While You're in Hong Kong
by Mark Heng
The legal tender is the Hong Kong dollar (HK$), which is linked to the US dollar at a rate of about 7.80 HKD to 1 USD (or 6.17 HKD to 1 SGD), although exchange rates may fluctuate slightly.
The electronic power provided in Hong Kong is 220V. Similar to Singapore, plugs with 3 squared pins (British-style BS1363) are most commonly used.
Hong Kong is geographically compact and boasts one of the world's most efficient, safe, affordable and frequent public transport systems. Whether by taxi, ferry, rail, bus or tram, you can get around easily and catch glimpses of the city along the way as well. Kowloon and the northern side of Hong Kong Island are well served by the Mass Transit Railway (MTR), while most visitors use the buses primarily to explore the southern side of Hong Kong Island and the New Territories. Make use of the Octopus Card, an electronic fare card that is accepted by almost all forms of public transport.
Chinese (Cantonese is widely spoken) and English are the official languages of Hong Kong. All official signs are bilingual (using traditional characters). Most shops and restaurants also have English signage, though don't expect this from the more local or rural establishments. Cantonese is the Chinese dialect spoken by over 88% of the people in Hong Kong. However, English is widely used in the Government and by the legal, professional and business sectors as well as tourist areas. Most taxi drivers and salespeople are able to communicate in English.
Consulate General of Singapore (Unit 901, 9/F, Tower 1, Admiralty Centre, 18 Harcourt Road. +852 2527 2212; emergencies: 001-(852) 9466-1251. firstname.lastname@example.org). In emergency situations, contact emergency services at 999. If you lose your passport, make a 'lost report' at the nearest police station (call Police Hotline 2527 7177 for locations). Then contact the consulate to have your passport replaced.
Health and Safety
Hong Kong is a remarkably safe city by day or night. Friendly police officers patrol frequently. To ensure that your stay is pleasant and hassle free, pay attention to the following points: Keep your money, valuables and travel documents in a safe place, such as the hotel room safe, and attend to your belongings especially when you are in a crowded place. Beware of people making dubious offers and those who may try to distract you and take away your belongings and of people offering gambling or investment opportunities. Tap water conforms to the guidelines for drinking-water quality recommended by the World Health Organisation. However, most people prefer to drink bottled water. Mineral water, including major imported brands, is readily available from supermarkets and convenience stores.