Getting around locally
You will need an Octopus card to get around Hong Kong. This is similar to the Oyster card in London or Opal card in Sydney. You can get one straight away at the airport - this will be most convenient. Otherwise, you can get one from any MTR station.
Topping up is easy. Use a machine at the MTR, or top up at a 7-11 store.
Getting to and from the airport
- MTR airport express: cheaper than catching a taxi, a one-way trip will cost around $110 - $115. This is a very convenient and fast way of getting to the airport directly without any hassle.
- Airport bus: these are the “A” routes - the Airbuses. This is probably your cheapest option to get to the airport. Fares range from $20 to $50 one way.
- Taxi/Uber: by far the most expensive option. To catch a very early flight, Daniel and I had to catch a taxi from our hotel in Wanchai. This cost us $370.00, just as an indicator of how much a trip via taxi to the airport may cost.
What transport options are there?
- MTR Train: in my opinion, the MTR is the best form of transport in Hong Kong. Trains run every 1 to 3 minutes for every line and can take you across the island very quickly. They achieve a 99.9% consistency rating daily! If you’ve ever taken the London tube or JR trains in Tokyo, this is very similar to those systems. Not the cheapest mode of transport, but definitely the most efficient.
- Tram: also known affectionately by locals as “ding ding”, the trams run on Hong Kong Island from Shau Kei Wan to Kennedy Town. The Hong Kong tram system is the only one in the world which exclusively runs double decker trams. More importantly, it’s a much nicer, scenic trip, giving you time to soak in the atmosphere of Hong Kong. It is also the cheapest mode of transport in Hong Kong (around $2.30).
- Bus: Buses are a very convenient and popular option. In general, buses run every 5 to 15 minutes depending on the route and are relatively cheap to take. The displays often have English on them to notify passengers which stop the bus is approaching.
- Minibus: Minibusses are sort of like vans - they operate similarly to buses except they cover areas buses don’t due to efficiency reasons. MInibuses are also generally a little bit more expensive than buses. There’s also no “stop” function - you yell when you get close to the stop you want to get off at, so this may take a little time to get used to at first.
- Ferries: the ferries are an effective mode of transport when you want to get from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island (and vice versa). Ferries are operated by Star Ferry, and its routes are actually popular sightseeing activities. This is not surprising, as the waterfront in Hong Kong is world renowned. Also very cost effective (less than $3 one way).
- Uber: relatively new in Hong Kong, cheaper than taxis. I would be wary of using Uber though, as they are facing opposition from the local taxi union and law enforcements.
- Taxi: Taxis are everywhere in Hong Kong. They have different colours depending on which island the taxi is from. Red taxis operate in most of Hong Kong except for Tung Chung Road and south side of Lantau Island. Blue taxis operate only on Lantau Island and Green Taxis only service the New Territories. All taxis are metered.