Hong Kong Travel Guide: All you need to know to visit Hong Kong in 2023

Welcome to Hong Kong

Ancient temples and futuristic architecture define the Hong Kong landscapes. The country is part of mainland China but has its own particularities, economic system, and cultural traditions. This fantastic Asian territory has diverse attractions to offer, from visiting traditional fishing villages to luxury shopping in the big city.

But there is much to learn before landing at the Hong Kong International Airport. In this ultimate Hong Kong travel guide, we will share some travel tips and tricks and everything you need to know about how to visit Hong Kong and have a hassle-free experience.

Document checklist for Hong Kong

  • Visa (if applicable)
  • Health Declaration
  • Valid passport (at least six months of validity)
  • Sufficient funds
  • Return airline ticket

Essential Hong Kong travel information

  • Currency - Hong Kong Dollar (HKD). 1 USD is equivalent to approx. 7,84 HKD.

  • Daily budget for 1 person - Allow a daily budget of HK$1,085 ($138).

  • Languages - Chinese and English.

  • Socket type - Types G, D, and M, 220V supply voltage and 50Hz.

  • Time zone - Greenwich Mean Time (GMT): GMT+8.

  • Top 3 cities to visit - Hong Kong Island, Lantau Island, and Aberdeen.

  • Top 3 landmarks/monuments - Disneyland, Hong Kong Heritage Museum, and Victoria Peak.

Visa information for Hong Kong

Knowing about the visa policy is important before diving into Hong Kong travel tips. The country is very open to tourism: about 170 nationalities can visit Hong Kong without a visa. The period of stay varies from 7 days to 180 days, depending on the country of origin.

Travelers from the United States, Europe, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, for example, don't need a Hong Kong visa to enter the territory. These nationals can stay for up to 90 days.

Passengers from Albania, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal, and Pakistan have to present a visa to enter Hong Kong. You can use the iVisa Checker Tool to see if you are visa-exempt or must visit an embassy to apply for a travel document.

Health Declaration

The Hong Kong Health Declaration is one of the measures intended to control and track COVID-19 cases. Hong Kong authorities created this document to monitor international travelers' entry during the pandemic.

All travelers must complete and submit the Health Declaration Form to enter Hong Kong. There is no exception to this rule, as even Hong Kong citizens returning home from other nations must also fill out this form.

But the application is 100% online, so you can fill out the form in a few clicks and receive the document via email.

Typical costs and budget for Hong Kong

A basic guide to what you'll spend daily traveling through Hong Kong on a decent budget.

Daily spending - Around HK$1,085 ($138)/per person/per day on a budget vacation. This includes:

  • Meals - HK$205 ($26)

  • Transport - HK$55 ($7)

  • Hotel - HK$15,189 ($122) for two people.

A trip for two for one week will cost, on average, HK$15,189 ($1,935).

Transport and best ways to travel around Hong Kong

Hong Kong is not a big country, so you can count on public transportation to explore it. You can get the Octopus Card to use the public transport, and the card is also accepted as a payment method in convenience stores, cafés, restaurants, and vending machines around the city. Another option is the Hong Kong Airport Express & Mass Transit Railway Travel Pass, which includes a one-way or return ride on the Hong Kong Express to the airport and a 3-day MTR pass.

You have a great network of subways, double-decker buses, minibuses, and trams. A ferry is also an excellent option for travel from Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon peninsula to the Outlying Islands, including Lantau, Lamma, Cheung Chau & Peng Chau.

By the way, taxi drivers offer affordable and convenient transportation around there when you compare the costs with other destinations. Just be aware that the taxis are color coded: red taxis operate throughout most of Hong Kong except parts of Lantau, green taxis drive only in the New Territories, and blue ones work only in Lantau.

Safety in Hong Kong

Generally, Hong Kong is safe and has low crime rates. But you could encounter pickpocketing and street theft like in any other tourist destination. Pay attention while in tourist spots and crowded places such as markets and trains.

The Hong Kong Government prohibits public events they haven't approved. So, be aware that public protests and events that draw large groups of people can turn violent. You should avoid protests and large gatherings for your safety.

Regarding natural disasters, the country can experience typhoons. It’s recommended to take official warnings seriously and follow the local authorities' advice.

Weather in Hong Kong

Hong Kong has a subtropical monsoon climate with a dry and wet season. Spring is a warm and humid period. Some Days can be very foggy and drizzle, suspending air and ferry services due to reduced visibility.

Summer can be a nice season to enjoy Hong Kong’s aquatic activities in Ocean Park and Hong Kong Disneyland. It’s a good time to save money since it’s a discount season, but the prices are low for a reason: it’s thunderstorm and typhoon season in the country. So pay attention to the weather forecast to avoid being caught in the rain.

