How to Stay Safe as a Solo Female Traveler in Hong Kong: Practical Tips & Advice
Let me start by saying, nay, declaring that Hong Kong is one of the safest places in the world. The crime rate is one of the lowest in the world and most of that involves petty crime. Having lived in the city for nearly 3 decades (oops does that give my age away?), I am passionate about sharing the best of what Hong Kong has to offer and truly believe that it is a destination that has something for every single type of traveler. It’s a wonderful blend of East meets West and is widely considered to be Asia’s world city. If you are a solo female traveler who is excited to explore new destinations around the world, here’s what you should know if you are planning a trip to Hong Kong!
Getting in and getting around
The fastest and most efficient way to get into Hong Kong from the airport is via the Airport Express train. It stops at Tsing Yi, Kowloon and Hong Kong stations and will take you into the city in just 24 minutes. Once you have arrived at one of the stations you can hop on a bus, train or taxi to get you to your accommodation.
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There are plenty of cheap, safe and clean transportation options to help get you around the city. The last subway train and bus typically departs around midnight, and metered taxis can be found on every street corner. On Hong Kong island and Kowloon the taxis are painted red (they are Green in the New Territories and Blue on Lantau Island), and taxis who are willing to travel between Hong Kong island and Kowloon side often indicate this by putting up an “out of service” sign – counter-intuitive, I know.
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If you are 1) on Hong Kong side and need to get to Kowloon and 2) missed the last train or bus, then ask the driver to wind down the window and ask if they are willing to “goh hoi?”, which means “cross harbour?” While most taxi drivers understand some English, bring the hotel’s business card or address in Chinese just in case. If for some reason you don’t feel safe, ask the driver to stop, pay the fare and get out. You should also consider texting the license plate number to a friend or family member.
Ridesharing apps like Uber (which is currently illegal in the city) are not widely available in Hong Kong and in my experience involves long waiting times due to a shortage of vehicles.
Planning your visit? Here are 11 Things You Should Know Before Visiting Hong Kong!
What to wear in Hong Kong
In general, you can wear pretty much anything you want and I’ve personally never felt unsafe. However, Hong Kong can still be considered relatively conservative compared to some Western cities. You should be prepared for stares (from both men and women) if you show lots of skin. Will you be groped or harassed? Unlikely. But be alert as there unfortunately have been many cases of perverts taking upskirt photos of women in public places, especially in shopping malls where there are escalators or glossy floors. If you find yourself in this kind of situation, don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and call out the offender – if you are taking public transportation, notify the staff or conductor immediately and ask for help from other bystanders. The incident should be reported to the police as soon as possible.
During the summer, it can be hot and humid so bring loose fitting and flowy tops or dresses. However, most places blast the air conditioning so it can be freezing cold indoors – you’ll want to have a thin cardigan or scarf to stop you from turning into a popsicle. During the winter months, it rarely falls below 8-10 degrees Celsius but because of the humidity it can feel much chillier. If you are visiting from mid-December to mid-March it would be prudent to bring leather boots and a thick coat or down jacket.
Going out partying in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a great place to go out drinking and dancing. Drinks are cheap and many bars and clubs open until the wee hours of the morning. There are 2 main areas to go out drinking in Hong Kong: Lan Kwai Fong in Central, and Lockhart Road in Wan Chai. If I had to categorize the 2, Lan Kwai Fong is mostly populated with more upscale bars and restaurants, and Wan Chai offers many sports and dive bars (as well as strip clubs). In general, there are many police patrolmen in both of these areas, especially on Friday and Saturday nights.
That being said, watch your drink, watch your wallet, watch your phone. There have been cases of drinks being spiked and there is lots of petty theft in these areas. If something goes missing, report the loss to the manager of the bar or club, or if it took place in the street file a lost property report with the police. If your wallet is stolen, you should immediately check any rubbish bins nearby as thieves often take the cash and toss the wallet; if it’s not there, file a report and call your credit card company to cancel your cards.
Photo credit: Yiucheung / Shutterstock
The legal drinking age in Hong Kong is 18 years old and most places will check your ID if you appear to be underage. Your driver’s license or local ID is generally accepted and I would recommend against taking your passport out with you. There is minimal alcohol-related violence but as you would anywhere else in the world, be alert and aware. Here are some of my favorite happy hour spots and top rooftop bars in Hong Kong!
If you meet a special someone and decide to take it further, please use your best judgment just as you would anywhere else in the world. Let somebody back home know where you are headed and be sure to make a beeline for the nearest convenience store to pick up a packet of condoms.
Looking for a convenient and safe place to stay? Look into hotels in Wan Chai, Central, Soho, Sheung Wan and Causeway Bay – click here to book accommodation in Hong Kong!
Resources for meeting people in Hong Kong
If you’re looking to meet up with or be hosted by people in Hong Kong, there are tons of options!
If you’re staying in a hostel, head to the communal space to see if any other fellow solo travelers want to explore the city together. There are also a plethora of fun events that take place across the city every single day – most events will have an events page on Facebook (just search for “Events in Hong Kong”). For example, this week alone there is a poetry open mic, free flow happy hour, Bollywood-themed party, hip hop brunch (no idea what this means) and wellness-focused market. There are also tons of interest groups that regularly meet up to go hiking, practice Yoga, learn languages, salsa dance and so on. Check out Meetup.com for upcoming events!
Prefer swiping? Dating apps are popular in Hong Kong and some people use it to meet new people on their travels.
Make sure you stay connected with friends and family back home by purchasing a local SIM card. There are shops at the airport when you arrive as well as shops that sell special tourist SIM cards in the city. If you don’t end up getting a local SIM card then head to the closest McDonald’s or Starbucks for free wifi.
Here are some key numbers to know for your trip:
999: Emergency (police, ambulance, fire services)
2527 7177: Police hotline
2508 1234: Hong Kong Tourism Board visitor hotline
1872 920: 24 hour taxi lost & found hotline
Is it your first-ever visit to Hong Kong? Here are some essential things to check off your Hong Kong bucket list!
For the tl;dr crowd, Hong Kong is extremely safe to visit for solo female travelers. Ladies, you should exercise caution (just as you would anywhere else in the world) and explore all the different things Hong Kong has to offer! Have you visited Hong Kong before? Tell me all about it in the comments section below!
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