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Hong Kong boasts many skyscrapers and residential buildings can be up to 100 floors high because HK doesn't encounter earthquakes.
- A passport valid for at least one month after the duration of your stay.
- Sufficient funds to cover your stay.
- Proof of onward/return transportation.
- A completed immigration card on arrival.
- No serious criminal records.
- You need a visa if you stay for more than 90s days-extensions are available in the Hong Kong SAR Immigration Department.
- Visa-free stays vary for different countries: for the USA, it’s 90 days. As for the UK, it’s 180 days.
- If you plan to study/work in Hong Kong, you must obtain a visa before entering Hong Kong.
- If traveling from Hong Kong to China mainland, you might need to apply for a China visa, differing for each country.
For more information, visit the Hong Kong SAR Immigration Department.
There are a few ways to get into the city from the airport.
The airport express is regarded as the most convenient and easiest way to get to the city. Here are a few things you should know about the ride:
- The train will make three stops, beginning at Tsing Yi, and later traveling to the Kowloon and Hong Kong stations. The Kowloon and Hong Kong stations are located in the main areas of the city.
- Tickets vary depending on stop. For the passage to the Kowloon Station, tickets are HK $90 (USD $11.47) per adult and HK $45 (USD $5.73) per child.
- The train leaves every ten minutes throughout the day, running between 5:54 AM to 12:45 AM.
Airport Bus: A more affordable route
- They have more drop off points and thus take longer.
- The A21 leads to central Kowloon and takes 50 minutes. The ride is HK $33 (USD $4.20) for adults and HK $16.5 (USD $2.10) for children.
- The A11 bus leads to central stops of Hong Kong and takes 65 minutes into central stops of Hong Kong Island. The ride is HK $40 (USD $5.10) for adults and HK $20 (USD $2.55) for children.
- Service costs HK $225-250 (USD $28.66-$31.85) for Kowloon based destinations and HK $290-320 (USD $36.94-$40.77) for Hong Kong Island destinations.
MTR-Mass Transit Railway carries an average of 3.5 million passengers a day.It’s known as one of the world’s best railway operators for safety, reliability and customer service.
- Most lines run from 6 AM to midnight.
- There are nine commuter rail lines, a Light Rail network, and a high-speed Airport Express service.
- Flat rate for an Octopus Card starts at HK $150 (USD $19.11). The unused balance can be refunded.
Hong Kong has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. Still, petty crimes exist in the little state. Here are a few safety tips to protect your money:
- Avoid people who approach you on the streets offering to exchange foreign money into their currency. The money they offer is fake, so exchange your money in banks or with licensed money changers.
- Keep your wallets and purses out of sight in busy crowds to avoid pickpockets.
- Ask locals about quality-oriented shops as shops selling fraudulent and knock-off brands are prevalent.
- Be especially vigilant in Kowloon’s Mong Kok. Full of shops and markets, the area naturally attracts thieves and pickpockets.
- Avoid unlicensed taxis and always ask for a receipt.
- The city is relatively safe for female travelers. Still, exercise caution when it comes to petty crime risks.
Hong Kong is known for its sporadic weather changes and extreme weather conditions. Locals are dealt with black rain, typhoons, extreme heat, and landslides. The little state has four seasons:
- The summers are hot and humid, producing the occasional typhoon.
- Winters are slightly colder as December and January carry the lowest average of 20 degrees Celsius.
- Spring and Autumn are considered the dry seasons.
- The best time to visit is from October to early December, when the weather is sunny and mildly warm.
Hong Kong runs on HKT (Hong Kong Time), which is TC/GMT +8 hours. It’s 12 hours ahead of New York, and seven hours ahead of London.
Cantonese, Mandarin Chinese, and English are the official languages of Hong Kong.
Here’s a few basic words and phrases:
Hello: Néih hóu 你好
Thank you: Dòjeh 多謝
You’re welcome: m̀hsái haakhei 唔駛客氣
Excuse me: Chéngmahn 請問
I’m sorry: Deuim̀hjyuh 對唔住
Please: m̀hgòi 唔該
Good morning: Jóusàhn 早晨
Good night: Máahn ōn 晚安
My name is…: Ngóh giujouh … 我叫做…
How much is this?: Nīgo géidō chín a? 呢個幾多錢啊？
I don’t understand: Ngóh m̀h mìhngbaahk 對唔住,我唔明白
Do you speak English?: Yáuhmóuh yàhn sīk góng yìngmán a? 你識唔識講英文呀?
