Kong Getting Around
Hong Kong enjoys one
of the most proficient and diverse
public transport systems in the world, encompassing
an underground railway, light urban railways, buses, minibuses,
ferries, boats, and trams. Notwithstanding, the diversity of operators
hinders full integration and it is not possible, for example, to
transfer from train to minibus on the same ticket, however the Octopus
Card is widely accepted.
The Mass Transit Railway –
MTR (tel: 2881-8888; fax: 2795-9991) operates five
underground metro lines including two cross-harbour lines, and the
Airport Express link. It is more costly than the
ferry but faster, especially for those travelling further into Kowloon
than Tsim Sha Tsui. The MTR runs daily 05:55–24:35.
The only additional railway line is the Kowloon–Canton
Railway – KCR, with 13 stations within Hong Kong.
Fares are metered according to the number of stations, with only
limited zoning. The cheapest fare (good for one to two stations)
is KH$4 (concessions are available).
Buses operate throughout the territory, with
cross-harbour routes via the tunnel. Unfortunately, these are often
very crowded. Exact change is needed for those passengers who do
not have an Octopus Card. Air-conditioned coaches
run along certain Hong Kong and Kowloon routes. Citybus
(tel: 2873-0818; fax: 2857-6179) and New
World First Bus (tel: 2136-8888; fax: 2136-2136) are the two
licensed bus companies on Hong Kong Island. Kowloon
Motor Bus (tel: 2745-5566) operates on Kowloon Side. Buses
operate daily from around 0600–2430. An evening bus
service runs all night long. Bus fare is usually
operate on regularly scheduled routes. These stop for passengers
who wave them down like taxis and stop on request – the process
is for passengers to stand up and yell – except at regular
bus stops and restricted areas. Payment is almost always by cash
and the kamikaze dash through frantic traffic favoured by the majority
of drivers is a uniquely Hong Kong experience. Drivers are not required
to move without a full bus, however, so they often linger at traffic
lights, waiting for more passengers. Fares vary
according to the distance and are usually incomprehensible to non-locals;
most are about HK$5–7 – many minibuses
now accept Octopus Card payment. Minibuses
run daily from around 0600–2430 and an evening service
runs on specific routes – between Central Hong Kong and Mongkok
or between eastern Hong Kong Island and Kennedy Town in the west.
Trams only run on Hong Kong Island. They are
frequent and inexpensive, with a standard fare of HK$2
for the whole journey – temporary visitors are not likely
to encounter the much more advanced supertrams in suburban Kowloon.
On the island the Peak Tram, is a funicular tramway
to the upper terminus on Victoria Peak (see Key
The Star Ferry (tel: 2367-7065;
fax: 2118-6028; email: email@example.com)
ride across Hong Kong harbour is a staple for tourists, as well
as the cheapest way to cross at HK$1.70, or HK$2.20
for the air-conditioned upper deck. Star Ferry
terminals are in Tsim Sha Tsui
and Central. Services run daily 06:30–23:30.
Other ferry services also link with the outlying islands of the
territory and other destinations.
An MTR Tourist Ticket, good for a whole
day of unlimited rides, is available for HK$50.
A map and souvenir ticket are included with the price of the pass.
A three-day Hong Kong Transport Pass is also offered
for HK$220 for one Airport Express journey and
three days of unlimited MTR journeys, or for two Airport Express
rides and three days of MTR rides. Both can be upgraded for an extra
HK$20 for use on all buses, trams and other transport services.
The price includes a refundable deposit of HK$50; the value of unused
travel may be refunded upon completion of usage.
However, for visitors staying for one week or more,
it is well worth buying the Octopus Card –
a smart card that automatically deducts the price of the trip when
it is placed on a sensor. The card costs HK$150,
and includes a refundable deposit of HK$50. Additional
credit left over is also refunded when the card is returned. Currently,
the card may be used on MTR services, and also as on the Kowloon–Canton
Railway, major bus routes, a few minibuses and some ferries. There
are plans to extend its use to additional routes and means of transport,
as Hong Kong’s transport system becomes more integrated. It
can already be used in convenience stores and Starbucks. The MTR
Tourist Ticket and Octopus Cards are can
be purchased at the ticket kiosk of all MTR stations.
