Hong Kong for First-Timers

Hong Kong is undoubtedly one of the most tourist-friendly destinations in Asia—cheap airfares going to and from, a very comprehensive public transportation system, and the fact that it’s visa-free to almost all countries around the world. With these, HK has always been one of the top choices for first-time out-of-the-country travelers, especially us Filipinos and other neighboring countries.

Because of my recent trips back and forth Hong Kong, I have been able to gather some tried and tested tips that I personally find helpful when touring around. And I figured, it might be useful to share these to those who are flying there for the first time.

Pens out, let’s begin!

1. Getting Around: Octopus Card

If you’re planning to get around Hong Kong by train or bus, getting an octopus card will really be helpful. Here’s why:

  • It will save you time from buying single journey tickets every time you’re taking the public transportation.
  • MTR fares are cheaper when you use an octopus card instead of single journey tickets.
  • Buses don’t give out change. Every time you’re paying with cash, you have to make sure to prepare an exact amount of fare.
  • Your card can also be used to pay at convenience stores and most fast food chains.

How much is an octopus card?

  • On-Loan Octopus Card
    Price: Min. of HK$150 (Inclusive of HK$100 load & HK$50 deposit)

Perfect for tourists! This is a borrowed octopus card that comes with a HK$50 deposit, which will be refunded (together with the remaining value) once you return it.

Where to buy: Airport train counter, MTR stations
Reload: Add Value Machines at MTR stations, bus terminals, convenience stores such as 711 or Circle K
Refund: Airport train counter, MTR stations
NOTE: There is a refund fee of HK$9 that will be deducted once you return your octopus card.

  • Sold Octopus Card
    Price: Starts at PHP 619 (Preloaded with HK$50) via Klook

This works the same as on-loan octopus card, but without a deposit fee. Keep the card as a souvenir from Hong Kong!

Where to buy: https://www.klook.com/activity/1355-octopus-wallet-travelcard-HongKong/
Reload: Add Value Machines at MTR stations, bus terminals, Convenience stores such as 711 or Circle K

2. Going from Airport to Your Accommodation: Public Bus

The cheapest way to go from airport to most areas in Hong Kong is by taking the bus. The terminal is easy to locate—just follow the signs from the airport’s arrival hall. Pay using octopus card or buy a single journey ticket at the terminal. You also have the option to pay using cash, but make sure to prepare an exact amount, as again, drivers don’t provide change.

Refer to this chart for routes, fares, and schedules: http://www.hongkongairport.com/eng/transport/to-from-airport/bus_from_hkia.html

3. Staying Connected: Pocket Wi-Fi

I like to make sure that I’m always connected to the Internet when I’m out so I can easily check if I’m heading towards the right direction. Availing a pocket Wi-Fi makes this possible for me. I prefer renting a pocket Wi-Fi instead of a sim card ‘cause it’s much cheaper, it doesn’t drain my phone’s battery easily, and I can always share it with the people I’m traveling with.

Where to rent a pocket Wi-Fi?

Pocket Wi-Fis are available at service counters located at level 5 of Hong Kong airport’s arrival hall. You can also order ahead via Klook and just pick-up your Wi-Fi there.

Price: 4G Wi-Fi starts at PHP 136/day
Use this link when you sign-up to get a PHP164.2 gift from Klook: https://www.klook.com/invite/23LKN?c=PHP

4. Hong Kong Disneyland: Discount Tickets

With the park’s pricey ticket, not to the mention the expensive array of food, adding Disneyland to your itinerary can really bulk up your travel budget. But don’t worry, there are several travel sites that offer discounted tickets!

5. Some Useful Apps

I was able to get around Hong Kong breezily with the help of these useful apps. Make sure to check them out before flying to Hong Kong!

  • MTR Mobile
  • Disneyland App

And that’s about it! I hope you find these tips helpful and useful. Enjoy Hong Kong as much as I did!

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