Hong Kong is an explosion of culture and color. With 18 districts, it is one of the most populous regions in the world and the city with the most skyscrapers – the land of the iconic skyline, delicious food, and protected lush wildlife sanctuaries.
The best way to explore this state is by traveling via a vehicle, car, motorbike, etc. To be able to drive in Hong Kong legally, there are some things to note beforehand.
What is the difference between an International Driving Permit (IDP) and an International Driver’s License (IDL)?
An International Driving Permit is a small grey booklet marginally larger than a passport containing a translation of your original driving license in 10 languages, including English, French, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, and Spanish. It is recognized by 141 countries worldwide and is valid for one year.
In comparison, an International Driving License is not a legal document and cannot be used to drive in foreign countries or instead of an IDP.
How does an IDP work in Hong Kong?
An International Driving Permit is a translation of your national driver’s license, allowing you to drive in Hong Kong.
Applying for an IDP
To apply for an IDP, you can do so through our website. Fill out the application form, attach the required documents (driver’s license information, a passport-sized photo, etc.), and you will receive your IDP in your inbox and by post within a short while.
United Nations Agreements on Road Traffic
The Convention was prepared and opened by the UNs Conference on Road and Motor Transport held in Geneva in 1949. A description of the driving permit under the 1949 Convention can be found in Annexes 9 and 10. The 1949 Geneva Convention provides that the IDP is valid for one year from the date of issue.
Benefits of Carrying an IDP in Hong Kong
Functionality as an ID
IDPs are a convenient travel document as it doubles as identification documents. This is advantageous if you want to keep your passport under lock and key due to security considerations. An IDP can be used instead of a national ID card, especially if it is in a language that is not internationally used.
Quicker traffic authority stops
Traffic police may have trouble deciphering your driver’s information on your license during a routine traffic stop. Having an IDP ensures that officers can quickly note down your particulars and send you on your way. This may be especially handy during the unfortunate event of an emergency or motor misfortunes.
Car rental companies
Car rental companies worldwide require you to have an International Driving Permit and a valid driving license to rent a car. This is due to the United Nations recognizing an IDP as a valid driving permit. Having an IDP will ensure that your valuable vacation time isn’t wasted on trying to convince a conservative car rental agency of the validity of your foreign driver’s license.
Laws regarding IDP in Hong Kong
Carrying an IDP when choosing to drive in Hong Kong acts as a legal safety net – being covered in any situation that may arise.
Driving Requirements for Non-Citizens in Hong Kong
If you plan to visit Hong Kong soon and plan on driving as your mode of transportation, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Your driver’s license issued by your home country (or previous citizenship) must remain on you alongside your International Driving Permit since an IDP is not a standalone document and does not replace a driver’s license but merely a supplement.
- If a traffic police officer asks for your driver’s license, you can present your IDP to ensure your information is readable and easily understood.
- Being a non-citizen of Hong Kong, if you plan to stay longer than 12 months, you must learn to apply for a driving license in Hong Kong.
Renewing Your IDP or Original Driver’s License While in Hong Kong
Renewing your International Driving Permit
You can re-apply for a new IDP online through our website by completing the application form. You will receive it by email and post, just like the first time.
Renewing your original driver’s license
If your license expires abroad, you must renew it to keep driving in that country, even with an IDP. The procedure for renewing a license varies widely by country. License renewal may include a vision test that cannot be done online, meaning you must return to your foreign country to renew your license. However, you may be able to restore it online as well.
Car Rental in Hong Kong
You will find no trouble in this bustling city if you want to rent a car.
You will need a valid passport and an IDP. Paying by credit card is the preferred method (sometimes the only accepted method) by car rental companies – best check the car rental company’s website first to see what forms of payment they accept.
Sports utility vehicles (also known as SUVs) have become very popular with rental car companies lately. It all depends on how much you are willing to pay to rent a car. When finding the right rental car, always ask about the type of car in Hong Kong. This shows how far your vehicle can go in terms of mileage per tank of fuel. This way, you can estimate how much fuel to fill and how much to refill before returning it to the car rental company.
