Eleanor Barker answers your travel questions
Is it safe to travel to Hong Kong? What is the latest advice?
History is in the making in Hong Kong, but you don't have to fear it. I sought recent reviews on various online platforms to get an idea of what to expect. Although photos and reports from the demonstrations are gripping, the reality is that for many locals, life goes on.
"For those of us who live here, we just avoid the protest areas and try to get on with our lives."
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Hong Kong received 2.3 million fewer visitors in August compared with a year earlier, largely trips that people from elsewhere in China are no longer making. However, the tourists who come anyway are finding plenty to keep them occupied, and are reporting back that there are great deals to be found and that crowds are less invasive than usual.
That's not to say that it's the same Hong Kong that you are used to, as one local explains; "Just last Friday, I went to do my nails with my close friend and then we had Japanese food. The very next day we were facing tear gas and risking our lives in Kwun Tong. We are all ordinary people living our ordinary little lives."
While there is a risk of stumbling unawares into street clashes and clouds of police tear gas — as some tourists have — Hongkongers are finding it possible, if not easy, to avoid the demonstrations. The most popular tourist attractions are open and for the most part, unaffected.
Most of the disturbances are only on weekends, but MTR may terminate their service (some stations/lines or even the whole system) earlier than usual. Keep checking the MTR site for updates, and remember that further service disruptions can happen at any time. Hong Kong Airport is also functioning well and Taxis and Ubers are always ready there. See the airport website for any updates.
When in Hong Kong, you would be wise to be prudent with your opinions on the protests. While there is broad support for the activists, some residents feel strongly the opposite way. If you want to know what someone you meet thinks, you can ask.
Deputy Philippine Consul General in Hong Kong, Germinia Aguilar-Usudan, said he was detained by Hong Kong police while wearing a black T-shirt. No charges were filed, but it is wise to avoid wearing monochrome T-shirts at this time.
A recent visitor can't recommend his stay enough; "We were able to safely walk around at all times and enjoyed all the sights on Hong Kong Island, Tsim Sha Tsui area, Lantau Island (including Big Buddha, Tai O village and buses back to Tung Chung), etc. We took the Star Ferry, MTR trains, buses, trams, taxis and Uber cars - all fantastic and safe. The best part was no lines! We had a really lovely time in Hong Kong."