Situated on China’s southeast coastline, Hong Kong consists of Hong Kong Island, the Kowloon Peninsula, the New Territories and more than 260 outlying islands, covering more than 1,100 square kilometres. As one of the most densely populated cities in the world, this Asia’s world city is home to over 7 million people, which is comprised of a diverse international community.
The sub-tropical climate in Hong Kong is distinctly seasonal. Summer in Hong Kong (around June to August) is tropical; humidity in Hong Kong is high with frequent rainfall. By contrast, winter in Hong Kong (around December to February) can be chilly at times, and warm clothing is essential. Autumn and spring are usually short, ranging from a few weeks to two months.
Free Internet access in Hong Kong is widely available at cafés, large shopping malls and major MTR stations, as well as in many government-run parks and public buildings. Mobile phones using GSM 900, PCS 1800, CDMA and WCDMA can be used in Hong Kong. Smartphones are now the norm in Hong Kong, and mobile data prepaid cards are widely available at major convenience stores.
The Hong Kong currency is the Hong Kong dollar (HK$). Converting most major currencies in Hong Kong is easy, either at banks, on-street exchange outlets or the hotel’s front desk.
Electricity and Voltage
Most electrical outlets in Hong Kong take a three-pronged UK-style plug, with a standard voltage of 220 volts AC, 50Hz.
Chinese (Cantonese) is the mother-tongue of most Hong Kong residents, but both English and Mandarin are widely spoken or understood too, especially in the urban areas. Most taxi drivers in Hong Kong understand some English and Mandarin, it can be a good idea to get your destination written out in Chinese if you plan to take a taxi.
Medical and Health Services
Hong Kong has 11 private hospitals and about 41 hospitals and institutions under the Hospital Authority. Visitors to Hong Kong are required to pay for medical treatment. For more details about Hong Kong’s medical facilities, visit www.ha.org.hk
The Octopus Card is a rechargeable stored value smart card widely used for making instant electronic payments in Hong Kong, especially for transport, retail purchases, self-service machines, parking, and anywhere the Octopus logo is displayed. Octopus cards can be purchased at any MTR Customer Service Centre.
Public smoking in Hong Kong has been banned since 2007. This ban now extends to indoor workplaces, most public places in Hong Kong (including bars, Internet cafés, public lavatories, beaches and restaurants in Hong Kong). Smoking is also prohibited in lifts, public transport, cinemas, concert halls, airport terminals, shopping centres, department stores, supermarkets, game arcades and banks in Hong Kong.
Tap water in Hong Kong is considered safe to drink, although most locals boil tap water before drinking it. Bottled water is widely available in supermarkets and convenience stores.