Autumn has a cool and dry climate with sunny days. Autumn is a good time for promenades to Victoria Harbour or an excursion to Lamma Island. Otherwise, in the winter, be prepared for the cold. Other than the low temperatures, those traveling with a luxury budget can enjoy the sales in high-end shopping malls to buy fancy items.

  • Spring (March to mid-May): 18°C (64°F) to 25°C (77°F)

  • Summer (May to the mid-September): 26°C (79°F) to 32°C (90°F)

  • Autumn (late September to the end of November): 19°C (66°F) to 28°C (82°F)

  • Winter (early December and ends in February): 14°C (57°F) to 21°C (70°F)

Visiting Hong Kong: Popular cities and towns

Before the Hong Kong Airlines departure, it’s a good idea to plan your itinerary. Hong Kong boasts its culture, but besides the traditions, you have a lot to explore between coffee shops, historic temples, and natural sites.

  • Hong Kong Island - There are plenty of cultural attractions, a Hong Kong park, and family activities to enjoy.

  • Lantau Island - It’s a more rural side of Hong Kong, with historical and modern places to visit.

  • Aberdeen - It’s an old fishing village. Nowadays, the city mixes tranquility and modernity, being a popular tourist spot.

  • Kowloon - The city offers a lot to explore: galleries, a Hong Kong museum, street markets, and local shops.

  • Tai O - A fisherman's village where you can see the traditional stilt houses and visit the seafood market.

Popular Tourist Attractions: Must do and see in Hong Kong

Don’t miss these fantastic sights on your trip to the Hong Kong:

  1. What about a visit to the Temple Street Night Market? A night attraction to explore the traditional market and optimize your daytime itinerary.

  2. Enjoy a day of fun in the Hong Kong Disneyland. It’s a great place to spend a day with family and enjoy the Disney attractions.

  3. Visit the Hong Kong Heritage Museum. A fantastic attraction to enjoy art, culture, and history through an interactive exhibition.

  4. Visit the Po Lin Monastery. The beautiful place is home to the Giant Buddha, the world's tallest, outdoor, seated bronze Buddha.

  5. Explore the Victoria Peak! The green place offers an amazing view of Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong Island.

These are just some of the must-sees in the country. You can also add the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery, the Cantonese Opera, the Man Mo Temple, and many interesting spots to your list!

Hong Kong Food Guide: Typical food to try

  • Har Gow(Steamed Shrimp Dumplings) - Eating dim sum is part of Hong Kong's cuisine, and this is one of the most representative dim sum dishes in local restaurants. It consists of shrimp dumplings in one bamboo steamer and a little bit of pork wrapped in a thin translucent wrapper.

  • Fish Balls - This is a popular street food snack. It can be a well-known cooked ball of fried fish meat with spicy or sweet sauces, uncooked balls served in a hot pot, or cooked with noodles in hot soup.

  • Pineapple Bun - This traditional soft sweet bun doesn't have pineapple in the ingredients! It is topped with a crumbly cookie-style crust of sugar, eggs, flour, and lard. The name is due to the pineapple-like appearance on top when it is cooked.

Vaccine information for Hong Kong

It's important to know what routine vaccines and COVID-19 measures are required to enter Hong Kong before travel. We recommend you check the CDC website to learn about all vaccine requirements and any recommended guidance or medicine lists.

Be aware that travel insurance is not required to visit the country, but it is always a good idea to avoid high expenses in case of medical emergencies.

The Dragon Boat Festival

The Dragon Boat Festival is an opportunity to have an authentic Hong Konger experience. The event takes place near Victoria Harbour annually on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month. The festival is a boat race, but we are not talking about any boats.

They are 10-meter-long teakwood crafts rigged with a dragon’s head and tail. Typically a crew will consist of 20 rowers, with one drummer at the helm and one ‘steerer’ at the rear end of the boat. The result of this competition is a colorful, dramatic, and remarkable Dragon Boat Racing.

Fun facts about Hong Kong

Read some fun facts about Hong Kong and get even more curious about this fantastic country!

  1. Hong Kong is the city with the world’s highest number of skyscrapers. The city is known for its big shiny buildings in the Hong Kong skyline. Believe it; there are many: more than 8,000 skyscrapers.

  2. Besides the urban view, 40% of Hong Kong consists of country parks and nature reserves. Hong Kongers love to hike on the green trails on weekends.

  3. The Tsing Ma Bridge is the world’s longest road and rail suspension bridge. It connects New Territories to Lantau Island and is 41 meters wide, 206 meters high, andspans 1,377 meters.

  4. Most apartment buildings in Hong Kong don’t have a 4th floor. This happens because four sounds like the word ‘death’ in Chinese, which makes it an unlucky number, so they prefer to omit the number.

  5. Hong Kong was under British rule for more than 150 years! From 1842 to 1997, Hong Kong was a British colony in an agreement with China.

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