More than 60 airlines operate between Hong Kong International Airport (HKG; 526-7; -si 2181 8888; www.hkairport.com) and about 140 destinations worldwide. Competition keeps fares relatively low, and Hong Kong is a great place to find discounted tickets.
There are few bargain airfares between Hong Kong and China, however, as the government regulates the prices. Depending on the season, seats can be difficult to book due to the enormous volume of business trav-ellers and Chinese tourists, so book well in advance.
However, if you're prepared to travel a couple of hours to Guangzhou or Shenzhen, in nearby Guangdong province, then you can find flights for less than half the price from Hong Kong. Shenzhen airport , in particular, is easily and cheaply reached by bus from Hong Kong and has flights to just about everywhere in China. For an idea of price, check out www.elong.net.
See p960 for international airlines flying to/from Hong Kong.
Airline offices in Hong Kong include the following:
China Airlines (Cl; 528-9; fs) 2868 2299; Suite 901-907,9th fl, One Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty) China Southern/China Eastern Airlines (CZ/MU; 528-9; fffl 2929 5033; 81,18F, United Centre, Queens-way, Admiralty)
Dragonair (KA; 528-9; fg 3193 3888; 46th fl, Cosco Tower, 183 Queen's Rd Central) Hong Kong Express (DO; 528-9; @ 3152 3777; www.hongkongexpress.com; Room 1417,14/F China Merchants Tower, Shun Tak Centre, 200 Connaught Rd, Central)
Hong Kong's airport departure tax - HK$120 for everyone over the age of 12 - is always included in the price of the ticket. Those travelling to Macau by helicopter must pay the same amount.
However, if you arrive and depart the same day you can get a refund. Once you've checked in at the airport but before passing immigration, take your ticket/receipt and departing boarding pass to the Civil Aviation Department counter on level 7, Departure Hall, Aisle D and maKe your claim.
Regularly scheduled ferries link the China ferry terminal (Canton Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui) in Kowloon and/or the Macau ferry pier (200 Connaught Rd, Sheung Wan) on Hong Kong Island with a string of towns and cities on the Pearl River delta - but not central Guangzhou or Shenzhen. For sea transport to/from Macau, see p578.
CMSE Passenger Transport ( 2858 0909} has nine services daily between Hong Kong and Shekdu port (day/night sailing HK$110/145, 50 minutes, 7.45am to 8.30pm), 20km west of Shenzhen and efficiently linked to the town centre. Seven of these leave from the China ferry terminal, while the rest go from the Macau ferry pier. Sailings from Shekou are between 7.45am and 9pm.
Seven ferries a day link Zhuhai with Hong Kong from the China ferry terminal (HKS183, 70 minutes, 7.30am to 5.30pm) and eight from the Macau ferry pier (8.40am to 9.30pm), on ferries operated by the Chu Kong Passenger Transportation Co ( 2858 3876; www.cksp.com.hk). There are seven return sailings from Zhuhai for the China ferry terminal (between Sam and 5.30pm), and nine for the Macau ferry pier (between 9am and 9.30pm).
Chu Kong also has ferries from the China ferry terminal to a number of other ports in southern Guangdong province, including Humen (Taiping; HK$185, 90 minutes, three a day at 9am, 1.45pm and 5.30pm), Kaiping (HKS200, four hours, 8.30am), Shunde (HK$205, 110 minutes, six sailings 7.30am to 6pm) and Zhongshan (HKS200, 90 minutes, nine sailings 7.30am to 8pm).
Hong Kong levies a HK$19 departure tax that is normally included in the ticket price. Trips from China are usually HK$ 19 cheaper.
You can reach virtually any major destination in Guangdong province by bus from Hong Kong. With KCR East Rail services so fast and cheap, however, few buses call on Shenzhen proper, though most of the big hotels run minivans to and from that desti-nation for HKS100 one way. Destinations include Changsha (HK$295), Dongguan (HK$80 to HKS120), Foshan (HKS100), Guangzhou (HKS80 to HKS100), Shantou (HKS190), Shenzhen airport (HKSHO), Xiamen (HK$370) and Zhongshan (HK$110 toHK$130).
Buses are run by a multitude of companies and depart from locations around the territory; the following is only a sampling. Schedules vary enormously according to carrier and place, but buses leave frequently throughout the day. For buses from the airport to China, see the boxed text, p555.
CIS Express Coach ( 2365 0118; http://ctsbus.hkcts .com) buses depart from locations throughout Hong Kong, including the CTS main branch ( 2853 3888; 78-83 Connaught Rd Central, Central) and the CTS Wan Chai branch ( 2832 3888; Southern Centre, 130-138 Hennessy Rd, Wan Chai) on Hong Kong Island, and from just south of the CTS Mong Kok branch (534; Hi 2789 5888; 62-72 Sai Yee St, Mong Kok) in Kowloon.