Most of the time, car rental companies allow visitors to Hong Kong to rent a car if they are 21 or older. However, there are car rental companies that may require you to pay a “young driver fee” if you are under 25 years old. If you are young and have not yet mastered driving, there are driving schools in Hong Kong that you can apply for to receive a probationary driving license.
Driving rules in Hong Kong
Hong Kong transport department has strict road laws. Some rules to keep in mind are:
- Obtain an IDP before your trip to Hong Kong
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is strictly prohibited
- The driver and all passengers are required to wear seat belts
- Signposts will usually direct you there – there are specifically allocated parking allotments for some vehicles. With this in mind, you should not park in areas reserved for other types of cars. In addition, 24-hour parking is not allowed in public parking lots.
- The speed limit is 50 km/h for regular roads and 110km/h for highways
- You must drive on the left-hand side of the road
Top 5 Places to Visit in Hong Kong
The mere mention of Hong Kong should get everyone interested, as most people know of Hong Kong. Several places can be visited in Hong Kong simply because you heard so many good stories about them from people you know who live here. In Hong Kong, everything is a matter of experience. Now, after going to the area, be sure not to be surprised to see how much your love for Hong Kong will grow.
Reclamation Street Market
Other famous street markets are reclaimed street markets and the sand-drain market. It’s a day market, but it’s less popular with tourists than Temple Street. Take some deep breaths and enjoy a moment in front of pedestrian traffic. The best time to arrive at sunrise before Hong Kong’s daylight temperatures starts setting in. Residents come to Reclamation Street purely to buy fresh produce for their meals, and the local population is probably growing more there. Depending on your room size, you can choose the food you can cook at home.
Temple Street Night Market
Everyone enjoys finding something new or unique that they couldn’t find at the market or mall back home. Various market locations are famous. Temple Street night market is a better place to visit than other places because most people know it, and it should be a one-time experience for many. It’s good to have a chance to see another side street to get to know what it can offer. Its night market also has reputable restaurants that can satisfy all discerning street food lovers.
If every Hong Kong itinerary has a destination, it must be Victoria Peak. From Victoria Peak, the highest point on Hong Kong Island, you’ll enjoy a breathtaking 360-degree panoramic view of the magnificent skyscrapers of the city. Visit Victoria Peak at dusk for expansive views and spectacular night views during the day. During the day, your horizon can extend beyond sparkling skyscrapers and Victoria Harbor to the lush hills of the New Territories. In the evening, the panorama fades into pink and orange before being reborn as a galaxy of dazzling light. In addition to panoramic views, you can visit Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, Peak Tower, and Sky Terrace 428.
Lantau Island is the largest island in Hong Kong and is located on the west side of Hong Kong Island. Some of Hong Kong’s largest and most fantastic attractions include dramatic sea views, beautiful hiking trails, pristine beaches, and quaint villages. Explore the mighty Buddha (Tian Tan Buddha), enjoy the breathtaking views from Ngong Ping Cable Car, explore Hong Kong Disneyland, or visit the traditional fishing village of Tai O.
Won Tai Sin Temple
Won Tai Sin Temple is the largest island in Hong Kong and is located on the west side of Hong Kong Island. Some of Hong Kong’s largest and most outstanding attractions include dramatic sea views, beautiful hiking trails, pristine beaches, and quaint villages. Explore the mighty Buddha (Tian Tan Buddha), enjoy the breathtaking views from Ngong Ping Cable Car, explore Hong Kong Disneyland, or visit the traditional fishing village of Tai O.
How do I get an International Driving Permit in Hong Kong?
You can get your IDP online through the website by filling out a completed application form. A quick 20-minute application form will be filled out, and you will be emailed your IDP on the same day within 2 hours. A printed IDP will be sent to your residential address and delivered within 2-30 days.
Do I need International Driving Permit in Hong Kong?
Yes, visitors to Hong Kong must carry an IDP as proof of their valid original license.
Can foreigners drive in Hong Kong?
People from foreign countries can drive in Hong Kong so long as they carry an IDP and passport.