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Full travel advice: Safety
Full travel advice: Health
Full travel advice: Local laws
Full travel advice: Travel
Large-scale demonstrations have been ongoing across Hong Kong since 9 June 2019. A number of protests have resulted in violent confrontations between protestors and police, or opposing groups or criminally linked individuals, and there have been some targeted individual attacks. Violent clashes are more likely to occur in the evening.
Emergency laws have been introduced. These ban face coverings in public assemblies and give police additional powers to physically verify the identity of individuals. Further measures could be introduced at short notice.
'Flash mob' demonstrations can take place with little or no warning. In recent protests, petrol bombs have been thrown, barricades built and fires lit in the streets. MTR stations, shopping malls and businesses have been vandalised. Hong Kong Police have reported the seizure of explosives materials. Media and police reported the explosion of a remote controlled improvised explosive device targeting police.
Unauthorised demonstrations are met by a more rapid and severe police response. Police have used tear gas, live ammunition, rubber bullets and pepper spray. Water cannons with dye have also been used. Additional enforcement measures could be used.
If there are signs of disorder, move away quickly and seek shelter in a safe place.
Expect road closures and disruption to public transport and other services. Shopping centres, businesses and the MTR, including the airport express may close or suspend services at short notice. Enhanced access controls at Hong Kong International Airport continue to be enforced. Check with your airline or via the airport's website (www.hongkongairport.com), "HKG My Flight" app, or www.MTR.com.hk for updated transport information.
Increased screening, including of digital devices, is possible for travellers crossing between Hong Kong and mainland China.
To stay safe during civil unrest:
What to do if you are exposed to tear gas:
Terrorism is a threat worldwide.
There's little violent crime in Hong Kong. You could encounter pickpocketing and street theft.
Thieves target tourist spots and crowded places such as markets and trains.
Take care of your belongings, especially in crowded places.
Foreigners have had drinks spiked in bars and nightclubs. Drink spiking may be combined with theft or credit card fraud.
To reduce your risk of drink spiking:
Scams against Australian travellers are increasing.
Criminals sometimes present themselves as people in need.
One scam starts via the internet. A person might offer you gift cards or money to help carry someone's luggage on an international flight. They may ask for your money, credit card or online bank account details.
Other reported scams involve:
Be wary of strangers asking for your help.
Never carry anything for anyone you don't know and trust, especially when crossing international borders. There's a risk that criminals have hidden drugs or other illegal items inside.
To avoid becoming a victim of a scam:
Hong Kong experiences typhoons.
Local safety rules require businesses and transport services to close during typhoons of level 8 and above.
The Australian Consulate-General in Hong Kong closes when the 'Typhoon 8' signal is given.
Authorities may delay or suspend flights and ferries into and out of Hong Kong. Contact your travel operator or airline to find out about delays.
If there's a typhoon:
Get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave. Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won't pay for these costs.
If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.
If you're not insured, you may have to pay many 1000s of dollars up-front for medical care.
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
See your doctor or travel clinic to:
Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.
Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
If you plan to bring medication, check if it's legal in Hong Kong. Take enough legal medicine for your trip.
It's illegal to have sleeping tablets and certain other medications without a prescription. These include medications used to treat erectile dysfunction or anxiety.
Carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating:
Hong Kong experiences very high humidity during summer, from May to October.
Reduce physical exertion and outdoor activities on very humid days.
High levels of air pollution may trigger bronchial, sinus or asthma conditions.
If you have an existing heart or breathing difficulties, reduce physical and outdoor activities on days with high pollution.
You can monitor real-time air quality index reports for Hong Kong.
Outbreaks of mosquito-borne illnesses, including dengue, sometimes occur.
The Hong Kong SAR Government is currently at 'Alert' response level for the Zika virus. This is the lowest level in the 3-tier alert system which indicates that the immediate health impact on the local population is low.
To protect yourself from disease:
If you're pregnant, consult your doctor about possible Zika virus risks before travelling.
Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is common. Serious outbreaks sometimes occur. Outbreaks usually start in March or April and peak in May. Sometimes they last until October.
HFMD mostly affects children aged younger than 10 years, but adult cases, particularly in young adults, occur.
HFMD is spread by direct contact with discharges of infected people.
Waterborne, foodborne and other infectious diseases occur sometimes. These include:
To protect yourself from illness:
Seek medical advice if you have a fever or diarrhoea.
Human cases of avian influenza A (H7N9) have been reported in mainland China.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) Government is currently at 'Alert' response level for influenza, including avian influenza A (H7N9). This is the lowest level in the 3-tier alert system.
To reduce your risk:
The Hong Kong SAR Government is currently at 'Alert' response level for Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). This is the lowest level in the 3-tier alert system.
Hong Kong's Department of Health checks for MERS-CoV at border control points.
Travellers who arrive in, or transit through, Hong Kong and have flu-like symptoms may be sent to a public hospital. The hospital will isolate the person until they test negative for MERS-CoV.
