Hong Kong has been a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) since 1st July 1997. Under the Sino-British Joint Declaration between the governments of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) and the PRC which transferred sovereignty to the PRC, Hong Kong enjoys a high degree of autonomy under Basic Law for a period of 50 years other than in areas of defence and foreign affairs.
Hong Kong is a modern, vibrant and cosmopolitan city and one of the most important international finance and business centres in the world, being a “gateway” between Mainland China and the rest of the world.
The meaning of Hong Kong is “Fragrant Harbour”.
Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong Island and Kowloon from Victoria Peak, the highest point on Hong Kong Island but only Hong Kong's 31st highest peak
Hong Kong is situated at the mouth of the Pearl River Delta (Zhu Jiang) on the southeastern coast of China, adjoining Guangdong Province. It lies about 130km to the southeast of Guangzhou, 1200km southwest of Shanghai, 1100km northwest of Manila, 2400km north of Singapore and 2800km southwest of Tokyo.
It consists of Hong Kong Island, the Kowloon Peninsula, the New Territories and 262 outlying islands.
The area of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is 2755 square kilometres of which 1104 square kilometres is land area and 1651 square kilometres is sea area. The land area comprises;
Hong Kong Island – 81 sq km
Kowloon – 47 sq km
New Territories and Islands – 976 sq km
TOTAL LAND AREA - 1104 sq km
The land area of the four largest islands (excluding Hong Kong Island) is;
Lantau - 147 sq km
Lamma - 14 sq km
Chek Lap Kok – 13 sq km
Tsing Yi - 11 sq km
LAND AREA ANALYSIS;
Grassland – 24%
Urban or built-up land – 23.4%
Woodland – 22.1%
Shrubland – 20.6%
Water – 2.6%
Fish Ponds/Gei Wais – 1.5%
Barren - -0.8%
Mangrove and Swamp – 0.4%
Less than 25% of Hong Kong's land area is built-up. Hong Kong has some outstanding, easily accessible country parks and rural scenery. Above is the MacLehose Trail, a popular 100km hiking trail, seen here near Shek Lung Tsai in the Sai Kung Country Park
Hong Kong has a sub-tropical and monsoonal climate with cool dry winters and hot wet summers. Between May and November the region is occasionally affected by tropical cyclones.
Average mean air temperature is approx 23C and ranges from about 15C to 25C during November to February, 18C to 27C in March/April, 25C to 35C in May to August and 25C to 30C in September/October.
Average annual sunshine 1850 hours approx. ranging from about 3.5 hours a day during February and March to 6.5 to 7 hours a day during July to October.
Humidity is at its highest during March to September (about 85%).
Average annual rainfall approx 2300mm. About 80% of rain falls between May and September, with the wettest months usually June and September with up to 450mm rain. The driest months are usually November, December and January with average monthly rainfall of about 30 to 40mm.
For more information see Hong Kong Observatory website;
7,033,500 (at end 2009)
7,097,600 (at end 2010)
7,112,400 (at end 2011)
7,173,900 (official estimate at end 2012 - confirmed figure available August 2013)
Male – 46%
Female – 54%
Hong Kong Chinese – 6,489,492
Indonesian – 137,403
Filipino – 135,081
Non-Hong Kong Chinese – 97,084
British – 37,333
Indian – 26,650
Pakistani – 17,253
American – 16,742
Australian – 15,949
Nepalese – 15,943
Thai - 14,211
Japanese - 13,858
Other nationalities – 58,177
*The last population census was held in 2011 and the above figures are taken from the Hong Kong Government's 2011 Population Census Office, Census and Statistics Department 2011 Population Census Summary Results published February 2012. The next population census will be held in 2016.
Hong Kong Island – 16,390 per sq km
Kowloon – 43,290 per sq km
New Territories and Islands – 3,810 per sq km
Cantonese, Putonghua, English
GMT + 8 hours
Hong Kong Dollar is the legal tender under Basic Law. Since October 1983 the Hong Kong Dollar has been linked to the US Dollar at the fixed rate of HK$7.80 to US$1.00.
Chinese Renminbi is treated as a foreign currency.
Plug Type – British three-pin (square pin)
Religious freedom is a right of Basic Law. There are a large number of religious groups in Hong Kong including Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and Judaism. The largest groups are the traditional Chinese religions of Buddhism and Taoism which are practiced by about 90% of the population. There are about 350,000 Roman Catholics, 320,000 Protestant Christians, 40,000 Hindus, 10,000 Sikhs and 6,000 Jews. In addition to over 600 Chinese temples there are cathedrals, churches, mosques and synagogues.
For more information about religion in Hong Kong see;
PASSPORT AND VISA REQUIREMENTS FOR VISITORS
The Hong Kong SAR Government adopts a very liberal policy towards visitors and nationals of about 170 countries and territories can visit Hong Kong visa-free for business, social or pleasure purposes for a period of between 7 and 180 days. A list of countries/territories and details of visa-free period allowed or whether is required can be found here;
All visitors are required to have a valid passport to enter Hong Kong and for most visitors this must be valid for a period of one month following date of departure from Hong Kong. The current passport validity requirement of the Immigration Department is;
"Passports or travel documents other than documents issued to stateless persons and refugees must be valid at least 1 month after period of intended stay. Documents issued to stateless persons must be valid at least 2 months after the period of intended stay. Documents issued to refugees are only valid in combination with a valid visa and valid documents for next destination."
