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Climate of Hongkong and Shanzhen

Subtropical Hong Kong has four distinguishable seasons - warm and humid spring, hot and rainy summer, pleasant and sunny autumn, cool and dry winter. On the whole, the weather means that Hong Kong is a year round destination.

If you are considering the weather while planning a trip to Hong Kong, the months of October, November and December are perhaps the most favorable and are definitely the best time to visit. During this period, the city shines beneath clear skies amidst the mild breeze of the season. The temperatures are bracing at 20-24 degrees C in the day time and falling to 16-10 degrees C at night in December. The months of January and February get very cold with a further fall in temperatures. Though it is cold in January and February you may want to consider coming here during the Chinese New year when festivities rent the air but the downside is that hotels are expensive and hard to come by unless you have booked well before.

However, due to the tropical cyclones of varying strengths and occasional squally thunderstorms between May and November and the typhoons in September, the ideal travel season is late autumn, from October to around Christmas time.  Should you happen to visit Hong Kong in the typhoon season, you should not venture out too far when the typhoon warning is level 3 or less, but stay indoors when it is higher. All shops and banks are closed when a level 8 typhoon warning is given.

Macau

Having distinctive dry and wet seasons, Macau's weather is generally warm and foggy in spring, hot and rainy in summer, cool and clear in autumn, and cold but sunny in winter. The average annual temperature in Macau is about 20°C (72°F) and there are about 100 days with high temperatures over 30°C (86°F). Less than 30 days have an average temperature under 10°C (50°F) in a year.

April to October is the rainy season, of which May is the rainiest and July to September is the typhoon season. Autumn and winter, especially mid-October to December, are recommended as the best times to visit Macau.

Best time to visit Macau

Although Macau is an all-year holiday destination, probably the best time for sightseeing is the autumn or the winter months between October and March. Compared to the humid and wet summer or rainy season months, Macau weather at this time is fairly pleasant. During the cooler months, a trishaw (local bicycle-pulled taxi) or open-topped bus is the best way of getting to Coloane, Taipa and the Cotai Strip while he old quarter is most easily explored on foot.

Shenzhen

Due to its subtropical climate, Shenzhen weather is mild with plenty of sunshine and rainfall all year round. Summer in Shenzhen usually lasts for as long as 6 months, but without being overly hot. In comparison, winter is very short and not cold at all. 

However, it should be noted that Shenzhen is located at the estuary of the Pearl River and is therefore an area susceptible to typhoons. Generally most typhoons occur from May to December with the strongest from July to September. Autumn of Shenzhen from November to early January is advised as the best time to visit.
With an average temperature of 22°C (72°F) on average, Shenzhen has a long mild summer and short relatively warm winter, which makes Shenzhen a year-round travel destination. Additionally, the China Hi-Tech Fair is held in Shenzhen from the 12th to the 17th of October every year. It is always advisable to make reservations well in advance of your visit to Shenzhen as the area is particularly busy during this time.

Spring in Shenzhen falls between February and April when the weather is usually variable – hot days turn into cooler nights. A cold wave may come even in late February. When the temperature drops, it is always accompanied by rain. After the low temperature and rains, heavy fog often appears along the seacoasts. Travelers should take long-sleeved T-shirts, thick jackets and an umbrella.

Summer, the flood season of Shenzhen, is rather long from late April until the end of October. During this time, disastrous weather like rainstorms, thunderstorms and typhoons are common in Shenzhen. The high temperature is about 35°C (95°F), but you may feel extremely hot because of the high humidity. Skirts, dresses, and shorts are proper for this time. Remember to take a raincoat as well. The best summer resort is Da Meisha and Xiao Meisha Scenic Area.

Shenzhen weather in autumn from November to early January is dry and cool. The temperature won’t drop until December and it still remains around 20°C (68°F). Autumn droughts of varying degrees happens almost every year because of less rain and large evaporation. A long-sleeved T-shirt and a light overcoat are enough for this season.

Shenzhen has an average winter time of 24 days per year, between middle January to early February. It is always as warm as the spring in northern China, with an average temperature of 10°C (50°F). The temperature may fall to around 3°C (37°F) when there is cold spell, but the cold won’t last for long. Once there are three continuous sunny days, you will feel as hot as in summer. If you travel to Shenzhen at this time, you may just take a long-sleeved T-shirt and a thick jacket.

