Hong Kong & Singapore Quick Facts!

hk

Hong Kong quick facts:

  • Capital: Victoria
  • Population: Approximately  7,071,576
  • Languages: Cantonese 90% (official), English 2.8% ( official) Putonghua ( Mandarin) .9% other Chinese dialects 4.4% other 1.1%
  • Important cities: Hong Kong, Kowloon, Tsuen Wan, Yung Shue Wan, Sok Kwu Wan
  • Highest point: Tai Mo Shan 3,143 ft (958 m)
  • Currency: Hong Kong dollar (HKD) $1 CAD = 5.79 HKD

  • Time zone: UTC +8
  • Territorial boundaries: Hong Kong island, Kowloon Peninsula, and the New Territories
  • Main waterways: As the third biggest country in the World, China has rich rivers and waters. The Yangtze River, the Yellow River, the Pearl River, the Huaihe River, the Haihe River, the Songhuajiang River and the Liaohe River are called China’s seven major rivers.
  • Government: Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China
  • Religions: Mix of local religions (Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism) 84%, minority atheists and Christian
  • National Day: October 1
  • Accessibility from Montreal: Air Canada, United, Air France,Lufthansa, Cathay PacificWith all connecting flights: prices vary from approx $1,200-$3,000
  • Climate: Hong Kong weather in spring and summer (May through September) brings hot and very sticky days, with many of those days rainy. Average temperatures remain in the high 80’s (30°C). Fall conditions are warm, sunny and pleasant, and popular with tourists. Winters are milder, but cooler and cloudy.
  • Entry requirements: According to http://www.travel.gc.ca. Canadians must present a passport to visit Hong Kong. Must be valid for at least one month beyond the date of expected departure from that country. Prior to travelling
  • Tourist visa: Not required (for stays of up to 90 days). However because Hong Kong maintains a separate and independent immigration system to that of mainland China and Macau. If required, the Hong Kong visa has to be applied for separately from the mainland Chinese one, and there is no single visa that serves both areas.
  • Health: There is no risk of yellow fever in this country. Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country. Vaccination is not recommended. Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination. 
  • Vaccines to consider: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Influenza, Japanese encephalitis, Measles
  • Gastronomy: Three Yummy Dishes that are a must try in Hong Kong;
  • Pineapple buns: Traditionally, pineapple bun contains no pineapple and earned its name because its chequered top resembles the skin of a pineapple. The top half of the bun is made from cookie-type dough, while the bottom is made from Chinese-style bread dough, which tends to be softer and sweeter than Western bread. Many vendors insert a cold pat of butter into a warm pineapple bun.
  • Poon Choi: The most notable walled-village dish is called poon choi, or ‘big bowl feast’. A huge amount of ingredients are layered in a large bowl and eaten communally. One big bowl feast could include pork, beef, lamb, abalone, chicken, duck, shrimp, crab, various mushrooms, Chinese radish and tofu in nine to 12 layers – enough to satisfy a group of ten people. The ingredients are not mixed; the bowl’s contents are eaten layer by layer.
  • Sweet & Sour Pork: Cantonese stir-fry originated in Guangzhou but was taken to new heights by enterprising chefs in Hong Kong, who are constantly challenged to create new dishes for diners with increasingly sophisticated tastes. This Cantonese-style dish has been a feature on Chinatown menus worldwide for decades. Bite-sized pieces of pork loin are stir-fried with pineapple, green pepper, onion in the distinctive sweet and sour sauce.
  • Etiquette: 
  • Hong Kong is a fast-paced society where the phrase “m goi” (唔該, “m” sounds like “hmm”), which literally means “I should not (bother you)”, is used pervasively in a situation that you would say “Excuse me” or “Thank you”
  • Spitting and littering is an offence and subject to a penalty of $1,500
  • Smoking in most indoor places and train stations (including bus-stops) is prohibited. It is always important to ask permission to a store owner or any other area if you may smoke, however note that many are allergic to the smoke and dislike the odor
  • Many locals do not drink alcohol but will not mind if you do
  • It is considered strange to strike up pleasantries with a stranger unless they are pregnant, disabled or senior citizens who are obviously in need
  • Saying “good morning” to a person you don’t know at a bus stop will probably be viewed as suspicion
  • It is unusual for people to hold doors for strangers and supermarket staff or bank cashier seldom ask about your day
  • Staff in shops and restaurants might not even say “thank you” when you pay. All these do not necessarily mean that people in Hong Kong are less polite than others. It is just they don’t have that relaxed and slow-paced culture as in the West
  • Superstitions: Many buildings are influenced by the Fengshui principles the blend of Five Elements (Gold, Lumber, Water, Fire, Earth) combined together will bring you luck, fortune, better health, good examination results, good relationships, and even a baby boy, according to their believers
  • Many buildings come without 14th and 24th floors, which phonetically means “you must die” and “you die easily”. They love the number 18 (you will get rich), 369 (liveliness, longevity, lasting), 28 (easy to get rich), 168 (get rich forever).
  • Hong Kong people love to tease at their superstition however they don’t mean to ignore it
  • When visiting your friend in Hong Kong, never give them a clock as a gift because “giving a clock” phonetically means “attending one’s funeral”
  • No pears will be served in a wedding party because “sharing a pear” sounds like “separation”
  • Some people refuse to open an umbrella indoor because a ghost spirit, who is thought to fear sunshine, will hide themselves into it
  • Breaking a mirror will bring you 7 unlucky years
  • Transportation: Drive on the: Left. Hong Kong’s well-equipped transportation network provides a variety of accessible transport options for passengers from their point of arrival to their in-town destination: Airport express train & mass transit railway system, Light rail, Bus, Taxi, Public light bus, Tram and Peak Tram and Ferries
  • Attractions: Three Must see attractions: The Peak, Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade ( includes: Avenue of Stars, The clock Tower) and The Big Budda on Lantau Island.

