7 Unwritten Public Rules in Hong Kong Everyone Should Take Note

Hong Kong is a multi-cultural hub with people coming in here from all over the world, either to travel or to stay. For this very reason it becomes difficult to follow the unspoken and unwritten rules and regulations because there seems to be a ceaseless list of people who don’t know anything about them. These rules and regulations, however, play a major role in maintaining the order of the city.

Getting to know what they are will give you a head start in how to live in this big city bubbling with diverse crowds. Here they are:

  1. The Escalator: One of the most commonly followed rules on the escalator says that if you have time and you’re just going to stand still on the escalator you better stand on the right side of it.

If you are in hurry and you want to ascend or descend quickly, use the left side.

  1. Reminding people to zip their bags or tie shoelaces: This rule is more of a common courtesy that you must have for the people you share a city with.

If you see someone carrying an unzipped bag just remind them in a friendly manner to zip it. This however, does not in any way suggest that there is lack of safety in Hong Kong.

  1. Getting down from a mini bus quickly: Time is money for mini bus drivers. Their daily earnings depend on how fast they are because the faster they go, the more customers they will have.

So, make sure that you get down and get into a mini bus without wasting one extra second. Prepare exact coins if possible.

  1. Preferring seats close to the wall in restaurants: “Kaa seats” is what the corner seats perpendicular to the wall are known as. They’re more preferred by customers because they provide a more private setting and allow the customers to have a private conversation while they eat.

When you enter a restaurant, irrespective of whether it is high priced or low priced, you will notice the nice staff offering you the ‘Kaa Seats’.

  1. Cross Harbor Taxis: There are many taxis that are vacant but refuse to take you in because they are the ones that only run from Hong Kong to Kowloon and vice versa. They are only looking for people who want to go back to Kowloon.

    Escalator-WALK

  2. Spacing at MTR seats. Just like how men position themselves at public urinals, locals tend to occupy seats at MTR carriages that has nobody seated next to it yet, even if it’s a reserved seat for elderly, pregnant and carrying small child.
  3. Follow the line. Getting used to queues for bus stops, bank ATMs or restaurant seats, locals are very good at observing their turns. Be observant and follow the tail of the queue. If unsure, especially on crowded bus stops during rush hour, it helps a lot to ask around.

One way to make sure that the taxi is willing to bring you to the other side of the Harbor is to make a hand gesture of U shape (mimicking the movement of cars crossing a tunnel) to the taxi driver.

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