The immigration system in Hong Kong works separately from that on mainland China in that visitors are not forced to obtain an entry visa in advance, although those wishing to enter China proper will need a visa, which is obtainable at the border. A long list details countries whose nationals do not need visas for stays between 14 and 180 days dependent on the country of origin. Included are UK citizens and other EU nationals, as well as citizens of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States.
The only specified vaccination requirement for Hong Kong is Hepatitis A, to be given two weeks before traveling. It’s also recommended that tetanus shots are up to date, but rabies shots are not required.
Health and Safety
Hong Kong’s healthcare is first-world but expensive. Visitors should make sure their travel insurance adequately covers medical emergencies. Health risks are few, with heat stroke in summer a threat to outdoor enthusiasts, and the extreme temperature change between air-conditioned buildings and humid 35°C summer heat can cause flu symptoms. Tap water is safe to drink and there’s little chance of tainted food causing stomach upsets. In winter, pollution is a problem in the city center.
Hong Kong is one of the safest cities in the world and its police force is well up to the job, although pickpockets are known to operate in crowded places and on public transport in rush hours. However, it pays to take extra care in Kowloon, as some areas are poverty-stricken and have a higher crime rate. As always, common sense is the answer to staying safe. Tourist traps and other scams do happen, particularly in small shops, markets, and entertainment areas, and it’s wise to remember the old saying, “if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.”