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Hong Kong: 7 Things Travelers Should Know Before Visiting

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Hong Kong’s status as one of the world’s greatest cities is well earned.

With an unrivaled food scene, legendary nightlife, and a jaw-dropping skyline, the city beckons visitors with an endless amount of things to do.

From lively street markets and beautiful parks to the towering skyscrapers that help make the territory one of the most densely populated places in the world, visiting Hong Kong is a real treat.

Hongkong at night

But before you leave for Hong Kong, there are a few things to keep in mind. In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about traveling to Hong Kong, including:

  • What are the costs for travelers?
  • Things to know about culture and etiquette.
  • What are the main attractions?
  • How safe is it?
  • Local food and drinks
  • How good is the WiFi?
  • How long can you stay?

Ready? Here are the top 7 things to know before visiting Hong Kong:

Great Buddha of Hong Kong

Did you know… Hong Kong is not technically a country. For decades it was a British colony and under its rule it developed a strong capitalist economy. However, in 1997, British rule was transferred to China, making Hong Kong a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China. Now, it is governed under the principle of « one country, two systems », which means that, although they are now technically part of communist China, they can retain much of their political and economic autonomy.

1) Affordability in Hong Kong
















Rating: 2 out of 5.

Hong Kong’s currency is the Hong Kong dollar or HKD. The current exchange rate is $1 HKD = $0.13 USD and $1 USD = $7.81 HKD.

These are the average costs for travelers in USD:

Accommodation

  • Average price of hotels: A night in a 3-star hotel normally costs around $210, or around $275 for a 4-star hotel.
  • 5-star luxury hotels: 4-star luxury hotels average $450 a night, and there are plenty of options, especially if you want to splurge. For example, him Ritz Carlton Hong Kong has standard rooms starting at $635 and Premier Executive Suites with panoramic harbor views for $2,500 per night.
  • If you have a budget: Hong Kong has plenty of hostels to choose from, and travelers can expect to pay around $20 a night for a dorm bed or $35-$65 for a private room.

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Hong Kong skyline at night

Food

The food in Hong Kong is amazing and there is so much to try, including many affordable options.

  • TO 3-course meal in a mid-range restaurant. for two it costs about $65.
  • For cheap food At a cheap restaurant or from a street food vendor, expect to pay around $8.
  • TO beer costs between $6-$7, while a cappuccino it’s about $5.

Transport

  • Public transport Riding the MTR is the best way to get around in Hong Kong. Tourists can purchase travel passes that cost about $8.50 per day and cover unlimited rides on the city’s subways, streetcars, and light rail. If you don’t purchase the tourist pass, single ride tickets are based on distance and range from $0.90 to $3.
  • Taxi fares begin at $3.20 and costs an additional $2 per mile driven. uber is readily available and fares are comparable to taxis.
  • To travel between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, tourists can opt for the iconic star shuttlewhich costs between $0.50 and $0.83 depending on when you go and which deck you choose.
Star Ferry sails on the water in Hong Kong

2) Culture and etiquette in Hong Kong

Hong Kong culture and traditions are very different from those found in the West. Take the time to read up on proper etiquette before you go on vacation.

Check this list before your trip! These are some of the main pros and cons of Hong Kong.

  • DO NOT smoke in public Smoking is prohibited indoors and in outdoor public spaces, including parks, beaches, and public transportation.
  • Raise your hand: When you go out to dinner and need something from your server, raise your hand and wave to get their attention.
  • DO NOT take the MTA during peak hours: Avoid the train during the hours of 7 am to 9:30 am and 5 pm to 7 pm, as this is when they are full of commuters going to and from work.
  • DO use your chopsticks correctly: Never use your chopsticks to point at someone or something, and never put them upright in a bowl of rice, as this is considered inappropriate. Also, don’t use your own chopsticks to grab food from a common plate, use the ones that come with the plate.
  • Do not be alarmed: Restaurants are always busy and try to maximize space, so it is common to sit with other diners when in a restaurant.
  • DO respect your elders: Show respect to anyone older than you: be sure to offer them a proper greeting, follow their lead, and give them a seat on a busy train.
Tourist woman wearing a straw hat as she is seen strolling through a flea market in Hong Kong, Asia

3) Main attractions in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is full of amazing places to explore. Here are some of the best things to see and do during your visit:

  • Victoria Peak – No trip to Hong Kong is complete without a visit to Victoria Peak, the highest point on the island. Visitors can reach the top on the 8-minute Peak Tram. The views from the top are incredible.
  • Temple Street Night Market – Best visited between 7 pm and 10 pm; visitors must arrive hungry at this epic market. You’ll find fantastic street food, as well as cheap clothes and souvenirs.
  • Hong Kong Museum of History – A museum dedicated to telling the history of Hong Kong with many valuable exhibits. The Hong Kong Museum of History is a fantastic way to learn more about the territory’s long and interesting past.
Hong Kong removes most Covid restrictions, allowing for easier tourism

4) How safe is it for tourists?
















Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Like many Asian cities, Hong Kong is very safe for travelers. However, there are still a few things travelers should keep in mind to stay safe during their visit:

  • Beware of thieves: Pickpockets and scams are the most common crimes tourists will encounter, but they are rare. Take extra precautions in crowded areas, tourist spots, and on public transportation.
  • Avoid protests: From time to time there are political protests that take place all over Hong Kong; if you find one during your visit, joining is not recommended.
  • Know how to ask for help: If you or someone you are with needs emergency assistance call 999.
  • DO get travel insurance: Travel insurance can help in health emergencies as well as cover the costs of any travel mishaps during your trip to Hong Kong. For 5 great options, read more here.
the bright lights of temple street night market in hong kong

5) Local food and drinks

One of the best parts of traveling is trying the local cuisine, and Hong Kong is a fantastic place to try new foods. Don’t let yourself go without trying at least one of the following:

Food

  • fish balls – A popular snack where fish meat is formed into balls and stewed.
  • pineapple bun – a soft, sweet bun with a crispy sugar topping that cracks as it cooks and resembles the pattern of a pineapple.
  • Cha siu baau- soft white buns being filled with roast pork and gravy before being steamed
  • Chicken legs – more delicious than it sounds, chicken feet are fried and stewed in a black bean sauce
People sit and eat Hong Kong street food

Drinks

  • milk tea- a sweet and creamy drink made with Ceylon black tea and condensed milk, served hot or cold
  • Red bean ice – a refreshing summer drink made with sweetened kidney beans, evaporated milk, vanilla ice cream, and crushed ice
  • Beer – the most consumed beers in Hong Kong are San Miguel and Tsingtao

6) How is the WiFi?

Using Ookla, an internet speed test service, the average internet speeds in Hong Kong for April 2023 were 52.61 mbps download and 11.87 mbps upload.

Hong Kong street scene in Kowloon, Hong Kong.

7) How long can I stay?

US citizens can travel to Hong Kong visa-free as long as they depart within 90 days. Passports must be valid for at least one month after the intended date of departure and must contain at least one blank page.

traveler alert: Don’t forget travel insurance for your next trip!

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com