GENERAL INFO.
HONG KONG

Country code 852 , $1=HK$7.71 Mar 20, 99

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Language
Cantonese, Mandarin, English Many people speak English.


Climate
Winter Dec.-Feb. Most rainy or cloudy.Max. temperature about 15 degree Jacket or long sleeve shirt is necessary.
Mar.-May: 18-27 degree,
Summer May - Sep: Very hot 26-33 degree,
Sep - Dec dry 18-28 degree. Typhoon season: Jul- Sep

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Basic Travel Costs
Dormitory HK$60+ Single Room HK$100+
Double Room HK$130 Mineral water HK$4.5/1.5ltr.
Restaurant meal HK$30 noodle HK$15
Big Mac HK$10, set $18 Coffee HK$10
American Breakfast HK$18 Coke(canned) HK$6
36-exposure film HK$ ? Toilet paper HK$3 Most GH supply

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Bank/Exchange
Local Currency: HK$ T/C US$1=HK$7.71 Cash US$1=HK$7.73
Foreign Currency:
All major currencies are changeable. Cash rate is always higher than T/C
Rate for Chinese Currency: HK$1=1.15 yuen(Chinese money) 1yuen = HK$0.85
Most useful Foreign Currency: US$
Exchange rate is controlled, fixed to US$. US$ rate is the best.
T/C: Accepted at banks and most moneychangers. Slightly lower rate than cash.
T/C Commission: at banks - HK$50 is extortionate. None at moneychangers.
Moneychangers: Everywhere and though the rate is lower than banks they don't charge commission so they're a better option. Be careful and always check the rate because sometimes tourists are not given the correct one. Check around.
Best Rate: Moneychanger on GF of Chung King Mansions, just after the entrance, Wall Street Exchange
Exchange at Airport: worst rate, 7% lower than one in city. Change the minimum.


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Immigration/Visa
Visa Usually 30 day tourist visa is issued at the airport. (Free) It is very difficult to extend.

Border Crossing
To main land China: You can take a train, a bus, a boat.to various destinations in China. To visit Shinsen (China),- a special economic district, you can get a visa at the border. HK$100, To go further into China, you need visa which can be obtained from the Chinese council or travel agents.
To Macao: To boats leave every 15 min. No visa is required.
By Land: Train
By Train(Kowloon Canton Railway(KCR)) starts from Hunghom Terminal East TST, 20min from TST on foot.There are many trains to Shenzhen, and further up to China. For the trains to China, you may need reservation.
By Land: Bus
to Guangzhou from China City Building W of TST.
By Air:
New International Airport:
airport tax $50
post office M-Sa9:00-20:30, luggage deposit $50/day - ripoff
Exchange at airport is very bad. change minimum.
It is reported that it's comfortable to sleep.
Transport:
1.)AEL(Airport Express) High speed train connecting the airport and HK island in 23min. You can take the train directly from the arrival hall. Tickets are sold by vending machines, just before the train.
Cost : OW/RT to HK Station(Central) $70/120, to Kowloon Station $60/100 Day Return is same as single and RT ticket is good for a month.
Kowloon Station is far from TST, guest house area. but shuttle bus is free with the AEL Tickets.
To Airport, you can buy the tickets from major hotel in TST and get a free shuttle.
2.)Airport Bus: to TST, A21
HK$33, to Central #A11 $40
3.)Cheapest way to town.(to TST)
from the airport, take a local bus to MTR Tung Chung station, #51-$4, #61-$3.5. From Tung Chung station to TST station via Lai King station $15, 40 min., to Central $20
4.)Night bus: 0:00-5:00 cost
$28
By Sea:
Boat to Macau from HK Macao ferry terminal, every 15 min.
Boats to many destinations of main land China, many boats are leaving from China Ferry Terminal, W of TST

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Mail/Telephone
Postal Service
Post card & letter up to 20g are the same price.
To
UK & Europe, USA, Australia all HK$3.1, To Macao HK$2.5
Parcel by Air 1kg HK$120
Parcel by Sea 1kg HK$34
Aerogram HK$2.30
Telephone Service
Country code : 852
Int'l Call: (001+ country + number )
Charge

