With glittering skyscrapers, Michelin-star restaurants, gorgeous beaches, and shopping malls, Hong Kong truly is the melting pot for international travellers. If you’re planning an unforgettable trip to the super city – now that travel restrictions have finally relaxed – there’s only one way to do it: by travelling the length and breadth of Hong Kong by MTR. By Tania Tarafdar
Thanks to the wonderfully efficient transportation system in Hong Kong, you can spend the morning shopping in the Causeway Bay neighbourhood before escaping to Big Wave Bay for an afternoon of surf and sun.
The city’s Mass Transit Railway (MTR) connects the urban areas of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, and the New Territories with 91 stations spread over 11 interlinking rail lines. But if you are unsure about navigating your way out in Hong Kong, this Hong Kong MTR guide is for you.
Buying MTR tickets in Hong Kong
The services are clean and fast, and the fare system is extremely easy-to-use. First, say hello to the Octopus card. Then, please pick up an Octopus card at the airport, recharge it, and use it for the rest of your trip (including your journey from the airport). Then, when you need to top-up, stop by one of the many Octopus service providers—including 7-Eleven, Mcdonald’s, and Starbucks.
For a whirlwind trip to the city, get your hands on the tourist day tickets for HKD 64 (INR 672). This pass allows unlimited travel for 24 hours, and you can buy these at the customer service desk at any station.
Then comes the single journey ticket, which allows you to take just one specific trip. Get the tickets from machines at any station.
Do note that rides on MTR are slightly cheaper on an Octopus card.
Know the tickets and fares here.
Finding your MTR route
The route planner application is the easiest way to find the best route. For most trips, there is more than one option. It is also a good idea to use Google Maps Navigation to identify faster ways. You will never be lost in the city as most streets, and shopping malls have signs pointing to the closest metro station. And while you may spot the letters’ MTR’ on a signboard, sometimes the signboard has just the shape of the logo with the two semi-circles joined by a line.
Here is the Hong Kong MTR map.
Changing trains doesn’t incur additional fees, except for changes between Tsim Sha Tsui and Tsim Sha Tsui East station and the Airport Express. You might have to change trains on several trips, but the signposting inside the stations and escalators will take you from one platform to another. However, you must know the line’s name, as the colour coding on the map is not used for signage. So always check the sign above the train track, which shows the train’s name of the stations the train would cover.
Exiting the stations can get confusing as the MTR stations have many exits that connect directly to the neighbourhood buildings. Taking the wrong exit can mean several minutes of walking. Each exit has a letter or a number, and the signs indicate which exit to take to which destination. For instance, the D exit in Central station has two openings known as D1 and D2. So if you come out from D1 when you want to be at D2 for Theater Lane, you will have to walk back.
Hong Kong MTR routes with a view
When you are on holiday, it is a win-win situation when your journey offers complimentary views. Thankfully, several routes are not underground, so you can see exciting countryside views.
Tung Chung Line / Airport Express: To visit the Big Buddha, consider this line. Also, use this if you’re going to get to the airport on a budget.
Tuen Wan Line: This line offers fantastic views of the Kwai Chung container terminal.
South Island Line: Ride to the end and pop into Horizon Plaza to glimpse fantastic interior design and furniture shops. You’ll pass across Victoria Peak and get a glimpse of Ocean Park.
MTR Station facilities
Customer service desks
For advice on routes or problems with tickets, the customer service desks are here for help. The desks are positioned on the concourse beside a gate, and the staff is always available for help.
Just like any other place in Hong Hong, the MTR stations are packed with stores. From food and beverage, beauty outlets, and bakeries to accessories and gift stores, the MTR stations take care of all your shopping needs.
MTR stations offer free WiFi. Several stations also have ‘iCentre’ consoles that let you browse the web.
Avoid the rush hours, particularly at the busiest interchange stations between 8 am to 9 am. Also, expect a crowded train any time after 4:30 when the office goers are travelling back home.
MTR does not permit anything more than the airport carry-on luggage size. That said, the major tourist routes, such as the Airport Express, allow passengers to carry luggage to the hotels in Wanchai, Causeway Bay, or Tsim Sha Tsui.
Hero and feature image credits: Rachel Handley and Arron Choi on Unsplash
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Answer: The city's Mass Transit Railway (MTR) connects the urban areas of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, and the New Territories with 91 stations spread over 11 interlinking rail lines.
Answer: The route planner application is the easiest way to find the best route.
Answer: For a whirlwind trip to the city, get your hands on the tourist day tickets for HK$64.