Where is the bathroom?: Chisó hái bīndouh a? 廁所喺邊度呀？
Call the police: Bou gíng!
Although Hong Kong is an international hub brimming with modern architecture and technology, there are a few rules you should follow:
- Take shoes off when entering someone’s home.
- Walk on the left side of the road.
- Avoid speaking loudly in a temple.
Wine and Dine:
- Wait for the host to start eating.
- Place your chopsticks across the top of the bowl (sticking chopsticks in your food is considered impolite).
- Leave some food left on your plate when you are done eating.
- Don’t refuse the food that your host places on your plate.
Hong Kong’s official currency is called the Hong Kong Dollar (HK$). One USD Dollar is equivalent to $7.85 HK.
Tipping! Restaurants may include an additional 10% service charge on your bill. However, it isn’t necessary to leave a tip in a bar.
The standard voltage is between 220 and 240 volts, which is double the voltage in North America. The standard frequency is 50 Hz. You should carry two types of sockets: type G and type D. Type G is a British-based socket, while type D is an Indian-based plug. Your converters should look like this:
Drinking water straight from the faucet relatively safe and hygenic, but it’s best to be boiled first before drinking. Locals will drink filtered water rather than drinking water straight from tap even if it’s considered to do so.
The Hong Kong government has launched GovWifi, which consists of 400 free hotspots at numerous tourist areas. GovWifi has over 3,000 hotspots at more than 500 locations, which includes libraries, recreational centers, and museums.
Additionally, you can join PCCW’s 2-month free wifi trial and enter into the wifi from any PCCW hotspot. The company contain over 9,000 hotspots, including shopping malls and other locations.
Locals recommend the 1010 store at the Hong Kong International Airport as the best place to purchase a SIM Card. It is located in the arrival hall beside the Seven-Eleven (which also sells SIM Cards).
Uber is around the same price point of Hong Kong taxis. They are, however, less taken in the small state.
Taxis are prevalent in Hong Kong. Known for their affordability and efficient service, it’s generally not difficult to hail one down. Here are a few additional things you should know about the service:
- There are three different colors of taxis: red, green, and blue. Red taxis drive through the vicinities of Kowloon, Hong Kong Island, and the New Territories. Green taxis only drive throughout the New Territory vicinity. Blue taxis are only serviceable on Lantau Island.
- The starting fare for red taxis is HK $20 (USD $2.55), which is also the price for the first two kilometers. Every additional 200 meters is an extra HK $1.00 (USD $0.13).
- The starting fare for green taxis is HK $16.50 (USD $2.10), which covers the first two kilometers. Every additional 200 meters is an extra HK $1.30 (USD $0.17).
- The starting fare for blue taxis is HK $15 (USD $1.91), which covers the first two kilometers. Every additional 200 meters is an extra HK $1.30 (USD $0.17).
- No need to write down the address-speak into the radio, and the system will translate the location back to the driver.
- There should be a ‘For Hire’ sign glowing through the windshield that shows the taxi is available.
Laws are still very restrictive for the group in Hong Kong. Only recent years have marked new laws and reforms regarding the LGBT community. In 2017, the government granted LGBT couples the rights to their ashes. In 2018, immigrants in the LGBT community gained the right to establish visas for their partners.
Since Hong Kong is still a conservative environment, keep public displays of affection to a minimum. LGBT couples in Hong Kong seldom hold hands or embrace in public.
Still, LGBT couples don’t have the rights to marry in Hong Kong, or adopt children. Join the Hong Kong Pride Parade to change the social inequality. The parade is held once a year in November, and consists of more than 10,000 people.
The Grass Is Greener on the Yuen Long Side:
Hong Kong isn’t regarded as one of the most eco-friendly nations. However, locals are looking to change their recycling habit, establishing recycling stations outside MTR stops. Known as “Waste-no-mall,” the green mall encourages locals and tourists to donate objects that they no longer use. As a result, other people take home products that they may find useful. You can find these stations in the Sha Tin, Eastern, Kwun Tong, Yuen Long, and Sham Shui Po Districts. Locals hope to see stations in all 18 districts one day.
Must See Highlights for Eco-Travelers:
- Go hiking and boulder-hopping on the Three Dragon Gorge trail.
- Take a boat tour and visit rare Pink Dolphins in the Pearl River Estuary.
- Go snorkeling and kayaking at the Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park.
- Marvel and post pictures of the breath-taking rock formations at Hong Kong National Geopark.