Tourism / Transport
Hong Kong's position as the top destination city for visitors in Asia, the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region established the Tourism Commission in May 1999. Our job is to enhance our tourism facilities and support the development of new attractions and events so that Hong Kong remains a premier tourist destination.
As Asia's world city, Hong Kong has much to offer to you as a visitor, whether you are coming here on business or for pleasure:
- A city of charm: the sophistication of an international city, cultural diversity and cosmopolitan lifestyle are at the very core of Hong Kong's attractions.
- Natural beauty: we also offer unspoilt natural parkland and spectacular scenery.
Here are some of the most popular tourist attractions:
- The Peak is one of the most popular attractions in Hong Kong. Looking down from The Peak you will be amazed by the spectacular view of the world- famous Victoria Harbour.
- Giant Buddha at Lantau Island beside the Po Lin Monastery, is the world's tallest, outdoor, seated bronze Buddha.
- Hong Kong Disneyland Resort at Penny's Bay, Lantau Island, is the first Disney themed resort in China.
- Ocean Park at the southern part of Hong Kong Island, provides an exciting mix of entertainment, education and conservation facilities.
- Golden Bauhinia Square outside the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on the Wan Chai waterfront marks the unification of Hong Kong with the motherland. The "Forever Blooming Bauhinia" Sculpture (Golden Bauhinia) at the Square is a gift from the Central Government. There is also the flag-raising ceremony held every morning.
- Repulse Bay at the southern part of Hong Kong Island, famous for its wide and wave-lapped beach, is popular with locals and visitors alike.
- Stanley Market & Murray House, a popular market town that offers crisp sea environs and bargain buys. Murray House is a restored three-storey colonial building situated at the Stanley seaside.
- A Symphony of Lights, awarded the World's Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show by Guinness World Records, staged on both sides of the Victoria Harbour, starting at 8:00pm every night. (Special announcement)
- Avenue of Stars, located on the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront, not only a salute to eminent Hong Kong film workers for their devoted contribution to local and world theatres, but also one of the ideal vantage points for visitors to appreciate "A Symphony of Lights". (Temporarily closed for repair and improvement works)
- Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter, visitors can take a sampan ride to enjoy the scenic views of the typhoon shelter and take a closer look on the daily life of the fishermen in Aberdeen, or enjoy the seafood cuisine on the floating restaurants.
The major tourism projects came on stream in recent years include:
- Hong Kong Wetland Park, located at Tin Shui Wai, is a world-class conservation, education and tourism facility.
- Ngong Ping 360 comprises the 5.7 km Ngong Ping ropeway, a 25-minute cable car ride which offers a spectacular view of the beautiful landscape of Lantau Island, and the cultural and religious themed Ngong Ping Village.
- Ma Wan Park, a community facility to promote positive community values like love of life, family and the Earth. Noah's Ark, situated next to the Ma Wan Park, is the world's first full-sized replica. With the stunning views of the spectacular Tsing Ma Bridge and Ma Wan Channel, Noah's Ark comprises of stimulating and inspiring expos, restaurant and resort.
Hong Kong has a highly developed and sophisticated transport network, encompassing both public and private transport. Based on Hong Kong Government's Travel Characteristics Survey, over 90% of the daily journeys are on public transport, the highest rate in the world. However, in 2014 the Transport Advisory Committee, which advises the Government on transportation issues, issued a report on the much worsened congestion problem in Hong Kong and pointed at the excessive growth of private cars during the past 10–15 years.
The Octopus card, a smart electronic money payment system, was introduced in September 1997 to provide an alternative to the traditional banknotes and coins. Available for purchase in every station of the Mass Transit Railway system, the Octopus card is a non-touch payment system which allows payment not only for public transport (such as trains, buses, trams, ferries and minibuses), but also at parking meters, convenience stores, supermarkets, fast-food restaurants and most vending machines.
Hong Kong has an extensive train network, and Hong Kong Government has long established that its public transit system is "railway as its backbone". Public transport trains are operated by the MTR Corporation Limited. The MTR operates the metro network within inner urban Hong Kong, Kowloon Peninsula and northern part of Hong Kong Island with newly developed areas, Tsuen Wan, Tseung Kwan O, Tung Chung, Hong Kong Disneyland, the Hong Kong International Airport, the northeastern and northwestern parts of the New Territories. The Hong Kong Tramways operates a tram service exclusively on northern Hong Kong Island. The Peak Tram connects Central, Hong Kong's central business district, with the Victoria Peak.
