Information of Hong Kong 2

 

The best time to visit Hong Kong will be autumn and winter, that is, late October to March. The temperature in Oct, Nov and Dec is usually between 15°C – 25°C and 5°C – 15°C for the months of Jan, Feb and March. Occasionally we do get cold winter days or nights with temperature goes down to 0°C – 5°C but very seldom goes below 0°C.

Spring in Hong Kong is not a nice season because it is usually rainy or foggy and wet with a humidity of over 80% . June sometimes could have nice sunny days but it is kind of unstable. July, August, September and October (1st two weeks) may have many sunny days but the temperature could be as high as 34°C and these few months belong to the ‘typhoon season’, so you may want to avoid these times. 

Since the typhoon (tropical cyclones) season consists of 4 months, may be you would like to have more information about it.

In Hong Kong we normally have several typhoons every year and the Hong Kong Observatory has made a system of typhoon warning signals for the public to identify the severeness of the typhoon. Typhoon warning signal number 1 is just a precautionary warning signal, telling the residents that a typhoon is approaching towards the direction of HK and is in the 800 km vicinity and it may affect HK.

Then typhoon signal number 3 means that the typhoon is getting closer and people should check the news on radio and TV regularly in case if a higher signal will be hoisted. All kindergartens will be closed and some of the primary schools may also be closed. Some of the public events may be cancelled.

grey sky during typhoon signal no 3

When there is typhoon signal number 8, all schools will be closed. Most offices, shops and restaurants will be closed ( I would say 95%) except 24 hrs convenient stores, supermarkets, gas stations, parking garages and of course hotel restaurants. Ferries services and some bus services will be suspended. Airport will be closed and flights will be cancelled. Stock market will also be closed. This is the time that everyone rush back home. There will still be limited bus and metro services and this is the time that one may have to pay at least HK$100 ( US$25) for a short taxi ride which normally cost HK$20 – 30 (if you are lucky enough to get a taxi). Usually the Observatory will give a 2-3 hours PRE warning before the actual number 8 signal is hoisted, so that the people will have time to get some last minute grocery or to pick up their children from school.

Typhoon signal number 8 normally only last for a few hours (let’s say 2 – 4). 

Then there is the typhoon signal number 9 and number 10 but there was no case of typhoon signal number 10 from the year 2000 to 2010. 

typical street scene during typhoon number 8

The buildings in HK have taken the typhoon factor into consideration in their construction plan, so it is very safe to remain indoors. At times there are casualties in the streets due to flying debris, broken glasses or falling sign panels (most dangerous) but very rarely fatalities. There were cases of fallen trees reported in the past years when typhoon number 8 was hoisted which resulted in car wreckage. There may be flooding in certain areas if there is heavy rain.

HK people are used to typhoons and for most people (especially students), an extra day off is most welcomed. Many people would not mind watching movies in cinemas (yes, the cinemas remain open during typhoon signal no 8 ) , singing karaoke with friends in karaoke lounges ( and yes they are opened too) or playing mah jong games ( chinese version of ‘gin rummy’) at home during the typhoon ‘day off’.

mahjong game

Overall I would consider HK a safe place for tourists. Aside from the petty thefts e.g. pickpockets in crowded places, you can go around safely in most areas even in wee hours. ( I often go back home alone, taking cabs from Central Lan Kwai Fong area or causewaybay at 4 or 5 am and never encounter any problem ;)) I am sure there are some areas that are unsafe but there is no reason for tourists to be in those area.

But in case you need assistance, the emergency number is 999.

 

Hong Kong is a small city densely populated with 7 million people. It is one of those city that never sleeps. You can shop till 11 pm in the evening and eat anytime of the day.

 

24 Hours convenience stores

In Hong Kong, some shops open up to 10 pm or 11 pm and restaurants usually open up to midnight or 1:30 am. We also have the chain 24 hours convenience stores like ‘7 Eleven’ and ‘Circle K’ which open 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week. Inside you will find magazines and newspapers, ‘off the rack’ medicines like Panadol and Imodium, snacks like biscuits, cookies, soft drinks, bottled water, beers, spirits, cigarettes, candies, instant noodles and some frozen packets food stuff. Usually hot water machine (for instant noodles) and microwave (for frozen snacks) are available inside the stores for customers who want a quick snack any time of the day. You can also buy telephone sim cards and recharge cards in these stores. Some of these stores also have personal amenities like shampoos, conditioners, shaving cream, sanitary napkins and condoms. (so important for guys ;))

 

 

24 hours restaurants

In Hong Kong, we have some 24 hours fast foods and cafes. For example : 24 hrs McDonald Cafe, ‘Tsui Wah’ restaurant and ‘The Flying Pan’ restaurant.

Tsui Wah restaurant is a famous HK style 24 hr cafe with good food and cheap prices. There are a total of 13 in HK and 1 in Shanghai. It is a very popular chain restaurant for locals. Some people may find it cheesy and if you are one of those who only frequent 5 star hotels and michelin stars restaurant, then this is not for you. 

This chain cafe is clean and with interior deco of the 70s. You may need to share a table with some strangers if the restaurant is full. They have menu with english translation as well as with photos. You can have a full dinner with rice / noodles , vegetables and drinks for less than HK$100. Service is minimal but efficient and you will have to take the ‘order paper’ to the cashier when you want to pay. This chain cafe accept only cash or octopus card and generally people do not tip in these restaurants.

Inside ‘Tsui wah’

The Flying Pan is a 24 hours breakfast cafe and has a total of 3 cafes with 2 in HK island ( Central and Wanchai ) and 1 in Discovery bay. These casual eateries are most popular with expatriates. They have all kinds of egg dishes from eggs benedict to spanish omelette, other breakfast items like bagels w/ smoked salmon and cream cheese, french toast, pancakes and waffles. The price is very reasonable, an american breakfast with juice, eggs, bacon, toast and coffee cost less than HK$100 which is 50% less of what you pay in hotels. Although it is not a luxurious place, the sofas are pretty comfortable and the free wifi is always a plus. 

 

If you opt for style, luxury and comfort (24 hrs :P) or you need to meet with important clients in late hours, then you will definitely like ‘The Lounge’ in the Four Seasons Hotel. This 24 hour venue has a menu of both western and asian and have piano music during the day and jazz trio at night. The price surely is direct proportion to the ambience and the impeccable service.

Interior of 'The Lounge'

 

Hong Kong is a great place if you ‘love’ to eat. We have over ten thousand restaurants and have every cuisine from Asian to Western. There are also certain food that you can ‘only’ find in HK. (ok, maybe you can find it elsewhere too but the taste is never as good)  So in my future posting, I will tell you some special dishes that I LOVE ( I really love to eat :P) and some eateries that normal tourists won’t know about. 😉 

 

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  6. Mr Bill Griffiths says:

    As a regular visitor to Hong Kong and first visited way back in 1949…living here for three years…and a further three years 1955..1957…..I thought I knew a lot about HK…but your article has proved me wrong…I still have a lot to learn…
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    Bill

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