Must-read tips

From Wikimania 2013 • Hong Kong
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Bring a jacket

Hong Kong is a modern urban tropical climate, which means it is hot and humid (32 C/90F) and prone to many rainstorms in the summer. Air-conditioning is widely used, which can turn interiors into refrigerators, especially in big shopping malls. We urge you to bring a light jacket, to be put on indoors to cope with sudden temperature changes or to repel rain.

Summer in Hong Kong means heavy torrential rain. Rainfall can continue for hours, so a small compact umbrella is highly recommended, in addition a water-proof jacket.

Carry your passport with you

Please carry your passport or an official identity card with you at all times. There is no "probable cause" provision, and Hong Kong police have the right to check your identity when they consider necessary.[1]

In HKG airport: use the free WiFi

Hong Kong International Airport provides free WiFi access. We suggest that you use it before going through the immigration counters, because fewer people use the WiFi in the restricted zones. Free WiFi in the public area can be a bit less reliable, so using it before entering the terminal is best.

Food/drink consumption on trains and buses

Notices in MTR transport illustrate the penalty for eating, drinking or smoking

Hold your appetite while you're on trains and buses! Eating or drinking is prohibited on most forms of public transport in Hong Kong. Breaking such rules may result in a fine.

Prepare yourself with some apps (if you are using a smart phone)

Here are some apps to help you navigate Hong Kong’s many worlds! Become a local food expert, experience quirky and exciting festivals, stay up-to-date with local events, or just see what’s around and above you on the densely packed streets of Asia’s world city.

Travel Pack (iPad/ Android tablet app) Island Walks (Phone/Tablet app) City Walks (iPhone/Android phone app) Heritage Walks (iPhone/Android phone app) Augmented Reality (iPhone/Android phone app)

No smoking indoors (and sometimes outdoors!)

No! You are not even allowed to smoke in some outdoor spaces, such as parks and bus terminus.

Hong Kong has enforced a strict smoking ban in a wide range of public spaces since the expansion of statutory non-smoking areas on 1st January 2007. No person shall smoke or carry a lit cigarette, cigar or pipe in designated non-smoking areas; offenders are liable to a fixed penalty of $1,500.[2]

In addition to indoor areas such as restaurants, malls and offices, no-smoking areas are now expanded to include whole university campuses (like our venue!), parks (except in designated areas within parks, otherwise even public benches by a road are covered by the smoking ban), and public transport facilities since the change of legislation, no matter whether the location is indoors or outdoors. Open-air areas of restaurants and bars with ashtrays on top of rubbish bins are often used by smokers as a space of reprieve.

Drive on the left

As a former British colony, Hong Kong drives on the left, unlike other regions of China and some nearby countries. Making a left turn on a red light is prohibited in Hong Kong.

Stand on the right on escalators

Walk on the left, stand on the right!

If you're travelling on an escalator, observe the local convention -- walk on the left, stand on the right. Escalators are hugely important in vertical Hong Kong, so please follow this!

Hence, always remember: Walk on the left, stand on the right!

Severe weather warnings

Hong Kong Observatory has set up a series of weather warnings to provide clear notice of upcoming weather and to help you plan for weather changes a few hours ahead.

Our Climate page gives detailed explanations on the details of the warnings system. The following warnings are particularly common in the summer months:

  • Rainstorm Warnings
  • Tropical Cyclone Warnings
  • Very Hot Weather Warning

Once a warning is issued, almost all electronic media will publish it, allowing you to easily spot a new warning issued regardless of your location.

When certain weather warnings are issued (such as , or anything higher), public businesses and transport might gradually reduce their services and some commuters will leave earlier. Beware of transport service closures as certain buses and ferries terminate services earlier and won't operate until warnings are cancelled. They're often crowded with commuters so it is wise to allow extra journey time.

Although regular cyclones and rainstorms rarely cause significant damage or loss of life in urban areas, you should always take extra caution if you're in the countryside or remote areas, particularly if you're near rivers. Should any emergency occur, stay in a safe place (preferably indoors or in permanent shelters) and call 999. 112 is also available.

More about Wi-Fi

Usually, there are Wifi provided in big shopping malls and restaurants. There are also Wifi in MTR stations, which are limited to 15 minutes per session and 5 sessions a day.[3] However, there are no Wifi in the compartment of MTR and most buses.

MTR Service Update

For latest updates on MTR services and weather updates, you may follow MTR Service Update on Twitter. It is a volunteer service serving 24/7 monitoring MTR services and providing tips to passengers. You may ask for assistance on twitter as well.

Eating out

Probably the most widely-used food recommendations site is

Sunday brunch at a dim sum restaurant is considered by many families as an institution.


  1. This is required and enforced under Section 17C, Immigration Ordinance, Cap. 115, Laws of Hong Kong.
  2. Full details of statutory no smoking areas can be found here.
  3. More details on MTR Wifi service