Hong Kong Local Customs

  • 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

Hong Kong Local Customs

  • Do/Do Not!

    Hong Kong Local Customs

    The Book of Manners is being rewritten again. Is spitting cool or not? The answer is: it used to be but not anymore. At least this is how things look in Kowloon where old China with its smelly sidewalk markets is still very much alive. The contrary trend of high-density modernity must impose its own rules of cleanliness for the sake of popular...

    more
  • Dress Code

    Hong Kong Local Customs

    Hong Kong is fairly fashion conscious especially for business. Hong Kong people are also very modest in their dress and you will attract some unwanted stares if you wear anything too revealing. Different colours have different means for instance, red is a happy colour except when writing. Red Ink symbolises Anger. White is the symbol of death and...

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  • Eating and Drinking

    Hong Kong Local Customs

    With such a huge population it is no surprise that polluted Hong Kong in parts can be a bit dirty and/or smelly. However no-one ever eats or drinks on the MTR. The station concourses and trains are so spotlessly clean that you could eat off the floor as shown in the above picture. TIP: When using escalators and moving walkways in MTR stations or...

    more
  • Festivals

    Hong Kong Local Customs

    June 1st 2014 was Dragon Boat Day. After the races in Discovery Bay there was entertainment from this group of Chinese drummers. Discovery Bay is one of several venues where you can watch the races. It has a carnival atmosphere with entertainment, food stalls and market stalls.

    more
  • Chinese zodiac/Feng Shui and more

    Hong Kong Local Customs

    Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese code devised to create the perfect living environment. It has the water, wind and other elements mixed and matched in such way that they work together for the well-being of the people. Living proof of the contrary is the building of the Bank of China. One of the most interesting structures in skyscraper-jammed Hong...

    more
  • Language

    Hong Kong Local Customs

    Cantonese:The franca lingua in HK. Though it's said that everyone here can speak English and Mandarin , the language of familiarity is still Cantonese. It's different in Singapore where all of us are forced to speak English due to our diverse ethnicity. Anyway, I've encountered more than fair share of Lost in Translation moments in HK where...

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  • Multicultural City

    Hong Kong Local Customs

    As HK is a fairly westernised city, there aren't many unfamiliar Asian gestures that you need to avoid (i.e. in Greece your palms shouldn't face others with your fingers spread out like showing a "five"). Handshakes and waves are good, though of course flicking the finger should be avoided. The victory sign (as formed with the middle and index...

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  • Climate

    Hong Kong Local Customs

    I hate dealing with umbrellas- mainly because I never know what to do with them once I get inside somewhere. Well, in Hong Kong it's a pleasure. When you get inside a building, there's a little stand with plastic umbrella wraps. Dip your umbrella inside, and it will be covered. No dripping water everywhere. Then most businesses have umbrella stands...

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  • Temples

    Hong Kong Local Customs

    The Chinese use of burning incense in the temples, filling them with smoke that pushes Fernanda quickly out, is done in Man Mo temple in a special way, with dozens of spirals hanging over your head, and slowly releasing the smoke and smell from their extremities. “Arraial” is a Portuguese word without an exact translation that defines the festive...

    more
  • Cantonese Opera

    Hong Kong Local Customs

    A great way to see and appreciate Chinese culture is to watch Cantonese Opera being performed but due to a declining audience there is not much opportunity to do so anymore. The Sunbeam Theatre in North Point had performed operas for the past forty years but the privately run theatre did not renew its latest lease and was advertised to close...

    more
  • Business Cards

    Hong Kong Local Customs

    In Singapore as in Hong Kong, don't ever toss your business card nonchalently to your would-be client/customer/acquaintance. Hand over business cards with both hands, as though you are handing over your inheritance. Bear in mind that your card should have its typeface facing the recipient. Likewise, receive cards with both hands. Never, never,...

    more
  • Markets

    Hong Kong Local Customs

    In the night market, when you’re the first customer & you touch the item or ask for the price, be aware that they’ll never let you go until you buy the product. They believe it’s bad luck to touch an item when you’re not going to buy it.

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  • Horse Statue.

    The podium in the centre of a pond in Central near the cenotaph and statue square houses different sculptures at different times. On my previous visit it had an elephant standing on a man's back. Now it has a horse sculpture. This sculpture is known as 'Monument for a Horse' which is part of Le French May. The horse was sculpted by Jean-Marie...

    more
  • Another Dragon Boat Day

    June 1st 2014 was Dragon Boat Day. After the races in Discovery Bay there was entertainment from this group of Chinese drummers. Discovery Bay is one of several venues where you can watch the races. It has a carnival atmosphere with entertainment, food stalls and market stalls.

    more
  • Save your saliva

    The Book of Manners is being rewritten again. Is spitting cool or not? The answer is: it used to be but not anymore. At least this is how things look in Kowloon where old China with its smelly sidewalk markets is still very much alive. The contrary trend of high-density modernity must impose its own rules of cleanliness for the sake of popular...

    more
  • Gambling Passion

    The Lamma island ferries are not just a deal financially, they are a window into the Chinese psyche. Here one can grasp the fact that locals are passionate about making money any possible way (the easier the better). It also becomes clear why the casino monstrosities of Macao were possible to conceive, build and saturate with customers. The...

    more
  • All that glitters is not gold

    Hong Kong, the leading urban conglomerate of South Asia, busy financial center and bustling business hub has some uglier sides to consider. In general, the space available for dwellings is very limited due to the mountainous nature of the island. The buildings are forced into tiny sea-front areas and deep crevasses in the mountains. In these...

    more
  • Feng Shui gone wrong

    Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese code devised to create the perfect living environment. It has the water, wind and other elements mixed and matched in such way that they work together for the well-being of the people. Living proof of the contrary is the building of the Bank of China. One of the most interesting structures in skyscraper-jammed Hong...

    more
  • Why the years are named after animals.

