I’ve had a friend and my dad visit in the last month so I’ve been going round Hong Kong like a tourist and picked up a few tips I thought could come in handy to anybody planning to visit.
- Buy an octopus card as soon as you arrive.
The octopus is the local transport card and it can be used on pretty much all public transport. It can be purchased from the customer service desk in any MTR station (including the one at the airport) for HKD150 (HKD50 deposit, HKD100 transport value).
Fares a cheaper with this card and it’s so convenient to use, you can even pay at convenience stores or supermarkets with it!
- Pop into any convenience store and purchase a China Mobile 4G/3G Data & Voice Prepaid SIM Card. It costs 80HKD (£7) and comes with minutes to call and some data. This is great when lost or in need to call a taxi.
- Save the numbers of the taxi booking hotlines:
Hong Kong Island 2574 7311
Kowloon 2760 0411
New Territories 2457 2266
Lantau Island 2984 1328 (I tried calling the Lantau number in April 2015 and it didn’t work)
- You can also download an app such as easy taxi, which will locate taxis close to you and send them your transport request, but this requires mobile data on your phone.
- Wear extra comfy shoes. I can’t stress this enough. There is really a lot of walking in Hong Kong and your feet will be sore. And when I say comfy shoes, I mean trainers you would run a 10k marathon in. City shoes, posh trainers or ballerina flats will not be comfortable enough.
Ngong Ping 360:
- Queues are ridiculously long but if you have already purchased your ticket online (here), you can breeze through. This will make a major difference to the overall experience.
- Only buy a single journey from Tung Chung to the big Buddha. That way you can visit the attractions on Lantau in this order:
- Cable car from Tung Chung -> big Buddha, Po Lin Monastery & Wisdom path -> bus -> Tai O fishing village-> bus-> Tung Chung or Mui Wo.
Queues for the bus from Tai O to Tung Chung are mind boggling and taxis hardly turn up at the stand. You can either:
- Wait in the queue for the bus 11 to Tung Chung.
- Call or request a taxi via an app (but you have to be very lucky for them to accept your request).
- Have dinner in Tai o (and wait for the queue to die down), then take bus 11 to Tung Chung.
- Take bus 1 to Mui Wo, have dinner by the sea, then take the ferry back to central.
- If you plan to visit Madame Tussauds, buy your combo ticket (peak tram + Madam Tussauds or peak tram + Madam Tussauds + Sky Terrace) on the Madame Tussauds website. This way you will skip the queue for the tram and Madame Tussauds.
- If you dislike shopping centres and hordes of tourists, you can forgo the Sky Terrace and simply walk along Lugard road. The promenade lasts about 1 hour and you will get beautiful views of Hong Kong and its harbour below (for free, minus the tourists).
- Only take a single journey up to the peak tram. The queue for the ride down is massive.
Purchase tickets to main tourist attractions at CTS online or at their branches.
Warning: I haven’t tried this myself, so I do not know if this will help avoid queues. I do not know if CTS issue the ticket or a voucher that needs to be exchanged at the attraction’s counter. However, it may be worth popping into one of their branches and asking.