Visiting Hong Kong

History

Hong Kong grew from a small fishing village in the 1800s, to a bustling city of 426 sq. miles (1,104 sq. km) with approximately 7 million residents. Originally mostly made up of Tanka fishermen and Hakka charcoal burners, large numbers of people from Mainland China, Guangdong province in particular, fled to Hong Kong in the 1850s during the Taiping Rebellion and again from the 1930s to 1960s to escape war and Communist rule.

After the First Opium War (1839-42), Hong Kong was under British sovereignty for more than 150 years, creating a racially segregated society due to colonial attitudes. However, in a positive light, cultural elements from the era of British colonialism merged together with traditional Chinese culture to form the unique “East meets West” scene that Hong Kong is famed for. Hong Kong became the first Special Administrative Region of the PRC on July 1st, 1997, enabling a different political system from Mainland China and a high degree of autonomy.

31 reasons why you should visit Hong Kong.

Weather in November

Hong Kong lies just within the south of the Tropic of Cancer, so it’s climate is subtropical with very distinct seasonal temperatures. In November, “there are pleasant breezes, plenty of sunshine and comfortable temperatures” (Hong Kong Observatory “Climate of Hong Kong”: http://www.hko.gov.hk/cis/climahk_e.htm). However, one must be prepared for typhoons as it can have an impact on travel plans. There are different degrees of warning signals of a typhoon, when no.8 is signaled, most flights and businesses would be cancelled. This is the same for the black rain signal.

From November 16th to 21st, the weather predicted in Hong Kong by AccuWeather.com is very stable, with the highest temperature at 23 degrees celsius and lowest temperature at 18 degrees celsius. However this might fluctuate, so please be prepared for changes. The humidity in November is also fairly low.

Please check the Hong Kong Observatory website (http://www.hko.gov.hk/contente.htm) for more details and also to monitor the weather whilst on your trip!

Internet Access

Hong Kong International Airport provides free wifi access inside the airport. At downtown, you may get free wifi connections sponsored by the Hong Kong Government at 5,000 hotspots with SSID "Wi-Fi.HK". There are also multiple hotspots at downtown providing free wifi accesses for EDUROAM. More information...

Eating Out

Hong Kong is home to 11,000 restaurants catering a wide range of cuisines promised to suit everyone’s appetite. Whether you prefer local food or international cuisines, Hong Kong’s diverse selection of delicious food will leave you wanting more. Prices are also very reasonable and you can even enjoy a dish for less than US $2 at a Michelin starred restaurant.

Below are some suggestions for getting local food and the recommended restaurants.

Dim Sum

Dim Sum are snack sized foods that are usually steamed in a circular bamboo container. Dim Sum eating is a custom in Cantonese culture and is eaten communally with family or friends. This is also known as “yum cha”, which means drinking tea. So, what should you order to enjoy the ultimate yum cha experience?

Here are some recommended dishes:

  • Steamed Shrimp Dumpling 蝦餃 (haa1 gaau2)
  • Siu Mai / Pork Dumplings 燒賣 (siu1 maai6)
  • Barbecued Pork Bun 叉燒包 (caa1 siu1 baau1)
  • Cheung Fen / Rice Noodle Roll 腸粉 (coeng4 fan2)
  • Spring Rolls 春卷 (ceon1 gyun2)
  • Phoenix Claws 鳳爪 (fung6 zaau2)

Dim Sum Restaurants around Shatin Area:

  • Lei Garden Restaurant: Shop 628&631 ,6/F, New Town Plaza Phase 1, 18 Sha Tin Centre Street, Sha Tin ($151-$300)
  • Regal Terrace: 2/F, Regal Riverside Hotel, 34-36 Tai Chung Kiu Road, Sha Tin ($101-$150)
  • Shanghai Min: Shop 710, 7/F, New Town Plaza Phase 1, 18 Sha Tin Centre Street, Sha Tin ($151-$300)
  • Star Seafood Floating Restaurant: 55-57 Tai Chung Kiu Road, Sha Tin ($101-$150)

Seafood

The seafood in Hong Kong is not only a huge part of Cantonese cuisine, it is also one of the best in the world. One of Hong Kong seafood’s main qualities is its freshness, as customers can see their food still swimming in tanks before it getting cooked. There is a wide selection for all the seafood lovers, including fish, crab, mussels, lobsters, shrimps and even sea urchins.

