World Travel Guide > Guides > Asia > China > Hong Kong

Hong Kong travel guide

About Hong Kong

Steamy and gargantuan, Hong Kong has evolved into one of Asia’s most lovable cities. Its incredible skyline – part neon, part steel-and-glass, part towering hills – is one of the most majestic in the world, but it’s a mere backdrop to the 24-hour flurry of activity that makes Hong Kong what it is.

From its boat-buzzed waterfront to its packed dim sum restaurants, its incense-smoked temples to its clattering teahouses, its street markets to its old-world hotels, Hong Kong is a destination teeming with energy. For travellers, the best advice is to go with the flow.

Situated at the mouth of the Pearl River Delta on China’s southwestern coast, Hong Kong is a city that has a remarkable mix of Eastern and Western influences. The handover of this territory from Britain to China was back in 1997, but the centuries of British rule still have a lasting legacy, tangible in everything from the grand period architecture to the local passion for horse-racing.

Even the name of Hong Kong’s centrepiece – the iconic Victoria Harbour – harks back to another era, and today there’s an international flavour to the destination that sets it apart from other Chinese cities. The gastronomy, nightlife and shopping are all world-class.

Hong Kong Island, with its glistening skyscrapers and high-end shopping malls, is in many ways the heartbeat of the city. Get down to street level, however, and the laneways, wet markets and traditional Chinese haunts are a reminder that beyond the city lies a working class populace still making ends meet the old fashioned way – and often the hard way.

It’s also worth remembering, of course, that there’s far more to Hong Kong than the city itself. Its natural attractions include hiker-friendly ranges, volcanic landscapes, pristine woodlands, sleepy islands, protected marine parks and miles of golden beaches.

Key facts


1,104 sq km (426 sq miles).


7,346,248 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density:

6,468.4 per sq km.


Hong Kong.


Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.

Head of state:

President of China Xi Jinping since 2013.

Head of government:

Chief Executive John Lee since 2022.

Travel Advice

Coronavirus travel health

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Hong Kong on the TravelHealthPro website

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

You should contact local authorities for information on testing facilities. A test can also be booked at one of the Government’s Community Testing Centres.

Entry and borders

See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Hong Kong.

More information and detailed guidelines for International Arrivals are available on the Hong Kong SAR Government Coronavirus web page.

Be prepared for your plans to change

No travel is risk-free during COVID-19. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.

Plan ahead and make sure you:

  • can access money
  • understand what your insurance will cover
  • can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned

Public spaces and services

The Hong Kong Government has a mandatory requirement to wear face masks in all public spaces, including on public transport. Failure to comply may result in a fine of up to 5000 HKD.

For up to date information, you should follow the guidance from the Hong Kong authorities.

Healthcare in Hong Kong

For contact details for English speaking doctors visit our list of healthcare providers.

Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health

View Health for further details on healthcare in Hong Kong.

Hospital isolation

If you test positive for COVID-19, in most cases you will have to self-isolate at home/arranged accommodation for a minimum of 5 days. You may be required to isolate in a government isolation facility based on your health condition, living arrangements and other risk factors. Non-residents may be charged for their care.


For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.

Further information

If you need urgent consular assistance, you should contact your local British embassy, high commission or consulate. All telephones numbers are available 24/7.

Protests and civil unrest

In 2019 and early 2020, large-scale political demonstrations took place throughout Hong Kong, including in areas popular with tourists. There were some violent clashes between police and protesters. Protests are now rare, though may still take place at any time. If you’re in and around areas where there are demonstrations, you should remain vigilant, follow the advice of local authorities and move away quickly to a safe place.

The Hong Kong police have stated that they have discovered Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) on a number of occasions since October 2019. The police believe that devices were intended to target police officers, while more recent devices have been aimed at a wider range of targets. No-one has been injured in these incidents to date, but there is a continuing risk of IEDs being used in Hong Kong.


The level of violent crime is very low but pick pocketing and other street crime can occur. You should take extra care of passports, credit cards and money in crowded areas and when checking in and out of hotels. If you intend to hike in Hong Kong’s Country Parks you should stick to marked trails and avoid carrying valuables.

Personal attacks, including sexual assaults, are rare but do occur, including through drinks being spiked. You should take reasonable precautions - don’t leave drinks unattended and avoid accepting drinks from strangers. Women, travelling alone or with female friends, could be at greater risk. See advice for women travelling abroad.

Road travel

If you’re visiting Hong Kong, you can drive in Hong Kong with a valid UK driving licence for up to 12 months.

If you’re planning on living in Hong Kong, visit the Hong Kong SAR Transport Department website for more information on applying for a full or temporary driving licence.

If you’re planning to hire a car, check with your car hire company for information on their requirements before you travel.

Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Hong Kong, attacks cannot be ruled out.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism.

You should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be in public areas, including those visited by foreigners.

