Hong Kong MTR, Star Ferry, Trams and Taxis
Hong Kong Travel Information
The Hong Kong Tourism Authority (HKTA) publishes a number of complimentary booklets full of helpful hints, maps, and route advice for getting around. You may pick up a copy of these at any of their offices in Hong Kong.
Getting around in Hong Kong has none of the stress factor that nearby cities have and a well-planned day out is a pleasure due to the city's excellent and well-run public and private transport options that allow you not only freedom to explore at a reasonable price but also the option to actually sightsee while travelling.
The reliable Mass Transit Railway (MTR) is the best way to get around the city. The initial route of this US$5 billion underground opened in late 1979 to serve the Central District of Hong Kong Island, Nathan Road, and east and north Kowloon. Today, the system has six lines: the Island line, Kwun Tong line, Tseung Kwan O line, Tsuen Wan line, Tung Chung line, and the Disneyland Resort line.
Fares for a single journey range from about HK$4 to HK$25, depending on the distance travelled. Although it is more expensive than the bus or ferry, the MTR is quick, clean, convenient and offers comprehensive coverage. Beware of rush hours (08:00 - 09:30 and 17:30 - 19:00), when trains are crammed to the hilt with passengers and you may find it difficult to get on and off.
The Kowloon - Canton Railway Company (KCR) is Kowloon peninsula's version of the MTR. Key MTR and the KCR lines intersect at several main stations. Fares are slightly cheaper than those of the MTR.
The Star Ferry is a popular public transport vehicle and a tourist attraction as well as being a symbol of Hong Kong. The Star Ferry Company came into existence around 1898 and since then its ferries have been shuttling busily between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. There are 12 double-deck ferries and each ferry has a cabin on the upper deck that is equipped with air conditioning, but many prefer the lower deck for better views.
There is a specially designed tour ferry that features a coffee house and a sunbathing deck. It has proved to be popular with tourists who can enjoy a cup of coffee or just relax while watching the many sights of Victoria Harbour.
There are three, colour-coded taxi zones in Hong Kong: Hong Kong Island (red taxis), New Territories (green), and Lantau Island (blue). All taxis are air-conditioned and metered, and most are licensed to carry a maximum of five passengers.
Although some drivers understand English, it is advisable to get someone to write down your intended destination in Chinese, and/or ask someone to tell the driver in Cantonese before you go. Taxis are hard to come by at rush hours (08:00 - 09:30 and 17:30 - 19:00) and around 16:00, when the shifts change.
The second most popular transportation experience is the Peak Tram, a cog-wheel railway departing from its own station on Garden Road. Since 1888, this funicular railway has been carrying local residents and breathless visitors to the top of The Peak for the best view in town.
Have a good look around at the top before enjoying a snack or a meal there. There's a good path to walk down for those feeling energetic.
There are also 162 double-decker trams (in business since 1904) rumbling noisily but regularly along the north shore of Hong Kong Island only, from Kennedy Town (far west) through Western District, Central, Wan Chai, Causeway Bay, and ending in Shau Kei Wan. You can make the entire 14-kilometre (9-mile), 65-stop trip in about 90 minutes and enjoy a cheap and easy tour of the main shopping streets of Hong Kong Island.