Separate arrangements apply for visitors from Mainland China who can visit for a period of from 7 to 90 days but are required to obtain Exit-Entry Permits from the mainland authorities.
FREQUENT VISITORS to Hong Kong who have visited at least three times, by air, in the preceding twelve months or are members of some airline frequent flyer schemes can apply to enrol to use the Frequent Visitor e-Channel which allows use of a dedicated channel for priority immigration clearance;
Enrolled users of the Frequent Visitor e-Channel are also elegible to use Frequent Visitor e-Channels at border control points at Lo Wu, Lok Ma Chau, Shenzhen Bay, Macau Ferry Terminal and China Ferry Terminal;
Hong Kong's Immigration Department prides itself on its welcoming, courteous and efficient service to visitors. Each year visitors arriving at Hong Kong International Airport are invited to vote for the "Most Courteous Immigration Control Officer" who is then appointed "Hong Kong Courtesy Ambassador" by Hong Kong Tourism Board
CONSULAR REPRESENTATION IN HONG KONG
As at 1st January 2013 there were 64 consulates, 58 Consulates-General and 5 Officially Recognised Bodies in Hong Kong. Full details can be found on the Hong Kong Government's Protocol Division Government Secretariat website;
VISITOR ARRIVALS (2012)
Total – 48,615,113
Mainland China 34,911,395
United States 1,184,757
South Korea 1,078,458
United Kingdom 533,238
New Zealand 98,370
South Africa 70,660
TSING MA BRIDGE, 1377 metres, opened 1977 (the world’s ninth longest suspension bridge and forming part of the Lantau Link providing road and rail access to Hong Kong International Airport
KAP SHUI MUN BRIDGE, 1323 metres, opened 1997 and forming part of the Lantau Link providing road and rail access to Hong Kong International Airport
TING KAU BRIDGE, 1177 metres, opened 1998 and linking the western New Territories to the Tsing Ma Bridge and Lantau Link
STONECUTTERS BRIDGE, 1018 metres, opened 2009 (the world’s second longest cable-stayed bridge) linking Tsing Yi to Stonecutters Island and forming part of Strategic Route 8 providing road access between the eastern New Territories and the Lantau Link to Hong Kong International Airport
*The above bridges are wholly within the Hong Kong SAR boundary. Additionally the HONG KONG – SHENZHEN WESTERN CORRIDOR linking Hong Kong and Shenzhen on Mainland China includes a 4770 metre bridge (“Shenzhen Bay Bridge”), opened 2007 across Deep Bay. The Hong Kong section of the bridge is 3200 metres.
Most visitors to Hong Kong will travel across Hong Kong's longest bridge, the Tsing Ma Bridge on their journey to and from the airport. The bridge, which forms part of the Lantau Link, was built to provide access to the airport and carries road traffic on its upper deck and rail traffic on its enclosed lower deck which also has road carriageways for use in the event of adverse weather or emergencies
TATE’S CAIRN TUNNEL, 3.9km, opened 1991, linking Diamond Hill, Kowloon with Siu Lek Yuen, Sha Tin, New Territories
TAI LAM TUNNEL, 3.8km, opened 1998, linking Ting Kau, Tsuen Wan, New Territories with Au Tau, Yuen Long, New Territories
EAGLE’S NEST TUNNEL, 2.7km, opened 2008, linking Cheung Sha Wan, Kowloon and Sha Tin, New Territories and forming part of Strategic Route 8
SHING MUN TUNNELS, 2.6km, opened 1990, linking Tsuen Wan, New Territories and Sha Tin, New Territories and forming part of Strategic Route 9
Diamond Hill entrance to Tate's Cairn Tunnel, Hong Kong's longest tunnel
INTERNATIONAL COMMERCE CENTRE (ICC), West Kowloon, 484-metres, 118-storey, completed 2010
TWO INTERNATIONAL FINANCE CENTRE (Two IFC), Central, 416-metres, 88-storey, completed 2003
CENTRAL PLAZA, Wan Chai, 374-metres (including antenna), 78-storey, completed 1992
BANK OF CHINA TOWER, Central, 368-metres (including antenna 52-metres), 70-storey, completed 1988
THE CENTER, Central, 350-metres, 80-storeys, completed 1999
NINA TOWER, Tsuen Wan, 319-metres, 80-storey, completed 2007
ONE ISLAND EAST, Island East, 298-metres, 69-storey, completed 2008
CHEUNG KONG CENTER, Central, 283-metres, 62-storey, completed 2009
International Commerce Centre, West Kowloon, Hong Kong's tallest building and fourth tallest building in the world, stands out like a beacon, reflecting the late afternoon sun (view from Central and Western District Promenade, Sheung Wan on Hong Kong Island)
HIGHEST PEAKS AND MOUNTAINS
TAI MO SHAN, New Territories, 957 metres
LANTAU PEAK (Fung Won Shan), Lantau Island, 934 metres
SUNSET PEAK (Tai Tung Shan), Lantau Island, 869 metres
SZE FONG SHAN, New Territories, 785 metres
WO YANG SHAN, New Territories, 771 metres
On Hong Kong Island the highest peak is VICTORIA PEAK, 552 metres (the 31st highest peak in Hong Kong)
On Kowloon the highest peak is KOWLOON PEAK (Fei Ngo Shan), 602 metres (the 18th highest peak in Hong Kong)
Sunset Peak (Tai Tung Shan) on Lantau Island is Hong Kong's third highest peak