hiking

Hong Kong weather and hiking

Hong Kong's climate is sub-tropical, with a hot, steamy summer eventually yielding to a drier, warm to hot autumn, then sometimes cool winter, and the swiftly warming, sometimes rainy spring. There are two major monsoons, with fairly consistent winds: the southwest monsoon of summer, which can bring great deluges, and the northeast monsoon of winter, which can be surprisingly chill. And, especially in late summer, Hong Kong is sometimes impacted by tropical storms, which when most intense are among the world's most powerful weather phenomena: typhoons.

Though the summer temperatures may not seem extremely high - the record for Hong Kong is 36.1C, and more typical daytime highs are around 31-34C - it feels considerably hotter because the humidity is high, often 80 percent or more. (A table on this Heat index and wind chill index page indicates that with a temperature of 33C and 80 percent humidity, it feels like 47.3C; it's effectively so much hotter because sweat barely evaporates, so you hardly cool down.)

And, in many places, it actually is hotter - the temperature records at the Hong Kong Observatory in Tsim Sha Tsui are often one to two degrees lower than those recorded at other weather stations (in winter, these stations may record lower temperatures than the observatory).

Even at night, the temperature doesn't drop much below 30C, so hiking at dawn and dusk isn't real comfortable either. Perhaps surprisingly, Hong Kong in summer can be a darm sight more uncomfortable than even some places nearer the Equator - in large part I think because of the sustained high humidity.

This heat means that summer isn't a time for long hikes; indeed, even short hikes can seem relatively hard going on the hotter days. And if you aim to be active outdoors, take care! Occasionally, hikers have died of heatstroke; others have suffered dehydration.

HK Tourism Forum 2004

Just back from the 3rd Hong Kong Tourism Symposium: Quality and Diversity,including a session focusing on services; another on tourism from mainland China, and one that (supposedly!) focused on diversity - including niche products and new attractions. After earning of this at the last minute, I went along, missing the intro speeches and joining the diversity session, along with a few others who are working on nature/cultural tourism in Hong Kong.