Hong Kong Transportation: By Air, Sea, Train, Tram, MTR and Taxi
Hong Kong transportation is fast and efficient by air, sea, or land. Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) provides excellent international service, the subway system is one of the best in the world, and ferries combine transport with sightseeing.
In 2018 two new projects opened that provides travellers with quicker and more convenient travel. A new bullet train to China allows quick, economical, and convenient transport, and a new mega-bridge enables speedy travel between Macau and the airport.
International Transport By Air — Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA)
Hong Kong is a main gateway to China and much of East Asia. Therefore, the international air service is excellent, and competition keeps the fares relatively low compared to neighboring countries.
Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) is a great asset to Hong Kong as one of the most important hubs for international passenger and cargo traffic in the region. It has won many prestigious awards due to excellent service. Learn more information about HKIA.
Regular flights to about 40 destinations in mainland China mean HKIA is the airport of choice for many international travelers as a transfer hub. Examples of major companies based at the airport include the two Hong Kong carriers Cathay Pacific Airways and Dragonair (Hong Kong Dragon Airlines Limited).
|To||Number of Direct
Flights Per Day (Approx.)
|Journey Time (Approx.)|
|Hong Kong–Beijing||20||3 hours 25 minutes|
|Hong Kong–Shanghai||>34||2 hours 30 minutes|
|Hong Kong–Xi’an||2||2 hours 35 minutes|
|Hong Kong–Chengdu||>5||2 hours 40 minutes|
|Hong Kong–Chongqing||4||2 hours 20 minutes|
|Hong Kong–Guilin||1||1 hour 25 minutes|
|Hong Kong–Guangzhou||2||1 hour|
Transport between the Airport and Central Hong Kong
- Airport Express: It takes only 24 minutes from the airport to Central District by the Airport Express.
- Public Buses: Hong Kong International Airport is well served by public bus routes. You can take them to and from most parts of Hong Kong.
- Hotel Shuttle Buses: Some big hotels offer shuttle service to and from the airport.
Learn more information about how to get to Hong Kong airport.
Bus Transport Over the Bridge between the Airport and Macau
Bus transport via the new mega bridge to Macau allows quicker and convenient transport than the airport ferry services. From the airport, you can take a bus for 2 minutes to the bridge, and then board a bus to Macau for a 15 minute trip. The total price is about about 100 HKD to 130 HKD (13 USD to 17 USD). The trip over the bridge takes about 14 minutes, but clearing customs might take 50 minutes depending on the time and day.
However, this is faster than the ferry. From the Hong Kong International Airport, the ferries take about 70 minutes to cross (about 270 HKD). However, there are only a few ferries a day, and the last one leaves about 10 pm.
The historic Guangzhou-Shenzhen–Hong Kong High-Speed Railway bullet train connects Kowloon and Tsim Sha Tsui with Shenzhen and Guangzhou and at least 44 other Chinese cities and towns including Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai, Guilin, and Chengdu. It opened on September 22, 2018.
It cuts travel time to 9 hours to Beijing West Station (157 USD second class, 251 USD first class). It whisks through Shenzhen North in about 19 minutes, Guangzhou South in 52 minutes, Changsha South in 3 hours and 17 minutes, and Wuhan in 4 hours and 38 minutes.
From West Kowloon, it is the fastest and most convenient way to travel to go to Futian Station and Shenzhen North. Futian Station is only 14 minutes away.
The West Kowloon Station Terminus
The newly built West Kowloon Station for the high-speed train to China is one of the world's largest underground train stations. A section of it has China customs checks and immigration.
The Austin MTR Station is about a four minute walk away, and the Kowloon MTR Station (to Lantau, Central, and the airport (Airport Express)) is about a 12 minute walk away.
See Beijing – Hong Kong Trains for more information for available destinations, times, prices and for purchasing tickets for these high-speed trains. Also...
- Shanghai – Hong Kong Trains
- Hong Kong – Shenzhen High-Speed Train: Futian Station and Shenzhen North Station
- Guangzhou – Hong Kong High-Speed Train: Futian, Shenzhen North, Guangzhou South
- Hong Kong – Changsha High-Speed Trains (for quick Zhangjiajie access)
Short-distance high-speed train services connect Hong Kong West Kowloon to cities on the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link including Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
Hung Hom Through Trains
The through trains from Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong Province to Hong Kong are available.
The trains from Beijing and Shanghai get to Guangzhou East Station daily, but extend to every other day. There are 12 pairs of trains running daily between Guangzhou East Railway Station and Hong Kong Hung Hom Railway Station.
Beijing – Hong Kong Train
|From||To||Train No.||Departure||Arrival||Travel Time|
|Hung Hom||Beijing West||Z98||15:15||15:30||24h15m|
|Beijing West||Hung Hom||Z97||12:40||13:01||24h21m|
Shanghai – Hong Kong Train
|From||To||Train No.||Departure||Arrival||Travel Time|
SkyPier at Hong Kong International Airport enables passengers to and from the Pearl River Delta (PRD) to journey to HKIA by high-speed cross-boundary ferries.
Travelers arriving to SkyPier then proceed to the passenger terminal by special buses directly for their flights without having to go through immigration and customs formalities. This has cut travel times from some PRD ports by half.
