Things to keep in mind while planning your vacation (solo or otherwise)!
Hong Kong’s metro card is called the Octopus card. Try to pick one up at a Metro station on your first day, or buy online and pick up at the airport! You’ll load fares onto it to use the MTR (mass transit railway), buses, trams, and ferries. The card can also be used in many other places besides just transit. You’ll see signs to pay with your Octopus card at stores, at tourist venues, and sites such as the Victoria Peak overview. A lot of these tourist venues will offer a slight discount if you pay via your Octopus card. It’s very handy to have. There are phone apps that will let you know your balance and you can even fill up your card online. I’d also recommend downloading a MTR app to help you find the best route to travel and let you know the fare cost.
HAVE A TRANSLATOR APP AVAILABLE
Being a former British colony, street signs are written in both English and Chinese, and locals will speak varying levels of English. Cantonese is more widely spoken, and it can be a challenge to communicate in English in residential areas. If you’re taking a taxi, have your address written down (or show it on Google Maps) to ensure the driver knows where they’re going.
CHINA, BUT NOT QUITE
Hong Kong is in an uneasy position of being part of China, but not fully under Chinese laws. Per agreement made prior to the handover from the United Kingdom, Hong Kong will remain semi-autonomous until 2047 (more can be read about this and Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement here). Hong Kong has their own currency, their own constitution, and you likely will not need a visa for a short-term tourist stay. However, make no mistake that it is still China. Anything you wouldn’t want to do in mainland China, assume it will likely get you into trouble in Hong Kong as well. Beijing has largely been hands-off, but is constantly testing that role.