle of the night on the next day. For more information, see question #11 of the Visa FAQs.

Hong Kong no longer issues passport stamps, and visitors are instead given an entry slip with their terms of entry. All entries and exits are recorded electronically, so it is generally not a problem if even you lose the slip.

You can save time if you are a regular visitor by registering to use the e-Channel. Instead of clearing passport control at a manned counter, you can avoid the queues by going through an automated barrier which uses fingerprint recognition technology. You may be eligible to use e-Channel if you are Macau resident or have passport issued by South Korea, Germany, Singapore or Australia.

Note: Overstaying is a serious offence - you can be fined up to $50,000 and/or imprisoned for up to 3 years. If you enter Hong Kong as a visitor, you must not take up any employment (paid or unpaid), study or establish/join a business. If you breach your conditions of stay, you can be fined up to $50,000 and/or imprisoned for up to 2 years. If you do intend to work, study or establish/join a business, you must obtain the appropriate visa. If you make a false statement to an immigration officer or are in possession of a forged travel document, you can be fined up to $14,000 and/or imprisoned for up to 14 years.




See also: Money Matters

Currency: Hong Kong Dollar. There are 100 cents to the dollar.
Symbol: HK$, HKD
Notes: HK$1,000, 500, 100, 50, 20 and 10 dollars
Coins: HK$10, 5, 2 and 1, and 50, 20 and 10 cents

There are numerous banks and ATM machines are plentiful. Banking hours are Monday to Friday 09:00am-5:30pm; Saturday 09:00am to noon; Sunday closed. Some branches have longer hours.

Credit Cards
All major cards including American Express, Visa and Diners Club are widely accepted.




Working Holiday Scheme

The Hong Kong Government organises a Working Holiday Scheme to facilitate cultural and educational exchange between Hong Kong and the participating country. This scheme is open to citizens of Australia, Ireland and New Zealand, aged between 18 and 30 years. Successful applicants will be issued a 12-month visa and are allowed to engage in employment, but not exceeding three months with the same employer. Participants from Australia and New Zealand are also allowed to enrol in study or training courses of not more than three months, during their stay.




There are seven public universities (government-funded) in Honk Kong:

and one self-financing university:

Most lectures are hold in English.




Chinese and English are the two official languages, with Cantonese being the most widely spoken. English is spoken by a good proportion of the population. Street names are generally in both English and Chinese, but many shops and businesses have only Chinese signs.




Eating in Hong Kong is both a pleasant and adventurous experience if you know where to go. There are many small restaurants for example in Kowloon that serve Chinese dishes at reasonably cheap prices, but the quality is often not very good. The best thing to do in Hong Kong is to eat in a sea food restaurant somewhere at the coast (for example in the New Territories, on Hong Kong Island or one of the other Islands). The marine animals should still be alive when you choose them. They will then be freshly prepared and you pay them by their weight. The rice often comes at the end, so if you want it together with the sea food you have to say so.

Hong Kong is home to the world's cheapest Michelin star-rated restaurant, Tim Ho Wan. If dumplings are your thing, this is the ultimate. Although the prices are low, the queues to get in are long - don't be surprised if you have to wait for 2 hours! Open daily from 10:00am-10:00pm, Shop 8, 2-20 Kwong Wa Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon. Phone: +852 2332 2896.

  • elite&i=440 - Nanhai No. 1 is an upscale Chinese fine dining and drinking destination in Tsim Sha Tsui. Located on the 30 Floor in iSQUARE with an outdoor alfresco deck in their Eyebar, the restaurant has an panoramic view of the city’s Victoria Harbour. Opened by Elite Concepts, Nanhai No. 1 combines contemporary Chinese cuisine focusing on the treasures of the South China Sea region. Its daily fresh catch from local waters is one of the attractions of the diverse menu. Nanhai No. 1’s sleek interior design and historical maritime artifacts make it one of the most stylish alfresco restaurant in Hong Kong. The aqua themed Eyebar runs the entire length of the restaurant, its amazing sea views are breath taking. The bar offers a wide range of exotic cocktails, wines and spirits. Address: 30/F, iSQUARE, 63 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong., Phone: (852) 2487 3988, Hours: 11:30am – Late




Rents in Hong Kong are very high due to the restricted living space. Therefore, rooms are either very expensive or just expensive but very small.


