Hong Kong Local Tours
Hong Kong Tours
History Location of Hong Kong Weather Language Currency Emergencies Business Hours Useful Numbers
History Of Hong Kong

The bustling city of Hong Kong was just a collection of fishing villages when claimed by Britain in 1842 following the First Opium War with China. This failed attempt by the Ching Dynasty to stop the British trading in opium led to Hong Kong being ceded to Britain under the Treaty of Nanking that year. The Kowloon Peninsula was handed over in 1860 and a 99-year lease on the New Territories, comprising the area north of Kowloon up to the Shenzhen River plus 235 outlying islands, was granted in 1898.

Under the unique principle of 'One Country, Two Systems', Hong Kong returned to Chinese sovereignty on 1 July 1997 as a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China. This arrangement allows Hong Kong to enjoy a high degree of autonomy, retaining its capitalist system, independent judiciary and rule of law, free trade and freedom of speech.

Hong Kong's magnificent harbour has been the key to its development as a trading port and entrepôt for China, progressing through an industrial era to become a leading financial and services centre in Asia. The unique blend of eastern and western influences, matched by diverse attractions and stunning countryside, has also made Hong Kong Asia's prime tourist destination.

Location of Hong Kong

Hong Kong is situated on the southeast coast of China at the mouth of the Pearl River facing the South China Sea. Covering an area of 1,104 square kilometres (425 square miles), the territory is made up of Hong Kong Island, the Kowloon Peninsula and the New Territories. At the core is Victoria Harbour, which separates Hong Kong Island from Kowloon and beyond that, the New Territories that runs up to the boundary with Mainland China. As well as making up the bulk of Hong Kong's land mass, the New Territories also incorporates 262 outlying islands, including Lantau where the airport is located.

Despite its dense urban environment, about three quarters of Hong Kong's total area is countryside, including about 40% designated as country parks and special areas that are all easily accessible. The Government is striving to improve the living environment through a series of ‘green’ projects.

Weather Of Hong Kong

Hong Kong has a subtropical climate with distinct seasons. Typhoon season is May to November. When a typhoon is approaching, warnings are broadcast on TV and radio, and signals indicate its significance, the latest position and expected movement of the centre of the tropical cyclone, information on the wind strength, rainfall and sea level in the territory. When typhoon signal 8 is hoisted, businesses and shops close down and flights may be cancelled.


Cantonese is the Chinese dialect spoken by over 88% of the people in Hong Kong. However, English is widely used in the Government and by the legal, professional and business sectors as well as tourist areas. Most taxi drivers and salespeople are able to communicate in English.

Since reunification with China in 1997, Mandarin, more commonly known as Putonghua – the official dialect of China, has gained in prominence and most locals can at least comprehend it to a certain degree.

Chinese (Cantonese is widely spoken) and English are the official languages of Hong Kong. All official signs are bilingual (using traditional characters). Most shops and restaurants also have English signage, though don't expect this from the more local or rural establishments.


The legal tender is the Hong Kong dollar (HK$), which is linked to the US dollar at a rate of about 7.80 HKD to 1 USD, although exchange rates may fluctuate slightly. Interestingly, Hong Kong banknotes are issued by three banks (HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank and Bank of China), and vary in design and colour for each denomination.

  • $10 - green or purple (The purple note is issued by the government)
  • $20 - dark blue or light blue (old or new)
  • $50 - purple or green (old or new)
  • $100 - red
  • $500 - brown
  • $1000 - yellow
    Coins (issued by the government)
  • 10c - in bronze, circular, smaller
  • 20c - in bronze, wavy-circular
  • 50c - in bronze, circular, larger
  • $1 - in silver, circular, thinner
  • $2 - in silver, wavy-circular
  • $5 - in silver, circular, thicker
  • $10 - in bronze/silver, circular


In emergency situations, you can contact the local police, ambulance service, fire department and other emergency services by calling 999.

Chinese (Cantonese is widely spoken) and English are the official languages of Hong Kong. All official signs are bilingual (using traditional characters). Most shops and restaurants also have English signage, though don't expect this from the more local or rural establishments.

If you lose your passport, make a 'lost report' at the nearest police station (call Police Hotline 2527 7177 for locations. Then contact your consulate to have your passport replaced.

If your wallet or valuables are lost or stolen, please notify your hotel immediately and report to police. Keep a separate record of your credit card number(s) and report the loss to your card issuer(s) as quickly as possible. Most issuers have toll-free numbers and 24-hour service to deal with such emergencies.

Business Hours

Bunsiness hours in Hong Kong are 9am - 5pm or longer (depending on the kind of business) on weekdays, and 9am - 1pm on Saturdays. Major banks are open 9am - 4:30pm on weekdays, and 9am - 12:30pm on Saturdays. Closed Sundays and public holidays. In 2006, the HKSAR Government started to adopt a five-day workweek for Hong Kong civil servants. Operating standards are being maintained through extended hours for certain weekday counter services and use of alternative means of government dealings. Emergency and essential services are not affected.

Some shops are open every day throughout the year, some only closing during the Chinese New Year holiday. Generally, opening hours are 10am-7pm. However, many stores in busy retail areas like Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui stay open until 9:30pm or even later, particularly on weekends. Shops in Central close as early as 7pm.

Most restaurants stay open until 11pm or later, while some bars and clubs in areas such as Lan Kwai Fong, Wan Chai and Tsim Sha Tsui keep going through the night.

Useful Numbers
Emergency Services (Police, Fire, Ambulance)999
Police Hotline 2527 7177
Hong Kong Tourism Board Visitor Hotline 2508 1234
Hong Kong International Airport 2181 8888
Hong Kong Immigration Department 2824 6111
Department of Health 2961 8989
Consumer Council 2929 2222
RTHK's service hotline (Newsline) for the latest news2272 0000
Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong 2807 0707
Customs and Excise Department Enquiry Hotline 2815 7711
Hongkong Post 2921 2222
Weather (Hong Kong Observatory) 1878 200
Hong Kong Hotels Association Hotel Reservation Hotline 2383 8380 / 2769 8822
Directory Enquiries 1081
International Services 10010
International Enquiries Service(Country Codes & World Time Inquiries)10013

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