singapore01_flag

Singapore quick facts:

  • Capital: Singapore
  • Official languages: English Malay Mandarin Tamil
  • Ethnic groups : 74.1% Chinese 13.4% Malays 9.2% Indians Eurasians Caucasians, others
  • Religions: Buddhist 33%, Christian 18%, Muslim 15%, Taoist 11% and Hindu 5%.
  • Government: Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic
  • President Tony Tan
  • Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
  • Population:  Approximately 5,535,000
  • Currency: Singapore dollar (SGD) 1 CAD = 1.06 SGD
  • Time zone: SST (UTC+8)
  • Accessibility from Montreal: Finnair, United, Swiss, Qatar Airways,Air Canada, KLM ( connecting flights of approximately 23h-36hours)
  • Entry requirements according to http://www.Travel.gc.ca:
  • Canadians must present a passport to visit Singapore.
  • Must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of expected departure from that country. Prior to travelling
  • Tourist visa: Not required (for stays of up to 90 days)
  • Best time to visit: Singapore has a tropical climate and stays hot and humid throughout the year. It is Slightly cooler in December and January, and hottest in April and May.
  • Temperatures average around 31º C (88º F) during the day with little seasonal variation. When visiting, be sure to drink enough water!
  • Singapore receives a considerable amount of rainfall – approximately 2340mm annually. There is two different monsoons. The Northeast Monsoon generally takes place from December to March and is accompanied by more frequent rain, particularly from November to January. The region is extremely humid, with humidity levels usually between 70% and 90. On rainy days it is not unreasonable to expect the humidity to reach 100%. The air is muggiest in the early morning, abating somewhat in the afternoon.
  • Gastronomy: Three delicious dishes that are a must!
  • The Singapore Fried Carrot cake: is made with eggs, preserved radish (chai poh) and white radish flour cake, which resembles a ‘white carrot’ and how the name comes about. This is a teochew dish popular both in Singapore and Malaysia. Variants include the ‘black’ version, which is with sweet sauce (molasses) added, or a crispy version with the cake fried on top of a beaten egg to create a crust and chunks of cake. Most commonly seen in Singapore
  • Oyster Omelettes: A dish popular in Singapore Hawkers as well as Taiwan Night markets, this is a dish many foreigners and locals love.Stalls that sell carrot cake typically also sell Oyster omelettes as it’s a similar cooking process as well as utilizing a common ingredient: Eggs, Potato starch is usually mixed into frying the egg and gives a thicker, fuller taste. Variants include a version without the starch, A special vinegar chilli is also paired exclusively with oyster omelettes in Singapore.
  • Crabs ( Chili or Pepper): The 2 most famous styles of crab cooking in Singapore are with a sweet, spicy tomatoish chilli sauce, or with black pepper sauce. Chilli crabs are usually eaten along with fried mantous (buns), which are dipped in the luscious chilli sauce.
  • Well prepared crabs go through a 2 step cooking process, boiled first then fried so that the meat doesn’t stick to the shell. Recently, many popular styles of cooking have surfaced as well, like salted-egg crabs or crab bee hoon.
  • Attractions: Top three must see: Garden by The Bay, Singapore Zoo & Night Safari Tram, and Buddha 8090312671_704a53b5df_bTooth Relic Temple and Museum. And why not take a nice walk on the Henderson Wave Bridge!

Two Beautiful destinations, with a large amount of shopping, night life, Gastronomy and sightseeing that you may do in a weeks time visit! Both considered to be the Safest major cities in the world especially for solo woman travelers. Only approximately 3h40 apart by plane easy for planning a trip to visit both destinations!

Bon Voyage!

(Sarah Favreau)

 

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