A collection of Hong Kong travel and backpacking resources including Hong Kong travel, entry visa requirements, employment for backpackers, and Cantonese phrasebook.

Backpacking Hong Kong

Looking for important travel information while backpacking around Hong Kong? Here you will find information on working in Hong Kong, entry visas, Hong Kong hostels, and much more.

Table of Contents

A guide for backpacking around Hong Kong. Get important travelers information when it comes to Hong Kong including visa requirements, employment opportunities, common Cantonese phrases and translation, as well as Hong Kong hostels.

Facts About Hong Kong

Hong Kong was for 100 years part of the British Empire, it was handed back To Chinese rule in 1997 and despite initial unease life has very quickly returned to normal. Hong Kong is split into four regions; Kowloon and New Territories are on the peninsula of the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong Island is the main part of Hong Kong and the Outlying Islands are a collection of over 200 tiny islands which surround Hong Kong proper. The whole of Hong Kong is an incredibly busy city with a pace that most travellers first regard as frantic. After a day or so of adjustment you will find Hong Kong a rewarding destination. Although its cost might make a long stay in Hong Kong prohibitive, it is worth including for a few days on any tour of the Chinese mainland.

  • Currency: Hong Kong Dollar (HK$) = 100 cents
  • Time Zone: GMT + 8
  • Language: Cantonese and English
  • Telephone Services: Country code +852, International access code 00
  • Emergency Numbers: 999 for all services

Climate

Hong Kong’s climate is governed by four distinct seasons influenced by its bi-annual monsoons in the winter and summer months. The summers are very hot with a rainy season occurring between June and August, Spring and Autumn are both temperate with mild precipitation. During winter temperatures can fall quite low but in general the weather is quite mild. There is a risk of typhoons running from July to September.

 Hong Kong climate map including average rainfall and temperature by month. Find the best time to backpack Hong Kong based on your climate preferences.

Things to see and do

Kowloon is the main tourist region in Hong Kong, it is here that you will find the majority of consumer electronics stores nestled between bars, clubs and restaurants. Some travellers can find this area a little tacky, but it is quite a good chance to get orientated in a more familiar environment, besides there are some sights worth seeing. There is a large night market on Temple Street which although has fallen victim in part to the tourist trade is still worth a look. Also in this area is the Space museum which features an impressive OMNIMAX film projector as well as a range of hands on extension activities. Also of interest is the Museum of History and the Hong Kong Cultural centre which both have an impressive range of exhibits.

Hong Kong island itself is even busier than mainland Hong Kong and much like Kowloon has a significant amount of tourist tack on display. Most visitors come to see the junks anchored off the southern harbour in Aberdeen. Here you will find plenty of boat tours on offer which although pricy are well worth the cost. While here most tourists can’t help but indulge in a meal on one of the many floating restaurants in the area. Other attractions include the Central Market which is the largest on the island and the ancient Man Mo Temple. When the frantic pace of the city gets on top of you, and it will eventually, you can escape by visiting the Zoological & Botanic gardens or perhaps the glorious beach at Repulse Bay.

The most notable other tourist attraction is the Victoria peak which rises 552m above sea level. While hardly a mountain it does offer some excellent views of the city, particularly Victoria Harbour. The best views are at night when the hordes of lights around the city make for a truly spectacular view. While at the peak it is worth doing some window shopping in the mall directly under the observation point, although don’t expect many bargains here as these shops have geared up well to the “captive” tourist market the enjoy access to.

Travel

For tourists by far the most popular way to get around between the various regions is by boat. There are a number of options available, the most common is the cross harbour passenger ferries which run every 5 minutes. Most ferries are operated by Star Ferries but there are other smaller companies operating services. These ferry services only run between 6:30 am and 11:30pm but small motor boats, termed locally wallah wallahs run by enterprising individuals or small companies offer effectively a waterborne taxi service 24 hours a day. In Aberdeen Watertours offers a tour of the harbour in Junks and there are various passenger ferries to outlying islands.

Hong Kong has a reasonable sized metro system with four lines including a cross harbour route. It is generally faster than the ferry but works out slightly more expensive. Tickets are normally bought from automatic dispensers in the station and cost between 30p and HK$1 depending on the route. Visitors staying for longer than a couple of days could take advantage of an octopus card, which costs about HK$5. This card starts with $50 credit on it and the cost of fares are deducted when placed on card sensors in the stations, these cards have the benefit of giving the bearer a reduced fare.

There is a well connected local bus and tram network in operations which is inexpensive but often very crowded. These services also accept Octopus cards. Taxis are readily available and most drivers speak enough English to get by. There are also rickshaws available which are these days solely a tourist attraction.

Accommodation

There are plenty of hotels in all of the areas of Hong Kong with over 40,000 rooms estimated to be available in the city. Standards range from luxury international hotels to small family run guest houses. Despite the huge amount of accommodation in Hong Kong during the tourist season it is essential to book in advance. There is a reservation centre in Hong Kong international airport which can help you out if you haven’t booked in advance but they do charge a pretty heft commission. For more information on hotels in Hong Kong contact the Hong Kong Hotels Association.

There are 4 YMCA hostels operating in Hong Kong including one in Kowloon, the YMCA can provide more information on facilities and prices of these excellent hostels. There are also a number state registered hostels which mainly operate outside the main cities. These are regulated by the Hong Kong Youth Hostels Association who can be contacted for more information.

