Hong Kong, described as a ‘barren rock’ over 150 years ago, has become a world-class financial, trading and business centre and, indeed, a great world city. Hong Kong has no natural resources, except one of the finest deep-water ports in the world. A hardworking, adaptable and well-educated workforce coupled with entrepreneurial flair, is the bedrock of Hong Kong’s productivity and creativity.
This tiny territory is punching well above its size and weight once more, only these days with a self-confidence it never had under its former masters. Hong Kong has never been busier. Nor has it ever felt as comfortable with its status, as a part once again of its original motherland but separate, too, largely governing its own affairs and much better off for it. Almost 7 million people call a territory of 1100 sq. km home, squeezing onto only 10% of the available land space. A flood of mainland and international visitors, meanwhile, crowds in to see what all the fuss is about. Multitudes seek standing or sitting room here, bringing with them smog, odour, clutter and clatter.
Hong Kong is divided into four main areas – Kowloon, Hong Kong Island, the New Territories and the Outlying Islands. The city itself is centred around Victoria Harbour. The main business district is Central, on Hong Kong Island. East of Central lies the Admiralty commercial district; Wan Chai, known for restaurants and clubs; then Causeway Bay, a major shopping area. Towering above it all is the Peak, Hong Kong’s premier scenic outlook and residential district, which happily has plenty of public green space. In Kowloon, Tsim Sha Tsui (on the southern tip), Jordan and Yau Ma Tei are busy hotel and shopping areas, while Mong Kok is a bustling residential and shopping area.
Hong Kong means different things to different people. For some it is the view from the Peak by day or Hong Kong Island’s skyline by night as the skyscrapers flush their neon rainbows, competing to out-display each other. It can be about a lingering morning of tea and bite-sized dim sum, or a lavish spread of Chinese banquet. It is all these things, of course; a city of teeming streets and empty wilderness, dazzling modernity and traditional observances. Brash, buccaneering and westernized, yet conservatively minded and Chinese to its core, Hong Kong surprises, delights and confounds with its cheerful contradictions and energetic inconsistency.
We provide all arrangements in Hong Kong with our local operators, who are leading inbound tours company in Hong Kong and maintain a very high service standard with attention to details. We offer tours to suit every budget and time constraints. Whether transiting or visiting Hong Kong for longer duration, either take a package or just accommodation in one of the wide selection of Hotels near the airport or in Kowloon or Hong Kong Island – we would be happy to assist you for your Hong Kong arrangements.
This information has been compiled for your reference in good faith but please use this only as a general guide. We advise you to check with relevant authorities with regard to the latest requirement for passport, visa, travel advisory, entry restrictions, health requirements, local currency etc. as these are subjected to change with without prior notice and our information given below may not be as updated.
Best time to go: Hong Kong is year-round destination and has always been a popular transit point. October to December is the best time to visit Hong Kong with clear skies and good sunshine. Weather is quite warm and humid combined with monsoon from June to August. During this time, Hong Kong has an occasional typhoon hitting but it hardly causes any disruption to the programs. Chinese New Year (late Jan/early Feb) is the busiest time in Hong Kong when it is difficult to get accommodation in Hotels.
Visa: New Zealand passport holders do not need a Visa for Hong Kong for a stay up to 90 days. Entry stamp is given on arrival free of charge but one needs to show confirmed onward/return flight ticket and declare sufficient funds for the stay. Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months from the expected date of departure from Hong Kong.
Currency: Currency of Hong Kong is Hong Kong Dollars (HKD). Bank notes are available in the denomination of 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 HK$. You can change your New Zealand Dollars or any other major currency at your Hotel or at Money Changers located on almost every shopping street. Major credit cards are widely accepted in Hong Kong.
Health: Hong Kong does not have any particular health risk and general hygienic conditions are generally of high standard. However, there are a few precautions recommended – avoid eating food exposed to natural elements, ensure that mineral water bottle is properly sealed when you buy it, cover arms and legs in the evening to avoid mosquito bites as Dengue Fever is prevalent in a few Asian countries. Carry your general medication with you and consult your doctor well in advance to prepare for the trip.
Food and drinks: Water in Hong Kong is considered safe to drink but still it is recommended to stay with mineral water. Please ensure that the mineral water bottle is properly sealed before you buy it. Hong Kong is a multi-cultural society and the variety of restaurants caters to all budgets. Besides a lot of authentic and traditional Chinese restaurants, you will find Indian, Thai, Vietnamese and Malaysian restaurants. Seafood restaurants are very popular but it is recommended to stick with the seafood that you know – some species of fish and seafood are endangered. In terms of alcohol, all popular brands of beer and spirits are widely available.
