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Touring Hong Kong by MTR Subway and Tram

Hong Kong mtr insideInside a Hong Kong MTR subway train

You can use the subways and the tram to tour around Hong Kong. It is faster riding the MTR than a taxi since the many islands and mountains break up the topography and impedes road travel.

As a tourist, you'll probably want to see the main highlights and shop during your trip, so here are 3 one-day touring routes and tips so you can get around and tour, shop, and see the main sites.

  • Route 1 — Sightseeing and Shopping: Star Ferry → IFC Towers → Victoria Peak → Nathan Road → Temple Street → Avenue of Stars
  • Route 2 — Lantau Amusement and Outdoor Recreation: IFC Towers → Disneyland → Tung Chung → Sunset Peak or Pui Wo Beach
  • Route 3 — HK Island Shopping, Sightseeing, Ocean Park: IFC Mall → Hong Kong Island Tram → Ocean Park

Starting Out Tips for Tourists

Hong Kong Subway Map See our MTR subway page for information about the Octopus card, routes, facts, rules, etc.

It is good idea to pick up maps, free tourist guides, a subway map, and an octopus card or tourist day pass.

  • MTR subway map: MTR subway maps from the ticket windows at the MTR stations help you travel on the system.
  • Hong Kong maps and attraction information: The Hong Kong tourism association has an office at the Star Ferry in Tsim Sha Tsui and another on Victoria Peak where you can pick up free maps of Hong Kong and a small stack of free tourist guides about various attractions. You'll probably find these interesting and useful for learning about Hong Kong and planning what to do.
  • Octopus cards: These are useful and easy to get. You can purchase them from machines or ticket windows at the station. They allow you to quickly swipe and pay to enter trains and other public transport including Peak Tram, and they also may be used to pay for other things.
  • Tourist day pass: An alternative for tourists is to purchase a $55 HKD Tourist Day Pass or a $25 HKD Child Tourist Day Pass to enjoy one day of unlimited travel on the MTR to experience Hong Kong. It is only good for one day.

Also read How to Plan a One Day Budget Tour of Hong Kong

Route 1, for sightseeing and shopping

Star Ferry → IFC Tower → Victoria Peak → Nathan Road → Temple Street → Avenue of Stars

hong kong island skylineThe Hong Kong Island skyline and Victoria Harbor Star Ferry in the foreground

This touring route mainly utilizes the Red Line (Tsuen Wan Line) for transport, and would probably take nine hours to fully enjoy seeing the sights and shopping. The Red Line is one of the most important lines for tourists because it connects Central (中环) with Tsim Sha Tsui (尖沙咀) and Kowloon. Special places around the Tsim Sha Tsui Station include Hong Kong's biggest mall, Harbour City Mall, the Avenue of Stars and the Symphony of Lights, the Space Museum, and Nathan Road for shopping.

Start 11:00 am at Avenue of Stars

You can begin at the Victoria Harbor waterfront around 11 in the morning. You can get there by taking the Red Line to the Tsim Sha Tsui Station and simply walking over to the Star Ferry Terminal in about 12 to 15 minutes.

ifc towersIFC Towers and mall

You'll see the waterfront and the Avenue of Stars with hand prints and statues. In the Star Ferry Terminal, there is a tourist office where you can get a lot of free information, maps, coupons and tourist guides in only a few minutes. The travel experts there give free advice and information.

The Space Museum or the Museum of Art are two highlights to visit right along the boardwalk. They are two good major regional museums. You could have lunch at the Harbour City Mall and shop there too.

Early afternoon on Hong Kong Island

Then simply get on the Star Ferry to cross the bay to Central instead of going back to the Red Line. It is a lot faster and more scenic. You can then walk over to the ritzy IFC Mall in a few minutes and shop or dine.

Take Bus 15 in front of the Central ferry piers or take a taxi up to Victoria Peak.

Late afternoon and evening in Tsim Sha Tsui

Then in the afternoon, go to Central Station under the IFC Mall and take the Red Line across to Tsim Sha Tsui Station in a few minutes. There, you might want to shop (bargains at Chung King Mansion). You might want to walk over to Kowloon Park and see the architecture along the way, see the animals in the park, and walk through the park to Temple Street. You can also get to Temple Street via the Red Line's Jordan Station.

symphony of lights The Symphony of Lights

Temple Street is a popular tourist shopping street with outdoor restaurants for dinner. Then go back to the Avenue of Stars (via Jordan Station, or Bus 6 or 7 on Nathan Road) by 7:30 to get in position to see the Symphony of Lights at 8:00.

Where to eat and stay?

The best low budget accommodations is Chung King Mansions above the Tsim Sha Tsui Station. Meals are about the lowest priced you'll find in the area. You'll have options ranging from Nepalese to Cantonese. Another better option is the classy YMCA (with gym and pool and restaurants) a few minutes walk away. For luxury rooms and dining, the Sheraton Hotel overlooking the harbor along Nathan Road is an option.

Tips

  • Peak tram up to Victoria Peak: Many tourists take the tram up from Central, but the wait might be more than an hour on busy days. The bus or a taxi is as scenic and might be faster. If the tram wait is long, then a taxi ride up from the tram terminus is 50 HKD = 6.45 USD.
  • Watching the Symphony of Lights: There are free stands for spectators at the Avenue of Stars. During good weather, to get a seat, be there at least 30 minutes prior.

