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  • December 2, 2021
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From planes and trains to ferries and trams – half the fun of Hong Kong is getting to and around it!

Get to and around Hong Kong with all the info you need on visas, transport, currency and weather.

Airports

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Hong Kong International Airport is one of the world's best and most modern airports offering a comprehensive range of facilities and services to travelers entering and leaving Hong Kong. The airport offers arriving passengers direct access to train, bus, taxi and hotel transport, as well as high-speed ferries to Mainland China.

Airbus To and From Airport – Within Hong Kong

Getting to and from Hong Kong International Airport is easy, convenient and relatively inexpensive.

Train

The Mass Transit Railway's (MTR) high-speed Airport Express takes approximately 24 minutes to get to Hong Kong Island and is the fastest transport link to the airport. Airport Express passengers can take a free shuttle bus from Kowloon and Hong Kong stations to major hotels. Both these stations provide free in-town check-in services for major airlines.

Taxi

Taxis are readily available from the taxi pick-up area in front of the Arrivals Hall. Take a red taxi unless traveling only to Lantau (blue) or the New Territories (green). All taxis can go to and from the airport. Fares are metered and details of fares and extra charges are clearly displayed inside each cab.

Bus

There are 11 convenient Airbus “A” routes that can take you to key locations on Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and New Territories including Lantau Island with fewer stops than an ordinary city bus. When you exit the Arrivals Hall, turn right for Airbuses and city buses.

Coach and Limousine Charter

Arriving passengers who require their own personal limousines, mini-vans, vans and group coaches (buses) can book the transport from service providers located in the Arrivals Hall of Terminal 1 or in the coach station of Terminal 2.

To and From Airport – Mainland China

Hong Kong International Airport also serves as a land and sea transport hub for direct links to Mainland China.

Coach

There is a dedicated coach station serving Mainland China in Terminal 2 that offers coach (bus) services to major cities in Guangdong Province.

Ferry

Transit passengers bound for eight ports in the Pearl River Delta by ferry do not need to go through Hong Kong Immigration or reclaim baggage at HKIA. Tickets are sold at Mainland/Macau Ticketing Counter at Transfer Area E2 in Terminal 1. Passengers then take the Automated People Mover to SkyPier and board one of the high-speed ferries.

Best Time to Travel

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Hong Kong is a year-round destination. It enjoys a mild climate from the middle of September to the end of February, while the weather from May to mid-September can be hot and humid. About 80% of Hong Kong's rainfall occurs between May and September, with August usually the wettest month.

Currency

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The legal tender is the Hong Kong dollar (HK$), which is linked to the US dollar at a rate of about 7.80 HKD to 1 USD, although exchange rates may fluctuate slightly. Interestingly, Hong Kong banknotes are issued by three banks (HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank and Bank of China), and vary in design and color for each denomination.

Banknotes

• $10 - green or purple (The purple note is issued by the government)

• $20 - dark blue or light blue (old or new)

• $50 - purple or green (old or new)

• $100 - red • $500 - brown

• $1000 - yellow

Coins (issued by the government)

• 10c - in bronze, circular, smaller

• 20c - in bronze, wavy-circular

• 50c - in bronze, circular, larger

• $1 - in silver, circular, thinner

• $2 - in silver, wavy-circular

• $5 - in silver, circular, thicker

• $10 - in bronze/silver, circular

Octopus Card

The Octopus card is a stored value electronic card widely used in Hong Kong for public transport, purchases in convenience stores, fast food shops, supermarkets, cake shops, vending machines, etc. You simply place the Octopus card over a reader, and the correct amount is deducted automatically from the stored value. With an Octopus card, you no longer need coins.

Money Exchange

You can exchange your currency for Hong Kong dollars at authorized money exchangers. At Hong Kong International Airport, currency exchange counters are conveniently open from early morning to late at night. There are also 24-hour automated teller machines. The exchange rate fluctuates daily depending on the money market.

