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Hong Kong

Hong Kong Travel Guide

Hong Kong (HK) is short for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (Hong Kong SAR or HKSAR). It is located on the southeast coast of China next to Shenzhen, and it's just across the water from Macau.

Hong Kong is a bustling coastal city full of impressive high rises, and a fusion of eastern and western cultures. It proudly proclaims itself to be 'Asia's World City' and remains a key gateway to China.

  • Population: 7,448,900 (in 2018)
  • Land area: 1,108 km2 (428 mi2)
  • Languages: Mandarin, English, Cantonese
  • Currency: Hong Kong Dollar (HKD), 1 USD = 7.8 HKD
  • Time in Hong Kong: the same as Beijing time, GMT+8
  • See more Hong Kong facts.

The City of Hong Kong

Hong KongHong Kong

Hong Kong consists of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, the New Territories and a group of 260 outlying islands.

When comes to Hong Kong, you might think about skyscrapers, shopping, crowds, etc., but when you set foot on the city, you will find it has much more. Hong Kong is a place where Chinese and Western cultures blend together, and old classic traditions and modern trends grow together.

Central is Hong Kong's economic center, with top shopping malls, high-end hotels, and expensive luxury brand stores. There is also the world's largest Apple flagship store and the famous Lan Kwai Fong, a place with tasteful bars and restaurants.

Tsim Sha Tsui and Causeway Bay are paradises for tourists, with dozens of department stores and a dazzling array of delicious foods.

Mong Kok is a good place for Hong Kong local culture. Between the fashionable high-rises, you can find local streets and night markets full of cheap but good-quality goods and authentic snacks.

Outlying islands such as Lamma Island, Cheung Chau, and Ping Chau are places where you can feel the quiet side of Hong Kong.

The Highlights of Hong Kong

Hong Kong is known as "Pearl of the Orient", "gourmet paradise", and "shopping heaven", and has a glowing reputation for many other things...

Hong KongThe city skyline of Hong Kong

The Towering City Skyline

The city of Hong Kong is dominated by modern architecture, with a large number of skyscrapers on both sides of Victoria Harbour — more than 3,000 buildings over 90 meters high. The number of skyscrapers in Hong Kong ranks first in the world.

Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour skyline is world-famous. Standing on the top of Victoria Peak, you can survey the towering city skyline from above. When night falls, the tall buildings, reflecting water, and sophisticated light displays show the dazzling prosperity of Hong Kong.

A firm favorite is the eight-minute Star Ferry ride, which allows you to enjoy the beautiful scenery on both sides of the harbor and perhaps the famous skyscraper light show, the Symphony of Lights.

International Cuisine

hong kong cuisineDim sum dishes in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a world of exquisite, mouthwatering international cuisine. According to statistics, there are more than 10,000 Chinese and Western restaurants in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong has top-notch gourmet cuisine from all over the world. It has Western-style food districts such as Lan Kwai Fong, SoHo, and Knutsford Terrace.

Local cuisine in Hong Kong is very special, ranging from seafood, desserts, herbal tea, and roast meat, to unique snacks.

The tea restaurant or tea house is representative of Hong Kong's food culture. There are many tea restaurants in Hong Kong, where you can taste a variety of dim sum dishes, as well as coffee and tea.

Discover 14 Hong Kong Dishes You Should Try.

A Shopping Paradise

Hong Kong shopping

The fact that many visitors come to do some serious shopping in Hong Kong may surprise many people. But if you have experienced the pleasurable shopping environment and mind-boggling shopping options, you will probably admire those discerning travelers.

Hong Kong is a shopping paradise that brings together all the world-famous brands. Shopping malls, department stores, and boutiques cluster around the city.

Few visitors will have problems getting around in Hong Kong. English is widely spoken and almost all the street signs are bilingual.

See What to Buy and Where to Shop in Hong Kong (with a helpful info-map).

Fusion of Cultures

Hong KongHong Kong is a fusion of East and West.

Hong Kong is a fusion of many cultures. Remnants of its colonial past, as well as the British culture and values, share space with the Chinese traditions.

Confucian Man Mo Temple and Buddhist Po Lin Monastery are as much a part of Hong Kong as Western style churches. Traditional Chinese festivals, such as the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) and Moon Festival (Mid-Autumn) are celebrated, while Christmas, Chinese opera and Canto-pop music lead a peaceful coexistence.

Hong Kong is also a land of ferocious contrasts. Beneath the ornate exterior of impressive skylines and lightning-paced lifestyle beats the heart of old Hong Kong. CEOs and entrepreneurs light incense sticks at home and worship in front of a Buddha in temples for good luck and wealth.

Discover the Top Things to Do in Hong Kong

Diverse Travel Experiences in Hong Kong

Hong Kong offers rich travel experiences from convenient layover tours and relaxing family vacations to active outdoor adventures. No matter what kind of travel style you prefer, you can find something catering to you.

Peak tram on Victoria PeakThe Peak Tram up Victoria Peak

Layover Tours

Hong Kong is a popular layover destination for its visa-free access for most countries and well-developed infrastructure. You can make the most of your stopover time in Hong Kong by visiting some must-see attractions or just go shopping. Some classic HK experiences:

  • Take the century-old Peak Tram up Victoria Peak, and enjoy a panoramic view of Victoria Harbour.
  • Ride the Star Ferry to immerse yourself in the beautiful views of Victoria Harbour.
  • Enjoy a dim sum feast of dumplings, buns, noodles, and more.
  • Shop at a luxury mall in Central or Causeway Bay, or explore a bustling street market in Stanley.

