Hong Kong, one of the world’s most dense cities, is known for its extremely convenient and highly complicated network of both public and private transport. According to Transport Department of Hong Kong, every day, over 12.6 million passenger journeys are made on a public transport system which includes railways, trams, buses, minibuses, taxis and ferries.

Octopus Card

First introduced in September 1997, Octopus is the pioneering electronic fare collection system that makes travelling easier and more enjoyable. All Octopus contain a built-in microchip that can communicate with different fare or payment processors. Octopus is incredibly versatile and can be used to pay for multiple modes of transport including the MTR, Airport Express, Light Rail, buses and ferries, etc. Once you have an Octopus, you don’t have to worry about scrabbling around in your pocket or purse for coins ever again. (Source: MTR)

On-Loan Octopus: Card

The On-Loan Octopus card is a rechargeable stored value card and is usually first bought before getting a student Octopus card. To purchase an On-Loan card, a passport or any other identification is not required. The card comes with a refundable deposit of HK$50, which will be returned to you together with the remaining value when you return it. Or, if you wish to apply for a student Octopus card, you can transfer the remaining value to your new personalized student Octopus card. 




HK$150 = Deposit $50 + Initial stored value $100 

Child (3-11) 

HK$70 = Deposit $50 + Initial stored value $20 


HK$70 = Deposit $50 + Initial stored value $20 


Student Octopus Card:

If you are a secondary or a full-time university student, you are eligible for a personalized Octopus card with “student status”. Having a student Octopus card allows you to save 50% on MTR rides and on taking certain bus routes.

To apply for a student Octopus card, you must first take a form from an MTR station, fill your information, get it approved by your school and return it to a designated MTR station. In fact, this should be one of the first things to do after arrival. It not only helps you enjoy the convenience of using an Octopus card in Hong Kong, but also saves a lot of money.

Where to buy an On-Loan Octopus Card?

– At any Airport Express Customer Service Centre. 

 – At any MTR Customer Service Centre. 

 – At some Customer Service Centres of public transportation companies. 


Adding Value to Your Octopus Card:

You can reload your Octopus card, which can store up to HK$1000, at thousands of locations throughout Hong Kong: 

– Customer Service Centers of the MTR, the Airport Express, the Light Rail, the KMB or the Citybus at the Airport Ground Transportation Centre. 

– At supermarkets, convenience stores or mini-stores, like 7-Eleven or Circle K, which are authorized Add Value service providers.



If the Octopus’s balance is positive but insufficient to cover your transaction, you can use up to HK$35 of their HK$50 deposit to complete the transaction. However, you cannot use your Octopus card if its balance is zero or negative prior to the transaction. So, be sure to top it up.


MTR (Railway)

Hong Kong has a sophisticated rail transport network. The Airport Express, a railway to Shenzhen, the Light Rail, and the MTR are merged into a single network. It has extremely convenient interchange stations and the uniform payment system.

The MTR (Mass Transit Railway) is the most used public transport and a very convenient way of traveling throughout the city. It connects Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, the New Territories and Lantau Island. There are ten lines in the MTR system with over 80 stations: Island Line, Kwun Tong Line, Tsuen Wan Line, Tung Chung Line, Tseung Kwan O Line, Ma On Shan Line, East Rail Line, West Rail Line, the Airport Express and Disneyland Resort Line.

The sign of the MTR:

So, if you are looking for the nearest MTR station, it is wise to track and follow the MTR signs in the city. Most trains run every 2-4 minutes from 6:00am till 1:00am.

There are 80 MTR stations. The stations are clean and conveniently located in all major places. One of the most impressive things about Hong Kong MTR is its navigation. Each station has extremely intuitive navigation. The direction signs, showing exits and direction to the platform(s), are everywhere. The electronic displays on the platforms show the estimated time of the upcoming trains.

Also, there are live maps inside the clean and air-conditioned trains. The information is displayed in both English and Chinese. So, passengers see where they are now, where the interchange stations are, directions and which side of the train exits to the station.

Buses & Minibuses

Buses are another kind of public transport in Hong Kong. Bus routes cover almost all areas of Hong Kong and its services start from early morning till midnight and operate with high frequency. Usually double-decker buses are used, and a route direction is written on the front window of the buses. Most buses are air conditioned. Passengers may pay by cash when they get on the bus and put their coins or notes in a small box. However, no change is given, so any overpayment will not be refunded. Also, you can pay by Octopus Card, which would be the best option.

The minibus is also another public transport service in Hong Kong. Minibuses carry a maximum of 19 seated passengers and no standing passengers. Minibuses are comparatively faster and more convenient because of their small size and frequent rides with diverse range of routes. Again, Octopus Card is used for the payment method.

Also, there are live maps inside the clean and air-conditioned trains. The information is displayed in both English and Chinese. So, passengers see where they are now, where the interchange stations are, directions and which side of the train exits to the station.


Hong Kong taxis are a pretty convenient way of point-to-point travel throughout the city. They can be easily hailed on the street, booked by phone, ordered by a hotel concierge, or found at taxi stands. All taxis can carry four or five passengers. The number of seats is shown on the front and rear of a taxi.

There are three types of taxis. Red Taxis operate in urban areas. For those who prefer a taxi instead of the MTR, most of the rides will be on red taxis. They serve all destinations throughout the city. Green Taxis operate in the New Territories. Blue Taxis operate only on Lantau Island.




Tramway is one of the oldest modes of public transport in Hong Kong. Having opened in 1904, Hong Kong Tramways has the largest double-deck tram fleet in the world, counting more than 160 tramcars and carrying more than 200,000 passengers a day.

Trams are not as fast as other modes of transport, especially the MTR, but they are the most economical mode of public transport in Hong Kong. In addition to their transportation function, trams have also become a popular sightseeing attraction. Trams are very comfortable for short distances and a great choice if you would like to explore the city.



As a coastal city, Hong Kong regularly operates ferry routes that connect Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the Outlying Islands.

The Star Ferry is not only a cost-effective mode of transportation, but also it is a world-famous sightseeing trip between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. These services across Victoria Harbour run daily from early morning till 11-11:30pm with a frequency every 6-20 minutes. The journey takes about 8-10 minutes.



Cycling probably is the most stress-free and a healthy way of traveling short-distances while enjoying both the well-built cycling paths and the beauty of Hong Kong. Bike-sharing services like Ofo and GoBee Bike help you find the closest available bicycles, which are usually scattered everywhere. The prices change from services to services and differ between HK$3-HK$5 for half an hour ride.