 

 

Currency

The Hong Kong dollar (HKD) is the territory's official currency and is the unit of currency used throughout this travel guide. In Chinese, one dollar is known formally as the yuan and colloquially as the men in Cantonese. You can safely assume that the '$' sign used in the territory refers to HKD unless it includes other initials (e.g. US$ to stand for US Dollar). The HKD is also widely accepted in Macau in lieu of their home currency at a 1:1 rate.

The official exchange rate is fixed at 7.80 HKD to 1 USD, although bank rates may fluctuate slightly.

Banknotes come in denominations of:

  • $10, green or purple (paper or plastic).
  • $20, dark blue or light blue (old or new).
  • $50, purple or green (old or new).
  • $100, red.
  • $500, brown.
  • $1000, gold.

The coins come in units of

  • $10, in bronze/silver, circular.
  • $5, in silver, circular, thicker.
  • $2, in silver, wavey-circular.
  • $1, in silver, circular, thinner.
  • 50¢, in bronze, circular, larger.
  • 20¢, in bronze, wavey-circular.
  • 10¢, in bronze, circular, smaller.

Macau

The currency of Macau is the pataca (MOP), which is divided into 100 avos. Prices are shown as $10, for example (10 patacas).
The pataca is pegged to the Hong Kong Dollar (HKD) at 1.03 patacas to 1 dollar.

Shenzhen

The official currency of the People's Republic of China is the renminbi ("People's Money"), often abbreviated RMB. The base unit of this currency is the yuan, international currency code CNY. All prices in China are given in yuan, usually either as ¥ or 元. The RMB is not legal tender in the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau, both of which issue their own currencies although occasionally it will be accepted on an unfavourable 1 to 1 basis with Hong Kong Dollars.
The yuan is currently hovering at ¥6.2 to the U.S. dollar and slowly rising in value (Feb 2012).

 

 

Clothing

When travelling, it's often best to pack clothes for layering. Hong Kong is no exception to this rule of thumb, especially since in the hottest times of the year you will often find air conditioning indoors (and on many of the newer ferries) to be cranked up towards freezing. During the wettest times of the year, it can rain almost non-stop for days.

If travelling to Hong Kong in January, pack clothes for rain, sun and cold.  In the wet season, June through August, pack for even more rain. The weather is often unpredictable, so carrying a light jacket, large scarf, and/or long sleeves may be advisable.  The MTR system can be warm, so be prepared to shed or don a layer regularly!

Because of the heat, many residents prefer to carry umbrellas, rather than a rain coat or parka. You'll see residents carrying umbrellas even on sunny days...many use their umbrellas to also protect themselves from the sun. *A note on this: be cautious on the street when there are umbrellas about -- it's quite common here for people to find umbrella tips on collision courses with their eyes, faces, and other body parts! Be ready to take evasive action or at least to put up a hand to protect yourself from a poke in the eye.

If you don't want to pack an umbrella, they are available to buy cheaply in the 7Eleven and CircleK shops dotted about, and at many market stalls in the streets.  As you enter shopping malls, restaurants, shops, and museums, umbrella bags (long thin plastic bags) and stands are often available to store your brolly in whilst browsing.

To fit in with the thousands of other tourists on the streets, wear casual trainers and jeans. Jeans, however, may be a bit uncomfortable during the hottest parts of the year. During the business day, you will see residents wearing everything from formal business clothing to highly fashionable clothing of all types to casual day-wear. Weekends find more people dressed quite casually, including a lot of flip-flops and shorts. Ensure you keep your valuables in sight at all times - ideally wear a shoulder bag across your front as the MTR and streets are extremely crowded.
If you are intending to wash clothing out and hang it to dry during your Hong Kong trip, especially during the wet season, remember that it can take up to three days for some fibers to start feeling dry, and even then it will still feel damp to the touch. High-tech fabrics that are specifically made to dry quickly are best for this sort of care in Hong Kong. You will also sometimes see residents on densely wooded islands such as Lamma wearing fashion-print Wellies (tall rubber boots), which have the added advantage of protecting ankles and calves from snakebite!

