Information of Hong Kong – Part 1

 

Being a Hong Kong Chinese, I think I can offer you some useful information if you plan to visit this amazing city.

First, information about public transport

  1. Airport Express Train

From HK airport to city centre (Kowloon or Hong Kong), the easiest and fastest way is to take the Airport Express Train. It operates from 0600 to 00:45 everyday. The cost is HK$100 (US13/ €9 /£8) for single trip going to HK island and HK$180 for a return trip. HK$90 for single trip going to Kowloon and HK$160 for a return trip.

If you are a group of 4, then you can get a group single ticket for 4 at HK$250.

The whole journey takes only 25 mins (airport to HK) and the train comes every 12 mins. The ticket is a thin magnetic card which you will need to insert into the ticket machine before you get out of the station.

There are taxi stands in both Kowloon and HK AE train stations.

If you stay for more than 3 days in HK and plan to use the MTR (mass transit railway = metro / subway) a lot, then you can buy a AE travel pass which includes 1 round trip ticket to airport and 3 consecutive days of unlimited travel in MTR with a $50 refundable card deposit (in case if you damage or lost the card).

The public transport system is known to be efficient in HK. Our MTR (metro) practically takes you everywhere (except the Peak and the beaches of course). I will suggest you to get an Octopus card, like most locals do and I will tell you why.

 

2. Octopus Card

I think the Octopus card is the best thing available in Hong Kong. It is a stored value card and cost HK$50 (it is refundable) and you can put in (charge / recharge) whatever amount you like (up to HK$1000). With a single ‘tap’ on the sensor, you can use it on all public transport (buses, MTR, ferries, mini buses, peak trams) and also in Park N Shop, Welcome ( both are chain big supermarkets ), 7 Eleven, Circle K (both are chain 24 hrs small convenience stores), cinemas, some chain bread and fast food stores, McDonalds, Starbucks, Pacific Coffee, Watsons and Mannings (chain stores selling bathroom amenities as well as medicines and tidbits), soft drinks vending machines, parking lots and parking meters etc. It saves you the trouble of carrying small change and lessen queueing time. The user doesn’t need to take the card out of the wallet or purse but simply ‘tap’ it over the sensor after the correct amount is entered by the vendor. You will hear the ‘beep’ sound when the transaction is completed and will see the remaining balance of your card on the machine.

octopus machine with the amount to be debited on the top

This can be bought in any MTR station and can be recharged in any 7-11, Circle K, Park N Shop and Welcome supermarkets, Watsons and Mannings convenience stores and of course MTR stations.

 

3. MTR – Mass Transit Railway = metro / subway / tube

Hong Kong has an efficient metro system and it pretty much takes you everywhere in the city.  It is clean and safe ( with occasional pick pockets ) and drinking and eating inside the metro cabins are prohibited. The trip from HK admiralty to Kowloon Tsimshatsui takes around 2 mins and the train comes at an interval of 2 mins during busy hrs. All the signs are in both English and Chinese and all exits are clearly marked. The fare ranges from HK$5 to $20, depending on the distance. One day tourist pass is available at HK$55 for unlimited rides within a day. MTR runs from 6am to around midnight with the exception of the 24 hrs service for Christmas and New year’s eves.

MTR route map

 

single trip ticket vending machine

 

entrance / exit of MTR ( you have to tap your octopus card on the top of the yellow sensor or insert the single journey ticket to the slot)

 

4. Taxis

In comparison to many European countries or America, HK taxis are fairly cheap and available anywhere in the city anytime of the day. There are 3 different types of taxis, the ‘Red’ taxi – in the city, ‘Green’ taxi – in New Territories and the ‘Blue’ taxi – in Lantau island. The red city taxis start off with HK$20 for the first 2 km then HK$1.50 for every minute thereafter. For example, a trip from airport to HK central using the western cross harbour tunnel cost around HK$350. ( provided no traffic jam) Unlike USA, it is not a ‘must’ to tip the taxi driver. I only tip when I feel that I am getting good service, that is, the driver drives fast (under the legal limit :P) and careful and with good attitude.

Most of the taxi drivers speak a bit of English but it is always better to have someone write down the address in chinese characters for you. Seriously I sometimes can’t understand the english translation of some restaurants’ or streets names and addresses.

