Hong Kong travel guide
A tiny territory attached to massive China, Hong Kong is a country in its own right. A raging financial hub, cultural fantasy and modern architectural playground, it has come a long way since its humble beginnings as a British occupied territory during the Opium Wars. Since the end of World War Two, immigration and industry grew, turning Hong Kong into a fast growing entrepreneurial centre. The territory was returned to China in 1997 and will operate as an independent territory until 2047 when it may revert back to Chinese rule.
For an exciting and diverse holiday, Hong Kong does not disappoint. A technologically impressive mini-city fused with a Chinese flavour, it is bursting with fun ways to spend your time. The iconic skyline, with its skyscrapers and eye-popping neon signage, encapsulates the hi-tech atmosphere of the country, while the range of islands that make up the territory add variety and spice, making a trip to Hong Kong an exotic and unique experience.
From gawking at the incredible views from Victoria Peak and taking the Star Ferry to Kowloon to bagging a bargain at the Temple Street Night Market, there are plenty of things to keep you occupied in Hong Kong. Restaurants offer both traditional and modern cuisine, nightclubs and swanky hotels abound and are a sure way to make your visit memorable.
Visiting Hong Kong also provides the opportunity to travel to neighbouring regions, including Shenzhen, Macau and mainland China, and to experience the varied cultures, atmospheres and tourist attractions there.
If you’re looking for a holiday where you can pack in plenty of sightseeing, shopping, sunbathing and eating in a short amount of time, look no further.
Hong Kong has a sub-tropical climate with mild winters and hot, humid and sometimes stormy summers.
Winter lasts from December to February with the lowest temperatures reaching 10˚C. In the long summers, from May to September, the weather can reach 28˚C which, when coupled with the humidity, can be uncomfortably hot. There are also frequent tropical storms and typhoons. The best time to travel to Hong Kong is during spring and autumn, when the weather is warm and pleasant.
For the latest weather info use the Pampo weather forecast tool.
Visitors from the UK, United States, Australia, Canada and New Zealand need only a valid passport to enter Hong Kong and may stay for up to three months (six months for UK citizens). Visitors from other countries may need to obtain the appropriate visa.
Entry from Hong Kong into mainland China will require a visa, which can be purchased easily in Hong Kong at any travel agent.
Most travellers can visit Macau without any visa for up to 20 days. Portuguese citizens can stay for 90 days.
Being an island, Hong Kong cuisine consists of a lot of seafood. A popular dish is steamed whole fish. Many restaurants keep live fish in a tank so that they can be served as fresh as possible, simply dressed in soy sauce, peanut oil and herbs. Fish balls are a tasty treat, eaten on skewers or served with noodles. Squid is also a firm favourite with the locals; flash fried in a salt and white pepper batter together with chilli and garlic.
Hong Kong is in the unique position of having Chinese and European influences, and much of the local cuisine adds an oriental twist to traditional western fare. One of the country’s main dishes is Cha Siu, which literally means ‘fork roast’. Pork fillets are roasted in honey and spices and hung in shop windows. It is traditionally served in thin slices together with steamed rice and vegetables. Brisket is slow cooked with Chinese spices, rock sugar and tangerine peel while chicken is often boiled and served with ginger and spring onions.
Wantons and Dim Sum are very traditional, and allow for endless variation and experimentation with fillings, including turnip, shrimp, crab roe, and pork.
Tea and herbal tonics are popular beverages in Hong Kong, often served in cha chaan teng restaurants, popular tea houses. Milk tea, a strongly brewed tea mixed with evaporated milk and sugar, is a favourite as is Chrysanthemum tea. A great deal of tea experimentation takes place in order to create unusual and exotic flavours.
Red bean ice is another common drink. It is made up of azuki beans, sugar syrup and milk and is often served with ice cream as a dessert. Sugarcane juice has also risen in popularity over the past years. It is sold by street vendors and a bottled variety is readily available in local supermarkets.
Hong Kong Beer is a locally brewed alcoholic beverage, while Carlsberg is ubiquitous thanks to a brewery in the country.
Hong Kong’s currency is the Hong Kong Dollar (HK$) which are divided into 100 cents. Notes come in denominations of 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000.
HK$ are accepted in Macau, although change will be given in Macau Pataca. For mainlanc China, only Renminbi will be accepted. For the latest info on your rates, please use the Pampo exchange rates calculator.
Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) is the only airport in Hong Kong. It is situated on Lantau Island.
Hong Kong is home to the world’s longest covered escalator system. It is 792 metres long, linking all the roads between Queen’s Road and Conduit Street.
There is a street in Hong Kong called Rednaxela Terrace because a 19th century signwriter spelt ‘Alexander’ in the traditional Chinese manner, from right to left.
The terminal of Hong Kong’s old airport, Kai Tak, has now been converted into the world’s largest golf driving range.
Moon cake is a traditional Hong Kong dish, made of pastry with various fillings. Revolutionaries used to smuggle hidden messages in the fillings into Imperial China.