There are a lot of hostels in Hong Kong. Most of them are no more than some joining apartments, each divided in several rooms. So if you are on a low budget, prepare yourself to spend most of your time outside of your hostel.


You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)





Much of Hong Kong's nightlife revolves around Lan Kwai Fong, a pedestrian area in Central, popular with the expat community and young partying Hong Kongers. Here you will find every type of bar you could want for a night out - pubs, dance clubs, shooter bars, and live music venues. Much of the action spills unto the street where you can dance and party with the crowds drinking at the 711.

For live music and a drinking scene slightly removed from the debauchery of Lan Kwai Fong, head to Wan Chai, where you will find a selection of live music bars, restaurants, alongside some of Hong Kong's seedier offerings.

For a more relaxed scene popular with the expat business community, the streets around the mid-level escalators (Elgin and Staunton) have countless finer bars and restaurants, as well as some pubs and casual drinking holes.

Drinks in Hong Kong can be expensive, so take advantage of the excellent happy hours (usually 1/2 price) offered by most bars in the city before 8:00 or 9:00pm.




See also: Travel Health

There are no vaccinations legally required to travel to Hong Kong. There is one exception though. You need a yellow fever vaccination if you have travelled to a country (7 days or less before entering Hong Kong) where that disease is widely prevalent.

It's a good thing to get your vaccinations in order before travelling to Hong Kong. The general vaccination against Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio (DTP) is recommended. Also a hepatitis A vaccination is recommended and when travelling longer than 2 weeks also typhoid. Vaccination against Tuberculosis as well as hepatitis B are sometimes recommended for stays longer than 3 months.

Only in rare cases is vaccination against Japanese Encephalitis recommended. Malaria does not occurs in Hong Kong, but dengue sometimes does. Just use mosquito repellant and wear long sleeves if you can when it is dark.

Finally, other possible health issues include diarrhea and other general travellers' diseases like motion sickness. Watch what you eat and drink and in case you get it, drink plenty of fluids (to prevent dehydration) and bring ORS.




See also: Travel Safety

Hong Kong is a very safe place to visit and like most cities the usual precautions apply, like keeping your valuables either invisible to others when you are outside or keep it in a hotel lock if it's possible.
Maybe one of the main safety concerns is traffic. Although there are good public transportation options, cars are everywhere and especially Kowloon and parts of Hong Kong Island are very crowded. Just watch out and keep to the main pedestrian crossings.



Keep Connected


Tip for free internet access: coffee shops. Most coffee shops have free internet access, wireless or on the present machines.

Internet cafes used to charge from $20-30 per hour but most of those Internet cafes have been terminated since and when almost everyone started to connect to internet at home, work and on their mobile phones as the Internet has become widely available.

3G-enabled phone users can also go for a temporary 3G plan from the different operators. Some of the operators, such as One2Free, usually offer an unlimited 3G access for week for $78. Getting a sim card is straightforward and hassle free and everything you need to do is go to a mobile phone shop, pay your money and get a card. As a result, no registration is needed.

To get access to commercial WIFI hotspots, mainly provided by PCCW' and Y5ZONE, for $70 you will get one week of unlimited usage. Those companies also have daily, weekly and monthly plan ($158 and $98 per month for PCCW and Y5ZONE, respectively). In some restaurants such as McDonald's, you also usually have 20 minutes of free WIFI access provided by Y5ZONE.

Most of the hotels, even down market ones, provide Wi-Fi access to their guests.

Free internet terminals are usually widely available in some Starbucks, Pacific Coffee Company and some of the shopping malls, but also the airport or the MTR (for example Wan Chai station, Central Station, Tsim Sha Shui Station). Furthermore, the government offers a big network of free WIFI hot spots in most government premises and also in the public libraries.


