Hong Kong Information
Useful Hong Kong Information…
The Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong is a special place in many ways. For one thing, China’s “one country, two systems” policy means that the capitalist economy stands while the freedoms enjoyed by the people in the territory are often unheard of in the mainland.
For another thing, Hong Kong culture is a mix of the Western and Eastern cultures that have occupied the area during its history. Western influences can be seen in the skyline architecture, business structure and human freedoms while the Eastern component is still highly visible with tai chi in the park, dragon festivals and the Chinese New Year.
Hong Kong: History in Brief
Hong Kong has humble beginnings. When the British claimed the islands in 1842 after the First Opium War, it was just a ragtag collection of fishing villages. The 99-year lease on the city and its 235 outlying islands was granted on 1898. The British then commenced aggressive efforts to develop Hong Kong into what it is today – one of Asia’s and the world’s foremost financial, commercial and cultural hubs.
On 1 July 1997, Hong Kong was turned over to the People’s Republic of China and designated as a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China with an independent judiciary, immigration controls and other democratic institutions. Only the defense and foreign affairs components of governance are under the control of mainland China.
Hong Kong Geography
With a total land area of 425 square miles, Hong Kong consists of Hong Kong Island, the Kowloon Peninsula and the New Territories. It is located on China’s southeast coast facing the South China Sea and at the mouth of the Pearl River. At its core is the Victoria Harbor with the Hong Kong International Airport located on Lantau, one of the 262 outlying islands.
Contrary to the popular depictions of the territory, Hong Kong is not an entirely urban jungle although it is one of the most densely populated cities of the world with a skyline as sophisticated as the likes of New York.
Just a few kilometers away are the unspoiled countryside of Hong Kong. In fact, approximately three quarters of the territory’s total land area is rural with almost half of it considered as country parks. Open space can be found just as easily as the urban jungle in the same manner that the East and West coexist in Hong Kong.
Four Seasons in Hong Kong
The region enjoys a subtropical climate with four distinctive seasons, namely, fall, winter, spring and summer. But it must be noted that Hong Kong can also experience extreme although rare weather events including typhoons, black rain and heat waves. The good news is that the city and its outlying areas enjoy the best sunshine for most of the year.
When in Hong Kong, you need not worry about the language barrier as most people known how to speak English. Still, if you can learn several useful phrases in Cantonese, which majority of the people speak as their native language, then you should be alright. Mandarin as well is becoming popular in the city.
So when you find yourself in Hong Kong, you will find a delightful mix of the East and the West, the urban jungle and the rural countryside, as well as the tropical and the temperate. Isn’t life grand in Hong Kong?