Opened in 1979, the system now includes 218.2 km (135.6 mi) of rail with 155 stations, including 87 railway stations and 68 light rail stops. The rail lines include the East Rail, Kwun Tong, Tsuen Wan, Island Line, Tung Chung, Tseung Kwan O, West Rail, Ma On Shan, the Airport Express and the Disneyland Resort lines. Eight of the lines provide general metro services, whereas the Airport Express provides a direct link from the Hong Kong International Airport into the city centre, while the Disneyland Resort Line exclusively takes passengers to and from Hong Kong Disneyland.
The Light Rail possesses many characteristics of a tramway, including running on streets with other traffic (at grades) on some of its tracks and providing services for the public in New Territories West, including Tuen Mun and Yuen Long.
All trains and most MTR stations are air conditioned.
The Hong Kong Tramways is the tram (streetcar) system run exclusively with double deckers. The electric tram system was proposed in 1881; however nobody was willing to invest in a system at the time. In August 1901, the Second Tramway Bill was introduced and passed into law as the 1902 Tramway Ordinance. Hong Kong Tramway Electric Company Limited, a British company, was authorised to take the responsibilities in construction and daily operation. In 1904, the tram system first got into service. It was soon taken over by another company, Electric Tranction Company of Hong Kong Limited and then the name was changed to Hong Kong Tramways Company Limited in 1910.
The rail system is 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) long, with a total track length of 30 km (19 mi), and it runs together with other vehicles on the street. Its operation relies on the 550V direct current (d.c.) from the overhead cables, on 3'6" gauge (1067 mm) tracks. The trams provide service to only parts of Hong Kong Island: they run on a double track along the northern coast of Hong Kong Island from Kennedy Town to Shau Kei Wan, with a single clockwise-running track of about 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) around Happy Valley Racecourse.
There are three funicular railway services in Hong Kong:
- The Peak Tram carries both tourists and residents to the upper levels of Hong Kong Island. It provides the most direct route to Victoria Peak and offers scenic views over Victoria Harbour and the skyscrapers of Hong Kong. It was inaugurated in 1888.
- The Ocean Express operates within the paid area of the Ocean Park theme park. It links two parts of the park, operating entirely in a tunnel. The ride is themed, and uses multimedia effects to simulate the feeling of travelling into the depths of the sea. It was opened in 2009.
- The Po Fook Hill Elevator serves the Po Fook Hill Ancestral Hall in Shatin.
The Hong Kong International Airport Automated People Mover is a driverless people-mover system located within the Hong Kong International Airport in Chek Lap Kok. It operates in two "segments". For departures, the train runs from Terminal 2 to the East Hall to the West Hall. For arrivals, the train runs only from the West Hall to the East Hall, where all passengers must disembark for immigration, customs, and baggage claim. Operation of the first segment was commenced in 1998, and the operation of the second segment was commenced in early 2007.
Inter-city train services crossing the Hong Kong-China boundary are known as Intercity Through Trains. They are jointly operated by Hong Kong's MTR Corporation and the Ministry of Railways of the People's Republic of China. Currently, Hung Hom Station (formerly known as Kowloon Station in Hong Kong, and Jiulong Station in China) is the only station in Hong Kong where passenger can catch these trains. Passengers have to go through immigration and custom inspections before boarding. There are currently three through train routes:
- Between Hong Kong and Beijing (Beijing-Kowloon Through Train)
- Between Hong Kong and Shanghai (Shanghai-Kowloon Through Train)
- Between Hong Kong and Guangzhou (Guangzhou-Kowloon Through Train)
A new high-speed service, namely the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link, is being built. A new train station, West Kowloon Terminus, will be built in Hong Kong to be served by this new railway.
Bus services have a long history in Hong Kong. As at 2015, five companies operate franchised public bus services, each granted 10 year exclusive operating rights to the set of routes that they operate. Franchise buses altogether carry about one-third of the total daily public transport market of around 12 million passengers, with KMB having 67% of the franchised bus market share, CityBus with 16% and New World First Bus with 13%. There are also a variety of non-franchised public buses services, including feeder bus services to railway stations operated by the railway companies, and residents' services for residential estates (particularly those in the New Territories).