    Welcome to the year of the horse 2014. Ever wonder why the years are called after animals? There is an old Chinese legend to explain it. Many years ago the Jade Emperor decided to call the years after animals in a twelve yearly cycle, but which animals to choose? He decided to solve his problem by getting the animals to compete in a race. The first...

    more
  • Incense Spirals

    The Chinese use of burning incense in the temples, filling them with smoke that pushes Fernanda quickly out, is done in Man Mo temple in a special way, with dozens of spirals hanging over your head, and slowly releasing the smoke and smell from their extremities. “Arraial” is a Portuguese word without an exact translation that defines the festive...

    more
  • Free Wifi in Hong Kong

    Thanks to the Government of Hong Kong. Everyone can access the Free WI-Fi services in public areas. You don't need to register at the Tourism Board Counter, you can log-in right away with your smart phone or tablet. Check out the hotspot locations by clicking here!Don't play your phone or tablet while walking. It is dangerous ! Check out the lady...

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  • Horse Racing

    Most Chinese people believe in luck. They love to gamble. The only legal gambling in Hong Kong is on horse racing. For casinos you would need to go to Macau. There are two race courses here: one in Sha Tin, the other in Happy Valley. Both are run by the Hong Kong Jockey Club. Both are very popular.

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  • Handover to China 1997

    The handover to China took place on 1st July 1997. This is marked by a public holiday on July first each year - SAR Day - Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Day.These old photos show the royal yacht Britannia waiting to take the last British govenor - Chris Patten and his family back to the UK and HMS Chatham waiting to take back some of the...

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  • Chinese New Year

    This is the biggest festival here. It takes place in January or February on a different date each year. Each year is called after a different animal: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit,dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, pig. In preparation people clean out their homes and decorate them. During the festival red packets containing money are given...

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  • Hong Kong's Rubber Duckie

    A giant inflatable rubber duck sculpture floated into Hong Kong Harbour last Thursday, May 2nd. Designed by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman,the 16,9m high sculpture has already been in Osaka, Sydney, Sao Paolo and Amsterdam. It will be in Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour until June 9. It is located just outside ocean terminal in TST. The duck brings...

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  • Dragon Boat Day

    Dragon Boat Day is a wonderful, colourful festival which takes place in June each year. Dragon Boat Races are held in many locations in Hong Kong such as Stanley, Sha Tin, Mui Wo, Discovery Bay.The Dragon Boat Festival commemorates the life and death of the ancient poet, Qu Yuan, who lived from 340-278 B.C. He was appalled by state corruption and...

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  • That duck again

    On a rare clear day in Central looking towards TST could not resist taking a picture of that duck again.

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  • Bank of China lions

    Just for conrast with Stephen and Stitt the HSBC lions, next door the Bank of China lions are very Chinese in character. They remind me of the lion costumes used in the lion dance.

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  • Stephen and Stitt

    The original HSBC bank in Shanghai had 2 lion sculptures placed outside it. The main Hong Kong branch of HSBC at 1 Queen's Road Central decided to have the same.In 1935 the bank commissioned two bronze lions from Shanghai-based British sculptor W W Wagstaff who died in 1977, aged 82. The lions took around two years to make. When they were finished,...

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  • Elephant sculpture, Central

    A gigantic elephant statue balancing on a man's back has appeared in Central district near the cenotaph and statue square. The statue was created by French artist Fabien Merelle and will be on display until 6th July, 2013. The elephant is modelled on an elephant in Singapore zoo, The man is based on the artist Fabien Merelle himself.The sculpture...

    more
  • Own a goldfish and prosper

    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...

    more
  • Spotless MTR

    With such a huge population it is no surprise that polluted Hong Kong in parts can be a bit dirty and/or smelly. However no-one ever eats or drinks on the MTR. The station concourses and trains are so spotlessly clean that you could eat off the floor as shown in the above picture. TIP: When using escalators and moving walkways in MTR stations or...

    more
  • Escalator Etiquette

    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...

    more
  • Domestic Helpers - "Freedom" day.

    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...

    more
  • Mid Autumn Festival

    One of my favourite Chinese Festivals is Mid Autumn Festival or lantern festival. It is celebrated at the end of September or beginning of October on the night of a full moon. People go out at night carrying lanterns. They normally head to a park or beach and sit and gaze at the full moon and eat mooncakes and brightly cooured round fruits. The...

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  • Bonsai

    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...

    more
  • Bamboo Scaffolding

    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...

    more
  • Cantonese Opera

    A great way to see and appreciate Chinese culture is to watch Cantonese Opera being performed but due to a declining audience there is not much opportunity to do so anymore.The Sunbeam Theatre in North Point had performed operas for the past forty years but the privately run theatre did not renew its latest lease and was advertised to close earlier...

    more
  • Bring your own shopping bag

    When buying stuffs in supermarkets, you must bring your own bag or you’ll be asked to purchase a plastic bag for the items you just bought! The plastic bag costs less than HK$1 and the locals are not advisable to use a plastic bag. BUT that wasn't really the issue. The supermarket staffs will look at you like you’ve done something very offensive..,...

    more
  • MTR FARE SAVER MACHINE.

    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...

    more
  • Tsing Tao Beer

    A China based brewing company Tsing Tao is one of those beers you will find in most lounges around the region. I believe the pic below was taken in the Wing in HKG.

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  • Currency

    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

    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...

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  • Incense Cones

    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...

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  • The Man Mo Temple

    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...

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Hong Kong Local Customs

Reviews and photos of Hong Kong local customs posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Hong Kong sightseeing.
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