Hong Kong is a perfect example where you can feel a high paced and luxurious city life. Expensive cars, Michelin star restaurants, haute couture clothing are all in abundance. By sharing this comprehensive travel guide we want to help you make the most out of your visit to Hong Kong.
In this ultimate Hong Kong city guide you can find:
- How to get around in Hong Kong city
- (budget) sleeping accommodation
- Highly recommended places on where to eat
- Top 5 activities
- 3 most memorable sights
Exchange rates (December 2016):
1 EURO = 8,1 HKD
1 USD = 7,8 HKD
Table of Contents
How to get around in Hong Kong city
Hong Kong consists out of 5 districts. The main sightings are all based at Hong Kong island and Kowloon. The most important districts for your visit are Kowloon and Hong Kong island. These districts are separated by a narrow sea.
The first thing you want to do, is buying an Octopus card at a metro station. This prepaid card is the cheapest option to travel and transport yourself in Hong Kong. You can recharge the Octopus card with cash at vending machines and use it to pay for every transportation method in Hong Kong. You can even pay with it in supermarkets, restaurants and McDonald’s. The card costs 150 HKD. For 150 Hong Kong dollar you get an 50 HKD deposit that you can refund when returning the card and 100 dollar of funds on the card itself. Here you can find more information: Octopus card.
Budget tip: if you want to return your Octopus card, make sure that there is no money left on the card. Although you can get the money back, you have to pay a little fee for it to convert to cash.
Three public transport options
You have three public transport options to get from A to B: by bus, metro or ferry. Each option has its pros and cons. Here are some quick tips.
Although you can see everything on foot as Hong Kong is very walk friendly, taking a bus can be helpful to relax your sore feet. Hong Kong has an extensive bus network. You can get to every corner of the islands with a bus. The free and offline app HKe transport (available for android and apple) can show you bus maps and provide you with a route planner.
Tip: If you need to get to the airport, the cheapest option is by far with a bus. It costs about 33 HKD (4 euro) from Chungking mansion for a duration of 45 minutes. Simply wait at one of the bus stops around Chungking mansion and wait for bus A21. For more information: bus schedules of Hong Kong.
Paying for a bus ticket in Hong Kong is very easy. When you enter the bus on the front you see the price displayed. Just swipe your Octopus card at the terminal and you’re good to go. If you don’t have an Octopus card, you can just pay the driver.
All districts have an extensive metro network. You even have a connection between Kowloon and the Hong Kong main island. The metros start to ride as early as 6 am in the morning and the major connecting lines ride until 11 pm. This comes quite in handy when you need to hop from Kowloon to Hong Kong island or vice versa.
However, prices can easily add up if you take a lot of metros. For instance from Wan Chai (popular station on Hong Kong island) to Tsim Sha Tsui (popular station on Kowloon) costs 12 HKD (1,50 euro). Below you can see an image of the metro network. For more information visit: metro fares.
For a total overview of the metro lines check out this subway map.
This must be the cheapest scenic boat cruise you can make when traveling. For as little as 2 Hong Kong dollar (0,25 euro) you can interchange Islands. The boarding is very straightforward. You can use your Octopus card or pay in cash. There is something romantic about taking the “Star ferry” as it is called. You cross the sea while watching huge skyscrapers both behind and in front of you. Amazingly cheap and amazingly scenic. Just keep in mind that the Star ferry only rides until 8 pm. So if you want to avoid taking the metro and save money, be on time at the right side of the islands.
Location: you have 2 piers on Hong Kong island and 2 on Kowloon. The ferry piers in Kowloon are 500 meters away from Chungking mansion and Tsim Sha Tsui subway station. For the exact location at Hong Kong Island see the map below.
Summary and budget tips
- Cheapest option to travel between Kowloon and Hong Kong island: star ferry
- Cheapest option to travel in one district: bus
- Most convenient way to transport yourself but more expensive: metro
Where to stay: budget accommodation
Hong Kong renting prices are insanely expensive. Expats pay 1000+ Hong Kong dollars per month for renting a tiny apartment. This being said it is no surprise that your biggest expense will be accommodation.
Expect to pay around 30 euro for a standard room with air conditioning. If you want to travel on a budget your most convenient and almost only option is Chungking mansion. This is a big apartment block packed full of basic and budget hostels and small hotels. Prices vary a lot as the owners have a perfect understanding of supply and demand laws. For example we traveled to Hong Kong when there was a wine exposition. The prices literally doubled! Our chamber of 3 square meters consisted out of a bed and… that was it. The price was 40 euro a night and this was the cheapest room in the whole building (yes, we tried to bargain them all). So our advice, book in advance.
