When your flight to Hong Kong arrives, you might be surprised to find that English is the official language, the dollar is the same, and skyscrapers and fancy McDonald’s grace the city landscape. If it looks like America, sounds like America and shops like America, it must be…Hong Kong? China’s major metropolis city is more “Americanized” than most of the country, but book a flight to Hong Kong and as soon as you step off the plane, the city’s Asian influence is apparent.
Hong Kong is fast becoming one of the most highly traveled tourist destinations in Asia, and the city is welcoming the traffic. In the past few years, luxury hotels, five-star restaurants and electrifying clubs and bars have emerged on the Hong Kong scene. While the economy is strong and Hong Kong continues to modernize its look and feel, the city stays true to its Asian roots.
Book a cheap flight to Hong Kong and watch as the city transforms itself right in front of you. New highways, old roads and ancient monuments are being renovated on a daily basis, but are named in honor of Hong Kong’s parliament.
Disembark from your Hong Kong flight and walk outside to experience this city’s sophistication. From Chinese street performers to fortune tellers to Taoists, Hong Kong is a conglomerate of everything China embodies, with a little bit of the new world thrown in. Book a cheap flight to Hong Kong, and prepare yourself for an unforgettable experience.
Hong Kong temperatures are mild in October and November, making the fall the best time to visit. It’s usually rainy and cold in January and February while it’s hot and extremely humidity from June to September. It can rain and be humid all year, and even in the summer you might want to bring warm clothes for the powerful air conditioning indoors.
Hong Kong is extremely popular in February because of the Chinese New year, so book your flights to Hong Kong as early as possible if you want to experience the magical event. Practically all year is mild or hot, making it an ideal destination for escaping the cold weather. You’ll struggle to find cheap flights to Hong Kong between October and February as this is the peak season, however with a bit of forward planning deals can be found on flight tickets.
The south-eastern city gets much hotter during the summer months, so tourists don’t flock in such high numbers on flights to Hong Kong between February and September. That said, Hong Kong is the kind of place that can accurately be described as a year-round destination, so there is always a good deal on flight tickets, although February to September is when you’ll find the cheapest flights to Hong Kong.
You’ll find the cheapest flights to Hong Kong during the off season, although the cost of flight tickets will drastically increase if you wish to attend the Chinese New Year in February. Make sure you book two, three or even four months in advance if you can, or earlier. Flights to Hong Kong are readily available though, and even during the peak months you can find good deals on your flight tickets. Flexibility is your best friend when trying to find the cheapest flights to Hong Kong, and because the weather is nice all year round you can go pretty much anytime and have a great time.
The most difficult part of a Hong Kong vacation may be having to endure the long flight. If you leave from New York, you can expect to spend about 16 hours in flight. Departing from Los Angeles only shaves about an hour off of that time. Layovers and transfers add a few extra hours to many flights, so you may spend as much as 18 to 20 hours in transit from most airports.
Hong Kong International Airport is a bustling destination that accommodates numerous international and regional airlines. Many US-based airlines, such as Delta, American and United, fly there are on a regular basis. Popular European lines, such as Lufthansa and British Airways, are also frequent arrivals. Australians typically arrive on Qantas or Virgin Australia. The airport is also the main hub for Cathay Pacific, which handles many of the nonstop flights from the US and Europe as well as regional Asian traffic.
The key to staying comfortable in Hong Kong is to be smart about layering. Expect to go from sweltering tropical heat to freezing cold air conditioning and back again multiple times a day, so keep a sweater or light jacket handy to wear over your lighter clothes. While the temperatures tend to stay pretty high all year, the humidity can make January and February feel quite cold, so pack a little more warmly if your trip is scheduled during those months. Be sure to bring along comfortable flats for walking during the day.
Rain gear is a good idea no matter what season you arrive, but it’s particularly essential during the typhoon season, which typically lasts from around July to September. If you opt for a coat or poncho, look for light, breathable fabrics to help you stay cool. You can pack an umbrella if you have room, but they’re widely available for sale so you can also just buy one once you’ve arrived. Make sure your footwear is suitable for wet conditions, too, especially if you plan on hiking and exploring outside of the city. Sandals or even comfortable rain boots can be a good choice.
Don’t be afraid to leave out some items, such as batteries or camera film, to save room in your bags. Those items are readily available and affordable in Hong Kong. Most cosmetics and toiletries are also easy to find, but familiar American brands may be more expensive than in the US.
Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) is around 23 miles from the center of the city, but after your long flights to Hong Kong you don’t have a lot of hassle waiting after you arrive. The Airport Express is the quickest and easiest way to get from the airport to the city, it runs as frequently as every 10 minutes and takes about 25 minutes to arrive. You can also opt for a taxi service, although these can be very expensive and you have to pay extra for each piece of luggage you take with you.
Public transportation is good in Hong Kong and getting around easy.
There are two types of trains, the Mass Transit Railway (MTR), which primarily runs underground and has six lines. This is fast and efficient and also connects the airport to downtown. Overground trains run on the Kowloon-Canton railway, which is mainly used by commuters.
The famous peak tram runs up The Peak, climbing 1,200 feet. A trip up here is a must for tourists to see the city laid-out at your feet. There are also commuter trams running along the north part of the island.
Many ferries run across the harbor and connect Hong Kong to China. This is one of the most pleasant ways to get around.
If there’s one thing that most people think of when it comes to Hong Kong, it’s probably the shopping. The city is a retail mecca, boasting everything from upscale boutiques to vibrant street markets. The street markets range from diverse, such as the Temple Street Night Market, to more specific options, such as the popular Ladies’ Market, which focuses on clothing and accessories.
One of the most popular attractions is visiting the top of Victoria Peak, which lies just outside of the city. You can hike or drive to the top, but most people opt to ride the tram for the full experience. The peak provides stunning views of the city and harbor. Visit once during the day and once at night to get the full experience.
Speaking of the harbor, getting out on the water to cool down and enjoy some respite from the bustling city. The famous Star Ferry offers an affordable and comfortable way to sight-see from the water. Ride it one-way to see some of the outer islands, or simply take a round-trip ride to take in the sights. Numerous companies also offer charter rides on traditional-style junks, or fishing boats, which have been refitted for a more comfortable tour or party experience. If you feel like taking a dip, visit the popular Shek O beach, or any the numerous other beaches just minutes from the city.
Hong Kong isn’t all modern skyscrapers and shopping. The 202-ton Tian Tan Buddha is an unforgettable sight, as is the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery, which features 500 life-size gold Buddha statues and thousands of other, smaller ones. There are also numerous Taoist temples scattered throughout the area. While visitors are welcome at most of these sites, these temples are still current worship sites so it’s important to be respectful.
(prices quoted are from London)