Hong Kong is made up of 3 territories named Hong Kong Island, Kowloon Peninsula, and the New Territories. The name Hong Kong means fragrant harbor” as it was derived from the area around present-day Aberdeen on Hong Kong Island, where fragrant wood products and incense were once traded Hong Kong. Since 1997 has been handed back to China by Britain with the newly governed “One Country – Two Systems” administration which will end 50 years from the handover date. Still this city of 7.5 million inhabitants has an openness to express their views and ideas. It shows through the booming commerce and gastronomy of this tiny island a size with a close comparison to New York City. Whether you are a foodie wanting to try all 227 Michelin Star restaurants (still growing), or a follower of Bruce Lee’s Kung Fu films wanting to make the pilgrimage to the birth place of his stardom. Hong Kong has much more to offer, from visiting historical past, enjoying the night scene with the “Symphony of Lights” fireworks to brighten your stay, shopping for all budgets to your hearts content or taste that dim sum that everyone has been raving about on the street. Come visit the city that always shines, the Pearl of The Orient.
HISTORY AND CULTURE
Mainland Territory: 2,755 km2 (1,064 sq mi)
Population: 7,428,887 (2018)
National Capital: Hong Kong
International Calling Code: Hong Kong: +852
Hong Kong archaeologically suggest that the region has been inhabited since the Old Stone Age about 30,000 years ago, and later with its loose incorporation into the Chinese empire during the Qin dynasty (221–206 BC). Starting out as a farming fishing village and salt production site, When the British flag was raised over Possession Point on 26 January 1841 as the start of colonial rule , the population of Hong Kong island was about 7,450, mostly Tanka fishermen and Hakka living in a number of coastal villages. By the 1850’s Hong Kong became a place of refuge for a large migration of Chinese from the mainland due to rebellions, natural disasters and food shortages. Hong Kong has then evolved into an important free port and eventually a major international financial center.
Hong Kong’s terrain is hilly and mountainous with steep slopes. There are lowlands in the northern part of Hong Kong. A significant amount of land in Hong Kong, especially on the Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon peninsula, is reclaimed.
Under the “one country, two systems” constitutional principle, the Government is exclusively in charge of Hong Kong’s internal affairs and external relations. The Government of the People’s Republic of China, of which the Hong Kong government is financially independent, is responsible for Hong Kong’s defense and foreign policy. The Government is formally led by the Chief Executive of the SAR, who nominates its principal officials for appointment by mainland China government. Despite gradually evolving, the overall governmental structure is still adapted from the British administration.
The Basic Law of Hong Kong stipulates that Chinese and English are the two official languages of Hong Kong. During the British colonial rule, English was the sole official language until 1974. As the majority of the population in Hong Kong are descendants of migrants from China’s Canton Province, the vast majority spoke standard Cantonese or other Yue Chinese varieties as a first language, with smaller numbers of speakers of Hakka Language or the Teochew dialect of Southern Min. In addition, immigrants and expatriates from the West and other Asian countries have contributed much to Hong Kong’s linguistic and demographic diversity.
Hong Kong is considered as one of the most densely populated countries in the world with a density of about 6,300 people per sq km. 92% of the Hong Kong population is ethnic Chinese and 8% are other ethnic groups, including a large number of Filipino and Indonesian foreign domestic helpers, making up approximately 4%. Of the population the major Chinese groups include the Punti, Hakka, Cantonese (including Toishanese), Hoklo, and Tanka (literally: “boat dwellers”). The Punti and Tanka though are considered indigenous to the island, while Cantonese people (including Toishanese) are not Hong Kong indigenous people.
Though Hong Kong is under a 2 system 1 country special governing zone it is still under the immigration controls and regulations of the People’s Republic of China .
Who Need a Visa to Visit Hong Kong?
Nationals of about 170 countries and territories may visit Hong Kong without a visa, and can stay for periods varying from 7 days to 180 days depending on nationality.
Nationals of the US, Europe, Australia, Canada and New Zealand don’t require a visa to enter Hong Kong for stays of 90 days, 180 days for UK nationals.