Safety & security: Like in any other part of the world, a few precautions need to be taken to avoid any problems. Please do not leave your bags unattended at any times. Please use safe deposit in your hotel room or Reception to keep your money or valuables including passport. When you leave the room, it is recommended that you lock your suitcase. It is also recommended to carry a copy of your passport including the visa page.
Clothing: Due to generally warm weather in Hong Kong, You can dress casually – t-shirts and shorts at most places, please avoid revealing dress or overly casual dress in public. Please take good walking shoes with non-slip sole as you will be required to walk frequently during your sightseeing programs and sometimes on uneven surface.
Language: Chinese and English are official languages in Hong Kong. English is spoken widely in most commercial establishment but you may face language barrier in a few traditional Chinese restaurants.
Gratuities: Hotels and restaurant generally levy a 10% service charge in their bills; hence tipping here could be avoided. You may tip your local guide and driver for their services.
Airport tax: Your international air ticket should include airport tax on international departure.
Internet: Most Hotels have internet facility in rooms (in few Hotels free of charge) and/or in Business Centres. Internet cafes are located in all commercial areas.
Telephone: Calling from Hong Kong is easy and cheap but Hotels generally charge 8-10 times the general call cost. Public Phones are available outside Hotels, in roadside kiosks and a few shops. Dialling code for Hong Kong is +852 and if you are calling New Zealand from Hong Kong, the code is +64. Telephone numbers of Hotels arranged by us will be supplied to you in your itinerary. It is recommended to buy a mobile SIM card on arrival if you need to be in touch with people back home.
Time Difference: Hong Kong is 5 hours behind New Zealand from April to September and 4 hours from October to March.
Photography: Taking photos of airports, government buildings and military establishments are prohibited – please check with your local guide if you are not clear about any particular building. If you are taking photos of local ladies, please politely ask for prior permission.
Electricity: Voltage supply in Hong Kong is 220 volts and different varieties of plugs are used in Hong Kong – round pins or 3-pronged rectangular pins. Few Hotels have adapters available which you could borrow free of charge during your stay but it might be a good idea to carry one from home. Please visit this website for more information on plugs: http://kropla.com/electric2.htm
Postage: Post from/to Hong Kong is quite reliable and efficient.
PLACES OF INTEREST
Victoria Peak: There’s a reason why Victoria Peak is one of the most popular attractions in Hong Kong: It is absolutely incredible! Looking down from the Peak you’ll be amazed by the spectacular view of the surrounding city skyline, the world-famous Victoria Harbour and Kowloon, towering skyscrapers and peaceful green hillsides.
Getting there is an unforgettable trip. There’s nothing in the world like the Peak Tram. Pulled by steel cables, the tram climbs 373 metres. It’s so steep that the buildings you pass look like they’re leaning at a 45°angle! Whether you’re going up or coming down, you’ll love this trip.
Once on Victoria Peak, there are a number of locations providing magnificent views of the city below. For great continuous unfolding vistas, take the Peak Circle Walk or go directly to the Lugard Road Lookout for fabulous views over the harbour. There are more great vistas from the Lions View Point Pavilion and the viewing terrace at the Peak Galleria, as well as the Peak Tower Sky Terrace.
Victoria Harbour: Victoria Harbour is one of Hong Kong’s greatest assets, a jewel that people marvel at, no matter how many times they visit the city. People come from all over the world to see and admire it.
Travel up to The Peak or visit the Avenue of Stars along the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade for spectacular harbour views and to catch the magnificent A Symphony of Lights, featuring more than 40 Hong Kong’s skyscrapers in a stunning multimedia extravaganza.
There is no better way to capture the magic of the harbour than by taking a night-time cruise aboard a ferry where you’ll be able to enjoy A Symphony of Lights, the stunning multimedia show featuring more than 40 Hong Kong skyscrapers in a dazzling extravaganza. Victoria Harbour bustles with activity day and night. To experience the energy take a ride on the Star Ferry, a harbour cruise or a ride in a traditional Chinese junk.
A Symphony of Lights: This spectacular multimedia display, already named the “World’s Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show” by Guinness World Records, has been further expanded to include more than 40 buildings on both sides of Victoria Harbour. The show creates an all-round vision of coloured lights, laser beams and searchlights performing a stunning, unforgettable spectacle synchronised to music and narration that celebrates the energy, spirit and diversity of Hong Kong.
There are five main themes — Awakening, Energy, Heritage, Partnership and the finale, Celebration. For the best view of A Symphony of Lights, take a harbour cruise or head to the waterfront promenades on either side of Victoria Harbour. The show, organised by the Tourism Commission, is a must-see event on any visit to Hong Kong.
Ning Po 360: Ngong Ping 360 is destined to be one of Hong Kong’s ‘must see’ attractions in Lantau Island. Preserving the natural ecological environment and features of the Ngong Ping area and converging the custom and culture of the Lantau Island, Ngong Ping 360 is sure to refresh your body and enlighten your mind, as soon as you step on the Cable Car.
