Hong Kong, a former British colony, and now a Special Administrative Region of China, is a city with its own unique personality and a favorite destination of tourists from around the world. With a population of just over 14 million crammed into a land area to less than six times that of Washington, DC its apparent frenetic life style and controlled chaos is to be expected. What might surprise a newcomer, however, is the fact Hong Kong is one of the most crime-free and efficient mega-cities on the planet. And, while a part of China, the region operates as a limited democracy governed by a legal system still based on English common law.
A New Center for Medical Tourism
Medical tourism is a booming business with as many as half-a-million US citizens traveling to other countries for medical and dental treatment in 2005 alone. Among the reasons for Hong Kong's attractions as one of those destinations is its availability of low-cost medical treatments and options. Visitors from other countries find Hong Kong's excellent medical care, shorter waiting lists for treatment, and relatively inexpensive health care an added bonus to its reputation as a great holiday location. Some of the factors that make treatment abroad in Hong Kong a wise choice include:
- Medical Infrastructure – Hong Kong boasts of 50 excellent public hospitals and 12 superior private hospitals and medical centers. All accredited by the Trent Accreditation Association in the UK, the private hospitals meet standards equal to or better than anything expected in the United States of the United Kingdom.
- Range of Medical Options – A wide range of specialties are represented among the hundreds of highly qualified physicians in Hong Kong's hospitals and clinics. Well recognized departments of orthopedics, dentistry, cardiology, neurology, nephrology, oncology, gynecology infertility and are available to the visiting public.
- Chinese-Western Medicine – Some of the best cancer treatment in the world is available in Hong Kong. Doctors specializing in a unique blend of Chinese and Western medical treatments boast of above average cure rates for many types of cancer. As a result patients travel from around the world to converge on this center to medical healing.
- Cost – As already mentioned, many types of health care are significantly less expensive than in the West. Elderly Americans, in particular, find the lower cost combined with Hong Kong's intriguing locale a hard value to beat.
It's Called Tourism for a Reason
The whole point of medical tourism is finding a location that has both great medical care and also provides a memorable trip. Hong Kong fits those criteria perfectly. As in any vacation there are a number of factors to consider when planning your trip to this bustling city.
Picking the Right Time to Visit
If you're looking for warm, dry weather with plenty of sunshine, plan on October through December. If avoiding tropical humidity is important try the months of January through March. Humidity and temperatures are highest in later spring throughout the summer so keep that in mind. Here are some times of year you may want to plan your trip around if you are looking for something a little special.
- Chinese New Year – Though there are some exciting events during this time such as parades and fireworks beware many restaurants and most shops are closed up to five days during this public holiday.
- Cultural Events - Held during February and March, the Hong Kong Arts Festival offers a fantastic array of international performances. Every March, The Man Literary Festival is a two week English language festival featuring internationally known writers. From mid-March to mid-April cinema lovers can take in three week's worth of The Hong Kong International Film Festival.
- Christmas – A number of buildings facing the harbor are ablaze in Christmas lights and the whole city is a shoppers' paradise.
- Sports – The Hong Kong Rugby Sevens is an annual three day sporting event at the end of March that also features one the biggest parties in the Far East.
For the young and simply young at heart Hong Kong has three diverse theme parks.
- Disneyland - Dedicated in September of 2005, Hong Kong Disneyland is located on Lantau Island, 12km east of the Hong Kong International Airport. Travel to Disneyland is best made by the MTR Disneyland Resort Line or by taxi. While a good deal smaller than better known Disney theme parks there is still a lot of the Disney trademark at every turn. If wouldn't be Disneyland without Space Mountain and "It's a Small World." In addition there's a "Festival of the Lion King" and "Golden Mickeys" stage shows. More attractions are planned in the near future to join the already completed, Disney's Hollywood Hotel and Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel.
- Ocean Park – Positioned on the south side of Hong Kong Island this park has a much more local flavor and is often packed by both local families and tourists alike. One noted feature of Ocean Park is its cable car that connects the two sides of the park. Many take the cable car simply for the spectacular view of the South China Sea. Some seasonal attractions include Christmas and the Halloween Bash every weekend in October and November.
- Ngong Ping 360 – Only in China would one find a Buddhist themed park replete with Imperial Chinese architecture. There are a number of restaurants and coffee shops, interactive shows, and various cultural demonstrations. Not to be outdone by Ocean Park, Ngong Ping boasts the longest cable car ride in Hong Kong featuring breathtaking views of Hong Kong International Airport and Lantau Island. The cable car ride carries visitors to the largest seated Buddha in the world.
Hong Kong International Airport
Designated "World's Best Airport" five times by Skytrax, the Hong Kong International Airport was dedicated in July 1998 and is almost a destination itself. Nearly every major city in Europe and North America has at least one daily flight into Hong Kong. A manned left-luggage area in the main arrival hall offers a great place to store luggage while touring the city. While other methods of reaching Hong Kong proper are available, the very best method is via Airport Express. This efficient and comfortable train leaves the airport four times per hour, taking about 24 minutes to reach Hong Kong station.
All things considered, Hong Kong offers one of the best possible health travel destinations. World-class hospitals, state-of-the-art technology, and low cost combine with the exciting atmosphere of China's jewel city to make for the perfect combination of health and fun.
Posted by Health Traveler Editors at Friday, March 04, 2011