Nationals of Albania, Armenia, Cambodia, etc. require a visa to enter Hong Kong.
All visitors to Hong Kong must have a passport that is valid for at least one month to six months (depending on nationality) after the period of their intended stay in Hong Kong.
How to Apply for a Hong Kong Visa?
An application for a visa to enter the HKSAR for a visit or transit may be favorably considered if:
- The applicant’s bona fides are not in doubt.
- The applicant has adequate funds to cover the duration of his/her stay without working.
- The applicant holds an onward ticket to the place of his/her destination unless the destination is the Mainland of China or Macao.
Travelers can apply for a Hong Kong visa from the nearest Chinese embassy or consulate. As an alternative, you may also submit your visa application to the HKSAR Immigration Department either directly by post or through a local sponsor.
To shorten the processing time, application forms and supporting documents can be sent by fax in the first instance. However, the original copy of the duly completed application form and the photographs required should be sent immediately to the HKSAR Immigration Department by air mail.
A visa/entry permit will be issued only on receipt of an original, properly completed visa application form.
It normally takes four weeks to process a visa application upon receipt of all required documents.
How Much You Need to Pay for Applying for a Hong Kong Visa?
Change of conditions of stay or extension of limit of stay
Endorsement to a travel document for which no specific fee is provided
Service charge for supplying, on application, a copy of any document, or for making or forwarding, or both, a request or recommendation to any authority of a foreign state or Commonwealth country, for consular or nationality registration or for the issue or renewal of a passport or other travel document or of a document of identity or for the grant of a visa or entry permit
(1 USD≈7.8 HKD)
Do check the official government website for updated visa information and procedures: https://www.gov.hk/en/nonresidents/visarequire/general/index.htm
You can contact your travel agent organizing your trip in China to help with the visa processing.
Hong Kong has a humid subtropical climate , characteristic of southern China. Summer is hot and humid, with occasional showers and thunderstorms and warm air from the southwest. The weather strongly influenced by two monsoons: the north-northeast monsoon from October to March and the south-southwest monsoon from April to September.
Spring – from February to April – is warm and humid, with average temperatures of around 23°C (73°F). Weather is generally pleasant but the skies can be quite overcast. By summer, the humidity (around 80% is normal) and temperatures are higher. Heavy rain is a feature throughout the south-southwest monsoon, but particularly from June to August when thunderstorms are also common.
Between July and September there is the risk of tropical cyclones, which come in from the South China Sea. There’s a well-organized warning system in place, whereby winds are numbered 1, 3, 8, 9 or 10 – anything rated as an 8 or above is taken very seriously and means the closure of schools and businesses.
Autumn is an ideal time to visit Hong Kong as the temperatures are pleasant both day and night, and humidity also falls. There’s also less rain – average rainfall in October is 101mm (4.3 inches), compared to 328mm (12.9 inches) in September.
Winter is even drier but can be surprisingly cold, particularly in the evenings: mostly between 15–20°C (59-68°F), although it can be Hong Kong Weather, climate and higher than this, and sometimes the temperature dips as low as 10°C(50°F). Overall, the best months to visit are the periods between the monsoons (March to April and October to November) when humidity is low, the skies are clear and the temperature is warm but not too hot. That said, there are plenty of indoor attractions in Hong Kong, so rain need not spoil a trip.
Holidays and Festivals (East Asian Holidays have varying festival dates each year is because the lunar calendar is used is believed to be the most accurate way to follow the holiday).