See also: International Telephone Calls

Hong Kong's country-code is 852 (different from mainland China (86) and Macau (853)). Local phone numbers (mobile and landlines) are typically 8 digits; no area codes are used. All numbers that begin with 5, 6, 8, or 9 are mobile numbers, while numbers beginning with 2 or 3 are fixed line numbers. For calls from Hong Kong, the standard IDD prefix is 001, so you would dial 001-(country code)-(area code)-(telephone number). Note that calls to Macau or mainland China require international dialling.

Hong Kong has many mobile operators. The best choices for tourists are Three, SmarTone and CSL/one2free. All three operators offer prepaid SIM cards in micro, nano, and standard sizes. Recharging your credit can be done online with a credit card (both Three and one2free will accept credit cards from anywhere, though Three imposes a two-day delay on any online credit card recharge while one2free is instant) or by purchasing vouchers from retail stores, resellers, convenience stores such as 7-Eleven and supermarkets. Unlimited data plans cost around HK$28 per day. Some operators, such as One2Free, offer unlimited 3G access for a week for $78. LTE is also available from some carriers. China Mobile offers a HKD $80 card that includes 5 days of 4G access, though their network type is not accessible to all phones.

Samsung Galaxy Note or Nexus phones can be rented from counters A03 or B12 in the Arrivals Hall of Hong Kong International Airport for HK$68 per day, which includes all local and international calls, 3G internet access, and a built-in city guide.

Payphones are available at the airport, shopping malls, government buildings, and MTR stations and cost HK$1 for a local call for 5 minutes. If you don't have a mobile phone and need to make a short local call, most restaurants, supermarkets, and shops will allow you to use their phone if you ask nicely.


Hong Kong Post offers fast and reliable services. International postal rates for airmail start at around 2.5 HKD. For parcels, they are good as well, or you can use international courier services like DHL or UPS.



  1. 1 Census and Statistics Department (End-2007 est.)

Quick Facts

Hong Kong flag

Map of Hong Kong


Local name
Limited Democracy - Special Administrative Region of China
noun: Chinese/Hong Konger, adjective: Chinese/Hong Kong
Chinese (Cantonese, Mandarin), English
Mixture of local religions, Christianity
Hong Kong Dollar (HKD)
Calling Code
Time Zone
  • Latitude: 22.281873
  • Longitude: 114.161346


as well as chandie702 (9%), Hien (7%), simony (5%), westwind57 (5%), Herr Bert (4%), hotelscheap (4%), Peter (4%), MlleKosuch (3%), hasbeen (3%), nigelpeaco (2%), Hongkong1 (2%), magykal1 (1%), Degolasse (1%), arif_kool (1%), mojorob (<1%), Joekswu (<1%), dr.pepper (<1%)

Hong Kong Travel Helpers

  • Where2next

    I lived and worked in Hong Kong for 7 years and I go back almost every year. I know the Hong Kong side better than the Kowloon side. Causeway Bay was my stomping grounds!

    Ask Where2next a question about Hong Kong
  • simony

    My home town

    Ask simony a question about Hong Kong
  • Jessiemeow

    Born and raised in Hong Kong, I would be happy to answer your questions regarding your Hong Kong trip.
    Beware that May to Sep, even Oct can be hot and humid. Some people find it too hot walking and touring in daytime. Consider coming in our winter time - Nov to Mar. It would be much nicer and enjoyable.

    Ask Jessiemeow a question about Hong Kong
  • nini

    spent 1 week in hong kong in feb 2004. see lantau island with the large buddha. enjoy the view from victoria peak after the ride up on the scary funicular railway.
    enjoy the ferry rides across the river to Kowloon.

    Ask nini a question about Hong Kong
  • Signposts

    I lived in Hong Kong for 18 years and often return

    Ask Signposts a question about Hong Kong

Accommodation in Hong Kong

Explore your accommodation options in Hong Kong

This is version 134. Last edited at 14:47 on Jul 27, 21 by irenevt. 148 articles link to this page.

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, content of this article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License