We recently spent 2 weeks in Asia, spending 5 nights in Hong Kong before travelling on to Cambodia and China. One of the most common questions we were asked when we told others about this holiday was, “Why did you go to Hong Kong?”
If you don’t already know, there is currently unrest in Hong Kong. While Hong Kong is technically a part of China, after having been handed back to China by the UK in 1997, Hong Kong is also a semi-autonomous region. The agreement between the UK and China was that Hong Kong would retain “a high degree of autonomy” and democratic freedoms, and the special agreement is called “one country, two systems”, lasting for 50 years.
Without going into all of the details, the unrest started when the Hong Kong government wanted to introduce an extradition bill, in order to be able to extradite people suspected of committing crimes to Taiwan and mainland China. This is what sparked the protests. Early demonstrations began in March and large-scale protests began in June and is still ongoing.
With this in mind, you might ask, why did we go to Hong Kong? Well, the most simple reason is that we had our flights booked since the beginning of January, well before any protests had occurred. And despite the ongoing news of protests in Hong Kong, we never once thought about cancelling our trip. We made sure to check in with my relatives in Hong Kong on the situation before our visit.
We’re also happy to report that we didn’t encounter any issues while in Hong Kong and we thoroughly enjoyed our time there. (A major decrease in tourists worked to our advantage when visiting attractions.) Perhaps we also got lucky, as the current flare-up of protests seemed to start as we were at Hong Kong Airport waiting for our flight back to the UK.
Here are our tips for staying safe if you do happen to be in Hong Kong during the protests:
- Check with your hotel’s concierge each morning to see if any areas should be avoided
- Download the MTR (Hong Kong’s subway) app and allow notifications to get updates on any closed subway stations, diversions, etc.
- Simply avoid any areas that have active protests
We hope this explains why we were in Hong Kong when we were! If you have any other questions, let us know in the comments!