Hong Kong Public Holiday Calendar
* New Year’s Day
* Chinese New Year
Jan. 1 according to lunar calendar
Feb. 5 – 7
Jan. 25 – 27
Feb. 12 – 14
* Qingming Festival
Apr. 4 or 5
Friday immediately preceding Easter Sunday
first Sunday after the full moon following the northern hemisphere’s vernal equinox
Apr. 8 according to lunar calendar
* May Day
* Dragon Boat Festival
May 5 according to lunar calendar
* Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day
* The day following Mid-Autumn Festival
Aug. 16 according to lunar calendar
* National Day
* Chongyang Festival
Sep. 9 according to lunar calendar
* Christmas Day
The first weekday after Christmas
* statutory holidays
Hong Kong cuisine is mainly influenced by Cantonese cuisine, European cuisines (especially British cuisine) and non-Cantonese Chinese cuisines (especially Hakka, Teochew, Hokkien and Shanghainese), as well as Japanese, Korean and Southeast Asian cuisines, due to Hong Kong’s past as a British colony and a long history of being an international port of commerce. From the roadside stalls to the most upscale restaurants, Hong Kong provides an unlimited variety of food and dining in every class. Complex combinations and international gourmet expertise have given Hong Kong the reputable labels of “Gourmet Paradise” and “World’s Fair of Food” with quite a number of Michelin star restaurants to prove is notoriety.
Some dishes to try in Hong Kong that will make your taste buds tingle.
- Sweet and Sour Pork
Sweet and sour pork is probably the most famous Hong Kong food, which has made its way into Chinese take away menus around the world.
Wontons are known as chāo shǒu (literally means “crossed hands”), added to a clear soup along with other ingredients, sometimes deep-fried. Several shapes are common, depending on the region and cooking methods.
The most famous are called Sichuan-style wontons, a celebrated snack in Chengdu. They are famous for their thin skin and rich meat filling as well as their soup, made of chicken, duck, and pork simmered for a long time.
The taste texture is very smooth and quite oily. A more Hong Kong style version would be cooked without peppers, and instead pieces of salted fish. It’s extremely popular and much ordered in restaurants or dai pai dong(traditional licensed food stalls) together with rice.
- Roast Goose
Roast Goose is a traditional specialty of Cantonese cuisine: It is a whole goose roasted with secret ingredients, cut into small pieces, each piece with skin, meat and soft bone, and eaten with plum sauce.
For making authentic Guangdong-style Roast Goose you need a special goose variety from that region. These geese can be raised in a short time and have a lot of meat and small bones. Eating it has become a tourist attraction in itself in the New Territories.
- Yung Kee, situated in Central, with a history of over several decades, is famous for Roast Goose.
- Yue Kee, with over 40 years history, is the most notable restaurant in Hong Kong serving this delicacy.
- Wind Sand Chicken
This famous dish originated from Guangdong, and become well-loved by Hong Kong people. A whole chicken is flavored and put into the oven for about 20 minutes until the chicken’s skin turns brown.
What makes it so unique is that garlic pieces are added and it looks like wind-blown sand. The chicken is roasted and crispy on the outside and very smooth and tender inside. The smell of the garlic pieces is exactly to the right degree.
- Shrimp and Chicken Balls
Its Chinese name is ‘dragon and phoenix balls’. Dragon refers to the shrimps, and phoenix refers to the chicken. The name is related to Chinese royalty: the emperor (dragon) and the queen (phoenix), and is usually served in Chinese wedding ceremonies.
Firstly, shrimp and chicken meat are chopped finely and kneaded into balls, then they are deep fried with bread crumbs. The balls are crispy and tender. Salad sauce is often used to provide a sweet and sour taste.
- Steamed Shrimp Dumplings (Har Gow)
Har Gow is one of the most representative dim sum dishes in Hong Kong restaurants. It remains a top priority of order, though expensive. Usually there are three to four shrimp dumplings in one bamboo steamer. Each shrimp dumpling has one to two small shrimps and a little pork wrapped in a thin translucent wrapper.
When it is served, the wrapper is crystal-like and shining, attracting people to put it into their mouths. One bite is enough to swallow one dumpling. The shrimp is refreshing and best if it has a little juice inside so that it is not too dry.
- Fish Balls
Fish balls are a typical Hong Kong snack, made of fish meat and can be divided into two varieties.
One is the well-known cooked food sold by street venders. Its history can be tracked back to the 1950s. This type of fish balls are made of fried fish meat. Food stalls often sell them with spicy or sweet sauces.
The other kind is sold uncooked and usually served as an important ingredient of hot pot, or cooked with noodles in hot soup. The price is higher and taste different from the first type. These are available in traditional markets and super markets.