See Things to Do in Your Stopover Time in Hong Kong.

More In-Depth Exploration

The Giant Buddha on Lantau IslandThe Giant Buddha on Lantau Island

Beyond the must-see attractions, these cultural experiences will enrich your stay in Hong Kong.

You can visit Wan Chai to see how local people live by exploring their local markets. Or explore the special fishermen’s area — Aberdeen, which is unique for its fishing village customs and seafood.

You can also spend a day on Lantau Island to enjoy beautiful beaches, fishing villages, the Giant Buddha, and elegant temples.

Alternatively, for a different world only a bridge away, take a one-day tour of Macau. See details about How to Plan a 1-Day Trip to Macau from Hong Kong.

Outdoor Adventures

About 70 percent of Hong Kong's 1,100 square kilometer (420 square mile) territory is undeveloped country park land, and there are many large areas to hike, bike, camp, canoe, swim, surf, and have fun in.

There are four main areas with natural parkland or islands that are big enough to really enjoy yourself and get to where you won't see people or houses: in Sai Kung in the eastern part of Hong Kong, in the country park area north of Kowloon, on Lantau Island, and out of the city on Hong Kong Island. See our Hong Kong Hiking Guide.

Kids-Friendly Activities

family tour in hong kongHong Kong is a perfect place for family tours.

Hong Kong is a perfect destination for family tours. It offers a wide array of kid-friendly attractions from interactive museums to nature reserves and incredible theme parks, such as Disneyland and Ocean Park. Learn about the top things to do with kids in Hong Kong.

Weather and the Best Times to Visit Hong Kong

The best time to visit Hong Kong is from October to December, when the weather is sunny, mild, and pleasant. The weather from January to March is also relatively dry and cool/mild, but cloudier.

The weather from April to September can be hot, wet and humid. The typhoon season runs roughly from June to October, and sometimes starts even in April or May. See more on Hong Kong Weather.

Hotels in Hong Kong

A hotel in Hong KongA hotel in Hong Kong

Hong Kong hotels can cater to all needs to a high standard from luxury resorts to campsites. Generally speaking, due to the high land price in Hong Kong, hotel prices are high and rooms can be quite small.

There are many high-end hotels in Hong Kong and the prices vary widely. The price for luxury hotels is about HK$3,800 per night per room or more and some with a sea view can reach HK$8,000.

In general, five-star hotels are priced HK$2300–2800 and four-star hotels HK$1300–2000. These hotels are concentrated in Central, Wan Chai, Causeway Bay, and Tsim Sha Tsui.

Three-star hotels are generally HK$800–1200. Most are concentrated in Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok.

The prices of the hotels are generally more expensive during the peak season (September– March) and the peak season for exhibitions (April). They may rise by 2–4 times! During these months, you’d better to book in advance.

How to Travel to and from Hong Kong

the transportation in hong kongTransportation in Hong Kong is very convenient.

Hong Kong is one of the most entry and exit cities for passengers to China and Asia. There are many flights between Hong Kong and major cities of the US, Australia, and Europe.

Hong Kong is a transport hub to extend your tours to Macau and Mainland China. It takes about one hour to Macau by ferry, 1- 1½ hours to Shenzhen by MTR subway or Train, and about one hour to Guangzhou by high-speed train.

Hong Kong boasts a highly-developed city transportation network. The MTR subway, trams, and buses offer cheap and convenient ways to do sightseeing. Taxis and ride apps are very efficient. Read more on Hong Kong transportation.

Our Most Popular Hong Kong Tours

English is widely spoken and almost all the street signs are bilingual. Few visitors will have problems getting around in Hong Kong. If you would like to explore the real Hong Kong and experience the lives of local people, it will be helpful to have a professional tour guide.

Hong Kong Star FerryHong Kong Star Ferry

Here are our most popular Hong Kong tours, for your reference:

See more Hong Kong tours.

More about Hong Kong

The Name of Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a transliteration from Cantonese. Hong () means 'fragrant' and kong () means 'harbor'. It was known as ‘fragrant harbor’ because it was a port for trading spices during the Song and Yuan Dynasties (960–1368).

Another theory is that the name of Hong Kong is derived from one of its rivers called Xiangjiang (香江 ‘Fragrant River’). Xiangjiang is still used as another name for Hong Kong.

Hong KongHong Kong Victoria Harbor

The People of Hong Kong

The population of Hong Kong is mainly Chinese, accounting for nearly 95% of Hong Kong's population. Most Hongkongers were originally from the Pearl River Delta area of neighboring Guangdong Province.

Apart from Chinese, Hong Kong has large numbers of Indonesians and Filipinos, as well as Europeans and Indians.

Most Hong Kongese speak Cantonese, but English and Mandarin are also very widely used.

The History of Hong Kong

Hong Kong has developed from a small fishing village in the 1800s into a dynamic and thrilling 21st-century cosmopolitan metropolis.

Between 1842 and 1997, Hong Kong was a British colony.

After World War II, Hong Kong's “tiger economy” and industrious society developed rapidly. It became one of the richest, most economically developed cities in the world, with among the highest living standards.

On July 1, 1997, the Chinese government resumed its sovereignty over Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region was established.


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