Hong Kong Transportation
Hong Kong boasts a highly developed and sophisticated transport network. Traveling to and around Hong Kong is fairly easy and quick. However, like most major cities it is best to avoid rush hours (8 a.m. to10 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.) if possible.Hong Kong boasts a highly developed and sophisticated transport network. Traveling to and around Hong Kong is fairly easy and quick. However, like most major cities it is best to avoid rush hours (8 a.m. to10 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.) if possible.Hong Kong boasts a highly developed and sophisticated transport network. Traveling to and around Hong Kong is fairly easy and quick. However, like most major cities
Getting in Hongkong
Hong Kong maintains a separate and independent immigration system from that of mainland China. This means that unlike the mainland, most Western and Asian visitors do not need to obtain visas in advance. However, it also means that a visa is required to enter mainland China from Hong Kong.
Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) is a major air-traffic center for Asia, and an important gateway to mainland China. HKIA is one of the world's largest and most futuristic airports. It has sixty airlines fly to 140 locations around the world. Airlines schedule 4 to 6 flights to Hong Kong daily from major Chinese cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
From the airport there are many methods that you can get in to the downtown, including Airport Express (Train), Airport Bus, and Taxi.
The Airport Express is a fast and environmentally friendly form of passenger transport to and from the airport to downtown Hong Kong. The clean, comfortable and efficient train departs every 12 minutes and takes approximately 23 minutes to reach Hong Kong station.
Airport buses to the city are called CityFlyer and will offer lush views of Lantau Island and traverse over the Tsing Ma Bridge. Taking a CityFlyer bus to the airport is cheaper, but generally slower than the train.
A taxi from the airport to the downtown will cost you around $350 depending on your exact destination. If you have three or more people travelling together, it is generally cheaper to travel by taxi than by Airport Express, but you may have a problem fitting so many bags into the taxi.
Currently, Hung Hom Station (formerly known as Kowloon Station in Hong Kong, and Jiulong Station in China) is the only station in Hong Kong where passenger can catch these border-crossing trains. Passengers have to go through immigration and custom inspections before boarding a border-crossing train. There are currently three border-crossing train services:
Between Hong Kong and Beijing (Beijing-Kowloon Through Train)
Between Hong Kong and Shanghai (Shanghai-Kowloon Through Train)
Between Hong Kong and Guangzhou (Guangzhou-Kowloon Through Train)
Hong Kong is only a 1 hour hydrofoil ride away from Macau, and there are good connections to mainland China as well.
There are some Cross Boundary coaches operating from the business districts in Kowloon or Hong Kong Island to the Chinese side of the checkpoint.
It should be inform you how to take a taxi. Use a red taxi for destinations to Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, Green taxis are restricted to the New Territories and blue taxis are for Lantau Island.
Getting to Hongkong
Hong Kong has a highly developed and sophisticated transport network, encompassing both public and private transport. Over 90% of the daily journeys are on public transport, making it the highest rate in the world.
The Octopus card provides instant electronic access to Hong Kong's public transport system. The contactless smart debit card can be tapped onto a reader to transfer fare from the passenger to the carrier. Those who are familiar with Singapore's eZ-Link card, London Underground's Oyster card or Japan Railway's IC cards will quickly understand the concept of the Octopus card. In addition to being used for all forms of public transport (except most of the red-top minibuses and taxis), Octopus is also accepted for payment in almost all convenience stores, restaurant chains like McDonald's and Cafe de Coral, many vending machines, all roadside parking and some car parks.
Basic Octopus cards cost $150, with $100 face value plus $50 refundable deposit. A $7 service charge applies if the card is returned in less than three months for the refundable deposit. The maximum value an Octopus card can carry is $1,000. The Octopus card also allows its remaining value to go negative once before topping up.
By Train (MTR)
Hong Kong's Mass Transit Railway (MTR) underground and overground network is the fastest way to get around the territory, but what you gain in speed you lose in views and (at least for short distances) price. There are ten lines, including the Airport Express, plus a network of modern tram lines operated by the MTR in the North West New Territories.
All signs are bilingual in Chinese and English and all announcements are made in Cantonese, Mandarin and English so tourists should not have a problem using the rail system. Should you get lost, staff in the station control room usually speak some English so they would be able to help you out.
Operated by Hong Kong Tramways, the narrow double-decker city trams trundling along the northern coast of Hong Kong Island are a Hong Kong icon and have provided cheap transport for over a century. Trams are slower and bumpier than other modes of transport, and they are not air-conditioned. However, the route along the length of Hong Kong Island's centre covers many places tourists would want to see. With a flat fare of only $2, it is the cheapest sightseeing tour around. Exact change and Octopus cards are accepted. Trams run 6:00am to midnight.
