Getting around Hong Kong: Transportation in the city
By Elle Kwan
1 March 2016
Hong Kong is ultra convenient because of its speedy and efficient transport network. If you are used to endless commutes, do not fret here, where train delays rarely exist and if they do happen they are measured in minutes not hours, and a range of transport options means you should be zipping rather than crawling across the city. If your preference is fully focussed on taxis, though, expect a few jams.
A strong bus network makes getting from A to B and anywhere in between fairly easy: see Wikipedia’s list of common routes – although buses can get crowded. In addition, over 4,350 minibuses are in service across the city. In both instances hop on, use an Octopus card to pay and push the bell at your stop. Shouting “yauh lohk” tells your driver in Cantonese that you want to get off if you can’t see a bell.
Nine easy-to-navigate MTR subway lines keeps travelling across the territory straightforward. Trains arrive at intervals between two to five minutes on most lines, but factor in extra travel time during rush hours – from 8am in the morning and from around 6pm nightly – when people pack out carriages. The MTR will take you right up to Disneyland in Lantau and across the China border at Lok Ma Chau and Lo Wu.
Take a nostalgic route on the “ding ding,” or tram. Six lines stretch across Hong Kong Island from Sheung Wan to Shau Kei Wan and up to Happy Valley, and cost just HKD2.30. There’s something very special about sitting on the top deck on a balmy evening and winding your way through the city. Find out more here.
Hong Kong’s familiar red taxis are cheap compared to many other city locations making them a popular choice. Generally, they are reliable, although keep Google Maps and apps like Hong Kong Taxi Translator on hand. Lantau’s blue taxis are only permitted to travel on the island, similar to green taxis that don’t leave the New Territories. Urban reds roam anywhere.
During morning and evening rush hours, rain, and a daily shift switch between 4-4.30pm, taxis can be hard to hail and it’s little wonder that demand for booking apps like Easy Taxi and private car hires like Uber have, ahem, raced – plan longer for your journey at these times as roads can get clogged.
Ferries remain an active and necessary form of transport in Hong Kong. Aside from Hong Kong’s famous Star Ferry, which still shuttles commuters and tourists from Central and Wan Chai to Tsim Sha Tsui’s Clock Tower, others provide regular services for residents of the outlying islands. Lamma, Cheung Chau, Discovery Bay, Ma Wan’s Park Island, Mui Wo and Peng Chau have dedicated daily services leaving from the Central Ferry Piers. Other ferries shunt from Aberdeen, Wan Chai, Hung Hom and North Point. Everything you need to know about timetables is here.
An Octopus card is acceptable form of payment on almost all transport, including many, but not all, taxis.
Looking for more information about moving and living in Hong Kong? We've got it all for you over on our Living In Hong Kong page
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