I’ve been living in Hong Kong for over 3 years now and have been travelling quite a bit. I am happy to provide some tips for people travelling to / from Hong Kong. Many locals and expats who have lived here for the most part of their lives do not even know some of the stuff here! I hope this article will be able to provide some insights and maybe help you guys save some trouble and money.
Hong Kong Travel Tips
1) Fastest way from Airport to Downtown
- The MTR Airport Express takes only 24 minutes to travel from the airport to Downtown (Hong Kong Station) so it is an extremely convenient (and fast) mode of transport if your destination is at or near to Tsing Yi (15mins from the airport), Kowloon Station or Hong Kong Station.
- However, the downside is the fares are not cheap. BUT, if you are travelling in a group of 2 or more, get the group tickets from the counter; they work out to be much cheaper than single tickets. Sometimes the staff behind the counter do not inform the customers of this offer.
- If you take the Airport Express, note that there are complimentary shuttle buses to various hotels at Hong Kong and Kowloon stations. That will help you save on any additional costs for transfers.
- MTR have different promotions every now and then. Currently they are giving 50% off on the Airport Express fare if you take a taxis costing not less than HK$60 to Kowloon / Hong Kong Station before transferring onto the Airport Express to the airport.
2) Discounted tickets to tourist attractions and Airport Express
- Many travel agencies in Hong Kong sell tickets for some of the tourist attractions at a discounted rate (between 5% to 15%). I managed to get a 5% discount on Hong Kong Disneyland tickets for my friends a few months ago which works out to be HK$25 per standard ticket!
- You can also buy discounted tickets for the Airport Express (regardless of whether you are coming from or going to the airport) from the travel agents. You can choose a return or one-way ticket. The travel agencies will hand you a voucher which you need to redeem at the Airport Express counter before you enter/exit the gates.
I’ve used these discounted vouchers on every trip I took to/from the airport whenever I’m travelling alone. I’ve saved enough money for a few trips back and forth already lol.
3) Take the Airport Bus to Downtown
If you don’t have a lot of luggage, is not pressed for time and want to save some money, you have the option to take public buses from the airport too. I took the “Airbus” on my first vacation to Hong Kong and the experience was good. The buses usually have a sign indicating the next upcoming stop so it won’t be difficult to navigate. Or, you can just ask the bus driver to let you know when you need to alight; they are usually helpful.
Very few people can live without the internet nowadays. This part of the article will address that concern.
Many places in Hong Kong provide free WIFI.
- Hong Kong International Airport – no need to sign up, just agree to the terms and conditions and you are online!
- Shopping malls – many big shopping malls, like Elements in Kowloon, The Landmark in Central and even Maritime Square Mall in Tsing Yi provide free WIFI. Again, you don’t have to sign up, just agree to the terms and conditions. Don’t worry if you need the free WIFI for longer than the specified period allowed. Try closing the browser, turn off WIFI settings on your phone and turn it back on then log-in again; that should give you another free session.
- 7-11 – many 7-11 in Hong Kong also provide free WIFI. Just stand outside / near one of the convenience stores and you should normally be able to get connected.
- Banks – technically the WIFI is provided for the banks’ customers. However, since there’s no password required to log-in, you know you can just tap the free WIFI.
- Cafes – Technically these are not free because you generally need to pay for food or drinks before they give you the password. However, if you are feeling really desperate to get online, Starbucks, Pacific Coffee and Café Habitu are your safest bets.
When you are using any free WIFI, please remember they are not secure and there may be a chance that someone will be able to steal your personal information. Therefore, I would highly recommend that you do not use the free WIFI for any banking services or online shopping that requires credit or banking information. You have been warned!
Data SIM Card
Hong Kong convenience stores (7-11, Circle K) generally sell SIM cards. However, if you only want temporary SIM cards for a few days up to 1 week, you need to specify that clearly to the cashier.
PCCW is probably the most popular telecom service providers in Hong Kong and their coverage is also the best. They have Tourist SIM Cards that’s available from the convenience stores which include credits for phone calls on top of the data plan. But if your phone require need a nano-sized card for say iPhone 6, you need to go to the PCCW shop.
More choices are available from other service providers and they also sell Data-only SIM cards. These do not allow you to make calls and are available from the 3HK shops.
If possible, try to get the SIM cards from downtown because the shops in the Airport usually have limited choices.
5) Emergency / Customer Services
There was once I was rushing to the airport from work to catch my plane when I realised I forgot to print a copy of my visa, which the Immigration at Myanmar will require (in hard copy). Understandably, I panicked! Luckily, the gentlemen behind the check-in counter informed me that there is a counter at the Check-in Hall which provides a wide range of services including printing, photocopying and scanning. I got my visa printed at HK$5 per copy! Yay!
In case you encounter similar problem like I did, or just need to wrap your luggage or rent a wheelchair, approach these counters for help; they are located at:
– Aisles D and H, Check-in Hall, Level 7, Terminal 1 (non-restricted area)
– Service counters at both ends of Departures East Hall, Level 6, Terminal 1 (restricted area)
– Aisle P, Check-in Hall, Level 5, Terminal 2 (non-restricted area)