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The Fragrant Harbour

Lying at the southeastern tip of China, Hong Kong adjoins the province of Guangdong (Canton), and is just south of the tropic of Cancer. The total land area of Hong Kong is 1,078 square kilometers, comprising Hong Kong Island (77.5 square kilometers); Kowloon (45.5 square kilometer); and the New Territories, including 235 outlying islands (955 square kilometers).
Today Hong Kong has become a great international trading post, a powerful manufacturing base and one of the world's largest financial centres.


Population and Language
The population as of 2002 was about 7.5 millions, almost 95 per cent of which is Chinese. Chinese and English are the official languages. Cantonese is the most widely spoken Chinese dialect, though Mandarin, Shanghainese and other Chinese dialects are also spoken. Many people, especially in shops, hotels, and service industries, speak English.

Climate
Hong Kong has a subtropical climate:

  • Spring (March - mid-May): Temperature and humidity rising. Jackets or sweaters suggested. Averagehumidity around 82%
  • Summer
    (late May ----mid----September) Hot and humid. Temperature may rise to 33C(91F) with humidity up to around 90% . Shirtsleeves, cotton clothing, a sweater for indoors and an umbrella for outside suggested Average temperature: 28C(82F), humidity 80%, sea temperature 28C (82F).
  • Autumn
    (late September - early December): temperature and humidity drop. Clear sunny days. Shirtsleeves to sweaters and light jackets suggested. Average temperature: 23C (73F), humidity 72%, sea temperature 17C (63F).
  • Winter
    (late December- February): Cool with low humidity. Suits, light woollens and sometimes overcoats suggested. Average temperature: 17C (62F), humidity 72%, sea temperature 17C(63F) 

Entry Regulations
Visitors must hold a valid passport, endorsed where necessary for Hong Kong. Citizens of some 24 countries, including the USA, Japan, and certain Western European and South American nations are permitted one-month visa-free visits. Three-month visa-free visits are available to another 23 countries as well as all Commonwealth countries.

Visitors from most countries can enter Hong Kong without a visa for periods of seven days to six months, depending on nationality. Check with any Chinese embassy or consulate for the latest status.

Health Regulations
Vaccination certificates are not required for yellow fever, cholera and typhoid for visitors travelling to Hong Kong. Check with your travel agent well before your departure, however, as requirements can change without notice.

Customs Allowance
Visitors may bring into Hong Kong free of duty:

  • Transport
    Airport Facilities
    A baggage storage service is available in the departure hall and the arrival hall. Other services include a bank, moneychangers, gift shops, duty-free shops, snack bars, restaurants, payphones, a police station, post office, a HK Telecom International Ltd. Office, HKTA Information Centres and private reception rooms.

    Airport Departure Tax
    Adults: HK$80; children (aged 12 years and under) free.

    Safety
    Hong Kong is generally considered a safe city by day or night. Policemen are very helpful, and those who speak English wear a red label under their shoulder badge. As in all big cities, avoid carrying large amounts of cash; traveller's cheques or credit cards are preferable. Make use of your hotel's safe-deposit boxes.

    Currency
    The unit of currency is the Hong Kong dollar (HK$). Notes issued by two private banks (the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank and Standard Chartered Bank) have denominations of $10, $20, $50, $100, $500, and $1000. The Bank of China issues all of the denominations except HK$10. There are silver coins for HK$1, HK$2, and HK$5, bronze coins for HK10 cents, HK20 cents and HK50 cents, and a new nickel and bronze coin for $10.

    Most foreign currencies and traveller's cheques are easily changed in Hong Kong, either at banks, hotels or moneychangers (check how much you will get in return before handing over your money).

    Tipping
    Most restaurants add a 10 per cent service charge but an additional 5 per cent may be given, where deserved. When a service charge is not automatic, 10 per cent is acceptable. Small tips may also be given to taxi drivers, bellboys, doormen and washroom attendants.

    Electricity
    The voltage in Hong Kong is 200/220 volts, 50 cycles. Most hotels provide adaptors.

    Water
    All water direct from government mains in Hong Kong satisfies the United Nations World Health Organization standards. Bottled water is widely available in hotels and supermarkets.

