10 things I wish I knew before going to Hong Kong
Many travel enthusiasts enjoy visiting metropolitan areas to explore and compare how urban cities vary in different parts of the world. Millions of foreigners consider travel to Hong Kong each year for vacation. In Hong Kong, tourists enjoy experiencing a new culture, tasting extraordinary Asian food, and wandering around a huge metropolitan area. Hong Kong is home to an extremely dynamic and active urban life. Where is Hong Kong? Officially, Hong Kong, which is surrounded by the South China Sea, is a special administrative region of China. Hong Kong is located in China's southern part. Lately, the focus of international media is on this metropolitan region due to the Hong Kong protests. Many people who plan to travel want to know: Is it safe to travel to Hong Kong? In this blog, we will answer the question of safety and many other issues. We will also look through some interesting facts about Hong Kong.
1. It is perfectly safe to travel
Because of the Hong Kong protests, many foreigners wonder whether it is safe to get around in the city or not. Is it safe to travel to Hong Kong? The answer is a resounding yes! First of all, the protests can take place only in a few parts of the region, such as Victoria Park, Causeway Bay, and Central Park, because they started in these areas. Other regions of Hong Kong are not involved in the protests since the beginning. Moreover, the Hong Kong protests are peaceful as people gather composedly to express their political opinions. There have been rare violent incidents toward police forces last year. However, after international media criticized the violence, the government took control of the situation and settled the issues. We would advise you to follow the local news during your travel to Hong Kong and avoid crowded protests where many people gather. Various apps can also help you to avoid crowded public places. Overall, Hong Kong is perfectly safe, where the major parts of the city are quiet, calm, and peaceful. The Hong Kong government is doing its best to ensure security in the region as tourism is an important source of national income for Hong Kong.
2. Best time of the year to visit
The best time to travel to Hong Kong is from October to the beginning of December. The weather is cool, warm, and pleasant during the last quarter of the year in Hong Kong. If you are fond of walking, exploring the streets, and trying some local street food, the autumn season is perfect for you. If you enjoy attending cultural festivals, then you can visit Hong Kong in January and February. Traditional Spring Lantern Festival is very famous that take place in the first two months of the year. During the summer, metropolitan Hong Kong can be very crowded with many local and foreign visitors. Also, a lot of rain falls in Hong Kong from April to September. Although rainy days can be adventurous, the unfavourable weather conditions may disturb your city tour.
3. Octopus Card
Octopus is a multi-functional card that will be very handy during your travel to Hong Kong. You can use Octopus Card to make payments in the metro, bus, shops, cinemas, restaurants, etc. Having just one card to pay for almost all services will be very convenient for you. Octopus Card is very user-friendly and causes no problem at all. When you arrive in Hong Kong, it will be very easy to get a new Octopus Card. You can ask the airport staff upon arrival about how to get an Octopus Card, and you will get a detailed explanation. An Octopus Card is all you need if you want to know how to travel in Hong Kong. It is worth noting that you should use the card with the Hong Kong Dollar that is the local currency in the region. You can also transfer money to Octopus Card from your VISA or other online accounts. There are Octopus Card applications for Android and iOS platforms, as well, where you can make all your payments online.
4. Local stores close late and open late
If you sleep a lot and do not like to wake up early during your travels, then Hong Kong is a great destination for you. Shopping life in Hong Kong does not start in the early morning. The late open rule does not apply to all stores, though, except boutiques and clothing stores. Most boutiques always open after 11 AM, around lunchtime. If you are fond of shopping malls and huge shopping neighbourhoods, it is great for you. After long hours of sleep, you can comfortably have your lunch and start exploring the shop in the afternoon. You will have a lot of time for shopping as the shops do not close until late hours of the day. Well, the stores do not close after 8 PM as they do in many cities. Overall, Hong Kong is great for shopping lovers as it offers high-quality clothes, bags, shoes, etc., of luxurious brands. Clothes sold in privately owned shops can be very high as the store rents are very expensive in Hong Kong. However, shopping in the malls can be very pocket-friendly as they offer discounts for the Octopus Card owners.
