Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a special administrative region (SAR) of China. Located on the South coast of China, it has a population of about 7 million and a land area of around 426 sq miles and is classified as the 4th most dense area in the world.

As a focus point for international business, a world financial centre and a gateway to China, Hong Kong is mixture of modern western ways of life coupled with Chinese traditional values and is therefore often known as Asia’s World city.

The terrain in Hong Kong is hilly and mountainous, the highest peak is 957m above sea level. Even in urban areas, expect to walk uphill! The inner city areas of Hong Kong are highly developed and you will see plenty of highrise buildings and skyscrapers, small pavements, lots of people and neon flashing signs. Hong Kong is the World’s most vertical city. In contrast however, around 40% of the Hong Kong region is country park or nature reserves. Hong Kong National Geopark is on the UNESCO Global Geoparks list. There are also plenty of bays and beaches along Hong Kong’s coastlines.

Hong Kong came under British rule after the First Opium War in 1839 - 42. Apart from during the Second World War, Hong Kong remained British until 1997 when the region became part of China.

Hong Kong has remained fairly autonomous since 1997 and has its own government that make decisions on many legislative policies except military and foreign affairs. The borders are not freely open between mainland China and Hong Kong and foreign visitors on either side are required to get a visa to travel between the two areas.

By default the official language of Hong Kong is Cantonese. English is also deemed as an official language and signage around the region is often in both languages. The currency is the Hong Kong Dollar.

The weather is Hong Kong is subtropical. You will find mild and dry winters with temperatures ranging from 14C to 20C and hot and humid summers with temperatures ranging from 24C to 32C. From March to May, expect fog and drizzle and it is rainy season in June to August. Autumn sees cooler temperatures and clearer skies.  

Getting to and from Hong Kong
Hong Kong’s geographical location makes an excellent focus city for many airlines travelling to the area and as a transfer hub for flights further afield. As a result, Hong Kong has some excellent links to the UK, Europe and other major cities across the globe.

Travelling to Hong Kong directly from the UK, it is possible to travel from London with British Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airways and Cathay Pacific.

Hong Kong’s airport is built on a partial artificial island off to the South West of the city. The airport was moved in the late 1990s as the previous location was no longer suitable for the increased demand. Until this point, Hong Kong’s old Airport and its proximity to the city skyscrapers was well-known.

The new location has great links to the rest of the region. It’s possible to take the MTR system into the city or local buses. For further information about public transport, please read below.

Getting around
Hong Kong has a highly developed and sophisticated public transport system. There are plenty of modes of transports from: getting up the hilly terrain via escalator walkways or cable cars, travelling between the region’s islands by ferries to more conventional modes such as buses, trains, trams and private vehicles.

Most public transport in Hong Kong uses an electronic payments card called the Octopus card. Similar to London’s Oyster card, the Octopus card is reloadable and can be widely used to pay for your transport as well as in a few retail shops. A basic Octopus adult card can be purchased for a HK $ 50 refundable deposit. To find out more, click here.


Universities in Hong Kong