    Telephones
    Telephones in Hong Kong are advanced, economical and easy to use. Local calls are free, and many stores and restaurants offer use of a telephone free of charge to patrons. Calls from public coin phones cost HK$1. Most hotels have International Direct Dialling (IDD). Please note that some hotels charge a handling fee for local and/or international calls. You can also make long-distance calls from (IDD) Public Coin Phones and from HK Telecom International Ltd. Offices. An easy method of making calls is to purchase stored-value phonecards (HK$50, $150 and $200), which can be used in any Cardphone box. The new Hello Phonecard (HK$100, $200,$300) is a stored value card that enables the user to place calls to and from over 30 countries from a touch-tone phone. Both types of cards can be purchased at HKTA Information and Gift Centres and most convenience stores. Call 013 for information.

    Post Offices
    The main post offices are on Hong Kong Island, next to the Star Ferry and in Kowloon at 10 Middle Road, Tsim Sha Tsui. Both are open from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday and 8am to 2pm on Saturday. All post offices close on Sunday and public holidays.

    Television
    There are two English-language channels. Programmes include a selection of locally produced shows as well as features from the UK, the US, and Australia. Also available is STAR TV (a satellite channel) and, in some areas, Cable TV (subscription television).

    Radio
    Fifteen radio channels are broadcast in Hong Kong. Six English-language channels provide a wide range of programmes and the BBC World Service is available 24 hours.

    Office and Banking Hours
    Most offices open from 9am to 5pm with a lunch hour from 1 pm to 2pm. On Saturday the hours are 9am to 1 pm. Some Chinese businesses open at 10am and close around 6pm or later. Major banks are open from 9am to 4.30pm on weekdays, 9am to 12.30pm on Saturday.

    Getting Around In Hong Kong
    Airport Transport
    After you have reclaimed your baggage and passed through Customs, you will find yourself in the Buffer Hall of Hong Kong International Airport where the Hong Kong Tourist Association Information Centres are located . There you can obtain free visitor publications and any other assistance you may need.

    Hong Kong International Airport is approximately 40 minutes' drive by car from all major hotels in Kowloon and about 50 minutes' drive via the Cross-Harbour Tunnel from all major hotels on Hong Kong Island (under normal traffic conditions). If you are making your own way to your hotel, follow the signs directing you to the Transport Terminus for taxis or use the airport coach service. If you have no local currency on arrival, change only enough at the airport to get you to your hotel.

    Hotel Transport
    Hotel bookings do not normally include transportation from the airport. However, if you have a prearranged hotel booking that includes an airport transfer, you should leave the Buffer Hall via the exit marked Hotel Transport and look for the hotel representative waiting to meet you.

    Taxis
    Taxis are numerous and readily available, and fares are low compared with those in most cities. Red taxis serve Hong Kong Island and Kowloon; green ones in the New Territories and blue taxis on Lantau Island operate at even lower rates. Many drivers speak some English but it is wise to have your destination written in Chinese characters.

    Rates for red taxis start at HK$16.5 on the flag fall plus HK$1.60 for every 200 metres after the first two kilometres. Waiting time is HK$1.10 per minute. Pay, in Hong Kong dollars only, the fare shown on the meter, plus any additional charge where applicable. A HK$20 surcharge applies to cross-harbour tunnel trips (includes the driver's HK$10 return toll). There is also a surcharge for rides through the Lion Rock (HK46), Junk Bay (HK$3) and Aberdeen (HK$5) tunnels, and a HK$5 charge for each piece of luggage.

    Taxi drivers expect a tip, but just round up the fare to the nearest dollar. Drivers cannot pick up or drop off passengers on restricted streets, which are marked with yellow lines. New Territories taxis will pick up and drop off only in the New Territories. If you have any queries or complaints, note the taxi's number and call the 24-hour Police Hotline on 2527 7177.

     Buses
    Double-decker buses, which run from 6 AM till 3 midnight, cover most parts of the territory.
    Fares range from HK$1 to HK$30.60. Exact change is required. You'll find that, in general the drivers do not speak much English.

    Minibuses
    Minibuses are small passenger vans which are yellow with a red stripe. They can pick up passengers and let them off anywhere except regular bus stops and the usual restricted areas. Fares range from HK$2 to HK$7.

