Hong Kong is an easy city to explore using public transport. However, note that it is a very busy city with lots of steep hills and steps. For this reason it is one of the least stroller-friendly cities in the world. If you have a baby, consider using a baby carrier instead of stroller. With toddlers and young kids, plan your day accordingly so you don’t need to walk too far.
If you are planning to do a lot of exploring by public transport, it makes sense to purchase an Octopus card when you arrive in the city. You can use these on all forms of public transport (not taxis) and it saves you from having to search around for small change and buy tickets every time you want to travel.
You can top up your Octopus cards in MTR stations and some convenience stores and supermarkets. You can also use them to pay for items in some convenience stores and supermarkets.
Hong Kong Public Transport Tips
- Children under 3 travel free and children aged 3-11 travel half price.
- Most MTR stations have disability access, making it easy to take a stroller.
- Download the MTR Mobile app for help with MTR route planning.
- Buy an Octopus card to save searching for coins and buying tickets each time you travel.
The MTR is the public transport of choice for most visitors to Hong Kong. It is clean, cheap and efficient and will take you to most places you want to go. Over 90% of MTR stations have disability access, meaning taking a stroller on the MTR is relatively easy. You will find that you have to queue for a lift usually though.
The MTR is easy to navigate and you will find an MTR map in all stations. You will also find surrounding area maps with exit information in most MTR stations. This is important for stations with multiple exits, which can often be quite far apart.
Hong Kong Trams
The Hong Kong trams are the most atmospheric mode of transport in Hong Kong. They are rickety and old but great fun for sightseeing with the kids. They are also super-cheap (less than .30c USD per ticket). The tramlines run the length of Hong Kong Island and your ticket allows you to travel as far as you want. Enter from the back, and pay as you leave from the front. Take a seat at the front upstairs for the best views.
Hong Kong Public Bus
There is a comprehensive public bus network that covers the whole of Hong Kong. Each bus stop is clearly marked with the bus number and timetable and stops. A popular bus with tourists is the number 6, which runs from Central to Stanley over the top of the mountain, giving fantastic views.
Green Minibuses operate on fixed routes and fixed fares. These can be flagged down and will stop wherever you want them to along the route – just shout to the driver! There are also designated stops if you don’t feel comfortable shouting out to the driver.
Hong Kong Taxis
Hong Kong taxis are plentiful and cheap. You can flag them down on the street or go to a designated taxi stand. Available taxis have a round light glowing on their dashboard. Most taxi drivers have a basic understanding of English and know most addresses. However, if you are unsure, either have your address written in Chinese characters or download the Hong Kong Taxi Translator app.
Note that some taxi stands are specifically for taxis crossing the harbour to either Kowloon or Hong Kong Island. You will also sometimes find if you pick up a Kowloon taxi on Hong Kong Island (or vice versa), that the driver won’t know his way around very well.
Hong Kong taxi drivers aren’t officially allowed to refuse to take you to your chosen destination. However, if they are about to change shift, they may refuse to take you if it is too far out of their way. Likewise they may refuse to take you across the harbour too.
Hong Kong taxis are metred and it is illegal for taxi drivers to overcharge you or ask for a fixed fare. Your metred fare will have any bridge and tunnel tolls added to it, and you will be charged per item of luggage in the boot of the car also.
Getting from Hong Kong Airport to the City
Hong Kong International Airport is around 30km from the city. You have various options to get into Hong Kong from the airport: the Airport Express train, taxi, hotel shuttle bus or public bus.
Airport Express Hong Kong
The quickest and easiest way to get from Hong Kong airport into the city is via the Airport Express train. Trains are clean and air-conditioned with free Wi-Fi and journey time is just 22 minutes to Kowloon station and 24 minutes to Central Station. There are always plenty of taxis waiting at the Airport Express stations in town to transfer you to your Hong Kong accommodation.
Insider Tip: In-town check-in at the Airport Express
When returning to the airport, with most airlines you can check in for your flight at the Airport Express station in Central or Kowloon. This is particularly handy if you have a few hours between hotel check-out and going to the airport. You then travel to the airport on the train with just your hand luggage and proceed straight to security when you get there.
* This service is currently not available for flights to the USA.
Taxi from Hong Kong Airport to City
If there are four of you in the family (with children over the age of 3), a taxi into town will be a similar cost as four train tickets and has the benefit of taking you directly to your hotel front door. Travel time will be around 30 minutes, depending on traffic. Note that bridge and tunnel tolls will be added to your taxi fare.
Hotel Shuttle Bus
Another option to get from Hong Kong airport to the city is to take the Airport Shuttle bus, which stops at many hotels both in Kowloon and on Hong Kong Island. The bus takes between 60 and 90 minutes, depending on your destination and buses depart from the airport every 30 minutes.
Save time at the airport and click here to pre-book your Hotel Shuttle bus tickets
Public Bus from Hong Kong Airport to City
If you are on a budget, the public bus will cost you just $40 HKD into town and takes around 1 hour 15 minutes. Citybus A11 is the most popular with tourists and will take you to Central, Admiralty, Wan Chai and Causeway Bay in downtown Hong Kong island. These double-decker buses are air-conditioned with large luggage racks.
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