Traffic, Hong Kong
Walking in Hong Kong is simultaneously easy and tricky - elevated and protected passages, smart signals, we even forget that down there are cars.
For a newcomer, before understanding the system, we risk to feel lost in the maze of corridors, stairs, and...malls (my God!).
At the moment, October 2014, there are protests going on in Hong Kong. For a while many roads were closed due to the protests. Most but not all are now re-opened. Some bus, minibus services still have slightly diverted routes. As a tourist this will not affect you much.
My pictures show one of Central's busiest roads a few weeks ago when it was closed to traffic.
From Kownloon, the access to Star Ferry is easy.
From Central it is not so easy.
The web composed by elevated passages and buildings are a bit tricky, and the access from the sidewalks is even more complex.
So, take my advice, give yourself time, and advance with calm, watching around, and using the extensive information posted in the malls that make part of the web, to get closer to it.
In HK, public transport ceases in 2 hours after the Cyclone Signal 8 (equivilent of a national emergency) is hoisted. By all accounts, I should advise you to return back to your hotel when that happens but you also need to know that the transportation system over here is simply unable to cope with the exodus of office workers and tourists. The MTRs will be packed like a sardine can and you'll have better luck winning the lottery than catching the public bus, cab or ferry.
So what are you to do?
Stay indoors when a storm is imminent or do your shopping near your hotel. Alternatively, starve off the storm and do a movie marathon in the cinema. Forget about shopping, all retail shops will be closed.
Personal Experience - I just experienced a signal no 8 or the equivilent of a national emergency since the stock markets/schools/shopping centre was shut and everybody ordered home. I did return from a shopping trip and got crushed in the MTR during the process ( see picture ). For the full extent of the horror I witnessed, see this video
You are reminded to wear the seat belt when you get in the minbus and the taxi. When you are caught for not wearing the seat belt, you are fined by HKD$5000 (Euro 500, US$641). Some minibuses do not provide seat belts. Only those provide seat belts are required to wear.
It is important to wear seat belts in the minibus for safety reasons. Minibuses are driven with a high speed, especially in highway and at night. For your safety, it is better to wear the seat belt.
While it's extremely easy to move around in Hong Kong, a slight difficulty arises when you try to describe your destination to the cab driver.
Most cab drivers will know the place in its Cantonese name, but if you tell them in English, you may get lost in translation.
The hotel concierge is usually helpful to inform the cab driver where you want to go, in the local language.
But if you're intending to hail a cab from somewhere other than the hotel, it's best to get someone in the hotel to first write down your destination in its local name, and then you can flash it to the taxi driver.
Alternatively, carry a map with Chinese characters (you should be able to get it easily from your hotel), and point out where you want to go.