GENERAL  INFORMATION


In Hong Kong, you can find a wide spectrum of fascinations, from traditional Chinese culture and food, distinct architecture with uniquely-designed buildings, to the newest infrastructure and cutting edge electronics products. Explore Hong Kong with an open mind, you will find that Hong Kong is more than what you can imagine.

Hong Kong, also known as the fragrant harbour, the pearl of the orient, and the crossroad between the East and the West, is an exotic tourist destination, and is a place that you cannot miss out. Whether you are visiting solely Hong Kong, or together with other places, this website provides all of the necessary information for you to plan and enjoy the most of your Hong Kong visit.

Orientation :

hong kong map Located at the southeast coast of China, Hong Kong is composed of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon Peninsula, The New Territories and 262 outlying islands. Total area is 1,092 square kilometers (50 sq km of water inclusively). Geographic coordinates are 22.15 N. longitude, and 114.10 E. latitude.

Hong Kong Island and Kowloon Peninsula are separated by the Victoria Harbour, and connected by 5 tunnels, 2 are solely for rails, whilst the other 3 are publicly used, namely Cross Harbour Tunnel(Hung Hum Tunnel), Eastern Harbour Crossing and Western Harbour Crossing, they carry different tolls, none of them allows pedestrians. Kowloon and the New Territories are separated by the Boundary Street which runs East-West.

The major roads in Hong Kong Island all run East-West, Queen's Road (Central, West, East) from Western District to Wan Chai, Hennessy Road from Wan Chai to Causeway Bay, King's Road from North Point to Quarry Bay. The major road in Kowloon is Nathan Road which runs North-South from Mong Kok to Tsim Sha Tsui, Argyle Street runs East-West in Mong Kok.

There are 18 geographic and administrative districts, amongst which, tourists are mostly interested in the below -

DistrictFeature
Central,
Hong Kong Island.
Central Center Building Central at night Mid Level Escalator Central District is the business centre of Hong Kong. It houses the headquarters of Government offices and many multinational corporations. Here you can find uniquely designed architectures such as the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Building, the Bank of China Building, the International Financial Center where Batman jumped from in the movie, the Dark Knight, and the world's longest outdoor escalator.
Western,
Hong Kong Island.
built before WWIIWestern District is an older residential area, and one of the earliest settlements. Some pre-WWII buildings still exist. The most interesting part here is the Dried Seafood Market and the Herb Market.
Wan Chai,
Hong Kong Island.
Hung Sing Temple Ruin at Ship Street Ruin at Ship Street Wan Chai District is composed of 3 tiers. The north most is commercial buildings such as the Convention and Exhibition Center, followed by the red light district, then a residential area. To me, the most interesting thing to see here is in the residential area, there are a few small temples and ruins to explore, but most tourists are more interested in the revolving restaurants on the top of the Hopewell Center, the Rosewood furniture street at Queen's Road East, and the ever-busy Convention and Exhibition Center which is a famous landmark of Hong Kong.
Causeway Bay,
Hong Kong Island.
A shopping paradise! Many shopping centers and big department stores selling mid-range to high-end merchandise.
Southern,
Hong Kong Island.
Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter The south side of Hong Kong Island includes the Repulse Bay, Shek O, Stanley, and Aberdeen. Hong Kong's own amusement park, Ocean Park, is located here too.
Tsim Sha Tsui,
Kowloon.
Tsim Sha Tsui Tsim Sha Tsui is Very touristy and festive, it has many hotels and shopping centers, a waterfront promenade, a ferry pier that takes you for a ferry ride in the Victoria Harbour, and a ferry terminus that takes you to Macau or mainland China. The waterfront promenade is the best place to watch the skyline of Hong Kong Island and watch the boats in Victoria Harbour. Adjacent to the waterfront promenade you can catch the historic ferry that will take you to Central or Wan Chai of Hong Kong Island.
Mong Kok,
Kowloon.
Mong Kok Mong Kok is mainly a place for lower range shopping and dining, it is always crowded, and stays crowded until after midnight.
Shatin,
New Territories.
Shatin used to be a "satellite city" of Hong Kong. It has the Shing Mun River for dragon boat racing in the summer, and the Shatin Race Course for horse racing. There are a number of old villages here composed of low-density, low-rise (at most 3-storey) residential houses, worth seeing for their historical nature, and not much else.
Outlying Islands
.
Amongst the 262 outlying islands, only 2 or 3 are probably worth visiting. Namely Lantau, Lamma and Cheung Chau. Lantau has the airport, Disneyland and the Big Buddha Statue; Lamma has seaside seafood restaurant row; And Cheung Chau has the Bun Festival, some seaside seafood restaurants and couples of small caves formerly used by pirates.