There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

National Security Law

The National Security Law entered into force in Hong Kong on 30 June 2020. The law includes offences of secession, subversion, organisation and perpetration of terrorist activities, and collusion with a foreign country, all of which can be interpreted broadly and carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. These offences apply to activities conducted both inside and outside Hong Kong, which in practice could include activities conducted in the UK. There is a possibility of being detained and removed to mainland China for some offences. The English translation of the legislation is available online.

You should be aware that political statements critical of the Hong Kong and Chinese authorities, including online and on social media, could attract the attention of the police.

The Immigration (Amendment) Ordinance came in force on 1 August 2021. It contains powers that could prevent people from leaving the Hong Kong SAR. The Hong Kong SAR Government has given undertakings that such powers will not be used and that the ability to remove people from flights will be applied only to stop certain asylum seekers from entering Hong Kong.

Hong Kong, like other parts of China, does not recognise dual nationality. If you have both British and Chinese nationality you may be treated as a Chinese citizen by local authorities, even if you enter Hong Kong on your British passport. If this is the case, the British Consulate-General may not be able to offer you consular assistance. The FCDO has published guidance on nationality in China. If you have formally renounced Chinese citizenship, you should carry evidence that you have done so.

There are on the spot fines for littering and spitting.

The import and re-export of all elephant ivory and its products, including tourist souvenirs, is banned. Offenders could face a fine and/or imprisonment.

Don’t become involved with illegal drugs of any kind. From 1 Feburary 2023 this includes Cannabidiol (CBD). Possession of these drugs can lead to imprisonment.

Don’t take photographs of military installations. Since the 1997 handover, the defence of Hong Kong has been the responsibility of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). All previous British military barracks now belong to the PLA.

The Hong Kong SAR Government has restrictions in place on the quantity of powdered baby formula allowed for persons departing the territory. Penalties for non-compliance are severe. See: Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department website

This page has information on travelling to Hong Kong.

This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Hong Kong set and enforce entry rules. If you’re unsure how Hong Kong’s entry requirements apply to you, contact its UK embassy, high commission or consulate.

All travellers

Although Hong Kong is now part of the People’s Republic of China, it remains a Special Administrative Region (SAR) with its own immigration controls. You can visit Hong Kong for up to 6 months without a visa. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, different entry requirements are being applied in Hong Kong. For up-to-date advice on entry requirements and restrictions, please visit the Hong Kong SAR Government’s website.

Hong Kong residents and vaccinated non-Hong Kong residents who have visited the UK are permitted to enter Hong Kong.

Travellers departing for Hong Kong will need to provide a negative rapid antigen test result for COVID-19, taken no more than 24 hours prior to departure, or a negative PCR test taken no more than 48 hours before departure. You should keep photos showing the negative rapid antigen test result or the test report for a negative polymerase chain reaction-based nucleic acid test. You can also voluntarily declare the test result via the Department of Health’s electronic health declaration form. Further details can be found on the Hong Kong SAR Government’s website.

Flights may be subject to scheduling change at short notice. Ensure you keep in close contact with your airline and be prepared to change your plans.

Testing on arrival

The Hong Kong Government continues to advise all inbound travellers to conduct daily rapid antigen tests from the day of arrival into Hong Kong (i.e. Day 0) and Day 5 after arrival.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you will be required to self-isolate for a minimum of 5 days at your original accommodation or hotel. Further details can be found in the latest guidance issued by the Hong Kong SAR Government.

Proof of vaccination status

Fully vaccinated travellers are permitted to enter Hong Kong.

Hong Kong will accept the UK’s proof of COVID-19 recovery and vaccination record and proof of COVID-19 vaccination issued in the Crown Dependencies. Your last vaccine dose must have been administered at least 14 days prior to travel. Your NHS appointment card from vaccination centres is not designed to be used as proof of vaccination and should not be used to demonstrate your vaccine status. Children under the age of 12 who are not vaccinated will be allowed to enter Hong Kong.

Travel between Hong Kong, Macao and mainland China

Quarantine -free travel between Hong Kong and mainland China has resumed from 8 January 2023. Hong Kong residents and foreign visitors in Hong Kong who wish to travel to mainland China should make a quota booking on the HKSARG’s online booking system if they are travelling via land border control points (i.e. Lok Ma Chau, Man Kam To, Shenzhen Bay, or Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge). For those entering mainland China by flight, high-speed rail, ferry, or shuttle buses connecting the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, a quota booking is not required as long as they hold valid transport tickets. On their return to Hong Kong from mainland China, a quota booking is not needed.

All travellers crossing the border must present a report of negative PCR test taken no more than 48 hours before their departure.

People in Hong Kong can enter Macao test-free and quarantine-free. Those departing from Macao must present a negative rapid antigen test result for COVID-19, taken no more than 24 hours prior to departure, or a negative PCR test taken no more than 48 hours before departure. If they have been to mainland China in the past 7 days, travellers must present a negative PCR test taken no more than 48 hours before departure. More information is available on the Macao Travel Advice Page..

