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Transportation in Hongkong

Hong Kong is very convenient when it comes to getting around. You will love the subway (known as the MTR) because it is efficient, clean, and safe (with the only common crimes being groping and pickpocketing here and there). Then there are the ever-present buses, usually air-conditioned double-deckers. In addition, with Hong Kong being so small (about 400 square miles/1000 sq km), everything is all packed in there. It takes at most 2 hours to get somewhere, and if it is near the MTR, usually half an hour or 45 minutes - unless it is in the New Territories.  

By Air
Hong Kong International Airport is the only operating civil airport in Hong Kong now. Lying on the artificial island of Chek Lap Kok north to Lautau Island of New Territories, it is also called Chek Lap Kok International Aiport (CLK). Hong Kong International Airport is the fourth busiest international passenger airport and operates the busiest international cargo facilities in the world. It can reach to half of the world's population within five flying hours. In 2008, the airport transferred more than 48.6 million passengers and over 3.6 million tonnes of air cargo passed through Hong Kong. Some 750 aircraft movements every day and round 90 airlines operating from Hong Kong airport, HKIA links Hong Kong with around 150 destinations round the world, including 40 cities in Mainland China. Since its operation in July 1998, Hong Kong International Airport has earned world's best airport recognitions over 25 times by 10 entities. Hong Kong Airport boasts two terminals with an area of 71 square meters. Terminal 1 was the first one while terminal 2 was put into use in Feb.2007. Opposite to each other, the two terminals are within walking distance.

Hong Kong Airport Express
Airport Express is one of the world's leading airport railway systems, offering swift transportation between Hong Kong International Airport and the vibrant city center. The 35.3km long journey from the airport to Central downtown takes as little as 24 minutes. It takes only 1 minute from the airport to AsiaWorld-Expo. Airport Express boasts five stations: AsiaWorld-Expo Station, Airport Station, Tsing Yi Station, Kowloon Station, and Hong Kong Station. Moreover, Airport Express passengers can enjoy exclusive free services.  Free Service of Airport Express

Hong Kong Airport Shuttle Bus
Hong Kong International Airport is well served by public bus routes, taking passengers to and from most parts of Hong Kong. Comfortable and relatively inexpensive, they offer a convenient transport option. All together there are five routes, "A", "E", "N", "S", and "R", providing distinct services.

Hong Kong Airport Taxi
Taxis offer a fast and flexible way to and from Hong Kong International Airport. Arriving passengers who want to take a taxi can reach the Taxi Station by the left-had ramp outside the Arrivals Hall. Taxis in Hong Kong are in 3 colors serving different areas, namely the red urban taxis, the green New Territories taxis, and the blue Lantau taxis. All types of taxis serve the airport, while no taxi gets access to Discovery Bay.

Hotel Coach & Limousine
Limousines provide a more luxurious mode of transport, but hotel coaches are available to take passengers to major hotels in Hong Kong. There are totally 3 service providers, namely SkyeXpress, Airport Hotelink Limo Services Ltd. and Parklane Limousine Services Ltd.

Hong Kong Airport Rehabus
Hong Kong Society for Rehabilitation provides accessible transport and travel services between the airport and hotels and sightseeing for people who find it difficult or impossible to use public transport. Visitors from overseas (non Hong Kong residents) with mobility difficulties who need transportation and travel services, e.g. traveling between the airport and hotel, and sightseeing, can book its service in advance.

