Public transport in Hong Kong

Getting from A to B

Public transport in Hong Kong

Over 90% of all journeys made in Hong Kong each day are made using public transport. The extensive and highly sophisticated network, along with the compact nature of the Hong Kong territory means that with, a little planning, almost everywhere is accessible using public transport.

Whether travelling to or from Hong Kong or exploring the different areas of the territory, the public transport systems will be able accommodate your journey.

The Octopus  card system was introduced in 1997 and encompasses not only all of the public transport network (trains, buses, trams and ferries) but can also be used at parking meters, vending machines, in supermarkets and in fast food chains.

MTR (Mass Transit Railway)

Hong Kong’s mass transit railway  system is regarded as one of the safest, most efficient and cost effective public transport networks in the world.

As well as the traditional inner city subway trains, Hong Kong’s MTR also operates the light railway which serves the new territories and the Airport Express service, connecting the airport to downtown Hong Kong.

Although the electronic Octopus ticketing system is the method of payment of choice for the majority of Hong Kongers, there are single journey tickets and day or month passes available. Single fares are calculated by the distance travelled. Day and month passes offer unlimited travel on the network.   


A comfortable way to travel around, the bus network covers nearly all of Hong Kong. The double decker buses also offer a great way to see the city. Final destinations are displayed on the front of the bus in both Chinese and English.

There are also minibuses that operate in Hong Kong. Green minibuses that have fixed routes and fixed fares and red ones that allow passengers to get on and off and pay only for the distance travelled.

Note that if you don’t have an Octopus card then you will need to pay with exact change on the buses.


A great way to familiarise yourself with the city, as long as you are not in a hurry. For short trips, the tram is also a much quicker option than the train or MTR which both involved a considerable amount of walking.


Ferries are an important mode of transport in Hong Kong, due to the amount of coast and number of islands. Two types of ferry operate on the routes: standard ferries and the slightly faster express ferries.

The Star Ferry crossing from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon Island is not only an integral part of the commuter network but a major attraction for visitors, offering a unique way to see Hong Kong’s sights.


Hong Kong’s taxis are plentiful and can be picked up almost anywhere. Though be aware of restricted areas, especially in Central, where they are not permitted to stop. Taxis also cannot pick up on roads with single yellow lines between 7am - 7pm, or roads with double yellows lines at any time. If in doubt look out for a taxi rank. Taxis in Hong Kong are relatively cheap and drivers are required to provide receipts for all fares, so overcharging is not usually a problem.

Different colour taxis serve different areas, although all taxis go to and from the airport. Red taxis operate almost everywhere in Hong Kong, except parts of Lantau island. Green taxis are specifically for the new territories and blue taxis are for Lantau island.

Further reading

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