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Sightseeing in Hong Kong is amazingly diverse for an  area which is just 1070 square kilometers.

If you spent one day traveling from bustling Hong Kong Island to the agrarian New Territories, you would see many different facets of life: executives heading for high-tech offices, vendors selling tradi­tional wares in bustling markets, worshippers praying in incense scented temples and farmers bent low planting their vegetables.

The 70-storey Bank of China Tower and the new 78-storey Central Plaza rise above the high-rises of Hong Kong Island, proof that the sky's the limit in this dynamic city. But another life exists beyond the Island's office blocks. At dawn, elderly Chinese practice t'ai chi ch'uan (shadow-boxing) in cool green parks, and street cobblers and tailors ply their trade in narrow stepped lanes.

Kowloon, the bustling promontory across the harbour from Hong Kong island, is known for its shopping, restaurants and nightlife. Yet there is much more here, from performing arts to ancient temples. The New Territories, beyond the Kowloon hills, are a combination of new satellite towns and quiet country parks.

The outlying islands are even more removed from city life. Here, one can find slow-paced fishing communities and traditional cot­tage industries. Public ferries travel frequently to several islands and afford wonderful views of the
city and the South China Sea.

Area: 1098 sq km (423.9 sq miles) 

Government: Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China since 1997

Language: Chinese and English are the official languages with Cantonese most widely spoken. English is spoken by many, particularly in business circles.

Religion: Buddhist, Confucian and Taoist, with Christian and Muslim minorities, but there are also places of worship for most other religious groups. 

Time: GMT + 8

Electricity: 220 volts AC, 50Hz 

Communications: 

Telephone: Directory enquiries services are computerized. For directory enquiries, dial 1081 (English) or 1083 (Chinese). Full IDD is available. Country code: 852. Outgoing international code: 001. Local public telephone calls can be made either with phone cards or coins. Local calls are free from private phones. 

Mobile telephone: GSM 900 and 1800 networks provide excellent coverage, even to most of the smaller outlying islands. Main network operators inlcude Orange Dual-Band, Sunday, Peoples' Telephone Co Ltd, New World Mobility and SmarTone Mobile Comms Ltd.

Fax: HK Telecom International Ltd and the post office provide services. Bureaufax and international services are also available.

Internet: ISPs include Hong Kong Internet Service, ABC Net and HKNet. Internet cafes can be found nationwide.

Post: Regular postal services are available. Post office hours are Mon-Fri from 0800-1800 and Sat from 0800-1400.

Press: English-language dailies include Asian Wall Street Journal, Hong Kong iMail, International Herald Tribune and South China Morning Post. 

Radio: BBC World Service and Voice of America can be received. From time to time the frequencies change and the most up-to-date can be found online.

Hong Kong - Climate and Weather

Spring 
(March - mid-May): Temperature and humidity rising. Jackets or sweaters suggested. Average temperature: 23C (73F), humidity around 82%, sea temperature, 22.3 C (72 F) 

Summer
(Late May - mid-September): Hot and humid. Temperature may rise to 33C (91F) with humidity up to around 90%. . Shirtsleeves, cotton clothing, a sweater for indoors and an umbrella for outside suggested Average temperature: 28C (82F), humidity 80%, sea temperature 28C (82F).

Autumn
(Late September - early December): temperature and humidity drop. Clear sunny days. Shirtsleeves to sweaters and light jackets suggested. Average temperature: 23C (73F), humidity 72%, sea temperature 17C (63F). 

Winter
(Late December- February): Cool with low humidity. Suits, light woollens and sometimes overcoats suggested. Average temperature: 17C (62F), humidity 72%, sea temperature 17C (63F). 

Hong Kong - Money and Currency

The unit of currency is the Hong Kong dollar (HK$). Notes issued by two private banks (the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank and Standard Chartered Bank) have denominations of $10, $20, $50, $100, $500, and $1000. The Bank of China issues all of the denominations except HK$10. There are silver coins for HK$1, HK$2, and HK$5, bronze coins for HK10 cents, HK20 cents and HK50 cents, and a new nickel-andbronze coin for $10.

Most foreign currencies and traveler's checks are easily changed in Hong Kong, either at banks, hotels or moneychangers (check how much you will get in return before handing over your money). 

Hong Kong - Useful Contact Numbers

Hong Kong Tourist Association
Address: 9-11th Fl., Citicorp Centre, 18 Whitfield Rd., North Point, Hong Kong 
Tel: 28 07 65 43 or 28 07 61 77 (tourist information), Fax: 28 06 03 03 

British Consulate General
Address: 1 Supreme Court Road, Central, Hong Kong
Tel: 29 01 30 00. Fax: 29 01 30 66 (general enquiries) or 29 01 30 08 (information section) or 29 01 33 47 (visa enquiries)
E-mail: bcghk@hkabc.net
Web site: http://www.webhk.com/bcghk/

Consulate General of the United States of America
Address: 26 Garden Road, Hong Kong
Tel: 25 23 90 11. Fax: 28 45 15 98
Web site: http://www.usconsulate.org.hk

Consulate General of Canada
11-14th Floors, One Exchange Square, 8 Connaught Place, Hong Kong
Tel: 28 10 43 21. Fax 28 10 67 36
E-mail: hkong@hkong01.x400.gc.ca
Web site: http://www.canada.org.hk

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