This post was last updated on May 8th, 2020 at 06:05 pm
Hong Kong may not be the first place that comes to mind when you go on a vacation to Asia. Yet it is a place where a lot of travelers come, if only because it is a popular gateway to the rest of Asia, and it has quite a lot to offer! It is a fascinating place with neon lighting, 24/7 music and a hustle and bustle that most people (except those who come from big cities) can hardly imagine.
Hong Kong is a sophisticated mix of the east and the west. Skyscrapers stand side by side with old temples and chic businessmen walk alongside old Chinese men. Many travelers underestimate the cultural influences in this megacity.
It’s not just skyscrapers that you find here; Hong Kong is also known as the culinary capital of Asia. You will find excellent, international dining options here that you will not get enough of. And if that’s not enough, the nightlife here is legendary.
In combination with the technological gadgets that you will find here, it is an interesting place to visit. On top of that, like Bangkok, this is an important gateway to the other regions in China as well as many East Asian countries. The competition is fierce, and this keeps the prices for an airline ticket extremely low.
History of Hong Kong
Hong Kong is not actually a country but a very large city. Because it is located on the southeast coast of China, it has a very strategic location. As a result, Hong Kong has a special history and is one of the most prosperous areas in the world. The area had been inhabited for thousands of years before the first Europeans set foot here in the 16th century. Fishermen mainly inhabited it.
In addition to arranging some vaccinations, it is important to arrange your visa. In some countries, you can do that at the border as well as in your home country. We recommend that you arrange your visa in your home country. Nowadays this is easy and fast and you also prevent unpleasant surprises at your destination!
Visa for Hong Kong
Most people who stay in Hong Kong for a maximum of 90 days do not need a visa. If you want to stay in Hong Kong for more than 90 days (which is not necessary for tourism) we advise you to contact the embassy.
To get your visa you have to arrange a few things. Here are some tips;
- A passport that is still valid for at least six months upon departure (especially if you enter China after visiting Hong Kong);
- Empty pages in your passport for the customs stamps.
- Proof of a return flight, or flight to the next destination.
- Reservation for your accommodation(s).
When we first went to Hong Kong we had the luxury that an old colleague lived there who helped us with our preparation. He gave us a number of tips that we could not find on the internet. Once in Hong Kong himself, he largely showed us the city and explained what else we should see, when, and how we could best do it.
The first thing he told us was to get an Octopus Card. Maybe you have heard of it. We immediately purchased one at the airport and we still have it today. An Octopus Card is a type of credit card on which you put credit. You can use the card throughout the city.
It works super simple, you just tap your card against the payment box and you’re done. The machine automatically deducts the amount from your credit and you can continue. You can use the card at:
- All metro stations
- Star Ferry
- Peak Tram
- And many other stores!
For tourists who do not intend to return to Hong Kong in the short term, there is a “borrow” card. You pay HK $50 (US$6.40) once as a deposit and get it back as soon as you return the card.
Book in Advance
If you are going to Hong Kong for a few days, we always advise you to book in advance. Hong Kong is a very popular place, not only with foreigners but also with the Chinese themselves. Therefore, book your hotel(s) and activities in advance. This way you avoid towering hotel bills and you have enough choice in terms of accommodation. It can get full quickly, especially during the weekend.
Best Time to Visit Hong Kong
The best time to visit Hong Kong is from October to March. Hong Kong has only one climate zone, a subtropical climate. For many people, the weather is experienced as very pleasant with an average temperature of 25 degrees Celsius (77°F). Just like in most countries in the northern hemisphere, January can be seen as the coldest month of the year. In Hong Kong, it will then be around 17 degrees Celsius (62.6°F) on average.
July, on the other hand, is the hottest month with an average temperature of 29 degrees Celsius (84.2°F). If you don’t like rain at all (and that generally includes a lot of people), we recommend not to visit Hong Kong from May until September, because there is the most rain in these months.
If you do not want to experience the extreme heat and have an active holiday in mind, it is best to go in mid-October. In this month the chance of rain decreases rapidly and the temperatures drop to pleasant 20 to 25 degrees Celsius (68°F to 77°F) during the day. The sun shines fairly regularly and rain is mainly limited to a single shower.
