How to Pack for a Trip to Hong Kong

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Explore Hong Kong with the style of a local and the comfort of a tourist.
Explore Hong Kong with the style of a local and the comfort of a tourist. (Image: EyeScaTch/iStock/Getty Images)

By whatever means you pull into Hong Kong's legendary harbor, make sure that your trunks are properly packed to soak in the city of skyscrapers alongside island villages. You'll need to strike a balance between weathering the humid climate and embracing the fashion sensibility of the Paris of the East. And make sure you're ready to do lots of walking.

From Heat to A/C

The most temperate time to visit Hong Kong is in the fall, when the oppressive humidity of the summer -- with heat indexes toward the triple digits and sporadic thunderstorms -- begins to dry out. The temperature and humidity begin rising in March and peak in June through August. Pack light, breathable basics for the summer months, but stash a long-sleeved tee, sweater or shawl in your bag as the city also cranks up air conditioners in buildings at this time. Typhoon season begins in May and runs through November; bring rain-resistant shoes and a travel umbrella. Expect cool weather if traveling in December, January or February, though it doesn't often fall much below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hong Kong Style

Hong Kong may be subtropical, but the shorts and singlets that fit in at some beach resorts are just seen as grungy here. Pull the designer labels out of your closet since high fashion is popular in Hong Kong. Classic dark power suits for men and chic black dresses for women are necessary for those headed to Hong Kong for business, but even on vacation men will need a coat and tie for many restaurants in the evening. Low-cut tops for women or very short skirts don't fit in with the culture of modesty here, and flip-flops should be eschewed for more tasteful, elegant sandals or slip-ons.

Walk Your Socks Off

Bring a comfortable pair of shoes for walking, but upgrade from a beat-up pair of sneakers to something that both looks good and can withstand dirty puddles on a city street. Even with more than 7 million people packed into a compact area, there's room to go tromp around the great outdoors through nature preserves, scenic outlooks and tiny villages on more than 200 islands. Pack hiking boots to explore terrain that can get steep in the highlands, beach layers to enjoy the sea on wave-side hikes and walking shorts or pants. Bug repellent, sunscreen and a way to tote bottled water are essential in the warmer months.

What Not to Pack

Hong Kong has a broad list of items that can be seized or get you pulled into police custody if you try to bring them into the country. The list of banned weapons encompasses more than just firearms, including knives, toy guns, paintball guns or expandable batons. You also need to leave e-cigarettes at home as they're considered pharmaceuticals subject to special permission to possess. Any other tobacco products need to be declared at customs. Check with the U.S. State Department's guidelines if concerned about whether your packing list falls within the law.

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