Local traditions and culture in Hong Kong

  • Eating and Drinking
    by machomikemd
  • One of the races.
    One of the races.
    by IreneMcKay
  • One of the races.
    One of the races.
    by IreneMcKay

Most Viewed Local Customs in Hong Kong

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    Own a goldfish and prosper

    by swissfondue Updated Jan 24, 2013

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    The humble goldfish plays an important role in Chinese culture as it is a symbol of good fortune, peace and friendship. I found out this information inside the Goldfish Treasures exhibit at Ocean Park. Its a good place to see hundreds of goldfish including some rare varieties, but if you like tropical fish there is also another great location in Mongkok where the locals go to 'goldfish shop'.

    If you would like to buy a goldfish (though I am unsure of how you would actually take one home in your suitcase LOL) any of the common varieties and some rare ones can be bought along "Goldfish Street" which is actually the northern end of Tung Choi Street (where the Ladies Market is located).

    There are literally thousands of fish on display in aquariums or hanging in rows in their own personal aquarium which is just a bag of water but its a facinating sight to see all the bags stretching up to the ceiling and spending even a short time wandering through different shops searching out the most exotic specimens and other reptilia is apparently on many tourists must do lists. They certainly are colourful and I find them quite mesmorising.

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    Escalator Etiquette

    by swissfondue Written Dec 11, 2012

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    As you shuffle onto the escalator as part of the frantic activity at any MTR station or shopping mall, just remember your escalator etiquette and move to the RIGHT HAND SIDE. That is unless you are in somewhat of a hurry and want to save a few seconds by climbing up the left hand side.

    Right for relax for a few seconds or left for leaving in a hurry! Also be mindful that Hong Kong escalators move fairly quickly in comparison to other cities so take note of the announcements and...PLEASE HOLD THE HANDRAIL.

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    Domestic Helpers - "Freedom" day.

    by swissfondue Updated Oct 30, 2012

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    There are almost three hundred thousand housemaids working and living with Hong Kong families.

    If you happen to be in the vicinity of the IFC covered walkways in Central or Statue Square on a Sunday you cant help but notice the thousands of mainly Filipino and Indonesian Maids spending their one day off per week outside. Maids turn the parks and footpaths into open air coffee shops spending the day eating, chatting and playing cards with their colleagues. Temporary hair and beauty salons are sometimes set up.

    Repulse Bay on the southern side of Hong Kong Island is also a popular meeting place. Domestic helpers set up picnics on the sand or cook barbeque lunches for their friends. Its a quirky sight that always puts a smile on my face, but it also reminds me of the affluent lifestyle enjoyed by the wealthy that so many people can afford to employ maids.

    Its my understanding that many of these women live away from their own families and contribute to their own households financially. Periodically discussions and debates are held regarding the rights of domestic helpers to be granted Hong Kong residency.

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    Bonsai

    by IreneMcKay Updated Jun 22, 2012

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    Yes, I do realise bonsai are Japanese, but these miniature trees are also very popular in Hong Kong, too. You can buy them pretty cheaply at Hong Kong Flower Market, Mong Kok. I used to own several but was not very successful with them, so sadly they are no more. There is also always a wonderful display of them at the Hong Kong Garden Festival. I love the ones that are used to create an entire mini-landscape as in my photo here.

    Bonsai landscape, HK Garden Festival 2012
    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Arts and Culture

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    Bamboo Scaffolding

    by swissfondue Updated Jun 11, 2012

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    Bamboo Scaffolding is a common sight in Hong Kong. The first time I saw it I was amazed at how such a simple material could in fact be so strong and effective. Take a walk along any Hong Kong Street and I guarantee you will see a building swathed in bamboo "sticks". Considering the enormous height of Hong Kong skyscrapers I suppose its makes good economic sense to use bamboo which is both strong and lightweight but the sight still amazes and confounds me.

    Check out the gentleman erecting scaffolding horizontally over the street on Hong Kong Island.

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    MTR FARE SAVER MACHINE.

    by swissfondue Updated May 23, 2012

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    I wandered why locals were queueing briefly to scan their Octopus cards at a machine at the start of the Mid Levels Escalator so wanting to be a pretend local I joined the queue. When I got closer I found out it is an MTR Fare Saver Machine. Yay!!!

    MTR Fare Saver machines have been placed at various locations to reward people who choose to walk to certain designated MTR stations rather than take buses or taxis. The machines are located a few hundred metres from the designated station (in my case Sheung Wan, Central or Hong Kong) and allow Adult Octopus Card holders a discount of HK$2 on their next journey from the listed station provided the journey is made on the same day. The machine automatically adjusts the balance on the Octopus Card once you enter the designated station.

    The majority of these machines are not in tourist areas but I have also seen one at Harbour City Shopping Centre - designated stations to apply discount are Tsim Sha Tsui and Austin.

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    Currency

    by cjg1 Updated Mar 21, 2012

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    In the SAR, the Hong Kong Dollar is used. This runs about 7.75 to 1 US dollar.

    Bills go down to $10 each and coins will go up to $10.

    The other unique thing about Hong Kong Dollars is the design is different depending upon which bank issued them for the same amount. IE, a $20 from HSBC will have one pattern and a $20 from Bank of China, another.

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    Food Offerings

    by traveldave Updated May 22, 2011

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    Food offerings are one of the most prominent and important rituals in Buddhism. Making the offerings to the gods and hungry ghosts is a meritorious act that reminds practitioners not to be greedy or selfish, and connects them with the spiritual world. The types of food offered vary, but most consist of items such as fruit, rice, or even flowers.

