Frequently Asked Questions

General

Is Hong Kong safe?

Hong Kong is probably one of the safest cities in the world. It is generally very safe for traveler to walk by day and night, even for solo female traveler. Having said that, please always exercise reasonable precautions at all times.

What's Hong Kong Population?

We have about 7.3 million people as of mid 2016.

What kind of language do you speak? Is it Mandarin?

The local language is Cantonese, it is quite different from Mandarin.

What are the electricity and voltage standard in Hong Kong?

Hong Kong uses the British three-pin rectangular blade plug (type G), electricity is 220 Volts at 50 Hertz.

What is the general business opening hours?

Shopping malls – Around 10am to around 9-10pm
Ladies Market & Temple Street – Around 12pm to around 10-11pm
Goldfish and Flower Market – Around 10am to around 7-8pm
Restaurants – Mostly from 7-8am to 10-11pm. Some goes much later
Banks – Monday to Friday 9am to 5:00pm, and Saturdays 9am to 12:30pm
Convenient Stores – At least from 7am to 11pm-12am, if not 24 hours

Can I buy a SIM card for data?

Many service providers offer inexpensive data only SIM card. Most of them would cost less than HKD 100 for a week worth of data.

Can I drink tap water in Hong Kong?

You can and it is generally safe to drink from the tap in Hong Kong.

Do I need to pay to go to toilet in Hong Kong?

No, public toilets are always free in Hong Kong. Restaurant may require customers to make a purchase.

Can you smoke inside a restaurant/bar in Hong Kong?

Generally no. Once in a blue moon you may see a place allows customers to smoke, but they are very rare.

Can I drink on the street? What’s the drinking age?

Yes, you can drink on street in Hong Kong. 18.

Can you recommend some good apps for traveling in Hong Kong?

WiFi.hk – Hong Kong is a highly connected city and Free Wi-Fi services are widespread in Hong Kong. This app is what you need for finding free WiFi in Hong Kong! In general, free Wifi are available at tourist attractions, shopping malls, government buildings, MTR stations, Starbucks Coffee, Pacific Coffee, 7-Eleven and Circle K.

Google Map – Yes, Google Map is also a good app given Hong Kong streets can be very complicated to navigate. Two things to note: 1. Download the map in advance before you come to Hong Kong, so you only need GPS signals for tracking where you are. 2. When you have WiFi, use google map for suggested route to go from point A to point B. They give good recommendations.

Openrice – This is THE app for restaurants recommendation in Hong Kong. However, organized boosting is quite widespread in this app, so most local use this app to search for restaurant location rather than choosing restaurants based on reviews.

Trailwatch – Worry that you may get lost during your hike? Download this app and it will guide you through the trail! This is a must have if you want to do extensive hiking in Hong Kong!

MTR Mobile – This is the official app from the MTR which gives you lots of information about the MTR network. However, it does come short of things like “where can I find the closest MTR exit?”. Switch to Google Map if you are trying to navigate on the ground level.

My HK Guide – This is the official tourist app created by the Hong Kong Tourism Board. It contains information for most popular tourist attractions and some upcoming festivals/events where a traveler can join. A good app if all you want is to hit the main attractions.



Climate

When is the best time to visit?

The best time to visit Hong Kong is October to April with dry and cool weather (more climate info below). However, this is not to say you should stay away from Hong Kong during summer because there are lots of festivals and water sports for you to do here! Late spring and summer can get rain patches throughout the day, please always check real time Weather Radar Image on Hong Kong Observatory (or their app) during your visit.

What is Hong Kong climate like?

What are the different Typhoon and Rainstrom signals?

The rainstorm warning system is designed to alert the public about the occurrence of heavy rain which is likely to bring about major disruptions. It is independent of other severe weather warnings such as typhoon warning.

Typhoon Warning: There are number 1, 3, 8, 9 and 10 Typhoon signals. When number 8 or above signal is hoisted, everything shuts down.

Raingstorm Warning: There are yellow, red and black rainstorm signals. When black signal is hoisted, everything shuts down.



