As you all know we took off to Hong Kong for the Christmas holidays. Hong Kong has something to offer everyone – amazing international eats for the foodie, beautiful ocean and mountain vistas for the nature lover, endless shopping and skyscrapers for the city lover, and limitless entertainment possibilities for families looking for something to burn off their children’s (seemingly also limitless) energy.
Traveling from Guangzhou to Hong Kong is super easy. And for foreigners like us we can go as often as we like. However, if you are a Chinese citizen you have to apply for a visa, which allows only two visits annually. The train from Guangzhou East Railway Station to Hung Hom Station in Kowloon is a quick and easy 2 hours and costs about 200 CNY for an adult and half the price for children age 5 and up. Tip: Book well ahead if you want to go from Guangzhou to Hong Kong on a weekend as trains on Saturdays and Sundays tend to sell out well in advance.
Hung Hom Station in Kowloon is also a stop on the efficient and convenient Hong Kong MTR system. From here you can access the rest of Kowloon, the New Territories, Lantau Island and of course Hong Kong Island. It makes sense to purchase an Octopus Card for your visit as it offers a reduced rate per ride and you are even able to use your Octopus Card at some grocery stores, restaurants and on ferries such as the Star Ferry.
Taxis are also plentiful but crossing from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island incurs an additional tunnel toll charge and this varies depending on which tunnel you take (from 20 HKD to 55 HKD). There’s also an additional 5 HKD per luggage. A taxi from Hung Hom to Hong Kong Island will run you about 100 HKD so the MTR is definitely a more economical alternative. We were able to access almost everything we did using the MTR system with the exception of one bus to Ocean Park.
Other than taxis, buses and the MTR, Hong Kong also has trams and ferries. We managed to ride both the Hong Kong Tram (otherwise better known as the Ding Ding) and the Victoria Peak Tram as well as the Star Ferry.
The 111 year-old Hong Kong Tramway offers double decker electric trams that runs the whole length of Hong Kong Island’s North side and costs a measly 2.30 HKD per adult and 1.20 HKD per child. It’s slow and bumpy but it is living history and a cheap way of seeing Hong Kong Island.
The Victoria Peak Tram is one of the ways to get up to Victoria Peak, the highest mountain on Hong Kong Island. The top of The Peak offers views over Central, Victoria Harbour and Lamma Island. There are other ways you can get to the top – walk, bus, taxi but the most popular is the Peak Tram. For our first visit we decided to take the tram for the experience but we bought our tickets at a discount through Klook . The best part of the deal was that it included a guide that allowed us to skip the enormous queue. For this reason, alone, booking this deal through Klook was worth it. Tip – the queue to come down the mountain on the tram starts getting long in the late afternoon so be sure to leave early or choose to walk or taxi down.
The Star Ferry takes passengers across Victoria Harbour from Central (in Hong Kong) to Tsim Sha Tsui (in Kowloon) and costs between 2 – 3.40 HKD depending on which deck you ride (upper/lower) and what day of the week (weekday/weekend). We were there over the Christmas holidays so it was a bit crowded but there were still plenty of seats on the upper deck. Tip: If you can get seats along the window on the left side it will give you a great view of the Hong Kong skyline (and lights if you’re taking the ferry at night). The backs of the benches swivel so you can sit in the direction the ferry is sailing.
I think we took full advantage of Hong Kong’s extensive transportation system in our week there. In the next few posts I will share with you all the places we went using this system.