Immigration and Customs
Do I need a visa to visit Hong Kong?
Visitors from most countries can enter Hong Kong without a visa for periods of seven to 180 days, depending on nationality. Check with the Hong Kong Immigration Department for details about visa requirements.
What items am I prohibited from bringing into Hong Kong?
It is against Hong Kong law, to bring some items into Hong Kong. All travellers, including those transiting through Hong Kong International Airport, are liable for prosecution if they are found in possession of these dangerous items. Check for tips and advice here before you travel.
When to visit and where to stay
When is the best time to visit Hong Kong?
Hong Kong is a popular travel destination year round. The city enjoys a mild climate from the middle of September to the end of February, while the weather from May to mid-September can be hot, wet and humid, with August being the wettest month. For detailed weather information please visit the Hong Kong Observatory website.
Where is the best area to stay?
Hong Kong is very compact, so visitors are never too far from major shopping areas and attractions. Getting around is simple via Hong Kong’s extensive, reliable and affordable public transport system. Most hotels are located close to the harbour-front in Central, Wan Chai, Causeway Bay and North Point on Hong Kong Island, and in Tsim Sha Tsui, Tsim Sha Tsui East and Hung Hom in Kowloon. You can also find plenty of accommodation within Kowloon’s busy areas of Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok. There are also a growing number of resort-style hotels in the New Territories and the Outlying Islands that offer more relaxing alternatives.
Is local transport easy to use?
Hong Kong has an excellent public transport system that is considered one of the best in the world. Depending on where you are going, you have a choice of MTR (subway), trains, buses, trams, ferries and taxis. These clean and efficient options cover extensive areas of Hong Kong and have signs and announcements in both English and Chinese. See more details on transport here.
Shopping and opening hours
When are summer sales / winter sales periods in Hong Kong?
Generally speaking, summer sales run from July to September and winter sales from December to February. However, the exact sales period may vary from shop to shop.
Do shops and restaurants close during long public holidays such as the Chinese New Year?
Most shops and restaurants in major tourist areas will remain open during public holidays. Some of them will be closed on the first and second days of Chinese New Year and will reopen for business from the third day. Some traditional shops and restaurants, such as dried seafood merchants, Chinese medicine stores and small family-owned restaurants, may stay closed for longer. Hong Kong’s official public holidays can be found here.
Are credit cards widely accepted in shops?
Most shops in Hong Kong accept major credit cards; however, at open-air markets, most vendors will only take cash. As these can offer attractive bargains and are found all over Hong Kong, it’s best to bring both cash in Hong Kong dollars and credit cards when shopping.
Is there any sales tax in Hong Kong?
Mostly, no. All goods, other than alcohol and tobacco, are tax-free.
What are Hong Kong’s official business hours?
- Most officeswill open from 9am to 6pm or longer from Monday to Friday, depending on the type of business. Many will also open from 9am to 1pm on Saturdays.
- Major banksopen from 9am to 4:30pm on weekdays and 9am to 12:30pm on Saturdays.
- Retail shopsgenerally open from 10am to 7pm daily, although those in popular shopping areas such as Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui will stay open until 9:30pm or even later, especially on weekends. Many shops in Hong Kong remain open every day of the year, except the first two days of Chinese New Year.
Restaurants tend to stay open until around 11pm, while bars and clubs will close in the wee hours, with plenty of them operating all night, particularly in popular nightlife hubs such as Lan Kwai Fong and Wan Chai.
Telecommunications and postage
Can I get a local mobile phone number during my visit?
Yes. You can buy a Prepaid Calling Card or Mobile Data Prepaid SIM Card from major convenient stores at the airport or in town. For instance, the Discover Hong Kong Tourist SIM Card offers voice calls and local mobile data services.
Where can I get Internet access in Hong Kong?
Free Wi-Fi service is available at Hong Kong International Airport, some government buildings including public libraries as well as every MTR stations. You can access the Internet for free at many coffee shops in town and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council’s Business InfoCentre. Check with your hotel concierge for a nearby location to access Wi-Fi. Most hotels offer broadband Internet access; however, this may involve a charge in some cases.
Are local phone calls expensive?
No. Calls from private landlines to landlines are free and cost only $1 for five minutes from public telephones. However, hotels will usually charge for local phone calls. International Direct Dial (IDD) services to most countries and regions of the world are available at almost all hotels in Hong Kong.
Will my mobile phone work in Hong Kong?
Most of the world’s mobile telecommunications systems operate in Hong Kong, including GSM 900, PCS 1800, CDMA and WCDMA. Check if your service provider has a roaming agreement with a Hong Kong operator. And be sure to pay attention to the roaming rates! More details here.
Can I access tourist information through my mobile phone?
Yes. Also, visitors with Wi-Fi-enabled devices can enjoy free browsing and downloading of content on the HKTB website / mobile site via csl’s 14,000 Wi-Fi hotspots in Hong Kong. More details here.
Is posting letters and parcels from Hong Kong easy?
Yes. Post offices and post boxes are conveniently located around the city and postage stamps are available in convenience stores. You can find out Hong Kong’s postage rates here.
Is Hong Kong safe for visitors?
Hong Kong is one of the safest cities in the world, even at night when people can walk alone with confidence. Having said that, to ensure your stay is a pleasant one, always take extra care of your belongings at all times.
Is English widely spoken?
Yes. English is widely spoken in Hong Kong and is the language of preference in the government, business and tourism sectors. As a visitor, you can expect to encounter minimal problems communicating in English, as most taxi drivers, salespeople, tourism industry employees and police have reached competent levels of the language. Also, all official signs and public transport announcements, as well as most menus, are in both English and Chinese.
Will I be able to use my electrical equipment in Hong Kong?
The standard electrical voltage in Hong Kong is 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Most hotel bathrooms also have outlets for 100 volts, but if not, you will need a transformer for any appliance or electrical equipment. The majority of electrical outlets in Hong Kong take a three-pronged UK-style plug. You can buy an inexpensive adaptor for your electrical equipment at most convenience stores.