Information & Facts
Hong Kong has a sub-tropical climate, with hot, humid summers
and cool, dry winters. Winter lasts from January to March, the
coldest month being February, when the temperature averages 57°F
(14°C) and the city gets cooled by strong, cold winds that blow in
from the north. In summer the wind blows from the south, bringing
in warm, humid air and a rainy season that extends from spring
through summer. Temperatures in summer climb to a maximum of around
82°F (28°C) and Typhoons are possible during both the spring and
Hong Kong is quite simply one of the best places on earth to
dine out and experience dishes from across the spectrum of
cuisines. Some writers have dubbed this the 'World's Fair of Food'
and a 'Gourmet Paradise'. One thing is certain: with over 7 million
residents, Hong Kong is the third most densely populated place in
the world and that means cut-throat competition and very
competitive pricing. There are over 9,000 licensed restaurants and
countless more traders, stalls and mobile eateries.
Hong Kong is best known for its outstanding Cantonese cuisine
and the freshest ingredients and finest chefs can be found here.
The city's cosmopolitan mix also ensures that there is a dynamic
mix of other cuisines. Sushi joints abound, as do pasta houses,
bakeries, sandwich shops and just about every other style of eating
you can imagine.
One experience you should not miss is trying the local dim sum.
These are delicious, mouth-watering snacks prepared in steaming
bamboo baskets and eaten as breakfast or lunch along with copious
amounts of Chinese tea. Typical dim sum include steamed pork buns,
shrimp dumplings, beef balls and pan-fried squid with spicy salt
are just some of the local favourites.
Hong Kong residents generally eat five times per and most meals
our eaten outside the home. Meals are typically small, and always
accompanied by a generous portion of carbohydrates such as rice or
mein(noodles). For the visitor this means plenty
of places to snack and experience a diversity of dishes in one
In a Chinese restaurant waiters will commonly bring tea,
condiments and snacks to your table, which will be added to the
bill. Most restaurants will automatically add 10 per cent to your
bill as gratuity. During Chinese New Year, this charge may be a bit
higher. Make reservations whenever possible, especially over
With one of the best and most varied public transport systems in
the world and a compact city centre, getting around Hong Kong is
extremely cheap, fast and efficient and is easy enough for even
inexperienced travellers. It includes buses, minibuses, ferries,
trams, light railways and an underground subway. The underground
Mass Transit Railway (MTR) is fast, clean, efficient and
inexpensive. Single-journey tickets or travel passes like the
electronic Octopus card can be used on the MTR to easily access
attractions, shopping and dining locations. Bus routes serviced
with double-decker or single-decker buses cover all of Hong Kong
Island, Kowloon and the New Territories with final destinations
displayed in both English and Chinese on the front. Bus fares are
low and distance-based; exact change is required, or you can use
the ubiquitous Octopus card, which covers all public transport
options. Small mini-buses are more expensive but also more
flexible, stopping for passengers to board or disembark on request.
Hong Kong's old-fashioned trams still follow the same tracks as
they have since 1904 and provide visitors with wonderful views of
the city from their upper decks. They are also a cheap and
convenient way of getting around. On the water, fleets of ferries
connect Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, the Outlying Islands, Macau and
Mainland China. Last but not least there is an abundant supply of
taxis, colour-coded according to their area of operation. Taxi
fares are low, but many drivers don't speak English and visitors
are advised to have their destination written down in Chinese
Travellers can use the Octopus Card to pay for transportation,
as well as some restaurants and convenience stores. The Octopus
Card is rechargeable, and stays valid for up to three years beyond
the last date of use. Visit
Bustling Hong Kong may seem best suited as a holiday destination
for adults but this fun city also has more than enough to entice
and amuse kids. Children on holiday in Hong Kong will be enthralled
by a medley of parks, zoos, museums and markets to enjoy. And then
there are nearby beaches, islands and nature reserves to explore...
With such entertaining options, Hong Kong is a great holiday
destination for kids!
There are a number of museums near the Kowloon Peninsula for
kids to enjoy. Children can learn about traditional Chinese culture
in Aberdeen and the outer islands, which are also very picturesque.
Other adventure include the fun-filled Victoria Harbour tours,
while Central Hong Kong and Kowloon have markets where children's
clothes and toys can be found.
The best time of year to take children to Hong Kong, with good
weather for outdoor activities and attractions, is between October
and December when the days are warm, sunny and dry, and the
evenings are comfortably cool. Children's Day is celebrated in Hong
Kong on 4th April each year, a very festive time to visit on
The official languages in Hong Kong are English and
Cantonese. The other main language is Mandarin.
The unit of currency is the Hong Kong dollar (HKD); HK$1 is
divided into 100 cents. Major banks are open from 9am to 4:30pm
Monday to Friday, and 9am to 12:30pm on Saturday. Banks and
moneychangers charge commission as do hotels that provide exchange
services. All major credit cards are accepted and ATMs are widely
distributed. Some HSBC 'Electronic Money' machines provide 24-hour
cash withdrawal facilities for Visa and MasterCard holders.
