APAN 42th Meeting/Conference
Hong Kong

Conference Venue

Centennial Campus, The University of Hong Kong
Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong

About Hong Kong
Location

Positioned at the mouth of the Pearl River Delta on the coast of southern China, Hong Kong's geographical position as a gateway between the East and West has made it an attractive centre for international trade. As a reflection of this, the heart of Asia's world city has always been the bustling and beautiful Victoria Harbour. Hong Kong's 1,104-square-metre area comprises Hong Kong Island, which lies to the south of the harbour, the Kowloon Peninsula, which forms its northern shores, the New Territories to the north of Kowloon, which stretch all the way to Mainland China, and more than 200 outlying islands, including Lantau Island, where Hong Kong International Airport is located.

Source: http://www.discoverhongkong.com/eng/plan-your-trip/traveller-info/about-hong-kong/location.jsp#ixzz437kgfVYp

History

Situated on the southeast coast of China, Hong Kong's strategic location on the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea has made it one of the world's most thriving and cosmopolitan cities.
Hong Kong as we know it today was born when China's Qing dynasty government was defeated in the First Opium War in 1842, when it ceded Hong Kong Island to Britain. Within 60 years, Kowloon, the New Territories and 235 Outlying Islands were also leased to Britain. However, the history of the more than 1100 square kilometres that Hong Kong now occupies predates the events of the Qing dynasty by more than a thousand years. And, as you explore the city's colourful heritage, you'll discover stories of powerful clans, marauding pirates and European traders.
From its earliest days as a British colony, Hong Kong served as a centre of international trade. In the turbulent years of the early 20th century, the city's population was bolstered by refugees, mostly from China. The arrival of immigrants in large numbers helped launch a new role for Hong Kong as a major manufacturing hub. It also brought economically stimulating energy and industry to the city's character. In recent decades, as the economy of Mainland China has undergone a process of opening up, Hong Kong has transformed yet again - this time into a service-based economy as well as an important gateway to the world's largest market.
Under the principle of 'One Country, Two Systems', Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China on 1 July 1997. This arrangement allows the city to enjoy a high degree of autonomy, including retaining its capitalist system, independent judiciary and rule of law, free trade and freedom of speech.
A look at the city's history could give a strong impression that change is the only constant here. However, despite all its reinventions, Hong Kong's spirit has never changed. In fact, the same energy and dynamism that turned a group of sleepy fishing villages into a crossroads of international trade is now taking Asia's world city into the 21st century. Experience that spirit and Hong Kong's story yourself by exploring the city's rich culture and heritage.

Source: http://www.discoverhongkong.com/eng/plan-your-trip/traveller-info/about-hong-kong/history.jsp#ixzz437l62PcO

Language and Culture

Hong Kong can mostly thank its colonial history and international harbour for the rich blend of cultures that give it its unique character. While the majority of the city's population is Chinese speakers, simply walking the streets will expose you to a medley of Asian and European languages.

Chinese

Cantonese, a minority dialect of Mainland China, is spoken by 88 per cent of people in Hong Kong. Nonetheless, other Chinese dialects, such as Hakka, Taishanese and Teochiu are also present, as is Mandarin of course - China's official dialect, which has become more widely spoken in Hong Kong since the reunification in 1997.

English

From Hong Kong's establishment as a colonial port, through its period as a manufacturing hub, and up until its current role as an international financial centre, the city's population has always looked outwards. As a result, English is widely spoken. Today, it is the language of preference in the government, business and tourism sectors. All official signs and public transport announcements, as well as most menus, are bilingual. 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. In fact, many locals even pepper their Chinese speech with English words and phrases.

Multiculturalism

The comfort with which these languages and dialects co-exist reflects the high level of cultural tolerance in Hong Kong, where multiple denominations of Christian churches share space with Chinese joss houses; Buddhist, Taoist and Sikh temples; mosques and synagogues. Moreover, the presence of enduring and ancient cultures in a society that has had to constantly adapt to change has created a unique contemporary culture that is a true mixture of tradition and innovation. Hong Kong is where you'll see elderly men playing ancient Chinese board games on digital tablets, where Christmas is celebrated with as much fervour as Chinese New Year, and where state-of-the-art skyscrapers are designed in consultation with feng shui masters.