    Hungry ghosts represent greed, thirst, and neediness which bind people to their sorrows and disappointments. By giving away something they crave, practitioners release themselves from their own sorrows and disappointments.

    The rituals involved in making offerings of food vary. They can be as simple as silently leaving food on the altar accompanied by a bow, or involve chanting and full prostrations. At most Buddhist temples, the altars are piled with fruit and other food items, such as pictured here. The food is put to good use, as the temple's monks will eat the food, which also earns merit for the practitioner.

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    Incense Cones

    by traveldave Updated May 15, 2011

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    These large spirals hanging from the ceiling of the Man Mo Temple are incense cones. Buddhist and Taoist belief holds that the smoke purifies the surroundings, attracts the attention of the gods, and carries prayers to heaven. It is also believed that the smoke is food for the spirits of ancestors who had previously died. After an incense cone is ignited at the end, it burns for weeks, carrying the worshipper's prayers and wishes up to the gods in heaven and ensuring good fortune and prosperity.

    Temples benefit financially from the sale of incense cones, each of which has a red tag with the name of the worshipper who made a donation to the temple.

    Those who cannot afford a large incense cone can light individual incense sticks, which they wave over their heads during prayer to attract the attention of the gods. Once the prayers are completed, the incense sticks are stuck into an urn placed before an altar where they eventually burn out.

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    The Man Mo Temple

    by traveldave Updated May 15, 2011

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    The Man Mo Temple, located on Hollywood Road in Sheung Wan, Central, was built in 1847. It the largest and most important of several temples in Hong Kong dedicated to the gods of literature and martial arts. Man Cheong is the god of literature, and Mo, more appropriately called Kwan Yu, is the god of martial arts. During the Ming and Qing dynasties, scholars and students studying for the rigorous civil examinations prayed to these gods for success in their studies.

    The Man Mo Temple is part of a complex with three components, including the Man Mo Temple itself (for the worship of Man Cheong and Kwan Yu), the Lit Shing Temple (for the worship of all heavenly gods), and Kung So, an assembly hall where community affairs and disputes were resolved. (In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, many Chinese preferred to have disputes resolved in accordance with traditional Chinese and Confucian law rather than British law).

    The interior of the Man Mo Temple is lavishly decorated in the traditional Chinese colors of red and gold, and contains altars, religious statues and artifacts, two nineteenth-century house-shaped chairs used to carry the two gods during festival processions, and incense cones. The centerpiece of the temple, however, is a statue of Man Cheong (dressed in a green robe and holding a writing brush) and a statue of Kwan Yu (dressed in red and holding a long sword).

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    GOLDEN BAUHINIA SQUARE

    by ancient_traveler Updated Apr 4, 2011

    A gift from the Chinese government marking the 1 July 1997 return of Hong Kong to the China.
    Members of the Hong Kong Police Force, dressed in immaculate uniforms 11th and 21st of each month at 7:45am with the Police silver Band performing the national anthem and background music, conduct an impressive flag-raising ceremony at the square.

    1 Expo Drive, Wan Chai, Hong Kong Island

    MTR Wan Chai stn exit A5 then follow the signs to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Budget Travel

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    weather in HK December

    by soundchaseruk Written Sep 13, 2009

    Thanks John that is very encouraging. The only drawback is that it will be at the Xmas period and the flights expensive. My friend has said I can stay for free and eat for free so I guess it will still be quite a cheap week

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    How groomed dogs can be

    by picek Updated Jul 29, 2009

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    We were walking on Hong Kong Island from Central to Victoria park one day in February - it was actually very cloudy and didn't see Kowloon from here. We went over Wanchai promenade which is great place to see dogs and people interact with eachother - because that is one of the few public areas where dogs are allowed to get some fun. Did you notice that dogs aren't that plentiful around HK? These whose we saw here were really taken good care of and well groomed - owners looked proud of them; but it also seems that there's latent competition on whose dog looks the best :)
    Wanchai promenade is actually nice place to sit down in weather like that - because when you cannot see views you can watch animals playing and people socializing. I think it's polite if you ask the carer before (if) you want to caress the dog; in the end you may enter some really interesting conversations.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking

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  • OTC medicines and custom rules..

    by Waddington Written Jul 18, 2009

    You can go through below the Hongkong customs terms and conditions. I hope this will be more helpful to you..

    Adult mouth care; Allergy care; Analgesics; Calming and sleeping products; Child-specific OTC healthcare; Cough; cold and allergy (hay fever) remedies; Digestive remedies; Ear care; Emergency contraception; Eye care; Medicated skin care; NRT Smoking cessation aids; OTC obesity; OTC statins; OTC triptans; Vitamins and dietary supplements; Wound treatments

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Work Abroad
    • Business Travel

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    National Day Holidays.

    by John6868 Written Feb 5, 2009

    In Hong Kong we only get 1 day off which is the 1st October. On the mainland they get between 7 and 10 days but there has been talk recently of stopping this holiday as it is very disruptive. Many mainland tourists will visit HK during that period. It is also made busy by the fact that it is Fair season. You have a big Electronics fair and the Canton fair around late September to mid October which will make finding accomodation more difficult. On the plus side the weather is great then with little chance of rain and warm sunny weather.
    If you can get a deal which includes accomadation then come. If you want to find a hotel yourself then expect to pay between 60 and 80% more than the months either side.

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