The five franchised bus companies are:
- Kowloon Motor Bus Company (1933) Limited;
- Citybus Limited;
- Long Win Bus Company Limited;
- New World First Bus Services Limited; and
- New Lantao Bus Company (1973) Limited.
Founded in 1933, the Kowloon Motor Bus Company (1933) Limited (KMB) is one of the largest privately owned public bus operators in the world. KMB's fleet consist of about 3,900 buses on 400 routes and a staff of over 12,000 people. In 1979, Citybus began its operation in Hong Kong with one double-decker, providing shuttle service for the Hong Kong dockyard. It later expanded into operating a residential bus route between City One, Shatin and Kowloon Tong MTR station. New World First Bus Services Limited was established in 1998, taking over China Motor Bus's franchise to provide bus services on Hong Kong Island together with Citybus. NWFB's owner company later bought Citybus, but the two companies have basically been operating independently.
Public light buses (小巴) (widely referred to as minibuses, or sometimes maxicabs, a de facto share taxi) run the length and breadth of Hong Kong, through areas which the standard bus lines can not or do not reach as frequently, quickly or directly. Minibuses carry a maximum of 16 passengers; no standees are allowed.
The Hong Kong Transport Department (HKTD) allows and licenses the operation of two types of public light buses – (1) green minibuses that have route numbers, stop at designated stops (many routes have hail and ride sections along which passengers can board and exit anywhere unless it's a no-stopping zone) and which have their fares, service and frequency regulated by the HKTD; and (2) red minibuses that may or may not have regular routes, may or may not be numbered, may or may not have fixed stops and whose fares and service levels are not regulated by HKTD.
Red minibuses do often provide more convenient supplementary transport for riders not served by green minibuses or other public buses, and are thus quite popular. Where green minibus drivers are paid fixed wages to drive their routes, red minibus drivers often rely on their pick-up fares for a living and thus are often seen to be more aggressive drivers. The prevalence of aggressive driving has resulted in the HKTD making it mandatory for Hong Kong minibuses to be equipped with large read-out speedometers which allow passengers to track the speed at which minibus drivers operate. Currently, if minibuses exceed 80 km/h, the speedometer will sound an audible warning signal (begin beeping) to the driver and passengers. If the minibus exceeds 100 km/h, the beeping will turn into a sustained tone. However, almost without exception this warning signal is ignored by both driver and passengers.
The HKTD has also regulated, after a series of minibus accidents, that all new minibuses brought into service after August 2005 must have safety belts installed, and riders must use safety belts when there is one.
As of April 2005, there were 18,138 taxis in Hong Kong, operating in three distinct (but slightly overlapping) geographical areas, and distinguished by their colour. Of these, 15,250 are red urban taxis, 2,838 green New Territories taxis, and 50 blue Lantau taxis. Every day, they serve 1.1 million, 207,900, and 1,400 passengers respectively. Taxis carry an average of one million passengers each day, occupying about 12% of the daily patronage carried by all modes of public transport in Hong Kong.
Most of the taxis in Hong Kong run on LPG (liquified petroleum gas) to reduce emissions. In August 2000 a one-off cash grant was paid to taxi owners who replaced their diesel taxi with an LPG one. Since August 2001, all newly purchased taxis run on LPG. By the end of 2003, over 99.8% of the taxi fleet in Hong Kong ran on LPG.
Taxi fares are charged according to the taximeter; however, additional charges on the fare table may apply, such as road tolls and luggage fees. Urban taxis are the most expensive, while Lantau taxis are the cheapest. The standard of service among different kinds of taxis is mostly the same. The reason for having three types of taxis is to ensure service availability in less populated regions, as running in the urban centre is considered to be more profitable.
As of May 2015 the Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong reports that there are 504,798 licensed vehicles in Hong Kong. In terms of private car ownership, the number of cars per capita is half that of Singapore and one-third that of Taiwan. However, the Transport Advisory Committee, which advises the government on transport policies, issued a report stating that the growth of private cars is too fast and must be contained so as to alleviate congestion problems of Hong Kong. Private cars are most popular in newly developed areas such as New Territories and Lantau and areas near the boundary with mainland China, as there are fewer public transportation options, and more parking spaces compared to other areas of Hong Kong.
Most cars are right hand drive models, from Japanese or European manufacturers. Hong Kong does not allow left hand drive vehicles to be primarily registered in Hong Kong. However, Hong Kong registered vehicles may apply for secondary mainland Chinese registration plates, and these can be driven across the border to mainland China; likewise, left-hand drive cars seen in Hong Kong are usually primarily registered in mainland China and carry supplementary Hong Kong registration plates.