Source: http://www.discoverhongkong.com/eng/plan-your-trip/traveller-info/about-hong-kong/language-and-culture.jsp#ixzz437lUeKKJ

Seasons

Hong Kong has a sub-tropical climate with distinct seasons. The only predictable weather events that could have a significant impact on your travel plans are typhoons.
Typhoon season begins in May and ends in November. When a typhoon is approaching, warnings are broadcast on television and radio. There are various degrees of warning signals issued by the Hong Kong Observatory, but when the no. 8 signal is in place, most businesses and shops close down and flights may be cancelled. There is a separate warning system for heavy rain.
You can find detailed information about current and seasonal weather on the Hong Kong Observatory website. While you're in Hong Kong, you can also dial 1878 200 and press '3' for English to check the latest situation.
What to expect from Hong Kong's seasons:

Spring (March to May)

Temperature and humidity are rising. Evenings can be cool. Average Temperature: 17°C - 26°C

Summer (June to August)

Hot, humid and sunny, with occasional showers and thunderstorms. The temperature can exceed 31°C but high humidity levels can make it feel even hotter.
Average Temperature: 26°C - 31°C

Autumn (September to November)

There are pleasant breezes, plenty of sunshine and comfortable temperatures. Many people regard these as the best months of the year to visit Hong Kong.
Average Temperature: 19°C - 28°C

Winter (December to February)

Cool, dry and cloudy, with occasional cold fronts. The temperature can drop below 10°C in urban areas.
Average Temperature: 12°C - 20°C

Source: http://www.discoverhongkong.com/eng/plan-your-trip/traveller-info/about-hong-kong/climate.jsp#ixzz437lttD9e

Currency

The Hong Kong Dollar
The legal tender in Hong Kong is the Hong Kong dollar (HKD), which is pegged to the US dollar at a rate of about 7.80 HKD to 1 USD, although exchange rates may fluctuate slightly. While coins are issued by the Government, interestingly, the issue of Hong Kong banknotes are shared between three commercial banks: HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank and Bank of China. These notes vary in design and colour according to denomination. Find more on Hong Kong's coins and banknotes here.

Bank Notes
$10-green or purple (the purple note is issued by the Government)
$20-dark blue or light blue (old or new)
$50-purple or green (old or new)
$100-red
$500-brown
$1,000-yellow
Coins
10c-in bronze, circular, small
20c-in bronze, circular with wavy edges, small
50c-in bronze, circular, medium
$1-in silver, circular, thin, large
$2-in silver, circular with wavy edges, thin, large
$5-in silver, circular, thick, large
$10-in bronze and silver, circular, medium

Changing Money
You can exchange your currency for Hong Kong dollars at any authorised money exchanger. For extra peace of mind, look for a money exchanger that is accredited by the Quality Tourism Services (QTS) Scheme. At Hong Kong International Airport, currency exchange counters are open from early morning until late at night and many located within the city stay open into the evening. ATMs are widespread and operate 24 hours. Exchange rates fluctuate daily depending on currency markets.

Currency converter by Google: www.google.com/finance/converter

Traveller's cheques and credit cards
Traveller's cheques are accepted by most leading banks and hotels. International credit cards such as American Express, VISA, Diners Club and MasterCard are also welcome at many hotels, retail shops and restaurants. Such premises usually display stickers showing the credit cards they accept at their entrances.

ATM
ATMs can be found almost everywhere. Many take international cards and some HSBC 'Electronic Money' machines provide 24-hour cash withdrawal (HK$) facilities for Visa and MasterCard holders.

Source: http://www.discoverhongkong.com/eng/plan-your-trip/traveller-info/good-to-know/money.jsp#ixzz437mr7TO0