    Maxicabs
    Maxicabs are yellow with a green stripe. They run along specific routes and have fixed prices ranging from HK$1 to HK$8. A sign on the front indicates the destination. Pay as you get on.

    Trains
    The Kowloon----Canton Railway (KCR) is 34 kilometres long and runs from Hung Hom in Kowloon up to the border with China. Trains run every tour to 10 minutes in each direction, and vary according to the ordinary single trip to Sheung Shui, the farthest you can go without a China visa). It's a go way to visit some of the New Territories' towns and villages.

    The Mass Transit Railway (MTR), Hong Kong's fast, efficient and air-conditioned underground system, runs not only along the north side of Hong Kong Island, but also from Central across the harbour to divide into east and west branches in Kowloon. Stations are located by a X symbol. Fares range from HK$4 to HK$11. MTR and KCR stored-value tickets (HK$70-200) are also available.

    The Light Rail Transit (LRT) is a high-speed surface system linking the New Territories towns of Tuen Mun Yuen Long. The LRT runs from 5.30am to 12.30am daily. Fares range from HK$3.20 to $4.70.

    Ferries
    The Star Ferry, which has connected Hong Kong and Kowloon since 1898, runs regularly between 6.30am to 11.30pm. At HK$ 2.20 (upper deck), it must be one of the cheapest and most scenic ferry rides in the world. The crossing takes approximately eight minutes.

    The Hong Kong Ferry (Holdings) Company provides other regular and inexpensive services which connect Hong Kong Island to other parts of the Kowloon Peninsula and to the outlying islands.

    Trams
    Since 1904, the tram system has run east to west along the north side of Hong Kong Island, and still provides a leisurely, grandstand view. The flat fare is HK$1.20 (exact change required) and the service operates between 6 AM and 1 AM.

    The Peak Tram is one of the most advanced tram systems in the world, taking just eight minutes to climb Victoria Peak. The service operates from 7am to midnight and the single fare is HK$12 (HK$19 return). The funicular railway has run since 1888 and is still the quickest way to reach the Peak.

    Car Hire
    Self-drive rental cars are not often used in Hong Kong, but chauffeur-driven cars are widely available. Hotels have their own limousines for hire.

     Rickshaws
    The only means of travel in the old days, rickshaws today are used mainly for fun rides and photo sessions. Rickshaw drivers congregate at the Star Ferry on Hong Kong Island and charge for a trip round the block or for a photo session. Negotiate the price first.

    Walk of Fame and the night view of Victoria Harbor

    Recommended Tour: The night view of Victoria Harbor, the United States, "National Geographic" as human life should be the one of the world's 50 largest landscape, the magazine also at the same time, take the Star Ferry to enjoy the scenery is the best way. Practice has proved that by sitting in front of the ferry's starboard position, it is fascinating to watch the best point of view.

    To: Hung Hom Ferry Pier in Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry Pier, ride the Star Ferry to Central Star Ferry Pier, spent only a few dollars, but the effect of appreciation and a few hundred dollars to participate in the cruise ship harbor no second letter. If you have time, we should choose, to take the first night, go to different results.

    Ocean Park

    travel recommendation: 29 years have been the opening of the Ocean Park is worth a go, but do not have too high expectations, with a sense of balance to play Will be another round of fun to savor. First of all, make it clear to the Ocean Park is a journey to see where the rides are older models, but in the cable car, the Sky Tower, walking in the mountains, but often relaxed and happy to see the sea, cool breeze It is physically and mentally comfortable. If a non-holiday weekend and go, do not want to play there all day, they can go around noon, as several performances of the Park performance of the time in the afternoon, they are often prone to finish off projects, such as performances.

    See: Aquarium, the Museum of sharks, jellyfish Hall, Ocean Park Tower, Wei-wei to shock cinema, theater marine dolphin shows, sea lions Wei theater performances. If the bear exciting, you can play Mine Train, roller coaster, jumping from planes. The Mine Train than Disney's Space Mountain to be much more fun, it was not in his seat, feeling their way into the sea, so leave the Disney's (weak light, the rough layout).

