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FESTIVALS, HOLIDAYS AND OTHER ANNUAL EVENTS IN Hong Kong

There are a number of festivals, holidays and other events celebrated in Hong Kong each year. The main ones are listed below.

January 1 : New Year's Day (national holiday)

January/February : Spring Festival (Chinese New Year, national holiday)

For three days, celebrations involve merrymaking and entertainment of many kinds, both at home with family members and outside in the streets: firecrackers to ward off evil spirits and demons, fireworks, etc. No effort is spared to celebrate the start of the new lunar year in style

February/March – Fifteenth day of the first lunar month : Lantern Festival (Yuanxiao Jie, celebrated nationwide)

Colourful paper lanterns line the streets of Hong Kong and throughout China on this day. According to tradition, they are lit to see celestial spirits flying in the light of the first full moon of the lunar calendar. Children and adults parade through the city carrying long bamboo poles hung with smaller lanterns. This festival officially ends Chinese New Year celebrations.

May 1 : Labour Day (national holiday)

From June 1 to August 31 : Hong Kong Summer Fun (local event)

Hong Kong Summer Fun is an unforgettable summer-long festival of events, prizes, tours and offers. Highlights include the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival, Summer Pop – Live in Hong Kong, the Lan Kwai Fong Beer & Music Fest, and the Summer International Film Festival.

August – Seventh day of the seventh lunar month : Seventh day of the seventh lunar month (Qixi, celebrated nationwide)

Also known as the Chinese Valentine's Day, this romantic festival has been celebrated in China for centuries. Traditionally, this was the day when young, single women prayed for skill in needlework in order to attract a husband and bear children. The name of the festival refers to the seventh daughter of the Jade Emperor, a weaving maid, who was only allowed by her father to see her beloved, a lowly cowherd, once a year, on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month. Gifts of bouquets of flowers or chocolates, special dates, romantic dinners, and dance parties are among the celebrations during this day, highly anticipated by all single people in Hong Kong.

SSeptember/October – Fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month : Mid-Autumn Festival (Zhongqiu Jie, celebrated nationwide) )

Also known as the Moon Festival, this is the day in the year when the moon is particularly round and bright, a symbol of unity and familial happiness. The main feature of this traditional festival is the sharing of cakes with family and friends.

October 9 : Confucius' Birthday (local event)

Confucius, who lived around 2,500 years ago, is one of the most important philosophers in all of Chinese history. His teachings are still followed today and his achievements are celebrated in Hong Kong each year on his birthday. Commemorative events include ceremonies, shows and exhibitions retracing the life of this emblematic figure, who influenced every aspect of Chinese culture.

December 25 : Christmas (national holiday)

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CLIMATE AND WEATHER IN Hong Kong

Hong Kong has a monsoon-influenced subtropical climate. Winters are mild and the skies are often cloudy, although it rarely rains. The spring and summer are hot, humid and rainy. Between June and September, the city experiences periods of extreme heat, with temperatures often above 30°C (86°F) and frequent summer showers. Autumn is the sunniest season, with mild temperatures.

Month Min. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Max. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Average Rains (MM) Best Time to Travel
January 14/57 19/66 25/1.0 Not the best period to go
February 15/59 19/66 54/2.1 Not the best period to go
March 17/63 21/70 82/3.2 Not the best period to go
April 20/68 25/77 175/6.9 Not the best period to go
May 24/75 28/82 304/12.0 Not the best period to go
June 26/79 30/86 456/18.0 Not the best period to go
July 27/81 31/88 376/14.8 Not the best period to go
August 27/81 31/88 432/17.0 Not the best period to go
September 26/79 30/86 327/12.9 Good period to go Good period to go
October 24/75 28/82 100/3.9 Good period to go Good period to go
November 20/68 24/75 38/1.5 Good period to go Good period to go
December 16/61 20/68 27/1.1 Good period to go Good period to go
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Hong Kong International Airport

The airport is located about 34 kilometres (21 miles) north-west of Hong Kong Island.

  • Two terminals
    • Terminal 1 (Air France)
    • Terminal 2

Getting from the airport to Hong Kong and back
  • By car
    • Accessible via Route 8.
    • The airport offers three short-term parking lots (P1, P2 and P4) and one long-term parking lot (P5), with rates from HKD 18 for 1 hour and HKD 144 for 24 hours.
    • Several car rental companies have counters in the arrivals hall as well as in the Ground Transportation Centre, on the underground level.
  • By rail
    • Airport Express trains leave from Terminal 2 about every 10 minutes from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. for Hong Kong Station in the city centre, with a travel time of about 25 minutes (HKD 100 each way).
  • By bus
    • Several bus lines connect the airport to the centre of the city, with night service after midnight. Travel time is about 30 minutes and fares range from HKD 15 to HKD 48.
  • By taxi
    • Taxis are available outside the arrivals hall, using a colour code depending on their destinations: Red (Hong Kong Island), Green (New Territories), and Blue (Lantau Island), with fares ranging from HKD 100 to HKD 300
  • Services : shops, bars and restaurants, Internet access (Wi-Fi) available in the airport.
  • Telephone : +852 2181 8888
  • Website : http://www.hongkongairport.com

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GETTING AROUND Hong Kong

Hong Kong covers quite a large area. And yet, getting around the city is easy and enjoyable, due to its highly developed, affordable, efficient and convenient public transport system.

