Hong Kong — Transportation
Hong Kong Taxis and Car Rental
Taxis are everywhere in Hong Kong and have a reputation for efficiency and cleanliness. They’re also relatively cheap compared to taxis in many Western cities. The most expensive are the red cars, which travel anywhere on Hong Kong Island. The slightly cheaper green cabs are found in the New Territories, at the airport and Disneyland. Blue cabs operate only on Lantau and are the least expensive.
Seat belts must be worn by passengers and tipping is not expected, with a few cabs also accepting payment by credit card. Tunnel and ferry toll charges are added to the bill, and all drivers must show an ID card with photo and taxi registration number. Most cabs are equipped with radios and can be booked in advance. The Taxi Operators Association (+852-23-622-337) and the United Friendship Taxi Association (+852-27-600-477) offer phone-booking services.
Hong Kong’s heavy traffic, complex road system, and limited parking are all serious disincentives for car rental, especially when the city’s excellent public transport is taken into account. However, if exploring the remote countryside is on the agenda, car rental is your best option as buses are few and far between outside Central and main tourism areas, although rates are expensive. A driver’s license written in English is enough for a temporary visit, while International Driving Permits are also accepted. Signage is in English, and most local drivers know their stuff and obey the rules of the road.
Hong Kong Water Taxis
Ferries across Victoria Harbour, between the islands, and to the airport are an essential part of travel in Hong Kong. Even though the metro service covers many of the outlying attractions, it rarely offers views as most of the system is underground. Ferry travel provides great value for money and convenience, as well as allowing visitors to take everything in before arriving at their destination. The famed Star Ferry is an attraction in itself and an icon of the city’s heritage. Water travel as a whole is inexpensive and accessible.
Hong Kong Trains and Buses
Hong Kong’s Mass Transit Railway is a complex transportation system, comprised of both subway and elevated rail services, and is incredibly comprehensive and fast, making it the practical way to travel. Five underground lines, the Airport Express, and three overground lines connect all points of interest and necessity, along with modern tram lines in the New Territories. Almost all the tourism destinations have subway stations, and the overground lines are linked to two of mainland China’s border crossings for those who want to explore further after they’ve arranged a visa.
A multitude of bus companies serve Hong Kong and are useful for travel in the south of the island and on Lantau. From double-deckers through coach-style and red and green minibuses, they’re easy to use, although signage isn’t often in English. They’re the cheapest way to get around, but it helps if you can get your destination written in Chinese, as English-speaking bus drivers are rare.