Ngong Ping Cable Car is a visually spectacular 5.7km cable car journey, travelling between Tung Chung Town Centre and Ngong Ping on Lantau Island. Visitors will enjoy panoramic views of the Hong Kong International Airport, South China Sea, the Tian Tan Buddha Statue, as well as the flora and fauna of North Lantau Country Park. Adjacent to the Ngong Ping Cable Car Terminal, Ngong Ping Village is an impressive cultural themed village, incorporating several major attractions, including Walking with Buddha, Monkey’s Tale Theatre and the Ngong Ping Tea House. For a more cultural and religious experience, the world’s tallest seated outdoor bronze Buddha, the Tian Tan Buddha Statue, is only a short stroll from the Ngong Ping Village. Tian Tan Buddha Statue is the major centre for Buddhism in Hong Kong and is located next to the Po Lin Monastery.
Giant Buddha: No trip to Hong Kong would be complete without a visit to the world’s tallest, outdoor, seated bronze Buddha which sits serenely atop Ngong Ping plateau amid the spectacular mountain scenery of Lantau Island.
The eyes, lips, incline of the head and even the right hand (raised to deliver a blessing to all), combine to lend great depth of character and dignity to this extraordinary statue. The majestic figure of the seated Buddha is 34 metres high, was cast in China and took over 10 years to complete. Weighing 250 tons, it was unveiled in 1993 amid deeply religious ceremonies. Visitors can climb the 268 steps to reach the platform where the Buddha is seated.
Besides attracting Buddhists from all over Asia, the magnificent figure with its compelling presence almost instantly transformed the remote Po Lin Monastery with its devout monks into a must-visit on tourist schedules. The Po Lin Monastery is set amid spectacular mountain scenery on the 520-metre high Ngong Ping plateau.
Besides admiring the massive statue there is also much to see and do at the monastery itself with its various figures of gods and other colourful manifestations of aspects of the Buddhist religion. You can even enjoy a vegetarian lunch prepared by monks.
From Po Lin Monastery it’s a short walk to the culturally themed village of Ngong Ping, where you can enjoy a variety of attractions as well as indulge in a bit of shopping and dining. From here you can take a bus or taxi to explore other parts of Lantau Island, including the famous stilt houses of Tai O Village, the magic of Hong Kong Disneyland and the interesting village Mui Wo, near the ferry pier.
Stanley Market: A popular market town on the sunny south side of Hong Kong Island, Stanley’s relaxed ambience, crisp sea environs and bargain buys have made it world famous. Seven days a week the open market around Stanley New Street and Stanley Market Road throbs with the passing parade of life as bargain-hunters from all over the world join in the fun of haggling with shopkeepers and stallholders. Choose from brand-name clothing and accessories, or simply irresistible souvenirs, ornaments and other Oriental knick-knacks. The market is open from 10:30am to 6:30pm.
Stanley also has beautiful beaches that are popular with windsurfers. And when you’re feeling peckish, you’ll find a wide variety of funky bars and great restaurants to enjoy.
Among the more interesting restaurant sites on the waterfront is Murray House, a 160-year-old restored three-storey colonial building that was dismantled in 1982 from its original site in Central and then rebuilt in Stanley. It re-opened in 1999 and now houses the Hong Kong Maritime Museum as well as restaurants.
Situated beside Murray House is Blake Pier at Stanley. Originally located in Central, Blake Pier was first dismantled in 1965 and later relocated to Morse Park to form the roof of the Morse Park pavilion. Now it has returned to its role as a public pier in Stanley, complementing the colonial architectural style of Murray House.
Aberdeen: Aberdeen harbour is home to hundreds of people living on fishing junks. Their traditional lifestyle is dramatically juxtaposed against a modern high-rise community spread over the nearby hillsides. In the evenings, the thousands of twinkling lights reflected on the water are a magical sight.
To get a close-up look at the Aberdeen way of life, many visitors take a sampan ride or take in the view from one of two magnificent floating restaurants anchored here. Three storeys high and elaborately decorated with swirling red and gold dragons and other traditional Chinese motifs, the experience is not to be missed. Neither, of course, is the delicious fresh seafood and the excellent Cantonese fare on offer.
Aberdeen is also the site of Ocean Park, one of Southeast Asia’s largest oceanariums and theme parks.
Ocean Park: Ocean Park is one of Hong Kong’s favourite attractions, featuring rides, exhibits and conservation facilities. Ocean Park is located on the southern side of Hong Kong Island, covering more than 870,000 square metres of land. There are three attraction areas, which are the Lowland, the Headland and Tai Shue Wan. The three areas are connected by a cable car and an outdoor escalator, which is the second longest in Hong Kong.
