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Hong Kong Travel Guide: Tips to Save Money

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Hong Kong packs a lot of activities into one small space – and that place is expensive! Prices here are much higher than in mainland China (as well as most of Asia), but there are still some ways you can save money. Here are some tips you'll want to implement to keep your budget intact:

Eat at the buffet – Many restaurants offer an all-you-can-eat menu for less than 110 HKD. They are typically made from noodle dishes, dim sum, and/or dumplings, making this a cheap and filling meal that offers a ton of value.
Avoid living on Hong Kong Island - Avoid living on Hong Kong Island if possible. There is great cheap accommodation in Kowloon and other islands! If you end up on Hong Kong Island, Causeway Bay has the cheapest accommodation.
Visit the markets – Most of the locals shop at markets as they provide up to 50% cheaper and cheapest food than grocery stores. Do all your grocery shopping here (especially when buying products).
Stay in Chungqing Mansion - Not far from a 1-star hotel, Chungqing Mansion offers the cheapest accommodation in the city. It's not the best place (far from it) but it's definitely an experience, as 4,000 other people also call the "mansion" home. Prices can be as low as 50HKD, so if you are on a really tight budget, stay here.
Make use of the hospitality network – since accommodation in Hong Kong is expensive, consider using Couchsurfing, a site that connects travelers with locals offering a free place to stay to encourage cross-cultural exchange provides. There are plenty of hosts (both local and expatriate) who participate in the community, so you can almost always find one. The community hosts lots of in-person meetups around town, which is a fun way to make some new friends - even if you don't want to sleep in their homes.
Get a Transit Day Pass - Trains in Hong Kong can be fast as fares are based on distance. It will be more economical to get a day pass if you are traveling throughout the city and into new areas. A day pass is 65 HKD for adults and 30 HKD for children.
Skip the taxis – While taxi fares aren't astronomical, busy traffic will quickly drive up your bill. Public transport is affordable and reliable. Skip the taxis!
Buy an Octopus card - although it doesn't necessarily save money, it does make your life a lot more convenient, which is why 99% of Hong Kong residents use them. The card is a contactless payment tool that simplifies the process of buying things like tickets on public transport (MTR, light rail, bus, ferry, tram, etc.), so you don't need to pay around coins or in exact change. is not. . You can use it for almost all forms of public transport, at
Convenience stores, restaurants, shops and tourist attractions. It works like a prepaid debit card. Get it to save your time and the hassle of fumbling for your cash every time you need something!
Avoid drinking alcohol - the cost of drinking unintentionally increases your costs. At $80 HKD for a bad glass vino, it's not worth it. save your money. This also applies to fancy sugary cocktails. Stick to beer or simple mixed drinks such as vodka tonics, as they are usually inexpensive.
Save money on rideshares – If you need a ride, Uber is cheaper than taxis and the best way to get around town if you don't want to wait for the bus or pay for a taxi . The Uber Pool option is where you can share rides to get even better savings (though you can also get your own car).

I wanna sit in this ship :)
Photo by Unknown Wong / Unsplash

How to get around Hong Kong?
A Tourist Travel Pass costs 65 HKD per day (30 HKD for children) and includes unlimited travel on the metro, tram and light rail service. Individual tickets are based on distance and range from 7-23 HKD, so a day pass is your best option if you are going to be traveling a lot or traveling long distances.

Metro runs till late at night and is very clean and efficient. Fares will cost between 5-25 HKD, depending on where you're going.

The Star Ferry between Hong Kong and Kowloon Island is 2 HKD.

There is also a train to the airport (Airport Express Line) which departs every 10 minutes and costs 115 HKD (110 HKD with Octopus card) per person. The journey takes approximately 25 minutes.

If you need to take a taxi, prices start at 25 HKD and go up to around 8 HKD per kilometer. Uber is also available, although it is around the same price as a taxi after the recent price increase, so either option will suffice.

To/from Shenzhen - Buses are available from Hong Kong to Shenzhen (a cross-border city in China's mainland), costing around 170 HKD per person. The journey takes approximately 1 hour forty five minutes.

Trains to Shenzhen, China are available for about 109 HKD per person. The ride takes about 30 minutes.

Car Rentals - With world-class public transportation and very tight, busy driving conditions, I would not suggest renting a car to travelers unless they have a very clear need for one.

Ride-sharing – If you don't want to use public transportation as cheap as taxis, then Uber is your best bet. You can save $15 on your first Uber ride with this code: jlx6v.

Hitchhiking - Hitchhiking here is almost non-existent in Hong Kong. I don't recommend it.

Suspension bridge with traffic junction in the coastal urban area of Hong Kong on a sunny day
Photo by Manson Yim / Unsplash

When to go to Hong Kong?
Due to its subtropical location, Hong Kong's weather is generally mild in winter and uncomfortably hot and humid in summer. The best time to go is between November and March when the heat and humidity are not as bad. November and December are especially good for finding reasonably priced accommodation. Tourist traffic starts to get busy after the new year.

Generally, the summer months are not a good time to visit Hong Kong, as the risk of thunderstorms increases. Temperatures can reach 31 °C (88 °F) in summer, which may not sound like much, but the humidity can be severe.

If you are visiting during one of the major festivals or holidays (such as Chinese/Lunar New Year), you will want to book accommodation and tours in advance. These can be some of the busiest times in Hong Kong, so plan accordingly. That being said, getting swept up in the chaos and fun of the city during this time can be worth it, if you don't mind the price hike or big crowds.

How to Stay Safe in Hong Kong?
The crime rate in Hong Kong is relatively low, but you should still exercise caution in crowds and on public transport as these are the places where pickpockets are most common.
Aside from the rare incidents of petty theft, there have been a number of scams, from fake monks on tourists to taxi drivers overcharging them, but nothing that puts you in physical danger.

If offered small trinkets or a "blessing" by a "monk," politely decline. Real Buddhist monks do not travel the streets to sell goods to tourists.

For taxis, always make sure the driver uses the meter and meets you only in official, marked taxis. When in doubt, call a taxi from your hostel or hotel to make sure you find a reputable company.

Overall, Hong Kong is a safe place to backpack and travel – even if you are traveling alone, and even as a solo female traveller. Violent attacks are rare. Petty theft (including bag snatching) is the most common type of crime, and it is also not very common. The people are nice and helpful and you are not likely to get into trouble. People who get into trouble are usually linked to drinking or drugs or sex tourism. Stay away from that stuff and you'll be fine.