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Hong Kong Information

Visas & Consulate

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ASEAN members and British nationals do not require a visa to enter Hong Kong. Otherwise you will require a visa or entry permit to work, study, establish or join in any business or to take up residence in the HKSAR. Otherwise, you are taking the risk of being refused admission on arrival.

Visitors are required to have adequate funds to cover the duration of their stay without working and, unless in transit to the Mainland of China or the Macao Special Administrative Region, to hold onward or return tickets. If you want to stay longer than the visa free period allowed, you must apply for a visa or entry permit before travelling to the HKSAR.

Banking & Finances

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Hong Kong is home to some 380 banking institutions and of the world's top 100 banks, 80 of them operate in Hong Kong. Almost every major bank in the world has a presence on Hong Kong Island.

The Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank, (HSBC) is one of the oldest banks in the world. In fact, its headquarters in Central is now a tourist attraction. Read more about Hong Kong Sights & Attractions...

ATM machines abound, open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.. Banks are open from 09:00 to early afternoon Monday through Friday. On Saturdays, they are open in the morning only. Banks are closed on Sundays.

To change money, go to any of the banks, exchange shops and cashier counters at hotels. Be prepared to pay a small service charge.

Major credit cards, such as American Express, Visa, and Master Card, are accepted by all Hong Kong hotels and the larger restaurants.

Education

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Hong Kong's education system is similar to that of England, and most students wear a school uniform. Basically, in Hong Kong, there are three types of mainstream school: government, subsidized (by charities) and private. In addition, there are private international schools that charge hight tuition fees.

Mainstream education in Hong Kong still relies heavily on rote learning memorisation of information, especially for the purpose of passing exams.

Electricity

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The standard electrical voltage in HK is 220 volts AC, 50HZ, so 100-volt appliances and electrical equipment require an adaptor. Also, note that most electric sockets in Hong Kong take a three-pronged plug. Inexpensive adaptors are available in Hong Kong.

Health Tips

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Bird Flu (Avian Influenza): The strain (H5N1) that spread around the world starting in mid-2003 still mainly affects domestic and wild birds. Human infection is rare and involves close contact with a diseased bird. There are no cases of Bird Flu in Hong Kong today.

SARS: The Sudden Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak of 2003 was overcome and Hong Kong has been SARS-free ever since. Rest assured, Hong Kong is relaxing neither its vigilance nor the strong measures now in place to protect the health of residents and visitors alike. There are no cases of SARS in Hong Kong today.

Information Technology & Communications

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Hong Kong is amazing. It was the first major city of the world to have a fully digitized telephone network, yet its charges for international telephone calls are among the lowest in the world.

Faxes are also widely used. The postal service is quite reliable and fast, with upwards of 95% of local mail delivered the very next day.

Information technology (IT) is applied extensively in Hong Kong in all sectors of business. Check out Cyberport, Hong Kong's IT flagship.

Most hotels have Internet access. You can also access the Internet free of charge at coffee shops, such as Pacific Coffee. For people bringing laptops to Hong Kong, wireless broadband service is not uncommon at major shopping malls.

Transportation

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Chek Lap Kok International Airport on Lantau Island is easy to get around, and almost every airline flies there. Read more about getting to & from the airport...

Hong Kong's public transportation system is highly efficient, so you can get where you want to go on time, even clear across the island. Just remember that during rush hour, it will be crowded.

Trams are a relaxing way to traverse the city while the ferries offer a scenic distraction and provide a breath of fresh air to clear the dreariness of a long-drawn boardroom meeting.

The Mass Transit Railway (MTR) service of Hong Kong Island is comprehensive, efficient and fast, as is that of Kowloon peninsula's Kowloon-Canton Railway (KCR). The trains provide excellent service to most areas.

Buses and taxis are a relatively cheap alternative to the trains. Watch out for traffic jams during rush hour, though! Read more about getting around Hong Kong...

Water

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Hong Kong tap water is treated, so it is officially deemed drinkable. However, the pipes in many buildings in Hong Kong are old-fashioned and the quality water passing through them may deteriorate. In addition, water tanks are not always properly maintained. It is advisable to buy your drinking water, or, at least, boil it before drinking. However, tap water in Hong Kong is certainly safe for showering, bathing, washing clothes and dishes.

Handover day: July 1, 1997
Population: 6.8 million
Local currency: Hong Kong Dollar (100 cents = 1 HKD)
Languages: Cantonese, English, (Mandarin)
Area size: 1,103 square kilometres
Country calling code: +852
Top 3 import sources: PRC, Japan and USA
Top 3 export markets: PRC, USA and Japan

 

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