The ins and outs of getting around Honkers
Twice as many skyscrapers as NYC. Flashing neon lights. Traffic whirring in every direction. Hong Kong can seem a little OTT at first. But once you know how to navigate the maze, zig-zagging your way around from sight to sight (and bite) starts to feel like second nature.
Here’s an intro to get you moving...
First up, the fun ones...
The best kind of ‘transport’ is the kind that’s just so happens to double up as a famous local attraction – either because it’s fun, takes you somewhere amazing or comes with a sweet view. Or all of the above! Like these sweet rides:
The Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car
Want to escape the city for the lush, green heights of Ngong Ping? Heard about the Big Buddha? The Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car is the scenic route. A 25 minute joyride. The longest bi-cable ropeway in Asia. Epic views all ‘round (especially if you go for the glass-bottom cabin – eek!).
The Star Ferry
Ok so there are stacks of ways to get between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. But the Star Ferry is a must, at least once. And with those sweet city skyline views, the peace of bobbing along the water and a bunch of locals to enjoy it with, nobody could blame you for wanting to do it this way every time.
The Peak Tram
Expect sliding views. Literally. As you slide up the mountainside at crazy angles you’ll need to hold on as you gaze out the window to watch the skyscrapers get further and further beneath you. At the top, say hello to The Peak! The top of Hong Kong Island and a spectacle that belongs at the top of any Hong Kong to-do list.
Ok but seriously, these are your best bets...
For standard ‘getting around’ business, these modes of transport will come in most handy:
Go straight for the MTR
It’s world-class, super efficient, clean, easy to navigate and takes in nearly all of the major sightseeing stops. It’s a no brainer, really. The MTR subway system is your go-to for getting around on a budget when walking is out of the question.
Hail a taxi
Taxis are everywhere. You can usually hail one down in the street pretty easily. But if you see yellow lines on the street that means it’s a restricted area so hailing is a no-no. Don’t expect anyone to stop for you. Better yet, taxis are pretty cheap, tend to be clean and are metered (so no getting ripped off). Also, the taxis aren’t yellow here – they’re red on Hong Kong Island, green in the New Territories and blue on Lantau Island.
If you get a cab from the airport to your hotel, don’t be alarmed if they literally strap your bags in if the boot won’t close – it’s the norm!
Jump on the Airport Express
This is one zippy way to get from the airport to the transport hub that is Central station. 24 minutes to be exact. Departing every 10 minutes. Who could resist? It’s also your cheapest bet.
If you’re in town for just a few days, check out the Airport Express Travel Pass. It gets you a return trip on the Airport Express PLUS three consecutive days of unlimited travel on the MTR, Light Rail and MTR buses.
More Hong Kong inspo right here:
Catch a ferry
The Star Ferry isn’t the only boat bobbing in these waters. Numerous ferry routes connect Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the Outlying Islands, like Peng Chau, Cheung Chau, Lamma Island and Lantau Island. Then you have two choices – do you want the standard ferry (aka cheaper) or the more expensive type (that goes faster)?
And if you still need more options...
There’s always the MTR buses, the underground and suburban trains and the historic trams to ride. Our pick? Try the trams! Grab a seat on the top level and sit back while the cityscape rolls out before you outside the window.
Top Transport Tips
- Hong Kong’s Octopus travel card is uber convenient and covers the entire network, including the Airport Express journey.
- When you’re riding an elevator, stand at the right (not the left!). The locals are serious about getting places, fast!
- In Soho, don't miss the Mid-Levels escalators that run for 800 metres to help you get around on foot more quickly... but really it's just fun!
How do we know? Because we never stop travelling! Student Flights recently visited Hong Kong thanks to Hong Kong Tourism and Hong Kong Airlines to bring you the latest lowdown.