Route 2, Lantau for amusement and outdoors recreation

Central IFC Towers → Hong Kong Disneyland → Tung Chung → Sunset Peak or Pui Wo Beach

disneylandDisneyland

This day tour takes advantage of the Orange Line (Tung Chung) and the Disneyland Line to enjoy Lantau Island's big Disneyland and good country parks and big beaches. It is meant for people who just want to have fun and experience nature for a day. The trip ends where you can see the sunset on Sunset Peak or at Pui Wo Beach.

Start 8:00 am at the IFC Mall in Central

This is an all day tour. You can start at the IFC Mall and have breakfast. There are several good restaurants serving breakfast and also a McDonald's. Then go down to the Hong Kong Station under the IFC Towers. You could also get on the Tung Chung Line at Kowloon Station, Olympic Station, or Lai King Statioin and skip going to the mall. Three lines meet the Orange Line along the way for quick transfer.

At Sunny Bay Station, change over to the Disneyland Station. It is a short trip to Disneyland. It is popular for its rides and also for its smaller size than the American Disneylands that makes it quicker to go around in.

Around 2:00 or 3:00, go to Lantau's countryside

Buddha statue on Lantau IslandBuddha statue on Lantau Island

Hiking Sunset Peak for the sunset view:Give yourself some time to enjoy Lantau's natural places and perhaps lunch and shopping at the CityGate Outlets mall. Go back to the Orange Line and take the quick trip over to Tung Chung Station. You'll find a supermarket and stores and a whole famed mall for brand name products plus numerous eating places and a big food court/cafeteria for good economical food. Then you'll have a choice:

To see the sunset, give yourself two and a half hours if you are in good shape from the time you get on the bus or taxi in Tung Chung. If you are not in good shape, be aware this is almost all stair climbing up the big mountain. See how to do this route in the link. It might be too difficult for overweight children or children below the age of 12.

You can take the 3M Bus or a taxi from the Citygate Outlets Mall to the Pak Kung Au bus stop, or contact us about a private driver and/or guide. A private driver waiting for you at the bottom is easier and more convenient than waiting for a taxi or bus.

Going to Pui Wo Beach: This excellent public beach and surfing area is a great place for evening barbecues and swimming in the warm sea. There is also a public campground with showers where you can spend the night and a cafe/sports equipment rental shop.

Taxi transport from Tung Chung to beach is about 93 HKD. To campground, show the taxi driver: 大嶼山貝澳露營區. Or take bus 3M. See this link for more detailed information about Pui Wo Beach and campground.

Where to eat and stay?

Lantau hikingLantau country park hike

You could always camp for free at Pui Wo and other Lantau campsites. There is a hotel in nearby Mui Wo and many more in Tung Chung. Disneyland has its own hotels.

Tips

  • Disneyland crowds: Best to go during weekdays and non holidays for less lines.
  • Disneyland meals are expensive (at least 150 HKD = 19 USD). So you may want to eat at CityGate Outlets. If going to Pui Wo, stock up on food and supplies at Tung Chung since prices and selection is limited at Pui Wo. Only little shops there.
  • Hong Kong Top 10 Beaches Information
  • Hong Kong Island Hiking

Route 3, for HK Island shopping, sightseeing, and Ocean Park

IFC Mall → Hong Kong Island Tram → Ocean Park

Hong Kong Ocean Park

On this day day tour, you'll spend your time on Hong Kong Island and sightsee, shop, and end the day at Ocean Park. It is the biggest and most popular amusement park. As you can see, there are swimming dolphins to watch. There are popular rides, little zoos, and a high gondola to see the area.

Start at 10 am at the IFC Mall

At the mall, you can shop and have breakfast. There are 200 stores in the mall, and for luxury fashion, you can go over to the Landmark Mall that is within quick walking distance through covered access.

Take the Tram

Hong Kong Island tramThe stately and lovable Hong Kong Island tram

The Hong Kong Island Tram is an ideal way to sightsee as you relax. It isn't posh, and not air-conditioned, and it is a little antique, it is slow, but it is fun for first-timers. Just get on at Des Voeux Road, about two hundred meters from the IFC Mall, relax on the top deck, and see the view go by until you reach Admiralty Station. If you don't want to continue further, get off there. But if you like the ride, continue to Causeway Bay Station or Fortress Hill Station and ride the subway back to Admiralty.

Ocean Park

There is no MTR line to Ocean Park, but take Bus 629 just outside the Admiralty Station. It goes to Ocean Park in about half an hour. Or you can ride with our private driver.

A Better Local Transport Option: Private Car — free of hassles, more flexibility

private tourChina Highlights' private transport service

Private drivers: Hiring a private driver might be the best option if you want to do a lot of touring. A private driver or aid from an English speaking guide/interpreter is relatively inexpensive compared to Western countries and Japan. It is the most convenient and pleasant way is to travel.

But pick a reputable company like China Highlights. You can arrange for our driver and guide to wait for you at your hotel and help you enjoy your time.

  • We arrange tickets and transport: Your guide will arrange your entry tickets and any transport tickets in advance, saving you a lot of time and trouble lining up.
  • Our English speaking guide will help you travel quickly and comfortably and interpret for you. We are known for providing hassle free and individualized help for our customers.

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