Transportation in Hong Kong
Hong Kong's best sights are the streets themselves, even though progress may be slow as most streets are busy. Walking in the hot summer is more comfortable in the evenings and perfect for market trawling and watching street life. Save yourself a steep climb by using the Mid Levels Escalator – the world's longest outdoor escalator – from Central to Hollywood Road (running down in the morning, uphill the rest of the day). There are plenty of elevated walkways around Central, less busy than the streets and offering a better view.
The high-speed underground Mass Transit Railway (MTR) is efficient, cheap, safe and the easiest way of getting around, especially between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. Signs and announcements are in English, Mandarin and Cantonese, and trains run until 1am. Avoid crowded rush hours. In 2007, the MTR merged with the previously named Kowloon-Canton Railway (KCR), so now the entire system is linked to the over-ground network to the New Territories and the border with China.
All buses are fast, cheap and air-conditioned. The double-decker yellow buses have fixed fares on all journeys. Pay exact fare on entry. The 16-seat minibuses come in two varieties: those with a green stripe work like regular buses; the red-striped ones are like large taxis with no fixed route. Wave your arm to flag them down, and pay the driver on exit.
Hail one of the many red taxis on the street (blue on Lantau and green in the New Territories) with a sign illuminated. Fares are pretty cheap, and the meter is always switched on. Few drivers speak English so it's advisable to get your address written in Cantonese and take your hotel card with you. Drivers may take a longer route to avoid rush-hour traffic.
Rent your car
Hong Kong traffic travels on the left but most of China drives on the right. British-style Expressways ring Hong Kong Island, while tunnels and bridges help navigate the mountainous terrain and link the island with Kowloon. Most commercial buildings have car parks, but you’ll also find some street parking.
The easiest way to pay for journeys is with an Octopus Card, the electronic ticketing system. Top it up, then swipe it on entry to MTR, buses, trams and ferries. They can be bought and topped up at all MTR stations and 7-11 stores. If not, bring plenty of small change as most transport takes exact fares only. Avoid rush hour when getting a seat on any type of transport is tough.