Usually, first-time visitors are thrilled about their trip, but they are also concerned about various issues, including visas, language, accommodations, shopping, transportation, etc.
With this simple guide, you’ll be able to explore the area better.
Is it going to be your first time in Hong Kong? Let me make your life easy with these simple yet helpful tips for your travel:
Carry International Debit Cards
Some rules for visiting Hong Kong have been changed, and you must know them before you pack your bags.
- Visa is On-Arrival and will be as per the norm of the Immigration Department of Hong Kong.
- You should carry international debit or credit cards. International cards may charge additional amounts for usage; you need to clarify this with your card provider.
- There’s no minimum currency required for Visa, but approx. 5000 HKD in cash is recommended.
- Exchange currency at banks in Hong Kong to get better rates.
Be On Time For The Transfer
Here are some helpful about transfers from the airport. Knowing them is always good before you start your journey to HK.
- Be on time for the transfer procedure, for the shuttle at Hong Kong International Airport will only wait for 10 minutes for Seat-in-Coach (SIC) transfers. For private transfers, the cab driver will remain only for 20 minutes.
- Private transfer is available anytime between 5:00 am to 11:00 pm. If you reach before 5:00 am, you’ll have to arrange a cab for yourself.
- SIC services in Hong Kong start from 7:00 am and operate till 9:00 pm every hour. In case you missed your shuttle, you’ll have to wait for the next one.
- You should always head to the gate number mentioned on your voucher.
- Use HKIA SkyPier Service once you have arrived at HKIA and looking for a direct ferry service to Macau. If you have your luggage, arrive at the SkyPier desk 60 minutes before the scheduled sailing time. Passengers without baggage should reach the desk 30 minutes before the scheduled sailing time.
- The closing time for Turbojet Airport Routes Check-in Counter is 75 minutes (with baggage) before the scheduled sailing time.
- Each passenger can carry one piece of check-in baggage free of charge. Economy Class passengers are allowed to carry 20 Kg, and Super Class passengers are allowed to carry 30Kg.
Book Your Accommodation In Advance
Accommodation in Hong Kong will probably be the heaviest chunk of your travel budget, which means you must do your homework. This is also crucial because communication barriers may affect the quality of your travel experience.
- Your best bet is a guesthouse if you don’t want to spend too much on your accommodation. Guesthouses in Hong Kong are clean, comfortable, and air-conditioned. Ensure your safety by staying in only licensed guesthouses. See the complete list of licensed guesthouses on the Home Affairs Department’s official website.
- You can go for some decent budget hotels in Hong Kong. There have accommodations for every budget type.
- Some hotels may ask for a refundable security deposit. If you’ve paid in cash, you’ll get the refund at the time of check-out, but if you’ve paid through a card, it’ll reflect in your bank account in a week or so.
Buy A Tourist Octopus Card
Hong Kong has a developed transport network encompassing both public and private transport. Tourists have plenty of options to go around. Here are a few tips to make your travel hassle-free:
- Buy a Sold Tourist Octopus card at the airport at the 7-Eleven store or the On-loan Octopus near the exit for better offers.
- Sold Tourist Octopus card is the most convenient way to pay for your travel in Hong Kong. The card is a rechargeable smart card that can be used to pay for most forms of public transport, including buses, MTR Trains, Ferry, and Trams. You can also use the card to pay for food at fast food restaurants. The charges are generally 5-10% cheaper than regular fare.
- You can add value to your card at any Add Value Machine at all MTR stations, Customer Service Centres of MTR, the Airport Express, etc. You can store up to HK$ 1,000 on the card.
- MTR or Airport Express Customer Service Centre will refund the remaining balance on your card.
- Avoid rush hours (8am to 9.30am and 5.30pm to 7pm), for the MTR’s interchange stations, are jam-packed during that time.
- Drinking and eating on MTR and buses are not allowed.
Learn To Eat With Chopsticks
Hong Kong is home to approx. 10,000 restaurants and thousands of street food stalls, most specializing in Cantonese dishes. While there are plenty of dining options for you to choose from, you’ll also find some little differences that make a place seem foreign. Here are some tips to save you in a foreign country:
- Always keep tissues with yourself. Why? Because most of the restaurants don’t offer them.
- You should leave some food on your plate at the end of each course. This shows that you were satisfied with the food and the host offered you enough to eat.
- Learn to eat with chopsticks, as most small restaurants do not have forks.
- Don’t stick the chopsticks in your rice bowl because it resembles an incense-burning ritual during the funeral.
- Don’t put your chopsticks across each other; it is thought to bring bad luck.
- In most cafés, tea is served unsweetened. You can sweeten it to your liking.
Learn A Few Cantonese Phrases
Many times during your trip, you’ll have to negotiate for something or ask the way, but the locals may not be well versed in English. Here are a few tips that’ll help you survive in HK:
- You don’t have to speak English fluently while talking to the natives.
- Speak slowly while talking to them.
- Don’t use fancy or complicated English terms. Keep it simple.
- You can learn their actions if you aren’t able to explain them in words.
- You can also learn a few Cantonese phrases online.
Try To Use Airport Express Train
If you want to travel to Hong Kong from India or any other nation and get around without any hassle, then use Airport Express. The train is very efficient and connects the airport to various cities in Hong Kong. And the best part is that it offers free Wi-Fi, so your journey becomes easy and fun-filled! The tickets can be bought in advance.
Download The App For Taxis
You know how important it is to have a taxi by your side whenever you are in a country and want to explore it without any issues. Though the rides are expensive through this app, the biggest reason to do this is that the taxi drivers in Hong Kong hardly speak English. How would you make them understand? Well, the app translates Cantonese into English, and you would know where you are going. It will help you have a safe journey during your vacation. Also, always remember that the taxi drivers in Hong Kong prefer cash.
Don’t Keep All Your ID’s At One Place.
Hong Kong is one of the safest places in the world for tourists, and there’s very little to worry about. It is where crime rates are extremely low, and safety standards are pretty high. However, tourists should be cautious and keep the things in mind:
- Be witty while walking the streets of HK, and be aware of people approaching you on the road. Foreigners are more likely to become victims of con tricks like foreign exchange and fake goods.
- Use a safe at your hotel to avoid carrying valuables in public transportation places.
- While carrying a wallet, keep your IDs separate so that you don’t lose them.
Don’t Forget To Witness The Skyline.
Witnessing the skyline while in Hong Kong is a must thing. If you haven’t done that, you haven’t been to Hong Kong. The best places to watch the jaw-dropping skyline of the city are Ozone Bar at Ritz-Carlton and Victoria Peak. Both the spots offer picturesque views of the city that will make you fall in love with it.
Bonus: Carry Extra Clothes With You
While it is advised for every holiday to carry extra clothes for emergency purposes, it is mandatory for Hong Kong. Take it as travel advice. The climate of Hong Kong is such that you will have to be ready for an unknown change in the weather. It can rain anytime within a day and can get hot as well. You can also carry an umbrella with you.