Some Recommended Dishes:

  • Scallops steamed with ginger and garlic蒜茸蒸扇貝 (syun3 jung4 zing1 sin3 bui3)
  • White boiled shrimp白灼蝦 (baak6 zoek3 haa1)
  • Mantis Shrimp 攋尿蝦 (laai6 niu6 haa1)
  • Lobster cooked with scallions and ginger 薑蔥龍蝦 (goeng1 cung1 lung4 haa1)
  • Another seafood dish is the Shark Fin Soup 魚翅 (jyu4 ci3), however it is not recommended as it has caused major issues concerning shark welfare.

To get very fresh seafood, you might want to check out these seafood districts:

  • Lei Yue Mun
  • Sai Kung
  • Lamma Island

Dessert

For dessert, you might want to try a local cantonese dessert called “tong sui”. Hong Kongers would often go to dessert shops to take a break from the city’s hustle and bustle and indulge in the taste of the sweet soup.

Sweet soup dishes:

  • Red Bean soup 紅豆沙 (hung4 dau6 saa1)
  • Black Sesame soup 芝麻糊 (zi1 maa4 wu4)
  • Mung Bean soup 綠豆沙 (luk6 dau6 saa1)
  • Sago Soup 西米露 (sai1 mai5 lou6)
  • Tofu Pudding 豆腐花 (dau6 fu6 faa1)
  • Sweet Potato Soup 番薯糖水 (faan1 syu4 tong4 seoi2)

Restaurant Recommendation:

  • Honeymoon Dessert: 704A, 7th Floor, New Town Plaza, Shatin

Shopping

Hong Kong is well known by her shopping paradise. Clothing, cosmetics, jewellery, foodstuffs, electronics, arts and crafts, books, souvenirs, we’ve got them all!

Malls

New Territories

  • New Town Plaza, Sha Tin: The New Town Plaza, one of the largest shopping malls, is located in Shatin at about 10 minutes away from the conference venue. There are cosmetics, clothing, and electronics shops, as well as Western and Chinese restaurants. Another mall, HomeSquare, is a short walk away from New Town Plaza. HomeSquare is entirely made up of stores selling home products and has an IKEA. More information…
  • Maritime Square, Tsing Yi: On your way to or from Hong Kong Disneyland and Ngong Ping 360? This mall is ocean themed, with super convenient shops and services available. Maritime Square Website

Kowloon

  • Festival Walk, Kowloon Tong: Festival Walk in nearby Kowloon Tong is another mall that has many designer shops in addition to a large PageOne bookshop, a cinema, an ice rink, a supermarket and a food court. Festival Walk Website
  • Megabox, Kowloon Bay: Named after its box shape, this huge mall is most suitable for a family’s day out. There are many shops dedicated to children’s clothing and toys, as well as an ice rink, an IMAX theatre, a Suning electronics store, an IKEA and a AEON JUSCO department store. Megabox Website
  • ELEMENTS, Kowloon Station: Elements mall follows the theme of the five traditional Chinese elements: metal, wood, water, fire and earth. In each zone corresponding to each of the elements, impressive features such as sculptures and fountains are displayed. Luxury shops create a paradise for the shopaholic and high-end restaurants often offer a breathtaking view of the harbour. More information...
  • iSquare: This 31 storey mall is located at the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui and is known for its unique design. This large shopping and entertainment complex guarantees a memorable experience for visitors of all ages. iSquare features brands from across the world and also an IMAX cinema in the midst of the innovative use of multimedia interior design. iSquare Website
  • K11: Located in Tsim Sha Tsui, K11 is the world’s first art shopping mall. Combining shopping and dining in the environment of artistic creations, this mall certainly counts for an unique experience. K11 offers a wide range of shops and restaurants, bringing “people, art and nature in harmony”. K11 website

Hong Kong Island

  • IFC mall: Located in the tallest building in Hong Kong, this mall is the perfect getaway after a day of sightseeing. IFC mall features international brands and also Hong Kong’s biggest apple store. For people who would like to dine, there are cuisines guaranteed to suit everyone’s taste buds. IFC mall website
  • The Peak Galleria and the Peak Tower: The peak is one of Hong Kong’s most popular tourist destinations and the Peak Galleria is the ideal place to relax after a long walk. The view from this mall is breathtaking, 400 metres above sea level, one can enjoy Hong Kong’s spectacular skyline. There are also many speciality shops from selling Hong Kong handicrafts to designer products. Visitors can also taste the delicacies of Hong Kong cuisine. Peak Galleria Website

Department Stores

G.O.D.

