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.
1,104 sq km (426 sq miles).
7,346,248 (UN estimate 2016).
6,468.4 per sq km.
Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.
President of China Xi Jinping since 2013.
Chief Executive John Lee since 2022.
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.
Entry and borders
See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Hong Kong.
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
Travel in Hong Kong
There are local travel restrictions in place upon arrival in Hong Kong including mandatory testing.
Following the detection of the Omicron Covid-19 variant in Hong Kong, restrictions have been placed on the operations of restaurants, bars, schools, museums and a number of other public places. Further details can be found on the Hong Kong SAR Government’s website
Use of the Hong Kong SAR Government’s LeaveHomeSafe contact tracing application is mandatory for those visiting government premises and a number of entertainment venues, including cinemas, restaurants and theme parks. Further details can be found on the LeaveHomeSafe website.
Proof of vaccination against COVID-19 is now required to enter a range of venues, including restaurants, gyms, swimming pools and hotels. Those who are under 12, or deemed medically unfit for vaccination, are exempt from these requirements. Further details can be found on the Hong Kong SAR Government’s website including how to prove vaccination status if you have been vaccinated outside of Hong Kong.
It is possible that you may be mandatorily tested and/or placed in a government quarantine centre, if you are identified as a contact of someone who has tested positive for coronavirus.
Public spaces and services
Public gatherings have been restricted to a maximum of 4 people (members of the same household are exempt).
The government has also introduced a mandatory requirement to wear face masks in all public spaces, including on public transport and when exercising. 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.
Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 may be isolated in government facilities for a minimum of 7 days. The decision on whether to send an individual to an isolation facility is based on their health condition, living arrangements and other risk factors. Non-residents may be charged for their care.
You may be separated from your child if one of you tests positive for coronavirus. If a child has serious symptoms and is hospitalised in an ICU or paediatric ward, parents may not be allowed to see or visit their child for the duration. If this happens to you, you can call +(852) 2901 3000 for 24/7 urgent consular assistance.
For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.
If you need urgent consular assistance, you should contact your local British embassy, high commission or consulate. All telephones numbers are available 24/7.
Hong Kong is generally a stable society underpinned by the rule of law. However, in 2019 and early 2020, large-scale political demonstrations took place throughout Hong Kong, including in areas popular with tourists. While a number of peaceful activities took place, many other protests led to clashes between police and protesters involving significant violence. Protests now occur less frequently in Hong Kong. However protests, including some with violence, may still take place at any time.
In the light of the National Security Law that entered into force in Hong Kong on 30 June 2020, there is a risk of heightened tension. The law includes offences of secession, subversion, organisation and perpetration of terrorist activities, and collusion with a foreign country, all of which carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. The legislation states that these offences apply to activities conducted both inside and outside Hong Kong, which in practice could include activities conducted in the UK. China’s mainland authorities could under certain circumstances detain and try individuals who commit an offence, or are accused of committing an offence, under the terms of this law. The English translation of the legislation is available online.
While there have recently been fewer protests due to COVID-19 restrictions, the situation around protests and public gatherings have changed quickly in the past, with the potential for violence, especially during unauthorised protests. Protests in 2019 saw the use of petrol bombs and Molotov cocktails. Unauthorised protests in early 2020 were met by a more rapid and severe police response, including heavy use of tear gas, bean bag rounds and “sponge grenades”, and rubber bullets. Police have also deployed water cannon and, very occasionally, live rounds have also been deployed. Protests in the past have deviated from planned routes or rally locations and spilled over into nearby public spaces, such as shopping centres, housing estates and public transport hubs. If you’re in and around areas where demonstrations are, you should remain vigilant, follow the advice of local authorities and move away quickly to a safe place.
Demonstrations have led to sections of the city being closed off and road blocks being set up. During protests in early 2020, local buses, metro (MTR), Airport Express services and the Hong Kong Macao Ferry Terminal temporarily suspended operations without warning. Violent protests have also taken place inside or near MTR stations. You should remain vigilant at all times and check live service updates on the MTR website.
Some Mass Transit Railway (MTR) metro stations, including in major tourist areas, have been closed due to damage caused by protests. You should check the MTR and Hong Kong Transport Department websites when planning travel around Hong Kong.
The Immigration (Amendment) Ordinance came in force on 1 August. 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.
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. There have been some isolated incidents of robberies in Hong Kong’s Country Parks; these incidents have been reduced following a crime prevention operation by the Hong Kong Police. Nevertheless, 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.
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 used in October and December 2019 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.
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.
Protest activity could affect certain road routes across Hong Kong, including the cross-harbour tunnel and other major bridges and toll plazas. In 2019 and 2020, protesters erected blockades throughout the city in areas where protests were taking place.
Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Hong Kong, attacks cannot be ruled out.
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.
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.
Following the implementation of the National Security Law on 1 July 2020, certain behaviours may now be deemed illegal and attract greater scrutiny from the authorities.
Hong Kong law is based mainly on UK law. There are on the spot fines for littering and spitting. There is zero tolerance for ticketless travel on the Mass Transit Railway (MTR).
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. 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.
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 within the past 14 days are permitted to enter Hong Kong.
From 26 September, inbound travellers are no longer required to undergo quarantine at a designated quarantine hotel.
Inbound travellers are required to undergo 3 days of medical surveillance at home or other self-arranged accommodation. For these 3 days, arrivals can leave their residences but will be restricted from certain premises under the Vaccine Pass scheme, including restaurants and bars. Multiple PCR tests and daily rapid antigen tests are required until day 7 following arrival.