ATM

Automated teller machines (ATMs) can be found almost everywhere and some HSBC 'Electronic Money' machines provide 24-hour cash withdrawal (HK$) facilities for Visa and MasterCard holders.

Traveler's Cheques & Credit Cards

Traveler's cheques are accepted by leading banks and hotels.

International credit cards such as American Express, VISA, Diners Club and MasterCard are also widely acceptable at hotels, retail shops and restaurants. Such premises usually display stickers of accepted cards at their entrance.

Language

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Cantonese is the Chinese dialect spoken by over 88% of the people in Hong Kong. However, English is widely used in the Government and by the legal, professional and business sectors, as well as tourist areas. Most taxi drivers and salespeople are able to communicate in English.

Since the reunification with China in 1997, Mandarin, more commonly known as Putonghua – the official dialect of China, has gained in prominence and most locals can at least comprehend it to a certain degree.

Chinese (Cantonese is widely spoken) and English are the official languages of Hong Kong. All official signs are bilingual (using traditional characters). Most shops and restaurants also have English signage, though don't expect this from the more local or rural establishments.

Medical

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Health

Upon arrival in Hong Kong, automatic sensors will take your temperature at the Hong Kong International Airport and boundary control points, and if it is high, you will be required to have a quick health check.

Vaccination certificates are usually not required. Check with your local carriers because requirements may change.

Tap water is soft in character and conforms to the guidelines for drinking-water quality recommended by the World Health Organization. However, most people prefer to drink bottled water. Mineral water including major imported brands is readily available from supermarkets and convenience stores.

Hospitals

As an international city, Hong Kong has world-class hospitals providing outstanding care. Visitors using Accident and Emergency services in Hong Kong public hospitals are charged a set fee of HK$570 per attendance, but will always be treated even if they cannot pay immediately.

Smoking Restrictions

Smoking is prohibited in all indoor public places, including restaurants, karaoke’s, malls and bars. The smoking ban is also implemented on public transport carriers, public transport facilities and in both indoor and outdoor areas of some premises such as public beaches and swimming pools, escalators, the Hong Kong Wetland Park. No person shall smoke or carry a lighted cigarette; cigar or pipe in designated no smoking areas, or else will be liable to a fixed penalty of HK$1,500.

Hygiene

Cleanliness: Hong Kong has strict laws to maintain environmental hygiene, including fixed penalty fines of HK$1,500 for littering or spitting.

Safety

Hong Kong is a remarkably safe city by day or night. Friendly police officers patrol frequently. To ensure that your stay is pleasant and hassle free, please pay attention to the following points:

• Keep your money, valuables and travel documents in a safe place, like the hotel room safe.

• Attend to your belongings especially when you are in a crowded place.

• Beware of people making dubious offers and those who may try to distract you and take away your belongings.

• Be wary of people offering gambling or investment opportunities.

Tipping

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Most restaurants will levy a 10% service charge but waiters will expect to be given some loose change. Restaurants that don't add a service charge will expect a 10% tip. However, tipping is left to your discretion. Bellboys, porters, restroom attendants and taxi drivers are happy to accept loose change.

Transportation

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MTR

Getting around Hong Kong and visiting the city's fantastic attractions couldn't be easier with the quick and efficient MTR rail system that covers all major districts in the territory, and includes stops at the boundary with Mainland China (Lo Wu and Lok Ma Chau). The MTR consists of ten lines: Island, Tsuen Wan, Kwun Tong, Tseung Kwan O, Tung Chung, West Rail, East Rail, Ma On Shan and Disneyland Resort, as well as an Airport Express. In addition, The MTR operates a Light Rail system running between Yuen Long and Tuen Mun in the New Territories, plus an inter-city train service into Mainland China.

Airport Express Travel Pass

Buy the Airport Express Travel Pass to enjoy:

• One or two single journeys on the Airport Express

• 3 consecutive days of unlimited travel on MTR

Ticket is valid for 180 days from day of issue.

