Whether transiting through or as a destination in it’s own right, vibrant Hong Kong offers a heady mix of ancient culture and fast paced city living. We spent 5 days exploring this exotic city – check out our video and plan your own Hong Kong adventure.
When to go
Hong Kong has a subtropical climate influenced by monsoons. Summers (June to August) can be hot and humid with thunderstorms and (usually brief!) rain showers with June being the wettest month of the year. Summer temperatures will be over 30° and nights will be only slightly cooler in the mid 20’s. Our trip was in August and it was HOT! High temperatures and humidity can make for grumpy kids (and their accompanying adults!) so getting around by taking (air conditioned) taxis, ubers and trains will be a welcome alternative to walking. Cooler sea breezes at the beach and on the ferries will give respite. Choose a hotel with a good pool – we broke up our days exploring with regular swims back at our hotel. The promise of a play in the pool can work as great bribery when little feet are getting weary!
Winter (December to February) can be chilly but most day time temperatures will be around 20°. Humidity and rainfall are low in winter. Autumn (September to November) is Hong Kong’s sunniest season and daily temperatures will be in the mid-20s. Spring (March to May) weather is unstable – hot one day, much cooler with the daily average around the mid 20’s. It’s also the cloudiest time of year.
Visa’s are not required for visitors from most countries including the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the EU, Israel and South Africa for a stay of up to 30 days. Check Hong Kong Visa requirements to confirm your visa requirements.
The local currency is the Hong Kong dollar (HK$) and ATM’s are everywhere. PayWave allows you to make quick contactless payments with your credit card and it’s available across a range of retailers including convenience stores and supermarkets.
You’ll need an Octopus card (the rechargeable contactless card used on most forms of public transport) for getting around Hong Kong and you can also use your Octopus card for purchases in a wide variety of retailers. Grab your Octopus card at the airport – there are both adult and kid versions.
You can grab a Tourist SIM card for your phone at the airport or from 7-Eleven or CircleK convenience stores. Your tourist SIM card gives you free local voice calls and unlimited csl Wi-Fi usage at more than 15,000 hotspots around the city. Woohoo!
The standard voltage for Hong Kong is 220volts and plugs are the standard 3-pronged UK style. You can purchase an adapter at most convenience stores.
Health and safety
Hong Kong is super safe day and night. But take all of the usual precautions that you would in a major world city: ensuring your valuables and travel documents are safe and keeping an eye on your belongings in crowded places.
Tap water is suitable for drinking but you can find bottled water easily if preferred. Public places have a high standard of public health with clean toilets and washrooms found at most tourist sites and shopping malls etc.
There are no vaccinations required for entry into Hong Kong but check your tetanus-diptheria shots are up to date (every 10 years). You may also consider the Hepatitis A vaccination.
Be extra vigilant when visiting with small children – wash all fruit before eating and choose food that had been recently cooked and is piping hot. If traveling in the hot summer months, ensure your children stay well hydrated and take lots of breaks in the shade or in air conditioned buildings.
Pharmacies are easy to find and Hong Kong’s hospitals are world-class. Make sure you have travel insurance for all members of your family!
Hong Kong has a safe, efficient, frequent and cheap public transport system. With trains (MTR), trams, ferries and buses in offer little transport buffs in your family are going to have fun getting around the city! You’ll need to get a tourist Octopus Card to use public transport. These store-value electronic cards can also be used for purchases in convenience stores and supermarkets. There are adult and kid versions and you can pick them up from the airport on arrival or convenience stores around town.
As it was hot during our visit, we used public transport as much as possible to limit walking around in the heat. Taxis are also easy to find.
Hong Kong has a huge range of accommodation options. When traveling as a family we are usually big fans of skipping the hotels in favour of a more intimate experience choosing small guest houses or homes. But in Hong Kong being in the hustle and bustle of the city and going big and high up is all part of the experience! With so many hotels to choose from our main criteria were:
A room with a view
We wanted to be on the harbour’s edge so we could watch the harbour action by day and the lights of Hong Kong by night. We are SO glad we made this a must as watching the cruise ships, ferries and fishing boats plow the harbour below us provided lots of entertainment.
Room to move
As we were staying 5 nights, we wanted a spacious room where we could unpack and relax after a day exploring. It pays to check your room size and also the bed configuration and options – our hotel provided an extra bed for our daughter and our larger room made this not feel cramped. If you are a larger family, confirm how many people you are allowed in your room.
A pool is always a popular option with children and a hotel with one is almost essential if your visit to Hong Kong is in summer! Our pool was rooftop overlooking the harbour and was welcome respite from the hot and busy city below. Check the facilities on offer – our hotel’s pool was large, and had shallow areas suitable for small children. It also had a lifeguard and plenty of sun loungers. All big pluses for us!
Location, location, location!
Choose a hotel that is near public transport (or one that provides shuttle buses) so that you aren’t needing to walk too far with little kids. Also consider what’s facilities nearby. Our hotel (The Harbour Grand Kowloon in Hung Hom, a quiet residential area of Kowloon) had cafes and a large supermarket a few minutes walk down the road. We were also just a couple of minutes along the waterfront to the Kowloon-Hong Kong Island ferry.