You can hail a taxi from any taxi stands or anywhere in the street except when there is a double yellow line marked or a time restricted area (with single yellow line and a time restricted sign). Inside every taxi, there should be a display of the cab driver’s identity card showing the name and licence plate number, next to the dashboard on the left hand side of the car( in case if you want to make a complaint). Taxi fare information is also listed inside the cab, usually on both doors. Receipt is given on request (before the driver clear the meter).

If you need to use any of the cross harbour tunnels to go from HK island to Kowloon and vv.( there are 4 ), you will have to pay the toll for both ways except when you get the cab from the ‘single toll’ taxi stand.

 

 

5. Trams

Hong Kong is one of the few cities in the world that has trams. The double decker tram is the oldest as well as the cheapest means of public transport in HK. The flat fare is HK$2.30 regardless of distance and you will have to have exact change or use an octopus card. The tramways run between Kennedy Town and Shau Kei Wan everyday from 6:00 to 24:00. Due to the slow speed and the frequent stops (approximately every 250 m ), it is a economical and enjoyable way for tourists to sit in the top deck and enjoy views of various districts like western market, central, wanchai, happy valley, causewaybay and north point and also to get a sense of bearing of HK island. But I would avoid hot summer days ( or go really early or late in the evening) because there is no air conditioning inside the trams. And for those who are taller than 2 m (6 ft) will have to watch their heads as the cabin height is less than 2 m. Many of my ‘tall’ friends have ‘banged’ their heads inside the tram 😛

 

trams w/ various advertisements

 
 
 

 6. Peak Trams

The Peak tram has over 100 years of history and it goes from Garden Road all the way upto the Peak. It runs from 7:00am to 12:pm and at an interval of 10 to 15 mins. Single adult ticket costs HK$28 and return ticket costs HK$40. I would suggest getting only single ticket as there are other means of transport for getting to the Peak. Moreover, sometimes there is a long queue ( hmm…like 200 people) waiting to get on the tram.

If the weather is nice and with a clear sky, you may consider getting a Peak Tram Sky Pass which gives you a single (HK$53) or return (HK$65) tram ride plus entrance to the Sky Terrace. The Sky Terrace is the the highest 360° viewing platform in Hong Kong. You can get a fabulous panoramic view in a clear day or night. The entrance ticket can be bought separately from the tram ticket at HK$30. (You can save your $30 if the weather is foggy. I once went with a friend on a foggy day and I absolutely saw nothing aside from the grey fog! )

 

7. Ferries

There are ferries going to some outlying islands eg. Lamma island, Cheung Chau island and the famous Star Ferry runs back and forth from Hong Kong island to Kowloon Peninsula. There are 2 routes, one goes from Wanchai to Tsimshatsui and back and the other from Central to Tsimshatsui and back. The fare is HK$2.50 on weekdays and HK$3.00 on weekends and public holiday. This is the ‘MUST’ thing to do for tourist. Not only is it cheap but it also gives you a fantastic view of the harbour especially at night. This will probably be the best ‘well spent’ $3 – 10 mins ride you could do in HK.

 

 

8.  Buses

Hong Kong has 4 bus companies with one running exclusively to and from the airport. The bus routes cover most areas and some routes run 24 hrs. The buses are generally double decker and air conditioned. You will find the final destination is displayed in both english and chinese in front of the bus. Fares varied depending on various routes and the distance traveled and passengers pay as they get on the bus (exact change is required)or use octopus cards.

 

9. Mini Buses

There are 2 types of mini buses in Hong Kong , the Green and the Red. The Green ones are operated by companies and have fixed routes and timetables. The fare is fixed and you will have to pay as you get on the bus. You have to have exact fare as no change will be given but they do accept octopus card. 

The Red ones are operated by individuals and they may not have a fixed route. They are mainly for locals or foreigners who has been living in HK for quite sometime. ( personally I only used it 2-3 times for all these years )Passengers can get on or off the bus anywhere along the road as long as it is not in the restricted area. Normally passengers will have to ‘yell’ few seconds before they want to get off and pay the fare before they leave the minibus. Drivers will provide the change.

 

 

I think there is enough information on the public transportation of HK. Next time I will tell you some interesting places to go or maybe some of my favourite restaurants.

This entry was posted in General, sight seeing, Travel, useful information and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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