By rail

The city has two ultra-modern rail systems. The MTR (Mass Transit Railway) is the city's underground train system, comprising four lines serving all the main urban districts. The system is easy to use (all signs are in English), clean, air-conditioned and safe. It operates from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. The KCR (Kowloon-Canton Railway) is Hong Kong's main overground rail system, serving suburban destinations as well as more distant points in mainland China.

Useful tip: The prepaid and reloadable Octopus Card can be used for travel on all modes of transport in the territory, including railways, trams, ferries, buses and coaches. Before you leave Hong Kong, you can cash in your Octopus Card and receive your remaining balance minus a processing fee of HKD 9, for cards returned within three months of purchase. The initial stored value for adults is HKD 100 and there is a refundable deposit of HKD 50.

By bus

Many bus lines operate in Hong Kong, serving all tourist destinations. They run from 6 a.m. to midnight. Fares depend on the distance travelled, starting at about HKD 20.

By tram

Hong Kong's double-decker trams, a holdover from the territory's time as a British colony, operate over 13 kilometres (8 miles) of track between Kennedy Town and Shau Kei Wan, running every day between 6 a.m. and midnight. No matter how far you travel, each tram ride costs HKD 2.30.

By taxi

In contrast to many other cities, taxis are not expensive in Hong Kong. A colour-coding system is used to distinguish taxis serving different areas and destinations:

  • Red taxis operate throughout the territory
  • Green taxis serve only the New Territories
  • Blue taxis operate only on Lantau Island

The flag-down fare is HKD 22.00 for red taxis, including the first 2 kilometres (1.2 miles), then HKD 1.60 for every additional 200 metres (⅛ mile).

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Visitor information

Upon your arrival in Hong Kong, you can get in touch with local tourism professionals for further information and to help organize your stay.

Hong Kong Tourism Board

Offers practical information and many useful recommendations (accommodation, restaurants, public transport, festivals, cultural events, etc.).

Visitor information centres operated by the Hong Kong Tourism Board

At various locations throughout the city, the Hong Kong Tourism Board operates centres where you can obtain information and recommendations for your stay in Hong Kong. Listed below are the main addresses for the HKTB's visitor information centres :

  • Hong Kong Island Visitor Center : The Peak Piazza
  • Kowloon Visitor Center : Star ferry Concourse, Tsim Sha Tsui
  • Lo Wu Information Center : 2/F Arrival hall, Lon Wu
  • International Airport Visitor Center : Buffer Halls A & B, Arrival level, Terminal 1, Hong Kong International Airport, Lantau Island

Further information available online for visitors to China

The official website of the China National Tourist Office (CNTO), maintained by its New York office, provides a wealth of information on Hong Kong.

Website : http://www.cnto.org

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Currency and Exchange Rates

The currency used in Hong-Kong is the Hong-Kong dollar (HKD).

1 CHF = 7,86 HKD

1 HKD = 0,13 CHF

The above exchange rate is given for information because is variable.

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Medical information

See your doctor before you travel.

Upon arrival at Hong Kong International Airport, thermal sensors check your temperature. If it is considered high, you may be requested to step aside for secondary screening.

Vaccinations

There are no vaccination requirements for visitors to Hong Kong.

For more information, contact Air France's international vaccination centre:

Water

Tap water is safe to drink in Hong Kong

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Administrative formalities

As a general rule, a visa is required to enter and stay in Hong Kong, although citizens and nationals of a number of countries may visit Hong Kong without a visa.

For further information, visit the website of the Hong Kong Immigration Department: http://www.immd.gov.hk/eng/forms/hk-visas.html

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Essential phrases

Here are a few basic Chinese phrases that will make your stay in Hong Kong a little easier:

Hello / Good morning: Nĭ hăo

Good afternoon / Good evening: Wănshang hăo

Goodbye / See you soon: Zàijiàn

Yes: Shì

No:

No, thank you: Bù le xièxie

Thank you very much: Fēicháng xièxie

I don't understand: Wǒ bù dǒng.

Could you repeat that: Qǐng zài shuō yíbiàn?

Please: Qǐng

What time is it: Xiàn zài jĭ diăn le?

Excuse me: Duìbuqĭ

Airport: Jīchăng

Train station: Huǒ chē zhàn

Taxi: Chūzūchē

Hotel: Bīnguăn

Hospital: Yīyuàn

Bank: Yínháng

Telephone: Diànhuà

I'm (…): Wǒ shì (…).

I'm looking for (…): Wǒ zhăo (…).

How much is this: Zhè duōshăo qián?

Do you have (…): Yǒu méiyǒu (…)?

Where can I find (…): Wǒ zài nǎ li kě yǐ zhǎo dào (…)?

Where can I buy (…): Wǒ zài na li kě yǐ mǎi dào (…)?

I'd like (…): Wǒ xiǎng (…).

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Good to know

00 852
+ phone number (calls to Hong Kong)
7 : 00
of time difference with
Geneva

Banks

Usually open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Government offices

Usually open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
220 V / 50 Hz

And what about tipping?
Tipping is not expected in Hong Kong's restaurants and cafés. On the other hand, it is quite common to thank tour guides and drivers by offering a small gratuity. Of course, the amount you choose to give is entirely up to you.