Travalling to Hong Kong
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Hong Kong is a beautiful and safe city. It is a distinctive meeting place for East and West, blending Chinese heritage and Western influence. Hong Kong offers a diversity of travel experiences, from unique cultural heritage to countryside pursuits. Hong Kong has attractive sightseeing places and the reputation of Shopping and Gourmet Paradises. Travellers can enjoy much in this charming city.

Health and Medical Services

Hong Kong has maintained good public health standards. Major health indicators have reflected that the people in Hong Kong are generally enjoying good health. There has been a steady rise in the life expectancy of population in the past decades. In 2007, life expectancy at birth is 79.3 years for men and 85.4 years for women. Systematic disease surveillance for infectious diseases is in place, such that effective and appropriate preventive and control measures can be initiated early. Public and private sectors provide high-class and comprehensive range of medical and health services to clients.

There is currently no vaccination requirement for travellers visiting Hong Kong. However, travellers should observe good personal and food hygiene and adopt anti-mosquito measures to prevent infectious diseases.

For more information on health and medical services, please visit the websites of the Department of Health , Centre for Health Protection and Hospital Authority .

Travel and Tourism

Hong Kong is the most popular single city destination in Asia . In 2007, a record-breaking number of 28.17 million visitors came to Hong Kong .

For more information on travelling to Hong Kong , please visit the websites of Hong Kong Tourism Board and Tourism Commission .

Geography

Hong Kong is situated at the south-eastern part of the People's Republic of China . It comprises of Hong Kong Island , Kowloon and New Territories (including 262 islands). The area of Hong Kong is 1 104 square kilometres.

For more information on geography, please visit the website of the Government of the Hong Kong SAR .

History

Archaeological studies revealed that there was evidence of ancient human activities in Hong Kong more than 6 000 years ago. Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, which belonged to China during the Qing dynasty (AD 1644 - 1911), was ceded to Britain in 1841 and 1860 respectively. In 1898, the New Territories, an area north of Kowloon up to Shun Chun River and 235 islands, was leased to Britain for 99 years. The Sino-British Joint Declaration, signed between China and Britain in 1984, agreed that Hong Kong was to return to China in 1997 and Hong Kong's lifestyle would remain unchanged for 50 years after 1997. Hong Kong has become a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China since 1 July 1997.

For more information on history, please visit the websites of the Government of the Hong Kong SAR , Hong Kong Museum of History and Hong Kong Heritage Museum .

Administration and Law

Under the Basic Law, Hong Kong SAR enjoys a high degree of autonomy. The Chief Executive who is the head of the Hong Kong SAR heads the Government. He is assisted by the Executive Council in policy-making. Legislative Council enacts laws, examines Government budget and public expenditure, debates issue concerning the work of the Government and other public interests etc.

The legal system in Hong Kong is based on the rule of law and the independence of the Judiciary. Laws in force in Hong Kong include the Basic Law, which provides the constitutional framework for the legal system, and enacted ordinances. Enacted laws are written in both Chinese and English and are equally authentic.

For more information on administration and law, please visit the websites of Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau, Judiciary and Department of Justice .

Economy

Hong Kong is a leading international trading and services hub, a high value-added manufacturing base as well as an international finance centre. In 2007, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expanded by 6.3% and the per capita GDP at current market prices was HK$232 836.

For more information on economy and finance, please visit the website of the Government of the Hong Kong SAR .

Immigration

Hong Kong maintains a liberal visa policy for visitors. People from about 170 countries and territories may come visa-free for visits ranging from 7 to 180 days. Any person other than those having the right of abode or right to land in Hong Kong, must obtain a visa before coming to Hong Kong for the purpose of education, taking up employment, training, investment or residence. Hong Kong maintains an open and liberal policy towards entry of employment.

For more information on immigration, please visit the website of Immigration Department .

Customs and Excise

Travellers entering Hong Kong at entry points are required to declare to Customs officers the quantity of dutiable goods (liquor, tobacco, cigarette and cigar) which are in excess of the duty-free concessions. To prevent and detect smuggling activities, permits are required to import and export certain prohibited articles.