Health

The quality of Healthcare practised in Hong Kong is excellent and easily on par with Western standards. Charges are made for all services and medical bills can become quite expensive so it is highly recommended that you take out fully comprehensive travel insurance.

Vaccination is advised against both polio and typhoid, these vaccinations are available from your local GP for around HK$40. There is a slight risk of malaria so you should contact your GP for medical advice on whether it is necessary to carry any anti-malaria treatments.

The food and drink in Hong Kong is considered safe and only normal everyday precautions need be observed.

Useful Links

The Hong Kong Tourist Board provides official tourist information for travellers to Hong Kong

The Hong Kong Youth Hostels Association has information on a number of youth hostels in Hong Kong

The YMCA runs 4 youth hostels in Hong Kong

The Hong Kong Hotels Association can provide information on hotels in Hong Kong

Entry Visas for Hong Kong

All travellers require a passport valid for at least 6 months after the period of intended stay in Hong Kong as well as evidence of a return ticket. Visa regulations vary a lot according to nationality. Travellers holding a British passport may stay for up to 6 months without a visa with those holding passports of British Dependant Territories being permitted up to 3 months stay without a visa. USA and EU nationals do not require a visa for a stay of up to 3 months. For any other visa or immigration related information you should contact the nearest local Hong Kong Government Office.

Addresses

Visa and Immigration enquiries should be directed towards the local Hong Kong Tourism Board Office:

Hong Kong Tourism Board
6th Floor 
Mutual House
70 Conduit street
London
W1S 2GF

Tel: 0207 432 7700 
Fax: 0207 432 7701

If you require UK representation while abroad you should contact the British Consulate General, it is worth. Noting that Hong Kong is a Special

Administrative Region of China so you may need to contact the British Embassy in China for some services:
Hong Kong British Consulate General 
No 1 Supreme Court Road 
Central: Hong Kong  
P O Box 528 
Tel: + [852] 2901 3000 
Fax: + [852] 2901 3007/8 

Tourist information can be provided by the Hong Kong Tourist Board:

Hong Kong Tourism Board 
6 Grafton Street 
London 
W1S 4EQ 
Tel. 020 7533 7100 
Fax.020 7533 7111

How to Say Common Cantonese Phrases

Meeting People

English
Cantonese
yes
hai
no
m hai
thank you
doh jeh, m goi
you are welcome
m sai haak hei
please
m goi, ching
excuse me
ching yeung, dui m chu
hello
nei ho
goodbye
joi gin
Good morning
jo san
Good night
maan on, jo taau
I do not understand
ngoh m ming baak
Do you speak…?
lei sik gong…ma?
English
ying man
What is your name?
lei giu me ye meng?
Nice to meet you
rho go hing ying sik lei
How are you?
nei ho ma?
good
ho
bad
m ho

Directions

English
Cantonese
map
dei to
left
joh
right
yau
straight on
jik hui
far
yuen
near
gan

Methods of Transport

English
Cantonese
Where is…?
bin do hai…?
How much is the fare?
che fai gei doh chin?
ticket
piu
A ticket to…, please
yat jeung piu hui…, m goi
Where are you going?
nei yui hui bin?
Where do you live?
nei ju hai bin?
train
foh che, tit lo
bus
gung gung hei che, ba si
underground
dei ha tit
airport
fei gei cheung
train station
foh che jaam
bus station
gung gung hei che jaam, ba si jaam
underground station
dei tit jaam
departure
chut ching
arrival
yap ching
parking
ting che cheung

Time

English
Cantonese
What time is it?
gei dim jung a?
today
gam yat
yesterday
kam yat
tomorrow
ting yat

Accommodation

English
Cantonese
hotel
lui goon
room
fong
reservation
ding, yue ding
Are there any vacancies?
ching man gam maan yau mo hung fong?
No vacancies
mo saai hung fong
passport
woo jiu

Places

English
Cantonese
post office
yau ching guk
bank
ngan hong
police station
ging chaat guk
hospital
yi yuen
chemist
yeuk fong
shop
dim po
restaurant
chaan teng, jau lau
museum
bok mat goon
church
gau tong
square
gong yuen
street
gaai do, ma lo

Shopping

English
Cantonese
How much does this cost?
ni goh gei doh chin?
I will buy it
ngoh yiu maai ni goh
I would like to buy…
ngoh seung maai…
Do you have…?
lei yau mo…?
open
hoi
closed
yau sik
postcard
ming shun pin
stamps
yau piu
little
siu-siu
lot
taai doh
all
chuen bo

Meals

English
Cantonese
breakfast
cho chaan
lunch
ng chaan
dinner
maan chaan
vegetarian
so sik jeh
cheers!
ging jau, yam booi
The bill please
maai daan, m goi

Drinks

Drinks

English
Cantonese
drink
yam ban
coffee
ga feh
tea
cha
juice
jap
water
shui
beer
beh jau
wine
jau

Food

English
Cantonese
meat
yuk
fish
yue
vegetable
sho choi
fruit
shui gwoh
potato
ma ling sue
salad
sa laai
dessert
tim ban

Buy phrasebooks online at Amazon.co.uk

Hong Kong Hostels

Hostels are a cheap form of accomodation, and so they are essential to backpackers and other budget travellers. We have compiled a list of hostels in Hong Kong to help you plan your journey. If you are looking for a hostel in Hong Kong, you’ve come to the right place.

Hong Kong

There you have it, the ultimate Hong Kong backpacking guide. We hope you have found all the information you need for backpacking around Hong Kong.

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