What to wear in Macau on holiday

Due to the generally warm weather in Macau, visitors can usually get away with light clothing in the daytime, though it is advisable to bring formal clothes for visiting some casinos. In winter (January to March), long trousers and a jumper give warmth at night. An umbrella or raincoat is good protection against any wet Macau weather.

Shenzhen

Weather & Clothing
Due to its subtropical climate, Shenzhen weather is mild with plenty of sunshine and rainfall all year round. Summer in Shenzhen usually lasts for as long as 6 months, but without being overly hot. In comparison, winter is very short and not cold at all.  However, it should be noted that Shenzhen is located at the estuary of the Pearl River and is therefore an area susceptible to typhoons. Generally most typhoons occur from May to December with the strongest from July to September. Autumn of Shenzhen from November to early January is advised as the best time to visit.

With an average temperature of 22°C (72°F) on average, Shenzhen has a long mild summer and short relatively warm winter, which makes Shenzhen a year-round travel destination. Additionally, the China Hi-Tech Fair is held in Shenzhen from the 12th to the 17th of October every year. It is always advisable to make reservations well in advance of your visit to Shenzhen as the area is particularly busy during this time. Spring in Shenzhen falls between February and April when the weather is usually variable – hot days turn into cooler nights. A cold wave may come even in late February. When the temperature drops, it is always accompanied by rain. After the low temperature and rains, heavy fog often appears along the seacoasts. Travelers should take long-sleeved T-shirts, thick jackets and an umbrella.

Summer, the flood season of Shenzhen, is rather long from late April until the end of October. During this time, disastrous weather like rainstorms, thunderstorms and typhoons are common in Shenzhen. The high temperature is about 35 °C (95 °F), but you may feel extremely hot because of the high humidity. Skirts, dresses, and shorts are proper for this time. Remember to take a raincoat as well. The best summer resort is Da Meisha and Xiao Meisha Scenic Area.

Shenzhen weather in autumn from November to early January is dry and cool. The temperature won’t drop until December and it still remains around 20°C (68°F). Autumn droughts of varying degrees happens almost every year because of less rain and large evaporation. A long-sleeved T-shirt and a light overcoat are enough for this season. Shenzhen has an average winter time of 24 days per year, between middle January to early February. It is always as warm as the spring in northern China, with an average temperature of 10°C (50°F). The temperature may fall to around 3°C (37°F) when there is cold spell, but the cold won’t last for long. Once there are three continuous sunny days, you will feel as hot as in summer. If you travel to Shenzhen at this time, you may just take a long-sleeved T-shirt and a thick jacket.

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do I need a visa to visit Hong Kong?
A: Visitors from most countries can enter Hong Kong without a visa for periods of seven to 180 days, depending on nationality. Check with the Hong Kong Immigration Department for details about visa requirements.

When to visit and where to stay

Q: When is the best time to visit Hong Kong?
A: Hong Kong is a popular travel destination year round. The city enjoys a mild climate from the middle of September to the end of February, while the weather from May to mid-September can be hot, wet and humid, with August being the wettest month.

Q: Where is the best area to stay?
A: Hong Kong is very compact, so visitors are never too far from major shopping areas and attractions. Getting around is simple via Hong Kong’s extensive, reliable and affordable public transport system. Most hotels are located close to the harbour-front in Central, Wan Chai, Causeway Bay and North Point on Hong Kong Island, and in Tsim Sha Tsui, Tsim Sha Tsui East and Hung Hom in Kowloon. You can also find plenty of accommodation within Kowloon’s busy areas of Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok. There are also a growing number of resort-style hotels in the New Territories and the Outlying Islands that offer more relaxing alternatives.

Public transport

Q: Is local transport easy to use?
A: Hong Kong has an excellent public transport system that is considered one of the best in the world. Depending on where you are going, you have a choice of MTR (subway), trains, buses, trams, ferries and taxis. These clean and efficient options cover extensive areas of Hong Kong and have signs and announcements in both English and Chinese.

Shopping and opening hours

Q: When are summer sales / winter sales  periods in Hong Kong?
A: Generally speaking, summer sales run from July to September and winter sales from December to February. However, the exact sales period may vary from shop to shop.