Short for Goods of Desire, this brand aims to give new twists to symbols of Old Hong Kong, reinventing items such as rooster bowls, red-white-blue bags, and objects with the double happiness symbol into household items and fashion accessories. Definitely a great place to find uniquely Hong Kong souvenirs. http://www.god.com.hk/info/locations.html

Street Markets

Mong Kok

If you are looking to experience the vibrant bustling city atmosphere, take a walk around Mong Kok. There’s a sneaker street, a flower market, and a ladies’ market which contains a huge array of cheap items, whether you are looking for souvenirs or just bargain knick knacks, from T-shirts to headphones. In the pedestrian road areas, where it is most crowded, you can often find electronic shops, jewelry stores and clothing stores. For more obscure spots, second-floor bookshops that can be accessed from narrow stairways often provide a quiet and calming environment for browsing books.

Quality Tourism Services Scheme

How do you know when you’re in a quality establishment? When you see the Quality Tourism Services (QTS) sign! Shops with this symbol must pass strict annual inspection that guarantees excellent product and service quality.
They must:
  • Provide clearly displayed prices;
  • Display clear product information; and
  • Ensure superb customer service.
More information...

Tourism Attractions

If you have time to discover Hong Kong beyond the conference, you may wish to visit the following attractions:

Popular destinations

  • The Peak: Take the Peak Tram up a steep slope to arrive at the The Peak, where you can see an amazing view of Victoria Harbour and Kowloon. With huge historical significance, you can learn more about its history if you visit the Peak Tram Historical Gallery. (Open 7 am to 12 midnight [Mon - Sun & Public Holidays]). This landmark also offers shopping opportunities in the Peak Tower and the Peak Galleria. More information...
  • Ngong Ping 360
  • The Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery
  • Ocean Park
  • Disneyland

Heritage and Culture

  • Tin Hau Temple
  • Chi Lin Nunnery
  • Tai O Fishing Village
  • Hong Kong Heritage Museum
  • Hong Kong Railway Museum
  • Hong Kong Museum of History

Outdoors

  • MacLehose Trail
  • Hong Kong Global Geopark of China
  • Hong Kong Wetland Park
  • Mai Po Wetlands

Nightlife

  • Lan Kwai Fong
Take a virtual tour before visiting these places!http://www.discoverhongkong.com/eng/plan-your-trip/travel-kit/virtual-to...

Facts & Figures

  • Total area: 426 sq. miles (1,104 sq. km)
  • Population (2010 census): 7,061,200
  • Population density: 16,576 / sq. mile (6,480 / sq. km)
  • Official languages: English, Chinese (lingua franca: Cantonese)
  • Ethnicity: 90+% Chinese
  • Currency: Hong Kong dollar (HKD), pegged at HK$7.80 = US$1.00 (HK$1.00 = US$0.13)
  • Time zone: HKT (UTC+8), no daylight savings observed

    Travel, social media and Hong Kong

    A look at the impact of the rise of social media on travel in Hong Kong, with examples of the trend, such as the social media collaboration between the Hong Kong Tourism Board and HK InstaYay (http://www.hongkongsummer.com) and a photo competition that mobilizes locals to show their favorite parts of the city.

    Travel Pack iPad & Tablet App

    Food, hiking, islands, walking routes, feng shui, tea, street markets, colonial architecture, clan history, practical travel info... are only a fraction of the topics covered in the Hong Kong Tourism Board's collection of guidebooks. And they're all available in this app. It's (almost) all you need to pack.

    One Touch. 7000+ Unique Things to See and Savor in Hong Kong

    Developed by the Hong Kong Tourism Board and Cathay Pacific Airlines, this app allows you to point your phone in the direction of any attraction in Hong Kong and the app reveals its information.

    CityGallery

    This app allows you to listen to audio guides for interactive exhibits in English, Cantonese and Mandarin. It is developed by the Planning Department.

    PCCW - HKT Wi-Fi

    This app allows you to locate PCCW-HKT Wi-Fi hotspots around Hong Kong so you can enjoy free wifi!

    MTR Tourist

    This app helps tourists navigate Hong Kong and travel from destination to destination.