Local traditions and culture in Hong Kong

  • One of the races.
    One of the races.
    by IreneMcKay
  • One of the races.
    One of the races.
    by IreneMcKay
  • Monument for a horse.
    Monument for a horse.
    by IreneMcKay

Most Viewed Local Customs in Hong Kong

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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.

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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.

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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

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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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    MAJOR HISTORICAL STREETS

    by ancient_traveler Written Mar 23, 2008

    QUEEN’S ROAD was named- like the harbour and Peak- in honour of the British Empire’s Queen Victoria. It runs along the original coastline of Hong Kong Island, following ancient rural tracks, stretching West and East from Central.

    DES VOEUX ROAD, reclamation created a new waterfront during the Governorship of Sir William Des Voeux. His Road obliged the Post Office to build a new colonnaded tower. Trams still trundle down the road, as they first did in 1904.

    WELLINGTON STREET. Western settlers built their first Hong Kong Club in 1846 near the coastline, beside Wellington Street, where the first Roman Catholic Cathedral stood. The bustling back lane still climbs uphill diagonally with elevated sidewalks.

    NATHAN ROAD
    A century ago, Tsim Sha Tsui had a beach and Nathan Road was a tree-lined highway heading north. The road’s famed “golden Mile” is now many kms long.

    Queen'sRoad Nathan Road Chinese Restaurant @ Wellington Street @ Des Voeux Road
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    Terms and words used in HK

    by budapest8 Updated Oct 26, 2007

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    Ah-Ba - father (affectionate term)
    amah - house maid
    ban mui - Filipina (derogatory term)
    Cantonesecatty - Chinese unit of weight; approx. 1.33 lb/0.7 kg
    CMB - China Motor Bus; HK bus company known for reckless drivers
    choi sum - delicious Chinese vegetable
    cognac - as advertised, something to be consumed only in the presence of men
    congee - rice porridge
    conservative - in HK context, someone whose politics are somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun
    Consumer Council - HK government body that investigates retail fraud
    daai paai dong - low-priced street-side restaurant
    dim sum - tasty dumplings served literally a la carte, on carts wheeled table-to-table in Chinese restaurants.
    Disco Bay - Discovery Bay
    Discovery Bay - bland, antiseptic housing development on Lantau Island
    dollar 1 - Hong Kong dollar (HK$1.00) = US$0.13 r
    expat/expatriate - normally refers to Caucasian residents of Hong Kong
    faan gwailo - more belligerent term than gwailo
    fung shui - Chinese traditional belief in good fortune in relation to geographical alignment of structures; used by HK immigrants abroad to explain cutting down every tree in sight
    Giordano - clothing retailer founded by Jimmy Lai, an outspoken critic of Beijing
    Green card - identity card given to legal immigrants by the USA government (by the way, it isn’t really green)

    Hong Kong Island Star Ferry terminal OCT 2007

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    Terms and words used in HK

    by budapest8 Written Oct 26, 2007

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    Right of abode - The only British colonial subjects who have right of abode in the UK come from Caucasian-majority colonies (Gibraltar & Falklands)
    RSPCA - Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

    Sam’s - Famous tailor in Kowloon
    SAR - Special Autonomous Region; what HK is under Chinese rule
    Scarborough - “New Hong Kong”; Toronto suburb
    Shenzhen - Chinese industrial city bordering Hong Kong
    Sing Daan Faai Lok - Merry Christmas
    snakehead - smuggler of illegal immigrants
    Star Ferry - ferry between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon
    to taam - to spit; another of Hong Kong’s national pastimes
    Tolo Harbour - highly polluted body of water in New Territories
    triad - Chinese criminal gang
    Tsim Sha Tsui - tourist district, known for dishonest shopkeepers
    Tsim Sha Tsui East - district known for night clubs popular with triads and Chinese officials
    Tsing Tao - popular (and good!) Chinese beer
    TVB Jade - HK’s most popular television station
    Urban Council - responsible for museums, libraries and parks
    VR - Vietnamese refugee
    wai - Cantonese way to answer the telephone
    14K - major criminal triad gang
    1997 - On July 1, 1997, Hong Kong ceased to be a British colony and became a Chinese one instead
    8 - lucky number in Cantonese, means “wealth”
    88 - twice as lucky as number 8

    Repulse Bay October 2007
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    Terms and words used in HK

    by budapest8 Updated Oct 26, 2007

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    Mark Six - Lottery; held twice weekly
    Mid-Levels - overpriced upper-middle-class district on HK Island; also renowned for potholes
    Mongkok - Kowloon district crowded with people and boutiques
    MPF - Mandatory Provident Fund: retirement fund which all HK workers are now required to set up
    MTR - Mass Transit Railway; the subway train system
    Mui, Anita - Hong Kong pop music diva
    Nathan Road - major shopping area and traffic corridor of Kowloon
    Nei ho - Cantonese for “How are you” or “hello”
    New Territories - northern half of Hong Kong’s area
    Ngoi foo - Father-in-law (wife’s father)
    Ni hao ma - Mandarin for “How are you” or “hello”
    Oolong - type of Chinese tea
    Pacific Place - posh shopping mall on HK Island
    Patten, Chris - last British Governor of Hong Kong; loathed by China
    PCCW - company founded by Richard Li
    The Peak - posh residential area on top of Victoria Peak
    PRC - People’s Republic of China
    renminbi - monetary unit in China
    Repulse Bay - upper class area on south side of Hong Kong island
    RHKJC - Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club

    Central District Hong Kong Oct 2007
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    Terms and words used in HK

    by budapest8 Updated Oct 26, 2007

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    gwai - ghost; demon

    gwai jai - child gwailo (literally: junior demon)
    gwaipoh - female gwailo
    gwailo - “demon man”; in other words, a foreigner
    H.M.S. Tamar - base where British Navy was located in central business district
    hoi moon lai see - lucky money given by a groom to bridesmaids to make them “open the door” to his bride before a wedding
    Hunan - province in China
    Hung Hom - low rent district in Kowloon
    hung mo gwai - “red haired demon”; belligerent term for gwailo
    II - illegal immigrant
    Inland Revenue - tax department
    Iron Buddha - popular variety of high-quality Chinese tea
    Jiang Zemin - Chinese president; successor to Deng Xiaoping
    Joi gin - Goodbye

    Lan Kwai Fong - entertainment district in Hong Kong where all the trendy young foreigners hang out
    Lantau Island - outlying island; site of new airport
    Macanese - native of Macau
    Macau - Portuguese colony near HK; reverts to China in 1999
    mafoo - stable master; trainer of racing horses
    Mandatory Provident Fund - mandatory private pension fund for all HK employees

    Hong Kong Island l OCT 2007
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    • Beaches

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Hong Kong Local Customs

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