Cars are subjected to a first-time registration tax, which varies from 35% to over 100%, based on the size and value of the car. The level of vehicle taxation was increased by a law passed on 2 June 1982 to discourage private car ownership, and also as an incentive to buy smaller, more efficient cars, as these have less tax levied on them. First-time registration tax was doubled, annual licensing fees were increased by 300%, and $0.7 duty was imposed on each litre of on light oils.
In addition to the heavy traffic at times, parking may be problematic. Due to high urban density, there are not many filling stations; Petrol in Hong Kong averages around US$2.04 per litre, of which over half the cost is taxes. It was suggested in the news that the government had deliberately impeded the use of new environmentally friendly diesel engines by allowing only light goods vehicles to be fuelled by diesel. While it cannot be determined why exactly the government does not allow private cars to be fuelled by diesel, it has been pointed out that the government does receive a tax that is 150% of the actual fuel cost. This is mostly to discourage car ownership for environmental reasons.
There is a waiting list for local driving tests, while a full (private car) driving licence valid for 10 years costs around US$115. Residents of Hong Kong holding licences issued by other Chinese authorities and some foreign countries can get a Hong Kong driving licence exempt from tests if they can adequately show that they obtained their licence while residing in the place concerned (common proofs are school transcripts or employer's documentation). Some private car owners, known as white card drivers, provide a taxi service for a nominal fee.
Most ferry services are provided by licensed ferry operators. As of September 2003, there were 27 regular licensed passenger ferry services operated by 11 licensees, serving outlying islands, new towns and inner-Victoria Harbour. Two of the routes operated by the Star Ferry are franchised. Additionally, 78 "kai-to" ferries are licensed to serve remote coastal settlements.
The following companies operate ferry services in Hong Kong:
- Central to Tsim Sha Tsui
- Wan Chai to Tsim Sha Tsui
- Central to Hung Hom (terminated effective 1 April 2011)
- Wan Chai to Hung Hom (terminated effective 1 April 2011)
- Harbour Tour (Circular between Tsim Sha Tsui, Central, Wan Chai, and Hung Hom)
New World First Ferry:
- Central to Cheung Chau and Mui Wo
- Peng Chau, Mui Wo, Chi Ma Wan, and Cheung Chau
- North Point to Hung Hom and Kowloon City
Hong Kong & Kowloon Ferry:
- Lamma Island to Central
- Central to Peng Chau
- Peng Chau to Hei Ling Chau
Chuen Kee Ferry:
- Lamma Island(Sok Kwu Wan and Mo Tat) to Aberdeen
HKR International Limited:
- Discovery Bay Transportation Services – Discovery Bay to Central
Park Island Transport Company Ltd.:
- Ma Wan to Central
- Ma Wan to Tsuen Wan
Fortune Ferry (富裕小輪)
- North Point to Kwun Tong
- Tuen Mun to Tai O (via: Tung Chung, Sha Lo Wan)
Coral Sea Ferry (珊瑚海船務)
- Sai Wan Ho to Kwun Tong
- Sai Wan Ho to Lei Yue Mun (Sam Ka Tsuen)
Tsui Wah Ferry:
- Lamma Island (Yung Chue Wan) to Aberdeen (Via: Pak Kok Tsuen)
- Po Toi to Stanley / Aberdeen
- Communting routes for Tolo Harbour, Grass Island (known as:Tap Mun) and Long Harbour (known as: Tai Tan Hoi)
In Hong Kong, there are three piers that provides ferry services to Macau and cities in southern China:
- The Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal
- The Hong Kong-China Ferry Terminal
- The Skypier (For Transitting Only)
Ferry services are provided by several different ferry companies at these piers.
Fastferry hydrofoil and catamaran service is available at all times of the week between Hong Kong and Macau.
