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Hong Kong City Travel Guide
The challenge of a holiday in Hong Kong is to have enough time to fit in all the aspects of this exciting city of contrasts. There are some things not to be missed during a Hong Kong holiday, and these include the food, the superlative shopping, a cruise to the outlying islands, and spending some quiet moments in the natural setting of a peaceful park. There is nowhere on earth quite like Hong Kong, which is reason enough for anyone to travel here.
Hong Kong perches on the edge of mainland China, occupying an anomalous position as a territory straddling two worlds. Since the handover in 1997 Hong Kong has become a 'Special Administrative Region of China' and no longer a subject of colonial sovereignty. Past and present fuse to create a capitalist utopia embedded within the world's largest Communist country.
Hong Kong offers a dense concentration of stores and shopping malls with a cross-pollinated, cosmopolitan culture that embraces Nepalese and British cuisines with equal enthusiasm. It is the perfect gateway for travellers to Southeast Asia and China, providing a smooth transition from west to east. As one of the key economies of the Pacific Rim, Hong Kong Island showcases a gleaming landscape of skyscrapers and boasts highly developed transport infrastructure that makes commuting around it a dream.
Hong Kong consists of four sections: Kowloon, Hong Kong Island, the New Territories, and the Outlying Islands. Kowloon and the New Territories form part of the Chinese mainland to the north of Victoria Harbour. Hong Kong Island, containing the central business hub, lies on the southern side of the harbour facing Kowloon. The Outlying Islands region consists of 234 islands.
With one of the best and most varied public transport systems in the world and a compact city centre, getting around Hong Kong is extremely cheap, fast and efficient and is easy enough for even inexperienced travellers. It includes buses, minibuses, ferries, trams, light railways and an underground subway. The underground Mass Transit Railway (MTR) is fast, clean, efficient and inexpensive. Single-journey tickets or travel passes like the electronic Octopus card can be used on the MTR to easily access attractions, shopping and dining locations. Bus routes serviced with double-decker or single-decker buses cover all of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories with final destinations displayed in both English and Chinese on the front. Bus fares are low and distance-based; exact change is required, or you can use the ubiquitous Octopus card, which covers all public transport options.
Small mini-buses are more expensive but also more flexible, stopping for passengers to board or disembark on request. Hong Kong's old-fashioned trams still follow the same tracks as they have since 1904 and provide visitors with wonderful views of the city from their upper decks. They are also a cheap and convenient way of getting around. On the water, fleets of ferries connect Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, the Outlying Islands, Macau and Mainland China. Last but not least there is an abundant supply of taxis, colour-coded according to their area of operation. Taxi fares are low, but many drivers don't speak English and visitors are advised to have their destination written down in Chinese characters.
Travellers can use the Octopus Card to pay for transportation, as well as some restaurants and convenience stores. The Octopus Card is rechargeable, and stays valid for up to three years beyond the last date of use. Visit for more info.
Littering and spitting are illegal in Hong Kong and will incur on the 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 a general 'no no'. The Chinese have great respect for hierarchical relationships.
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.