According to a statistic in 2002, the daily average consumption of fish balls in Hong Kong is 55 metric tons (about 3.75 million fish balls).
- Eggplant with Minced Pork
Eggplant with minced pork is a Sichuan dish, but is widely served in Hong Kong restaurants. The eggplant is cut into slices and fried with cucumbers. Then minced pork is added and fried with broadbean paste and seasonings, such as red peppers, ginger, garlic, sugar, salt, and soy sauce.
The special feature is that everything is boiled in a clay pot for a while, making the strong flavor of the minced pork come out.
- Sago Mix
Sago Mix is a traditional dessert popular in Hong Kong. Its main ingredients are Sago (similar to tapioca) and a variety of seasonal fruits. The sweet and sour taste of fruits, combined with milky fragrance and chewiness of sago, makes Sago Mix a top choice in the summer.
Many places sell Sago Mix, but Xuliushan (a sweet shop), with a history over 40 years, is the best of all.
- Pineapple Bread
Pineapple Bread is a sweet bread originating in Hong Kong, very popular, and found in nearly every bakery.
The surface of the bread looks a pineapple, hence the name, but the traditional variety doesn’t actually contain pineapple. A mixture of sugar, eggs, flour, and lard form a crisp surface with soft bread underneath, and it’s best eaten when hot.
Free Wi-Fi services are widespread in Hong Kong. In particular, there are many Wi-Fi.HK hotspots widely available across the city in locations such as major tourist attractions, shopping malls, parks and gardens, visitor centres, sports venues, museums, ferry terminals, cooked food centres and government buildings, which offer wireless internet connection completely free or free for a period of time. Download the Wi-Fi.HK app to search for a list of hotspot locations, where you can connect to the internet with the Wi-Fi.HK SSID.
Data usage for your phone is what many are after when they travel. 4G is readily available in Hong Kong and throughout Asia, and 5G is rolling out now too. Most of the prepaid services will either offer 4G or 3G, which are both still plenty fast. As long as you aren’t downloading huge files or videos, you should be fine.On many SIM cards, you will need to enter a code from the packaging to activate the particular data package you would like. It is easy to do, don’t fret. Considering turning off apps refreshing in the background to conserve your data usage, and turn off data roaming to avoid fees if applicable.
We recommend these carriers for voice and data service. Please do your own research as there are constantly new companies that offer deals. But CSL is Hong Kong’s major telcom provider so their coverage will most likely cover the most area for your travels in Hong Kong:
- HK and Macau: 5 Days or Less – Discover HK Tourist SIM 5 Dayby csl
- HK and Macau: 8 Days or Less – Discover HK Tourist SIM 8 Dayby csl
- HK only: longer than 8 days – 4G/3G Data & Voice Prepaidby China Mobile
These packages can be purchased through the Hong Kong Tourism Promotion Board: http://www.discoverhongkong.com/eng/plan-your-trip/traveller-info/communications/tourist-sim-card.jsp
No vaccinations are required to enter Hong Kong, although you might want to consider a vaccination against hepatitis A. Thankfully, there is no malaria in Hong Kong, although parts of China are a different matter. Bird Flu outbreaks in 1997 and 2003 have led to Hong Kong introducing stringent controls on poultry. Nevertheless, with periodic outbreaks in Southern China, precautions should be taken. For more information on keeping your health safe when traveling to Hong Kong, read up on the latest CDC advice on Hong Kong travel.
Currency, Banking, and Credit Cards
The renminbi (abbreviated RMB )is the official name for the Chinese currency. The Yuan (abbreviated as CNY or this symbol ¥) is the basic unit of the renminbi, but is also used to refer to the Chinese currency generally. By saying either name in China they will understand you are talking about money.
Hong Kong has its own currency, the Hong Kong dollar ($HK). The currency is pegged to the U.S. dollar at around $7.8 Hong Kong dollars to one U.S. dollar. ATMs in Hong Kong are abundant, with HSBC the dominant bank. Bank of America also has a number of branches. It is also straightforward, although the banks usually offer better rates than moneychangers.