Motor Transport Company of Guangdong & Hong Kong ( 2317 7900; www.gdhkmtc.com) buses bound for destinations throughout Guangdong leave from the Cross-Border Coach Terminus (534; 5? 2317 7900; ground fl, Hong Kong Scout Centre, 8 Austin Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui; & 6.30am-7pm). Enter from Scout Path.
Trans-Island Limousine Service (3193 9333; www.trans-island.com.hk) cars and vans leave from Portland St opposite the Hotel Concourse Hong Kong, north of Mong Kok.
Reaching Shenzhen by train is a breeze. Board the East Rail train at Hung Horn in Kowloon (lst/2nd class, HKS66/33, 35 minutes) or any East Rail station along the way, and ride it to the China border crossing at Lo Wu. From Shenzhen you can take a local train or bus to Guangzhou and beyond.
The most comfortable way to reach Guangzhou is via the Kowloon-Guangzhou express train, which covers the 182km route in approximately 134 hours. Trains leave Hung Horn station for Guangzhou East 12 times a day between 7.28am and 7.24pm, returning between 8.19am and 9.32pm. Oneway tickets cost HK$230/190 in lst/2nd class for adults and HKS115/95 for children under nine.
There are also direct rail links between Hung Horn and both Shanghai and Beijing. Trains to Beijing (hard/soft sleeper HKS574/934, 24 hours) depart on alternate days at 3.16pm and travel via Guangzhou East, Changsha and Wuhan, arriving at 3.41pm the next day. Trains to Shanghai (hard/soft sleeper HK$508/825, 25 hours) also depart on alternate days at 3pm and pass through Guangzhou East and Hangzhou East stations.
There is one daily departure to Zhaoqing (adult/child HK$235/117.50), via Dongguan, Guangzhou East and Foshan, at 12.30pm, arriving in Zhaoqing at 4.27pm. The train departs Zhaoqing at 4.56pm, reaching Hung Horn at 8.53pm.
Immigration formalities at Hung Horn are completed before boarding; you won't get on the train without a visa for China. Passengers are required to arrive at the station 45 minutes before departure. One-way and return tickets can be booked in advance at CTS (525) and East Rail stations in Hung Horn, Mong Kok, Kowloon Tong and Sha Tin. Tickets booked with a credit card by phone ( 2947 7888) must be collected at least one hour before departure. Get the latest prices and schedules from the MTR's excellent website, www.mtr.com.hk.
Hong Kong's public transport system is the envy of cities the world over. It's fast, easy to navigate, relatively inexpensive and ridiculously easy with the Octopus card payment system. From the moment you arrive you'll be wondering why more cities can't operate transport like Hong Kong.
To/From the Airport
The Airport Express line of the MTR is the fastest, easiest and consequently the most expensive public route to/from Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok, off the northern coast of Lantau. A gaggle of much cheaper buses connect the airport with Lantau, the New Territories, Kowloon and even Hong Kong Island.
However, the Airport Express ( 28818888; www .mtr.com.hk) is so easy it's hard to resist. Trains stop literally inside the departures level of the airport, and most airlines allow Airport Express passengers to check in at the Central or Kowloon stations (offices open 5.30am to 12.30am) up to a day ahead of departure. Boarding passes are issued, meaning you can forget your luggage, spend the day sightseeing and head straight to immigration once you get to the airport. Trains depart from Hong Kong station ( 526-7) in Central every 12 minutes from 5.54am to 1.15am daily, calling at Kowloon station in Jordan and Tsing Yi Island en route. The journey from Central/Kowloon/Tsing Yi takes 23/20/12 minutes and costs HK$100/90/60, with children three to 11 and seniors over 65 half price. Adult return fares, valid for a month, are HKS180/160/110. A same-day return is equivalent to a one-way fare.
Even if you're travelling solo, it's worth hooking up with someone (or more) to take advantage of sizeable discounts for groups. Fares to Central are HKS160/220/250 for two/ three/four passengers. When you get off, free Airport Express shuttle buses link Kowloon and Central to largish hotels (check the list at the airport).
Consider buying the Airport Express Travel Pass, which gives you two Airport Express rides (HKS300) or one Airport Express ride (HK$220) with three days of unlimited travel on the major MTR lines.
Most areas of Hong Kong are linked to the airport by bus, of which there is an enormous choice. The most useful for travellers are the Al 1 (HKS40) and A12 (HK$45), which go past major hotel and guest house areas on Hong Kong Island, and the A21 (HKS33), which serves similar areas in Kowloon. These buses run from about 6am to midnight; the 'N' series of buses follows the same route after midnight. Note that an Al 1 round-trip ticket is cheaper and can be used for three months.
