Hong Kong

Quick Facts

Region: China

Population:
6,940,000

Religion:

Being a Chinese place, the main regions are the Chinese beliefs of Confucianism and Taoism. The many temples pay homage to various Chinese deities such as the Goddess of Mercy. Due to its cosmopolitan nature, mosques and churches are also found throughout the region.

Language:

There are two official languages in Hong Kong – Cantonese and English. However Mandarin Chinese is fast asserting itself as a major language in the region. Due to immigration from Mainland China and the shift in emphasis in the education curriculum, the standard of English has declined in recent times and it is common to find many people in Hong Kong today who do not speak English.

Area (sq. km):
1,098 square meters

Time:

GMT + 8 hours

When To Travel

Hong Kong lies in a sub-tropical zone. October to early February is the best time to visit. It is the dry season and the temperatures are generally cool, however some of the weather patterns around the South China Sea are quite unpredictable and unseasonal typhoons can still occur. It can get quite chilly in January and February. From late February to May, it is hot and humid, with drizzles that can last for days. The rainy season is from May through to September, with hot and humid days intermittently cooled down by tropical downpours and even typhoons. However when the rain does stop, it can be quite clear for a period of time.

Useful Travel Facts

Airports:

Hong Kong International Airport, located off the island of Lantau, is serviced by number of rail and bus links. The best option is to catch the Airport Express train or bus,

Telephone:

The country code for Hong Kong is 852 (unlike Mainland China, which is 86). 

Food:

Most of the Chinese food that foreigners are familiar with will be Cantonese cuisine – the cuisine of Hong Kong. Many of the popular dishes will be available such as sweet and sour pork, beef and black bean sauce, and chicken and cashew nut. Also famous is a breakfast/brunch/lunch session known as dim sum (also known as ‘yum cha’), where small servings of delicacies such as shrimp dumplings, barbecued pork buns, spring rolls, fresh green vegetables amongst many others are served in small bamboo baskets. A delicious and social occasion!

Transport:

Getting around Hong Kong is easy. The train networks are good, ranging from the Airport Express (the quickest and most convenient way to get in to Kowloon or Hong Kong Island from the airport) to the MTR underground system. Taxis are metered and affordable, although there is a surcharge for large pieces of luggage. The must-do tourist experiences of Hong Kong include catching the Star Ferry from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island and taking the funicular up to Victoria Peak.

Visa:

Although Hong Kong is now part of the People’s Republic of China it remains a Special Administrative Region with its own immigration controls. Most nationalities can visit Hong Kong for up to 6 months without a visa.


If you are travelling to mainland China via Hong Kong you must get a Chinese visa before arrival at the border. Visas are not available on arrival at the Chinese border for British passport holders. If you are entering Hong Kong via mainland China and leaving again via the mainland you will need a double or multiple entry visa for mainland China.

Useful Words & Phrases

Mandarin

1: yi (yee)
10: shi (shir)
100: yi bai (yee-bai)
1000: yi qian (yee-chen)
2: er (er)
20: er shi (er-shir)
3: san (sarn)
4: si (szir)
5: wu (woo)
6: liu (leeo)
7: qi (chee)
8: ba (bar)
9: jiu (jee-o)
goodbye: zaijian (dz I jian)
hello: ni hao (knee how)
how are you?: ni hao ma? (knee how ma)
How much?: Duoshao qian? (dwar shao chen)
no (I don’t have): mei you (may yo)
no (not so): no (not so)
thank you: xie xie (share share)
Where is_____?: _____zai nali? (dz I nar-li)
yes: you (yo)

Mandarin

1: yi (yee)
10: shi (shir)
100: yi bai (yee-bai)
1000: yi qian (yee-chen)
2: er (er)
20: er shi (er-shir)
3: san (sarn)
4: si (szir)
5: wu (woo)
6: liu (leeo)
7: qi (chee)
8: ba (bar)
9: jiu (jee-o)
goodbye: zaijian (dz I jian)
hello: ni hao (knee how)
how are you?: ni hao ma? (knee how ma)
How much?: Duoshao qian? (dwar shao chen)
no (I don’t have): mei you (may yo)
no (not so): no (not so)
thank you: xie xie (share share)
Where is_____?: _____zai nali? (dz I nar-li)
yes: you (yo)

Further Reading

Hong Kong: Epilogue to an Empire - Jan Morris Culture Shock! Hong Kong: A Guide to Customs and Etiquette - Elizabeth Li Foreign Mud (on the Opium Wars) - Maurice Collis East and West: The Last Governor of Hong Kong - Chris Patten The World of Suzie Wong - Richard Mason Tai-Pan - James Clavell Noble House - James Clavell Dynasty - Robert Elegant The Honourable Schoolboy - John Le Carre