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General Information about Hong Kong

Hong Kong - the heart of Asia
With a land area of only 1,090 square km, Hong Kong is one of the worldˇ¦s most important centres of trade. Nestled on the southern coast of China, equidistant from North America and Europe, Hong Kong is conveniently located at the very heart of Asia ˇV it is halfway between Japan to the north and Indonesia to the south, and within two or three hoursˇ¦ flight from all its Asian neighbours. It is the regionˇ¦s top single travel destination with almost 70 airlines connecting it to more than 120 cities around the world. Millions of visitors arrive annually by air, on board cruise ships which dock at a downtown cruise terminal, and by road and train across its border with mainland China. It consists of the Hong Kong Island, the Kowloon Peninsula, the New Territories and 260 outlying islands. A day spent in Hong Kong is a lifetime spent anywhere else in the world. There is so much to do in such a small area.

The estimated population is 6.8 million (almost 98% of whom are Chinese). The official languages are Chinese and English. Cantonese is the most widely spoken Chinese dialect, though Putonghua is also spoken. In 1997, Hong Kong reverted to China and became a Special Administrative Region of the Peopleˇ¦s Republic of China. Its existing capitalist system and lifestyle has been guaranteed after 1997.

The new international airport at Chek Lap Kok commenced service on 6 July 1998. It is situated on Lantau Island, Hong Kongˇ¦s largest island, 34 km away from downtown area. The Airport Railway operates a link to the new airport and Lantau Island, from Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. The Airport Express rail takes 23 minutes to get to Central, Hong Kong, and the round trip fare is HK$180 (US$23.10).

Climate and Clothing
Hong Kong has a sub-tropical climate. Daytime temperature in February varies between 10°C and 20°C. A jacket or sweater may be required, especially as most of the in-door areas are air-conditioned.

The Hong Kong Dollar is the unit of currency. The official exchange rate of the Hong Kong Dollar to the US Dollar is 7.78. Most currencies and travellersˇ¦ cheques can be changed at banks and hotels. Major credit cards are readily accepted in Hong Kong. There are no restrictions on the type or amount of money that can be brought into or taken out of Hong Kong.

The electricity is supplied at alternating current, and the voltage is 220 volts / frequency 50 Hz AC. Most hotels will provide adapters upon request.

Public Transportation
Public transport is inexpensive, efficient and frequent. The Mass Transit Railway (MTR), or subway train, allows easy passage throughout the territory. The Kowloon Canton Railway (KCR), or overland rail service, also operates a service to the New Territories. Ferries run regularly between Hong Kong Island, the Kowloon Peninsula and the Outlying Islands. Buses, trams and metered taxis are inexpensive and easily available.

Visa and Other Requirements
Citizens of most countries do not require visa to enter Hong Kong for a short-term stay of 14 days to 3 months. For details, please visit the official website of The independent Hong Kong Immigration Department:


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