SkyPier serves the following routes to the Pearl River Delta (PRD) and Macao:
|Routes||Journey Time (Approx.)|
|HKIA To Shenzhen Shekou||30 minutes|
|HKIA To Shenzhen Airport||45 minutes|
|HKIA To Dongguan Humen||70 minutes|
|HKIA To Zhongshan||70 minutes|
|HKIA To Zhuhai||70 minutes|
|HKIA To Guangzhou||100 minutes|
|HKIA To Macau Taipa||65 minutes|
|HKIA To Macau Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal||65 minutes|
Note: SkyPier ferry service is for transfer passengers only. It is not applicable to passengers originating in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong's ferries are almost always faster and cheaper than the buses, and also provide fantastic photo opportunities. The Star Ferry crosses the harbor between Central and Kowloon, taking just 7 minutes.
The HKF Company operates a number of ferries and hovercrafts between Hong Kong, Kowloon, and the New Territories.
Ferries to the Outlying Islands of Lantau, Lamma, Cheung Chau, and Peng Chau islands depart from the front of Exchange Square in Central.
Daily frequent and fast ferries operate between Hong Kong and Zhuhai (Mainland China). Learn more about ferries between Hong Kong and nearby Cities.
In addition to cross-boundary ferry service, some 200 coach trips are made every day by five bus companies linking HKIA with 40 towns and cities in the PRD. Calling at smaller towns to optimize each route, the coaches pass through border immigration and customs checks.
Transportation within the City
Hong Kong is small and crowded, therefore public transport is the only practical way to get around. Consequently, public transport is cheap, fast, and generally efficient.
Subway (The Metro)
The Hong Kong subway (MTR) is clean, fast, safe and easy. It is one of the world's most modern subway systems, the best run and the most profitable in the world. Though it costs a bit more than other forms of public transport, it is the quickest way to get to most destinations.
The subway trains run every 2-4 minutes from 6am to 1am daily on nine lines and the Airport Express. Fares range from HK$5 to HK$15. If you plan on doing a lot of traveling, the Octopus Card offers excellent value on MTR, LRT, KMB, City bus and HKF ferries. Octopus Cards can be purchased from ticket offices or customer service centers in MRT and LRT stations, and certain ferry piers of the HKF.
For short trips, the MTR is not the best value. For example, if you want to cross the harbor from Tsim Sha Tsui to Central, the MTR is about five times the price of the Star Ferry without the views and is only slightly faster. However, if your destination is further away, the MTR is considerably faster than a ferry or a bus and about the same price.
The extensive bus system offers a bewildering number of routes that take you just about anywhere in Hong Kong. Most visitors use the buses to explore the south side of Hong Kong Island and the New Territories. Northern Hong Kong and Kowloon are best explored by the MTR.
In Kowloon, the Star Ferry Bus Station is the most useful, with buses to the MTR stations and eastern and western Kowloon.
Hong Kong Island Trams are an integral part of the transport network and charm of Hong Kong Island.
These trams only operate on Hong Kong Island. For tourists wanting a leisurely way to sightsee while seeing the sites along the north shore of the island, it is a useful option.
The top deck are a good places to take pictures. There is no air conditioning, but can open the windows. For those arriving at the Star Ferry Terminal, Central Station or Hong Kong Station, there are tram stations on the north side of the IFC Mall.
Hong Kong taxis are not too expensive compared to other major modern cities. Taxis are usually easy to flag down, except at bus stops and restricted areas where the curb is painted yellow, and during rush hours.
Taxi fares start at around HK$15. If you go through any harbor tunnels, you must pay the toll twice as the driver's return toll has to be paid as well.
Many taxis have a card that lists the top 50 destinations in English, Cantonese and Japanese. This is useful as most drivers don't speak English. It's a good idea to have your destination written down in Chinese. If you leave something behind in the taxi or feel a taxi driver has ripped you off, get the taxi number and call the police hotline on 2527-7177.
There is no need to drive yourself around Hong Kong unless you are planning an excursion to the New Territories. Even then, you may do better with public transport unless you are going to a very remote location.
Car rental companies require either an International Driver's Permit or one from your home country and a credit card deposit of HK$5,000. Drivers must be at least 25 years of age. Daily rates range from HK$700 for a small car to HK$3,000 for an up-market vehicle.
Reputable car rental companies are: Ace in Happy Valley (Tel: 2560-8689) and Avis in Causeway Bay (Tel: 2890-6988).
Private drivers: China Highlights provides private drivers for airport/station/port pickup and excursions. You can arrange for our driver to wait for you at the airport, train station or your hotel.
Our Most Popular Hong Kong Tours
It is not easy for a foreigner to figure out the complex transport network in Hong Kong. We are here to help. Contact our travel advisors for help with arranging a tour in a time-saving and comfortable way. Our customized service will take the hassle out of your stay in China.
Here are our most popular Hong Kong tours, for your reference:
- Hong Kong Island Half-Day Tour — including Victoria Peak with a one-way Peak Tram and Aberdeen with a sampan ride
- One-Day Macau Tour from Hong Kong — taking you to experience Macau's fascinating mix of cultures
- 4-Day Guangzhou and Shenzhen Private Tour