From April onwards, Hong Kong’s weather is rapidly declining. The typhoon season starts in April and ends in November. Spring weather then makes way for a less stable weather type with lots of heavy rain showers, thunderstorms, and a greater chance of general storms.
During this period, therefore, keep in mind that Hong Kong receives storms a few times every year. During the day the temperature goes up to 30 °C (86°F) while at night it does not get cooler than 22-23 °C (about 71°F – 73°F).
10 Best Things to See & Do in Hong Kong
During a visit to Hong Kong, you will certainly not be bored. The city has a lot of possibilities for entertainment. You can do activities, visit temples, shop, and much more. We usually recommend staying in Hong Kong for two or three days. This gives you plenty of time to view the sights and relax when needed. Below is a list of the best highlights of Hong Kong.
1. Man Mo Temple
Although Hong Kong is certainly not known for its beautiful temples, it does have a few to offer. The oldest and most famous temple in Hong Kong is the Man Mo temple. It was built in 1847 and dedicated to the god of literature (Man) and the god of war (Mo). The god Man is a Chinese statesman from the 3rd century BC and was also called Man Cheung. He is represented with a writing pad and “pen”.
The God of war was also called Kwan Yu. He was a soldier from the Han Dynasty born in the 2nd century AD. He is represented with a sword. Kwan Yu is very popular in Hong Kong and this is probably due to his extra status as the patron. Many locals believe that he protects restaurants, pawnshops, the police, etc. and the residents of Hong Kong are fairly superstitious.
The Oasis of Tranquility
Like all temples, the Man Mo temple is an oasis of tranquility and, therefore, a great contrast to the bustle of the nearby “financial district”. In 2009 the temple was recognized as a “Grade I Historic Building” and has since become a monument. What you immediately notice is the immense incense air from the temple. With that in mind, you just have to follow the scent to find the temple.
The Man Mo temple is the largest temple in Hong Kong. The Man Mo Temple is part of a complex that also includes buildings such as Lit Shing Kung and Kung Sor. Lit Shing Kung was built to worship all heavenly gods. Kung Sor is a hall where locals gathered to discuss and solve all problems.
Outside you can have fortune tellers predict your future!
2. Temple Street Night Market
Temple Street is the most famous market street in Hong Kong. For those who want to shop well, Temple Street Night Market is the place to be! Temple Street is located in Kowloon near Jordan and Yau Ma Tei. This market is, without a doubt, one of the busiest but also one of the nicest markets in Hong Kong.
As the name suggests, almost all the tourists come here in the evening for the famous Night Market. It is almost impossible to imagine how all these market people can park their stalls in the street. In total there are hundreds of stalls where you can buy everything; food, cell phones, watches, and clothing.
The street was built during the Qing Dynasty and is named after a Tin Hau temple that was built there. The Temple Street Night Market is sometimes also called Men’s Street. This is because there is a lot of men’s clothing for sale. The market starts at 2 p.m. but the best thing is to go there in the evening when it is full of people and there are delicious scents from all the eateries. Logically there is no traffic at that time, so you can easily walk through Temple Street.
Like other markets in Asia, bargaining is normal here. Make sure that you only start bargaining when you are really interested. Although market traders always bet too high, it is good to negotiate prices fairly. If you are in Temple Street, don’t look only in the stalls but also in the streets that are hidden behind the stalls. Here you will find the real, unique Temple Street Night Market.
3. Tian Tan Buddha
The Tian Tan Buddha is a bronze Buddha on the island of Lantau. It is the largest sitting Buddha in the open air. The Buddha owes its name to the example of Tian Tan, from the Temple of Heaven in Beijing.
The Tian Tan Buddha is 34 meters (about 111 feet) high and can be found at the top of a 268-step staircase. It belongs to the Po Lin Monastery and symbolizes the harmony between people, nature, and religion. The Buddha sits on a lotus throne and the Buddha’s head faces north. This is quite unique among the large Buddha’s because most faces are facing the south.
If you have clear weather you can see the Tian Tan Buddha from Macau! Construction started in 1990 and it was finished on December 29, 1993, the birthday of the Gautama Buddha.
The Tian Tan Buddha is a distinguished place for the Buddhists in Hong Kong and an important tourist attraction. The Ngong Ping Skyrail has been open since 2006. This is a cable car with gondolas that makes the journey to the Buddha a lot easier.
