Before leaving Hong Kong we had a couple of things to do on our bucket…
Hong Kong – Travel Guide
Hong Kong has a sub-tropical climate, so it never gets really cold. The summer months, June through August are hotter, with a considerably higher chance of rain and the humidity can be oppressive.
The better months to travel, if you prefer comfortable temperatures and humidity, with rain less likely are March to May and September to November. December through February are good months to but the temperatures will be cooler and the number of daylight hours are more limited.
Here is a link to a site with average climatic conditions for Hong Kong:
For a current weather forecast try this link:
From the airport there are quite a few options for transportation. Taxi fares to downtown will be around $350 HK. Being cheapskates we decided to take the Hong Kong express to the Central Station, which cost $115 HK per person. From Central Station you can access the Metro System (MTR), buses and hotel shuttles. Information on the transportation from the airport can be found on the link below:
Generally getting around Hong Kong is easy. There are several public transport options:
- Metro (MTR)
What to wear
Hong Kong may be a sub-tropical climate, but leave your flip flops, shorts, and t-shirts at home in favour of long sleeve shirts, jeans/long trousers, and a jacket if you are visiting in the winter months. Add a pair of warm shoes to your Hong Kong packing list, too.
According to the Water Supplies Department, Hong Kong enjoys one of the safest water supplies in the world. However, even though the water itself might be free of contaminants, the plumbing in some parts of the city and buildings is old with unlined galvanised steel pipes that are prone to rusting. These pipes have been banned in new constructions since 1995, but some of the old plumbing is still present, and in these cases, the perfectly safe water running through the rusted pipes might not be that safe after all, not for drinking or even brushing your teeth.
First clue that you should stay away from the tap water at your hotel, will be a little sign by the sink or faucet indicating that the water is not safe, like this one:
Many locals will tell you it is perfectly ok to drink the water, but like mentioned before, it really depends on the pipes the water ran through, we personally prefer to err on the side of caution:
- Most hotels provide bottled water or a kettle to boil the water, it is there for a reason, use it!
- Fruits washed with tap water should be peeled just to be on the safe side.
- We normally stay away from ice cubes and stick with chilled bottled/canned drinks.
- Bottled water is available everywhere, make sure the water bottles are sealed.
- Also remind kids not to fill their water bottles with tap water, since they might be used to doing that at home.
FOOD SAFETY IN HONG KONG?
All travel involves some risk of getting some sort of stomach ailment, and in fact this is the most common complaint of the tourist and can happen anywhere in the world even in the most plush of restaurants/hotels, so eating in the “sanitized” tourist places might not necessarily save you from this common malady.
Being cautious should not prevent you from trying some of Hong Kong’s best food experiences in the Dai Pai Dongs and street food hawkers. Their sizzling dishes, clatter, aromas and fresh offerings at any time of the day or night are certainly one of the things you ought to try at least once during your stay.
Here are some precautions to follow when it comes to food safety, whether on the streets or some five-star hotel buffett:
- Try eating at places that are well-frequented, chances are, the food is fresh if the turnover is high
- As a general rule piping hot and steaming food is safe
- Fruits should be peeled right before eating
- Avoid food from buffets that has been sitting for too long and is only luke warm
- Rice and noodles are safe if cooked and steaming hot
- Avoid raw or undercooked seafood
- Fresh salads and uncooked vegetables migh not be safe.
- And as previously mentioned, water, sodas, beer, etc, are safe from sealed containers
The standard electrical voltage in Hong Kong is 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Most hotel bathrooms also have outlets for 100 volts, but if not, you will need a transformer for any appliance or electrical equipment. The majority of electrical outlets in Hong Kong take a three-pronged UK-style plug.
Hong Kong is one of the safest cities in Asia. Nowhere is 100% safe so it makes sense to take sensible precautions.
Below is a link the Lonely Planet pages on health and safety in Hong Kong, which provides some general thoughts.
Generally Hong Kong is a safe place to visit from health perspective. It is wise to be up to date on routine vaccinations (measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot.
Also, the CDC recommends Hepatitis A & B as well as typhoid. The link below goes to the relevant page of the CDC website.
If you do get sick the healthcare system in Hong Kong is excellent!
The currency is Hong Kong is the Hong Kong dollar. It is a fully traded currency so you can take some with you or go to a bureau de exchange at an airport. There are plenty of ATMs throughout Hong Kong so you should never run out of places to get cash.
Many places take credit cards but if you want to buy things from a market or get some tasty street food it is good to carry cash.
The exchange rate is around $8HK to $1US. The link below takes you to currency exchange site to get the latest exchange rates.
Nationals of about 170 countries and territories may visit Hong Kong without a visa, and can stay for periods varying from 7 days to 180 days depending on nationality. Nationals of the US, Europe, Australia,Canada and New Zealand don’t require a visa to enter Hong Kong for stays of 90 days, 180 days for UK nationals.