Hong Kong Transport
Public transport in Hong Kong is efficient, clean, affordable and safe. Taxis, double-decker buses, and mini-buses ply the major routes, whilst the Mass Transit Railway and Kowloon Canton Railway connect Hong Kong, Kowloon and the New Territories. Most public transport is air-conditioned.
Public transport can be paid for either with coins or an ‘Octopus’ card – the electronic stored value system which makes traveling around the city quick and efficient. The Octopus card contains a microchip, which stores all your fare information, and can be purchased at any MTR station for a deposit of HK$50 plus the amount you wish to store on your card. For example, if you want to start off with HK$200 on your card you will have to make an initial payment of HK$250.
The value on your Octopus card can be increased as often as you wish at MTR stations, 7-Eleven, Starbucks and Park n' Shop supermarkets. A truly ingenious invention, the Octopus can be used at all the places mentioned above as well as on most public transport, in vending machines, photo booths in transport premises, most payphones and some parking facilities.
Operating hours for buses are daily from 7:00a.m-12:00a.m at 15-minute intervals. Fares range from about HK$3.30 up to HK$20 depending on distance. Fares are paid into the fare box when boarding the bus. Change is not given so, if you don’t have an Octopus card, it is useful to carry plenty of coins with you when using public transport. Information on routes, schedules and fares can be found on the following websites: New World First Bus (NWFB), City Bus. The New World First Bus, City Bus, and Kowloon Motor Bus, services publish bus guides and schedules in hardcopy as well.
Alternatively, you can call the appropriate Customer Service Hotline for route information.
New World First Bus: 2136 8888
City Bus: 2873 0818
Kowloon Motor Bus: 2745 4466
Mini Buses/ Public Light Buses and Maxicabs
The mini buses, or public light buses, are the smaller buses painted cream and red. Mini buses (cream and red) have no designated stops and can be boarded and alighted anywhere there is no yellow line at the curb. The cream and green minibuses are maxicabs and follow exact routes. Both types of buses will have their destination posted in English at the front of the bus.
To stop the bus, flag the driver with your hand. Exact fares must be tendered and put in the fare box upon boarding. The Octopus card may be used on most minibuses. Children pay full fare, unless the child can sit on your lap. To alight, call out that you would like the bus to stop. In Chinese you would say, "Lidoe, m'goy", which is pronounced "lee-doe mm-goy" or "Yao Lot, m'goy".
The Escalator runs from Des Voeux Road, Central, up to Conduit Road, a total of 800 metres. It operates from Conduit Road down to Central from 5:45am-11:00am, and Central up to Conduit Road 11:00am - 11:00pm.
Being an island, Hong Kong relies heavily on its extensive and efficient network of ferries which connect Hong Kong with all her outlying islands.
All ferries, with the exception of the Star Ferry and Discovery Bay ferries, depart from the ‘Outlying Islands’ piers in Central.
The Hong Kong & Yaumatei Ferry operates between Hong Kong and Lantau, Cheng Chau and Peng Chau from Pier 6/7 (Tel: 2390 1600)
The Hong Kong & Kowloon Ferries service Hong Kong and Lamma Island, from Pier 5 (Tel: 2815 6063). Visit the Hong Kong & Kowloon Ferries website for ferry schedule.
For more information contact the Hong Kong Tourist Association Visitors Hotline (multi lingual) on 2508 1234.
Hire and Rental Cars
Chauffeur driven cars may be hired by the hour, usually for a minimum of three hours at HK$200 an hour and above. Cars may also be rented by the day or for longer periods of time whilst you are in Hong Kong. The long term lease of a car is a good option as the maintenance of the vehicle is taken care of by the company from which you hired the car.
The Airport Express is an extremely efficient means of transport to and from Chep Lap Kok International Airport. Hong Kong and Kowloon Stations provide check-in counters for all major airlines, i.e. Northwest and United Airlines. Note that due to the terrorist attacks in the U.S on September 11th 2001, in-town check in facilities are no longer available for any flights bound for destinations in the U.S. Otherwise, Airport Express passengers can check in and collect boarding passes for same day flights, up to 90 minutes prior to departure.
This applies to all airlines except the following:
Air Niugini, Angel Air, Lauda Air, Mongolian Airlines, Pakistan International, SAS and Varig Brazil.
The following airlines allow check-in one day prior to departure:
Cathay Pacific Airways, China Airlines, Dragonair, Singapore Airlines, South African Airlines, Swissair, United airlines and Vietnam Airlines.