Cheaper buses from the airport include the Ell (HK$21) to Hong Kong Island or the SI (HKS3.50) to Tung Chung and then the MTR to Kowloon or Central. A taxi from the airport to Central will cost about HKS335 plus a luggage charge of HK$5 per item at the taxi driver's discretion. Considering that each taxi can take up to five passengers, it's not a bad deal. For details on ferries from HKIA to Shenzhen airport, see the boxed text, p555.
Cycling in built-up Kowloon or Central would be suicidal, but in quiet areas of the Outlying Islands or New Territories a bike can be a lovely way of getting around as long as you don't mind a few hills.
At Silvermine Bay (aka Mui Wo) on Lantau Island, bicycles are available for hire (HK$10 per hour, HKS25/35 weekdays/weekend and overnight) from the Friendly Bicycle Shop ( 2984 2278; Shop 12, Mui Wo Centre, 1 Ngan Wan Rd; S 10am-8pm Wed-Mon), just opposite Wellcome supermarket. Get in early on sunny weekends.
Flying Ball Bicycle Co ( 2381 3661; www.flyingball.com; 478 Castle Peak Rd, Cheung Sha Wan; 11am-8pm Mon-Sat, to 5pm Sun) is Hong Kong's premier shop for bicycles and cycling acces-sories. To get there, take the MTR to Cheung Sha Wan and turn right out of Exit C2, take the first right, then first left on Fuk Wing St -it's at the far end.
Car & Motorcycle
Hong Kong's maze of one-way streets and dizzying expressways isn't for the fainthearted. But if you're hell-bent on ruining your holiday, Avis ( 2890 6988; Shop 46, ground fl, Peninsula Centre, 67 Mody Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui; S8am-6pm Mon, 9am-6pm Tue-Fri, 9am-4pm Sat & Sun) will rent you a Honda Civic for HKS720/3200 a day/week with unlimited kilometres.
The Octopus card ( 2266 2222; www.octopus cards.com) is a reusable, prepaid 'smart card' valid on most forms of public transport in Hong Kong and good for purchases in a fast-growing number of stores. It costs HK$150/100/70 for adults/students aged 12 to 25/children aged three to 11 and seniors over 65, including a refundable deposit of HKS50. To add more money to your card, just go to one of the add-value machines or the ticket offices located at every MTR station. Octopus fares are between 5% and 10% cheaper than ordinary fares on the MTR, KCR, LRT and certain green minibuses.
The Airport Express Tourist Octopus card costs HKS220 (including HKS50 deposit) and allows one trip on the Airport Express, three days' unlimited travel on the MTR and HK$20 usable on other forms of transport, though you'll want to be travelling a fair bit to make it worthwhile. For HKS300 you get two trips on the Airport Express and the same benefits. For shorter stays there's the Tourist MTR 1-Day Pass (HK$50), valid only on the MTR for 24 hours.
Commuting by ferry is the most enjoyable (and surprisingly the cheapest) way of get-ting around Victoria Harbour.
First launched in 1888, the Star Ferry ( 2367 7065; www.starferry.com.hk) is as much a bargain tourist attraction as a mode of transport. It operates on four routes, but the most popular one by far is the eight-minute run between Tsim Sha Tsui and the new ferry pier in Central. Seniors travel free on all Star ferries.
Central-Hung Horn Adult/child HKS5.30/2.70,15 minutes, from Star Ferry Pier every 15 to 20 minutes 7.20am to 7.20pm Monday to Friday, every 20 minutes 7am to 7pm Saturday and Sunday. Central-Tsim Sha Tsui Lower/upper deck HKS1.70/2.20, seven minutes, from Star Ferry Pier every six to 12 minutes 6.30am to 11.30pm. Wan Chal-Hung Horn Adult/child HK$5.30/2.70,10 minutes, from Wan Chal Ferry Pier every 15 to 20 minutes 7.08am to 7.17pm Monday to Friday, every 20 to 22 minutes 7.08am to 7.10pm Saturday and Sunday. Wan Chai-Tsim Sha Tsui Adult/child HK$2.20/1.30, eight minutes, from Wan Chai Ferry Pier every eight to 20 minutes 7.30am to llpm Monday to Saturday, every 12 to 20 minutes 7.40am to llpm Sunday.
Outlying Islands Ferries
The main companies serving the islands are New World First Ferry ( 2131 8181; www.nwff .com.hk), which runs services to Lantau, Cheung Chau and Peng Chau, and the Hong Kong & Kowloon Ferry Co ( 2815 6063; www.hkkf.com.hk), which serves Lamma. Schedules are posted at all ferry piers and on the ferry companies' websites, or ask for a pocket-sized timetable. Fares are higher on so-called fast ferries and on Sundays and public holidays. Most ferries depart from the Outlying Islands ferry piers close to the IFC building in Central. NWFF also runs a handy interisland service connecting Peng Chau, Mui Wo (Lantau island) and Cheung Chau.