Q: Do shops and restaurants close during long public holidays such as the Chinese New Year?
A: Most shops and restaurants in major tourist areas will remain open during public holidays. Some of them will be closed on the first and second days of Chinese New Year and will reopen for business from the third day. Some traditional shops and restaurants, such as dried seafood merchants, Chinese medicine stores and small family-owned restaurants, may stay closed for longer.

Q: Are credit cards widely accepted in shops?
A: Most shops in Hong Kong accept major credit cards; however, at open-air markets, most vendors will only take cash. As these can offer attractive bargains and are found all over Hong Kong, it’s best to bring both cash in Hong Kong dollars and credit cards when shopping.

Q: Is there any sales tax in Hong Kong?
A: Mostly, no. All goods, other than alcohol and tobacco, are tax-free.

Q: What are Hong Kong’s official business hours?
A: Opening hours vary from business to business, but here’s a rough guide:

  • Most offices will open from 9am to 6pm or longer from Monday to Friday, depending on the type of business. Many will also open from 9am to 1pm on Saturdays.
  • Major banks open from 9am to 4:30pm on weekdays and 9am to 12:30pm on Saturdays.
  • Retail shops generally open from 10am to 7pm daily, although those in popular shopping areas such as Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui will stay open until 9:30pm or even later, especially on weekends. Many shops in Hong Kong remain open every day of the year, except the first two days of Chinese New Year.
  • Restaurants tend to stay open until around 11pm, while bars and clubs will close in the wee hours, with plenty of them operating all night, particularly in popular nightlife hubs such as Lan Kwai Fong and Wan Chai.

Telecommunications and postage

Q: Where can I get Internet access in Hong Kong?
A: Free Wi-Fi service is available at Hong Kong International Airport. Some government buildings also offer free ‘GovWiFi’ services, including some public libraries. You can access the Internet for free at many coffee shops in town, as well as at certain iCentres at selected MTR stations and at the Hong Kong Trade Development Council’s Business InfoCentre. Check with your hotel concierge for a nearby location to access Wi-Fi.  Most hotels offer broadband Internet access; however, this may involve a charge in some cases.

Q: Are local phone calls expensive?
A: No. Calls from private landlines to landlines are free and cost only $1 for five minutes from public telephones. However, hotels will usually charge for local phone calls. International Direct Dial (IDD) services to most countries and regions of the world are available at almost all hotels in Hong Kong.

Q: Will my mobile phone work in Hong Kong?
A: Most of the world’s mobile telecommunications systems operate in Hong Kong, including GSM 900, PCS 1800, CDMA and WCDMA. Check if your service provider has a roaming agreement with a Hong Kong operator. And be sure to pay attention to the roaming rates!

Q: Can I get a temporary Hong Kong mobile phone or local mobile phone number during my visit?
A: Yes. You can rent local SIM cards or mobile phones when you arrive at the airport or in town. Prepaid Calling Card and Mobile Data Prepaid SIM Card for mobile phones can be easily purchased from major convenient stores in Hong Kong.

Q: Can I access tourist information through my mobile phone?
A: Yes. Also, visitors with Wi-Fi-enabled devices can enjoy free browsing and downloading of content on the HKTB website / mobile site via PCCW's 7,000 Wi-Fi hotspots in Hong Kong.

Q: Is posting letters and parcels from Hong Kong easy?
A: Yes. Post offices and post boxes are conveniently located around the city and postage stamps are available in convenience stores.

Other topics

Q: Is Hong Kong safe for visitors?
A: Hong Kong is one of the safest cities in the world, even at night when people can walk alone with confidence. Having said that, to ensure your stay is a pleasant one, always take extra care of your belongings at all times.

Q: Is English widely spoken?
A: Yes. English is widely spoken in Hong Kong and is the language of preference in the government, business and tourism sectors. As a visitor, you can expect to encounter minimal problems communicating in English, as most taxi drivers, salespeople, tourism industry employees and police have reached competent levels of the language. Also, all official signs and public transport announcements, as well as most menus, are in both English and Chinese.

Q: Will I be able to use my electrical equipment in Hong Kong?
A: The standard electrical voltage in Hong Kong is 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Most hotel bathrooms also have outlets for 100 volts, but if not, you will need a transformer for any appliance or electrical equipment. The majority of electrical outlets in Hong Kong take a three-pronged UK-style plug. You can buy an inexpensive adaptor for your electrical equipment at most convenience stores

 

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