Peak Tram is Hong Kong's first mechanized mode of transport, opened in 1888. The remarkably steep 1.7 km track up from Central to Victoria Peak is worth at least one trip despite the comparatively steep price ($22 one-way, $33 return; return tickets must be purchased in advance). During public holidays and other similar occasions, the Peak Tram is likely to have very long queues of people waiting to board.
There are three types of bus available in Hong Kong. While generally easy to use (especially with Octopus), signage in English can be sparse and finding your bus stop can get difficult. Buses are pretty much your only option for travelling around the south side of the island and Lantau.
The large double-decker buses cover practically all of the territory, stop frequently and charge varying fares depending on the distance. The first seats of the upper deck offer great views. Fares will depend more on where you board rather than where you get-off.
Van-sized public light buses carry a maximum of 16 passengers (seats only) and come in two varieties, red minibuses and green minibuses, the color refers to a wide stripe painted on top of the vehicle. Riding a minibus may not be easy for travelers, as it is customary to call out the name of the stop or ask the driver to stop in Cantonese.
Star Ferry, is the most popular line travels between Tsim Sha Tsui and Central from early morning until late at night, and offers amazing views (especially when coming from Tsim Sha Tsui). The Star Ferry is an icon of Hong Kong heritage and has carried passengers for over 120 years. Taking its eleven minute ride across the harbour and catching some misty breeze is considered a "must do" when visiting Hong Kong.
Upper deck seats cost $2.40 while the lower deck cost $1.70, both payable with Octopus, cash or by onsite vending machine. The Star Ferry also operates between Tsim Sha Tsui and Wanchai. Ferries to Lamma, Lantau and other islands depart from a variety of ports, but the largest and most important terminal is at Central adjacent to the Star Ferry. Ferries are usually divided into fast ferries and slow ferries, with fast ferries charging around twice the price for half the journey time, although not all destinations offer both kinds of service. Example fares for trips from Central to Yung Shue Wan (Lamma) are $10/15 slow/fast, and to Mui Wo (Lantau) $10.50/$21. Note that all fares increase by around 50% on Sundays and public holidays.
There are three types of taxi in Hong Kong, easily identified by their colors: red, green and blue. The Urban (red) taxis can travel anywhere within Hong Kong, and also the most expensive. The meter starts at $18.00 for the first 2 kilometers, and a further $1.50 for every 200m thereafter, and $1.00 each ticking when the fare goes above $70.50. NT (green) taxis are slightly cheaper than the red ones but are fundamentally confined to rural areas in the New Territories, the airport, Hong Kong Disneyland. Lantau (blue) taxis (the cheapest of the three) operate only on Lantau Island (including the airport and Hong Kong Disneyland). Be particular cautious if you are choosing from one of the three kinds of taxis when you are finding your way out of the airport, there is usually attendants there to assist you. When in doubt, just take a red taxi.
The wearing of seat belts is required by law, the driver has the right to refuse carrying the passenger if they fail to comply. Tipping is usually not required or expected, however the driver will usually round the fare up to the nearest dollar. Drivers are required to provide change for $100 notes, but not for higher denominations. If you only have a $500 or $1000 note and are going through a tunnel, let the driver know beforehand and he will change it when paying at the toll booth. There are no extra late-night charges. Baggage carried in the boot will cost you $5 per piece and all tolls are payable, except for wheelchair.
Harbor crossing passengers (Hong Kong Island to Kowloon or vice versa) are expected to pay the return tolls. But you can use this to your advantage by picking a homebound taxi from a cross-harbour taxi rank in places like the Star Ferry pier or Hung Hom station. In these cross-harbour taxi stands only single toll charge will be applied to the taxi fare.
All taxi drivers are required to show their names, in both Chinese and English, and the license plate number inside the vehicle. Unless a taxi has an out of service sign displayed, they are legally required to take you to your destination. They are also required to provide you a receipt upon request. If you think you have been "toured" around the city, or if they refuse to either carry you to your destination or provide for a receipt, you may file a complain to the Transport Complaints Unit Complaint Hotline (Voice mail service after office hours) at 2889-9999.
It is good practice to get a local person to write the name or address of your destination in Chinese for you to hand to the taxi driver, as many drivers speak limited English and Mandarin. For example, if you wish take a journey back to your hotel, ask a receptionist for the hotel's business card.
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