The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR, commonly known as Hong Kong) of the People's Republic of China is home to over 7 million people. Located on the southeastern coast of China and bordering Guangdong Province in the North, it is one of the most densely populated cities in the world today.
Language and Culture
- Most of Hong Kong's ethnic Chinese residents speak the Cantonese dialect. English is widely used, as Hong Kong was a British Colony from 1842 - 1997. The use of Putonghua has also been increasing since the territory was returned to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.
- It is a metropolitan city where east meets west. Hong Kong's culture is rich and robust. The Hong Kong lifestyle is fast-paced and exciting. The city never sleeps; people are out and about all hours of the day. Throughout the year, numerous exhibitions and cultural performances are organized for people of all ages to participate and improve their quality of life.
- Hong Kong has a subtropical climate with distinct seasons. With rare severe weather phenomena, its climate tends towards temperate for nearly half of the year. Many people regard October to December as the best months of the year for its comfortable temperatures. January and February are cloudy and dry months when temperatures could drop below 10°C in urban areas. March and April are usually highly humid with fog and drizzle which sometimes reduce visibility. May to August are hot and humid with occasional showers and thunderstorms, and afternoon temperatures often exceed 31°C whereas temperatures generally remain around 26°C at night. July to September are the months during which Hong Kong is most likely to be affected by tropical cyclones.
- When a typhoon is approaching, warnings are broadcast on TV and radio, with information on its significance and expected movement. Public services and business operations are normally suspended when typhoon signal 8 or above is hoisted. Please pay attention to relevant announcements for special arrangements during adverse weather.
- More information about the weather of Hong Kong can be found from the website of the Hong Kong Observatory.
The legal tender is the Hong Kong dollar (HK$), which is linked to the US dollar at a rate of about 7.80 HKD to 1 USD, although exchange rates may fluctuate slightly. Hong Kong banknotes and coins are issued by three banks (HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank and Bank of China) and the Government respectively.
- Octopus Card
The Octopus card is a stored value electronic card widely used in Hong Kong for public transport, parking, purchases at retail outlets, self-serviced machines, etc. It is available for purchase at designated Customer Service Centres of major public transport operators where reloading service is also available. When you place the Octopus card over a reader, the correct amount will be deducted automatically from the stored value.
- In emergency situations, you can contact the local police, ambulance service, fire department and other emergency services by dialing the emergency telephone number 999.
- The electrical standard in Hong Kong is 220V/50Hz AC. Electronic appliances on 100/110V will not work unless you have a step-up transformer. Most electric outlets accommodate three-pin square plugs (British Standard BS1363). You can easily purchase inexpensive adaptors and converters for your equipment in electronic shops and supermarkets in Hong Kong.
- Hong Kong time is 8 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT +8).
- Hong Kong's government-run water supply exceeds World Health Organization standards. Nevertheless, tap water should be boiled prior to consumption.