About Hong Kong

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) of the People’s Republic of China (commonly known as Hong Kong) is home to over 7.0 million people. Located on the southeastern coast of China and bordering Guangdong Province in the North, it is one of the most densely populated cities in the world today. As a dynamic metropolitan city, Hong Kong is definitely a place full of excitement for every one of us to explore.

Language and Culture

Hong Kong is a place where east meets west and its culture is rich and robust. The official languages used by the HKSAR Government are English and Chinese. Most of Hong Kong’s ethnic Chinese residents speak the Cantonese dialect. English is widely used as Hong Kong was a British Colony from 1842 - 1997. The use of Putonghua has also been increasing since the return of the sovereignty to China on 1 July 1997.

Currency

Cash

The legal tender is the Hong Kong dollar (HK$), which is linked to the US dollar at a rate of about 7.80 HKD to 1 USD, although exchange rates may fluctuate slightly. Banknotes in Hong Kong are issued in the denominations of HK$1,000, $500, $100, $50, $20 and $10. Coins are issued in the denominations of HK$10, $5, $2, $1, 50 cents, 20 cents and 10 cents.

 

Octopus Card

The Octopus card is a stored value electronic card widely used in Hong Kong for public transport, parking, purchases at retail outlets, self-serviced machines, etc. It is available for purchase at the customer service centers of major public transport operators where reloading service is also available.

 

ATM

Local currency can be withdrawn from your local bank account using Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) that are usually conveniently located.

 

Credit Cards

International credit cards such as VISA, MasterCard, American Express, Diners Club are also widely acceptable in Hong Kong. Premises with credit card services usually display stickers of accepted cards at their entrance.

Electricity

The electrical standard in Hong Kong is 220V/50Hz AC. Electronic appliances on 100/110V will not work unless you have a step-up transformer. Most electric outlets accommodate three-pin square plugs (British Standard BS1363).

Transportation

Public Transportation

Hong Kong’s public transportation system is considered to be world-class in terms of its management and efficiency. It includes buses, mini-buses, taxis, trams, the Mass Transit Railway (MTR), and ferries. For more information, please visit:
www.gov.hk/en/residents/transport/publictransport/companies.htm.

 

Driving

To be able to drive in Hong Kong, a person should be at least 18 years old and pass the required driving test. For a person holding an overseas driving license, he/she may apply for a full driving license. For details, please visit the website of the Transport Department:
www.td.gov.hk/en/licensing_service/index.html.

Banking

Hong Kong is an international banking and financial center with a well-established banking system that provides comprehensive and convenient banking services. Most international banks have branches in Hong Kong. Typical service hours are Monday to Friday, 0900 - 1700. Some banks also open on Saturday mornings.

Electronic banking facilities are widely used in Hong Kong. All major retailers in Hong Kong will accept your bank debit card for payment with no additional charge.

International credit cards such as VISA, MasterCard, American Express and Diners Club are also widely acceptable in Hong Kong.

Hospitals

There are various public health services, ranging from general outpatient services, health clinics to specialist hospital care in Hong Kong. They are all easy to access and are usually offered at low cost to the general public (Hong Kong Identity Card holders).

Currently, public hospitals and institutions, specialist out-patient clinics and general out-patient clinics in Hong Kong are managed by the Hospital Authority and are organized into seven hospital clusters according to their locations. Details can be found from the website of the Hong Kong Hospital Authority: http://www.ha.org.hk.

Climate

Hong Kong has a subtropical climate with distinct seasons. With rare severe weather phenomena, its climate tends towards temperate for nearly half the year. Many people regard October to December as the best months of the year for its comfortable temperatures. January and February are cloudy and dry months  when temperatures could drop below 10°C in urban areas. March and April are usually highly humid with fog and drizzle which sometimes reduce visibility. May to August are hot and humid with occasional showers and thunderstorms, and afternoon temperatures often exceed 31°C whereas temperatures generally remain around 26°C at night. July to September are the months during which Hong Kong is most likely to be affected by tropical cyclones.

When a typhoon is approaching, warnings are broadcast on TV and radio, with information on its significance and expected movement. Public services and business operations are normally suspended when typhoon signal 8 is hoisted.

More information about the weather of Hong Kong can be found from the website of the Hong Kong Observatory:
www.hko.gov.hk/wxinfo/currwx/current.htm.

Emergencies

In emergency situations, you can contact the local police, ambulance service, fire department and other emergency services by dialing the emergency telephone number 999.

Telecommunication

Local calls are free in Hong Kong on private phones. Public pay-phones cost $1 per five minutes. Landline and mobile phone numbers in Hong Kong are eight digits long. When dialing, all eight digits must be dialed. Mobile phones in Hong Kong operate on the 3G/GSM network; major mobile service providers usually have good value phone plans and/or mobile phone packages.

Shopping, Dining and Leisure

Hong Kong is often considered to be a "Shopper’s Paradise". From all-inclusive mega complexes to local street markets selling anything from fashion, electronics to furniture and crafts, the city caters to every shopaholic.

Hong Kong is a cosmopolitan city; from roadside stalls, supermarkets to posh restaurants, you can find a mind-boggling variety of food from around the world catering to different tastes and religions. There are a wide variety of international dining options, with a great variety of eastern and western cuisines.

Hong Kong has a wide range of cultural activities and leisure facilities. Visit museums and heritage trails and learn about our history. Try the local cuisine and explore the traditional villages in the New Territories and Outlying Islands. Have fun at the theme parks, beaches, and hang out at Lan Kwai Fong and Soho by nightfall. Attend a concert, or watch a sports event with your friends. The adventurous can go tramping in the country parks. There is just so much to do in Hong Kong.

Holidays

There are 17 general pubic holidays in Hong Kong:

  • 1st of January

  • Lunar New Year’s Day

  • 2nd day of Lunar New Year

  • 3rd day of Lunar New Year

  • Ching Ming Festival

  • Good Friday

  • Day following Good Friday

  • Easter Monday

  • Labour Day

  • Buddha’s Birthday

  • Tuen Ng Festival

  • HKSAR Establishment Day

  • Day following Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival

  • National day

  • Chung Yeung festival

  • Christmas Day

  • Day following Christmas Day

The exact dates of the above holidays will be announced by the Government every year and can be found from the following website: www.gov.hk/en/about/abouthk/holiday/.

Additional Information

For more details about Hong Kong, you may wish to refer to the following websites:

HKSAR Government Information: www.gov.hk/en/about/abouthk/
Hong Kong Tourism Board: http://www.discoverhongkong.com/eng/index.jsp