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Practical information Hong Kong

By Amy Adejokun Amy Adejokun Section editor

Hong Kong : Travel Information before you go!

Area

426 sq. mi.

Flights

A flight of approximately 11 hrs 40 mins. Hong Kong is 6,052 mi from London. Air France offers 5 flights a week to Hong Kong (with connections). Many other companies travel to Hong Kong, including Air China, Air New Zealand, British Airways, China Southern, Emirates, Eva Airways, Finnair, KLM, Lufthansa, Qantas Airways, Swiss, Thai Airways, etc., but their flights include connections.

Population

7,055,071

Airports

It's best to arrive in Hong Kong by Chek Lap Kok airport, launched in July 1998, and located on a polder very close to Lantau island. A very modern train, efficient and comfortable, allows you to get to the Central neighbourhood on Hong Kong Island in half an hour, then take a bus or metro connection to get around the city. All of this will cost less than 15, about four times less expensive than a taxi would cost. On your arrival, free courtesy telephones are available in the airport.

Security

There is no security problem in Hong Kong; the city is all in all very secure. As always on a trip, avoid tempting fate: do not have valuable items or a lot of cash on you. Be careful of pick pocketers in very dense crowds (frequent in this very populated city).

Languages

Chinese (mainly Cantonese, but Mandarin is becoming more widely-spoken).
English, quite widely spoken, is also an official language.

Required travel documents for

Although Hong Kong is now part of the People's Republic of China it remains a Special Administrative Region with its own immigration controls. You can stay in Hong Kong for up to six months without a visa. If the passport has less than 6 months validity, Hong Kong Immigration will only grant one month longer than the scheduled stay in Hong Kong, but only if the validity of the passport allows this. The passport must be valid for the duration of stay in Hong Kong.

Religion

Buddhism prevails (more than 95%), small presence of Christianity and Islam.

Currency

The currency is the Hong Kong Dollar (HKD), which consists of 100 Cents. There are many bureaux de change here and you will have no problem exchanging Pounds or cashing travellers cheques. Payment by credit card is common and the city has many ATM machines where you can withdraw cash using any international credit card. Banks are open from 9:00am to 4:30pm, Monday to Friday, and from 9:00am to 12:30pm on Saturdays.

Local transportation

The metro (MTR) which is quick, efficient, clean and safe, is by far the best way to move around Hong Kong. Prepaid magnetic cards that are debited off the ride cost are for sale in all of the metro stations. Many buses, often double-deckers, a holdover from British times, as well as tramways, also traverse the city. These means of transportation are a very good solution to get to the New Territories in the north, or to access certain remote sectors, such as Stanley or Shek O. To circulate between the different islands (234 in total!) that constitute the archipelago, such as Lantau or Lamma, many ferries have daily rides. A must-do is to take the Star Ferry at least once, which constantly travels between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon Peninsula by crossing Victoria Harbour. Taxis are numerous, but the traffic, considering the short length of the territory, is often dense. Finally, a train line (KCR), connected to the metro network, serves the city of Canton several times a day.

Health

No particular vaccinations are required to enter the country. The territory does not pose any specific health risks. Still, take out good health insurance in case of a health problem: medical costs in the country can be relatively high.

Useful numbers:
Queen Mary Hospital: 852-2255-3111
Queen Elizabeth Hospital: 852-2958-8888
Matilda Hospital: 852-2849-0111

Electricity

220 V, 50 Hz. No problem concerning electrical compatibility. However, electrical outlets are not all the same. The standard and number of pins can vary depending on when they were installed or who installed it. Thus, a multi-standard adaptor is needed.

Taxes and tips

There is no added tax on goods and services sold in Hong Kong, which has contributed to its expanding commercial activity. In the hotel industry, there is a service charge that increases the market prices by 15%. Tips are not common.

Telephone

The area code for Hong Kong is 852. To call Hong Kong from the UK: dial 00 + 852 + personal number.
To call the UK from Hong Kong : 00 + 44 + personal number, without the first 0.
Emergency number (police, fire brigade, ambulances): 999.

Hong Kong : Useful addresses in the country

Before leaving

Hong Kong Tourist Board (HKTB)
6 Grafton Street London W1S 4EQ UK
Tel : 20-7499-9821 or 20-7533-7100
http://www.discoverhongkong.com

Chinese Embassy in London
49 Portland Pl London, W1B 1JL
general line: 020-7299-4049
for visas: 020-7631-1430
www.chinese-embassy.org.uk

At the destination

local Honk Kong tourist board
9-11/F, Citicorp Centre
18 Whitfield Road
North Point in Hong Kong
Tel: [852] 2807 6543.
DiscoverHongKong.com

Local Hong Kong British Consulate
1 Supreme Court Road, Hong Kong.
(+852) 2901 3000 main switchboard, including out of hours Consular Emergency Service