There are plenty of taxis in Hong Kong and Kowloon and are very
cheap – most taxi journeys cost less than
HK$20. Minimum fare is HK$15 in central Hong Kong
(less in the New Territories). There are no taxi Companies; all
taxis in Hong Kong are individually operated. There are taxi ranks
in busy areas but taxis can be waved down anywhere on the street.
Red taxis serve Hong Kong Island and Kowloon,
green ones serve the New Territories
and blue ones Lantau Island. Taxis
that have a rectangular red plaque on their dashboard are usually
cross-harbour taxis. Some journeys charge an extra toll, such as
journeys through the cross-harbour tunnel (HK$20). Charges are also
often added for carrying luggage. It is common to round up the fare
to the nearest Dollar, however, this is not mandatory.
Many drivers speak some English however visitors should carry a
map or have their destination written in Chinese characters. It
is also a good idea for passengers to ask if the taxi is a Hong
Kong or Kowloon taxi when boarding, particularly late at night –
drivers prefer sticking to their own side of the water.
The more traditional taxis, rickshaws, have vanished from regular
transport and are now purely for tourists, normally found at the
Star Ferry terminal in Central. It is a good idea
to agree on the fare in advance. A typical rickshaw ride lasts about
five minutes and runs around the block, costing approximately HK$50.
Extra charges are added for a photograph taken sitting in the rickshaw
– this is usually around HK$20.
Intercontinental Hire Cars (tel: 2336-6111)
Travel Service Ltd (tel: 2865-2618; fax: 2865-2984) both provide
chauffeur-driven limousines with prices starting from approximately
HK$280 per hour.
Driving in the
It's best to leave the driving in Hong Kong to professionals. Having
one of the finest public transport systems in the world and ubiquitous
taxis, there is no need for visitors to risk driving. Rates on cars
are great deterrents, with a 100% vehicle import tax and petrol
tax, and also as hefty insurance and vehicle registration fees.
This does, however, render used cars surprisingly inexpensive, even
once the price of shipping one home has been figured in. The Ferraris,
Maseratis and other premium vehicles
lined up in Central in the evenings, show that
cars are very expensive toys in Hong Kong.
Major car parks in Central include
the Parking Building, Murray Road,
and the Airport Express Terminal, Man Cheung
Road. Located In Causeway Bay, the World
Trade Centre, close to the Excelsior Hotel is the primary
parking point, while in Kowloon, parking is located
at the Lippo Sun Plaza, Kowloon Park Drive
in Tsim Sha Tsui. Parking prices are about HK$22 per hour, with
a minimum stay of two hours in most locations.
It is a good idea not to be in charge of a rented car in Hong Kong’s
vertiginous streets, as the average HK$5000 refundable deposit on
rental cars testifies. Car rental companies normally require drivers
to be over 25 years. A valid driver's licence from
the country of residence or an International Driving Permit
is required, as is minimum third-party
insurance. A standard saloon rental fees start from about
HK$1000 per day. Major operators include Avis
(tel: 2890-6988) and Hertz (tel:
It might be reassuring to know that if one desires to cycle in central
Hong Kong, the traffic will kill one long before the dreadful air
quality does. In any event, the Hong Kong authorities
actually prohibit bicycle riding in Central.
However, there are places for visitors to cycle– out on the
islands or in the New Territories.
are offered for hire from Hop Cheong Bicycle
Shop (tel: 2896-0816) and Siu Kee Bicycle
(tel: 2981-1384) in Cheung Chau. The New Territories have bicycle
hire at Tai Po KCR station, where there are plenty
of small stalls situated directly outside. For a standard bicycle,
rental prices average HK$50 a day.
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about transport systems in Hong Kong