ATMs are in airports and train stations, banks and supermarkets, convenience stores and on the street. If you need an ATM, you don’t need to go far to find one. Visa and Mastercard holders should be able to successfully use just about any ATM in Hong Kong, but American Express cardholders will want to look for Aeon ATMs specifically, which are most often found at MTR stations and Circle K convenience stores. The maximum amount you can withdraw from an ATM in Hong Kong will vary, but expect around HK$20,000 per transaction. If you need more than that, you may need to make multiple withdrawals at different ATMs.
Credit cards are widely accepted in Hong Kong. Be sure to let your card company know when you are going to use your card overseas and when you will return so that the card company can set limitations to the date you are traveling. This way if the information is lost or stolen you have a better chance of not losing money. Also make sure when you pay for a purchase that there are no hidden charges (usually from small establishments).
Everyone loves to shop for themselves or for someone at home. Here are some suggestions:
Where to Buy Clothes and Handbags
- The Landmark:15 Queen’s Road Central, Central, Hong Kong Island
- IFC Mall:8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong Island
- Pacific Place:88 Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong Island
- Harbour City:3–27 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
If you like tailor-made clothes, Hong Kong is the right place to go, being renowned for fine workmanship, quality garments, and reasonable prices. You can find many tailor shops that are over 100 years old. The experienced and skillful tailors can customize a Western-style suit, shirts, dress, gown, etc.
Hong Kong’s Famous Tailors
- Punjab House:Flat C, 5/F Golden Crown Court, 66–70 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
- Empire International Tailors:Shop 6, 63 Mody Road, Houston Centre, Kowloon
- Sam’s Tailor:Burlington Arcade, 94 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
- Jim’s Tailor Workshop:Shop 37–38, 1/F Admiralty Centre, 18 Harcourt Road, Admiralty, Hong Kong Island
- Take your time and look around to choose your tailor carefully.
- Do some research in advance and get some ideas on styles, collars, and fabrics.
- Ask the tailor how long he/she will need to finish the suit and plan your stay accordingly.
- Take your time for additional fittings. Be prepared for 2–3 fittings.
Cosmetics and Perfume
If you are a makeup lover, you should visit Hong Kong, which is a heaven filled with cosmetics, perfume, skin care products, and accessories. Without sales taxes, the cosmetics in Hong Kong are very competitive in price.
If you are looking for world-class brands like Chanel, Dior, Estée Lauder, Lancôme, Clinique, Shiseido, L’Oréal, SK-II, H2O, Revlon, Sisley, FANCL, and Kanebo, you can find them in every major shopping mall as well as department stores like SOGO and the Landmark.
Besides the department stores, you can also pay a visit to cosmetics chain stores like Sasa and Bonjour. They are two famous chain stores selling cosmetics and perfumes. You can find their stores on nearly every street. The prices of some products are better than those in the shopping malls.
Where to Buy Cosmetics in Hong Kong
- The Landmark:15 Queen’s Road Central, Central, Hong Kong Island
- Pacific Place:88 Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong Island
- SOGO Department Store:555 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Island
- Festival Walk:80 Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon Tong, Kowloon
Electronics and Computers
Hong Kong is a good place to buy e-products.
When it comes to electronics and computers, Hong Kong is second to none in Asia. With its diverse variety and complete models, Hong Kong is a mecca for every e-products lover. You can find the world’s cutting edge and latest e-products at reasonable prices, including mobiles, computers, cameras, scanners, printers, and computer accessories, among others.
Where to Buy Electronics
- Golden Computer Centre:Sham Shui Po, the northwestern part of the Kowloon Peninsula (a short stroll from Sham Shui Po’s MTR Station)
- Mong Kok Computer Centre:8 Nelson Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon
- Wan Chai Computer Centre: 130 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong Island
- Star Computer City:in Star House, right next to the Star Ferry Pier in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
- Make sure the equipment is compatible with your home country, e.g. PAL/NTSC, dual-band versus tri-band phones. Additionally, check the voltage is compatible.
- Make sure the product has an international warranty.