4. Symphony of Light
Just like Hollywood, Hong Kong also has its own “Walk of Fame”. Here, it is called the Avenue of Stars and just like in Hollywood it is a tribute to everyone who works within the film industry. You find the Avenue of Stars on Victory Harbor in Tsim Sha Tsui. It was built in 2004 for a sloppy 40 million HK$ which was funded by the New Word Group with support from Hong Kong companies including the Hong Kong Tourism Board.
Avenue of Stars
When the Avenue of Stars opened, there were 73 statues of recent and older film stars. At the moment there are more than 100, including the famous Jackie Chan, John Woo, and Bruce Lee. These are the most photographed statues. Often you will also find live music on the Avenue of Stars which makes the atmosphere very cozy.
The Symphony of Lights
A feast for the eyes is what the Symphony of Lights really is. If you think an average dance party has a great laser show, you have probably never been to Hong Kong. The Symphony of Lights is a spectacle of unprecedented class! More than 40 buildings give a spectacular light show on the banks of Tsim Sha Tsui here every evening at 8 p.m.
It is not for nothing that it is mentioned in the Guinness Book of World Records as the “Greatest Permanent Light and Sound Show in the World”. Nothing is being cut on here; lights in the most bizarre colors, laser beams, patterns on the buildings and searchlights are used to offer visitors an unforgettable spectacle.
A Special Experience
In addition, everything is also synchronized with music. The Symphony of Lights is not just for entertaining visitors. It is also a place of “worship” of Hong Kong’s energy, spirit, and diversity. The show consists of five themes: Awakening, Energy, Heritage, Partnership and, the finale, Celebration.
Please note that if the weather is bad the show will be canceled. But don’t worry; the Symphony of Lights is there every day! By the way, be early because it can get crowded here, especially in the summer months!
TIP – Try viewing the Symphony of Lights from a boat (Harbor Cruise), this yields the best photos!
5. Hong Kong Park
Hong Kong is a city where life rushes past. Everyday life is dominated by neon billboards, a 24-hour economy and a bustle on the street that makes many bigger cities look like a village. It is nice to be able to relax during your stay in Hong Kong in a place where you do not walk among thousands of people and are rushed by taxis and buses. Fortunately, the city has such a place; Hong Kong Park is an oasis of peace in a huge metropolis.
Hong Kong Park is a park that you cannot ignore. Since 1991 you will find this park in the middle of the city. Hong Kong Park offers the perfect opportunity to escape the hectic pace of Hong Kong that takes place 24/7. You cannot walk alone in the park. You will also find an aviary with the famous “Bird Exhibition”.
There is also a greenhouse where you can view different plants and there are beautiful modern gardens, waterfalls, streams, ponds, and cliffs made of artificial rocks throughout the park. The park is also a great vantage point for taking pictures of the surrounding skyscrapers.
For true sports enthusiasts, Hong Kong Park also has a squash and sports center in the city and it has cost around 398 million Hong Kong dollars. The park is 80,000 square meters (about 30.9 square miles) in size. Part of the park is known as the Cantonment Hill which has existed since 1841. The design takes into account the modern style of Hong Kong. This is clearly reflected in the park.
6. The Peak
Together with the Symphony of Lights, The Peak is the most famous highlight in Hong Kong. If you do not have that much time to spend in Hong Kong and can only visit one or two highlights, we are the first to recommend The Peak, especially in the evening. At 552 meters (about 1811 feet), it is the highest point here. Ever since colonial times, The Peak has been the most exclusive neighborhood in the city.
The Peak – the Place to Be in Hong Kong
Although the cooler climate drew the rich here in the past, nowadays it is the best place to get a spectacular view of this metropolis. This is noticeable by the land prices here, which are among the highest in the world. This bizarre view is also the reason that this is the most popular attraction.
The best way to go to The Peak is with the Peak Tram. With this tram, you climb 1,400 meters (4593 feet), which is reasonably steep, to the top and you see the skyscrapers disappear further and further into the background. This tram has been in use since 1888! You will also find the Peak Tram Historical Gallery at the departure point where you can view the history of this special tram.