Medical services and facilities are of a high standard.
Costs can be higher than in Australia.
Private hospitals may require you to confirm your insurance cover or pay a deposit up-front before they will admit you.
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Possessing illegal drugs of all kinds, including marijuana, can result in penalties that include heavy fines and jail time.
Officials have arrested many foreigners for trafficking drugs. The travellers are usually arrested when they try to exit the airport in Hong Kong.
Strict rules control the import or possession of:
Hong Kong has prosecuted foreigners, including Australians, for possessing:
You can import, possess or purchase such items legally, including from local Hong Kong markets. To do this, you must get a permit from local authorities in advance.
These laws apply to people in Hong Kong and those transiting Hong Kong airport.
If authorities find you carrying such items (including in your luggage), they may arrest, fine or detain you.
Hong Kong has introduced strict laws for importing and re-exporting all elephant ivory products, including tourist souvenirs.
Offenders could face fines and jail time.
It's illegal to:
Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you're overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.
Chinese law doesn't recognise dual nationality.
However, Hong Kong's law allows dual nationals of Chinese descent to register their Australian nationality.
Register with the Hong Kong Immigration Department if you wish to be considered a national of Australia. Doing so ensures your access to Australian consular services, if you need them.
If you're an Australian-Hong Kong dual national, you can make a Declaration of Change of Nationality. Find out what the consequences of this are from the Hong Kong Immigration Department.
If you plan to enter mainland China from Hong Kong, travel on your Australian passport.
If you travel on other documents, you can't get access to our services.
Same-sex relationships are legal.
Most locals accept or are indifferent to LGBTI travellers. However, community attitudes towards LGBTI people are generally more conservative than in Australia.
Avoid public displays of affection.
Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China. This means it has separate immigration regulations from those of the People's Republic of China.
You generally will be granted a 90 day tourist visa on arrival if you're both:
In all other cases, you'll need a visa.
Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. For details about visas, currency, customs and quarantine rules, contact:
the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Sydney
If you plan to travel between Hong Kong and mainland China, you'll need a visa.
If you plan to return to China after visiting Hong Kong, get a multiple-entry visa for China. If you don't get this visa, you'll need a new visa to re-enter China. Get your visa before leaving Australia.
If you enter the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, you can apply for a visa at the border of Shenzhen and Hong Kong.
If you've recently changed your passport, but your Chinese visa is still in the old passport, take both passports with you. Officials may ask you to present your previous passport and Chinese visa.
If you can't produce your previous visa, border officials may deny you a visa on arrival to Shenzhen.
Some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after you plan to leave that country. This can apply even if you're just transiting or stopping over.
Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.
You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months.
The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport's expiry date before you travel. If you're not sure it'll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport.
Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.
Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.
If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible:
The currency in Hong Kong is the Hong Kong Dollar (HKD).
Under new laws, travellers in and out of Hong Kong may need to declare cash. Make a written declaration if you're carrying more than HKD120,000 or equivalent in cash.
You can change Australian dollars for HKD at local currency exchanges and banks.
Credit cards are widely accepted.
Take care when using ATMs, as petty crime occurs. See Safety
Unlicensed guesthouses providing low-cost accommodation operate in Hong Kong. They may not follow the safety standards set for licensed guesthouses. Don't risk your safety or security.
If you choose to stay in a guesthouse, confirm it's licensed. Tell your family and friends where you are staying.
You can drive in Hong Kong for up to 12 months if you have both:
Get your IDP before you leave Australia.
After 12 months, you'll need to apply for a local licence.
Make sure your insurance covers you if you drive without a Hong Kong driver's licence.
Hong Kong has a well-developed road network of similar standards to a large Australian city.
Check you have adequate insurance before driving.
Find out about local road rules and practices.
Check your insurance covers you for riding motorbikes.
Most travel insurance policies won't cover you if you don't follow local laws or wear a helmet.
Always wear a helmet.
Use only licensed taxis or reputable limousine services. Arrange them through your hotel if you can. Always insist that the meter is used.
A small, but growing number of foreigners have gotten into disputes with taxi drivers over the fare.
If you have an issue with a taxi driver, ask for a receipt. Then record the taxi driver's licence number and contact the police.
Hong Kong has an extensive public transport system. It includes the MTR, buses, ferries and trams.
Ferries are a common mode of transport between Hong Kong, Macau and the Chinese mainland.
Some cruise lines stop over in Hong Kong.
DFAT doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.
Check Hong Kong's air safety profile on the Aviation Safety Network.
Depending on what you need, contact your:
Always get a police report when you report a crime.
Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Contact your provider with any complaints about tourist services or products.
Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
For consular assistance, contact the Australian Consulate-General in Hong Kong.
23/F Harbour Centre, 25 Harbour Road
Wanchai, Hong Kong
Phone: (+852) 2827 8881
Fax: (+852) 2585 4457
Facebook: Australia in Hong Kong and Macau
Check the Consulate-General website for details about opening hours and any temporary closures.
In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:
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