Description of Hong Kong
- Situated on China's south coast and, enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, Hong Kong is known for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour. As a destination, Hong Kong offers travellers the opportunity to experience a vibrant living culture featuring a unique blend of East and West.
- Instilled with the exciting duality of a modern city's vitality enhanced by a traditional society's historical richness and colour, the cultural fusion and diversity of the city is evident in everything from its shopping, dining, arts, history, entertainment, nightlife, festivals and events. Hong Kong is also blessed with a striking natural beauty, from its iconic harbour to the stunning mountain views, idyllic islands and serene beaches of its great outdoors.
Passport and Visa
- Visitors must hold a valid passport, endorsed where necessary for Hong Kong. Hong Kong has a liberal visa policy, allowing visa-free entry to nationals of more than 170 countries and territories. For country-specific visa information, please visit www.immd.gov.hk/ehtml/hkvisas_4.htm.
- For delegates from countries for which visas are required for entry to Hong Kong, please check with the Chinese Embassy or Consulate in your country. For delegates travelling to other cities in China, an entry visa to China is required. Please obtain your visa from the Chinese Embassy or Consulate within your current place of residence. The travel documents must be valid for at least 6 months from the date of travelling.
Airport Express Line (AEL)
This high-speed rail service takes passengers to and from the Hong Kong International Airport and Hong Kong Station in Central in about 23 minutes. Train services are provided daily between 6am and 1am at 12-minute intervals. Train tickets can be purchased at the Airport Express Customer Service Center located at the Arrival Hall. Taxi is recommended for direct transfer from the Hong Kong Station to Hotels.
Hong Kong is internationally famous for its safe, affordable and reliable public transport system that keeps the city moving at its trademark lightning speed. There are plenty of ways to get around Hong Kong, whether it’s by taxi, ferry, rail, bus or tram. The city claims one of the world's safest, most efficient and frequent public transport systems and a convenient payment method in the form of the Octopus Card.
Taxis in Hong Kong are categorised by three colours, each indicating a geographical area. In addition, there are taxis especially designed for passengers with special needs.
- Red taxis
Red taxis operate throughout most of Hong Kong, except for Tung Chung Road on Lantau Island and on the entire south side of Lantau Island.
First 2 kilometres (or any part thereof)
Every subsequent 200 metres (or any part thereof) and every period of 1 minute waiting time (or any part thereof)
For fare meters below HK$83.50
For fare meters of HK$83.50 and above
- Green taxis
Green taxis only service the New Territories.
First 2 kilometres (or any part thereof) HK$20.50 Every subsequent 200 metres (or any part thereof) and every period of 1 minute waiting time (or any part thereof) For fare meters below HK$65.50
For fare meters of HK$65.50 and above
- Blue taxis
Blue taxis only operate on Lantau Island.
First 2 kilometres (or any part thereof) HK$19 Every subsequent 200 metres (or any part thereof) and every period of 1 minute waiting time (or any part thereof) For fare meters below HK$154.00
For fare meters of HK$154.00 and above
For other additional information, visit Hong Kong’s Transport Department website.
Mass Transit Railway (MTR)
MTR is the main public transportation in the urban area. Getting around Hong Kong to enjoy its world-class attractions couldn't be easier with the quick and efficient Mass Transit Railway (MTR) system. This covers all major districts in the territory, including stops at the boundary with Mainland China (Lo Wu Station and Lok Ma Chau Station).
The MTR consists of eleven rail lines, including Island, South Island, Tsuen Wan, Kwun Tong, Tseung Kwan O, Tung Chung, West Rail, East Rail, Ma On Shan, Disneyland Resort and the Airport Express. The MTR also operates a light rail system that runs between Yuen Long and Tuen Mun in the New Territories, plus an inter-city train service to Mainland China.
MTR Map (PDF): https://www.mtr.com.hk/archive/en/services/routemap.pdf
MTR Website (Interactive Trip Planner): http://www.mtr.com.hk/en/customer/jp/index.php
Buses in Hong Kong are plentiful and comfortable, and most are air-conditioned. Especially popular are the double-deckers that offer great views of the surrounding city from the top deck.
Bus routes cover almost all of Hong Kong. Kowloon Motor Bus, New World First Bus and Citybus operate routes that cover Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories. New Lantao Bus mainly operates on Lantau Island and Long Win Bus provides services to north Lantau Island and the airport. Final destinations are prominently displayed in English and Chinese on the front of each bus.
Fares are based on distance travelled and exact change is required if paying by cash. Octopus cards are accepted on all buses in Hong Kong. For more details, please visit http://www.nwstbus.com.hk or http://www.kmb.hk
You won’t be in Hong Kong long by the time you notice locals bleeping their way through MTR turnstiles and supermarket checkout counters with Octopus cards. This is an extremely versatile stored-value electronic card that can be used for most public transport, as well as purchases in convenience stores, fast food shops, supermarkets, cake shops, vending machines and more.