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 their departure. They will need to submit in advance an online Health & Quarantine Information Declaration confirming their rapid test result and vaccination record where relevant and present a declaration QR code generated during check-in.
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
All travellers ending their journey at Hong Kong International Airport will have to undergo a PCR test for coronavirus but do not need to remain at the airport awaiting their test results. Further information is available on the Centre for Health Protection’s website.
If you test negative, you will be issued an amber QR code in the LeaveHomeSafe contact tracing app if you possess a smart mobile phone. For 3 days, you can leave your residence but you will be restricted from certain premises under the Vaccine Pass scheme, including restaurants and bars.
If you test positive, the Hong Kong authorities will arrange for admission to a public hospital or isolation hotel. If you are deemed to be a contact of a positive case, you may be placed in a Hong Kong Government quarantine centre for a minimum of 7 days.
You may be separated from your child if one of you tests positive for coronavirus. If this happens to you, you can call +(852) 2901 3000 for 24/7 urgent consular assistance.
Proof of vaccination status
From 1 April, fully vaccinated travellers who have visited the UK or other overseas destinations within the past 14 days are permitted to enter Hong Kong.
For travellers arriving from other countries, 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 with a fully vaccinated accompanying adult.
Travel between Hong Kong, Macao and mainland China
All border crossings with mainland China remain closed indefinitely, with the exception of the Shenzhen Bay Checkpoint and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge. All passengers wanting to board a shuttle bus to cross the bridge departing from Hong Kong to Macao must present a certificate confirming that they have tested negative for COVID-19 within 24 hours of their departure. The special ferry service between Taipa Ferry Terminal in Macao and Hong Kong International Airport has now ceased operations. All ferry crossings between Hong Kong and mainland China are currently not in operation with the exception of the service from Shenzhen Shekou Port to Hong Kong International Airport. Kai Tak Cruise and Ocean Terminals are also closed to passengers indefinitely.
Hong Kong residents in mainland China are eligible for the Return2hk scheme, which enables quarantine free travel from mainland China to Hong Kong. Non-residents in mainland China and Macao are eligible for the Come2hk scheme, which offers similar exemptions to entry requirements. You can find further information on the Hong Kong SAR government coronavirus website.
If you’re not fully vaccinated
From 26 September, 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 with a vaccinated accompanying adult.
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.
If you have tested positive for COVID-19 recently and are unable to produce a negative pre-departure PCR test result, you may still enter Hong Kong if you can provide certain additional documentation. You will need to provide a recovery certificate proving you were infected with COVID-19 between 14 and 90 days before your arrival in Hong Kong, as well as evidence of a negative rapid antigen test taken within 24 hours of your scheduled departure time. Further important information on required documentation can be found on the Hong Kong SAR Government’s Coronavirus website.
Should you test positive on the PCR test required on arrival in Hong Kong, the Department for Health will take recovery certificates into account when deciding on the location and duration of the quarantine order you are issued.
As with all cases of a positive test on arrival in Hong Kong, there is a risk that you will be placed in a hospital for a minimum of 7 days.
Children and young people
Proof of a single dose of the BioNTech vaccination will be accepted for 12-17 year-old travellers entering Hong Kong.
Unvaccinated minors under the age of 12 will also be permitted entry to Hong Kong if they are travelling with fully vaccinated adults who meet the requirements. They will be subject to the same quarantine and testing requirements as the adults accompanying them.
Children 12-17 years of age who meet the vaccination requirements and are travelling alone will also need to quarantine for 3 days on arrival in a designated hotel. It is down to hotel policy whether a child can self-isolate alone. Further details can be found on the Hong Kong SAR government’s website and you should call the Port Heath Division (+852 3904 9333) to understand the latest requirements if your child is travelling alone.
From 1 June, children under the age of 3 will no longer be required to present proof of a pre-departure test when entering Hong Kong. They will still be subject to both PCR and rapid antigen testing on arrival.
If you’re transiting through Hong Kong
Transit services at Hong Kong International Airport resumed on 1 April.
Transiting through Hong Kong from, but not to, mainland China is now allowed.
Transit passengers travelling through Hong Kong International Airport must have an onward flight booked, which departs within 24 hours of their scheduled time of arrival in Hong Kong.
Transit passengers travelling through Hong Kong International Airport will no longer be required to provide evidence of a pre-departure PCR test before boarding their flight to Hong Kong. If in doubt, you should check with your travel agent or airline before travelling and check the Hong Kong International Airport website.
There is a risk when transiting that you will be placed into isolation in hospital in Hong Kong. All passengers transiting Hong Kong Inter-national Airport will 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. If you meet further risk criteria, you will be transferred to a Hong Kong public hospital for mandatory checks/treatment, where it is highly likely you will be asked to complete a mandatory COVID-19 test. If you successfully pass health screening you need to sit in designated areas at boarding gates and use designated queues in dining facilities and shops, in line with Hong Kong International Airport anti-virus measures.
Details for exemptions can be found on the Hong Kong SAR government’s website.
Check your passport and travel documents before you travel
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:
7 Gloucester Road
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.
If you’re entering Hong Kong with e-cigarettes containing nicotine, you’ll need a medical prescription indicating that they’re for personal use. If the e-cigarette is nicotine-free and for personal use, no medical prescription is needed. 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).
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.
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.
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.
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.’