Public transport in Hong Kong is highly developed, with an extensive bus system, minibuses, tramways, and the the Mass Transit Railway system. Foreign visitors will quickly discover that there are several ways to move around Hong Kong. The transport network includes public and private services, both equally efficient.
Besides visitors being able to choose from various forms of transportation, Hong Kong has a convenient payment method known as the Octopus Card. Foreign travelers can easily get this card at any MTR station.
Before traveling to Hong Kong, travelers are advised to have a valid passport and verify that they can enter the island without a visa. Most countries are exempt from applying for a visa, but some visitors might need the apply for the Hong Kong PAR before traveling to Hong Kong.
Getting Around Hong Kong with MTR
Hong Kong has a modern and extensive rail transport network. The MTR, Mass Transit Railway, is very popular in Hong Kong. It is probably one of the best ways to travel while visiting. The MRT connects Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, the New Territories, and Lantau Island.
MRT has ten different lines and over 80 stations. These are the lines available:
- Island Line
- Kwun Tong Line
- Tsuen Wan Line
- Tung Chung Line
- Tseung Kwan O Line
- Ma On Shan Line
- East Rail Line
- West Rail Line
- Airport Express
- Disneyland Resort Line
Stations are kept clean and connect major attractions to each other. Direction signs are everywhere, and platforms have screens with estimated arrival times for incoming trains. Each station will have ticket issuing machines, add value machines and Octopus enquiry machines. Travelers can purchase single journey tickets from ticket issuing machines. These will accept coins and some banknotes. To top up an Octopus card, it is necessary to use the value machines. Last, but not least, the Octopus enquiry machines allow users to check the remaining amount they have on their card. Travelers can also check the last 10 transactions made with the card.
Visitors do need to keep an eye for their desired exit. Some stations have several exits and foreigners might feel confused at times. Each exit station will have a letter: A, B, C, D, etc and if the exit has a branch, a number is added next to it, for example, A1, A2, A3, and so on.
Trains are well-kept and have interactive maps inside them. Information is available in English as well.
Using the Octopus Card While in Hong Kong
The Octopus Card was introduced in September 1997 and it is a a smart electronic money system used to pay for public transport. It can be purchased at every MTR station.
Not only does it allow to pay for transport, but the Octopus Card lets its users to pay for parking meters. It can be used at convenience stores, supermarkets, fast-food restaurants, and on several vending machines.
Locals use the Octopus Card, thanks to its versatility. Purchasing one will make it easier to pay for local transport while in Hong Kong. All you have to do after purchasing the card is place it over a reader and the payment amount will be deducted automatically.
Travelers should note, however, that there are various types of Octopus cards available. Visitors are recommended to buy the Sold Tourist Octopus Card at a price of HK$39, the card features a unique design. Another option is the On-loan Octopus card, with a refundable deposit of HK$50.
Advice When Using Public Transport in Hong Kong
When visiting Hong Kong, visitors will be able to get almost anywhere with one form of public transport or another. There are a few things all travelers should know when moving around Hong Kong.
General Advice When Using MTR
- Don’t drink, eat or smoke while on the MTR trains or the stations. This is strictly enforced and there is a penalty of HK$5,000.
- Pay close attention to exit signs. In some stations, there can be up to 12 exits. They are listed in alphanumerical order and you can use a map to find the exit you need. Staff at all the stations will be able to point you in the right direction.
- There are different MTR fare options available. Tourists may also want to consider getting a tourist day pass, which costs HK$55, instead of the Octopus card. The pass is valid for 24 consecutive hours.
Buses in Hong Kong Are Well Connected
- Travelers should know that they can advantage of the buses, they are easily accessible.
- While the MTR system is great, buses are a good way to move around too. There are different companies, two of them are Citybus and Kowloon Motor Bus.
Hong Kong’s Red and Green Minibuses
- There are two kinds of minibuses: green and red. Green minibuses charge fixed prices and have specific routes. Travelers can pay with the Octopus card.
- Red minibuses don’t have fixed stops, and people are able to get on and off anywhere. However, they don’t have a fixed schedule or a fixed rate. Red minibuses will not accept the Octopus card either.
Taking a Taxi in Hong Kong
- Taxis come in different colors: red, blue and green. The color is to show the geographical area they cover. All taxis go to Disneyland and to the airport.
- Red taxis operate through most of Hong Kong, with the exception of certain areas in Lantau Island.
- Green taxis operate in New Territories.
- Blue taxis operate in Lantau Island.
Using the Tram in Hong Kong to Enjoy the Views
- Trams are also available to move around. Trams in Hong Kong are vintage vehicles and are an ideal way to sightsee different areas. The fare is quite affordable, HK$ 2.30 per ride.
- Window seats upstairs are perfect to enjoy seeing Hong Kong.
- Trams run every day, from morning to midnight.
- Visitors should enter the tram from the back, and get off at the front.