Usual price for 1 min./discount price (Call TAlk Card IDD Rate)
England HK$8.80/$8.20, France HK$12.50/HK$11.70,
America HK$6.80, Australia HK$7.20/HK$6.50, Macao HK$2.10
There are a few different kinds of telephone cards. The rates are different between cards. Call Talk Card from Telephone office is cheap, but private int'l phone companies are offering cheaper rates, such as Elephant phone etc.
Collect Call operator: 10010
Local call: 8:00-21:00 HK$1/5min., 21:00-8:00 ?
Coin, Cardphones are everywhere. Phone calls within HK are free from hotels and some other places.
Cyber Hightech Telephone: are available at Tourist Info Offices and MRT Central Station. Not only a phone but you can browse tourist info like internet. For the promotion period, local call is free.

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Customs
Tipping:
Not required. but at restaurants, service charge 10% often added. Taxi??
Toilet:
Mainly western style toilets. Usually equipped with toilet paper.


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Accommodation
Accommodation in Hong Kong is some of the worst & most expensive in SE Asia. Rooms are super-small, often just enough to fit the bed. If your room has a window, you are very lucky.
Most of the cheap GH's are clustered in old high-rise buildings in a terrible condition. Stories of fires are famous. At least most have western style toilets and bath rooms have hot showers.
Prices: see basic prices.


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Food
There are many kinds of food available. Chinese is most common. Dim sum is the specialty. Currently popular are "All-You-Can-Eat" buffets. They cover all types of food. Business lunch and afternoon tea deals are better option. often good value.

Electricity
220 V, 50Hz, plug type is British.


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Festivals/Holidays 2001
The current holidays and events, see www.hkta.org
Jan 1 PH New Year's day
New Year's day Horse races
Jan 24-26 PH Lunar New Year's Day Chinese New Year Parade. The 3rd day even. fire work.
Feb 7-Mar 11 29th Art Festival
Feb 7-9 Yuen Siu -Spring Lantern Festival & Carnival
Apr 5 PH Ching Ming Festival
Apr 6-21 HK Int'l Flm Festival
Apr 13-16 PH Easter
May 1 PH May Day
May 8? Birthday of Tin Hau: Festival for goddess of the sea. Fishermen decorate their boats and gather at the temple and pray for coming years good catch. A big celebration in Joss House Bay. Many organized tours. Special HK & Yamatei Ferry runs for this occasion. A parade is held in Yuen Long, new territory. HKTA also organize a tour.
Apr 30 PH Birthday of Lord Buddha
Jun 6? ?Cheung Chau Bun Festival, Cheung Chau island
8 days festival for buns. Giant Bun tower is made.
on the last day a procession is held with colorful costume.
Jun 18 PH Tuen Na Festival (Dragon Boat races)
Jun 26 PH May 5 in Chinese calendar
Jun 30 Dragon Boat races - International
Jul 2 (Normally 1) PH SAR Establishment Day-Return to China
Aug 17? PH Sino-Japanese War Victory Day
Sep 5? Hungry Ghosts Festival
Oct 2 Mid Autumn
Oct 1,2 PH National Days
Oct 1 Autumn Festival & Lantern Carnival
Many different shape lanterns,fishes or shpace ships etc, are sold. People eat moon cakes.
Oct 5-7? Fire Dragon Parade
Oct 6? Day after Autumn Festival, Monkey God Festival
Oct 2? Birthday of Confucius
Oct 25 PH Chung Yeang Festival
Nov 21-22? Macau Grand Prix
Dec 25,26 PH Christmas
There are many more festivals and events. Contact the tourist information office.
Chinese New Years Dates: Festival last for 3 days
2000-Feb 5, 2001-Jan 24, 2002-Feb 12, 2003-Feb 1, 2004-Jan 22, 2005-Feb 9, 2006-Jan 29, 2007-Jan 18

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@ Internet @
All commercial internet cafes are gone. but a public library and some cafes have terminals for free. See HK city info

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