Few places are as unique than Hong Kong. It's part capitalist, part communist and basically built on a rock. The city's past also means there are plenty of interesting facts about Hong Kong. Below you’ll find Noel Coward and his noonday gun, as well as sardines and skyscrapers in our selection of the best facts about Hong Kong.
Wild and Crazy Facts About Hong Kong
- Hong Kong’s official name is the tongue-twisting Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, or Hong Kong SAR. Like Macau, it was the name the country took when this former colony was returned to China. Find out more about what Country Hong Kong is in.
- The city’s name, Hong Kong, means Fragrant Harbor. You'll have a hard time believing that if you sniff Victoria Harbour, but 200 years ago this was a tranquil bay. Kowloon? That means nine dragons in reference to the hills that ring the area and was coined by a Chinese Emperor.
- The saying ‘Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun’ originated in Hong Kong. Noel Coward wrote the words referring to the Noon Day Gun in Causeway Bay fired every day during colonial times by a suited and booted member of the colonial Jardine Company. The cannon is still fired each day at noon on the dot.
- Hong Kong is the most densely populated city in the world. The current sardine squeezing world record holder is the Mongkok district, although some say Ap Lei Chau feels more crowded. Take our tour of the Mongkok Ladies Market.
- Yet, while it might be famed as a city-state, most of Hong Kong is actually greenery. Nearly 40 percent of the land is a country park and most of the more than 250 Hong Kong Islands are uninhabited. There are monkey and snakes in the national parks, and you can meet pink dolphins in the water off Lantau Island.
- When Hong Kong was handed back to China many of the city's institutions had to drop the Royal prefix in their name. The likes of the Royal Hong Kong Post Office just became the Hong Kong Post Office. But the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club decided to keep the name and retains its royal charter.
- Proof of just how rich the rich in Hong Kong are - the city has more Rolls Royce’s per person than any other city in the world. The Peninsula Hotel even has its own fleet to ferry guests to and from the airport.
- Hong Kong’s official languages are Chinese (Spoken Cantonese) and English. Since the return to China, Mandarin has been added to Cantonese and English. How many people speak each language? Find out more about whether Hong Kongers speak English.
- Hong Kong has the most skyscrapers in the world. Classified as buildings with more than 14 floors, Hong Kong has around 8000. That is double that of New York, its nearest rival.
- The nightly Symphony of Lights show is the biggest laser and light show in the world. More than 40 buildings on both sides of the harbor flash their lights in time to music, while laser beams are shone from their roofs. Each year more and more of the city's skyscrapers are added to the show.