By Trams
They run on tracks and operate only on the northern part of Hong Kong Island. It is a leisurely and inexpensive ride to see the Hong Kong Island. The route is pretty much a line along the curves of the island with just one extra loop to go into the Happy Valley area. The tram fare for adults is HK$2 (~US 25 cents). Half price for children and elderly. 

peak tram - a cable tram going up to Victoria Peak from Central district. (Check out the open top bus to and from the lower Peak Tram terminus)

MTR - Subway and Train
 It's the most convenient way of traveling in Hong Kong. The greatest thing is that you won't get lost as long as you can find your way back to one of its stations. It reaches many parts of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories. And the contactless "Octopus" cash-card is probably the most advanced in the world - even if it is not, it has to be the most widely used since a few million people have it and use it regularly. It is great electronic-cash for tourists when it comes to transportation. (It can also be used in most convenient stores and supermarkets to pay for purchases.) Unfortunately, they're now charging a fee for returning it within 3 months. But even with that, saving the hassle of figuring out the coins is well worth the small fee. Or you can also buy one to use for less than US$10. It's small and cute - about the size of a large stamp.

To experience the crowds of Hong Kong, you should ride the MTR during rush hours going toward "Central", for instance, from anywhere in Kowloon or from Causeway Bay on Hong Kong Island. One stop would do it!

(As of Dec 1, 2007, The MTR system now encompasses the former KCR train system and the light rail.)

In the old KCR system was also the West Rail, the railroad link between Kowloon and western part of New Territories. It is also part of MTR now.

By Bus
Hong Kong may not be London, but big double-decker buses with many different routes go just about everywhere. And most of them are air-conditioned - but there is no heater, and even in the winter, the air-conditioners pump out cold air!

To experience vertigo, ride bus number 7 on the top deck in the front seat from the Star Ferry terminus in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, all the way to the end.

Buses route numbering system - many of those with 3 digits go through one of the cross harbor tunnels. For example, the 100s go through the tunnel between Wanchai and Hung Hom, the 600s go through the Eastern Cross Harbor Tunnel (Quarry Bay - Lam Tin), the 900s go through the Western Cross Harbor Tunnel (Sai Ying Pun - Yau Ma Tei). (Left: Double-decker bus)

Supposedly you cannot take luggage larger than 0.1 cubic meter on board. links to bus companies

By Ferry
They can take you across the harbor. There are also ones that run between the main parts of Hong Kong (i.e. Hong Kong Island/Kowloon) to the "outlying islands" (e.g. Lantau Island, Cheung Chau, Peng Chau, Lamma Island). The piers to the outlying islands are concentrated in Central on Hong Kong Island near the MTR Hong Kong Station, and west of the Central Post Office, a short walk outside the IFC 2. As of Nov 12, 2006, the Star Ferry pier in Central district has also been moved there. Above right: Star Ferry

No reservations necessary for the ferries. Check the transportation section of the links page for ferry operators. Left: Outlying Island Fer
The Star Ferry is a must for tourists. It is just a short 5-minute ride between Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon and Central on Hong Kong Island. Right: a Star Ferry with a cruise liner in the background   

Cruise Liners 
Being an international port centrally located in Asia, Hong Kong has plenty of cruise lines servicing many cities.
 Taxi - mainly there are 3 kinds: red, green, and blue. The blue ones can only operate on the Lantau Island (where the airport is located, but most likely your hotel is not there).

The green ones can only operate in the New Territories. The red ones can go anywhere except for outlying islands not connected with a bridge. All three kinds can go to and from the airport. So at the airport, get in the right queue! And when in doubt, ask! If you don't want to ask, just get in a red one!

Rental cars - very rare. I don't know of anyone who has ever rented a car to drive. (They are available though. Check the links page - also chauffeured vehicles.) You can easily rent a van to move things for a few hundred HK dollars for a couple of hours, driver included, but moving is not. If it takes just one trip, there seems to be a standard price, usually under a hundred HK dollars. But then they may charge you a premium for being English-speakers!  

Late night travel - Since the MTR runs till around 00:30 a.m. Other than taxis, which are easily found, there are also public buses (N-lines) and mini-buses. But then beware: the mini-buses don't just run, they fly! So make sure you have life insurance, then hang on and say a prayer!
Rickshaw - these are just for the tourists - the locals don't take them. After all HK$50 (~US$6.50) is a little steep for a five-minute ride! Then of course that is a matter of perspective.

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