Call our experts today
020 7183 7766
Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Hong Kong Travel Guide

Hong Kong occupies a unique position in the world, both culturally and geographically. Perched on the edge of mainland China, the city and its outlying territories flourished under British control for a century and then handed back to China in 1997. Today, the eclectic mix of British and Chinese culture has created a distinctive society of its own, as proud of its ancient history as it is focused on dominating the business world.

Hong Kong is known in tourist circles as a top shopping destination, and the crowded markets and shopping malls offer a selection of souvenirs ranging from jade jewellery to knockoff designer goods and custom-tailored suits. City life is a melting pot of traditions and peoples, evident in the diverse restaurants and nightlife pulsing beneath the bright neon lights.

But Hong Kong is not all skyscrapers and shopping malls: the Outlying Islands and New Territories are a sharp contrast to the hustle and bustle of the city, offering travellers serene landscapes of mountains and meadows dotted with hidden temples and traditional villages.

Best time to visit Hong Kong

While Hong Kong is considered a year-round destination, the best time to visit is generally from September to November, when the weather is warm and the rainy season has ended.

What to see in Hong Kong

-Visit the dramatic Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery.

-Spend a day on the beaches in Stanley.

-Watch a horse race in Sha Tin.

-Visit secluded monasteries on Lantau Island.

What to do in Hong Kong

-Take the funicular to the top of Victoria Peak.

-Spend a day in Hong Kong Disneyland.

-Go shopping in the Western Market.

-Stroll the gardens of the Wong Tai Sin Temple.

Getting to Hong Kong

There are plenty of direct flights to Hong Kong from London, and connecting service from other British cities. Direct flights to Hong Kong from the US are long, but are available primarily from the west coast and from major cities like New York and Chicago.


The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham, White Ghost Girls by Kate Greenway and The Monkey King by Timothy Mo.


Four Heavenly Kings


Chinese Box (1997) and The World of Suzie Wong (1960).


Hong Kong-style milk tea or Chrysanthemum tea.


Dim sum

What to buy

Jade jewellery, cloisonne and lacquerware, silk robes and custom-tailored suits.

What to pack

Pack comfortable closed shoes, as the streets of Hong Kong can often be wet and dirty. White sneakers are the mark of a tourist, so dark shoes are preferable.

What's on in Hong Kong

See enormous towers of iced buns at the spring Cheung Chau Bun Festival, while parades and fireworks are the highlight of the Chinese New Year celebrations. Hong Kong Summer Temptations are every shopper's dream with dozens of events and promotions.

Did you know?

-There are more cell phones than people in Hong Kong.

-Hong Kong has more skyscrapers than any other city in the world, with over 9,000 high-rise buildings.

A final word

Both fascinating and frenetic, Hong Kong's blend of ancient culture and modern amenities make for an unforgettable holiday.


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), which 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 money changers charge commission, as do hotels that provide exchange services. All major credit cards are accepted and ATMs are widely distributed.


Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. The UK-style three-pin plugs are standard.


A 10 percent service charge is usually added to restaurant bills in Hong Kong, but waiters will still expect some loose change in addition to this. If no service charge is included, a 10 percent tip is expected. Taxi fares are rounded up to the nearest dollar, usually automatically by the driver.


Hong Kong is considered a safe destination but caution should always be exercised when travelling. Pickpockets are likely to target unsuspecting tourists so leave valuables locked up in hotel safes when possible. All street protests and political gatherings should be avoided. The typhoon season is usually between April and October, and the accompanying heavy rains may cause flooding and landslides.


The international access code for Hong Kong is +852. Some of the more popular mobile service providers are CMHK, CSL, Smartone and Birdie. Free WiFi access is available at most coffee shops, shopping malls, restaurants and hotels.


There are no specific health risks associated with travel to Hong Kong. Hong Kong's health facilities are first class but expect to pay cash. High quality medical care is widely available but comprehensive travel insurance is recommended to cover expenses.

Public Holidays

Dragon Boat Festival25 Jun14 Jun
Easter Saturday12 Apr4 Apr
New Year's Day1 Jan1 Jan
Chinese New Year25 Jan12 Feb
Good Friday10 Apr2 Apr
Easter Monday13 Apr5 Apr
Labour Day1 May1 May
Special Administrative Region Establishment Day1 Jul1 Jul
Ching Ming Festival5 Apr5 Apr
Birthday of the Buddha30 Apr19 May
National Day1 Oct1 Oct
Christmas Day25 Dec25 Dec
Boxing Day26 Dec26 Dec
Chung Yeung Festival26 Oct14 Oct
Day after Mid-Autumn Festival2 Oct22 Sep


Despite its close proximity to China, Hong Kong's business culture is worlds apart and more akin to the West. But one regional aspect is the concept of 'saving face', an awareness of positive appearances and perceptions of other people or companies. Bad news should never be presented in front of others and keeping one's cool is vital. Open displays of emotion such as anger and irritation are frowned upon, as is causing embarrassment to another person.

Business culture in Hong Kong is quite conservative. Dress styles are formal and deference to senior members of companies is vital, with business suits usually in dark colours. Avoid wearing bright ties, or blue or white coloured clothes as these colours are associated with mourning. When greeting business associates, either shake hands or, if no handshake is offered, bowing is appropriate.

Respect for personal space is important and physical contact should be avoided. Gifts are given during introductions but never opened in front of the giver. Watches as gifts are inappropriate as they are associated with death. The business languages in Hong Kong are both Mandarin and English. Tone should always be even and measured, and cultural sensitivity and etiquette are vital.