Tourist Day Pass and Child Tourist Day Pass

Buy the Tourist Day Pass or Child Tourist Day Pass and enjoy any one day of unlimited travel on the MTR to experience this dynamic city. Ticket is valid for one month from day of issue.

Taxis

Taxis are plentiful throughout Hong Kong apart from remote areas, and can be hailed on the street (except restricted areas) or summoned by phone. All are metered, relatively cheap, air-conditioned and clean.

There are three colors of taxi to indicate their areas of service, but all serve the airport:

• Red taxis operate in most of Hong Kong, except for Tung Chung Road and the south side of Lantau Island.

• Green taxis serve the rural areas of the New Territories.

• Blue taxis operate only on Lantau Island.

Useful Info

All taxis can go to and from the Hong Kong International Airport as well as the Hong Kong Disneyland. Taxis are easily hailed in the street, although they cannot pick up or drop off passengers in restricted areas. You might also opt for the taxi-queue at a hotel or taxi stand.

• Passengers are required by law to wear a seat belt when available, whether sitting in the front or rear.

• All taxis are regulated and taxi drivers are required to display their Taxi Driver Identity card on the dashboard.

• Taxi fare information is listed on the inside of the taxi.

• Refer to the meter for the exact charge.

• Always ask for a receipt. This helps you track down lost items or the taxi driver.

• If you can't read the price, the taxi number, or the fine print on the receipt, ask for a hand-written version.

When you encounter any problems with the taxi service, such as possible overcharging, take down the taxi driver's name and license plate number as shown on the Taxi Driver Identity card on the cab's dashboard.

Buses

Buses in Hong Kong are plentiful and comfortable, and most are air-conditioned. Especially popular are the double-deckers that offer great views of the surrounding city.

Bus routes cover almost all of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories. Kowloon Motor Bus, New World First Bus and Citybus operate routes to cover Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories. New Lantao Bus mainly operates on Lantau Island and Long Win Bus provides bus services to north Lantau and the airport. Final destinations are prominently displayed in English and Chinese on the front of the bus.

Fares are based on distance travelled. Exact change is required. Octopus cards are accepted.

Minibuses

Minibuses are small passenger buses that carry about 16 people. Green minibuses operate on specific routes at fixed prices. Exact payment is required when getting on. Octopus cards are accepted. Red minibuses operate on routes that are not always fixed and passengers can get on and off anywhere along the route except where special prohibitions apply. Pay as you alight. The driver can provide change for small notes.

Once filled, minibuses won't stop until someone asks to get off. Please note that minibuses are best suited for people who can speak some Cantonese and who are familiar with Hong Kong. Passengers are required by law to wear seat belts where available.

Ferries

With its coastal location and many outlying islands, Hong Kong operates regular ferry routes connecting Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the Outlying Islands, as well as Macau and neighboring cities in Mainland China.

Star Ferry

Most notable of all ferries is the humble, but legendary, Star Ferry service between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island from piers in Tsim Sha Tsui and Hung Hom in Kowloon and Central and Wan Chai on the Island. It offers a memorable and scenic boat trip across one of the most-photographed harbors in the world.

Outlying Islands Service

Ferries operating from the Central Ferry Piers on Hong Kong Island provide service to the main outlying islands of Peng Chau, Cheung Chau, Lamma and Lantau, including Discovery Bay. Two types of ferries operate on most routes: standard ferries and the slightly more expensive fast ferries.

Macau and Mainland China

There are fast ferries to and from Macau and destinations along the coast of Mainland China. These services operate from the Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal in Sheung Wan on Hong Kong Island and the China Ferry Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon.

Trams

Take a step back in time and explore the bustling north corridor of Hong Kong Island aboard one of the city's historic trams. These double-decker streetcars have been travelling through Hong Kong's busiest thoroughfares since 1904 and continue to be a great way to get around.

