1. Make Airport Express your way to getting into the city
When you’ve travelled to places like Los Angeles and other poorly-connected cities, you’re going to be thankful for cities that think about their travellers’ needs – and Hong Kong’s Airport Express does just that. Get on a train service to the city centre. It takes 24 minutes to get to Hong Kong Island from the airport.
Getting in and out of Hong Kong is really a breeze
2. Buy the Airport Express Travel Pass
Don’t leave the airport without purchasing the for-visitors travel pass. The Airport Express Travel Pass will set you back HK$220 or $300 (both include a refundable deposit of $50 once you return the cards at the end of your trip) to enjoy one or two single journeys on the Airport Express, plus three consecutive days of unlimited travel on the MTR , the Light Rail and MTR Bus (which operates in the northwest New Territories). It saves you a ton of money, and the hassle of topping up your travel card when you make your way around the city. It works best when you’re there for a short trip too!
Remember the Airport Express Pass
3. MTR is your new BFF
You’re going to be walking a lot in the labyrinth that is Hong Kong, but the MTR will surely help you with that. The elaborate MTR system spans ten lines and covers major territories including those leading to Hong Kong Disneyland. If you didn’t come into Hong Kong via the airport, or chose not to purchase the Airport Express Travel Pass, you can choose to buy the HK$55 Tourist Day Pass or $25 Child Tourist Day Pass for a single day of unlimited travel. Like any public transport system in a major city, the MTR gets more packed than a traditional dim sum joint on a weekend so keep off those hours if you can.
Download the MTR Mobile/MTR Next Train app on your phone. The app helps you to plan your journey and identify locations of amenities like barrier-free exits, lifts, toilets, shops, emergency call buttons, exits near popular attractions and more.
Clean, dependable train system around the city
4. You need to know your colours when you’re taking a cab
Cabs in Hong Kong have been categorised into three colours, each indicating a geographical area. Red taxis operate throughout most of Hong Kong, except for Tung Chung Road on Lantau Island and on the entire south side of Lantau Island. Green cabs only operate on the New Territories and the Blue cabs on Lantau Island. You should also probably download the taxi booking app called Taxi Please. The app uses your location, books you a taxi and translates your current location and destination into the local language for the driver immediately.
Cabs central. Photo credit: r d h / Flickr
5. Take time to go on the tram
Explore the north of Hong Kong Island on a tram. The trams run from early morning till midnight and will pass through areas like Wan Chai, Happy Valley and North Point. It costs a flat fee of HK$2.30, and you’d need exact change.
Not much of a magic carpet ride but still magical
6. Go on an almost-mandatory ferry ride
You can’t go to a coastal city without taking a ride on a ferry. There are multiple routes that connect Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the Outlying Islands. You can find out about the Star Ferry service here.
Ferry trips to islands
7. When all else fails…
… there’s always Uber.
Good ‘ole dependable Uber.