• Increase of duty-free allowance for luggage articles brought into the Mainland by Mainland residents travelling from Hong Kong takes effect from 1 July 2024. Click here for details.

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Customs & culture

Customs & Culture

Hong Kong may be a cosmopolitan city, but it also has its own set of unique cultural customs and habits. We encourage you to familiarise yourself with these customs and try following them during your stay in Hong Kong, so you can discover and experience our great city like a local!

The daily rhythm of a global financial centre

As a global financial centre, Hong Kong has a high paced work rhythm. As such, rush hour in the city can be crowded and intense. Rush hour is typically around 7:30am to 9:30am, and 5:30pm to 7:30pm Mondays to Fridays, while office lunch hours takes place from around 12:30pm to 2pm.

Be smart with your planning and try to avoid travel during those times. You don’t want to be caught in the crowds.

Being mindful of others 

Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated cities in the world. As such, there are a number of unspoken rules that locals adopt to make life in a busy city more friendly and more convenient for all. Here are a few:
  • Loud conversations, music or videos in public areas are viewed as inconsiderate to others.
  • When taking public transport, it is customary to let passengers off before you enter.
  • When taking escalators, locals stand on the right, and let people in a rush pass on the left.
  • To keep up with the fast pace, locals always prepare their ticket or Octopus card before they get to the barrier.
  • Before entering the station, make sure your Octopus card has sufficient balance.
  • Locals who travel with bulky luggage take the elevators instead of the escalators to avoid causing inconvenience to others.
  • For your safety, please follow the traffic lights to cross the road. Violating the traffic rules will result in a hefty fine.

Hong Kong’s queuing culture

Hong Kong is known for orderliness, which is embodied in locals’ respect for the queue. Not just for public transport, Hong Kong people queue up for ticketing counters, bathrooms, restaurants, the latest products, store openings, giveaways and more. If others are on the same mission as you – join the queue.

Being respectful of your surroundings

  • Eating and drinking is considered a sign of disrespect in certain indoor areas, and is not allowed in a number of public spaces including public transport (MTR, buses and trams), museums and heritage sites. Please pay attention to signs.
  • In a city as packed as Hong Kong, the boundaries between public and private properties/residences may not always be clear. Please do your best to avoid accidentally trespassing as you explore the city.

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