During the day you look over the many skyscrapers, the Victoria harbor and up to the green hills of the New Territories, but in the evening the view changes into a feast for the eyes. It’s as if a UFO has landed in Hong Kong; so many colors of light and lasers that you imagine yourself in a Star Trek scene.
To enjoy the best view you can best go to the Peak Tower. On this particularly designed building (it looks like a wok frying pan) you will find a 360-degree panoramic terrace. You do have to pay access to enjoy the view here. Of course, you will also find a number of shops and restaurants here. For people who enjoy walking, we recommend the 3.5 kilometer-long (2.17 miles) Peak Circle Walk. Here you can enjoy multiple views!
7. Hong Kong Wetland Park
For those who just want to escape the center, there is the Hong Kong Wetland Park. The park is located in the north-west of the city and is a beautiful nature reserve. With its mangrove forests, swamps and butterfly gardens, it is the ideal place to escape the hectic pace. Even if you travel with children it is a perfect trip. For bird lovers, there is also a bird-watching platform equipped with telescopes. The best season for bird watching is during the winter.
8. Repulse Bay Beach
Will you be in Hong Kong during the summer? Then visit the Repulse bay beach. Located in the south of the city, Repulse Bay is an ideal beach with calm waters for a nice swim. In the area, you will find plenty of cafes, ice cream parlors, restaurants, and bars. And for the shoppers among us, near the beach, there is the huge beach shopping center The Pulse.
9. Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery
The Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery has been in existence since 1949 and is a curious tourist attraction. In this mountain monastery just north of Kowloon, you can view more than ten thousand gold-colored Buddha statues. Most statues are very small, but there are also more than enough large copies.
If you visit this monastery, keep in mind that during the hot summer the climb up the steep stairs can be very tiring.
10. Happy Valley Racecourse
Hong Kong has countless cultural legacies from when it was a British colony. One of the best-known of these is the Happy Valley Racecourse, where horse races are held every Wednesday evening. The friendly atmosphere, the popularity of the sport in Hong Kong, and the low entrance fees make it an excellent way to get acquainted with Hong Kong.
If you want you can bet on the horses, but it is also possible to just watch the race as a spectator.
Looking for more places to see in Hong Kong? Check out our article on 10 Free Things to do in Hong Kong.
Shopping in Hong Kong
Hong Kong has an enormous appeal for travelers visiting China. This impressive city actually has everything the tourist wishes. Not only can you enjoy fantastic food, but there are also plenty of interesting sights to be found and the various rooftop bars are a real delight to the eye.
Another reason why you could choose to visit Hong Kong can be found in the range of shops. Hardly anyone who visits Hong Kong buys nothing. That is almost impossible because you will find everything you are looking for here.
Do you want to shop for a new outfit from the best designers or are you looking for authentic gifts for those who stay at home? You can find it all in many diverse stores in Hong Kong! Because it is often quite a challenge for travelers to find out where to start, we have already prepared a guide that shows you the way!
The Asian Shopping Paradise Par Excellence
We don’t say a word too much when we say that Hong Kong really is the Asian shopping paradise. You can buy the craziest items here, anything you can think of. Moreover, European travelers immediately notice that the prices are considerably lower than they are used to. It should come as no surprise that shopping is one of the main activities of tourists visiting Hong Kong.
In fact, recently Hong Kong’s tourism bureau conducted a survey that made it clear that half of the available budget for tourists is being used for shopping. Overall, we can say that the more luxurious shopper would do well to visit Hong Kong Island. After all, the more expensive design shops can be found here.
Would you rather look for the best bargains? In that case, we would like to show you the way to Kowloon. Here you will also find the largest and most interesting markets.
Shopping in Kowloon
For the majority of travelers, shopping in Hong Kong means visiting Kowloon. Nathan Road, in particular, can count on considerable attention. In this important shopping street, you can find many shops where you can buy tailored clothes. In addition, you can also shop for the most beautiful jewelry. You will even find shops that sell many electronic items.
In addition, Nathan Road is also the shopping street of choice for those looking for Chinese handicrafts. This really is a beautiful souvenir which will undoubtedly give you a nice vibe at home!
As interesting as Nathan Road may be, it is always recommended to dive into the side streets. Here you will find strikingly trendy shops that mainly target the younger public. On the other hand, you can also spot shops here where you can buy the highest quality silk.
