My first time visiting Hong Kong, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. Given it’s such a big city, I didn’t know if I’d fall in love with the place and worried it wouldn’t have enough soul for my liking. Turns out, Hong Kong is all heart! This place is a buzzing mix of cultures, from the super modern to the very traditional. All of this makes for a bright, bustling city bursting at the seams with history, shopping and incredible food.
I’ve shared a number of guides to help you plan your trip to Hong Kong, including 47 Fun and exciting things to do in Hong Kong, Must-try food in Hong Kong, Where to stay and 10 Essential things to know before you go. But, for me, one of the hardest parts of planning my trip was working out what to pack. Given the insane heat and humidity you can face in Hong Kong, you really have to park smart.
If you’re planning a trip to Hong Kong and have no idea what to pack, I’ve put together this quick guide to help you! If you’ve been to Hong Kong before and have some tips, please share in the comments below.
But first, watch our Hong Kong for first-timers video!
What is the weather like and when should I visit?
Ahhhhh yeah, it’s hot. Hot damn! Call the po-lice and the fireman! Not really, it’s a safe hot, so, no authorities necessary. That said, it’s pretty much hot and humid all year round, so there’s no chance you’ll avoid the warmer weather altogether. That said, here’s some insight on what the weather is like to help you decide the best time for you to visit:
November to April: No shortage of sunny days, but you’ll find the weather slightly cooler with less rain and humidity. Expect temperatures between 20 – 25 degrees Celsius, for the most part, while things can get pretty chilly during January and February.
April to June: Expect things to be pretty wet and very hot and humid at this time of year. Temperatures rise and things can get pretty crazy with the amount of pollution in the air too.
July to September: You’ll find this time of year to be around the typhoon season with very high temperatures hanging around. With lots of rain, heat and humidity, this time of year may not be the best time to visit.
October: Good old October! This time of year sees some rain, with the tail end of typhoon season, but you’ll find the weather to be slightly less crazy with heat and humidity.
What should I pack?
Clothes: When it comes to packing clothes, especially if you’re visiting during hot times of year, you absolutely must pack clothes that are lightweight and breathable. I made the mistake of wearing non-breathable fabrics and heavy skirts a few times and really regretted it.
Look to pack singlet or vest tops, loose-fitting t-shirts, shorts and skirts that are all cotton and breathable. You may feel comfortable wearing some types of activewear that are sweat-wicking, especially if you plan on doing any hiking while you’re there. I’d also recommend packing loose-fitting cotton summer dresses that allow the breeze to cool you down.
If you’re visiting during hot times of year, you won’t need jeans or warm tops of any kind. It’s way too hot for that kind of thing!
Hats: I really recommend packing a few different hats. We spent a lot of time walking between places and the extra protection from the suns hot rays was much appreciated.
Shoes: You will definitely need comfortable footwear, so pack a few pairs of shoes that you can happily spend all day in. I recommend packing at least two comfy pairs to switch between because even the most comfortable pairs of sneakers start to hurt a bit if you wear them for three or four days in a row. I also packed sandals and flats with me as I found the winding streets were not a suitable place for high heels.
Medicine: Bring a small bag packed full of essential medicines with you, bring things like cold and flu tablets, hay fever/allergy medicine, ibuprofen, paracetamol, tums and Imodium. People who suffer from hay fever, asthma or other allergies may find the pollution causes them to play up, so keep that in mind. You should also definitely pack your prescription medicines and anything special you may require, like a Ventolin inhaler for asthmatics.
Tissues: Pocket packs of tissues tucked into a bag will come in very helpful at public toilets. Whilst there is no shortage of toilet paper, there are some public toilets which run out of the good stuff due to the high volume of people using them. Don’t be a victim, be proactive. If you’re a germ-a-phobe, I recommend packing a bottle of hand sanitiser which can be used, with a tissue, to sanitise a toilet seat.
Snacks: If, like me, you’re the kind of person who loves to snack, bring some muesli bars or similar with you. There are loads of shops selling beautiful fresh fruit though, which helps you stay healthy while you travel and make it easy to grab a quick snack while you’re out, but it’s nice having a go-to ready in your bag.
SunSmart gear: You’ll definitely need sunglasses, a hat and sunscreen with high SPF to protect you from the sun’s harsh rays and I always recommend Cancer Council’s sunscreen. Remember, sunscreen is only as good as its user and it’s up to you to reapply during the day to ensure you don’t get burned. Remember, cloudy days mean U.V rays!
Bug spray: Buy a bottle of good quality insect repellant and use it regularly to help prevent mosquito-borne viruses. It’s also really important you visit your doctor before your trip and let them know where you’re going so you can get any medication or immunisations you may need to protect you.
Money: Major cities have plenty of ATMs and specific ATMs will accept foreign cards, but just remember you get charged a fee every time you withdraw, so it’s better to plan your budget ahead and take out what you need in fewer transactions. You’ll also need to notify your bank you’re going to Hong Kong or they’ll think you’re a fraudster and freeze your accounts. No dumplings for you.
Hand sanitiser: Uh oh, I hate to be that tourist, but hand sanitizer is essential no matter where you are, even if you’re in your hometown. You never know when you’ll unexpectedly touch something sticky, hairy, wriggly or gross, so be prepared and have some hand sanitiser with you. I found myself really wanting to use it after I’d been on public transport, just because of the huge volume of people using the system.
Your essentials: Pack your beloved brand-name essentials like cosmetics, electric toothbrush heads and feminine hygiene products. Also, pack your environmentally friendly products and products for sensitive skin, as it may be difficult to get your hands on these while you travel. Don’t waste money on travel minis, use refillable 100ml bottles instead! I often fill up those black pots from Lush with my products as they’re re-usable and under the 100ml limit.
My packing tips and travel hacks
Plastic bags: Stash some large biodegradable plastic grocery bags and small sandwich bags in your luggage, they come in so very handy for storing dirty shoes and clothes as well as bars of soap, wet swimwear or leaky toothpaste tubes!
Tupperware: I use Tupperware or similar hard plastic containers to put all my toiletries in. This ensures no leaks will destroy my clean clothes and makes it really easy for me to grab my toiletries in one easy swoop, keep them together in the hotel and makes re-packing easier too. I also use a small container for all my jewellery and another one for electronics like adaptors, cords and chargers. It keeps me organised and stops me from losing things!
Dryer sheets: Put dryer sheets in your suitcase to keep your clothes smelling good throughout the whole trip, easy! No more musty smelling clothes for you, my friend.
Power board: As freelancers, we travel with a lot of electronics so we can work on the road. This can mean two laptops, an iPad, two phones, a camera and a GoPro! If this sounds like you too, then you’re going to need more than one power point. Buy one power-point converter and take a power-board with multiple plug-ins on it. It makes life so much easier!
Trackstick II: The Trackstick II is so very cool and will appear to the nerdy data types out there (i.e. my husband). It’s a GPS receiver the size of a memory stick, it can be used to track your every step for weeks! Take it with you in your pocket and you’ll have a satellite album of your travels. You can see where you’ve been, shown via a red line that is traced on satellite photos and 3D terrain. Told you it was cool. It continuously records its exact route, stop times, speed, direction and other valuable information, all of which is easily downloaded to your computer.
Need some inspiration? Watch this short video from our trip!