The public transit system in Hong Kong is so well advanced that you should little need to use any other means of travel in the region. In many cases you will even have to make a choice between two different forms of public transportation to arrive at the same destination.
If the public transit system is ingenious, then the Octopus Card is nothing but pure brilliance. It operates as the central debit system of the transit program, automatically deducting the fare from a card that never has to be swiped. Simply touch your card to the sensor in the bus or transit car. If that isn't enough, the Octopus Card is accepted as debit card for payment in convenience stores, parking locations and even food chains like McDonalds.
When you leave a balance on the card at the end of your stay, it is entirely refunded to you. What's more, paying with your Octopus Card might even be cheaper than paying with cash.
The Octopus Card will cost you $150 as an adult. That provides $100 of available funds and a $50 deposit. To refill your card, visit:
Mass Transit Railway (MTR)
The Mass Transit Railway in Hong Kong (MTR) runs both under and across ground. It is hands down the most expedient way to get around. With a total of 10 lines and tram lines in the Northwest New Territories most everywhere you may want to go is covered. Even the railway system in Kowloon is part of MTR (since 2007).
The RED LINE (Tsuen Wan) from Central to Kowloon is probably the most popular of the lines for most visitors to the region followed closely by the BLUE LINE (Island Line) that covers the northern coast of Hong Kong Island.
The 10 lines of the MTR are:
In addition, MTR has an Airport Express shuttle system and a light rail that transports riders between Yuen Long & Tuen Mun in the New Territories. An inter-city train service also visits Mainland China if that is of interest to you on your visit.
In general there are three types of buses throughout Hong Kong. All of them accept the Octopus Card but you may find it difficult to travel via bus with very little by way of English language signage. Still, if you are en route to Lantau or the south portions of Hong Kong Island, the bus is one of your only options.
Double Decker Bus: The double-decker bus is almost everywhere in the territory. They feature frequent stops and flexible prices based on the distance you are travelling. A good rule to remember is that your fares are largely determined by when you board rather than when you exit. Earlier boarding assumes higher rates.
Light Bus / Maxicab: The light bus or maxicab may be either red or green (as evidenced by a wide stripe painted atop the vehicle). These vehicles carry a max of 16 passengers at once and may be difficult for you because it is customary to call out your stop by name in Cantonese as well as asking the driver to stop for deboarding in Cantonese.
The red minibus accepts cash but no card, while the green accepts Octopus Card but cannot offer change for cash.
Kowloon Canton Railway (KCR)
KCR operates a feeder service that should be paid by Octopus. K16 is the most popular of the routes and takes you to mainland China and to Tsim Sha Tsui from the New Territories.
It is important to note that there is a problem with route duplication throughout the territory though the Transportation Department in Hong Kong is working to clear these issues up and make it less confusing to travel between the six regions.
Ferries are plentiful throughout the region with a large fleet carrying passengers between the islands. The can't-miss attraction/travel mode of choice is the Star Ferry between Central and Kowloon. The views are spectacular and the cost is law (upper deck $2.20, lower deck $1.70). Star Ferry also runs between Kowloon and Wanchai.
The largest port is just next to the Star Ferry at Central and you will need to know the difference between fast and slow ferries which is pretty much self explanatory. Fast ferries get you there in half the time and charge twice as much. Fares increase by 50% as a rule on Sunday.
In 2003, Hong Kong's taxis were rated as some of the cheapest across the globe. They are quite clean and quick to get you where you need to go. Here are a few things you need to know when travelling via taxi:
Taxi Contact Numbers:
Airport Authority Hong Kong: +852 2181 8888
HKTB multilingual visitor hotline (open 8am-6pm daily): +852 2508 1234
Hong Kong Police Force hotline: +852 2527 7177
Road Co-op Lost and Found 24-hour, free hotline for property lost in taxis: +852 1872 920
Transport Complaints Unit hotline: +852 2889 9999
Transport Department enquiries hotline: +852 2804 2600
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