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Getting Around

Before getting around in Hong Kong, you should get a octopus card, Octopus card is a rechargeable contactless stored value smart card used to transfer electronic payments. You can use it for public transportation (buses, ferries, mini bus, taxis, peak tram, railways and tram), supermarket and fast food. This card is very convenient; you can just scan the card per each transit ride. You won't need to buy a ticket each time as well as keeping all the small coins and changes. You just need to make sure that it had enough value in the octopus card. It just need $50 deposit and you can redeem it when you leave Hong Kong.

For those visitor will visit Shenzhen, you can buy “Hu Tong Xing”; if you will visit Guangdong, you can buy “Octopus • Lingnan Pass”; selling price for it is HKD 98, without any deposit.

Public transport is well networked in Hong Kong, ferry, tram, Bus, railway, MTR is the best transportation

Key to Transportation Abbreviations:

MTR - Mass Transit Railway (subway)

KCR - Kowloon-Canton Railway

LRT - Light Rail Transit

HKF - Hong Kong Ferry

Hong Kong Bus
Hong Kong Bus

Bus

The extensive bus system offers a bewildering number of routes that take you just about anywhere in Hong Kong. Most visitors use the buses to explore the south side of Hong Kong Island and the New Territories. Northern Hong Kong and Kowloon are best explored and well-served by the MTR.

In Central, the most important bus station is on the ground floor under the Exchange Square. From this station, you can catch buses to Aberdeen, Repulse Bay, Stanley and other southern destinations.

In Kowloon, the Star Ferry Bus Station is the most useful, with buses to the KCR station and points in eastern and western Kowloon.

Hong Kong Ferry
Hong Kong Ferry

Ferry

Hong Kong’s ferries are almost always faster and cheaper than the buses and provide fantastic photo opportunities. The Star Ferry crosses the harbour between Central and Kowloon, taking just 7 minutes. Ferries operate every 5-10 minutes. Adults over 65 years of age ride free and there are discounts for children under 12.

The HKF Company operates a number of useful ferries and hovercraft between Hong Kong, Kowloon and the New Territories. Hovercraft are twice as fast as conventional boats, more modern and more comfortable. The drawback is that they are not particularly smooth and when the weather is rough, hovercraft bounce considerably.

HKF also operates ferries to the Outlaying Islands of Lantau, Lamma, Cheung Chau and Peng Chau islands. These ferries depart from in front of Exchange Square in Central. The piers are all clearly signposted. On weekends, there are a few ferries to Lantau and Cheng Chau from the Star Ferry terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon. Fares are reasonable, except on weekends when the prices nearly double.

Hong Kong Light Rail Transit
Hong Kong Light Rail Transit

Light Rail Transit (LTR)

The LTR is like a modern, air conditioned version of the rickety old tram.  However, the LTR is much faster and runs along the city streets and stops at designated stations. Some routes connect with the MTR routes.

Mass Transit Railway (MTR)

The MTR is clean, fast, safe and easy. It is one of the world’s most modern subway systems. Though it costs a bit more than other forms of public transport, it is the quickest way to get to most destinations. Trains run every 2-4 minutes from 6am to 1am daily on three lines. Fares range from HK$5 to HK$15. If you plan on doing a lot of travelling, the Octopus Card offers excellent value on MTR, LRT, KMB, Citybus and HKF ferries. Octopus Cards can be purchased from ticket offices or customer service centres in MRT, KCR East Rail and LRT stations, and certain ferry piers of the HKF.

For short trips, the MTR is not the best value. For example, if you want to cross the harbour from Tsim Sha Tsui to Central, the MTR is about five times the price of the Star Ferry without the views and is only slightly faster. However, if your destination is further away, the MTR is considerably faster than a ferry or bus and about the same price.

Taxi

Hong Kong taxis are not too expensive compared to other major modern cities. With more than 18,000 cruising the streets, taxis are usually easy to flag down, except at bus stops and restricted areas where the curb is painted yellow. Taxis can also be difficult to flag during rush hours. Taxi fares start at around HK$15. If you go through any harbour tunnels, you must pay twice the toll as the driver’s return toll has to be paid as well.

Many taxis have a card that lists the top 50 destinations in English, Cantonese and Japanese. This is useful as most drivers don’t speak English. It’s a good idea to have your destination written down in Chinese. If you leave something behind in the taxi or feel a taxi driver has ripped you off, get the taxi number and call the police hotline on 2527-7177.

Taxis in Hong Kong are categorized with three colors

Red taxis - Red taxis operate throughout most of Hong Kong, except for Tung Chung Road on Lantau Island
Green taxis - only service the New Territories
Blue taxis - only operate on Lantau Island

Travelator

The Travelator is the world’s longest escalator and consists of elevated escalators and moving sidewalks. It caters to the commuters who live up on the steep hillside and work down in the city, but it can be a fun way to sightsee as well.

Tram

Trams are tall and narrow double-decker streetcars that service northern Hong Kong Island. The trams are not fast, but they are cheap and a fun way to sightsee. For a flat fare of HK$3 you can go as far as you like. The longest route is from Kennedy Town to Shau Kei Wan, taking around 90 minutes. Trams operate between 6am and 1am at 2-7-minute intervals.

Note: For more information on all public transport in Hong Kong, please visit this website: www.td.gov.hk/index.htm

Vehicle Hire

There is no need to drive yourself around Hong Kong, unless you are planning an excursion to the New Territories. Even then, you may do better with public transport unless you are going to a very remote location.

Car rental companies require either an International Driver’s Permit or one from your home country and a credit card deposit of HK$5000. Drivers must be at least 25 years of age. Daily rates range from HK$700 for a small car to HK$3000 for an up-market vehicle. Reputable car rental companies are: Ace in Happy Valley (Tel: 2560-8689); and Avis in Causeway Bay (Tel: 2890-6988)

Related links:

Hong Kong Attractions

Hong Kong Shopping

Hong Kong Tours