You enter at the back of the tram and pay the exact fare when alighting at the front. Octopus cards are accepted.

Peak Tram

There's no better way to reach the scenic Victoria Peak, Hong Kong's number one tourist attraction, than by taking the equally spellbinding Peak Tram. Opened in 1888 for the exclusive use of the British Governor and Peak residents, this historic service remains to this day the steepest funicular railway in the world. The journey takes only eight minutes, offering passengers an unfolding canvas of stunning views over Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and Victoria Harbor as the tram ascends.

The Peak Tram operates from 7am to midnight, departing within 10 to 15-minute intervals from the Lower Peak Tram Terminus on Garden Road in Central. By day or night, the ride is equally thrilling. Fares can be paid with exact change or an Octopus card.

Visa Info

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Immigration

In general, all visitors to Hong Kong must have a passport that is valid for at least one month after the period of their intended stay in Hong Kong. However, documents issued to stateless persons must be valid for a minimum of two months after the period of the intended stay.

Nationals of most countries do not require visas and can stay for periods varying from 7 days to 180 days, depending on nationality. If unsure of status, check with any Chinese embassy or consulate.

Speedy Immigration Clearance for Frequent Business and Other Travellers

For the convenience of regular visitors to Hong Kong, two special passes are available to enable speedier processing through designated Immigration channels:

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Travel Pass

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Travel Pass is available to frequent business travellers holding valid passports and who are eligible to come to HKSAR without a visa or entry permit for visit purposes. Applicants should have genuine needs to visit the HKSAR frequently, and have previously visited on three or more occasions (not including side trips to Mainland China or Macau) in the 12-months prior to the application; or can satisfy the Director of Immigration that their visits may bring substantial benefits to the HKSAR. Holders of Travel Passes are allowed to use Hong Kong residents' counters for simplified immigration clearance procedures.

Frequent Visitor Card

Frequent Visitor Card is available to visitors holding valid passports from any country, who have passed through Hong Kong International Airport at least three times in the previous 12-month period. FVC passes can be used only for entry through the airport.

e-Channels

Frequent visitors can now enjoy the convenience of self-service immigration clearance dedicated Frequent Visitor e-Channel at Hong Kong International Airport. To qualify, they must hold an HKSAR Travel Pass or APEC Business Travel Card (economy code 'HKG') or Frequent Visitor Card or Frequent Flyer Programme Membership Card by selected airline, along with a valid travel document and a multiple-entry visa (if required).

Customs

All visitors entering Hong Kong must go through Customs clearance and declare any dutiable commodities exceeding duty-free quotas. Please find out more about dutiable commodities and the latest duty-free concessions. Also, the import/export of dangerous drugs, arms, animals, plants, endangered species, meat and poultry, etc. into or out of Hong Kong is governed by laws. Any import/export of these items must be accompanied by a valid license or permit issued in advance by the relevant authorities, unless otherwise exempted by laws.

Visa to Mainland China

All foreigners require a visa to enter Mainland China. Visas should be obtained from any Embassy or Consulate General of People's Republic of China in your own country before your departure to Mainland China. A standard China tourist visa is good for sightseeing and visiting friends and relatives, and can be obtained for a single entry (valid for 30 days) or double entry (valid for 90 days) from date of issue. It cannot be extended. Upon expiration, a new visa must be applied for. Multiple entry and business visas are also available.

Weather

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Spring

March to May: temperature and humidity begin rising. Evenings can be cool.

Summer

June to August: hot, humid and sunny, with occasional showers and thunderstorms. The temperature can exceed 31°C.

Autumn

September to November: there are pleasant breezes, plenty of sunshine and comfortable temperatures. Many people regard these as the best months of the year to visit Hong Kong.

Winter

December to February: cool, dry and cloudy, with occasional cold fronts. The temperature can drop below 10°C in urban areas.