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Hong Kong

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Royal Plaza Hotel Hong Kong
Royal Plaza Hotel Hong Kong - dream vacation

193 Prince Edward Road WestHong Kong

The Luxe Manor
The Luxe Manor - dream vacation

39 Kimberley Road Hong Kong

Hong Kong, officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, is an autonomous territory of China on the Pearl River Delta. It has an area of 1,104 km2 and shares its northern border with the Guangdong Province of Mainland China. With around 7.2 million Hong Kongers of various nationalities, Hong Kong is the world's fourth most densely populated country or territory.

Hong Kong used to be a British colony with the perpetual cession of Hong Kong Island from the Qing Empire after the First Opium War (1839–42). The colony expanded to the Kowloon Peninsula in 1860 and acquired a 99-year lease of the New Territories from 1898. Hong Kong was later occupied by Japan during the Second World War until British control resumed in 1945. The Sino-British Joint Declaration signed between the United Kingdom and China in 1984 paved way for the transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong in 1997, when it became a special administrative region (SAR) of the Peoples Republic of China with a high degree of autonomy.

Under the principle of "one country, two systems", Hong Kong maintains a separate political and economic system from China. Except in military defence and foreign affairs, Hong Kong maintains its independent executive, legislative and judiciary powers. In addition, Hong Kong develops relations directly with foreign states and international organisations in a broad range of "appropriate fields". Hong Kong involves in international organizations, such as the WTO and the APEC , actively and independently.

Hong Kong is one of the world's most significant financial centres, with the highest Financial Development Index score and consistently ranks as the world's most competitive and freest economic entity. As the world's 8th largest trading entity, its legal tender, the Hong Kong dollar, is the world's 13th most traded currency. As the world's most visited city, Hong Kong's tertiary sector dominated economy is characterised by competitive simple taxation and supported by its independent judiciary system. Even with one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, it suffers from severe income inequality.

Nicknamed "Pearl of the Orient", Hong Kong is renowned for its deep natural harbour, which boosts the world's 5th busiest port with ready access by cargo ships, and its impressive skyline, with the most skyscrapers in the world. It has a very high Human Development Index ranking and the world's longest life expectancy. Over 90% of the population makes use of well-developed public transportation. Seasonal air pollution with origins from neighbouring industrial areas of Mainland China, which adopts loose emissions standards, has resulted in a high level of atmospheric particulates in winter.

Exercise normal security precautions

The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.

Crime

The crime rate in Hong Kong is relatively low. Petty crime such as pickpocketing and purse snatching occurs, especially at the airport, on public transportation and in main tourist shopping areas, hotel lobbies and crowded streets. Bags left unattended are likely to be stolen. Ensure that your personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times.

Robberies, some targeting foreigners, have occurred in the shopping and entertainment districts in Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, located across the border from Hong Kong in mainland China’s Guangdong province. Be extremely vigilant while in Shenzhen, and travel with a friend or in a group. Carry copies of passports and other identification and a small supply of cash separate from your other personal belongings.

Foreigners have been targeted in incidents of drink spiking, which is often combined with theft or credit card fraud. Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers, and pay careful attention when drinks are being prepared and served.

Demonstrations

Large demonstrations occur. Avoid demonstrations and large gatherings, monitor local media and follow the advice of local authorities.

Transportation

Traffic drives on the left and is congested in urban areas. Roads are narrow and frequently unmarked. Public transportation is widely available. Taxi drivers speak little or no English; you should therefore have your destination written in Chinese.

Consult our Transportation Safety page in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.

Emergency services

Dial 999.

Health

Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
Vaccines

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.

Influenza

Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.

Japanese encephalitis

Japanese encephalitis is a viral infection that can cause swelling of the brain. It is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Risk is low for most travellers. Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to mosquito bites (e.g., spending time outdoors in rural areas) while travelling in regions with risk of Japanese encephalitis.

Measles

Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.
 

Typhoid

Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives, or with weakened immune systems. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should consider getting vaccinated.

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Risk
  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
  • Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
Recommendation
  • Vaccination is not recommended.
Food/Water

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in East Asia, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, leptospirosis, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in East Asia. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!


Insects

Insects and Illness

In some areas in Eastern Asia, certain insects carry and spread diseases like chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, leishmaniasis, Lyme disease, malaria, and tick-borne encephalitis.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.

Dengue fever
  • Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.  
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue bite during the daytime. They breed in standing water and are often found in urban areas.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine available for dengue fever.

Malaria

Malaria

There is no risk of malaria in this country.


Animals

Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in some areas in Eastern Asia, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person

Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.


Medical services and facilities

Medical services and facilities

Good medical care is widely available. Private hospitals may require confirmation of insurance coverage, guarantee of payment or an up-front deposit before admitting patients.

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.

Laws

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines.

Hong Kong has strict laws regarding weapons and items that may be used as weapons. You are liable for prosecution when transiting through Hong Kong International Airport if you have items such as knuckledusters, extendable batons or live ammunition in your carry-on or checked bags.

Taking photographs of military installations is strongly discouraged. Cameras may be confiscated.

An International Driving Permit is recommended. Drivers involved in an accident are tested for alcohol consumption and may face prosecution if they exceed the legal limit (blood alcohol concentration of 0.05). The use of a cellular phone while driving is strictly prohibited unless the phone is fitted with a hands-free device.

Money

The currency is the Hong Kong dollar (HKD). Foreign currency and traveller’s cheques can be exchanged at banks and hotels. U.S. dollar traveller’s cheques are recommended. Credit cards are widely accepted. Automated banking machines are widely available.

Climate

The rainy (or monsoon) season extends from May to October. Typhoons usually occur between April and October. The Hong Kong Observatory provides information on weather conditions. Local authorities are very effective at disseminating information about upcoming storms to the public, in order to reduce the risks to both citizens and tourists. Severe rainstorms have occasionally caused flooding and landslides, resulting in loss of life and damage to infrastructure. Keep informed of regional weather forecasts and follow the advice of local authorities. Consult our Typhoons and monsoons page for more information.

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