If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately, you’ve seen what’s currently happening in Hong Kong with protests in regards to the extradition bill. This Wikipedia article covers the anti-extradition protests quite extensively.
I spent a week in Hong Kong in July and have received many questions regarding how safe I felt and if someone should consider postponing their planned trip. I’ll share with you my experience and ways to keep yourself informed and safe.
I want to emphasize that these are my own thoughts and experiences. I’ll provide resources and information on how you’re able to make an informed decision that best suits you.
I’m unable to advise if it’s safe or not. The situation changes on a daily basis and this is a decision you’ll have to make for yourself that best suits you. Check with your government’s website and travel advisories for Hong Kong.
Update (November 25, 2019): The CNN website has coverage of what’s happening in Hong Kong currently.
Where I stayed
I stayed in the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort area during my 7-day stay in Hong Kong. During my week there (July 17 through 24), everything ran like normal and you would never know anything was happening in the city. Since it’s summertime, the Park was busy and tons of families and groups were enjoying Hong Kong Disneyland.
I ventured into the city for an evening and stuck to Harbour City (Tsim Sha Tsui). I purposefully avoided the Central area (where the legislature is). Before going, I checked the news and at the time there were no demonstrations where I was wanting to visit.
The area, at the time, felt like business as usual. If I didn’t pay attention to the news, I wouldn’t have even known anything was happening.
Hong Kong Disneyland
For the most part, Hong Kong Disneyland has remained unaffected by the Hong Kong protests. As of this writing, the strikes on Monday, August 5, 2019, caused some attractions and entertainment to be cancelled at the Park on that day. Operations have since returned to normal.
The Hong Kong Disneyland Resort is close to the Hong Kong International Airport and is away from the city center (where most of the protests are happening). The airport did experience a peaceful protest on July 26, 2019.
I reached out to Hong Kong Disneyland and received a response from their spokesperson:
Hong Kong Disneyland Resort makes every effort to ensure that our Guests have an excellent experience. We endeavor to provide a magical experience to our Guests in a seamless manner.
The resort has continued to provide Guests from different parts of the world with magical experiences. Our resort is in normal operation and we look forward to welcoming you.
During my stay at Hong Kong Disneyland, I always felt safe. I’d personally return without hesitation (unless a travel advisory was issued by my home country of Canada).
How to stay informed
Stay up-to-date on the news leading up to your trip. As of right now, no one knows what is going to happen with these protests and how long they’ll continue. The protests have been moving around the city and have been mostly peaceful. However, things can change at a moment’s notice. Here are a few resources to keep yourself informed:
While travelling always pay attention to what’s happening in your surrounding area. This means, don’t be entirely consumed by your phone. Take note of the closest exits, the crowds around you, and where the nearest MTR station is (in case you need to leave immediately).
Keep an eye on your government’s website for travel advisories to Hong Kong:
How to stay safe
Before you go anywhere in Hong Kong, check the latest news for any report (a simple search does the trick). Avoid any areas where the Hong Kong protests are currently happening. Transportation could be affected due to protests in certain areas. If you find yourself in an area where a protest is happening, then I’d recommend leaving the area immediately.
If you’re in the city, do not wear white or black shirts. These colours are used for those who are participating in the demonstrations.
Should you cancel or postpone your trip?
That’s a personal decision you’ll have to decide yourself. With that said, if you’ve already booked your trip (again we have no idea how long these demonstrations will last), then I’d continue with your plans but stay updated on what’s happening in Hong Kong and adjust accordingly.
If you’re travelling with children, I recommend sticking to the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort area. You can head into the city, but stay updated on what’s happening in case you need to avoid specific areas.
If you decide to (or need to) change your travel plans, then take note of change or cancellation fees for your flights, hotels, and anything else you’ve pre-booked.
Buy Travel Insurance
Always ensure you have travel insurance! This is the best advice that I can give you. If your government issues a travel advisory for your dates of travel, then some costs of the trip could be covered under your travel insurance. The details of your insurance differ based on your country of residence, so it’s important to read the details regarding trip cancellation.
I highly recommend World Nomads for travel insurance. I use them exclusively while travelling overseas.
I can’t emphasize enough that you need to have travel insurance. This goes for any type of travel. Whenever I travel, even if it’s a few days overseas, I always have travel insurance. My thoughts are if you can’t afford travel insurance then you can’t afford to travel. That’s the one thing I never skip.
Whatever you decide, make sure it’s the right decision for you and those travelling with you. As a solo traveller more often than not, I felt safe while in Hong Kong and wouldn’t hesitate to visit one of my favourite cities in the world during this time. I’d make sure to avoid any areas where protests are happening.