I arrived in Hong Kong just after 11am, and my flight was departing at 9pm, so I had enough time to head into the city to do a little bit of looking around. I spent a bit of time investigating all the transport options and settled on the following:
- Airport Express Train. 24 minutes to Kong Kong Central Station, and costs HK$100 for a same day return. This is pretty good compared to HK$40 each way for the bus, which takes an hour.
- Octopus Card. This is a stored value card which can be used for local buses, trains and ferries. You buy it for HK$150, which is a $50 deposit and $100 credit and at the end of the day, you can return it for a refund of the deposit and unused credit (minus a $9 fee).
By the time I went through immigration, customs, got some HK$, got the tickets and spent a bit of time chatting on Skype, it was midday when I boarded the train to the city. Navigating around is pretty easy, everything is pretty well signposted in English.
On reaching the city, I headed out of the train station and walked across a pedestrian overbridge to the piers. (The 32 degrees was a pleasant change from the 42 degrees it has been recently in Hyderabad, but the 90% humidity wasn’t so welcome). I walked around a little and took a few photos of the harbour and then boarded bus 15C for the Peak Tram Station on Garden Road. With an Octopus card it is very easy, just hold it up to the reader when you get on the bus. If you pay cash, you have to have exact change – there is just a slot where you deposit the money and no change is given. The Octopus card is MUCH easier.
The Peak Tram is very interesting, it has a number of changes of gradient, but the tram itself isn’t stepped or sloped, so at some points you are tilted almost 45 degrees. The fare is quite expensive compared to the bus at HK$28, but I was able to use the Octopus card for that.
Rather than go up to the observation tower on top of the building, I walked around the road at the top of the peak. It was a lovely walk through beautiful tropical bush.
The walk offered some lovely views of the city:
At 32 degrees and high humidity, it was thirsty work – so I used the Octopus card to buy myself a bottle of water. After that, I got the local bus back down to the pier (Octopus card again $9.40). If I hadn’t been so used to Indian roads, it would have been a much more hair-raising experience sitting in the front seat on the upper deck as we wound down a very narrow road with many sheer drops below.
Back at the harbour, I walked around the south side to the Star Ferry Pier.
The ferry was very cheap: Octopus card $2.50 each way. I wandered around the harbour a little and took a few photos.
By this time, it was fairly late in the day, and I was a bit tired. It was almost time for me to head back to the airport, so I got the ferry back across to town and got the train back to the airport.
I cashed in my Octopus card and used some of the money to buy something to eat. All up I spent about NZ$35 on the whole day, and I’ve still got NZ$25 left for my return stopover.