On the corner of Kansu Street and Reclamation Street, you have a daily opportunity to purchase jewelry made of jade. At least, that is what the traders claim. Unfortunately, only half of the supply on the market is real jade. Do you want to buy jewelry here? Then you must have a little understanding and be vigilant of counterfeit items.
One of the Largest Shopping Malls in Asia
For many visitors, shopping in Hong Kong also means visiting one of the largest shopping malls in Asia, the one in Harbor City on Canton Road. In itself, this is not just a shopping center, but one that is made up of four gigantic department stores. This concerns Ocean Center, Ocean Galleries, Ocean Terminal as well as the Gateway Shopping Arcade.
If you are a fan of shopping malls and you are looking for a large number of different items, a visit to this monster mall is definitely recommended!
Temple Street Night Market, Watch Out for Counterfeits
Another tourist attraction is the Temple Street Night Market. Despite the fact that there is always an exciting atmosphere and that they sell anything here, it must be said that many items are counterfeit. In addition, buying something in this market will have to bring out the best negotiator in you. Good bargaining is a very important part of the game here.
While walking the Temple Street Night Market, also note that there is a significant section of street food stalls. Here you can eat remarkably tasty shrimp, mussels and/or crab for a reasonable price. We would recommend a visit to the Temple Street Night Market, but more for the atmosphere and food than for the items you can buy.
Shopping on Hong Kong Island
Have you come to Hong Kong with the aim of buying beautiful designer items at a strikingly competitive price? In that case, Hong Kong Island is for you! You will find many expensive design shops here, including Armani, Cartier, Chanel, Gucci and yes, Louis Vuitton is also present.
Looking to spend a little bit less? In that case, you can visit the region of Causeway Bay. Not only are some cheaper stores located here, but you can also find many department stores here. For people who like to buy clothes, Stanley Market on the south side of Hong Kong Island is also worth a visit.
The silk is cheaper here than anywhere else and is often the material of choice to have a suit tailored to your wishes. In any case, it’s clear that whatever personal wishes and expectations you have, shopping in Hong Kong ensures that they are all achievable!
Best Hiking Trails in Hong Kong
In Hong Kong, there are excellent opportunities for hiking through nature. The most beautiful hiking trails can be found outside Hong Kong Island and Kowloon in the New Territories. Below, we will discuss three of the best hiking trails in Hong Kong.
1. MacLehose Trail
The MacLehose Trail is by far Hong Kong’s most famous hiking trail. It leads along high mountain peaks, beautiful beaches and you will see more natural beauty than you would ever expect in this great Asian metropolis. The total length is 100 kilometers, but it is not necessary to walk it in one go.
The MacLehose Trail is divided into 10 contiguous sections, each of which can be completed in a few hours. The paths are excellent, and because the route is always clearly indicated with signs, you don’t have to worry about getting lost. The most accessible sections are in the mountains just north of Kowloon, but the most spectacular is to the east near the Highland Reservoir.
To reach the trail, take the metro to Wu Kai Sha Station on the Ma On Shan Line, then take a taxi to the beginning of a section.
2. Lantau Trail
Like the MacLehose Trail, the 70-kilometer Lantau Trail is a hiking trail that is divided into several sections. The route is located on Lantau Island, which is also home to Hong Kong Airport. Again, expect a fun discovery through a subtropical rainforest, along beautiful beaches and high peaks from where you have a great view of the other islands of Hong Kong.
The best accessible areas are Sections 1 and 9 at Mui Wo Harbor, which is connected by ferry to Central on Hong Kong Island. Do you want to walk a quieter part of the route with more natural beauty in the west of the island? Then, just like with the MacLehose Trail, it is best to take a taxi to the starting point of this section.
3. Lamma Island Family Trail
Do you like walking in Hong Kong, but are you looking for a shorter and easier route? Then check out the Lamma Island Family Trail. This is a short walking route on small Lamma Island just southwest of Hong Kong Island. The path has fewer height differences but still runs along a number of beautiful beaches. It will take you about an hour and a half in total.
It is also easy to access. From Central on Hong Kong Island, take a ferry to Yung Shue Wan, where the route begins. At the end of the Lamma Island Family Trail, at the port of Sok Kwu Wan, you can choose from a ferry back to Central or to Aberdeen.
