Hong Kong is one of the most exciting cities in the world. From its origin as a tiny fishing village, it’s now one of the world’s largest financial centres and economies. It is a beautiful, modern city, with many reminders of its historic past, and it has long been a shopping mecca and tourist destination for Australians.
Start your day with dim sum – small, bite-sized portions of chewy pastry with fillings of shrimp, chicken, spinach and mushrooms or vegetables and rice noodles, usually served in traditional bamboo steamer baskets. Steamed, fried or baked, and often with sticky sauce, it's a traditional breakfast, lunch or dinner dish to share with others.
Visit the Big Buddha, a Hong Kong landmark. Take a bus, make a strenuous hike uphill or ride the Npong Ping Cable Car, a 7km ride suspended high above the ground and across the bay – not for the faint-hearted! Then climb the stairs to the Big Buddha and a spectacular view.
A traditional junk boat ride will give you the second best skyline view – the best is from the Peak – most beautiful when combined with the city’s famous evening light show, the Symphony of Lights.
Shopping in Hong Kong has everything you could possibly imagine – from designer one-offs to op shop trash. Try Sogo, the landmark meeting point Japanese department store at Causeway, for designer goods, shoes, leather goods and great food.
The sparkling Hong Kong Trade Development Council Design Gallery in Wanchai has a fascinating collection of odds and ends from picture frames and fashion accessories to soft furnishings and laptop speakers. Or there’s Pacific Place in the Admiralty for designer labels and the latest in electronics.
Though Hong Kong is relatively safe crime- and health-wise, it’s still best to check the risks before travelling there.
Violent crime rates in Hong Kong are very low but there are pick-pockets and bag-snatchers in cities, so it’s wise to take care of travel documents, cash or credit cards when you’re in a crowded area or travelling on public transport.
Avoid carrying large amounts of cash, expensive watches, jewellery or cameras, especially in less populated areas.
Typhoon season is between May and October, so if you are travelling at this time, it’s best to carry your travel documents with you or secure them in a safe, waterproof location. Bad weather may mean delayed or cancelled flights or ferries, and you may have to arrange extra accommodation and meals at your own expense, if you do not have insurance.
Tap water is safe and meets World Health Organization guidelines for drinking water, however, most people prefer to drink bottled water.
Infectious diseases such as avian flu exist in Hong Kong, so it’s a good idea to discuss your travel plans with your GP before you go, and make sure you have taken all necessary precautions to stay well.
Hong Kong has some of the best health care standards and medical practitioners in the world. However, it is second only to the United States in medical treatment costs, which is very expensive indeed. A week-long stay in hospital for an uninsured traveller could cost up to 2 years’ salary.
In 2014, Worldcare helped 26 Australians who travelled to Hong Kong, ran into trouble and made a claim on their travel insurance policy.
The vast majority of our total claims cost for Hong Kong last year was for medical and hospital expenses (83%). Other common claims were for luggage and personal effects (7%) and pick-pocketing (1%).
If you are injured or get sick while travelling in Hong Kong, you can expect to be out of pocket an average of AUD $2,392 without travel insurance.
If your luggage or personal effects are lost, stolen or delayed in Hong Kong, it could cost you an average of AUD $290 without insurance. Being pick-pocketed could cost you AUD $200 on average.
So it’s worth considering travel insurance, which is not expensive and may save you considerable cost and trouble.
Worldcare has a range of travel insurance options and inclusions to suit any Hong Kong holiday budget – even if yours is limited.
As soon as adverse events such as strikes, bad weather, natural disasters and others that may affect your trip hit mass media, you are not covered unless you already have travel insurance, as it’s no longer ‘unforeseen’.
If you have your policy arranged well in advance of travelling, you are protected. So take it out before you leave and you should be eligible to claim.
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