1 - INTRODUCTION
Originally Hong Kong was a fishing village. Due to the Opium War Hong Kong was ceded to UK in 1842. Various adjacent lands were added later in the 19th century. Overthrow the Qing Dynasty in 1911, booming immigrants from China has brought Hong Kong to become a textile & light-manufacturing city. Pursuant to an agreement signed by China and the UK on 19 December 1984, Hong Kong became the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China on 1 July 1997. In this agreement, China has promised that, under its "one country, two systems" formula, China's socialist economic system will not be practiced in Hong Kong and that Hong Kong will enjoy a high degree of autonomy in all matters except foreign and defense affairs for the next 50 years.
2 - CAPITAL CITY
Hong Kong is a city of China PRC since July 1997. China 's capital city - Beijing ( Peking ) is about 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) further north. Hong Kong consists of Hong Kong Island , the Kowloon Peninsula , the New Territories and more than 260 Outlying Islands , totaling nearly 1,098 square kilometers (about 425 square miles). Central is the most important district where most government offices and International companies have their headquarters there.
3 - TIME ZONE
Time zone in Hong Kong is GMT + 8 hours.
4 - CLIMATE
Hong Kong has a subtropical climate:
Spring (March - mid-May): Temperature and humidity rising. Jackets or sweaters suggested. Average temperature: 23oC (73oF), humidity around 82%.
Summer (late May - mid-September): Hot and humid. Temperature may rise to 33oC (91oF) with humidity up to around 90%. Shirtsleeves, cotton clothing, a sweater for indoors and an umbrella for outside suggested.
Autumn (late September - early December): temperature and humidity drop. Clear sunny days. Shirtsleeves to sweaters and light jackets are suggested. Average temperature: 23oC (73oF), humidity 72%.
Winter (late December- February): Cool with low humidity. Suits, light woollens and sometimes overcoats suggested. Average temperature: 17oC (62oF), humidity 65%.
5 - LANGUAGE
Official language is English and Chinese, but Mandarin (Potunghua) - the official language of China is becoming increasing popular.
6 - RELIGION
Two ancient religions, Buddhism and Taoism have wide followings in Hong Kong . Their images are present in more than 600 Chinese temples. Other widely followed religions include Christianity, Catholicism, Islam, Hinduism.
Everyone is free to openly worship and support their beliefs with extensive services and facilities.
7 - T RANSPORTATION
Hong Kong has one of the most efficient and diverse public transport systems in any world city, incorporating an underground railway, light urban railways, buses, minibuses, ferries and trams.
The Mass Transit Railway (MTR) - view map
An underground railway network with six lines and 50 stations which provides a cross-harbour line. It operated by the Government-owned Mass Transit Railway Corporation.
An MTR Tourist Ticket, valid for two single journeys, is available at a cost of HK$35. The price of the pass includes a map and souvenir ticket. For visitors staying for a week or more it is worth getting the Octopus Card, a smart card that automatically deducts the cost of the journey when it is placed on a sensor. The card costs HK$150, which includes a refundable deposit of HK$50. Any other credit remaining is also refunded when the card is handed in. At present, the card may be used on MTR services, as well as on the Kowloon-Canton Railway, major bus routes, some minibuses and some ferries. Plans are underway to extend its use to other routes and means of transport as Hong Kong 's transport system becomes more and more integrated; it can also be used in convenience stores and branches of Starbucks.
The other railway line is the Kowloon-Canton Railway (KCR) , which consist of East Rail (from East Tsim Sha Tsui to Lo Wu), West Rail (from Nam Cheong to Tuen Mun) and the newly built Ma On Shan Rail (From Tai Wai to Wu kai Sha), has altogether 30 railway stations. The a loop line at the Sha Tin Racecourse will be operating on particular days which mainly caters for race-day traffic.
The Light Rail Transit System serving Tuen Mun and Yuen Long new towns and the network was extended to Tin Shui Wai New Town. The system comprises 119 single-deck light rail vehicles and 57 stops. The adult single fares range from HKD$4 to $5.8.
Buses are major routes run throughout the territory, with cross-harbour routes via the tunnel. However, small changes are required if passengers are not carried along with Octopus Cards.
Minibuses are Public Light Buses which can pick up passengers and stop on request (stand up and yell). Red minibuses are free to operate anywhere without control over routes or fares whereas Green minibuses are more regulated by fixed schedule and routes.
Trams are only available on Hong Kong Island . They are frequent and cheap, with a standard fare of HK$2.00 for the entire journey.
Peak Tram on Hong Kong Island is a cable tramway to the upper terminus between Central and the Peak . The 1.4 kilometers line runs with four stops en route, climbing 373 metres on gradient as steep as one-in-two. A single trip for adults costs HK$ 20.