Best Rooftop Bars
Hong Kong is known for being not only a vibrant but also a very hip city. It has a vibrant nightlife and offers its visitors and residents many opportunities to have a drink with a fantastic view.
Hong Kong is characterized by a large number of skyscrapers that are not all used as office buildings, on the contrary. A large number of so-called rooftop bars can be found throughout the center of this fascinating city. It goes without saying that you will pay a little more for your cocktail at these locations, but you will get an almost unrivaled view (especially after the sun sets).
We have already selected some rooftop bars in Hong Kong that you should not miss!
Sevva Restaurant & Rooftop Bar
The business district of Hong Kong is not only known for the many companies that are located there, but you can also enjoy fantastic shopping. There are several luxury shops, such as Chanel, Hugo Boss, Cartier, and Ralph Lauren. Also in the business district of Hong Kong Central is the Sevva Restaurant & Rooftop Bar.
At first, it seems like only the “rich and famous” come here to drink their cocktails, but that is not the case. Even if you do not belong to this target group, a stay on this rooftop terrace is definitely recommended. From the Sevva Restaurant & Rooftop Bar, you can count on a 360-degree view of Hong Kong.
During the afternoon you can go here for a nice coffee with a matching pastry. From the open terrace, you have a very nice view of the harbor of Hong Kong as well as the almost iconic Bank of China building.
Sugar Rooftop Bar
Do you want to enjoy a nice cocktail, combined with a fantastic view and lots of exciting beats? In that case, the Sugar Rooftop Bar in Hong Kong is a very interesting location for you. This rooftop bar can be found on the 32nd floor of the popular East Hotel.
As the name (kind of) indicates, it has a rather luxurious character which makes it possible to enjoy in style without any problems. DJs perform regularly and you can order really fantastic tapas. The Sugar Rooftop Bar is a fun and trendy bar from which you have a sublime view of the harbor of Hong Kong.
It must be said that the atmosphere is a bit pretentious. It is recommended to change your outfit. Finally, the Sugar Rooftop bar also has a real VIP area to complete its luxurious setting.
Ozone Sky Bar
Arguably Hong Kong’s most impressive rooftop bar is the Ozone Sky Bar. Unlike many others in Hong Kong, this bar does not have a roof terrace, which ensures that there is really a “rooftop bar” here. Moreover, it is also at a dizzying height. It is not that difficult to find, because it is located on the 118th floor of the Rits-Carlton Hotel.
At the time of writing, she can call herself the world’s highest bar. It need not be said that the view from this height is truly breathtaking. The Ozone Sky Bar is not only recommended for people who want to drink a nice cocktail with a fantastic view, but you can also order a lot of tasty Asian tapas. A visit to this bar should not be missed during your stay in Hong Kong.
Aqua Roma, Aqua Tokyo, Aqua Spirit, and Hutong Restaurant
Want to dine at a high altitude in Hong Kong? This is perfectly possible in one of the restaurants of the international restaurant chain “Aqua”. The various restaurants of this group can all be found in the One Peking building. This is located in the Tsim Sha Tsui district.
The restaurants, unlike most of Hong Kong’s rooftop bars and restaurants, don’t have an open terrace, but that doesn’t make the view less impressive. From the restaurants, you always have a fantastic view of not only the Victoria Harbor but also of Hong Kong Island.
The restaurants are located on the 28th, 29th, and 30th floors of the One Peking building.
Want to know more about food in Hong Kong? Check out our article on the 10 best restaurants in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong is not as big as neighboring China, so you can travel super efficiently and affordably. Hong Kong is a metropolis with a huge transport network. Whether you travel by taxi, train, bus or metro (MTR), everything in Hong Kong is quickly and easily accessible.
Transportation To & From the Airport
Hong Kong International Airport is a large and modern airport located on an artificial island just outside the city. On arrival, you can choose from different modes of transport. The Airport Express, a separate line from the metro, is the most obvious choice. This train costs $90 HKD (US$11.60) to Kowloon Station and $100 HKD (US$12.90) to Hong Kong Station where you can transfer to a free shuttle that stops at most major hotels.
On the way back to the airport, you can also check in all your luggage at these stations, which makes the journey a lot easier. With the Airport Express, the journey takes 24 minutes to Hong Kong Station.