Population :

7 million. Around 95% are of Chinese descent.

Language :

Traditional Chinese and English are the official written languages. Street names, road signs, shopping centers, department stores and all public utilities display both languages. For spoken language, over 90% of Hong Kongers' first language is Cantonese, a dialect of Chinese.

Religion :

Varied. Hong Kong has churches, Buddhism temples, Hinduism temples, Sikh temples, synagogues, and mosques.

Climate :

Subtropical monsoon.
Spring : Mar – May – warm and rainy, evenings are cool. Windbreaker and long pants are sometimes required in the evenings of Mar and April, shorts in day time. umbrellas or raincoats is nice to have.
Summer : Jun – Aug – hot, humidity can be as high as 80%, occasional typhoons, temperature range is 28-36°C, . Summery clothes day and night, umbrellas or raincoats is recommended.
Autumn : Sep – Nov – warm and low humidity. Summery clothes are still needed, in November evenings, you may need a windbreaker.
Winter : Dec - Feb – cold and dry, occasionally falls below 10°C, but never snows. Thick jackets are required, but indoor places such as restaurants and shopping centers can be very warm.

The Hong Kong Observatory provides detail 7-day weather forecast .

When to visit :

Although many people reckon that September to Februrary is the best time to visit Hong Kong, in fact, it has different attractions for different seasons, so just equip yourself with the necessary clothing, and umbrella or raincoats, you can visit Hong Kong at any time of the year.

Spring gives you the best fresh, natural views, migratory birds, and blossoming plants, you'll like the beautiful bauhinia which is the city flower and widely grown in Hong Kong; Summer is very energetic especially at the beaches and waterfront areas where sunshine and sea bleeze are enchanting; Autumn has the most comfortable weather that allow you to visit anywhere in greater pleasure; Winter has many big festival celebrations for you to take part in.

Currency / money :

Hong Kong Dollar(HKD or HK$) is pegged to the US Dollar, and 1 USD equals about 7.8 HKD

There is no limit on currency brought in or taken out of Hong Kong. You can change your traveler's checks at most of the banks, hotels or money-changers, with a small handling fee.

ATM : Easy to find, especially at crowded shopping areas.
There are two types of ATMs, namely EPS and Jetco, as long as the ATM display the logo that matches your debit card, you can withdraw HKD day and night.

Working in HK needs a working permit. Hawking or street performing is illegal in Hong Kong, even though you may see other people doing it, they bear the risks of being arrested.
Octopus card :
octopus cardOctopus card is an electronic money, or stored-value smart card, originally developed for Mass Transit Railway(MTR) rides only, now it's usage has been extended to many retail purchases. Besides MTR, Octopus card can be used in all buses, ferries, trams, minibus, trains(except trains that goes to the Mainland of China), convenient stores(7-11, Circle K), fast food chain stores(MacDonald, KFC, Café de Coral, Maxims, Fairwood), supermarkets(Wellcome, Parkin Shop), drug stores(Mannings, Watsons), some public phone booths, parking meters and some vending machines. Some transportations offers discounts for same-day return trip, they do so by Octopus card. A refundable deposit of HK$50 is required to purchase the card, you can replenish or check the remaining value at any MTR station. Remaining value of an Octopus card can be refunded at any MTR station (Airport station inclusively), if the refund is within 6 months of purchase, a handling fee of HK$7 will be applied, besides, if the remaining amount is over HK$500, it takes MTR several days to process the refund, so tourists are not recommended to leave too much money on their Octopus card. Note that Octopus cards are not accepted by taxis.

