Hong Kong, having been returned to China in 1997, enjoys a degree of freedom and democracy that is not otherwise seen in the PRC. There are, occasionally, protests against the government and against main actors in the complex state-business relationship that is the bedrock of HK society. When I was in HK in September 2010, there were a number of protests around the city against banks and mutual funds, primarily staged by angry investors unhappy with the way that their funds were managed by these institutions. The protesters are primarily the elderly, but there may be a different demographic when the subject is political (particularly around June 4, Tiananmen Square anniversary). It is highly unlikely that protests would ever get violent, but it's still a good idea to be a bit inconspicuous when photographing them.
Weather and typhoon
If you intend to visit Hong Kong, do note that the typhoon season is between May and November. If the typhoon is serious, there will be anouncements and everybody is supposed to return home (i.e. curfew). During such a situation, there will be lots of people rushing especially taking transport such as sub-way, buses etc (so do take note).
During the earlier part of the year till April, the weather is cool but tends to be hazy which will affect the views of the city and Victoria Harbour from the top of Victoria Peak.
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
Low Cloud - Victoria Peak
If you are planning on going up The Peak, watch the weather. When low cloud surrounds Hong Kong Island it makes visibility almost nil in places. The higher you go the worse it is. This photo was taken from my first apartment which was only half way up The Peak. My first 4 days in Hong Kong were like this but when it cleared, it was fantastic. If you go up The Peak in weather like this, you will see zero.
If you are catching the trams at busy times be warned to make your way from the back to the front, or from upstairs to downstairs, long before you need to get off otherwise you will never get past everyone in time. The doors on the tram are also a bit of a death trap if you try and get on at the last minute. Payment is the exact change and is put into a container by the driver on exiting.
Black Rain Warning
Black Rain Warning is issued when 100mm or more of rain is predicted or has fallen. Residents are recommended to stay in doors as flash floods and landslides can be dangerous.
Typhoon warnings are raised at No. 1. At a No. 8 warning, winds gusting to 100 knots, shops and schools are closed. Ferry services and above ground Rail services are halted. People are advised to stay indoors.
Beware umbrellas on wet days, you are likely to have your eye poked out or a pin cushion made of your head. Sometimes its better to keep both arms free to fend off the nylon concaves.
Public toilets are not the best and toilet paper is not usually supplied. Best to carry a supply of tissues or head for hotel bathrooms. In the more upmarket hotels, there is usually an attendant on duty. A small dish is placed on the vanity units for tipping which is pretty much expected. Large department stores also have toilets available.
Sundays are the day the Filipino community (the Amahs etc) have their day off and get together. They congregate around Central - a road is even blocked off for them to mingle, sing and dance and have their little religious gatherings. They also collect around the Star Ferry area Central and at Victoria Park in Causeway Bay. They are all fun loving and its almost like party time when they get together along with all their large packages they have bought to send back home to families but if you are in a hurry and trying to get somewhere, it can take you quite a while to get through them all. After all, its Sunday and no one is supposed to be in a hurry.
Be careful walking around the Wet Market areas. The pavements are very slippery from the fat washed off meat etc. The pavements are hosed down at the end of trading.