5. Museums are free of charge on Wednesdays
According to government regulations, you should not pay for entrance to museums on Wednesday. Museums of Hong Kong are great as they are home to dozens of artefacts, small monuments, books, and jewels related to ancient Asian history. Ancient China is well known for its great historical battles before and during the middle ages. Today, the government of Hong Kong perfectly preserves the museums that are open to locals and foreigners. Various fighting tools, ancient weapons, and combat clothing samples are also included in museum exhibitions. Although the museums are crowded on Wednesday, it is a great opportunity for meeting and communicating with locals of various ages. You can learn a lot from school kids about the lifestyle in Hong Kong. Many school kids can speak English, and they are quite tourist-friendly. Wednesdays can be the best time to travel to Hong Kong if you love museums.
6. Hotels can be pretty expensive
Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated metropolitan cities in the world. There are lots of buildings here, as well. As the urban space is pretty scarce, rent prices are very high. Therefore, hotels and residential buildings set very high prices for rent. Tourists should pay an average of $80 for an overnight stay in a medium quality hotel. The overall standard of living is expensive in Hong Kong. However, if you travel on a budget, you can stay in much smaller rooms of apartments for relatively lower prices. A hostel is the most affordable option for staying in Hong Kong. Staying in a hostel is both cheap and interesting because you can share your room with people of various nationalities.
7. No smoking in public
You should beware of the rule that you can not smoke in public places in Hong Kong. Smoking is forbidden in streets, restaurants, bars, cafes, night clubs, shopping malls, public transportation, etc. There are special places where you can smoke. It is worth noting that the government of Hong Kong charges an $800 fine for smoking in public places.
8. Charming metropolitan nightlife
Nights in Hong Kong are amazing! One of the interesting facts about Hong Kong is that it is the city with the highest number of skyscrapers in the world. Imagine the nights where all the buildings have colourful shining lights around you. Walking around the city at nights is astonishing because you can admire the night lights and capture lots of great photos and videos. The people of Hong Kong love to entertain themselves with crazy nightlife. Night clubs and bars remain open until the dawn. Young people in Hong Kong enjoy drinking and dancing throughout the night in bars and clubs. You will have a lot of fun with tasty beverages, entertaining music, and an energetic atmosphere during the Hong Kong nights.
9. Sharing is caring
It is a commonly accepted social norm in Hong Kong to share free places with other people. For example, you are having dinner at a restaurant, you sit on one chair, and the other three chairs are empty. You should offer other people to sit on free chairs. The rule applies to public transportation, as well. As we said earlier, places are scarce in Hong Kong, and you should use the space economically by sharing it with others. Local people become very happy when you share a place with them.
10. Exciting horse races
Local media companies regularly organize horse races in Hong Kong. Watching horse races can be part of an entertaining evening during your time in the city. The tickets for live horse races are pretty affordable, and you can enjoy the show with your friends and family members. Watching the horse race will be an unforgettable experience for you.
A quick recap
In this blog, we answered the following questions: Where is Hong Kong? Is it safe to travel to Hong Kong? How to travel in Hong Kong? The article has also given information about the best time to travel to Hong Kong. We have also learned some interesting facts about Hong Kong. Although there can be language barriers, if you know where is Hong Kong and how to travel in Hong Kong, it will be one of the greatest travel destinations for you.
Punhan was born in Baku, which is the scientific, cultural, and economic center of Azerbaijan. Since he started to study International Relations at university, Punhan has been fond of learning about new cultures and traditions of different nations. Punhan taught English to children in the summer camp in the Kyiv region of Ukraine. He also participated in a short-term youth cultural exchange program in Japan. During his studies and travels, Punhan has gained knowledge of comparing the lifestyles of various nations. He especially enjoys watching travel vlogs and reading culture blogs.