TIP : I found it super convenient to have an Octopus card, and felt uncomfortable when I forgot to bring it, I recommend you beginnig your Octopus convenience experience by purchasing the card upon your arrival, at the MTR service desk located at the Arrival Hall at the Airport, or any MTR station.



To fly to Hong Kong

Besides Cathay Pacific Airways, Dragonair, Hong Kong Airlines, Hong Kong Express Airways, Metrojet, and Oasis (temporarily ceased operation since Apr2008) which are based in Hong Kong, many international airlines fly to/from Hong Kong, including (but not exclusively) United Airlines, Japan Airlines, British Airways, Quantas Airways, Singapore Airlines, Malaysian Airlines, Air Canada, Finnair, American Airlines, Air France, Air New Zealand, Cebu Pacific Air, Uni Air, Mandarin Airlines, China Southern, China Eastern, China Airlines, Lufthansa, Saudi Arabian, Jet Airways, Eva Air, PAL, Jetstar, Shanghai Airlines, Korean Air, Air Mauritius, Air China, Asiana Airlines, South African, Bangkok Airways, Thai Airways, El Al Israel, Vietnam Airlines, ANA, Royal Brunei, Qatar Airways, Garuda Indonesia, Hainam Airlines, Air India, Biman Bangladesh, Sri Lankan, Emirates Airline, Swiss, Virgin Atlantic, Continental, East Star Air, Xiamen, Air Asia, Thai Air Asia, Air Niugini, and Orient Thai.

Airport :

Chek Lap Kok Airport is the only international airport in Hong Kong, airport code is "HKG", located on Hong Kong’s largest outlying island, Lantau Island. There is another public-used airport located inside the Shun Tak Shopping Centre, and is solely for the helicopter ride to and from Macau. Other airports are either privately-own, or for military purposes.

In 2008, the Chek Lap Kok Airport won for the seventh time in 10 years the best airport in the world. Needless to say, Chek Lap Kok’s services and facilities will give you a pleasant experience.

Visitors' information and service center :

located at Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, just in front of the Star Ferry Pier. You can get maps and information about some touristy areas.

Travel Agencies in Hong Kong :

If you want to extend your trip to the Mainland China or Macau, you can get a travel agent to arrange it for you. Joining a tour group at travel agencies is cheaper than doing it yourselves, and hassle-free. China Travel Agency is the place where you can get a visa to go to China. To ensure a travel agent is licensed, check it here.

Visa / passport :

Hong Kong allows visa-free visits for tourists from many nations, check visa status to find out if you need a visa to visit Hong Kong.

According to the Hong Kong law you are required to carry your passport in public places as a proof of identity. This law was created in the 70’s to facilitate the police to identify illegal immigrants or workers.

Useful phone numbers and IDD country code:



Electricity :



Inoculation :

Visitors are advised to have the below shots before entering the country -

Time zone :

It is GMT + 8 all year round.




Smoking regulations :

Smoking is prohibited in all indoor public places, restaurants, bars and public transportation, as well as other places.




Tipping :

Most eateries have 10% service charge included in their bills. Even if service charge is included, an extra 10% tipping is customary and recommended.




Traffic :




Calendar :

Some Chinese festivals follow the lunar calendar and do not fall on the same day every year, this conversion table for the years of 2010, 2011 and 2012 are useful for planning your trip.

Lunar calendar is a calendar determined by how the moon revolve around the earth, day 15 is when the moon is the roundest and fullest of the month, and it has only 29-30 days per month. Strictly speaking, the Chinese lunar calendar is a lunisolar calendar, i.e. a leap month exists every few years to synchronize with the solar calendar.


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