o n g K o n g
|| Entry regulations
|| Airport facilities
|| Transfer information
Hong Kong's new airport at Chek Lap Kok ||
Currency || Tipping
|| Telephone || Getting
around in Hong Kong
at the southeastern tip of China, Hong Kong adjoins the province
of Guangdong (Canton), and is just south of the tropic of Cancer. The
total land area of Hong Kong is 1,078 square kilometres, comprising
Hong Kong Island (77.5 square kilometres); Kowloon (45.5 square
kilometres); and the New Territories, including 235 outlying islands
(955 square kilometres).
Today Hong Kong has become a great international trading post,
a powerful manufacturing base and one of the world's largest financial
Population and Language
The population as of mid-1994 was 6,061,400, almost 95 per cent of which
is Chinese. Chinese and English are the official languages. Cantonese
is the most widely spoken Chinese dialect, though Mandarin, Shanghainese
and other Chinese dialects are also spoken. Many people, especially in
shops, hotels, and service industries, speak English.
Hong Kong has a subtropical climate:
(March - mid-May): Temperature and humidity rising. Jackets or sweaters
suggested. Average temperature: 23°C (73°F), humidity around 82%, sea
temperature, 22.3° C (72° F)
(late May - mid-September): Hot and humid. Temperature may rise to 33°C
(91 °F) with humidity up to around 90%. . Shirtsleeves, cotton clothing,
a sweater for indoors and an umbrella for outside suggested Average
temperature: 28°C (82°F), humidity 80%, sea temperature 28°C (82°F).
(late September - early December): temperature and humidity drop. Clear
sunny days. Shirtsleeves to sweaters and light jackets suggested. Average
temperature: 23°C (73°F), humidity 72%, sea temperature 17°C (63°F).
(late December- February): Cool with low humidity. Suits, light woollens
and sometimes overcoats suggested. Average temperature: 17°C (62°F),
humidity 72%, sea temperature 17°C (63°F).
Visitors must hold a valid passport, endorsed where necessary for Hong
Kong. Citizens of some 24 countries, including the USA, Japan, and certain
Western European and South American nations are permitted one-month visa-free
visits. Three-month visa-free visits are available to another 23 countries
as well as all Commonwealth countries. (The British are allowed a 12-month
no-visa stay.) Check your status at any British consulate, high commission
or visa office before you depart.
Vaccination certificates are not required for yellow fever, cholera and
typhoid for visitors travelling to Hong Kong. Check with your travel agent
well before your departure, however, as requirements can change without
Visitors may bring into Hong Kong free of duty:
Visitors with a valid overseas driving licence can drive in Hong Kong
for a maximum period of 12 months provided they have third-party motor
vehicle insurance. When driving, visitors must carry their driving licence
and one form of identification bearing a photograph.
A baggage storage service is available in the departure hall and the arrival
hall. Other services include a bank, moneychangers, gift shops, duty-free
shops, snack bars, restaurants, payphones, a police station, post office,
a HK Telecom International Ltd. Office, HKTA Information Centres and private
Adults: HK$50; children (aged 12 years and under) free.
Hong Kong is generally considered a safe city by day or night. Policemen
are very helpful, and those who speak English wear a red label under their
shoulder badge. As in all big cities, avoid carrying large amounts of
cash; traveller's cheques or credit cards are preferable. Make use of
your hotel's safe-deposit boxes.
The unit of currency is the Hong Kong dollar (HK$). Notes issued by two
private banks (the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank and Standard Chartered Bank)
have denominations of $10, $20, $50, $100, $500, and $1000. The Bank of
China issues all of the denominations except HK$10. There are silver coins
for HK$1, HK$2, and HK$5, bronze coins for HK10 cents, HK20 cents and
HK50 cents, and a new nickel-andbronze coin for $10.
foreign currencies and traveller's cheques are easily changed in Hong
Kong, either at banks, hotels or moneychangers (check how much you will
get in return before handing over your money).
Most restaurants add a 10 per cent service charge but an additional 5
per cent may be given, where deserved. When a service charge is not automatic,
10 per cent is acceptable. Small tips may also be given to taxi drivers,
bellboys, doormen and washroom attendants.
The voltage in Hong Kong is 200/220 volts, 50 cycles. Most hotels provide
All water direct from government mains in Hong Kong satisfies the United
Nations World Health Organization standards. Bottled water is widely available
in hotels and supermarkets.
Telephones in Hong Kong are advanced, economical and easy to use. Local
calls are free, and many stores and restaurants offer use of a telephone
free of charge to patrons. Calls from public coin phones cost HK$1. Most
hotels have International Direct Dialling (IDD). Please note that some
hotels charge a handling fee for local and/or international calls. You
can also make long-distance calls from (IDD) Public Coin Phones and from
HK Telecom International Ltd. Offices. An easy method of making calls
is to purchase stored-value phonecards (HK$50, $150 and $200), which can
be used in any Cardphone box. The new Hello Phonecard (HK$100, $200,$300)
is a stored value card that enables the user to place calls to and from
over 30 countries from a touch-tone phone. Both types of cards can be
purchased at HKTA Information and Gift Centres and most convenience stores.
Call 013 for information.
The main post offices are on Hong Kong Island, next to the Star Ferry
and in Kowloon at 10 Middle Road, Tsim Sha Tsui. Both are open from 8am
to 6pm, Monday to Friday and 8am to 2pm on Saturday. All post offices
close on Sunday and public holidays.
There are two English-language channels. Programmes include a selection
of locally produced shows as well as features from the UK, the US, and
Australia. Also available is STAR TV (a satellite channel) and, in some
areas, Cable TV (subscription television).