No trip to Ocean Park would be complete without a stop at the Hong Kong Jockey Club Giant Panda Habitat to see the four giant pandas. The two newest additions, Ying Ying and Le Le joined long-time residents An An and Jia Jia in this world-class panda facility.
The park is also home to a fascinating Sea Jelly Spectacular, featuring more than 1,000 sea jellies of all sizes from all over the world. The Sea Jelly Spectacular offers a sensational undersea voyage for you to experience this most amazing undersea creature.
The whole family can also enjoy Sky Star at Sky Fair, a huge helium-filled balloon measuring 22 metres in diameter which soars more than 100 metres into the sky.
Other popular attractions have included the Ocean Theatre, Abyss Turbo Drop, the Mine Train and new and fun-filled entertainment facilities are introduced from time to time and the Master Development Plan is now underway.
Ocean Park is committed to promote and support animal conservation in Hong Kong and throughout the Asia region. It has, in cooperation with other conservation organizations, launched various conservation programs for a number of endangered species, including whales and dolphins. In addition, it has successfully bred rare species of birds, sharks and butterflies.
Disneyland Hong Kong: Hong Kong Disneyland invites visitors into the legendary fairy-tale kingdom that celebrates the spirit of fantasy, the world of tomorrow and a forever-young sense of adventure. Mickey Mouse will welcome you to the happiest place on Earth complete with attractions exclusively designed for Hong Kong.
Families visiting the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort will have magical journeys through four themed lands, namely Main Street U.S.A., Fantasyland, Adventureland and Tomorrowland, plus two Disney-style hotels. Hong Kong Disneyland will offer a diverse range of food at various restaurants in the park. In addition there are specialty stores selling Disney memorabilia and souvenirs in each themed land and at the two hotels
Disney’s world-famous ‘it’s a small world’ takes you on a leisurely boat journey across the continents to discover a fresh child-like perspective on the world as you encounter animated singing dolls in their colourful costumes. This attraction has been specially adapted for Asian audiences and with its message of mutual understanding, peace, love and friendship, the whole family is bound to be delighted with this newest Disney attraction in Hong Kong.
Jade Market & Jade Street: A visit to the Jade Market in Yau Ma Tei will provide an insight into something very important to Chinese people – Jade. The written character for jade means a combination of beauty and purity. The stone, in all its many hues and colours, is associated with long life and good health. It is smooth and cooling to the touch. Many people wear a jade bracelet to ward off all sorts of health hazards. Grandmothers routinely buy a piece of jade for new-borns.
Located on Kansu and Battery streets, the Jade Market is a collection of around 400 stalls selling a wide range of jade pendants, rings, bracelets, carvings and ornaments. Open from 10am to 5pm, the market is also the main gathering place for buyers of this fine stone who today still communicate with secret hand signals when making a purchase. Nearby is Jade Street, located on Canton Road between Kansu Street and Jordan Road, where shops operate from 10:30am to 2:30pm.
Buying jade is really an art. Jade varies in colour from deep green through yellow and brown to white. The jade sold in Hong Kong is mostly jadeite from Myanmar, ranging from natural pieces to those impregnated with polymers or dyed to enhance the colour.
Top quality jade is pure green and very expensive. Most pieces have a yellow tinge but no brown or grey should be in the finished piece. The best jadeite is semi-transparent. Opaque jadeite with cloudy patches typically has less value. If you are not an expert, you can have your potential purchase tested at Jade Plaza.
Madame Tussauds Hong Kong: Following a major makeover, Madame Tussauds Hong Kong is offering visitors an unprecedented hands-on multimedia experience at its celebrity waxworks museum. The world-famous attraction now features more than 100 incredible wax likenesses of stars, world leaders and sports heroes displayed in five totally interactive themed settings that are spread over three floors within the completely refurbished Peak Tower complex. It’s an amazing experience like no other!
Visitors to the new-look Madame Tussauds Hong Kong can not only meet their favourite idols but also join them in doing whatever has made them famous – all to the accompaniment of appropriate background sounds. You can putt with Tiger Woods, shoot hoops with Yao Ming, dance on stage with Aaron Kwok and even step into a Rembrandt painting!
Guests can stroll through the attraction stopping to mingle with the stars and celebrities in the themed areas of Hong Kong Glamour, Music Icons, Historical and National Heroes, The Champions and World Premiere. You are allowed to pose with any of the wax models and even have your picture taken professionally.
Those more inclined to the international stage can stand alongside President Hu Jintao as he steps from his plane to the rapturous applause of the welcoming committee, or obtain an official seal of approval from George W Bush as you address the nation from the presidential podium.
If you ever wondered how these models are made, you can watch the fascinating wax figure-making process being demonstrated. There’s also a souvenir shop featuring a full range of exciting souvenirs and gifts.