Hong Kong is a perfect destination for those who want to experience Asia with an English flavour. This beautiful city was a colony of the British Empire from 1842-1997, and the British influence still plays a significant role, and English is widely understood in this city-state. The city is also the fourth-largest financial centre in the world after London, New York and Tokyo.
Hong Kong International Airport is one of the world’s best. It received the prestigious honour of Airport of the Year at the 2011 World Airport Awards in Copenhagen. The airport operates 24 hours a day and receives flights from throughout the world. Nearly 100 different airlines serve the airport, and it was the 11th busiest in the world in 2010 with more than 50 million passengers.
There are several airlines that fly from Australia into Hong Kong. Cathay Pacific flies from Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Melbourne and Perth. Qantas has flights from Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. Virgin Atlantic Airways has service to Sydney. Hong Kong flights also arrive from cities as far away as New York and London.
The easiest way to get into Hong Kong from the airport is to take the Airport Express train. It runs every 10-12 minutes and has a maximum speed of 130 kilometres per hour. It takes 24 minutes to reach Hong Kong Station, which is underneath the International Finance Centre. Another transportation option from the airport is taking a bus with Citybus or Long Win, as both offer spectacular views as you make your way into the city.
Australians and citizens of the European Union may stay up to 90 days in Hong Kong without a visa. The maximum visa-free stay allowed for a full citizen of the United Kingdom is 180 days. Citizens from most countries are allowed to remain in Hong Kong for at least 14 days without a visa. Visitors need to be careful of their entry and departure dates, as overstaying in Hong Kong may result in fines up to $50,000 and/or an imprisonment period of up to three years.
Although the city is known as a metropolis of concrete structures, it has a significant amount of beautiful scenery. In fact, more than 70 percent of Hong Kong consists of natural settings, including parks set in the country and of the marine variety. Hong Kong Wetland Park has a large visitor centre and a wetland reserve of significant size.