- If you are in an independent store, don’t forget to bargain.
Gold and Other Jewelry
Hong Kong is an ideal place to buy jewelry.
Hong Kong is an ideal place to buy jewelry, being well known for its high quality, creative designs, exquisite workmanship, and reasonable prices. Shops for famous brands are Chow Tai Fook, Chow Tai Seng, LUKFOOK, and Chow Sang Sang, which are very easy to find in Tsim Sha Tsui, Mong Kok, and Central.
Besides these jewelry stores, you can explore Jade Market in Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon. You will find all kinds of jade ornaments at about 400 jade stalls.
Where to buy Jewelry
- Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
- Mong Kok, Kowloon
- Des Voeux Road, Central, Hong Kong Island
- Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Island
- Only buy jewelry from reputable shops.
- Ask for certificates of authenticity when purchasing gold jewelry.
- Ask the salesperson about return policies.
Apart from jewelry, the diverse varieties of watches will dazzle you. No matter whether you are looking for elegant timepieces encrusted with diamonds or fun watches with cartoon characters, Hong Kong will never disappoint you. You can choose from high-end brands like Rolex, Cartier, Chopard, Piaget, Patek Philippe, and TAG Heuer.
The famous watch shops are Oriental Watch Shop, Time Watch Shop, Kowloon Watch Shop, and Emperor Watch Shop, which are available in Mong Kok, Tsim Sha Tsui, and Central.
- Check the reputation of the dealer.
- Ask about the after-sales service as watches need maintenance.
- Ask about the price of an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) replacement strap for your watch.
Hong Kong pastries
Hong Kong Pastries
It would be a pity if you did not taste some pastries in Hong Kong. There is a wide selection of delicacies like moon cake, sweetheart cake, egg tarts, and almond cake. The famous bakeries are Kee Wah, Koi Kei, and Maxim’s. All products have good packaging, and you can pick up some delicious selections before you leave Hong Kong.
Where to buy pastries: Chain stores selling Hong Kong style pastries are found easily in Mong Kok, Tsim Sha Tsui, Wan Chai, Causeway Bay, and in other large department stores.
- Check the production and expiry dates before purchasing pastries.
- Check the ingredients of each pastry in case of food allergies.
he 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.
Hong Kong is pretty much westernized to a certain extent but when you are meeting Asian business associates or dinning with an Asian group it’s good to know the below. Will definitely help you fit in.
- When greeting people in a business setting, always greet the most important or senior member of the party first. In a social setting, greet the oldest person first and work your way down to the youngest.
- White is traditionally the colour of mourning, so avoid white flowers or wrapping paper for gifts or party decorations.
- Business cards are extremely popular in Hong Kong – make sure you take a stack with you to any meeting or function to have at the ready.
- When presenting something to someone (a business card or a gift, for example), it’s polite to offer the item with both hands; accept the item with both hands, too. When given someone’s business card, examine it before putting it aside.
- If you’re given a gift, don’t open it immediately; it suggests you’re interested only in the gift and not in the guest. It may also cause embarrassment if one gift is not as extravagant as someone else’s.
- Avoid giving clocks – they’re said to represent death. Blankets are also a no-no as they represent a decline in prosperity; similarly, knives will lead to a severing of a friendship.
- When dining, leave a small amount of food on your plate to signal you’ve finished eating but that your host’s serving was so generous you couldn’t eat it all. Chopsticks should always be laid on the rest, not in a bowl or on a dish
- Always remove your shoes at the door or area where you see shoes are placed when you visit someone’s house. Asian family feel that a shoe has walked many places in public and carry filth in the sole of the shoe. To walk into someone’s home without removing your shoes is disrespectful. Just follow what your guide does and most times you will look like you know what you are doing.
