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Hong Kong General Travel Information

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This page gives you all the basic and general information on Hong Kong such as the climate, banking hours, a little background on languages, water, identification, tipping, post offices and newspapers etc.

Climate: Hong Kong is fortunate as it enjoys four seasons, it also is unfortunate in that it receives Typhoons from time to time. Winter can be chilly and runs from mid December until February, you will need a jacket, temperatures can go as low as 6 degrees, although around 10 would be more average. Spring starts to get a little warmer with temperatures generally ranging from 18-27 degrees and it runs from March to mid May, in the earlier months a light jumper or jacket would be advisable, especially for the evening. Summer heats up and humidity soars, from late May to mid September you will get by with light clothes. It is advisable though to bring a light pullover as restaurants and shops tend to blast their air conditioning units at full blast. It is very easy to catch a cold when moving from very hot and humid to cold air conditioning. Autumn from September to December is a lovely time of year, as the humidity drops and the temperatures begin to cool off. You may require a light pullover or jacket for some evenings. The Typhoon season can be chaotic, and runs from May to November. The meteorological deptartment keeps a very keen eye on all Typhoon developments and the warnings are taken very seriously, especially as it could mean not having to go to work! As a Typhoon comes closer, they issue warnings as to its strength, with 1 being the lowest and 8 being very strong. Hotels restaurants and shops display message boards to inform you of the severity of the Typhoon, and nowadays there are official and unofficial apps that keep you informed as well.. Once the signal reaches 8 then most if not all shops and businesses close down, and some flights may even be cancelled. We do not recommend you go outdoors when a force 8 warning has been hoisted as it can be dangerous with things flying around and other things falling from balconies and buildings.

Language: The official languages in Hong Kong are Chinese (Cantonese) and English. While many people do speak English there are also a lot that do not, and many of the menus in the more smaller local restaurants can be in Chinese with no English translations. If you are moving around by taxi we do advise that you ask your hotel to write down the address in Chinese to help both you and the driver.

Water: Water is generally safe to drink in Hong Kong, especially in hotels. Bottled water can be bought from any convenience shop as well.

Tipping: Most hotels and restaurants add on a 10% surcharge for service, however if you would still like to tip HK10 or HK$20 should always suffice. With taxis you normally round up to the closest dollar, though most of the time they will do this automatically.

ID: While in Hong Kong it is law to carry your identification around with you at all times, we do not recommend this. It is much safer to leave your passport in the hotel safe and just carry a photocopy with you in case you do need it. Of course this does depend on your nationality. If you feel there is more chance of being asked for original ID then it may be wise to carry it.

Newspapers: There are two major English language newspapers in Hong Kong. The South China Morning Post and the Hong Kong Standard, we recommend the South China Morning Post, but that is a purely personal recommendation. If you are looking for a job then this is an excellent source of job ads. The Thursday issue carries sales and executive postings and the Saturday issue will blow your mind with the amount of job advertisements. If you are staying in a hotel, note that some hotels remove some of the classified sections on a Saturday, so just check with your local shop that they are the same thickness.

Banking Hours: Major banks are open from 9am to 4:30pm Mondays to Fridays and from 9:00am to 1pm on Saturdays. Offices follow normal International times and run generally from 9am to 5:30pm some with a half day on Saturday from 9am to 1pm. Some bank branches are open Saturday, and there are ATMs pretty much everywhere.

Post Office: Need to send a letter home or send off all those postcards you have been writing? The major post offices can be found next to the Star Ferry terminal on the Island and at 10 Middle Road in Kowloon. They are open 8am to 6 pm, Mondays through Saturdays, and 8am to 2pm on Sundays. Or you could simply ask your concierge to send them for you.

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