Useful and practical information about Hong Kong to help you plan ahead for your trip:
Hong Kong has a subtropical climate with distinct seasons. Many people regard September to November as the best months of the year to visit Hong Kong. Typhoon season is May to November. When a typhoon is approaching, warnings are broadcasted on TV and radio. Signals indicate its intensity, the latest position and expected movement of the centre of the tropical cyclone, information on the wind strength, rainfall and sea level in the territory. When typhoon signal 8 is hoisted, businesses and shops close down and flights may be cancelled. There is a separate warning for heavy rain.
The legal tender is the Hong Kong dollar (HK$), although exchange rates may fluctuate slightly. Hong Kong banknotes are issued by three banks (HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank and Bank of China), and vary in design and colour for each denomination.
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 and vending machines, etc. You simply place the Octopus card over a reader, and the correct amount is deducted automatically from the stored value.
Cantonese is the Chinese dialect spoken by over 88% of the people in Hong Kong. Chinese 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.
Upon arrival in Hong Kong, automatic sensors will take your temperature at the Hong Kong International Airport and boundary control points. If it is high, you will be required to have a quick health check.
Vaccination certificates are usually not required. Check with your local airline company because requirements may change.
Smoking is prohibited in all indoor public places, including restaurants, karaokes, malls and bars. The smoking ban is also enforced on public transport carriers, in public transport facilities and in both indoor and outdoor areas of some premises such as public beaches, swimming pools and escalators. No person shall smoke or carry a lighted cigarette, cigar or pipe in designated non-smoking areas, or else they will be liable to a fixed penalty of HK$1,500.
Hong Kong has strict laws to maintain environmental hygiene, including fixed penalty fines of HK$1,500 for littering or spitting. Please help keep Hong Kong clean and beautiful!
The standard electrical voltage in Hong Kong is 220 volts AC, 50HZ. The majority of electrical outlets in Hong Kong take a three-pronged UK-type plug. You can buy an inexpensive adaptor for your equipment when you arrive in Hong Kong.