The name Kowloon refers to the nine dragons associated with eight mountains and a Chinese emperor. Situated north of Hong Kong Island and south of the mainland part of the New Territories, it is an urban area constituting Kowloon Peninsula and New Kowloon. It is surrounded by the mountain range as well as Tate's Cairn and Lion Rock in the north and Victoria Harbour in the south and the Lei Yue Mun strait in the east, Mei Foo Sun Chuen and Stonecutter's Island in the west.
Hong Kong has excellent mediums of public transport. Almost all parts of the island are covered by different bus routes. Citybus Cityflyer offers many bus routes from Airport terminal plus A21, A22, and also has cheaper fare than MTR Airport Express. However, the Airport Express has frequent bus stops, including Mong Kok, Tsim Sha Tsui and takes lesser time than Citybus Cityflyer. Many buses run though different areas of Kowloon, Hong Kong island and New Territories. If you reach Hong Kong in the mid-night, then prefer the N21 night bus. The Star Ferry connects Kowloon to Hong Kong Island. It's the cheapest mode to cross the harbour, and the routes are overwhelmingly surrounded by skyscrapers and a wall of lights on both sides. There are a number of rail lines connected to Kowloon by Hong Kong, and vice versa. Use the Airport Express to reach Kowloon MTR Station in just 20 minutes. It's a bit expensive to hire a taxi or rent a car because of chaotic traffic, and slow journey across the harbour to Kowloon. Helicopter transfers are also available, but it isn't everyone's cup of tea.
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The general climate of Hong Kong is mild, subtropical, and humid. Summers are very humid and warm showing 30°C (86°F) with lots of rain. It is also the cyclone season. Due to this climate, hotel rates are lowest and this may become advantageous to travelers. In winter temperatures drop down to 16°C (60.8°F) or 18°C (64.4°F). It is the driest season in Hong Kong with chilly rains. So the best time to visit the city is October, November, March, and April because these months have temperatures ranging from 20°C (68°F) to 25°C (77°F) and you can also enjoy a little bit of rain.
Tipping is expected in Kowloon as a few extra dollars make any server happy. You need to pay $2-3 per piece of luggage to bellboys. Many restaurants charge a 10% service charge, which is mostly included in the final bill. It's customary to leave coins if you pay in cash. If bills are paid by credit, then they round up to the nearest dollar amount. Taxi drivers usually keep small changes as a tip. Sometimes, big restaurants and hotels also charge 15% as a service charge.
Hong Kong is a safe city, but petty crimes do exist here. No worries for solo woman and other travellers whether it's night or day. However, it's advisable to keep your valuables and expensive possessions in the hotel safe before going out. Be alert while going to farther north in Kowloon and into the new territories. Police often patrol, but it's better if you don't flash your cash and valuables. Like other big cities, pickpockets can happen in the crowded areas, star ferry waiting lines and street markets.
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Kowloon enjoys subtropical climate. It's dominated by monsoons in summer and warm air flows from the Pacific because of low pressure in the north. The best times to visit Kowloon are in autumn and winter (from October to January) when the weather is comfortable and sunny. Otherwise, the weather is quite hot and damp throughout the year, especially in summers. February is the coldest month with an average temperature of 17°C (62.6°F), while the hottest month is July with an average temperature of around 31°C (87.8°F). Kowloon weather is completely miserable from February to May, which is accompanied with frequent cloudiness, rain and fog. Torrential downpours and high humidity can be expected from June to September.
|Directory Assistance (English)||1081|
|Hong Kong Tourism Board visitor hotline||2508 1234|
|Airport 24-hour Hotline||2181 0000|
|Ni hao (KNEE how)||Hello|
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|Xi shou jian zai nar? (SHE show jeeyen zye nar?)||Where is the washroom?|
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Airplanes: The best and fastest way of Kowloon transport is the Airport Express and it is more comfortable than taking a taxi. Most visitors arrive via plane at the new airport Chek Lap Kok (HKG) which was opened in 1998.
Trains: Train commuting is a smarter way as they depart every 15 minutes. The new Airport Express Train takes you from the airport to Kowloon in 20 minutes and to the Central District in 30 minutes. The station staff will help you with your baggage as trolleys are not allowed on the trains. For the temple of 10.000 Buddha’s visit, Kowloon- Canton Railway (KCR) is the best transport option.
Ferries: Most famous transportation is the lovely old-fashioned Star Ferries having names such as "Morning Star", "Evening Star", etc. which cross the harbor and run specific routes - first between Tsim Sha Tsui on Kowloon and the Central District on Hong Kong Island and second between Tsimshatsui and Wanchai on Hong Kong Island. The subway MTR is very fast and efficient and has three lines - the island line from Sheung Wan via Central and Wanchai to Chai Wan, the Tsuen Wan line from Central via Tsim Sha Tsui, Jordan Street, and Mongkok up to Tsuen Wan in the New Territories and the Kwun Tong line from Yau Ma Tei in the middle of Kowloon via Kowloon Tong. From this third line, you can change to the Kowloon-Canton Railway to Lam Tin in the east of the New Territories.
The Outlying Islands can be visited by boat. You can choose between ordinary and hoover ferries at your convenience. The Outlying Islands Ferry pier is located in the Central District. At least one visit by any of the ferries will complete your journey to Hong Kong. The ferry schedules can be found at the Hong Kong Ferry Website.
Buses: Bus transport is common all over Hong Kong. Lovely double-decker trams are observed in the Central District which runs between Kennedy Town in the West and Shau Kei wan. These are slower means of transport but you can enjoy views of Hong Kong street life if you are lucky enough to get to the upper deck seat.