Fifteen radio channels are broadcast in Hong Kong. Six English-language
channels provide a wide range of programmes and the BBC World Service
is available 24 hours.
and Banking Hours
Most offices open from 9am to 5pm with a lunch hour from 1 pm to 2pm.
On Saturday the hours are 9am to 1 pm. Some Chinese businesses open at
10am and close around 6pm or later. Major banks are open from 9am to 4.30pm
on weekdays, 9am to 12.30pm on Saturday.
Around In Hong Kong
After you have reclaimed your baggage and passed through Customs, you
will find yourself in the Buffer Hall of Hong Kong International Airport
where the Hong Kong Tourist Association Information Centres are located
. There you can obtain free visitor publications and any other assistance
you may need.
Kong International Airport is approximately 40 minutes' drive by car from
all major hotels in Kowloon and about 50 minutes' drive via the Cross-Harbour
Tunnel from all major hotels on Hong Kong Island (under normal traffic
conditions). If you are making your own way to your hotel, follow the
signs directing you to the Transport Terminus for taxis or use the airport
coach service. If you have no local currency on arrival, change only enough
at the airport to get you to your hotel.
Hotel bookings do not normally include transportation from the airport.
However, if you have a prearranged hotel booking that includes an airport
transfer, you should leave the Buffer Hall via the exit marked Hotel Transport
and look for the hotel representative waiting to meet you.
Taxis are numerous and readily available, and fares are low compared with
those in most cities. Red taxis serve Hong Kong Island and Kowloon; green
ones in the New Territories and blue taxis on Lantau Island operate at
even lower rates. Many drivers speak some English but it is wise to have
your destination written in Chinese characters.
for red taxis start at HK$13 on the flag fall plus HK$1.10 for every 200
metres after the first two kilometres. Waiting time is HK$1.10 per minute.
Pay, in Hong Kong dollars only, the fare shown on the meter, plus any
additional charge where applicable. A HK$20 surcharge applies to cross-harbour
tunnel trips (includes the driver's HK$10 return toll). There is also
a surcharge for rides through the Lion Rock (HK$6), Junk Bay (HK$3) and
Aberdeen (HK$5) tunnels, and a HK$5 charge for each piece of luggage.
drivers expect a tip, but just round up the fare to the nearest dollar.
Drivers cannot pick up or drop off passengers on restricted streets, which
are marked with yellow lines. New Territories taxis will pick up and drop
off only in the New Territories. If you have any queries or complaints,
note the taxi's number and call the 24-hour Police Hotline on 2527 7177.
Double-decker buses, which run from 6 AM till 3 midnight, cover most parts
of the territory.
Fares range from HK$1 to HK$30.60. Exact change is required. You'll find
that, in general the drivers do not speak much English.
Minibuses are small passenger vans which are yellow with a red stripe.
They can pick up passengers and let them off anywhere except regular bus
stops and the usual restricted areas. Fares range from HK$2 to HK$7. Pay
as you get off.
Maxicabs are yellow with a green stripe. They run along specific routes
and have fixed prices ranging from HK$1 to HK$8. A sign on the front indicates
the destination. Pay as you get on.
The Kowloon-Canton Railway (KCR) is 34 kilometres long and runs from Hung
Hom in Kowloon up to the border with China. Trains run every tour to 10
minutes in each direction, and vary according to the ordinary single trip
to Sheung Shui, the farthest you can go without a China visa). It's a
go way to visit some of the New Territories' towns and villages.
Mass Transit Railway (MTR), Hong Kong's fast, efficient and air-conditioned
underground system, runs not only along the north side of Hong Kong Island,
but also from Central across the harbour to divide into east and west
branches in Kowloon. Stations are located by a X symbol. Fares range from
HK$4 to HK$11. MTR and KCR stored-value tickets (HK$70-200) are also available.
Light Rail Transit (LRT) is a high-speed surface system linking the New
Territories towns of Tuen Mun Yuen Long. The LRT runs from 5.30am to 12.30am
daily. Fares range from HK$3.20 to $4.70.
The Star Ferry, which has connected Hong Kong and Kowloon since 1898,
runs regularly between 6.30am to 11.30pm. At HK$ 1.70 (upper deck) and
HK$1.40 (lower deck), it must be one of the cheapest and most scenic ferry
rides in the world. The crossing takes approximately eight minutes.
Hong Kong Ferry (Holdings) Company provides other regular and inexpensive
services which connect Hong Kong Island to other parts of the Kowloon
Peninsula and to the outlying islands.
Since 1904, the tram system has run east to west along the north side
of Hong Kong Island, and still provides a leisurely, grandstand view.
The flat fare is HK$1.20 (exact change required) and the service operates
between 6 AM and 1 AM.
Peak Tram is one of the most advanced tram systems in the world, taking
just eight minutes to climb Victoria Peak. The service operates from 7am
to midnight and the single fare is HK$12 (HK$19 return). The funicular
railway has run since 1888 and is still the quickest way to reach the
Self-drive rental cars are not often used in Hong Kong, but chauffeur-driven
cars are widely available. Hotels have their own limousines for hire.
The only means of travel in the old days, rickshaws today are used mainly
for fun rides and photo sessions. Rickshaw drivers congregate at the Star
Ferry on Hong Kong Island and charge for a trip round the block or for
a photo session. Negotiate the price first.
July 1, 1997 Hong Kong becomes a Special Administrative Region within
the People's Republic of China with a high degree of autonomy. Its constitution,
called the Basic Law, ensures that Hong Kong's way of life, specifically
its economy and judicial system, will continue for another 50 years.
Kong Awaits You