Hong Kong(香港 Heūng góng in Cantonese, meaning fragrant harbour) is a place with multiple personalities, as a result of being both Cantonese Chinese and under a long-time British influence. Today, the former British colony is a major tourism destination for China's increasingly affluent population. It is also an important hub in East Asia with global connections to many of the world's cities. It is a unique destination that has absorbed people and cultural influences from places as diverse as Vietnam and Vancouver and proudly proclaims itself to be Asia's World City.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China is much more than a harbour city. The traveller weary of its crowded streets may be tempted to describe it as Hong Kongcrete. Yet, this territory with its cloudy mountains and rocky islands is mostly a rural landscape. Much of the countryside is classified as Country Park and, although 7 million people are never far away, it is possible to find pockets of wilderness that will reward the more intrepid tourist.
Hong Kong has a subtropical climate with at least one season to match your comfort zone. Boasting one of the world's best airports, it is the ideal stopover for those who wish to travel deeper into the Orient.
» PeopleThe majority of Hong Kong's population are Han Chinese (95%), mostly of Cantonese ancestry, though there are also sizeable numbers of other Chinese groups such as Chiuchao (Teochews), Shanghainese and Hakkas. A significant number of Indian, Pakistani and Nepalese live here too, and many have families that have lived in Hong Kong for several generations. The largest groups of recent, non-Chinese, immigrants are Filipinos, Indonesians and Thais, of which most are employed as domestic help. The territory is also home to a significant number of people hailing mainly from North America, Japan and Europe making it a truly international place.
» ClimateThere are four distinct seasons in Hong Kong. Hong Kong can be a little chilly in the winter (10°C) and hot and humid in the summer (33°C). The best times of year to visit are thus, spring (March-May), when the average temperature is around 25°C and autumn (September-December). Christmas in Hong Kong can be a delight with a fair chance of mild sunny weather that will appeal to those coming from colder northern climates. Typhoons usually occur between June and September and can bring a halt to local business activities for a day or less. The weather in winter is usually caused by the winter monsoon which brings dry cold winds from the north. In winter the air can be cold but the sun can still burn. Expect winter temperatures to rise to 22°C on sunny days and fall to under 10°C at night, especially when in mountainous areas. Chinese New Year is notorious for cold wet weather.
Although most buildings in Hong Kong have air-conditioning to cope with the summer weather, winter heating is something of a novelty. During the coldest days, the lack of heating and thermal insulation can be a challenge, especially at bath time. Curiously, buses and many restaurants will continue to use air-conditioning to freshen the air, even on the coldest days.