Trains, Trams & Tours: Getting Around Hong Kong

10 April 2014

Using Hong Kong’s convenient and first-rate public transport system, some unique modes of travel and your own trusty two feet, getting to know Asia’s World City couldn’t be easier. So take heed of a tip or two and discover the most convenient ways to get around Hong Kong.

 All aboard The Peak Tram

By train

The Mass Transit Railway (MTR) is Hong Kong’s elaborate and efficient subway network. With over 150 stations, it conveniently connects you to all of Hong Kong’s major attractions. Is Mickey Mouse on your must-see list? Hop on the adorable Disney-themed Disneyland Resort Line for a day at Hong Kong Disneyland. Or take a side trip to Mainland China on the Intercity Through Train. And travellers love the Airport Express, which runs every 10 minutes and makes for a quick and easy 24-minute trip between the CBD and airport.

By tram

A great way to explore some of Hong Kong’s bustling neighbourhoods is on one of the city's historic double-decker trams. In use since 1904, these streetcars make for a memorable way to see Wan Chai, Happy Valley, Causeway Bay and more.

For a can’t-miss Hong Kong experience, hop aboard the famous Peak Tram, an excitingly steep funicular railway. It not only delivers you to spectacular Victoria Peak for the best views around, but also provides an unforgettable seven-minute ascent along the way.

Once you’re at the top, you’ll want to spend some time at The Peak, one of Hong Kong’s most popular attractions. Take in the magnificent panoramic views of Victoria Harbour and the city below, walk to a number of scenic lookouts, grab a bite to eat at one of the numerous restaurants or enjoy a spot of shopping.

By ferry

Getting out on the waters of Victoria Harbour is another unique way to explore this colourful city. And there’s no better or easier way to do so than on Hong Kong’s ferries, which link Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the outlying islands of Peng Chau, Cheung Chau, Lamma Island and Lantau Island. A number of ferry companies operate on the harbour, but the most famous is the historic Star Ferry, which has transported passengers between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon since 1888.

By escalator

Not a mode of sightseeing you often hear about, Hong Kong’s Central-Mid-Levels escalator and walkway system makes exploring this area of Hong Kong Island a fun and unique experience. The system is actually a series of 20 escalators and three moving walkways that stretches for 800 metres up the city’s hillside, making it the longest covered outdoor escalator system in the world.

Travelling the escalator’s full length takes approximately 20 minutes. Along the way, you’ll pass countless lively bars and restaurants, shops and streets with different attractions on offer. Foodies will love Soho for its vibrant dining area – Elgin Street is like a United Nations for diners and Staunton Street boasts a number of upmarket restaurants and bars. On Hollywood Road you’ll also find lots of antiques, ceramics, furniture, rugs, Maoist mementos and contemporary art.

By cable car

For a breathtaking bird’s-eye view of Hong Kong, plan a trip to outlying Lantau Island, home of the Tian Tan Buddha and Po Lin Monastery. Board the Ngong Ping Cable Car for a thrilling 5.7-kilometre, 25-minute journey. Along the way, your 360-degree views showcase the distant South China Sea, the mountains of Lantau Island and the impressive urban landscape of the city.

On foot

Of course, sometimes the best way to get to know a city is by your own steam, and Hong Kong is indeed a very walkable city. Get lost on your own and discover lively markets, authentic restaurants and quirky shops. Or set out on a more guided walk and stop at the city’s top attractions, such as the Temple Street Night Market, the Avenue of Stars alongside stunning Victoria Harbour or the modern skyscrapers of the bustling CBD. One night, make sure you take a walk to the Tsim Sha Tsui boardwalk at 8 pm so you can witness A Symphony of Lights, Hong Kong’s spectacular nightly light show, which illuminates more than 40 buildings on both sides of the harbour.

Kasey Clark

Kasey Clark is the founder and editor of food, wine, and travel blog The Hungry Expat.com. She spent 18 years as a magazine editor, has freelanced for many years, and recently joined King Content as a lead editor and content strategist. When she’s not blogging or strategising content, she provides editorial and communications services on a contract basis.