Mellow in comparison to Tokyo or Beijing, the nightlife in Hong
Kong is somewhat modest, yet there is still plenty to tempt those
with an appetite for a party. With plenty of bars for locals and
foreigners to choose from, Hong Kong serves its own unique brand of
Notoriously naughty Wan Chai has calmed down a lot over the last
few decades, and although it has still retained some of seediness
and a few girlie bars can be found, there are also many
British-style pubs frequented by expatriate locals. The Central
district's Lan Kwai Fong is known as having one of the biggest
drinking crowds in Hong Kong and the bars to sustain it, and is
also a well-known people watching spot. SoHo has a number of ethnic
bars and restaurants, and off-the-path Knutsford Terrace is popular
for its open-fronted bars and cafes.
Live music is has become a standard feature of many restaurants,
cocktail lounges, and bars that actively seeking it out is futile.
The Fringe Club is Hong Kong's most well known venue of all things
alternative and live acts can be seen here on most weekends, for a
price. As it gets later and more alcohol is consumed, most of Hong
Kong's small bars tend to evolve into raucous nightclubs while
trendy dance clubs impose a strict dress code and often only grant
entrance to members.
Those looking for a quieter night out may enjoy seeing Chinese
opera, performed at City Hall in the Central district and the Hong
Kong Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui. The Hong Kong Ballet Company
and various theatre groups also stage performances throughout the
year, though the highlight of the arts calendar is definitely the
Hong Kong Arts Festival in February and March.
To find out what's happening in Hong Kong, pick up a copy of the
What's On Hong Kongfrom any HKTB branch; or the free
HK Magazine, distributed weekly at restaurants and
Hong Kong is considered to be the shopping capital of the world.
Two factors translate this bold claim into reality: firstly, all
goods, other than alcohol and tobacco, are tax-free. Secondly,
there is an unparalleled concentration of high quality goods and
vigorous competition. The customer is king here, and with credit
card in hand you can rule a shopping empire like no where else on
Best buys include jewellery and wrist watches, especially pieces
using gold, jade and pearl; and custom clothing and haute couture.
Electronics gadgets and audio-visual gear like cameras and ipods
are not the deals they once were, but you may find some good
Some of the most popular shopping districts in Hong Kong include
Causeway Bay, which contains giant department stores like Sogo and
WTC More; the Central district, with high-end boutiques and haute
couture; the Admiralty, with a number of shopping malls; and the
Peak area, which has a number of souvenir shops and brand-name
stores. Mongkok is the place to go for bargain shopping on
clothings and electronics, but be aware of what you're buying as
many products do not come with warranties.
The contrast between the gleaming modern stores and old-world
markets gives variety and excitement to a Hong Kong shopping
experience. Don't miss Stanley Market's historic fishing lanes,
filled with vendors selling Chinese handicrafts and silk creations
(a great place to buy gifts and souvenirs!) Yuen Po Street's
melodious Bird Garden is a magnet for songbird owners while Hong
Kong's Flower Market is a bright and busy scene that makes for
wonderful photo opportunities. The Ladies' Market in Tung Choi
Street is renowned for its handbags, but the touts are just as
famous for their pushiness. Other great markets include the Temple
Street Night Market, Stanley Market, and Jardine's Crescent. There
are several regular Hong Kong weekend markets that have great
shopping opportunities as well, including the Sunday market outside
the Gold Coast Hotel in Tuen Mun, and the Pokfulam Market, held the
first Sunday of every month at Level 4 CyberPlaza, Cyberport 2.
If you have any problems, queries or disputes, hang on to your
receipts and call the Consumer Council Hotline on +852 2929 2222
Although better known for its shopping and restaurants, there is
plenty to see and do in Hong Kong. The best way to see the city is
on foot. It's compact and there are plenty of alleys and
interesting detours to explore. When you tire of walking, hop onto
the extensive metro system, or catch a ferry into the harbour.
One of the highlights of your sightseeing experience is the
exciting contrast between the ultra-modern urban side of Hong Kong,
evidenced by the soaring sky-scrapers and luxury shops, and the
old-world charm of centuries-old temples like Wong Tai Sin and the
thriving traditional markets.
The heart of the city is the bustling Central district, where
Western Market and many corporations and gleaming malls are
situated. Over to the east are the Wan Chai and Causeway Bay
districts where many top restaurants and nightclubs can be found.
For museums visit the Kowloon peninsula, and for a glimpse of
traditional Chinese culture head out by ferry to Aberdeen and the
Ambitious sightseers should get their hands on a
HKTB Museum Passwhich gives unlimited admission to a host
of museums and provides discounts in the museum shops. Valid for
one week, the pass is available from HKTB offices and participating
Local time is GMT +8.