For more information on customs and excise, please visit the website of Customs and Excise Department .

Population and Language

At the end of 2007, the provisional figure for the population of Hong Kong was 6.92 million. The nationality of the population is predominantly Chinese (95%). Other nationalities include: Filipino (2.0%), Indonesian (1.9%) and Thai (0.4%).

Chinese and English are official languages in Hong Kong. Most Chinese speak Cantonese. Many of them can also communicate in English, Putonghua and other Chinese dialects.

For more information on population and language, please visit the website of the Government of the Hong Kong SAR .

Religion and Custom

Religious freedom is protected by the law. Churches, temples or other worship places of various kinds of religions can be found in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is rich in time-honoured Chinese creeds and customs. Traditional Chinese festivals (e.g., Lunar New Year, Dragon Boat Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival) are celebrated each year.

For more information on religion and custom, please visit the website of the Government of the Hong Kong SAR .

Weather

Hong Kong has four distinct seasons with a hot, wet summer from July to September as well as a cold, dry winter from January to March every year.

For more information on weather, please visit the website of Hong Kong Observatory.

Housing and Accommodation

The majority of the Hong Kong people live in high-rise buildings. About 30% of people live in public rental housing, 18% in subsidised home ownership flats and the rest in private housing.

A variety of licensed hotels and guesthouses provide accommodation to travellers in Hong Kong . For more information on accommodation, please visit the websites of Home Affairs Department and Hong Kong Hotels Association .

Transport

Extensive road and railway networks and infrastructures have been built for the growing population and continuous development in Hong Kong . Railways, buses, minibuses, ferries , taxis , trams and peak trams etc. offer a choice of different transport modes at reasonable fares and different levels of convenience.

Single adult fares of railways range from $2.0 (Hong Kong Dollars) to $36.5, and $60 to $100 for Airport Express. Bus fares range from $2.5 to $48. Urban taxi fare is $16 for the first 2 kilometres and $1.4 for every 0.2 kilometre thereafter.

For more information on transport, please visit the website of Transport Department.

Recreational and Cultural Activities

A variety of recreational, sports and arts performances and activities are provided by the Government and numerous non-governmental parties. Arts and film festivals are highly regarded. Museums, libraries, countryside, Ocean Park and Hong Kong Disneyland are attractive places to visit.

For more information on recreational and cultural activities, please visit the websites of Leisure and Cultural Services Department as well as Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department .

Currency

The currency used in Hong Kong is Hong Kong Dollars (HK$). Hong Kong dollar notes come in denominations of $10, $20, $50, $100, $500 and $1000. Smaller denominations are divided into coins at values of 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, $1, $2, $5 and $10.

For more information on exchange rates of foreign currency, please visit the website of Hong Kong Trade Development Council.

Voltage

The electronic power provided in Hong Kong is 220V. Plugs with 3 squared pins are commonly used.

Time

The Hong Kong Time is Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) +8.

Telecommunication

Hong Kong has an extensive fixed and mobile telephone network and internet access. Travellers can use coins, phone cards or credit cards to dial public phones.

The country code for international direct dialing for Hong Kong is 852.

Emergency

In case of emergency situation (e.g., accidents, crime, lost or fire), you may dial 999 and ask for assistance.

Useful Telephones and Websites

Emergency

999
992 (Fax for Deaf and Dumb)

Government Hotline 1823
Government of the Hong Kong SAR  

Hong Kong Observatory
Dial-a-Weather

187 8200
Time & Temperature Service

18501 (English)
18503 (Cantonese)

Telephone Directory Enquiry

1081 (English)
1083 (Cantonese)

Hong Kong International Airport 2181 8888
Hong Kong Tourism Board -
Consumer Council 2929 2222

(Information from the website of the Government of the Hong Kong SAR and Hong Kong Year Book 2006)

 

Last revision date: 10 October 2012