Star Ferry terminals are through Tsim Sha Tsui and Central. The Star Ferry ride across Hong Kong harbour is a tourist staple, as well as the cheapest way to make the crossing (HK$1.70 per ride). Other ferry services also connect with the outlying islands of the territory and other destinations.
Taxis include Red urban taxis operate throughout Hong Kong (except Tung Chung Road and roads in south Lantau). During the first 2 kilometres, a fixed charge of HKD$15 will be complied and HKD$1.4 for each additional 0.2 kilometres of driving distance. Green taxis are fundamentally confined to rural areas in the New Territories and Blue Lantau taxis operate only on Lantau Island with HKD$ 12.5 as flatfall and each 0.2 kilometers for HKD $1.2 added for both of these taxis.
8 - DINING
Hong Kong 's cuisine is renowned for its exotic fusion of Eastern and Western flavors along with a wide variety of culinary delights. Travellers can get their flavors everywhere, mainly in Mong Kok, Causeway Bay , Tsim Sha Tsui and Kowloon City .
9 - SHOPPING
Hong Kong 's malls , department stores and designer boutiques offer an amazing contrast of goods.
Hong Kong during a sales period is a complete retail therapy course! During the winter (late December to February) and the summer sale (July to September) major discounts are available for the avid shopper. The Quality Tourism Services Scheme, developed by the Hong Kong Tourism Board, is a pledge of service excellence. Accredited establishments display this symbol of quality on their show windows.
10 - ENTERTAINMENT
A diversity spectrum of events, ranging from art, drama, music, traditional festivals, popular entertainment and international sports takes place every day in Hong Kong . Many seasonal events such as the Hong Kong Marathon, the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens, the Hong Kong Arts Festivals and the Hong Kong International Film Festival, World renowned trade shows - has earned Hong Kong the reputation as "the Events Capital of Asia".
11 - SIGHTSEEING
- Enjoy Horse racing at the Happy Valley .
- Take the Peak Tram to Victoria Peak
- Visit Ocean Park with full of excitement
- See a fortune-teller at Temple Street
- Ride on a ferry to Cheung Chau Island
- Come to the world's largest seated Buddha at Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island
- Get a religious culture and history at the Man Mo and Wong Tai Sin temples
- Shopping at Stanley Market
- Search the Space Museum , Hong Kong Science Museum , Hong Kong Museum of History, Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence and Madame Tussaud's Hong Kong
(For details of each sightseeing point, please refer to "Hong Kong Tour" in our web site.)
12 - TELEPHONE
For directory enquiries, dial 1081 (English) or 1083 (Chinese). Full IDD is available. Country code: 852. Outgoing international code: 001. Local public telephone calls can be made either with phone cards or coins. Local calls are free from private phones.
Mobile telephone: GSM 900, 1800 and CDMA networks provide coverage on the mainland and throughout the island.
13 - WATER
All tap water should be boiled before drink.
14 - ELECTRICITY
The electrical current in Hong Kong is 220 volts, 50 cycles alternating current (AC, 50HZ)
15 - TIPPING
10% of service charge is usually applied for most of fine dining restaurants and the loose change is regarded as an extra return for outstanding services. Also, taxi drivers, bellboys and doormen are expecting for a small gratuity, but only comply with satisfied service.
16 - CURRENCY
Currency: Hong Kong Dollar (HK$) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of HK$1000, 500, 100, 50, 20 and 10. Coins are in denominations of HK$10, 5, 2 and 1, and 50, 20 and 10 cents.
Currency exchange: Foreign currency can be changed in banks, hotels and bureaux de change. Banks usually offer the best rate of exchange. US$ 1 = HK$ 7.8 to $8.
Credit cards: MasterCard, American Express, Diners Club and Visa are widely accepted. Check with your credit card company for details of merchant acceptability and other services which.
17 - DO'S & DON'T'S
Do's - Hong Kong is full with freedom of speech and press. Everyone here enjoy a protection of the Basic Law which is justice.
Don't's - It is suggested not to buy from illegal hawkers or giving money to any beggars in Hong Kong .
18 - EMERGENCY TEL.NO.
Emergency Services (Police, Fire and Ambulance) 999
Immigration Department (24hr) 28246111
IDD and card phone enquiry 10013
19 - AIRPORT
Hong Kong International Airport (HKG)
It is operated in 1997, The Airport Express is a dedicated airport railway line providing fast and reliable service operating daily from 05:50 to 01:15 hours (last train departs from Airport and Hong Kong Stations at 0048 hour) at 10-minute intervals. It takes approximately 23 minutes to downtown. Free Shuttle Bus service between all major hotels and Hong Kong or Kowloon Station is also available from 06:00 to 11:00.
Besides, most hotels in Hong Kong provide shuttle bus service from and to the airport, normal fare per ride is around HK$ 100 to 140.