It is also possible to take a taxi from the airport. It costs about $250 HKD (about US$32) to Kowloon and $300 HKD (about US$39)to Hong Kong Island. Remember to take a red taxi. The green and blue taxis only drive to the New Territories and Lantau Island. Buses and ferries also depart from the airport, but these are only practical if you travel to one of the remote districts of Hong Kong or to Macau or Shenzhen.
This is, obviously, the most famous and by far the most used means of transport in Hong Kong. The MTR, also known as the metro, stands for Mass Transit Railway. And it certainly has a lot of ‘mass’. With a population density of 6,638 people per square kilometer, it makes sense that the MTR is a widely used means of transport. Around two million (!) people travel with the MTR per day.
However, that has not always been the case. Only when the population of Hong Kong started to explode in the 60s and 70s did the construction of the first metro line, the Kwun Tong Line, start. The line was laid in 1979 and ran between Kwun Tong and Shek Kip Mei. The MTR also manages trains.
If you are in Hong Kong for more than three days, we recommend that you purchase an Octopus Card. This is a chip card and also the only valid payment method and ticket for the metro. The MTR in Hong Kong is huge but has a very simple and efficient operation. There is a total of 83 kilometers (51.6 miles) of track and there are 51 stations, which only keep increasing. Don’t be put off by the huge crowd at the MTR. It works super efficiently and is a fantastic means of transport to explore Hong Kong!
A little less frequently used than the MTR but they are just as easy to travel within Hong Kong. Fortunately, there are plenty of buses present and, in contrast to many other Asian countries, they are in good condition. The buses are comfortable and there is air conditioning. Bus tickets can be purchased everywhere, but keep in mind that you can only pay in cash on the bus itself.
The advantage of the bus is that you travel right through the heart and can experience a lot of life in Hong Kong. The buses decorate the street scene here since 1933. There are several bus companies in Hong Kong that maintain the network. The most famous are KMB, City Bus, and Airbus, which run throughout Hong Kong.
Hong Kong has the eighth largest port in the world and is located on the coast. The boat is, therefore, an ideal means of transport. Hong Kong has many ferry services that allow residents and tourists to visit Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, the Outlying Islands, Macau, and mainland China. The best-known ferry service is the Star Ferry.
In the past, people were taken from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon by Sampan. A Sampan is a wooden, rowing, sailing or motorboat made in Southeast Asia. In 1870 there was a certain Grant Smith who suggested the idea of having a boat sail back and forth. However, it was not until 1888 that the Kowloon Ferry Company was founded by the Indian businessman and opium trader Dorabjee Naorojee Mithaiwala. Later this became Star Ferry Co. Ltd.
In 1972 the Star Ferry got competition from the Cross-Harbor Tunnel. This allowed taking the car to mainland China. Despite that, the Star Ferry remained and still remains a hugely popular means of transport in Hong Kong. Today, the Star Ferry operates 12 boats and carries around 26 million passengers annually!
Just like any other metropolis, Hong Kong also has plenty of taxis. And just like in the movies, you can call them on the street or simply order one by phone. The taxi is a good means of transport, also because the roads in Hong Kong are of good quality. In addition, the taxis are also equipped with air conditioning, which is not a superfluous luxury in the summer months.
The taxi drivers generally do not speak English. So keep this in mind. However, they do know major attractions such as The Peak and the Avenue of Stars. Compared to other parts of the world, taxi drivers in Hong Kong are very friendly and honest. This is because they are very closely monitored by the government. This makes it almost impossible for drivers to rip you off.
Just to be sure, ask to turn the meter on (if it isn’t already). If you want to transport yourself by taxi, please note that there are three types/colors of taxis in Hong Kong. The colors indicate the region in which they are driving. There is an exception, and that is the airport, they all drive there.
The red taxis can be found throughout Hong Kong. They drive through Kowloon, Hong Kong Island, and the New Territories, including Hong Kong Disneyland with the exception of Tung Chung Road and southern Lantau. These taxis are most common in Hong Kong. Although these taxis are used in almost all areas, there are a lot that don’t make the crossing between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island.
For this, you will have to take the Star Ferry or the Cross Harbor tunnel. The green taxis may only drive in the areas of the New Territories, including Disneyland. The blue taxis only run on Lantau Island.