Hong Kong Transit Options Tourists Should Know

Hong Kong’s public transit network is among the most efficient and accessible in Asia, featuring trains like Airport Express that will whisk passengers straight into downtown Hong Kong in 24 minutes.

MTR fares depend on distance; for budget-minded city travel, an Octopus Card may be your best bet. This multipurpose stored-value payment system is accepted across most public transit services, restaurants and convenience stores – ideal for budget travelers!  After your Cathay Pacific flight, Hong Kong transit becomes simple with the following options.


Hong Kong’s subway system is modern, efficient and user-friendly. Comprised of 10 urban subway lines, an airport express line and Ngong Ping 360 cable car system as tourist attractions; connecting with light rail system and ferries as well. One of the best ways to travel through the city and ideal for short or extended layovers alike.

Hong Kong offers something for everyone, from its skyscrapers to ancient Taoist temples and street markets, Michelin-star restaurants and Michelin guide recommendations. Its architecture reflects 150 years as a British colony with Chinese and Western cultures merging. Streets offer an intriguing contrast between old and new; where dried seafood markets rub shoulders with skyscrapers while massive shopping malls coexist peacefully alongside narrow alleyways.

Hong Kong boasts an impressive transit network of over 260 stations, which include subway lines, ferry routes and bus lines to help visitors explore every inch of this vibrant city. One effective way of exploring is with an Octopus Card public transport card which is compatible with all forms of Hong Kong public transportation – its stored value allows users to load money onto it easily for use at most transit stops, convenience stores and restaurants as well as many cafes and restaurants.

Buses offer another mode of public transit that operates day and night to all major attractions, with tickets available either prepaid or on-board and fare calculated based on distance traveled. Metered and exact change required when paying with cash; most buses accept Octopus Cards instead for ease.

Hong Kong boasts several forms of public transport besides its MTR system, such as minibuses. Green minibuses operate along fixed routes with set fares that must be paid upon boarding; red minibuses provide hop-on, hop-off service to less specific routes in which passengers must inform drivers their destination before boarding; both types accept Octopus Cards for payment.

Hong Kong City is also renowned for its numerous ferry routes that link Hong Kong Island and Kowloon with outlying islands like Lantau, Cheung Chau and Lamma. Over 260 ferry routes offer numerous ways for exploring its various regions.


Hong Kong boasts an extensive public bus system that serves all areas of the city – Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, the New Territories and Lantau Island are all served. Most double-decker buses are air conditioned. A popular form of public transit in Hong Kong is Octopus Card; an accumulator card that can be used to pay for various services or goods in public transportation as well as at various convenience stores, cafes, restaurants or other outlets in and around Hong Kong such as buses, subway stations or ferry terminals as well as MTR trams or trains – also popular forms of public transit can include Octopus Card can uses or trains (MTR/CTRL/TNR/)

KMB operates most of the bus route network with 5,992 franchised buses as of 22.02.

KMB began conducting trials of electric buses powered by hybrid systems in July 2012. These eBus were co-developed between KMB and Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer BYD and feature a permanent magnet synchronous motor powered by an advanced lithium polymer battery – they’re expected to cover 100km when fully charged!

New World First Bus (NWFB), established as a consortium between Hong Kong conglomerate New World Enterprises and UK transport operator FirstGroup in 1998, operates 88 routes between Hong Kong Island and North Lantau Islands.

Green Minibuses with green roofs operate specific routes and charge a fixed fare per ride, accepting cash payments only or Octopus cards as payment methods. Red Minibuses operate flexible routes more like shared taxis allowing passengers to board or alight at any point along the route and charge per-ride fees that must be paid either with exact change or Octopus cards.

NWFB and Citybus unveiled five government-funded battery operated buses for two-year trial use on routes 11 (Central Ferry Piers to Jardine’s Lookout), 12 (Central Ferry Piers to Robinson Road), 25A (HKCEC Extension to Braemar Hill), 78 (Wong Chuk Hang to Wah Kwai Estate Circular), and 81 (Lai Tak Tsuen to Chai Wan). Each bus features either Alexander Dennis Enviro500 Turbo or Volvo B9TL components.


Hong Kong offers an abundance of taxis that can be hailered off the street (except for in certain restricted areas ) or called in via phone. All are metered, relatively cheap, air-conditioned taxis; alternatively there are several taxi ranks throughout the city center as well as at major transportation hubs such as airports or ferry terminals from which one may be called upon directly.

Taxis offer another convenient means of exploring Hong Kong. Although there are various kinds of taxis, red taxis are the most commonly seen urban ones and can travel throughout Kowloon, Hong Kong Island and the New Territories (including Disneyland ) without crossing over into other sides of Hong Kong Harbor – cross-harbour taxi ranks (such as those found near Star Ferry Terminals ) are necessary if crossing back across.

Hong Kong taxis are carefully monitored by the government. Drivers must wear uniforms, keep their meters running at all times, and be able to communicate in basic English. The best way to prevent any scams or incidents when riding taxis in Hong Kong is to check if a meter has been set to “for hire”.

When hailing a taxi, look out for its red “for hire” light on top. While this should be easy to spot, some drivers may attempt to hide it under a tarp or other covering. Also make sure the meter in the front seat shows your fare in Hong Kong dollars and cents, along with an estimated waiting time.

Hong Kong taxis must carry both an operational meter and an approved passenger list for inspection by police; any driver found failing to do so could face fines of up to HK$50,000 if found without it.

Taxis are one of the most sought-after modes of transport in Hong Kong, and over 18,000 taxis travel its streets daily. Taxis are accessible 24/7 and their fares are relatively lower compared to those found elsewhere. Be prepared for a surcharge for each bag brought onto a ride if traveling with luggage; additionally all passengers must wear seat belts during any ride.


Ferries are an efficient and reliable form of public transportation in Hong Kong, making them the perfect way to take in Victoria Harbour from its shores. Fares can be paid using an Octopus card that makes payments across public transport systems convenient as well as purchases at supermarkets or convenience stores. Available at most ticket kiosks and top up stations (MTR stations, minibus stops, overground train stations, taxi stations), plus topping up points can easily be found throughout Hong Kong.

Ferry services connect outlying islands and across Hong Kong Harbor from Central Pier 5, Hong Kong Island. Scheduled ferries leave approximately every 60 to 90 minutes during the day until late evening with extra sailings during peak periods. Operated by HKKF, fast ferries use catamarans with capacities up to 200 passengers while regular ones typically feature monohull boats – some even featuring sun decks!

At one time, ferries were the main mode of transport between outlying islands and Kowloon Peninsula. But as the economy advanced and demand for cross-sea buses rose, ferry companies saw their business decline significantly – although many routes continued operating with some companies even converting upper floors into sea nightclubs!

At present, there are 76 regular passenger ferry services daily, including 14 high-speed services to Macau and hydrofoil jetfoil services in summer. Ferries may be boarded at ticket kiosks or directly aboard. Schedules can be found either on ferry piers or the website of Hong Kong Marine and Water Bureau and single trip fares can be paid by cash or Octopus card.

The Star Ferry, one of Hong Kong’s oldest ferries, offers services between Hong Kong and Macau at an affordable rate. Their vessels are often clean, safe, comfortable, with staff who know all about local landmarks and attractions – not to mention being an iconic symbol for Hong Kong as seen in TV series such as Noble House (1988 miniseries) and films such as Les Anges Gardians (1995).