Money

What is the Hong Kong Money?

The official currency is the Hong Kong Dollar. The note denominations are 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000. Coin denominations are 0.10, 0.20, 0.50, 1, 2, 5 and 10 (note that there are both bills and coins for 10 dollar). Hong Kong Dollar is pegged to the US dollar and it generally move in the band of USD 1 = HKD 7.5 – 7.8. The day to day fluctuation is very small.

How come I get different version of Hong Kong Dollar bills?

Don’t worry, these are genuine Hong Kong Dollar bills. There are three different note issuing banks and they have different designs. Counterfeit note is rare in Hong Kong and mostly denominated in 500 or 1000.

Where should I change money in Hong Kong?

Bank and ATM are the best place to exchange money. You can also use the money changer kiosk but please observe the commission or the effective exchange rate they apply.

What is an Octopus Card?

Octopus Card is the electronic payment system widely used in Hong Kong. You can use Octopus card for small amount transactions like transportation, retail shops, self-service kiosks and many fast food restaurants. You can get it at the customer service desk of all MTR stations. Avoid getting an octopus card from convenient stores.

Can I use my credit card in Hong Kong?

Visa, Master, and sometimes American Express are the most common types of credit card accepted in Hong Kong. Please note the normal foreign exchange charge applied when using an oversea credit card.

Why some shops ask me to pay by cash only?

Shops request for cash payment is not always a scam. Credit card companies levy a fee to the shop offering payment in credit card. Some shops prefer to receive payment in cash to avoid the fee.

Is there any sales tax in Hong Kong?

There is no sales tax in Hong Kong, however there is a minimum fee of HKD 0.5 per each plastic bag.

What is the tipping culture in Hong Kong?

Taxi – tip is not expected. Restaurants – tip is already built into part of the bill. Pubs – not expected. Hong Kong Free Tours – Yes, tips is welcome!


Getting Around

What you must know about the transportation?

Hong Kong has one of the most efficient transportation systems in the world. With its well connected subway system (MTR), bus companies and cheap taxi; it makes driving a rental car inconvenient and a lot more expensive! Almost all types of Hong Kong transportation use an electronic payment card called the Octopus Card so we highly recommend everyone to get an octopus card as soon as you arrive Hong Kong at the airport.

What is Octopus Card?

Octopus Card is the electronic payment system widely used in Hong Kong. You can use the Octopus card for small amount transactions like transportation, retail shops, self-service kiosks, convenience stores and many fast food restaurants (like KFC, McDonald and other local fast food restaurants).

Where can I get an Octopus Card?

You can get it at the customer service desk of all MTR stations. Please do not get an Octopus Card from convenience stores. If you get an Octopus Card from a convenience store, it means you have purchased the card and you cannot get your refund at the end of your visit. You can get a refund for cards purchased at MTR stations.

How much is an Octopus Card?

Assuming you get the card from MTR station, here are the cost for an Octopus Card:

Age Group Adult Child (3 – 11) Senior (65+)
Price 150 70 70
Deposit 50 50 50
Funds Available 100 20 20

How to use an Octopus Card?

Using your card: You can keep your card in a wallet and swipe your wallet over the Octopus reader. The amount taken as well as the remaining value will be shown after each transaction, so you know when it is time to top up the card. Because there is deposit for the Octopus Card, you can use your Octopus Card as long as 1. it has positive balance and 2. the transaction is less than HKD 50.
– MTR: Swipe the card at the entrance barrier and again at the exit barrier (destination station).
– Ferry: Swipe the card at the entrance barrier.
– Bus: Swipe the card when you get on.
– Trams: Swipe the card when you get off.

Reload your card: You can add value to the card at any self service machine at all MTR station, customer’s service desk at MTR and ALL convenience stores. The increment of value added must be a multiple of HKD 50. You card balance has to be lower than HKD 1,000.

Return your card: You can return your Octopus Card at the end of your visit and collect your refund. A HKD 11 handling fee will be charged for refund within 90 days of initial purchase.

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