Bring a jacket
Hong Kong is infamous for its hot and humid summers. Air-conditioning in buildings is therefore very effective and acts like a refrigerator, especially in big shopping malls. We urge you to bring a jacket, to be put on indoors to cope with sudden temperature changes.
Summer in Hong Kong is also associated with very wet weather and torrential rain. As rainfall may continue for hours, always be prepared for rainfall, especially if the weather forecast suggests rainfall could happen that day. While umbrellas or rain-coats are common solutions, they're often bulky to carry and might cause some disturbance to people nearby while in use, especially when moving between indoor and outdoor areas. A thin, hooded, water-proof jacket is the best option to manoeuvre through crowded places both in rain, and indoors!
Carry your passport with you
Please carry your passport or an official identity card with you at all times, because the Hong Kong police has the right to check your identity when needed and does so regularly.
In HKG airport: use the free WiFi before immigration
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. Local experience tells us that it is really difficult to connect to the free WiFi in the public area, so please check your emails as soon as you finish your long flight and enter the terminal.
No eating or drinking on trains and buses
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, although these rules are not usually strictly enforced unless violations are reported to station staff. It is common nevertheless for passengers to politely ask you to stop consuming your meal or drink.
No smoking indoors (and sometimes outdoors!)
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.
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
We drive on the left in Hong Kong, unlike other regions of China and some nearby countries, because the traffic regulations in Hong Kong are based on the British system. Making a left turn on a red light is prohibited in Hong Kong, so that pedestrians crossing the street at traffic lights don't need to worry about turning traffic.
Stand on the right on escalators
If you're travelling on an escalator, you might observe a queue standing on the right-hand side and an empty left-hand side. It's common practice for people who do not intend to walk along moving escalators to stand on the right and give way to those walking on the left-hand side, with some places suggesting such practices with the placement of notices or posters near escalators. If you do stand on the left, individuals in a rush may request you to keep walking forward or move out of the way.
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.
- This is required and enforced under Section 17C, Immigration Ordinance, Cap. 115, Laws of Hong Kong.
- Full details of statutory no smoking areas can be found here.