Hong Kong's extensive bus system will take you just about anywhere. The HKTB (525) has useful leaflets on the major bus routes, or try the useful Centamap (www.centamap .com), which offers useful bus-stop detail. City Bus and First Bus, owned by the same company, run many of the services around the territory and have a very useful website (www.nwstbus.com.hk).
Most buses run from about 5.30am or 6am until midnight or 12.30am, though there are a handful of night buses, including the N121 (running from the Macau ferry pier bus terminus - 528-9 - on Hong Kong Island to Chatham Rd in Tsim Sha Tsui East and on to eastern Kowloon), the N122 (running from North Point on Hong Kong Island to Nathan Rd and on to Lai Chi Kok in Kowloon) and the N112 (running from Percival St in Causeway Bay to the Prince Edward MTR station in Kowloon).
Fares range from HKS1.20 to HKS45, depending on the destination, with night buses costing from HK$ 12.80 to HK$23. You need to have exact change.
There are myriad bus stops and stations, but if you stick with these few you should be right. On Hong Kong Island, the terminuses below Exchange Sq in Central and above Admiralty MTR ( 528-9) will get you to Aberdeen, Repulse Bay and Stanley on the southern side of the island. In Kowloon the terminal at the Star Ferry Pier has buses to Hung Horn station and points in eastern and western Kowloon.
PUBLIC LIGHT BUS
'Public light buses' (an official term that no one ever uses) have no more than 16 seats and come in two varieties. Most are painted a cream colour, with either a red or green roof (or sometimes a stripe). Red 'minibuses' supplement the regular bus services and cost HK$2 to HKS20. They generally don't run regular routes, but you can get on or off almost anywhere - just yell 'ni do, m goi' (here, please). Pay with either an Octopus card or coins as you exit.
Green-topped minibuses operate on more than 350 set routes and make designated stops. Two popular routes are bus 6 from
Hankow Rd in Tsim Sha Tsui to Tsim Sha Tsui East and Hung Horn KCR station, and bus 1 from east of the Star Ferry Pier in Central for Victoria Peak on Hong Kong Island.
The excellent mass transit rail, overland intercity rail and light rail services in Hong Kong are run by the Mass Transit Railway (MTR; fg 2881 8888; www.mtr.com.hk).
The MTR runs 10 different lines comprising arguably the best railway service on earth. They are fast, incredibly efficient and convenient, and always on time. You can buy individual tickets or use an Octopus card. Prices range from HK$4 to HKS26 (HK$3.80 to HKS23.10 with an Octopus card). Short trips, such as crossing from Central to Tsim Sha Tsui, aren't great value, being almost four times more than the ferry. But longer trips are much faster than buses for about the same price. Once you go past the turnstile, you must complete the journey within 90 minutes. The underground MTR lines operate from 6am to between 12.30am and lam.
As well as the underground lines the MTR also runs overland services (formerly Kowloon-Canton Railway or KCR) on two main lines and two smaller lines. The East Rail runs from Tsim Sha Tsui East station in Kowloon to Lo Wu and Lok Ma Chau, gateway to Shenzhen and the mainland. A spur runs from Tai Wai to Wa Kai Sha. The West Rail links Nam Cheong station in Sham Shui Po with Tuen Mun via Yuen Long. Eventually it will be linked to Tsim Sha Tsui East via an extension of the KCR East Rail. These lines offer excellent transport to the New Territories and some nice vistas. Trains run every five to eight minutes or every three minutes during rush hour, and fares are cheap, starting at HKS4.50.
Fares from Tsim Sha Tsui East to Lo Wu are HK$36.50/18 for adults/concessions. Octopus faresareHK$34.80/17.40.
The Light Rail line operates on routes in the western part of the New Territories between Tuen Mun and Yuen Long and feeds the KCR West Rail. Fares are HK$4 to HKS5.80.
Hong Kong's century-old trams, operated by Hongkong Tramways Ltd (2548 7102; www .hktramways.com), comprise the only all double-deck wooden-sided tram fleet in the world They operate on six overlapping routes, on 16km of track running east-west along the northern side of Hong Kong Island. The trarn is fun and a bargain at HK$2 for any trip; pay as you get off.
On Hong Kong Island and Kowloon (red taxis), the flag fall is HK$16 for the first 2km then HK$1.40 for every additional 200m. In the New Territories (green taxis), flag fall is HKS13.50 then HKS1.20 for every subsequent 200m. On Lantau (blue taxis) the equivalent charges are HKS12 and HKS1.20. There is a luggage fee of HK$5 per bag but it's usu-ally only charged for bags you put in the boot. It costs an extra HK$5 to book a taxi by telephone.
If you go through the Cross-Harbour Tunnel (HK$10), the Eastern (HK$15) or Western Harbour Crossing (HK$30), you'll be charged double the toll unless you manage to find a cab heading back to its base.
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