I’ll admit – I was still kind of confused until we got there. And the answer: well, not technically. Even though they speak Chinese and were handed back to China in 1997 after years of British rule, it’s not China.
There’s Mainland China and there is Hong Kong.
Different flag. Different currency. Different government. Different passport*. Different people.
*Fun Fact: People with a HK passport don’t have to get a Visa to go anywhere in the world. It’s seen as completely neutral.
Ask anyone in Hong Kong and they’ll be quick to tell you that they’re from Hong Kong – not China. And people from mainland China cannot freely enter and move to Hong Kong.
We spent a day with a Hong Kong native, Jay, who showed us around the city via bicycle, took us out to the “New Territories” basically HK’s suburbia which was eerily quiet and answered all of our Hong Kong questions… government, history, money, HK vs. China, etc.
Hong Kong Fast Facts
: Hong Kong’s official name is the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, or Hong Kong SAR.
: Population: 7.2 million
: Size: 426 square miles (smaller than NYC)
: HK’s government is one of the wealthiest in the world
: Hong Kong has very low tax and is one of the world’s leading financial centers
: Hong Kong imports 90% of its goods
Here’s a view of Hong Kong from “The Peak” one of the top must-do’s in Hong Kong. On Hong Kong Island, you take a tram up a steep mountain to see 360-degree sweeping view of the city all the way to Mainland China. Well, on a clear day. We heard not to bother on cloudy days, so we were planning to skip The Peak all together until on our last day in HK we woke up to sunshine coming through our little window and decided to give it a whirl. But by the time we waited in line for an hour with the other bazillion tourists, the clouds had already rolled in so our view was mediocre. I much preferred the nighttime skyline view from “Avenue of the Stars,” anyways.