Ferry crossings between Hong Kong and Shenzhen or Macao have resumed. The high-speed rail service connecting mainland China has also resumed.

If you’re not fully vaccinated

Hong Kong residents who are not fully vaccinated will be able to enter Hong Kong. Non-residents who are not fully vaccinated and have visited places outside mainland China, Macao or Taiwan within the past 7 days, will be denied entry into Hong Kong.

If you are unable to be fully vaccinated due to medical reasons, you may still be permitted entry to Hong Kong. You will be required to show proof of the relevant medical reason certified by a medical practitioner before boarding a flight to Hong Kong.

Children under the age of 12 who are not vaccinated will be allowed to enter.

If you’ve had COVID-19 in the past year

If you have previously infected with COVID-19 and have received one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, you will be considered fully vaccinated.

After recovering from Covid-19 you may continue to test positive for some time after, however, you may still enter Hong Kong if you can provide evidence of a negative rapid antigen test taken within 24 hours of your scheduled departure time.

Children and young people

More information and detailed guidelines for International Arrivals are available on the Hong Kong SAR Government Coronavirus web page.

Hong Kong residents of any age are permitted to enter Hong Kong, whether they are vaccinated or not.

For non-Hong Kong residents, there are different vaccination requirements depending on the age group. For non-Hong Kong residents:

12-17 years old travellers need to show proof of vaccination to enter Hong Kong. If they have received a BioNTech vaccination, a single dose will be accepted. Those who are not able to get fully vaccinated due to medical reasons may still be permitted entry to Hong Kong. They will be required to show proof of the relevant medical reason certified by a medical practitioner before boarding a flight to Hong Kong.

Children aged 0-11 are permitted to enter Hong Kong, even if they are not vaccinated.

If you’re transiting through Hong Kong

Transit services at Hong Kong International Airport, including those connecting mainland China, have resumed.

If you are transiting via Hong Kong International Airport, you are no longer required to provide evidence of a pre-departure PCR test before boarding your flight to Hong Kong, unless your destination is mainland China. In such cases, you should present a negative PCR test taken no more than 48 hours before departure. If in doubt, you should check with your travel agent or airline before travelling and check the Hong Kong International Airport website.

All passengers transiting Hong Kong Inter-national Airport may be subject to advanced screening measures, including temperature checks. Passengers deemed to have a high temperature will undergo further checks by the Port Health Office at the airport.


Details for exemptions can be found on the Hong Kong SAR government’s website.

Check your passport and travel documents before you travel

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for at least one month after the date of your departure from Hong Kong.


If you plan to work or study in Hong Kong, or stay for a period of longer than 6 months you will need to get a visa. For further information contact the nearest Chinese mission with visa issuing facilities or the Hong Kong Immigration Department:

Immigration Tower
7 Gloucester Road
Hong Kong
telephone: 852 2824 6111

Bringing restricted items into Hong Kong

According to Hong Kong law, it’s illegal for visitors travelling to or transiting through Hong Kong International Airport to carry certain items including stun guns, objects with sharp points or edges (e.g. samurai swords) and martial arts equipment (e.g. knuckledusters). Offenders are liable to a severe fine or imprisonment. For a full list of restricted items, visit the website of the Hong Kong Police Force.

Electronic cigarettes

Hong Kong law prohibits travellers from bringing any electronic cigarettes and equivalent alternative smoking products, including heated tobacco products and herbal cigarettes in to Hong Kong. If you are transiting via Hong Kong and do not pass immigration control, you are exempt. For more information visit the Hong Kong Department of Health website.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Hong Kong.

If you have a health condition, or you are pregnant, you may need specialist healthcare abroad. Check whether your destination country can provide the healthcare you may need and ensure you have appropriate travel insurance for unexpected medical evacuation or local treatment.

See the Coronavirus travel health and Healthcare sections in the Coronavirus page for COVID-19 health information.

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

Health risks

Mosquito-borne diseases like dengue fever occur all year round. You should take appropriate precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. UK health authorities have classified Hong Kong as having a risk of dengue virus transmission. For information and advice about the risks associated with dengue fever visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) website.

You may undergo temperature screening at borders. Depending on the results, further medical examinations may be needed.

Medical treatment

Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation. The cost of medical treatment in Hong Kong is high.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 999 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.

You can only get prescribed medication in Hong Kong after seeing a doctor, unless your prescription obtained from a UK doctor specifically states it will be required in Hong Kong.

You can find information on registered pharmacies on the website of the Hong Kong Drug Office.

The typhoon season in Hong Kong normally runs from April to October. Typhoons sometimes hit Hong Kong and may cause flooding and landslides. Local warnings are issued in advance. Public offices shut down when the ‘Typhoon 8’ signal is hoisted.

You should monitor local and international weather updates from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and Hong Kong Observatory. See Tropical Cyclones page for advice on what to do if you’re caught up in a storm.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can not provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can not offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCDO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can not find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice team a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry, or contact us on Twitter or Facebook. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.’

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