Hong Kong has the big city specials like smog, odour, 14 million elbows and an insane love of clatter. But it's also efficient, hushed and peaceful: the transport network is excellent, the shopping centres are sublime, and the temples and quiet corners of parks are contemplative oases. The best thing about being in Hong Kong is getting flummoxed and fired by the confluences ...


Local Health Conditions  |   Crossing Boarders  |   Pre 20th Century History  |   Money and Currency
Telephone Overview  |   Media Overview  |   Hong Kong Travellers  |   Night Time Venues
Transportation  |   Kowloon  |   Hong Kong and Arts

Crossing Borders


Hong Kong is divided into four main areas - Kowloon, Hong Kong Island, the New Territories and the Outlying Islands. Kowloon and the New Territories are on a peninsula of the Chinese mainland, on the northern side of Victoria Harbour; Hong Kong Island is on the southern side of the harbour facing Kowloon; the Outlying Islands simply refers to any of the other 234 islands. The New Territories has a 20km (12mi) land border with China proper.

The city itself is centred around Victoria Harbour. The main business district is Central, on Hong Kong Island. East of Central lies the Admiralty commercial district; Wan Chai, known for restaurants and clubs; then Causeway Bay, a major shopping area. Towering above it all is the Peak, Hong Kong's premier scenic outlook and residential district, which happily has plenty of public green space. In Kowloon, Tsim Sha Tsui (on the southern tip), Jordan and Yau Ma Tei are busy hotel and shopping areas, while Mong Kok is a bustling residential and shopping area.

Crossing Boarders

Visas Overview

Visas are required by most foreigners entering mainland China although, at this stage, visas are not required by Western nationals visiting Hong Kong and Macau. Visas are available from Chinese embassies and consulates in most countries.

Customs Overview

Don't bring any cold meats or fresh fruit with you - Chinese law forbids their import. There are limits to other items, such as herbal medicine, that you can take out of the country. Rare animals and plants also cannot be exported.

Cultural relics, handicrafts, gold and silver ornaments, and jewellery purchased in China have to be shown to customs on leaving. If these items are deemed to be 'cultural treasures', they will be confiscated. All bags are X-rayed.

It's illegal to import any printed material, film, or tapes 'detrimental to China's politics, economy, culture and ethics'; this includes pornography. But don't be too concerned about what you take to read.

As you leave China, any tapes, books etc 'which contain state secrets or are otherwise prohibited for export' can be seized.

Duty Free

You're allowed to import 400 cigarettes (600 if you are staying more than six months), four bottles of wine or spirits and a reasonable amount of perfume. Cash amounts exceeding 5000.00 (or its equivalent in another currency) should be declared.