Location: 36-44 Nathan Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
– Location is perfect, close to the major sights in Kowloon and a 5 minute walk to the Star ferry
– Prices are the cheapest in Hong Kong
– There are a lot of touts at the entrance, just walk past them
– Some places can be a bit dirty, so stick to hostels with a good customer rating
Places to eat: 6 euro for a budget dish
You have a lot of options to dine out and have a good meal. Hong Kong is known for its excellent restaurants. They even house a dumpling 1 star Michelin restaurant. It’s called Tim Ho Wan. If you have the chance to feast on the amazingly delicious pork pulled dumplings filled with bbq sauce… Just do it. For as little as 5 euro you can have a 1 star Michelin experience.
Another favorite of ours was MX restaurant. They serve both Chinese, Japanese and Western style dishes for a very reasonable price (around 50 HKD, 6 euro). You can find them anywhere In Hong Kong.
Budget tip: Breakfast and coffee can get quite expensive. The best budget tip we can give is: eat at Mc Donalds! Jup, it sounds unhealthy, but actually they offer quality breakfast menus with baguettes, eggs, pancakes and coffee. There is no place that can beat their menu for 36 Hong Kong dollar (4,50 euro). We were amazed by how many Hong Kong natives have breakfast here.
Top 5 activities
1. Interactive science museum
You can easily spend half a day in this museum watching, learning and experimenting with the laws of nature. This museum features several exhibition halls with different themes as electricity, animals, geography, the human body, etc…. In a fun and interactive way you can learn a lot about all sort of things you’re interested in. It has something to offer for all ages, they even have a kids corner and an adult corner (with mind games).
Location: No.2 Science Museum Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Budget tip: most museums including the science museum are free to enter on Wednesdays.
2. Hong Kong zoo
In the center of Hong Kong island you find a remarkable zoo with mammals, birds and reptiles. It’s a beautiful green place with flamingos, orangutans, lemurs and tortoises. It’s a perfect break when strolling through the city. Price for this green treat: zero Hong Kong dollar.
Location: Albany Road, Central, Hong Kong
3. Hong Kong park
This park is a must visit in Hong Kong. They have a pond with fish and turtles, majestic fountains and a bird park. Again, this is a free attraction
Location: 19 Cotton Tree Drive, Central, Hong Kong Island
4. Taking the double-deck tram
This famous tram rides on Hong Kong Island and costs as little as 3 HKD (0,40 euro). An excellent way to see the city. The tram is also called a ding ding.
5. Ocean Park
This park is so much fun! They offer a variety of thrill rides, family attractions and marine animal watching! They even have the biggest aquarium window view of entire Asia. As a bonus they try to teach you something about the ocean and its inhabitants and how important it is that we protect this magical underwater world. Definitely a highlight of our city trip to Hong Kong.
Budget tip: book online with Klook. Not only you can just show the email receipt on your smartphone to enter the park, they also offer discounts and package deals. This is by far the cheapest option to enjoy Ocean park. We paid 35 euro instead of the normal 45.
And of course just walking between big sky scrapers, window shopping expensive Maseratis and enjoying the views next to the ocean are a top activity in itself.
3 memorable sights
1. Victoria peak
The highest point of Hong Kong gives breath taking views over the city. You have two options: queue to take the old Peak tram or travel like a local and take bus 15. For around 1 euro you can reach the top by bus. Once at the top you have a tourist center where you can drink something. But the best part is walking the “peak circle walk”. This walk is very relaxing, takes about 1 hour and gives you the best views on Hong Kong.
2. Light show
Hong Kong is at its best at night. Every night at 8 PM you can watch a light and sound show. Seeing lasers coming from the skyscrapers and buildings lighting up in sync with the music is a sighting we won’t forget very soon. The show can be watched from either sides of the water (Kowloon or Hong Kong island). To beat the crowds, take a seat around the pier 15 minutes in advance. Stop by in one of the supermarkets for a glass of wine (yes they sell wine in glasses instead of bottles), sit back and enjoy the show!
3. Clock tower
Many people are hanging around the pier near the Star ferry at Kowloon and Tsim Sha Tui. Couples, children and street musicians gather and create an intimate and social atmosphere. The liveliest places are the steps in front of the space museum and the small park near the Clock tower. We very much enjoyed strolling around these places in the evening.
Map of Hong Kong with the most important locations and sights
We really enjoyed Hong Kong. It’s ultra modern and something totally different than China. Please leave your comments below or give us a thumbs up on social media if you liked this information.