    Tip: In the theater to see the show, the best time to make sure that performance, 30-45 minutes in advance to enter the court, or even if the seats are not. Even as a non-holiday travel, close to the beginning of the show, there will be a lot of local people made a special one-day tours to view these shows, a lot of people do not think the original park, all of a sudden become overcrowded. This situation exists in the various tourist spots, Monday to Thursday, the group carried out the elderly, from Friday to Sunday, is out of ordinary people, so any people at all times, whether in Ocean Park, Disneyland or the other, Alas Hong Kong In this way, people everywhere, subway to the general after the 23:00 Karakura. Where is the least? Azeri cinema morning at least, are generally 10-20 people make a block booking, but also a large open air, we have to ask the staff of the Elements of sweaters, or watching movies definitely cold.

    To: Have a look at his home near the China Travel Service, China Travel because there are 159 yuan/person of Ocean Park to buy tickets, travel guide recommended that "Admiralty sit Citybus No. 629/630 line at bus-stops 204 yuan to buy the Park Package "to save 21 yuan/person (159 yuan ticket round-trip fare of +24 million). If you have a home in the vicinity of the "Aberdeen Tunnel toll plaza," the bus station, there is no need for a special trip to the Admiralty MTR Station B export Citybus take the line that he arrived at the bus station, according to the directions along the road will be able to walk 10 minutes to reach , Which can save up to 40 yuan/person. In addition, CTS can work together to buy Disney tickets, each ticket would attach a "wonderful double coupons," buy one get one free coupons to eat, it saves half of the meal, which Disney is the price Out of your name.

    recommend the tour: a lot of people think, to the Victoria Peak to only 7-storey Tower overlooking the charming city like night lights, take a look at Du Suofu people Wax Museum, but in fact, the Peak is a very ya intended to walk through the travel sites. First of all, from the cable car came out, went to The Peak Tower, will see a 3 - Harlech Road, Austin Road, Lugard Road. Harlech Road choice and action, will eventually return to Lugard Road. Along the quiet environment, from time to time will be able to see the sea view of the harbor, but the road is flat, not on the downhill, it is very comfortable on the outskirts of a stroll. Slowly, about 65-75 minutes the whole, in the distance 2/3, watch the foot of the mountain is a large complex a good place, a day after 17 o'clock, there will be a lot of photos in this swing posture , One of the most beautiful in the world to wait for the arrival of night lights. Therefore, the proposed general time in the afternoon to visit the Peak, about 17:30-18:00 around in the Harlech Road, so that just in 2/3 when the distance to appreciate the night lights. As for the Wax Museum, in fact, the most realistic portrait of the two have been placed in a public place for visitors posed for free, is a "Jackie Chan", on the foot of the mountain cable car station at the entrance, is a "Bruce Lee" on wax The museum at the entrance. After these two, it really did not need to spend 95 yuan/person looked into the museum.

    Go: to sit on the Peak Tram, one can try to come under the world's oldest cable car (there have been 100-year-old), and secondly if the bus or light up the mountain, due to speeding, the mountain will be set You dizzy, very uncomfortable to sit after the end. The cable car is a one-way cost of 22 yuan and 33 yuan back and forth, definitely buy it back to vote. First subway ride to the "Central" station, and then J2 in exports, according to the instructions on foot along the road about 20 minutes to reach the cable car terminus. Because it is on the way up the mountain, so go up a little bit tired, can be seen along the way, "HSBC's head office building", "Bank of China Tower," "Cheung Kong Center," "St. John's Cathedral" and other well-known construction. If you do not want to leave, you can export in A, along instructions to the Exchange Square Bus Terminus, by 15 buses, have direct access to the cable car terminus, and 3.2 yuan fare if the sun is not the sun, can also choose to take the top cover of the No. 15 bus, there is a different experience. Recommended restaurants: Peak platform, the Peak Tower and Plaza, where the two proposed to the Peak Galleria McDonald's to eat a small meal. Peak restaurants are more expensive, but here's a very broad landscape of the sea view balcony for guests dining in the sun drinking a cup of thick under the umbrella of the Hong Kong-style milk tea, wanted to use the time for a long time and has no time After reading the book out to see a few pages, looking at sea, an hour on this flies in the Yonglan. Must remind you, is the balcony to the west, so if summer afternoon, more sun.

     


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