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Hong Kong Student Travel Tips

Hong Kong Student Travel Tips

Hong Kong is an exciting mix of Chinese culture and English influence, creating a vibrant global city. Operating under the principle “one country, two systems”, its Special Administrative Region of China has seen incredible growth over recent decades as it strives to become an influential global force.

Singapore boasts an advanced public transport system with trains, buses and ferry routes connecting all islands. To pay for these trips, a prepaid Octopus Card comes in handy; it can be topped up at MTR stations and convenience stores. Hong Kong transit after Cathay Pacific flights is simple for students.

1. Get a Student Visa

International students wishing to study in Hong Kong require a student visa. While the process can be lengthy and intricate, it’s possible to acquire one if you possess all of the necessary documents and support.

To apply for a student visa in Hong Kong, you must possess an official admission offer letter from an accredited university or institution offering full-time study programmes at bachelor’s degree level or higher. Furthermore, you need a local sponsor who will financially support both your educational pursuits and accommodation while here.

Your application and supporting documents should be sent to CEDARS, who will forward them on to the Immigration Department of Hong Kong for review and approval. Approximately 6-8 weeks later, you should receive a visa label which should be stuck onto your passport page to complete the visa process and allow you to arrive in Hong Kong with a valid study permit.

2. Get a Hong Kong Pass

If you plan to visit Hong Kong frequently, getting a Hong Kong Pass is recommended. These 32-page machine readable documents allow frequent visitors to use resident counters when entering and leaving the city, cutting down on time spent clearing Immigration checks.

These cards are especially beneficial for people permitted to come into Hong Kong without a visa or entry permit for business purposes. Applicants should demonstrate that they have visited Hong Kong three or more times (other than side trips to China or Macau) without incident within the 12-month period prior to applying.

Hong Kong’s public transport system is highly efficient and extensive. The Mass Transit Railway (MTR) is modern and clean, with trains running all day long. Plus, it’s incredibly cheap: ordinary (second class) tickets start from just HK$2 on weekdays to HK$2.40 weekends and holidays.

3. Get a Private Transfer

The city boasts an efficient public transportation system and is small enough for even the most adventurous traveler to navigate on foot. For the more daring travelers, we suggest trying out Octopus: an all-in-one ticket for ride tolls.

It’s worth noting that you won’t have access to Octopus for very long, but the benefits are worth waiting for. Whatever your budget or desire, there’s an extensive fleet of buses, ferries, subways, trolleys and trams available to choose from. Before making a booking for private transfers you should do your due diligence by visiting them in person or conducting an online search which provides all the relevant details so you can make an informed decision.

4. Get a Visa for Mainland China

If you are planning to visit Mainland China, it is essential to know the appropriate visa type and duration of stay. There are various Chinese tourist and work visas available for visitors from around the world.

Non-visa exempt foreign citizens wishing to enter mainland China must first secure a Chinese visa. Typically, this process takes four working days.

However, express and rush services are available that can reduce processing time to three working days or two. While more expensive, these options may save you some hassle in the long run.

Visa exemption policies exist that permit foreign nationals to enter China without needing a visa. These include mutual visa exemption agreements, holding an APEC business travel card and possessing either a valid residence permit or ID card.

5. Get a Pass for Victoria Peak

For one of Hong Kong’s most stunning sights, be sure to visit Victoria Peak. At its highest point on Hong Kong Island, Victoria Peak provides breathtaking views both day and night.

For a truly spectacular journey to the top, take the historic tram. Operating since 1888, this historic funicular railway has been transporting tourists up and down Mount Fuji since.

If you’re up for some physical exertion, however, hiking up to Victoria Peak is also possible. Three different trails lead to its summit and all offer breathtaking views.

Victoria Peak offers passes that grant access to all its popular attractions, such as the tram, Sky Terrace 428 and Madame Tussauds. You may even upgrade your ticket to include a cultural tour of the area where you will learn more about its local culture.

6. Go Hiking

Hiking in Hong Kong offers an unique perspective of the city. There are some stunning trails throughout the city, giving you access to parts you may never have noticed otherwise.

Some of Hong Kong’s best hikes are relatively straightforward, making them ideal for students looking to keep fit while studying here. But if you’re up for a challenge, there are plenty of easier trails as well.

One of the toughest, yet stunning hikes is Ma On Shan Trail. Climb hundreds of stairs and along rocky paths to reach its summit – it may be challenging, but every 866m of ascent is worth it for the stunning coastal views along the way.

7. Go Shopping

Hong Kong is one of the premier shopping destinations in Asia, boasting an array of brands for everything from cosmetics and electronic devices to apparel and accessories.

For great bargains, Citygate Outlets is the place to go. This factory outlet sells an extensive selection of top international brands at unbeatable prices.

Fashion Walk, Causeway Bay and SOGO Store are popular shopping spots in Hong Kong, offering a mix of trendy brand stores as well as local designers.

Hollywood Road in Central is worth visiting for some Chinese contemporary art or a relaxing sheesha. Here, you’ll find plenty of high-end shops and restaurants.

8. Go to the Beach

If you’re looking to take a break from the city and enjoy some outdoor fun in Hong Kong, there are some stunning beaches nearby. They’re not too far away from downtown, providing an escape from all the noise and bustle of this vibrant metropolis.

Repulse Bay may be the most famous beach in Hong Kong, but there are plenty of other options that offer a more tranquil experience. Tung Wan beach is popular both with locals and tourists alike, while Pak Tso Wan (Italian Beach) on Cheung Chau island makes for another excellent beach escape.

Shek O, an oceanside village on the back of Hong Kong Island, offers a wide stretch of soft sand ideal for sunbathing and swimming. You’ll also find plenty of street food stalls and market stalls here as well as local restaurants like Cococabana Mediterranean restaurant overlooking the water.

9. Go to the Night Market

The night market is one of Hong Kong’s must-visits. It offers visitors a fascinating mix of culture, cuisine, commerce and society that you won’t find elsewhere in the city.

Enjoy some authentic Chinese cuisine at this free-to-enter establishment in the city. What’s even better? Enjoy it as part of your daily commute for free!

Kowloon’s Jordan/Yau Ma Tei district is easily reached via subway or A22 Airport CityFlyer bus; just get off at Jordan Station and walk two blocks – you’ll be there in no time!