Emergency Travel and health insurance is not included in our tour package. This is an important requirement when you travel with us for your safety and peace of mind in the unexpected event that you need urgent international standard care. You should buy travel insurance in your country as it will be more convenient for you to deal with any claims and adjustments upon your return home. AIG, Allianz, or John Hancock have good travel coverage and respond very quickly to emergencies. We do not endorse any one travel insurance company but suggest you consider www.travelguard.com, as past clients of ours have had good experiences with them in times of need. Also, check with your insurance provider to see if they cover:
- emergency evacuation during your travels, and
- emergency airlift to an international hospital or provide professional medical care to transport you home. The cost alone for airlifting a person home can cost up to the 100’s of thousands of USD. Travel more safely with fewer worries.
A packing list is often a forgotten part of the planning processes, but it’s one of the most important steps to ensure an enjoyable vacation. Here are some important reminders from our traveler’s experiences:
- Your passport should have at least 6-months validity from the date of departure on your trip.
- Check your visa requirement to your destination. Check the entry date on your visa and validity of the visa.
- When possible book e-tickets. If you happen to lose your ticket you can always print your ticket online.
- Always make extra copies of your passport and keep it separate from your original.
- Make a copy of your travel insurance and emergency contact information. It’s best to have those numbers to be entered in yours and your travel partner’s mobile phone. It is a must for all travelers who travel with us to have medical treatment & evacuation insurance. We’ve seen too many nightmares when people try to save a few hundred dollars on insurance and end up with hundred of thousand of dollars in medical bills.
- Call your credit card company to inform them of the dates of your trip so that your charge card won’t get blocked by your card company because of a foreign charge. This will also protect you in the event your card is stolen, and you have fraudulent charges on your account. Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted as oppose to Amex.
- Make sure your tour operator knows of any allergies you may have.
Electronics or gadgets
- Adapters for your gadgets
- Make sure your electronics can take 220 volts as this is standard in most countries.
- Sometimes it’s a good investment to bring a backup mobile phone where you can use a local SIM card for calls. It’s much cheaper than using your regular mobile phone and paying for roaming calls.
- Don’t forget your charger for your electronics and check to see if they are compatible with 220 volts.
- Bring small pocket solar calculator to convert exchange rates.
Clothing & Miscellaneous
- Know where you are traveling and the weather you should expect. Traveling to a tropical area you will expect to see mosquitoes, so bring some long sleeve shirts and long pants for evenings.
- Traveling to Asia it is frowned upon to wear shorts that are 6 in. above the knee, especially when visiting temples or places of worship. Wearing a dress is fine if you plan to dress light. But again, when visiting temples please make sure dresses are no more than a few inches above the knee with a shirt or blouse covering your shoulder. Revealing shoulders are frowned upon.
- Good walking shoes and socks
- Slip-on shoes for ease of taking them on and off when visiting pagodas, houses, and other places where footwear in inappropriate.
- Rain-resistant light jacket
- Head cover to protect from hot tropical weather
- Insect repellent with DEET
- Stomach medicine
- Prescription medication
- A good book for those occasional flight delays
See above for health related items to bring
The staff in a hotel may expect you to tip. But before tipping you should check if there service charge added included in your bill. Even if there is the porter or bellboy may expect between $2 and $5 for carrying your luggage. You can leave the hotel maid between $2-$5 dollars per night if there is an envelope left in your room. Don’t do this if there is a service charge on your bill though.
Guides and drivers: suggested guides are tipped: 20 US/day equivalent in Hong Kong dollars/drivers about 10 USD equivalent/day
Taxi or cab drivers don’t expect to be tipped but it is the norm to leave any small change. So if the ride comes to HK$46.30 and you pay with an HK$50 leave the change.
Tipping in the Bathroom
One of the more unexpected places to find yourself reaching for coins is hotel and upscale restaurant bathrooms. In a slice of the roaring twenties, several Hong Kong establishments continue to have attendants in bathrooms ready to hand you towels to dry your hands and douse you in a mist of aftershave or perfume. It’s customary to offer these attendants at least a few coins for the service, although those unfamiliar with this level of contact inside a bathroom may go screaming for the door before, they can reach for their pockets.
Before 45 days, no charge tours.
45 to 30 days prior arrival date: 5% of the total price
29 to 15 days prior arrival date: 10% of the total price
7 days to the day of arrival: 50%
3 days to the day of arrival: 100%