Are you planning an epic trip to Asia? This overview is designed to give you a quick summary of what to expect in Hong Kong so you can decide if it might be a fit for your trip! Regardless of how you get to HK or what you want to do, these are the things you should know. Check out this tag to find more about Hong Kong! Go to this tag to find more “Everything You Need to Know” posts!
Each metric is given an overall score between 1 and 10, and the ratings are briefly explained.
Go here if you are looking for: Experiences in nature without having to leave the city.
This explains the prevailing sort of experience you might have in this country.
Overall experience: 6.57/10
What your travel experience might revolve around.
Natural and landscape views: 6
- How beautiful and unique are the landscape and nature views?
- You can get the best views in the city in Victoria Harbor and Victoria Peak. But honestly, there isn’t much actual nature there. Because Hong Kong is small, you’ll see the HK skyline, but most of the land is developed. If you like to trek, though, there are many trails to check out.
Historical attractions: 6
- To what extent can you see physical evidence of the country’s culture?
- In some of the museums, you’ll be able to see some historical artifacts. One of the best museums is the June 4th Museum, which is the only museum allowed by the Chinese government on Chinese soil commemorating the protests and events in Beijing in the late 1980s. It is a very informative space that can help you really understand what the censorship and information control situation is in China, now and in recent history. Unfortunately, it seems as though it has been shut down (it does implicate China, after all) and there is no reopen date.
City culture: 8
- How should you expect locals to react to you? How does it feel to be in the city?
- In general, Hong Kong is a bustling metropolis. There are always people rushing past you, trying to get to their offices and homes and wherever else. If you need help, though, you can easily ask them. They expect to speak Cantonese with fellow Hong Kong natives but most everyone is fluent in English and Mandarin as well.
- How unique is the local food and how available is food from home?
- Because of HK’s history of British occupation and heavy Chinese influence, they have a variety of foods available. You will find mostly Chinese-style food. If you want other foods, you might have to look around a little bit. If you head to mall food courts, you’ll find a host of options that should suit your desires. Some restaurants only have a Chinese/Cantonese menu, but most also include English.
- How much do souvenirs cost relative to everyday items and how representative are they of the local culture?
- Besides trinkets that are explicitly labeled with the name or skyline of Hong Kong, most souvenirs here are similar to what you will find in other East Asian countries. If you want something of higher quality, you might look to South Korea or Japan. If you want something cheaper, a night market in Taiwan might give you a better deal.
- How clean is everything, including trash along the streets, water, and food?
- Unlike much of China, Hong Kong is relatively clean. There is very little trash in the streets and subway stations, and there’s nothing you have to be wary about for food and water.
Tourism services: 7
- Are there people who specifically serve tourists outside private hotels and accommodation?
- Hong Kong approaches this in a very interesting way; they actually have signs directly in their subway stations that highlight some of the popular and interesting attractions in the city. This is super useful because you can see not only the recommendations for places to visit but also how the places might fit together in your itinerary (if you don’t have one already).
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- Are you going to freeze or sweat to death?
- In general, the weather is pretty nice. The days that I was in Hong Kong, unfortunately, it was foggy, which meant that I couldn’t get as great of a view of the city as possible when I went to Victoria Peak. Because HK is coastal, it is humid. While this means that the temperature is cooler during some parts of the year, the summer can be stifling, especially if you’re planning on spending a lot of time outdoors.
Currency: Hong Kong Dollar
- What currency is used? (Not a rated category)
Cost: 6 (higher rating means lower cost)
- Overall, is this country expensive or not?
- You are probably going to spend a good amount of money relatively to Southeast Asia and some parts of China, but prices are either comparable to or lesser than those in the US or Europe.
Approximate time needed to visit the whole country: 4 days
- How much time do you need to devote here? (Not a rated category)
- Note that the amount of time it takes to fully experience Hong Kong depends pretty heavily on whether or not you like trekking or hiking, because Hong Kong offers a lot of trekking and hiking options. If you’re not interested in walking too much, you can take about a day to do that, one to visit Victoria Peak, another day to explore the Big Buddha/Lantau Island area, and a free day.
Speed of Wi-Fi: 7
- How fast is the Wi-Fi?
- Reasonably fast and reasonably reliable.
Accessibility of Wi-Fi: 9
- Can you connect to Wi-Fi when you need it?
- As Hong Kong is one of the hubs of Asian commerce, they have great technology infrastructure. I was unable to buy a SIM card when I arrived to the airport, but I was able to access free networks in restaurants, malls, various attractions, and some shops. I had no problems.
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Culture and Immersion: 9/10
Language: Cantonese with each other, but fluent English and Mandarin as well
- What language do locals speak? (Not a rated category)
English level of the typical local: 10
- If you really needed help, how much could a typical local help?
- Everyone speaks English because Hong Kong was occupied by the British for a long while.
Approachability of locals if you can’t speak the language: 10
- If you can’t speak the local language, how willing are locals to patiently help you?
- When I first arrived to the city and got off the bus from the airport, I had no idea which way to go to find my hostel reservation. I honestly just walked into a random little shop and asked the shopkeeper where I needed to go, and he happily showed me and pointed the way. Thank goodness, because I was getting worried and had arrived pretty late at night.
Signage for an English speaker: 8
- If you can’t read the local language, can you read the signs?
- Most signs are in both English and Mandarin/Cantonese (the characters used are the same), but you might see in some smaller shops that signs and menus are exclusively in Chinese characters.
- If you buy something (especially at street markets), how much do you need to haggle?
- Hong Kong doesn’t have street markets or stalls, so most things you buy will be from stores or malls. In those places, haggling is not common.
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Intercity buses, trains, and planes: –
- How easy is it to get from one city to another? How understandable is the system?
- As a city-state, there are no other cities to get to.
Taxi reliability: –
- How many taxis are there? How likely are they to cheat you? How friendly are the drivers to foreigners, especially if you don’t speak the local language?
- Honestly, I didn’t take any taxis in Hong Kong. There is no need as the transportation from the airport is rather extensive, and you can take either the bus or subway to and from there. There are taxis available, but you don’t need them.
Intra-city transportation: 10
- How easy is it to get where you want to go within the city?
- Since Hong Kong is an island-state, basically everything is relatively close. HK also has an extensive subway and bus system, which includes a ferry, which makes it easy to get from place to place. You can just buy an octopus card, which can take you from point A to anywhere you want in the city.
- If you want to get some exercise, how easy it is to walk from place to place?
- Combine walking with public transportation and you’ll be able to get everywhere. If you try to only walk and not use any public transportation, you might be miserable. While Hong Kong is a single city, it’s pretty big!
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Did this help you plan your trip? What else do you want to know? Leave a comment below!