Unique, charming, lively, and technological; these are just some of the traits that characterize the awesome Hong Kong city. Countless loveable qualities have made the city the most visited tourist destination for over seven years. Inasmuch as this is a merit, it also poses a challenge when it comes to facilitating the transportation of all these tourists, not forgetting the additional seven million locals. Although Hong Kong has quite the intricate and organized transport system, getting around can be a rather cumbersome task if you don’t plan ahead or understand Chinese.
Another thing worth mentioning in the same breath as comfortable city travel is a comfortable flight to your destination. With Cathay Pacific, you can be guaranteed a comfy flight from as far as San Francisco to Hong Kong. Going for a seat with extra legroom will ensure optimum convenience during your flight.
Here are some tips about the different modes of travel that’ll help ease your commute while touring the vertical city.
How to Get Around in Hong Kong
You can also check out this article to learn about things to do in Hong Kong.
The Octopus Card
By far, getting an Octopus card should be your first order of business when you arrive in Hong Kong. It’s a reusable contactless stored-value smart card that can be used to make electronic payments which can either be online or offline. Some people have even nicknamed it the Holy Grail of transport. You can get an Octopus card at any MTR station at a refundable fee of HK $50 and is compatible with almost all public transports. What’s more, you save 5% when you pay for your fares using the Octopus card, which can be quite a convenient bonus. The card can also be used in a myriad of retail outlets such as supermarkets, convenience stores, and eateries.
The Mass Transit Railway, commonly referred to as MTR, is Hong Kong’s rail system that comprises of underground and overland rail services. This is the fastest way to get around the city and there’s always a station within a couple of blocks. The stations are also quite resourceful as you’ll find English signs at all terminals making it easy to navigate through them. The fares are slightly higher as compared to some other forms of transport but you pay slightly less when you use an Octopus card. It’s also worth mentioning that smoking, drinking, and eating are prohibited on the MTR and offenders are charged a fine of HK $5000.
This is one of the most popular ways to get around the city for tourists, especially in the Londonesque double-decker buses. They are the cheaper option of getting around just in case you’re touring on a budget. One downside of using buses to circumvent the city is the sheer number of them. There are so many buses in Hong Kong that even some locals get confused. It is important to note that if you intend to use them, then it would be best to carry the exact fare charged. This is because the drivers don’t handle the fares, commuters pay their fare by placing it in a box when boarding.
These are smaller 16-19 seater vehicles that transport people to the nooks and crannies of Hong Kong. There are mainly two types of minibuses; the red and the green ones. The latter have designated bus stops and fixed fares while the former stop whenever they are hailed by passengers and operate with variable fares. One drawback to using minibuses is that all the instructions and directions are in Chinese, making it hard for foreigners who aren’t conversant with the language to use.
When you’re covering short distances or going to an MTR station, you can opt to use the many double-decker trams across the city. These trams have been available for more than a century and still run on the same tracks, providing a taste of nostalgia as you commute to your destination. A great advantage of using this form of carrier is its remarkably affordable prices. The fares to all destination are standard; thus, no matter how far you’re going, all you’ll pay is one exceptionally reasonable fee.
Lastly, given the sheer amount of commuters in Hong Kong, it would be extremely wise to avoid using public transport during rush hours; they are usually between seven and nine in the morning and five to seven o’clock in the evenings. Using a taxi would be best if you have to navigate the city at these times; unless you enjoy sweaty armpits on your face.