TurboJet provides 24-hour services connecting Central and Macau at a frequency of up to every 15 to 30 minutes. It also provides these regular services:
- Hong Kong International Airport to Shenzhen Airport / Macau / Guangzhou (Nansha Ferry Port)
- Tsim Sha Tsui to Guangzhou
- Macau to Shenzhen Airport / Guangzhou
- Tsim Sha Tsui to Macau
Cotai Water Jet provides about 18-hour services connecting Central and Taipa or Outer Harbour, Macau at a frequency of up to every 30 to 60 minutes. It also provides these regular services:
- Hong Kong International Airport to Macau
- Tsim Sha Tsui to Macau
Chu Kong Passenger Transport (CKS) connects Hong Kong to cities in Guangdong province, including Zhuhai (Jiuzhou), Shenzhen (Shekou), Zhongshan (Zhongshan Kong), Lianhua Shan (Panyu), Jiangmen, Gongyi, Sanbu, Gaoming, Heshan, Humen, Nanhai, Shunde, Doumen.
Hong Kong has a fully active international airport. The famous former Kai Tak International Airport retired in favour of the recently constructed Hong Kong International Airport, also known as Chek Lap Kok International Airport. The airport now serves as a transport hub for East Asia, and as the hub for Cathay Pacific, Dragonair, Hong Kong Express, Hong Kong Airlines (former CR Airways), and Air Hong Kong. Ferry services link the airport with several piers in Pearl River Delta, where immigrations and customs are exempted.
HKIA’s network to China is also expanded by the opening of SkyPier in late September 2003, offering millions in the PRD direct access to the airport. Passengers coming to SkyPier by high-speed ferries can board buses for onward flights while arriving air passengers can board ferries at the pier for their journeys back to the PRD. Passengers travelling both directions can bypass custom and immigration formalities, which reduces transit time. Four ports – Shekou, Shenzhen, Macau and Humen (Dongguan) – were initially served. As of August 2007, SkyPier serves Shenzhen's Shekou and Fuyong, Dongguan's Humen, Macau, Zhongshan and Zhuhai. Moreover, passengers travelling from Shekou and Macau piers can even complete airline check-in procedures with participating airlines before boarding the ferries and go straight to the boarding gate for the connecting flight at HKIA. The provision of cross boundary coach and ferry services has transformed HKIA into an inter-modal transportation hub combining air, sea and land transport.
As of March 2009, the airport is the third busiest airport for passenger traffic, and second busiest airport for cargo traffic in the world. It is popular with travellers – from 2001 to 2005 and 2007–2008 Hong Kong International Airport has been voted the World's Best Airport in an annual survey of several million passengers worldwide by Skytrax.
According to the Guinness World Records, the passenger terminal of the HKIA was the world's largest airport terminal upon opening, and is at present the world's third largest airport terminal building, with a covered area of 550,000 m² and recently increased to 570,000 m². The Airport Core Programme was the most expensive airport project in the world.
Shek Kong Airfield, located near Yuen Long, is a military airfield for the People's Liberation Army, which is of limited operating capabilities due to surrounding terrains. The only aircraft operating on the airfield are PLA's Z-9 helicopters, which is the license-built version of the Eurocopter Dauphin.
In general, all visitors to Hong Kong must have a passport that is valid for at least one month after the period of their intended stay in Hong Kong. However, documents issued to stateless persons must be valid for a minimum of two months after the period of intended stay. Please contact the Immigration Department for further details.
Nationals of most countries do not require a visa to enter Hong Kong for tourism and can stay for periods varying from seven to 180 days, depending on nationality. If you’re unsure of your status, please check with any Chinese embassy or consulate. You can also find further details about visa requirements on the Immigration Department website. Effective from January 23, 2017, Indian nationals must apply for and successfully complete online pre-arrival registration before they can continue to enjoy the current 14-day visa-free visit or enter Hong Kong during transit (except in direct transit by air and not leaving the airport transit area), unless they belong to one of the categories of persons who may continue to come to Hong Kong visa-free without pre-arrival registration. Persons exempted from the requirement of pre-arrival registration include, among others, holders of an Indian diplomatic or official passport or a Hong Kong Travel Pass and Indian nationals who have successfully enrolled for the e-Channel service for frequent visitors. Each pre-arrival registration for an Indian national will be valid for six months or until the expiry date of the Indian passport linked to it, whichever is earlier. Provided that normal immigration requirements are met, a registrant may, during the validity of the pre-arrival registration, use a valid notification slip together with the specific and valid Indian passport linked to the successful pre-arrival registration to make multiple visits to Hong Kong visa-free. On each visit, a registrant may stay in Hong Kong for up to 14 days. In case pre-arrival registration is unsuccessful, Indian nationals shall apply to the Immigration Department directly for an entry visa if they intend to visit Hong Kong.