Trains depart every ten minutes and the journey time is 23 minutes from Central to Chep Lap Kok. Single or same-day-return tickets cost HK$100 and a round trip ticket valid for one month costs HK$180. Tickets may be purchased with credit cards, bank notes or Octopus card. Concessionary rates are available for children aged 3-11 years old.
Mass Transit Railway (MTR)
The MTR is a safe, clean, efficient and air-conditioned underground railway system that makes travel between districts on the north side of Hong Kong Island and destinations in Kowloon easy and fast. Trains run every 2-3 minutes and the journey under the harbour from Central to Tsim Sha Tsui takes five minutes.
A station entrance is indicated with a white on red sign. Ticket vending machines accept both notes and coins. Large notes may be changed at the bank branch located in each station. There are concessionary fares for senior citizens, students, and children.
MTR information and route maps are available on their website
Train lines can be identified as follows:
Island Line (light blue): Sheung Wan - Chai Wan
Kwung Tong (green): Yau Ma Tei - Quarry Bay via Kwung Tong
Tsuen Wan (red): Central - Tsuen Wan
Tung Chung (yellow): Hong Kong Station (Central) - Tung Chung
Airport Express (dark blue): Hong Kong Station (central) - Airport via Kowloon and Tsing Yi
Kowloon Canton Railway (KCR)
For a day in the New Territories, the KCR is probably the most convenient means of transport. An electrified train, running from Hung Hom to Lo Wu, the KCR is clean and efficient. You can either take the Star Ferry over to Hung Hom and board the KCR there or take the MTR to Kowloon Tong and switch to the KCR system. When travelling to Shenzhen, take the KCR to Lowu where the China border is located. From here, you can walk over the border and into Shenzhen. Please note that all British citizens must secure a China visa prior to leaving Hong Kong. Most other nationalities can purchase their visa at the Lowu border, which is cheaper and less time consuming than applying for a visa in Hong Kong. Don't forget your passport and your Hong Kong identity card.
Taxis are plentiful in and around the city as well as from the airport. It will cost between HK$300-400 from the airport to Hong Kong Island. Taxis are extremely good value with a minimum fare of HK$15. A journey between Central and Stanley, which is on the other side of the Island and a good 20-30 minutes away, will cost only about HK$100 (US$12).
A few points worth remembering:
Some of the best places to find a taxi in Central:
- Taxis cannot stop on a single yellow line between 7 am and 7 pm and are not permitted to stop on a double yellow line at any time.
- Shift change occurs at 4pm, meaning it is often difficult to find a taxi at this time of the day.
- A taxi with a red cardboard placard over his 'for hire' sign is on a job and is not for hire.
- If you are not sure of where you are going, try and have the Chinese address handy to show the driver.
- Most drivers will know the English names of the major landmarks; if they don't, they can call in and ask the dispatcher.
- Passengers pay the tunnel toll plus the fare back through the tunnel
- There is a HK$5 surcharge for pets and each additional piece of luggage.
- Kowloon taxis and Hong Kong taxis are distinct. You can catch a cab from Kowloon back to Hong Kong (and vice versa) but that taxi driver will then drive straight back to the other side. If you flag down a Kowloon taxi on his way back to the other side, he will only be able to take you to a destination in Kowloon, not in Hong Kong.
To call for a taxi:
- the top of Ice House St.
- Chater Road, next to Alexandra House
- Star Ferry
- Outside The Center on Queen's Road Central
- At the junction of Aberdeen St. and Wellington St.
- Pedder St.
|Hong Kong Taxi Centre
||Tel: 2574 7311|
|Wing Tai Radio Taxis
||Tel: 2865 7398|
A HK$5 charge will be added to the meter for a call taxi. If you are urgently in need of a taxi and it is rush hour, tell the taxi dispatcher that you will add HK$10 to the meter. The little extra will often be enough enticement for you to get a taxi promptly. Tipping is not expected though the fare is usually rounded up to the nearest dollar.
Hong Kong’s trams have plied the north shore of the island since 1904. Starting in Kennedy Town to the West and running all the way to Shau Kei Wan in the East, the trams are a great way to get around, being cheap (HK$2 regardless of distance) and providing a great way to see the city.
If you wish, you can even rent a tram; there are several which are available to rent out for private parties. This is a great and novel idea for any special occasion. Operating hours are 6:00 am to midnight.
Tel: 2548 7102 for more information.
In operation since 1888, this is the fastest way to get to Hong Kong’s number one tourist destination – The Peak. This beautifully maintained funicular railway is a sheer ascent up the mountain side and offers breathtaking views of the city.
Trams depart every 15 minutes from the Peak Tram Station on Garden Road.
Visit The Peak Website for more information.
Fore more information on Public Transport, click here.
Last Updated: 12 November, 2004