When tea is served at a business meeting, never sip from your cup until your host has taken their first. Business in Hong Kong is conducted efficiently and punctuality is vital. If you are late, effusive and repeated apologies are in order, regardless of whether you caused the delay. It is customary to exchange business cards (printed in English on one side and Cantonese on the other) at the start of a meeting. Business cards should be given and received using both hands, with the Cantonese side facing the recipient. It's common to greet the more senior person first.

Business entertainment is usually in the form of a lunch or dinner organised by the hosting partner, and food is also normally ordered and paid for by the host. Finally, the phrase 'have you eaten,' is a subtle form of greeting which generally means 'are you wel?'. Business hours run from 9am to 5pm during the week and 9am to 1pm on Saturdays.

Passport & Visa

All foreign visitors to Hong Kong must be in possession of onward or return tickets (except when in transit to mainland China or Macao), the necessary travel documentation for their next destination, and proof of sufficient funds to cover their stay in the country. Note that admission and/or transit will be refused to any national holding a passport issued by Kiribati, and endorsed "N-Kiribati" or "Investor". NOTE: It is highly recommended that your passport has at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.


Littering and spitting are illegal in Hong Kong and will incur spot fines. In Hong Kong, the concept of 'face' is very important; avoid causing someone to lose face by publicly insulting them or contradicting them in front of others as this is considered very impolite. The Chinese have great respect for hierarchical relationships.

Duty Free

Travellers to Hong Kong over the age of 18 years do not have to pay duty on the following: 1.1 litres of spirits with 12 percent or more alcohol content; and 100 cigarettes, 100 cigars and 500g of tobacco.


Hong Kong Tourist Office: +852 2508 1234 or

999 (General Emergency)

Entry Requirements

US citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least one month beyond the period of intended stay in Hong Kong. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days.

British citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least one month beyond the period of intended stay in Hong Kong. Expired British passports endorsed British Dependent Territories Citizen or British National (Overseas) issued in Hong Kong are accepted, provided they are accompanied by a Hong Kong Permanent Identity Card. For British passport holders endorsed British Citizen, no visa is required for stays of up to 180 days. For British passport holders endorsed British Subject, British Overseas Territories Citizen, British National (Overseas), British Overseas Citizen or British Protected Person, no visa is required for stays of up to 90 days.

Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least one month beyond the period of intended stay in Hong Kong. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days.

South African citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least one month beyond the period of intended stay in Hong Kong. No visa is required for stays of up to 30 days (two months, if in possession of a Hong Kong Travel Pass).

Irish citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least one month beyond the period of intended stay in Hong Kong. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days.

New Zealand citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least one month beyond the period of intended stay in Hong Kong. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days. Visa exemptions apply to holders of an APEC Business Travel Card, provided that the back of the card states that it is valid for travel to Hong Kong, for a maximum stay of 60 days.

Embassy Consulates

United States Consulate-General, Hong Kong: +852 2523 9011.

British Consulate-General, Hong Kong: +852 2901 3000.

Canadian Consulate-General, Hong Kong: +852 2810 4700.

South African Consulate-General, Hong Kong: +852 2577 3279.

Honorary Irish Consulate, Hong Kong: +852 2527 4897.

New Zealand Consulate-General, Hong Kong: +852 2525 5044.

Embassy Consulates

Chinese Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 495 2266.

Chinese Embassy, London, United Kingdom: +44 (0)20 7299 4049.

Chinese Embassy, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 789 3434.

Chinese Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 (0)12 431 6500.

Chinese Embassy, Dublin, Ireland: +353 (0)1 269 1707.

Chinese Embassy, Wellington, New Zealand: +64 (0)4 4749631.


It's easy to forget that Hong Kong is more than just bright lights and skyscrapers, with each region having its own unique character and attractions. Visitors arriving on Hong Kong Island can admire the city from the deck of Star Ferry or take a tram up to the summit of Victoria Peak for glorious panoramas.

There is also the Man Mo Temple, the oldest temple in Hong Kong; the traditional outdoor street markets of Wan Chai; or the horse racing at Happy Valley. To the south, Stanley Beach hosts Dragon Boat racing every year during the Tuen Ng festival. Across the bay to the north lies Kowloon, diverse and atmospheric, while Shanghai Street offers a fascinating insight into local life.

Shopping is king in the popular night market of Temple Street and the vast retail destination of Harbour City. Guinness World Records recognise 'A Symphony of Lights' as the biggest permanent sound and light show in the world. Kowloon also hosts the Avenue of Stars, celebrating icons of Asian cinema.

Sai Kung Peninsula in the New Territories provides a welcome change of pace. Serving as the gateway to some spectacular countryside, rural life carries on here as it always has. The Ping Shan Heritage Trail tracks past old face-brick homes and forts, and abandoned towns from the region's agricultural age. Tourists enjoy trips to the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery, home to nearly 13,000 Buddha statues.

Of the Outlying Islands, Lantau is the most popular, not least due to the presence of Disneyland. The Lantau Trail is ideal for adventurers, as is Po Lin Monastery which is home to one of the largest seated Buddha statues in the world.


The climate of Hong Kong is subtropical, with hot humid summers and cool dry winters. Monsoon winds blow in from the north between September and March, and from the south between April and August. The winter months of January and February are generally wet and cold, while in the height of summer it is hot and humidity is very high.

From June to September (the peak summer months) temperatures average 86°F (30ºC) with 95 percent humidity. Some rain and humidity can be expected throughout the year. Even during the height of summer, it's worth bringing some warm clothing to combat the fierce air conditioning in shops and offices.

The best time travel to Hong Kong is in the mild autumn months of October and November. But it's generally considered a year-round destination, particularly as some of Hong Kong's main attractions such as shopping facilities are indoors. As the Hong Kong streets are known to get dirty, especially when wet, it is advisable to wear dark shoes when exploring the city and always to have an umbrella handy.

Showing: 8828 Cruises
16 hong-kong