Simply place the Octopus card over a reader and the payment amount will be automatically deducted from the stored value.
Various types of Octopus cards are available. The best types for visitors include Sold Tourist Octopus card at HK$39 and On-loan Octopus cardwith a refundable deposit of HK$50. The Sold Tourist Octopus card has an iconic Hong Kong design, making it an ideal souvenir that can be used again when you come back. A refund handling fee will be charged if you return the On-loan Octopus less than 90 days from the date of issue.
Hong Kong is eight hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.
Hong Kong has subtropical climate. In October, there are pleasant breezes, plenty of sunshine and comfortable temperatures. Many people regard these as the best months of the year to visit Hong Kong. The average temperature is around 19oC to 28oC. Most of the premises in Hong Kong are air-conditioned. You may consider bringing along a coat for staying indoor. For most up-to-date weather information, please visit the Hong Kong Observatory at http://www.hko.gov.hk/
Hong Kong has two official languages. While 88% of people speak Cantonese, both English and Putonghua are also widely spoken and signage is usually in both Chinese and English.
The Hong Kong Dollar (HK$) is the official currency of Hong Kong. Most foreign currencies and traveller’s cheques can be exchanged at the airport, hotels, banks or exchange offices. There are no restrictions on the type or amount of money that can be brought into or taken out of Hong Kong.
For approximate exchange rates, please refer to: http://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/
Banks and Automatic Teller Machines (ATM)
The most commonly used international credit cards in Hong Kong are VISA, MasterCard and American Express. Major banks are open from 9am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday, and 9am to 12:30pm on Saturday, closing on Sundays and public holidays. Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) can be found almost everywhere and provide 24-hour cash withdrawal (HK$).
Taxes & Tipping
There is no sales tax on goods and services in Hong Kong. The only tax you may be charged is 5% government tax on hotel rates. Most upscale hotels add this to a 10% service charge, making for a total surcharge of 15%. Tipping is not mandatory in Hong Kong, a 10% service charge is usually billed in at restaurants, but you are still expected to leave a tip of between 5-10%, depending on how well you feel you have been treated. Taxi drivers tend to round up the fare to the nearest dollar and if not, will appreciate a little extra. Bellboys, porters and washroom attendants will also expect a small tip.
Starting from April 1, 2015, all retail businesses in Hong Kong are required to charge a minimum levy of HKD 0.50 for each plastic shopping bag provided to customers.
The standard voltage in Hong Kong is 220 volts AC/50 cycles. The plug/socket system in Hong Kong is a 3-rectangular-pin type as is found in the United Kingdom.
Upon your arrival at Hong Kong International Airport or at a boundary control point, automatic sensors will take your temperature. If it is considered high, you may be required to participate in a quick health check.
Vaccination certificates are usually not needed when travelling to Hong Kong, but please check with your local carrier because requirements may change.
Hong Kong tap water is soft in character and conforms to the World Health Organisation’s recommended guidelines for drinking-water quality. Mineral water, including major imported brands, is readily available from supermarkets and convenience stores.
You can find more health advice on the Department of Health website.
Hong Kong has world-class hospitals providing outstanding care. Visitors requiring accident and emergency services can seek treatment in the city’s public hospitals for a fee, and will always be treated even if they cannot pay immediately. For further details, please visit the Hospital Authority website. English is spoken by most public and private sector medical professionals.
Smoking is prohibited in all indoor public places in Hong Kong, including restaurants, bars, malls and karaoke venues. The smoking ban is also implemented on public transport carriers, within public transport facilities, and in both the indoor and outdoor areas of some premises, including public beaches and swimming pools, escalators, and inside the Hong Kong Wetland Park.
Any person smoking or carrying a lighted cigarette, cigar, or pipe in a designated no-smoking area will be liable to a fixed penalty of $1500. Please click here for further details and to download your copy of the Designated No Smoking Area Guide.
Hong Kong is remarkably safe by day and night. Police officers frequently patrol many areas and are both professional and helpful.
Nonetheless, it would be unwise to let your guard drop completely anywhere in the world. And the fact that Hong Kong is so safe makes it all the more reason to guard against having your trip spoiled by the loss of your belongings:
- Keep your money, valuables and travel documents in a safe place, such as inside a hotel room safe.
- Watch out for your belongings when you are carrying them, especially when you are in a crowded place.
- Beware of people making dubious offers and attempts to distract you in order to steal your belongings.
- Be wary of people offering gambling or investment opportunities.
For more safety advice when visiting Hong Kong, please visit the Hong Kong Police Force website.
Please remember to observe the rules and regulations of public venues including tourist attractions and shopping malls.
Useful links of Hong Kong