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Hong Kong

The glittering skyline at night, Hong Kong

Practical Info about Hong Kong

Getting around the city

With one of the best public transport systems in the world and a compact city centre, getting around Hong Kong is easy enough for even inexperienced travellers. The underground Mass Transit Railway (MTR) is efficient and inexpensive. Double-decker and single-decker buses cover all of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories with final destinations displayed in both English and Chinese. Bus fares are low and distance-based; exact change is required. Small mini-buses are more expensive but also more flexible, stopping for passengers to board or disembark on request. Hong Kong's old-fashioned trams are also a cheap and convenient way of getting around. On the water, fleets of ferries connect Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, the Outlying Islands, Macau and Mainland China. Last but not least there is an abundant supply of taxis, colour-coded according to their area of operation. Taxi fares are low, but many drivers don't speak English and visitors are advised to have their destination written down in Chinese characters.

Time

GMT +8.

Electricity

Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. The UK-style three-pin plugs are standard.

Currency

The unit of currency is the Hong Kong Dollar (HKD); which is divided into 100 cents. Major banks are open from 9am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday, and 9am to 12:30pm on Saturday. Banks and money changers charge commission, as do hotels that provide exchange services. All major credit cards are accepted and ATMs are widely distributed.

Communication

The international access code for Hong Kong is +852. Local mobile phone operators use GSM networks and have roaming agreements with most international operators. Mobile phones can also be rented on arrival at the international airport. Internet cafes are widely available, and access is free at many coffee shops, shopping malls, MRT stations and public libraries.

Emergency number

Emergencies: 999

Visa and health information

Everything about visa and health information

Public holidays

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2015 2016
New Years Day 1 Jan 1 Jan
Chinese New Year 19 Feb - 21 Feb 8 Feb - 10 Feb
Ching Ming Festival 5 Apr - 6 Apr 4 Apr
Good Friday 3 Apr 25 Mar
Easter Saturday 4 Apr 26 Mar
Easter Monday 6 Apr - 7 Apr 28 Mar
Labour Day 1 May 1 May
Birthday of the Buddha 25 May 14 May
Tuen Ng Festival 20 Jun 9 Jun
Special Administrative Region Establishment Day 1 Jul 1 Jul
National Day 1 Oct 1 Oct
Christmas Day 25 Dec 25 Dec
Boxing Day 26 Dec - 28 Dec 26 Dec - 27 Dec

Climate

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The climate of Hong Kong is subtropical for half of the year and temperate for the rest, with hot, humid summers and cool, dry winters. Winter lasts from January to March, the coldest month being February, when the temperature averages 57°F (14°C) and the city gets cooled by strong, cold winds from the north. In spring the wind blows from the south, bringing in warm, humid air and a rainy season that extends through summer. Average temperatures in summer, between June and August, climb to 82°F (28°C) and typhoons are possible. Hong Kong is a little too hot and humid in the peak summer months to be comfortable, and winter can be too chilly, but in late spring (May) or autumn (September) the temperature is just right, making these the best times to visit Hong Kong.

Hong Kong International Airport

www.hongkongairport.com

Getting to the city

The Airport Express Line is a dedicated airport railway providing a fast and reliable service to downtown Hong Kong. Trains depart every 12 minutes or less around the clock, and the journey takes around 25 minutes. Scheduled hotel shuttle buses leave the airport regularly taking passengers to major hotels plus key transport interchanges, and there are a number of public bus (Airbus) routes from the airport.

Car rental

Public transport in Hong Kong is excellent so car rental is not advised.

Airport taxi's

Taxis are available from the taxi pick-up area in front of the arrivals hall. Red taxis drive to central Hong Kong, green taxis service the New Territories, and blue taxis drive to Lantau Island. A taxi to the centre of Hong Kong costs about HK$300 to HK$350.

Transfer between terminals

There are people movers to transport passengers from Terminals 1 and 2 to the high-speed ferry service that connects them.

Facilities

Airport facilities include banks, ATMs, currency exchange offices, a post office, beauty salon, a children's play area, showers, restaurants, shops (including duty-free), disabled facilities, internet cafes, cinemas, a golf course, conference and business services and tourist information desks.

Parking

The airport has both undercover and open-air car parks. Long-term parking is located at Car Park 2. Hourly rates range between HK$18 and HK$22, and daily rates are between HK$144 and HK$176.

Internet

There are free wifi hotspots in both terminals.